Earlier this week Pakistani Taliban commander Adnan Rasheed wrote a letter to 16-year-old women’s education activist Malala Yousafzai saying he wished the October 2012 attack on her life hadn’t happened.
The letter came shortly after Yousafzai’s July 12 speech before the United Nations, where she said the attack gave her a renewed sense of strength, power and courage.
“The attack on her was not in response to her support for girls' education, but because she was critical of the Taliban,” says Suzette Grillot, the Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. “He encourages her to come back to Pakistan and pick up her pen in the name of Islam.”
The College’s Assistant Dean Rebecca Cruise says she doesn’t expect Yousafzai to heed Rasheed’s advice now that she’s become the face of that movement.
“If she was shot because of her advocacy for women's education, the opposite has occurred,” Cruise says. “She will go back to that area and she'll continue to work and promote for young women and for education.”