Malala Yousafazai has received a letter penned by an unexpected sender.
When she was only 15 years old, a Taliban gunman shot Malala and two other girls in a school bus as “a lesson” for standing up for women’s right to education, freedom and self-determination. Malala survived a bullet in the head and neck and moved on to become an international symbol for human rights.
This Tuesday, Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai received a letter from a senior commander of the Taliban, the very group that claimed responsibility for the brutal attack which almost took her life.
In a caring and simultaneously threatening letter, Adnan Rasheed, a senior commander for the Taliban in Pakistan, justifies the reason why Malala was shot and also admits he wished it “never happened.” After describing the attempted assasination as “shocking” the Taliban leader urged the young activist to returm home to Pakistan. “I was thinking how to approach you,” he wrote. “My emotions were brotherly for you because we belong to same Yousafzai tribe.”
Rasheed does not apologize for the attack and said he would not discuss of the Taliban’s attempts was “correct or wrong” or whether she “deserved to be killed or not.”
The commander said that Taliban fighters believe Malala had been “running a smear campaign” against them before she was shot and thought her writting for the BBC’s Urdu site (where she wrote about her ambition to become a doctor and of the Taliban’s strict edict banning girls from school) was “provocative.”
Rasheed, who the Taliban broke out of prison last year, said the militants supported both boys and girls going to school as long as they received an Islamic education and didn’t study what he called a “satanic or secular curriculum.”
He added: “If you were shot by Americans in a drone attack, would world have ever heard updates on your medical status? Would you be called ‘daughter of the nation’? Would the media make a fuss about you? … Would you [be] called to UN? Innocent women and children have been killed in drone attacks but who cares because attackers are highly educated, non-violent, peaceful Americans.”
Adnan Rasheed concludes his letter my advising Malala to “adopt the Islamic and pushtoon culture, join any female Islamic madrassa…study and learn the book of Allah” and to use Islto “reveal the conspiracy of tiny elite who want to enslave the whole humanity for their evil agendas in the name of new world order.”
Malala Yousafzai continues to garner International support and following. Not only will Yousafzai’s memoir be published this fall but Oscar-winning director, David Guggenheim, is expected to bring the story of the teenage activist to the big screen.
Read the entire letter below: