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Saima Hussain, author of "The Arab World Thought of It". — Courtesy: Saima Hussain

KARACHI: Amidst an intimate circle of family and friends, former Pakistan-based journalist Saima Shakil Hussain on Monday introduced her book titled “the Arab World Thought of It”.

Arranged at the Hobnob Café in Karachi’s Zamzama locality, Hussain’s friends and former colleagues gathered to celebrate the book which had already been launched in Toronto, Canada, on March 28, where Hussain previously stayed as a student and now resides.

A former editor of Dawn’s Books & Authors and a graduate of the University of Toronto, Hussain said she thought she was exactly where she wanted to be when she was contacted by Toronto’s Annick Press via social networking website, LinkedIn.

“It was an ongoing series that previously published amazing or unknown facts about, for instance, Chinese, Africans and this time Arabs,” explained an excited Hussain.

With the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in general around the globe, the book is a positive step towards highlighting lesser known facts about the community.

The 48-page book is for children as well as adults. With colourful pictures and simple text, the book gives a complete overview of various contributions by Arabs. During the course of researching for the book, Hussain herself learned a number of unknown facts. In her short and simple speech, Hussain said she never knew that three-course meals was something introduced by the Arabs. “Secondly, I didn’t know that Arabs have contributed a lot when it comes to writing and food,” Hussain added.

The guest of honour and senior assistant editor at Dawn, M. A. Siddiqui when asked to speak a few words about the book, and about Hussain, said: “I was sad to see her go to Canada…but I’m happy to see what she came up with.”

About the book, he pointed out as to how Hussain’s nationality does not accompany her name in the author’s introduction.

When asked whether she would contribute to a similar project related to Pakistan, Hussain said: “Of course, this is only the beginning. Hopefully, there’ll be many such projects.”

Also, for the time being, the book will be available for school going children. At the same time, Hussain added that talks were on with Liberty Books to circulate the book across Pakistan.