“If you see a man with long hair from afar you may think he is a woman if he does not have a beard.”
By
Mathew Whitehead

20 Dec 2017 - 4:09 PM  UPDATED 20 Dec 2017 - 4:09 PM

An Islamic preacher in Turkey has come under fire for his views on facial hair after revealing he does not believe men should shave their beards.

Speaking on the religious TV station Fatih Medreseleri last week Murat Bayaral claimed men who shave their beards run the risk of being mistaken for women and could cause "indecent thoughts". 

According to Hurriyet Daily News, Bayaral said men should keep their beards as it is "one of the two body parts that separate men from women."

"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."

RECOMMENDED
This powerful music video shines a light on violent LGBT+ crime in Turkey
"Homophobia and transphobia are killing people. That is why visibility is crucial."

Bayaral isn't the only one asking men to keep the beard, earlier this year Primate of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church, Metropolitan Kornily, claimed shaving could turn men gay.

The Moscow Times reported in June that Kornily believed men who kept their beards were less likely to be "corrupted" by homosexuality.

"God set down certain rules. The Lord created everyone with a beard," Kornily said, "No man can resist his creator".

While many laughed off Bayaral's comments, Newsweek dug a little deeper behind the sentiment. Despite calling the preacher a "marginal figure" with little influence Magdalena Kirchner, a fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center in Turkey, noted his comments are part of a larger scheme.

Kirchner claimed comments like Bayaral's display an ongoing pressure from the Turkish government in an attempt to influence "bottom-up pressure against [a secular] way of life without having to impose legal constraints".

RECOMMENDED
My grandparents were refugees, and it changed my family forever
Peter Papathanasiou’s grandparents were Orthodox Christian refugees expelled from Anatolia in Turkey. Their treacherous trek to Greece, reminiscent of the current flow of refugees from war-ravaged regions, made his new life in Australia possible.
Hundreds protest in Istanbul over murder of transgender woman
Hundreds protested peacefully on Sunday in Istanbul calling for justice after the brutal murder of a transgender woman earlier this month in Turkey.
Turkey's president was with a trans celebrity hours after trans protesters were teargassed
Photos circulated by the President's press office show the singer sitting with President Erdoğan and his wife Emine.