No need to 'purge' senior police officers: Interior minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Feb 2012

Ibrahim rejects calls for 'purge' of senior officers who served Mubarak's former interior minister Habib El-Adly; reaffirms ban on police officers wearing beards

Minister of interior Mohamed Ibrahim (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim has announced the formation of a commission tasked with restructuring the ministry in a way that "suits the nature of police work and serves the public interest."

Ibrahim rejected calls by some MPs and political groups for the ministry to be purged of senior officers who served under former interior minister Habib El-Adly – who is currently on trial for corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the January 25 Revolution – and other corrupt officers.

"The ministry does not recognise the word 'purge'," said Ibrahim, during a visit to Assiut governorate on Monday.

Commenting on a campaign to overturn the prohibition on serving officers wearing beards, Ibrahim said Islamic clerics had reassured him that beards were a tradition, not an obligatory practice in Islam. Therefore, any officer who grows a beard would be referred to the appropriate disciplinary committee.

Last week a group of police officers announced via Facebook that they would grow their beards in accordance with their interpretation of Islam.  Some of the officers have already appeared in front of a disciplinary committee.

The campaign has received support from ultra-conservative Salafist groups in Egypt.  

Nader Bakar, the official spokesman for the Salafist Nour Party, has slammed the ministry, insisting that the officers did not break any rules, have a clear record and were only following Islamic teachings.

“The ministry of interior cannot fire these officers, or even transfer them to other departments, because this is against Islamic rules and basic human rights,” Bakar said in TV interview on Saturday.

Police and army personnel are not allowed to grow their beards in Egypt. Men with beards are barred from entering army and police clubs in the country.

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