Because what could be sexier than a woman with a beard . . . no, wait?

(Egyptian Gazette) — As the revolutionaries have been organising million-strong protests in Al Tahrir Square to press for their unfulfilled demands via social networking websites, the Salafists are now doing the same to persuade other Muslims to grow beards and be more pious.

These Salafists are calling for a million men to be bearded before the holy fasting month of Ramadan which starts in August.

“This freedom is a fruit of the January 25 revolution. In the presence of the [now disbanded] State Security Police under Mubarak, asking Egyptians to grow beards was like dreaming of touching the moon,” says Sheikh Safwat Hegzai, a Salafist cleric.

He argues that this campaign is something normal, resulting from the freedom gained after toppling an authoritarian regime.

“I would like to see a similar campaign for a million women to wear the niqab [full-face veil],” Hegazi adds.

However, some other clerics have been urging young Muslims to pay more attention to how they behave than to their appearance.

“Growing a beard is a sunna [a deed of the Prophet Mohamed]. It is not a duty for every Muslim. However, we have priorities. We should campaign for things like work, honesty and good manners, and only then for growing beards,” says Egypt’s Mufti, Ali Gomaa.

The Mufti adds that it doesn’t make sense, logically or religiously, to be suffering from an economic crisis, insecurity and other problems and to be urging Muslims to grow beards first.

Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, a veteran cleric with strong Salafist leanings, has lauded the campaign, hoping that 80 million Egyptians (this would include all Egypt’s women and children too) grow a beard like the Prophet Mohamed.

Secularists and liberals have denounced the campaign for a million Muslims to grow beards, saying the timing of such a campaign could lead to a rift in Egyptian society.

HT: Blazing Cat Fur