Baghdad barbers threatened with death for cutting beards

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A series of threats have been made to Baghdad barbers who have been cashing in on the upsurge in popularity of 'Marine' and french hairstyles amongst Baghdad youths. Over the past few weeks barbers were warned not to cut beards and not to offer the western hairstyles, unless they wanted 'swords over their necks'. Many barbers have put up signs saying that taboo haircuts are not available in their shops. Those who flout these threats have been killed.

According to Maj. Col. Abbas Dilemi of the Baghdad Police, some of the extremists have been caught, but they have turned out to be criminals paid by third parties to make the threats and carry out the murders of those who ignore them.

Mr. Mohamed Sa'eed, a leading figure in the Iraqi Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution, has castigated those responsible for the threats saying: 'and now groups from abroad come carrying temporary ideology that did not exist even in the Middle Ages,' then stated that there 'should be no compulsion in religion' whilst calling for juristic and intellectual work to defeat extremism.