The debate over the right of policemen to grow their beards has intensified after a coalition of officers rejected the interior minister’s recent argument that growing a beard is illegal.
Prohibiting policemen from growing beards would violate police regulations, said Walid Hosni, the spokesperson for the “I am a bearded policeman” Facebook group, in a telephone interview on Al-Hayat satellite channel on Monday.
During a tour of Upper Egypt earlier in the day, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said having a beard is only a non-binding religious tradition, and that the Interior Ministry will be firm with officers who violate police regulations.
He added that the law regulating Egyptian police sets certain requirements for appearance and dress.
“Police laws oblige all policemen to be well-groomed and to shave their beards and hair,” Ibrahim said, noting that these regulations are mentioned in all the course books policemen sign after being admitted to the Police Academy.
However, such statements have not pleased the bearded officers.
“The minister of interior is not a legislator and his words are not binding,” Hosni said in his telephone interview.
On Monday, the Sharqiya Security Directorate suspended Captain Mohamed al-Sayed after he began growing a beard.
Sayed said he grew his beard in the belief that it was his “constitutional and legitimate right,” and added that police regulations do not prevent officers from growing beards.
Hosni said the minister’s decision to suspend the officers growing beards will only cause more to grow them, noting that about 300 officers currently maintain beards.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm