by Chas Danner
Haitham El-Tabei highlights how pogonophiliacs are being persecuted in Egypt as anti-Islamist fervor sweeps the nation:
One Western news photographer decided to shave his beard after being repeatedly accosted in the street and even threatened by Egyptians who mistook him for a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. A bearded taxi driver, meanwhile, admitted customers were increasingly reluctant to use his services.
“This is possibly the beginning of a campaign to boycott bearded taxi drivers,” he told AFP.
Mohammed Ibrahim, a pharmacist who also has a beard, has changed his route to work and the hours he keeps in order to avoid “tension with the popular committees.” As the crackdown continues, reports have suggested that some preachers have even offered religious dispensation to the faithful who want to shave their beards to avoid being targeted.
“The hostility of the people is even worse than police harassment,” said Mohamed Tolba, a Salafist Muslim.