Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Yahoo! News - Islamic Radicals Hunt Barbers in Baghdad

Yahoo! News - Islamic Radicals Hunt Barbers in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Umm Ali says militants killed her son last month for the most unlikely of reasons: He trims men’s beards.

In Baghdad’s Dora neighborhood, residents say Sunni Muslim extremists have made barbers the new hunted, accusing them of violating a strict reading of Islamic teachings that say men should keep their beards long.

Some extremists also consider Western-style haircuts an offensive symbol of the hated, secularized culture of Europe and the United States.

To them, sporting a clipped beard or a modern haircut is an infraction worthy of death.

Black banners mourning the dead were strung up in the neighborhood as the unwitting violators fell one after another to the militants’ harsh brand of justice. In one month alone, five barbers were shot dead, residents said.

“He was a haircutter. He only cuts hair,” Umm Ali said of her son, Sadiq Abdul Hussein. “He was handsome,” she said, gazing at a photo of him.

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