Shahan Mufti, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Richmond, offers an enlightened perspective on the history of Pakistan in his new book “The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family and War.”
Mufti, who divides his time between Pakistan and the United States, describes himself as “100 percent Pakistani and 100 percent American.” That unusual perspective provides an intimate relationship with both countries that has enabled him to trace the development of Pakistan’s democracy and its complex relationship with the United States.
In the book, which was published by Other Press in New York City, Mufti traces his lineage back more than 1,400 years from the ancient circle of the prophet Muhammad through the creation of the first Muslim democracy to the violence of recent decades. He weaves his family’s complex story through Pakistan’s history. His ancestors served as judges in Muslim sharia courts. His family moved to the United States where they suffered alienation due to anti-Muslim sentiment, and returned to Pakistan in time for deadly protests and bombings. He continues the story, with feet in both cultures, into today’s post-9/11 political turmoil.
Declan Walsh, the New York Times Pakistan bureau chief, described the book as, “a penetrating, carefully crafted, and sometimes moving account that presents Pakistan through the lens of Mufti’s family’s history, offering a vivid new perspective on a troubled country that is at once intimate and sweeping.”
Mufti is a graduate of New York University, Middlebury College and the United World College of the American West. He was a Fulbright scholar in India. His work has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, Harpers, Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications.
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