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Malala asks Pakistani college to remove her name, official says

A handout picture taken on November 7 shows injured 15 year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai reading a book at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.

Story highlights

  • Official: Girls at school newly named after the teen said they were afraid
  • They fear naming the college after teen shot by Taliban would make them a target
  • Malala Yousafzai called official to say her name should be removed
  • Malala was attacked on her way to school October 9 by Taliban gunmen

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager whom the Taliban tried to murder, is asking a graduate school not to name its institution after her.

Girls were afraid that attending the Malala Yousafzai Post Graduate College for Women in the Taliban-dominated Swat Valley would attract the attention of fighters like the ones who gunned down Malala and two other girls on a school bus in October, according to Kamran Rehman Khan, a top official in the Swat Valley.

The Saidu Sharif Post Graduate School briefly changed its name to recognize Malala's brave campaign for girls' education in Pakistan. The Taliban are against girls being in the classroom and have threatened to kill anyone who defies them.

Several students told Khan that they respect Malala but are concerned about their safety, he said.

Khan told CNN that Malala called him Monday evening from her hospital room in England where she's recovering from bullet wounds to her head and neck. She wants the school to remove her name, but she wishes for people to continue to fight for girls to go to school, he said.

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"I was so impressed that despite having threats against her life, she was talking about girls' education in the region and against militants," Khan said.

    Malala first got an international platform at age 11 when the BBC gave her a chance to write a blog about going to school despite a Taliban edict forbidding girls in the classroom.

    She gave an interview to CNN and other outlets, bravely insisting that girls had every right to an education.

    On October 9, the 15-year-old was on a school van in Swat Valley. Taliban gunmen stopped the vehicle and demanded that other girls tell them which one was Malala. They did. She was shot, as were two other girls who survived the attack.

    "We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us," a Taliban spokesman later said, vowing to come after her if she managed to live.

    Malala was in critical condition, but doctors in England have helped her recover over the past several months. She suffered no major brain or nerve damage.

    She is walking, writing and reading again.

    Malala was selected as runner-up for Time magazine's Person of the Year.

        Malala's battle

      • A copy of the memoirs of Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai is pictured in a bookstore in Islamabad on October 8, 2013. Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai tells of the moment she was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education in her new autobiography out on October 8, amid speculation that she may be about to become the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, 'I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban' tells of the 16-year-old's terror as two gunmen boarded her schoolbus on October 9, 2012 and shot her in the head.

        The teen blogger simply wanted an education. But she became a symbol of defiance against militants, empowering young women worldwide.
      • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban, sits before she speaks at the United Nations (UN) Youth Assembly on July 12, 2013 in New York City.

        More than three million girls are out of school in Pakistan, while spending on education has decreased to 2.3 percent of GDP in 2010.
      • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, officially opens The Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, central England, on September 3, 2013.

        The Pakistani Taliban issues a new death threat against Malala, who turns the other cheek.
      • Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was able to stand up and communicate on Friday, October 19.

        Hundreds of messages from around the world were received by CNN for Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen activist attacked by the Taliban.
      • Pakistani NGOs activists carry placards as they shout slogans at an event on International Human Rights Day in Lahore on December 10, 2012.

        Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause -- a girl's right to education. Now the government vows to get every child into school by end 2015.