Beardophobia: To Shave Or Not To Shave.

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ghulam muhammed
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Beardophobia: To Shave Or Not To Shave.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:54 pm

To Shave or Not To Shave
By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
03 Apr 2012
Just hours after he was placed at a Vodafone outlet in southwest London, Shahid Saleem was taken to a backside room and informed by the store manager that he was being fired. Not simply because he was a Muslim, for then he would not have been hired in the first place, but because he was a Muslim with a beard.

For 21-year-old Saleem, this first brush with Islamophobia, actually “beardophobia”, came as a shock. “The whole time [the store manager] was talking to me, he spoke to me condescendingly in public in front of a Vodafone employee, which completely demoralised and upset me as well as causing me distress,” Saleem later told a reporter. “He did not mention anything at all about my clothes; he only stated that he did not want me working with him if I had a beard.”

Of course Saleem is not the first Muslim, nor the last, to face discrimination on account of his beard. It happens across the global West—North America, Europe and Australia—not to mention many parts of the non-Muslim East as well. Most famously, former Australian cricketer Dean Jones blurted out “the terrorist has taken a catch,” referring to South Africa’s Hashim Amla while commentating during a match some years ago.

And it happens in blatant as well as not-so-blatant ways. Saleem was at least told why he was being fired; many Muslims lose jobs or are looked over for promotions without ever realising that their beard came in the way.

What is it about Muslim beard that pricks non-Muslims where it hurts the most? Psychologists call it “conditioning”. People learn from their experiences and behave on that basis. And “Muslims with beards” have, over the past few decades, given some rather rude lessons to non-Muslims.

Virtually every terrorist attack, be it in New York, Bali, Madrid or London, has been carried out by bearded Muslims. The most prominent faces of Islamist extremism, from Osama bin Laden to Omar Bakri Mohammad, sport long, flowing beards. This has “conditioned” non-Muslims to link bearded Muslims, if not all Muslims, with terror.

Of course, this “beardophobia” is as irrational as Islamophobia itself. Shahid Saleem is no more a terrorist than Hashim Amla, or for that matter most other Muslims who grow beards. It’s a tiny minority that engages in terror, and thinking that all bearded Muslims are terrorists is simply preposterous.

Unfortunately, our minds are not as rational as we would like them to be. As Muslims, we should know this very well. For, don’t we ourselves discriminate against non-Muslims, and many Muslim groups too, for equally ridiculous reasons? Not every Westerner, or for that matter every non-Muslim, is an Islamophobe, yet there are many Muslims who taint the entire “non-Muslim” world as “anti-Muslim”.

Within the ummah, Sunnis discriminate against Shias and vice versa, Deobandis against Barelvis and vice versa, Arabs against Farsis and Kurds and vice versa—and the list goes on—depending on who is in majority or in power. Much of these discriminations are over as arcane reasons as the discrimination over a beard. Indeed, many bearded Muslims themselves discriminate against non-bearded Muslims on the same account: the beard, or its lack thereof.

As victims of Islamophobia and beardophobia, it is important for us to remember that just as there is nothing inherently “terrorist” about Islam or beards, so there is nothing inherently “anti-Muslim” about all non-Muslims (or Muslims who look or behave slightly differently from us). Indeed, neither Islamophobia nor beardophobia has any kind of institutional backing anywhere.

The Shahid Saleem incident took place in September. Vodafone has since investigated it and apologised to Saleem, while also publicly stating that he was not fired; rather it was Saleem who “did not accept the position offered.” Whether that’s true or not, the investigation and apology show that Vodafone concedes the bigotry of sacking someone over his beard. Similarly, Dean Jones was barred from officially commentating on matches by the International Cricket Council, while Hashim Amla, his “terrorist”, has since become the captain of the South African squad.

To shave or not to shave, however, remains a dilemma of Shakespearean proportions for Muslims. Thousands face discrimination because a handful have gone astray. The way out, perhaps, is to let the world know that Islam is a faith of peace and harmony, not guns and bombs. But before that kind of “conditioning” can happen among non-Muslims, we Muslims must learn this lesson ourselves.

