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

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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".

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