Malik Amir Mohammad Khan, Pakistani Man, Threatened by Taliban over Massive Moustache

Jennie Matthew, Huffington Post, August 8, 2013

Pakistani businessman Malik Amir Mohammad Khan Afridi has been kidnapped, threatened with death, forcibly displaced and lives apart from his family: all because of his enormous moustache.

Impeccably trimmed to 30 inches (76 centimetres), Afridi spends 30 minutes a day washing, combing, oiling and twirling his facial hair into two arches that reach to his forehead, defying gravity.

PAKISTAN-LIFESTYLE-HAIR

“People give me a lot of respect. It’s my identity,” said the 48-year-old grandfather in the northwestern city of Peshawar, when asked why he was prepared to risk everything for his whiskers.

“I feel happy. When it’s ordinary, no one gives me any attention. I got used to all the attention and I like it a lot,” he said.

For centuries, a luxuriant moustache has been a sign of virility and authority on the Indian sub-continent.

But in Pakistan, Islamist militants try to enforce religious doctrine that a moustache must be trimmed, if not shaved off.

So Afridi went from celebrity to prisoner of Lashkar-e-Islam, then a rival and now an ally of the Taliban in the tribal district of Khyber on the Afghan border.

First the group demanded protection money of $500 a month. When he refused, four gunmen turned up at his house in 2009.

He says they held him prisoner for a month in a cave and only released him when he cut it off.

{snip}

He fled to relative safety in Peshawar. But he grew his facial hair back and in 2012 the threats started again: telephone calls from people threatening to slit his throat.

So he left the Taliban-hit northwest altogether, moving to the Punjabi city of Faisalabad and returning to Peshawar to visit his family only once or twice a month.

{snip}

His only concession is the holy Muslim fasting month, when a free-standing moustache interferes with his daily ablutions and he keeps it smoothed across his face and tucked behind his ears.

It costs $150 a month to maintain–more than a Pakistani teacher can earn–although he gets a moustache bursary of $50 from the home district in the lawless tribal belt he was forced to flee.

The Khyber administration pays anything from $10 to $60 a month to men with particularly eye-catching moustaches as a symbolic gesture of appreciation for the bravery and virility traditionally associated with such facial hair.

{snip}

An opinion piece published in Pakistan’s Daily Times newspaper last year drew parallels between power and a luxuriant moustache, although current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the only man in the country to win a third term in office, is clean shaven.

It also had a word of advice for elected leaders, who three times in the past have been deposed by military coups… led by the only three generals in the country with moustaches.

“Never appoint a moustachioed chief of the army staff or a chief justice if you wish to govern in peace,” it warned.

{snip}

But Afridi’s wife and 10 children are less keen.

“Sometimes my family tell me ‘cut it, it would be better if you lived with us.’ I can leave my family, I can leave Pakistan, but I can never cut my moustache again,” he said.

So his dream is to find political asylum or represent Pakistan at an international competition, if only he can get a visa.

{snip}

“I’m trying to move my family abroad. To America, Canada, Britain or even to Dubai but I need asylum,” Afridi told AFP.

“I don’t like smoking. I’m not fond of snuff, or drinking. This is the only choice in my life. I’d even sacrifice food, but not the moustache. It’s my life. It’s not part of my life. It is my life.”

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • It looks silly, but a religious movement that would bother this man over his facial hair is much more absurd.

    I have a “Poncho Villa” mustache. My mother doesn’t like it on me, but my wife does.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      You know, it’s weird, I don’t get it, seems kind of silly, but…

      He seems like a nice guy. I actually find the bizarre little custom kind of charming. They seem to get great joy from it, such a harmless little (well, kind of big, the ‘stache) thing…

      Who, or what kind of horrible mind, could find this something worth killing someone over? These Taliban types make the Puritans look like liblefties. Of course according to the liblefties, those poor oppressed Muslims of the religion of peace are just acting like this because of our evil…

      He seems like a nice fellow, full of life, with a sense of humor. I hope he ends up OK, and I admire his taking a stand, even if for something so seemingly petty and silly.

