Malala Yousafzai, 12

Veronique De Viguerie, Dml - Getty Images

Girl shot by Taliban asks that school not be named for her

  • Article by: SALMAN MASOOD
  • New York Times
  • December 22, 2012 - 7:22 PM

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - The Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in October has asked a provincial government to reverse its decision to name a college after her, an official said. But her request was not immediately granted.

The young woman, Malala Yousafzai, 15, who attained fame as an advocate for girls' education, made the request out of concern for the safety of the school's female students, said Kamran Rehman, the top civilian in the Swat Valley.

Yousafzai, who was gravely wounded in the Oct. 9 attack and is being treated in a British hospital, had become a highly visible symbol of resistance against the Taliban in an area where the militants held sway until a Pakistani army offensive in 2009.

Last month, the Swat Valley government changed the name of the Government Girls Degree College to the Government Malala Yousafzai Girls Degree College. But earlier this month more than 100 students protested the decision, tearing down a poster of the girl and throwing stones.

"The female students were feeling apprehensive," Rehman said. They feared "that the change in name might lead to an attack on their college and endanger their lives."

The college closed after the protest, with the authorities sending the students home early for their winter break.

Rehman said Yousafzai called him from Britain on Monday "and requested that because of the concerns of female students, the name of the college should be reverted back to its original name."

He said the government would consider her request.

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