By Amit Roy
POLITICS in Britain has become so toxic, even at university, that Malala Yousafzai has been trolled for voicing her support for a close friend who was standing to be president of the Oxford University Conservative Association.
Intentionally or otherwise, the Daily Telegraph ran the Malala story above the horrific report of Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher in Paris, who was beheaded by Abdoulakh A, 18, who was born in Moscow of Chechen origin and given refugee status by France.
Paty, who taught history and geography, had been targeted by an angry father after the former had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class about freedom of speech, in relation to the Charlie Hebdo case.
Is there a link between trolling and terrorism? Probably not in most cases, but it also does not take much to ignite religious fanaticism – as we have seen all too often in India and Pakistan. Therefore, people should be careful not to inflame passions.
The trolling of Malala is also disturbing, considering she came to Britain in 2012 after a Taliban attack in which she was shot in the head.
In a Facebook message, since deleted, Malala, 23, who graduated from Oxford this summer with a degree in PPE, wrote: “Hi everyone! Those who are members of the Oxford University (Conservative) Association may have heard that their elections are this Wednesday.
“One of my best friends Kia Williams is running for president in a contested election. Kia has worked so hard putting her team and manifesto together and I genuinely think she and her team will do an amazing job if elected.”
Malala, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, aged 17, in 2014, made it clear: “This endorsement is not a reflection of my personal political views – I just really think my friends are talented people who deserve the opportunity to improve the Association they care about.”
In response, one Twitter account posted: “So my hate for her all this time wasn’t unprovoked.”
Another called for her to be kicked out of the country: “Deport the sweaty beg.”
Condemning the abuse of Malala, environment minister and Conservative peer Zac Goldsmith said: “I wonder what these weirdos attacking Malala (for having a Conservative friend) think qualifies them to judge this extraordinary woman? What have they done with their lives, other than pouring incoherent and trivial hatreds through their keyboards.”
Actress Tracy-Ann Oberman also reacted: “I mean it’s Malala. A girl who was shot through the head by the Taliban for trying to go to school and get an education.”