CAIRO: Egypt’s Presidential Disciplinary Court rejected an appeal filed by a police officer after he was suspended from work for growing his beard, Youm7 reported Saturday.
The officer argued that the Interior Ministry punished him per a “legally flawed article;” it provides for suspending policemen who “breach the duties of their job,” without identifying the breaches.
A number of police officers told Youm7 the decision contradicts the Egyptian law and constitution, as growing a beard is a personal freedom, and that sanctioning bearded officers violates international conventions to which Egypt is signatory.
Although not a rule, full beards, especially long ones, are perceived as a social statement of religious commitment in Egypt, regardless of the extent to which a man practices his religion.
The policemen supportive of their colleague emphasized that the second article of the 2014 constitution stipulates that the “principles of the Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation,” hence the ruling runs contrary to the constitution.
However, in February, the Administrative Court canceled a penalty by Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, which transferred a policeman to the reserve force for refusing to shave his bear,Youm7 reported. While the Interior Ministry said the officer failed to maintain a “disciplinarian appearance,” the court stated that the officer’s action “does not harm public interests of security.”
Police officers who decided to grow their beards increased to an extent in 2012, under the presidency of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who is bearded himself.
Additional reporting by Hanan Fayed.