The Pakistani Taliban on Monday said schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai had ‘no courage’ and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance.
The 16-year-old was shot in the head at blank range by gunmen last year as she caught a bus home from her school in Pakistan.
Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said: “Malala Yousafzai targeted and criticised Islam. She was against Islam and we tried to kill her, and if we get a chance again we will definitely try to kill her, and we will feel proud killing her,” he said, adding, “Islam prohibits killing women, but except those that support the infidels in their war against our religion.”
The death threat comes at a time when Malala’s profile is increasing in the spotlight.
The teenager has been hotly tipped to take home the Nobel Peace Prize after she was chosen as a favoured choice.
The winner of the prestigious award will be announced on Friday.
Malala said, “If I win the Nobel Peace Prize, it would be a great opportunity for me, but if I don’t get it, it’s not important because my goal is not to get the Nobel Peace Prize, my goal is to get peace and my goal is to see education of every child.”
The teenage activist risked her life last year after she defied a Taliban ban which prevented girls in her Pakistani town from attending school.
An assassination attempt was made on her life in October 2012 leaving the schoolgirl in a critical condition in hospital. She was treated in Britain and now lives in Birmingham with her family.
Malala eyes politics
Malala said she hoped to become a politician to ‘change the future of my country’. The 16-year-old also backed dialogue with the Taliban, although she said this was an issue for the government. “I will be a politician in my future. I want to change the future of my country and I want to make education compulsory.” She added: “The best way to solve problem and to fight against war is through dialogue, and is through peaceful way. But for me the best way to fight against terrorism and extremism is a simple thing -- educate the next generation.”