While many Pakistanis were grateful to finally have a role model to celebrate when Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, a local education group has denounced the renowned activist.
The All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF), a group that claims to represent 150,000 schools across Pakistan, proclaimed Monday "I am Not Malala" day and called for the banning of the teenage advocate’s memoir because it offends Islam, The New York Times reported.
"We are all for education and women’s empowerment," Mirza Kashif Ali, the organization’s president, told The Times. "But the West has created this persona who is against the Constitution and Islamic ideology of Pakistan."
Yousafzai, who was shot in the head in 2012 for openly supporting girls’ education rights, became the youngest Nobel laureate ever in October. The teenage activist has spread her education mission through a number of initiatives, including her eponymous fund and her memoir, which details her ordeal and determination to bring education to girls across the globe.
APPSF co-opted the title of her memoir, "I am Malala," for its Monday awareness event and marked the day with walks, seminars and press conferences, according to the Independent.
Among a number of his gripes, Ali accused Yousafzai, who now lives in England, of defending author Salman Rushdie. His novel "The Satanic Verses" remains banned in Pakistan, according to The Times.
The group, which represents private schools from mostly poor and middle-class areas, believes she stands in direct opposition to everything it believes in.
"She has criticized Pakistan's ideology, its religion and its constitution," Ali told NBC News.
The counter-event incited backlash on social media from supporters who have proven to outweigh the opposition.
According to study released earlier this year, 30 percent of the population said they support Yousafzai, while about a fifth said they viewed her unfavorably. Half said they felt indifferent, according to the Independent.
"Pakistan without its bold and brilliant women is nothing. No bloody room for extremism in Pakistan," Razeshta Sethna, a Karachi-based editor and writer for the Herald, wrote on Facebook after Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize. She has "courage, intelligence and wisdom."