Thousands call for Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai

 

Thousands of people have called for a Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai, who was shot fighting for education in Pakistan.

Malala, 15, has the support of more than 60,000 people backing a petition to nominate her for the prestigious award.

The call comes ahead of this Saturday's global day of action marking one month since Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban.

In the UK, Shahida Choudhary is campaigning for the Prime Minister and prominent politicians to write to the Nobel committee to recommend Malala.

Ms Choudhary said: "Malala doesn't just represent one young woman, she speaks out for all those who are denied an education purely on the basis of their gender.

"There are girls like Malala in the UK and across the world. I was one of them.

"I started this petition because a Nobel Peace Prize for Malala will send a clear message that the world is watching and will support those who stand up for the right of girls to get an education."

Ms Choudhary also fought for her education when she was taken out of school in the UK aged 16 and forced into a marriage in Pakistan.

She escaped back to the UK, returned to education aged 28, and now runs a network in Birmingham to support women in similar situations.

Malala, who is widely known as a campaigner for girls' education in Pakistan, was attacked with two other schoolgirls travelling home from school in the Swat Valley last month.

The gunman who boarded the van in which she was travelling asked for her by name before firing three shots at her.

In early 2009, she wrote an anonymous blog about life under the Taliban, who had banned all girls in her area from attending school.

The global petition to have Malala nominated, on Change.org, was started in Canada by Tarek Fatah, a writer and broadcaster.

It has already achieved support from Canada's four largest political parties and has been replicated by supporters in other countries, including France and Spain.

The Nobel Committee rules states that members of national assemblies and governments are able to make nominations for the prize.

Nominations close in February.

PA

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