The Pakistani Taliban has criticised teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai over her Nobel Peace Prize, describing her as a “soldier against Islamic society”.
Ms Yousafzai became a global icon after she was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in October 2012 for insisting that girls had a right to an education.
The 17-year-old vowed to continue her struggle for every child’s right to go to school when she collected her honour at a ceremony in Oslo on Wednesday.
She is the youngest Nobel peace laureate and the first Pakistani to claim the prize, but some in her home country condemn her as a Western agent – including the militants who shot her.
Muhammad Umar Khorasani, spokesman for the main faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by Mullah Fazlullah, said that Malala had won the Nobel prize for “promoting Western culture, not education”.
Pakistan’s patriarchal society often relegates women to subservient domestic roles, but Ms Yousafzai has praised her father Ziauddin, a schoolteacher, for encouraging her to pursue her dreams.
The militant spokesman singled him out for criticism.
“Malala’s father Ziauddin has made an agreement with the Western powers to destroy Pashtun culture and Pakistan,” Mr Khorasani said, referring to the dominate ethnic group in the country’s northwest, where Ms Yousafzai is from.
“Her father is using Malala as a soldier against Islamic society and teachings of Islam.”
After she was shot in the head at point-blank range, Ms Yousafzai was taken to Britain for treatment. Her family joined her and she now goes to school there, unable to return to Pakistan because of Taliban death threats.
In her Nobel acceptance speech, peppered with self-deprecating humour, Ms Yousafzai called not just for education but also for fairness and peace.
“The so-called world of adults may understand it, but we children don’t. Why is it that countries which we call ‘strong’ are so powerful in creating wars but so weak in bringing peace?” she said.
She also described herself as the “first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who still fights with her younger brothers”.
Ms Yousafzai will split the $1.3 million prize with her fellow laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the Indian child slavery campaigner.
Earlier in the week she wept at the sight of the bloodied school uniform she wore on the day she was attacked, on display at an exhibition in the Norwegian capital.
This article originally appeared on ABC News and has been republished with full permission.
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