The Taliban Within Us


The praying never ends. 

Beseeching words mouthed in countless tongues,
implore the gods.

Praying for this,
praying for that, 

The praying never ends. 

They tell me its religion,

They tell me I need to believe. 

They tell me that they pray for me. 

Their praying never ends. 

Across all creeds,
beyond all faiths,

the praying never ends. 


I tell them to pray,
pray, please pray,

for me,
and for us all,

that the Taliban within us,
the Taliban that resides deep in every soul,

be expunged. 

I tell them to pray,
pray, please pray,

for me,
and for us all. 

Pray, please pray,
that I excise the Taliban within. 

Pray, please pray,
for tolerance,

Pray for me,
please pray,

that I expel the Taliban within. 

Pray for me,
please pray,

that my self-righteous piety may,

be transformed,

so that I may awake,
from this slumber,

and greet tolerance,

so pray, please pray,

that my eyes may open,
to the joyous birth,

of a new day. 

* many thanks to a dear friend for the title of the poem.


Afzal Moolla was born in Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, fleeing Apartheid South Africa. He then travelled wherever his parent's work took them and he still feels that he hasn't stopped travelling. Afzal works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and shares his literary musings with his most strident critic - his 12 year old cat.

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