Brit-Pakistanis call Pak teen Malala `inspiration`

British-Muslims of Pak have shown a keen interest in the case of Malala Yousufzai, who was shot and seriously injured by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Updated: Oct 19, 2012, 00:04 AM IST

Washington: British-Muslims of Pakistani heritage have shown a keen interest in the case of teenage education campaigner Malala Yousufzai, who was shot and seriously injured by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Malala, 14, who earned international fame for raising voice against Taliban oppression in Swat, was shot in the neck and head and two other girls sustained injuries when the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) opened fire on their school van in Swat valley last Tuesday.

"Malala is a role model because even though we are not facing the Taliban here in the UK, there are a number of girls who face that backward mentality.

So I think definitely she has become an inspiration for standing up against force at such a young age," Christian Science Monitor quoted Sabbiyah Pervez, a young mother and university graduate in the northern English city of Bradford, as saying. Pervez, who coordinates projects to empower young Muslim girls, said South Asian Britons are excelling in studies.

But some girls are still being pulled out of schools at 16 because parents feel that if the girls get educated, they will challenge their parents, she added. "It`s to constrain and restrict them. I know a girl who was pulled out of school at 16 and she summed it up perfectly for me: ``They have cut my wings to fight and fly,`` she said.

The findings of a research by Claire Dwyer of University College London, which was based on interviews with young British Pakistani Muslim women about their career aspirations, suggested that British Pakistani working-class families with little experience of education support the greater opportunities for education and work for their daughters, and may even invest more in daughters, as girls outperform boys at school and the labor market is more receptive to female workers with "soft skills," like interpersonal abilities.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, where Malala is hospitalized, her arrival has engendered feelings of a different kind among Muslims living there, the paper said.

"There is a strong connection [between the two places] because of the large number of Pakistanis who live in the city, I am proud that Birmingham has stepped in to help this situation," said Qayyum Choudhury, chairman of the Council of British Pakistanis. Malala was flown to Britain on Monday to receive specialized medical treatment.