Pakistani teenage rights’ activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, has advised Nigeria’s Boko Haram to “go and learn Islam”, saying the dreaded extremist outfit is “misusing the name of the religion” by kidnapping over 200 schoolgirls.
“I think they haven’t studied Islam yet, they haven’t studied Quran yet, and they should go and they should learn Islam,” the 16-year-old told the CNN.
“I think that they should think of these girls as their own sisters. How can one imprison his own sisters and treat them in such a bad way?” she said, referring to Boko Haram’s threats to sell the girls into slavery.
“They are actually misusing the name of Islam because they have forgotten that the word islam means ‘peace,'” Malala said.
She added: “When I heard about the girls in Nigeria being abducted I felt very sad and I thought that my sisters are in prison and I thought that I should speak up for them.”
In another interview to the BBC, Malala called upon the world not to “stay silent” over the abduction.
“The international community has to do more to help the girls kidnapped over three weeks ago by Islamist Boko Haram militants in Nigeria. When such things happen we cannot keep quiet,” she said.
“If we remain silent then this will spread, this will happen more and more and more,” said the girls’ education campaigner, who was the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
The abduction, that occurred on April 15, has sparked international outrage and mounting demands for Nigeria to spare no effort to find and free the girls before they can be sold into slavery or otherwise harmed.
Nigeria police have said more than 300 girls were abducted from their secondary school in the country’s remote northeast. Of them, 276 remain in captivity while 53 managed to escape.
Malala was shot at by the Taliban in her native Swat in northwest Pakistan in 2012 after she spoke publicly about girls’ rights to education.