Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

14 November 2012

Egypt's Upper House Backs Bearded Policemen

Spokesman of Egypt's Shura Council Ahmed Fahmy asked the Interior Ministry on Tuesday to allow policemen to grow their beards in agreement with Sunnah (teachings of the Islamic prophet).

Assistant Security Director Abdel Fattah Othman had told the council earlier on Tuesday that the Interior Ministry's code does not permit policemen to grow their beards, insisting that violators of the code will be punished.

Fahmy on the other hand insisted that growing one's beard is a "human right", and that "practicing Sunnah is above all codes", pointing that the United States itself respects the right of Sikhs to practice their religious traditions.

An Egyptian court had ruled in favor of the bearded policemen but the ministry refused to apply the verdict and return the officers to work.

Some fear that letting policemen grow their beards, which is often done for religious purposes, may affect their neutrality and work.

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