BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, Dec 16, (Agencies): Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai condemned Donald Trump’s views on Muslims on Tuesday, at a sombre ceremony to remember the 134 children killed in a Taleban attack on a Pakistani school a year ago. “Well, that’s really tragic that you hear these comments which are full of hatred, full of this ideology of being discriminative towards others,” Malala told AFP, in response to recent comments by the US Republican presidential candidate. Trump has been heavily criticised for calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States after a Muslim husband and wife killed 14 people in a shooting rampage in California, an incident classified as a terrorist act.
Speaking at the ceremony in the city of Birmingham, central England, Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai also criticised Trump’s comments. “It will be very unfair, very unjust that we associate 1.6 billion with a few terrorist organisations,” he said, referring to the number of Muslims worldwide. The event was organised by peace prize winner Malala and her family, and two survivors of the attack, Ahmad Nawaz, 14, and Mohammed Ibrahim, 13, took part.
The massacre saw nine extremists scale the walls of an army-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, lobbing grenades and opening fire on terrified children and teachers. “There are these terrorist attacks happening, for example what happened in Paris or what happened in Peshawar a year ago,” Malala said, referring to last month’s Islamic State attack in Paris that killed 130 people. “It’s not just needed in Pakistan but across the world.
If we want to end terrorism we need to bring quality education so we defeat the mindset of terrorism mentality and of hatred.” Nawaz, dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez, recounted the horror of the Dec 16, 2014 Peshawar attack, in which 17 adults were also killed.
“I saw my teacher burned alive in that incident and the friends with whom I was playing,” he told AFP. “I was surrounded by the dead bodies of those friends. So it was the horrifying experience of my life and I still have nightmares.” Nawaz was shot in the arm. His brother was killed. Ibrahim was in a wheelchair, having been paralysed from the waist down. The Taleban assault dredged up painful memories for Malala’s family: she was shot in the head by the Taleban in 2012 after she had publicly advocated education for girls. “When I was watching all these graphics and all these news on television, my wife was crying, I was crying,” Malala’s father told AFP.
“It was unbearable. It was very hard to watch. Our own trauma revived,” he said. “We don’t curse people, its a sin to curse and we never cursed Talebans for attacking our daughter, but I must say we cursed them that day.”
Remarks by US presidential hopeful Trump on Muslims were “divisive, stupid and wrong”, British Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament on Wednesday. “I think his remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong and I think if he came to visit our country, he would unite us all against him,” Cameron said when asked whether he supported a petition to ban Trump from entering Britain.
Trump has vowed to ban all Muslims from entering the United States if he succeeds in his bid to become the next US president. The pledge sparked an outcry in Britain, where around five percent of the population are Muslim. More than 560,000 people signed a petition to ban Trump from entering the country following his remarks.
“In our country we have legislation that stops people from entering the country who are deemed not to be conducive to public good,” opposition Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who is Muslim, told Cameron in parliament. “Does the prime minister agree that the law should be applied equally to everyone, should we be making exceptions for billionaire politicians?” Cameron replied he agreed on banning radical preachers but disagreed with the idea of banning Trump from Britain.
“I agree with her that it is right that we exclude people when they are going to radicalise or encourage extremism. I happen to disagree with her about Donald Trump,” Cameron said. Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond called Trump “three times a loser” on Wednesday after Britain’s Supreme Court threw out the billionaire’s bid to stop an offshore wind farm being built near his Scottish golf resort.
Salmond made his comment on Twitter and added in a statement: “These proceedings have been dragged out for years through three successive court judgments by Donald Trump as he tried to stop an offshore Aberdeen wind turbine …” “In doing so he has at best postponed, and at worst jeopardised, a vital 200 million pound ($300 million) boost for the economy of the North East of Scotland.” Salmond, who as former First Minister was cited in Trump’s legal actions, also referred to the US Republican presidential front runner’s comments on Mexican immigrants and Muslims, which have drawn widespread condemnation.
Salmond concluded: “His behaviour and comments are unlikely to attract the votes of many Mexican Americans or Muslim Americans. Given his treatment of Scotland, Scots American are likely to join the ever growing list of people alienated by Trump.”