As Muslim men, we actually ask you not to grow your beard in the name of interfaith solidarity
Mohamed Ghilan

As a former university lecturer in Islamic Studies, I found this both erudite and in line with my own experience. I would just add two things. One is that the face-covering beard was developed, not at first within Islam, but from the Sasanid and Byzantine royal courts after their conquest by Arab Muslim armies. The other is that wearing the lihya, beard, or other facial hair today is to wear a symbol of the real oppression of men. In Iran, even having your beard too short on your face leads to an accusation of bad-lihya, a night in a police cell, and a fine. Persistent bad-lihya could lead to a spell in prison. In Saudi Arabia and several other countries, not wearing a beard can lead to a flogging and even a death sentence. Westerners who smile at the lihya as a token of multicultural benefit would do well to ask what they value most highly: absolute tolerance or allowing men to walk in public wearing a symbol of a form of oppression they would noty tolerate for a moment in their own culture. (Copied and replaced from a comment on the original article)

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