Wearing beards is legitimate right for Egypt's police officers: Salafist leader

Ahram Online , Friday 24 Feb 2012

Salafist leader Nader Bakar says the interior minister will be questioned on his 'intransigent position' regarding the controversial Facebook campaign that advocates wearing beards for police personnel

The Spokesman of the Salafist Nour Party Nader Bakar (Photo:Ahram Online)

Nader Bakar, the Spokesman of the Salafist Nour Party, has heavily criticised Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim for declining to allow police officers to grow their beards.

“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 during a meeting with Smouha club members in Alexandria.

Vowing to support the officers, Bakar insisted they did not break any rules and that they were only following Islamic teachings.

"Some Western states allow officers to wear their beards such as Britain, so why does Egypt reject that?" Bakar added.

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.

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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