By Aiman Reyaz

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Re: Beardophobia: To Shave Or Not To Shave.


Unread post by Liberalguy » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:52 am

I think this topic is very relevant and worthy of discussion currently. actually bohras, specially those who belong to orthodox family or live within orthodox environment have to face these two extreme pressure ie on one side orthodox bohra forcing to not even trim it and keeping full fledged beard and the outside world discriminating for keeping it. So where does the personal choice comes here. What about someone who likes to keep it full but discriminated by outside world or those who like it completely shaved but then can't get into their own community.

So ultimately one has to keep it such a way that he can pass through both the sides, ie not shaving it full, nor keeping a full fledged. Some keep it stylish, but trim only to extent to get access to community.
Its on one side the extremist, orthodox and on other, common but biased people. One side the community itslef where one grew up and on other the whole world of future and opportunity and an individual ends up being stuck between.

Maybe its not that serious as I mentioned, but it can get one into it depending on situation.

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Re: Beardophobia: To Shave Or Not To Shave.


Unread post by humanbeing » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:15 am

As per the example mentioned in the story posted by GM, I have personally come across biased attitude against bearded men from hiring managers I work with. The sad irony is, hiring managers being muslims, discriminate against those who keep beard.

Not only orthodox bohras, but mainstream muslims lay emphasis on beard, in bohras it’s a little extreme. However what I wonder is, why is beard given so much attention as sign of good / better / pious muslim ?

In my personal opinion, I beard looks good and suits with age, as a person grows old, beard brings sense of respect and charm. Young boys keeping full grown beard, sometime look so aggressive (nothing to do with islamophobia) thickness of black beard gives them rogue stone age man look.

ghulam muhammed
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Beardophobia: To Shave Or Not To Shave.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:30 pm

I recollect an incident during the mumbai riots of 1992 when one abde with full grown beard was travelling to mumbra in a local train. When the train reached dadar some ghatis affiliated to shiv sena got on the train and started passing lewd remarks due to which the abde panicked. He got down at kurla station, went to the nearest barber shop for a shave and boarded another train and sat with the marathi version of saamna newspaper and ultimately reached mumbra without any trouble. This is a true incident and I dont want to mock the abde but present the ground reality which was present at that time.

ghulam muhammed
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Beardophobia: To Shave Or Not To Shave.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu May 10, 2012 7:02 pm

onlyprivate wrote:salaam ,expert please advise we should keep beard or not in light of Quran and Hadeeth only.
Keeping Beard is a Sunnah of Prophet (s.a.w.), hence it is good to have one as it pleases our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.). History says that all Prophets and Auliyas kept beard. However it is not compulsory as made out by the bohra clergy and talibans.

ghulam muhammed
Posts: 11653
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Beardophobia: To Shave Or Not To Shave.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:52 pm

Iraq Military Beard Edict Stirs Religious Debate

BAGHDAD - An Iraqi government decree banning soldiers and police from wearing beards on duty has revived a debate over religious practices in a country where sectarian divisions between Shiite and Sunni still fester close to the surface.

Iraq has long allowed police and soldiers to wear beards to a certain length, but in April the interior ministry began ordering that they must be clean-shaven in the name of the "public interest".

"It is interference in the personal freedoms we started to taste after the toppling of the regime,"

Although women often go without the hijab in Baghdad, they wear scarves in areas that are more mixed or more conservative.

Spas, hair-dressing salons and even gyms for women are opening up in some Baghdad neighbourhoods where extremist militias once enforced strict dress codes with the gun.

"Why such restrictions? Having a beard doesn't harm anyone," said Hadi Ghali Awad, a policeman. "It is also a part of our individual freedoms and also part of Islamic teachings."

Did we solve our country's problems like corruption, basic services, unemployment?" asked Haider Flaih, 29, a policeman and also a barber in the capital's poor Shi'ite district Sadr city.

"No. Instead we keep ourselves busy worrying about beards and scarves." ... ?id=274893