Islamist leaders reject policemen’s beard-growing movement

Policemen should not be allowed to grow their beards, given the sensitivity of the transitional phase, a Salafi Front spokesperson said Tuesday.

The spokesperson, Khaled Saeed, wrote on the Salafi group’s Facebook page that the Interior Ministry already has several problems with the people and could use bearded policemen as a pretext to spark confrontations with Salafis.

“We are not in need of such problems with the Interior Ministry. We should instead issue a call to purge the Interior Ministry of corruption,” he wrote.

The state-owned nightly paper Al-Ahram Al-Massai quoted Tarek al-Zomor, a member of Jama’a al-Islamiya’s leadership council, as saying Tuesday that even though growing a beard is an Islamic tradition and everyone’s right, Egypt is going through a transition and allowing officers to grow their beards will create a rift between the Interior Ministry and Islamists.

“Officers should be interested in carrying out their duties of preserving security and stability before considering growing their beards,” he said.

Hossam al-Bokhary, spokesperson for the General Islamist Current — a newly established coalition comprising seven Islamist factions — said his group also won’t stand by the bearded policemen. He said his organization is currently calling for security to be restored in the country and an apology from the Interior Ministry for practicing torture under the Mubarak regime.

Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said in a 2005 fatwa that growing a beard is not obligatory in Islam, citing some traditional Islamic scholars in making his argument.

In contrast, prominent Saudi Salafi preacher Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen said in a well-known, more rigid religious ruling: “Shaving the beard is forbidden, because it disobeys the messenger of God [the Prophet Mohamed].”

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