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Malala asks Pakistani college to remove her name, official says

By Ashley Fantz, CNN
updated 1:48 PM EST, Wed January 2, 2013
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.
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.
  • 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

(CNN) -- 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.

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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.

"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.

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