"Bearded Pigs2" by Art G. from Willow Grove, PA, USA
Beards have been in the news over the last couple of days highlighting not just that age old male pre-occupation of "shall I shave today" but with a political and theological dynamic.
In Takjikstan the police have forced some 13,000 men to shave their beards off in a campaign against fundamentalist Islam. In addition over 160 shops and stalls selling hijabs and veils were shutdown and some 1700 women persuaded to reject head wear.
The Independent reports:
At a press conference yesterday, the Muslim-majority central Asian country’s law enforcement services revealed that the facial hair of 12,818 men had been “brought to order” for being “overly long and unkempt”, according to the Radio Liberty news site.
The news site reports that, in recent months, the country’s parliament has voted to ban Arabic-sounding foreign names and marriages between first cousins, while its Supreme Court has banned the country’s sole Islamic political party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan.
President Emomali Rahmon, who has been in power since 1992, has worked to promote secularism in the country and has been seen to discourage beliefs and practices that could cause the country instability.
Such measures of course are quite extreme attacks on personal liberty and the freedom of worship we expect in the West and have inevitably drawn the ire of human rights activists. Pity some of these activists don't spend as much effort on condemning the forced practises of Islam across the world in countries like Saudi Arabia and Brunei. Just saying.
Meanwhile in the UK The Bishop of London, The Right Reverend Richard Charte has not only grown a beard but is encouraging vicars in areas with large Muslim populations to grow beards.
According to one of his acolytes quoted in The Times (no link£), the Reverend Cris Rodgers:
My Muslim friends find the beard almost gives authenticity to my faith.
Not the word "almost".
They need to grow a pair all right, but it's nothing to do with beards.
This is not what the politically correct call "cultural appropriation", it's actually cultural capitulation. Cowardice.
No one should have to adapt the way they choose to live, dress or believe to get respect.
It means these men do not respect themselves or their own beliefs if they pander to others.
It's just plain wrong.
Respect works both ways and capitulating to other peoples prejudices is not the way forward.