Beardless men sow confusion in pious Muslim society because clean-shaven men sometimes “cannot be distinguished from women” and can cause “indecent thoughts”, according to a Turkish Islamic preacher.
Speaking on the private religious station Fatih Medreseleri (Madrasahs) TV on Dec. 16, preacher Murat Bayaral blasted men who shave, saying they cause confusion for other men who might consider them to be feminine.
His advice consists of the simple mantra: Grow a beard and be a man.
Bayaral said: “Men should grow beards. One of the two body parts that separate men from women is the beard,” according to Hurriyet Daily News.
“For example, if you see a man with long hair from afar you may think he is a woman if he does not have a beard. Because nowadays women and men dress similarly. God forbid! You could be possessed by indecent thoughts,” he added.
The desire of Muslim men to express their devotion to Islam through the growth of luxuriant facial hair is not new. As Breitbart News reported, a Muslim prison inmate took Virginia’s penal system to court in 2011 claiming its rules against facial hair discriminated against his Sunni Muslim faith.
Islamic supremicism has been growing in Turkey during the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leading to accusations he intends to build a Turkish Islamic caliphate.
Last year he was called a “Muslim Brotherhood old Islamist who believes, at the end of the day, that he is going to be the new Caliph.” Classes on evolution have been removed from public schools as a consequence, and the government permitted girls to wear headscarves in school, something that was prohibited in the past.
Mr. Erdogan has previously castigated the new EU ban on headscarves in the workplace, saying it promoted “a struggle between the cross and the crescent.”
“Turkish debates on piety and modesty reoccur frequently,” Magdalena Kirchner, a fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center in Turkey, told Newsweek. “Erdogan declared in 2012 his intent to raise ‘devout generations,’ and former Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç stated in 2014 that women should not laugh out loud in public.”
She believes that while Bayaral is a marginal figure in Turkey, his statements reinforced government efforts to create a “bottom-up pressure against [a secular] way of life without having to impose legal constraints.”
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