Saturday, March 31, 2007
From Pakistan's Daily Times: After Dir and Bajaur, barbers in Mardan have also received letters from a purported jihadi outfit to stop shaving beards. Sana hairdresser, a barbershop in the Par Hoti area, has received a letter from an organisation called Tanzeemul Mujahideen NWFP, warning barbers that they should stop shaving beards, otherwise their shops would be set on fire or bombed. The letter reads: “Our beloved Muslim brothers, listen and listen attentively and then think over it that shaving off beards is a great sin. This (beard) is the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (PBUH), but regretfully we have been shaving it off and throwing these blessed hairs at dirty places, which is a shame.”
Friday, March 30, 2007
From England's Daily Record: RAF airmen have been told to grow beards - to help them tackle the Taliban. A squadron is heading to Afghanistan next week to defend an airfield from attack. And the normally clean-shaven men from RAF Lossiemouth, in Moray, have been asked to arrive with a full set of whiskers. The move was made because beards represent strength and virility in Afghanistan, says Squadron Leader Tony Brown. And he hopes it will help them forge closer links with people in the country. He said: "The reports I am getting are that the majority of locals are friendly towards NATO forces. "They will also tell us when something unusual is happening so it is absolutely critical to keep them on side." An RAF spokesman believes it is the first time their personnel have been allowed to grow beards for an operation. The troops from 51 Squadron were being put through their paces at Lossiemouth yesterday ahead of their deployment to Kandahar and the south of Afghanistan. The 130 airmen will be supported by 20 part-time volunteer gunners from the 2622 (Highland) Squadron. They will conduct 24-hour ground patrols in the area surrounding the NATO airfield as part of Operation Herrick. In temperatures reaching 50C, the troops will deal with insurgent attacks, protect allied aircraft and co-operate with residents in nearby villages. The airmen, who have been training since November, will carry out their work in a 200-square mile zone surrounding the airfield. Squadron Leader Brown said: "We have been trained for the full threat spectrum of what we might encounter in Afghanistan."