Malala’s experiences of terrorism and trolling

Malala Yousafzai  (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images).
Malala Yousafzai (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images).

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.”