//Hamas govt allows beards in police

Hamas govt allows beards in police

Web posted at: 4/3/2006 2:1:3
Source ::: AFP

GAZA CITY: The new Palestinian government dominated by Hamas yesterday ordered police chiefs to no longer penalise staff with beards, a sign of the Muslim faithful, a security officer said.

Interior minister Siad Siam, who formally took office on Thursday after the first Islamist government was sworn in, issued the directive. “It is forbidden to punish any police member because of his beard because this is a personal freedom,” a senior Palestinian police officer said reading from the statement sent by Siam.

Under the law, Palestinian police were previously penalised for sporting unruly facial hair so they generally shaved on a daily basis to avoid running the risk of having their wages docked or spending the weekend in jail. Several members of the new 24-member Hamas-dominated cabinet sport Islamic-style beards, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah, foreign minister Mahmud Zahar and Siam — three of the group’s most senior leaders in Gaza