…or why God cares much more about what’s on your head than what’s in it.
He watched in disbelief as the guard asked the elder ahead of him to remove his turban and lay it on the table. Niaz, who had journeyed more than eight hours on rugged roads, shuddered.
”That made us so embarrassed, and it made me so sad,” he said. ”I felt dishonoured when the guard said,” he hesitated, as if even recalling the words made him upset, ” ‘undo your turban’.”
”I had wanted to see the President,” he added, ”but after that search, I thought it would have been better if I had not come.”
The turban-searching rule at President Hamid Karzai’s presidential palace has been rigorously enforced since the assassination of the head of Afghanistan’s peace process, Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was killed by a bomb hidden in the attacker’s turban. It was the third such killing in four months, leading youths in Kabul to coin the word ”Turbanator” and US soldiers to invent the new acronym TBIED, for turban-borne improvised explosive device.
The other two instances were the killing in July of Kandahar’s senior cleric as he prayed in a mosque, and a few weeks later the killing of Kandahar’s mayor.
The searches are deeply disturbing for most Afghan men, as the turban signifies one’s religious faith and is a national dress – not to mention being something of a fashion statement.
Whereas blowing up officials is just a minor peccadillo.