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Pakistan: Clerics slammed over Malala shooting

November 13, 2012
Pakistan: Clerics slammed over Malala shooting thumbnail
Activists demand educational opportunities for women at a rally in Lahore

Civil society groups this weekend lashed out at Muslims clerics, saying they sought to mislead people by disseminating doctored images of  Malala Yousufzai.  The 15-year-old child education activist was ambushed and shot in the head last month by Taliban gunmen.

Some Islamist leaders commented on controversial images posted on Facebook, which allegedly depicted an uninjured and healthy Malala in a British hospital. They also questioned the official account of the attack.

This sparked angry responses from several rights groups which came, coincidentally, amid celebrations on Saturday of the United Nations World Malala Day.

Mohammad Tahseen, founding director of the South Asia Partnership Pakistan, said clerics should be ashamed of themselves for issuing such confusing statements.

“Anyone can figure out that these are doctored,” he said, referring to the Facebook images.

Tahseen was among 50 others who gathered at the Lahore Press Club to show their solidarity with the UN and Malala.

Saeeda Deep, founder of the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies, said the country should champion universal education every day.

He said greater effort needs to be made in combating messages of hate from extremist groups in the country.

“[They] are using their resources to convince village and tribal people that Americans are paving the way for an all-out war against the Taliban,” he said. “These enemies of the state are misguiding our society, which trusts religious leaders and rejects any other logic.” [More]

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