A participant poses during the a competition for the 2012 best moustache of Brussels, in central Brussels April 22, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
A Pakistani man is being harassed and threatened by Islamic extremists because he refuses to shave his 30in long moustache, according to a report in the Mail Online. The man - Malik Amir Mohammad Khan Afridi - has been forced to live in hiding because he wishes to keep his facial hair.
This is the second time Afridi has run into trouble over his facial hair. The first time, furious extremists kidnapped him and held him hostage for a month before he shaved. However, despite his ordeal, the father of 10 children has grown his whiskers once again and is determined to keep them this time.
"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," Afridi said, adding, "People give me a lot of respect. It's my identity."
He believes his moustache, which has grown since he was 22 years old (he is now 48) is a sign of prosperity and good luck. Afridi claims he spends 30 minutes every day to groom his moustache and that it costs him £100 a month.
"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 explained.
Unfortunately for Afridi, he has caught the attention of a rebel militant group - Lashkar-e-Islam. They wish to enforce a law that demands men either trim or shave clean moustaches and beards. And when confronted, Afridi refused to pay protection money.
After freeing himself from the kidnapping, Afridi started growing his moustache in Peshawar, where he thought was comparatively safer. However, he has once again begun receiving threats.
Afridi now often lives away from his family, for whom he feels scared, as a result of these threats.
"I want to live, that is why I want to get out of Pakistan. My first choice would be an Islamic country such as Dubai. But I am also willing to go to countries such as the US, Canada or Britain. I would like to appeal to the British government to help me," he told The Independent.
This article is copyrighted by IBTimes.co.uk, the business news leader