"I lived in Afghanistan for five years. I learned the rules - I had to."
The gray-bearded and black-bearded men in the back of the rickshaw eyed me. The gray-bearded man asked me, "Are you a Muslim?"
For him, the word Muslim had a very clear definition. He did not just mean, "Are you submitted to God?" To which I could have said, "Yes, of course." He meant something much more precise: "Do you submit to the laws of the Prophet Muhammad as recorded in the Holy Quran and Hadith and as taught by the mullahs?" Whatever true response I could give would not be welcome.
Still, I could give a true response. I answered the gray-beaded man's question softly without arrogance or apology. "No, I am not a Muslim. I am a follower of the Honorable Jesus Messiah."
The black-bearded man scowled, brows furrowed. He leaned too close to my face and glared directly into my averted eyes. His words came out as a command, short and abrupt: "You should become a Muslim. It would be better for you in this life and the next."