The Islamic State group has imposed a mandatory beard policy in Mosul, Iraq. The group began distributing leaflets about the immorality of shaving and has threatened punishments for those without beards.
"Thanks to our brothers from the Islamic Police, an order has been issued for the shaving of beards to be banned and violators to be detained," says the leaflet, according to Agence France-Presse. Since last June, when the Islamic State took control of Mosul, the group has instituted strict puritanical laws throughout the city of 2 million people.
Some have claimed that the law on facial hair was passed to make civilians look more like the occupying soldiers, as the Iraqi government, with aid from American airstrikes, launches attacks against the Islamic State. "We all know what Daesh [Islamic State] is trying to achieve with these unacceptable laws on women wearing the veil and men growing beards," said a teacher, who identified herself as Umm Mohammed to the Jerusalem Post. "They want to make everyone a human shield. ... With military operations [to retake Mosul] looming, they want to blend in with the population."
Last month, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, arrested and imprisoned a group of men for shaving off their beards, according to the Mirror.
A blog in Iraq called the Mosul Eye claimed ISIS had "arrested a group of young men for shaving off their beards and locked them in jail for three months. ... If they repeat this offense, ISIL will rule to behead them."
A man who identified as an ex-member of the Iraqi security forces and a current Mosul resident told the Jerusalem Post that "IS members lately have been using more and more regular, unmarked civilian cars. They've ditched the military vehicles and flags. This new rule on growing beards is in the same vein. They want to hide among the citizens."