Someone once said that confusion brings out the extremes and - true to his name - Bang Muh is a hardcore Makkawi Mutawwa and a poster boy to the ideal Wahhabi.

He threatened his family with hell and set the lines between males and females. He wore his thobe three inches too short, threatened little unmutawwa children and carried arms for Taliban during the war with Russia.

A dude scarier than hell…until you hear him speak in rural Javanese.

When he spoke in Javanese (and you have to eavesdrop because it’s rare) he addressed he elders properly, agreed in sweet “inggih” instead of decisive “eyiwa”, and offered thanks instead of shoving it.

You see, in Javanese, his preschool lullabies were delivered. In Javanese, you’d hear his struggles for acceptance, and see his bruises from growing up amongst the hard rocks and Mutawwas of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

As short as his thobes got, Bang Muh couldn’t be just a Mutawwa. He’s a story. And it’s the stories that he kept untold, in the language that he rarely whispered, that settled his definitions of home and identity: A brother. A son. A Saudi-Jawa.

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