Dozens of Egyptian policemen are staging an open-ended sit-in in front of the Interior Ministry to demand their right to wear a beard while on duty.
“We want Egypt to be based on the values of the revolution: to not ban people based on gender or religion,” police officer and beard ban protester, Hany Al-Shakery, told a CNN reporter in Cairo.
After the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, many Egyptians felt that they were free to practice Islam, which – some believe – stipulates men have to wear beards.
“The Islamic sharia requires me to wear a beard, and I respect my religion,” Shakery added.
During Mubarak’s era, police used to quell Islamist groups, who were seen as enemies of the state. During his rule, sporting any kind of beard precluded Egyptians from holding senior government posts.
However, after his ouster, police officers and army men continued to be barred from growing their beards. Those who chose to do so were suspended. (Al-Arabiya)