An Islamic preacher in Turkey is trying to motivate his fellow male citizens to grow out their facial hair in the most bizarre way possible.
Murat Bayaral recently appeared on Fatih Medreseleri TV, a private religious station, to clarify men do not need permission from their wives to grow beard. However, he then suggested it is compulsory for men to have beards in order to distinguish themselves from women — because if they do not, they might be mistaken for being female and provoke other men to have “indecent thoughts.”
Yes, he did say that.
“Men should grow beards. [Beards are] one of the two body parts that separate men from women,” the preacher explained, according to Hurriyet Daily News. “For example, if you see a man with long hair from afar, you may think he is a woman if he does not have a beard, because nowadays, women and men dress similarly. God forbid! You could be possessed by indecent thoughts.”
It is important to mention most devout Muslims wear beards to emulate the Prophet Muhammad, as he is believed to have worn a beard and recommended it to others, according to Hadith, which are the sayings of Prophet Muhammad passed down through generations.
However, a number of Muslim scholars argue beard is not compulsory in Islam according to the Quran. Instead, they say it is a way for Muslim men to show their devotion to Islam and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
Unsurprisingly, Bayaral’s comments have sparked severe criticism. People are not only mocking the preacher on his suggestion that beards are one of the only two things that differentiate between two genders, but are also calling out his evident homophobia.
"One of the two body parts that separate men from women is the beard”? If Bayaral can think of only one more physical distinction, maybe he's confusing real women with the guys he encounters on "Dress-up Tuesdays" at his Turkish bath house.— Lyndon Olson (@fanoonman) December 19, 2017
If I was being cruel I'd say that some Turkish Islamic scholars are hiding their same sex attraction behind a beard— Schwadevivre (@Charlesthornt) December 19, 2017
Unlike other Muslim-majority countries, Turkey has long-since legalized homosexuality, but homophobic sentiments still run high among the conservative majority and religious preachers.
Same-sex marriage is still not allowed in the country.
Magdalena Kirchner, a fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center in Turkey, told Newsweek statements like Bayaral's create a “bottom-up pressure against [a secular] way of life without having to impose legal constraints.”
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