'The Guest of Allah'

Kabul,September 2002: We parked in a part of town that is bustling by day but nearly deserted at night. Walking down a narrow, darkened alley we passed a group of Afghan men. Ebadullah Ebadi, a surgeon by trade who was working as a fixer with TIME journalists, had been told he could bring photographer Ami Vitale and me here. Still, the men eyed us warily. We had come for a Sufi ceremony. Outlawed by the Taliban, the Sufis were again practicing openly their mystical brand of Islam—a ritualized attempt to communicate directly with God through music, song and dance, free of...

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