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Pray for Kabeer, Chapter I: The School Play, the Minister of Defense and the Fall of a Hero

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Families dressed in their Christmas bests file into the church sanctuary. Ron Jung stands at the doors that open onto the center aisle, just behind the tall Christmas tree in the foyer. As headmaster of a small private Christian school in Green Bay, he’s busy greeting the parents, grandparents and siblings arriving for Providence Academy’s annual Christmas program, dispensing countless handshakes, hugs and Merry Christmases.

The pews are nearly full now. Parents chitchat and leaf through the white paper program promoting this year’s traditional theme, “O Children Come.” Jung is in the middle of a conversation when two young men walk past him down the aisle. They’re both pale and wiry, with close-cropped blond hair and similar black jackets. They quietly take seats near the front, six rows back from the stage. There they sit, unnaturally still as everyone around them is in motion, bouncing toddlers on their laps, saying hi to neighbors and friends. A mother in the crowd watches the men closely—they’re too young to have kids at the school, likely too old to be siblings, and they’re clearly isolated from the rest of the crowd. She approaches Jung, whispers her concern and points them out. Jung whips around. He knows exactly who they are.

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