Close to the Machine

Lost to the World

9780374192228 fc
Hardcover, MCD × FSG, 2022
Taseer %28c%29 shahbaz taseer

Shahbaz Taseer

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Shahbaz Taseer’s memoir of his five-year-long captivity at the hands of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

In late August 2011, Shahbaz Taseer was driving to his office in Lahore when he was dragged from his car at gunpoint and kidnapped by members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a Taliban-affiliated Uzbek terrorist group. Shahbaz’s father, the late Pakistani governor, had recently been assassinated. His crime: speaking in support of a Christian woman who had been accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Though Taseer himself wasn’t much interested in politics, he was somewhat of a public figure, and he represented a more tolerant, internationally connected Pakistan that the IMU despised.

What followed was nearly five years of torture and harrowing danger while Taseer was held captive, his fate determined by the infighting of the IMU, the Taliban, and ISIS. Lost to the World is his memoir of that timea story of extraordinary sorrow but also of goodness and faith. While deeply dramatic, this tale is also comedic; for Taseer, humor, as much as the Koran, provided a light by which to see his own humanity, even under the most inhumane conditions, and to find a way back to his family.

In a time when Western leaders use fear-mongering rhetoric to paint all followers of Islam as dangerous fundamentalists, Lost to the World illustrates the chasm between Muslim terrorists and ordinary Muslim citizens, and how terrorist organizations gain strength from the war on terror.

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