The 16-year-old, nominated for this year's Nobel peace prize, said she is of the view that a woman should not cover her face in court or in other places "where it's necessary to show your identity".

"I don't cover my face because I want to show my identity," Malala, who considers herself a believing Muslim said.

Asked what she thinks of the burqa in the UK, Malala told the Guardian, "I believe it's a woman's right to decide what she wants to wear and if a woman can go to the beach and wear nothing, then why can't she also wear everything?"

Her memoir 'I Am Malala', that the teenager has written with journalist Christina Lamb, has a brief but vivid description of the Taliban assassination attempt on her that shot her to fame.

The book recounts Malala's life before and after October 9, 2012, when a gunman boarded a school bus full of girls in Pakistan's Swat Valley and asked "Who is Malala?"

Then he shot her in the head. "The air smelt of diesel, bread and kebab mixed with the stink from the stream where people still dumped their rubbish," Malala recalls.

One of her friends told her later that the gunman's hand shook as he fired. One of the moving details in the memoir is that her mother was due to start learning to read and write on the day Malala was shot.

Malala mentions more than once in her book that no one believed the Taliban would target a schoolgirl, even if that schoolgirl had been speaking and writing against the Taliban's ban on female education since the age of 12.

In her book, Malala writes of how her speech at the United Nations received plaudits around the world, but in Pakistan people accused her of seeking fame and the luxury of a life abroad.

The book describes Taliban's arrival "preaching against girls' education, shutting down DVD sellers and barber shops and displaying the bodies or people they've executed".

They blew up the region's ancient Buddha statues, and then they began blowing up schools. "They destroyed everything old and brought nothing new," Malala writes.

Malala considers herself a proud member of the Pashtun ethnic group, but recounts how from an early age she questioned her culture's attitude towards women. "When I was born, people in our village commiserated with my mother and nobody congratulated my father," she writes in her book. Her father, however, felt differently. The book recounts her debt to Ziauddin, an educator who founded the school Malala attended and kept it open to girls in the face of pressure and threats. He passed on to his daughter a hunger for knowledge and a questioning spirit.

At 11, she began giving TV interviews in Pakistan about girls' education. In 2009, she started writing a blog for the BBC Urdu service under a pseudonym. Malala soon became well-known within Pakistan and, therefore, a potential Taliban target.

But, she was reassured by the thought, "Even the Taliban don't kill children". That optimism proved misplaced but -- miraculously, it seemed to many -- Malala survived the shooting.

The final part of the book describes Malala's life from the moment she regained consciousness in a British hospital, where she had been flown for specialist treatment, with the thought: "Thank God I'm not dead".

(Agencies)

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