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Expressing Religious Freedom with a Mustache?

Malik Amir Mohammad Khan Afridi has a truly epic mustache. But in the area of Pakistan where he lives, Islamic extremists disapprove of his distinctive facial hair. And though he observes many moral standards, he says, being persecuted for facial hair is too far. “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 mustache. It’s my life. It’s not part of my life. It is my life.”

At one point, after he refused to pay monthly “protection fees”, an Islamic group imprisoned him in a cave for a month and eventually forced him to shave. After moving to a safer area, he defiantly grew the ‘stache back. But even now, he receives death threats because of his creative handlebar. Afridi still refuses to shave, and now hopes that the prosecution he is subjected to because of his desired right to grow a sweet mustache may actually make him eligible for political asylum outside of Pakistan …

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