Pakistani Jew? A Son of Abraham…

What’s it like to grow up with a Muslim Pakistani father and a Jewish American mother? Not many people would know the answer to that, but Dean Malik is the product of such a union.

Agony of the Heart front cover section
A section of the Agony of the Heart book cover.

He shared his story at The Jerusalem Post:

“A Son of Abraham”

Legend has it that the words “Know Thyself” were carved on the entrance to the temple of Apollo in Delphi. For me, understanding my identity has been a life-long quest.

My father was of the last generation born under British colonial rule in the city of Lahore. He left the newly formed state of Pakistan in 1953 to start a new life in the United States, where he met my mother.

My mother’s parents came to the United States before World War I from the Lithuanian Jewish community of Vilna. They settled in the Bronx, where my grandfather took up the practice of law. I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, an area with a sizable Jewish community, but otherwise not highly diverse.

I was deemed Jewish under Jewish law, but never received any formal religious instruction.

As an eight-year old child, I lived in Pakistan during the school year while my mother did an academic study of Islamic fundamentalism. We returned to the States in the spring of 1980. In my younger years I held liberal and frankly anti-establishment views and possessed an inchoate sense of alienation from American society. I felt somehow that historic America was not my America, and though I was born an American, perhaps I was not truly American in the way that so many others unquestionably saw themselves.

But at a certain point my views changed dramatically…

Click here to read on.


Curious about interfaith relationships? Check out my books, The Religion of the Heart and Agony of the Heart, available on Amazon.

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