Mustaches are really, really popular in Pakistan, as in much of South Asia and the Middle East. The first half of this recent video, from AFP, takes a stab at explaining why.

"A man's face without a mustache looks like a woman," says a customer in one of the barber shops that specialize in trimming facial hair. An al-Jazeera article discussing one particularly dramatic mustache translates what it says is an Arabic proverb: "The falcon could perch on his mustache."

The second half of the video addresses the mustache discussed in the al-Jazeera article, that of Malik Amir Mohammad Khan Afridi of Pakistan. Afridi is clearly a bit of a character, as evidenced by his enormous and beloved mustache. But his case reflects something much more serious.

Afridi received death threats from Islamist militants for his mustache; any facial hair short of a beard is seen by some extremists as a religious affront. He was eventually kidnapped for a month by a Taliban-allied group called Lashkar-e-Islam, which forced him to shave off the 'stache. But he eventually fled to Peshawar and grew it back.

A religious studies fellow at Oxford University named Ishtiaq Ahmad told al-Jazeera of Afridi's case, "The controversy over such a trivial matter speaks volumes of the steep decline in Islamic values of peace, compassion and tolerance in Pakistan."