Part of the benefit of traveling the world in the Army is you get to learn about cultures firsthand.

Most of my travel was limited to places where the culture was not something to emulate.

In the Pashtun region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, there is a practice among men — especially men of importance — that keep and take young boys as suitors for the purpose of gratification.

They were nicknamed “chai boys” by Western troops, I assume because during meetings with tribal leadership, the boys acted as servants bringing chai tea to the guests. They wore makeup and rubbed orange dye in their hair. They painted their fingernails orange.

Women were kept covered by “hajib” burkas and were considered dirty due to menstruation.

After the boys passed puberty and began growing facial hair, a continued relationship was considered homosexual. This practice was cultural to the Pashtun people and not part of Islam. Many of the imams (clergy) participated in the practice.

With a supremely low literacy rate in the area, the Pashtuns could not read the Koran. Most people in the region cannot segregate their religious customs from their specifically cultural ones. When the Taliban rose to power, they put an end to the practice, which was in defiance of Islam. They thought it was an affront for a boy to be raped by his uncles and extended family.

I have a met a couple of people over the years who I later found out were in trouble for child pornography or had other sexual deviancy problems. During their trials, they revealed they had been sexually abused as a child.

After the shooting in Orlando of a gay bar, news stories revealed the man behind the trigger cited an allegiance to ISIS. There were also reports that he frequented the gay bar and dated men.

He was born in the U.S. into a Pashtun family that immigrated from Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rise to power.

I wonder if this is an extreme case of what can happen when somebody who grows up with certain cultural values in a land where he will certainly learn how to read gets radicalized and cannot balance his religious and sexual identity. If this is the case, it could certainly create a man that hated himself and wanted to lash out at the world.

America is a melting pot.

We are a land of immigrants.

But when we melt together as a culture, there are some things that need to burn off.

We cannot allow political correctness to put us in danger. We should welcome legal immigration, but we must remain completely intolerant of culture and behavior that can literally kill us.

— John Thompson, of Jefferson, is a graduate of West Point. He serves on the State Central Committee for the Republican Party of Iowa. Opinions are his own.

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