      The right to be silly and enjoy life is not tolerated in Islam, it seems.

      • NeanderthalDNA

        Why do I find this so depressing and disturbing? Shouldn’t I be making Paki cracks and ridiculing this guy?

        He looks like somebody who makes people happy, minds his own business. There is a certain decency in his smile.

        Lighten his hair color a couple of shades, adjust the nose a bit, lower the hairline a tad, and of course shave the crazy ‘stache, lol…

        Kinda reminds me of my crazy old Pops…a WW2 warrior who loved to act silly and make people happy too.

        You know, perhaps I impute too much, but if there were not so damned many from that part of the world already here I wouldn’t mind him and his relocating to my country. Crazy moustache and all.

        That’s the irony of it. A trickle of folks like this guy might not have been so bad at all. IF it were a trickle, not a flood.

        Hope HE finds a place where he can make people happy and act silly without being threatened with death. I consider that to be a basic human right for my part.

        Islam is an abomination to the human spirit.

        • NeanderthalDNA

          Oh wait a minute. Family of ten? Well…Dubai might not be such a terrible place for him after all, lol…

          Still, wish him and his the best.

  • Spartacus

    And people still think these things are our “equals” ?

    • Oil Can Harry

      In related news the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood have just issued a fatwa calling for the death of Rollie Fingers.

      • Additionally, they have pressed for the abolition of ice cream and popsicles, with the statement “They’re too much fun.”

        • Spartacus

          I’m surprised to hear they’re against ice cream. I thought they used it to lure little girls to their gang-rape parties.

  • exLibtard

    I could understand if the guy were advocating for women’s rights, or secular governance. But a mustache? Come on!

  • David Ashton

    Millions upon millions could seek refuge/amnesty in the USA or Europe on any pretext of any discomfort at “home”, and will eventually do so if this ludicrous process is not stopped in its tracks.

    The “argument” used is always either we need them as workers, or they need us as helpers.

    • How about a new argument against the “open borders” refugee industry: that blacks and browns have the right to hate each other and make themselves miserable and that intervention by the West in these cases is really just evidence of ethnocentrism on the part of liberals. Vicious behavior is a key element of Islamic cultural heritage, and it is thus morally wrong to accept refugees who unfairly want to deny their brethren the right to persecute them.

      • David Ashton

        Clever argument.

        But every time I try to get even just the Koranic injunction to believers not to take Christians or Jews as friends into the “liberal” media, they don’t want to know. They are as bigoted and truth-impregnable as the various Muslim sects.

  • Kronolog

    They actually pay a man to keep a lavish mustache? I guess it makes more sense than us westeners paying foreigners in our countries to breed like rabbits.

  • IstvanIN

    Freak leaves his family of 10 to have that stupid mustache? No wonder they live in the 10th century.

  • din_do_nuffins

    He’ll be flown here and given asylum with his family and anyone else claiming to be his family, will get big financial grants from FedGov to “invest” into White communities by making them less White, then we will be swarmed by more just like him who have “credible fear” that the mustaches they hope to grow in the future will put them at risk.

    America doesn’t mean George Washington anymore- it means Third World Dreams.

  • RileyDeWiley

    That ‘stache is a menace to the public

    • Greg Thomas

      So is diversity.

    • It’s certainly big, but not really any more ridiculous than the one artist Salavador Dali wore.

  • Sick of it

    You can’t make sh** like this up!

  • BonusGift

    How about a compromise? Cut his head off without disturbing the moustache and display the wonderful piece of diversity at the Lashkar-e-Islam’s museum of hate and rage. It’s win-win, the muzzies get what they want, the moustache is preserved for all to see, we don’t need to import him and his family (ten kids and growing), and his family can stay/wallow in their natural habitat.

    • dd121

      Very funny, Sir. Today you earn ten internets.

  • KenelmDigby

    Just what clowns the western political class must be to buy this nonsense.

  • Joseph

    Good. Maybe they will abandon Islam.

  • Tommy Hass

    I have a nigh fundamentalist muslim friend. He claims that beards are non mandatory.