In Egypt, a court has upheld a ruling to allow policemen to grow beards. It ends a decades-old convention barring them from making what is seen as a display of Islamic piety.
Dozens had been suspended from work for breaking the unwritten rule. But the court rejected an appeal by the Interior Ministry to let it impose bans on officers who grew beards.
Police Lieutenant Yasser Mohamed Fathi Ashour gave his reaction after the ruling. “Thank God the decision was in our favour today, rejecting the appeal of the Minister of the Interior against the decision allowing us to return to work taken by the State Court in Alexandria. The decision is final and it is now incumbent on the Interior Minister to allow us to return to work, God willing, after this decision,” he said.
There has been no comment from the Interior Ministry. The ban on beards was introduced under deposed President Hosni Mubarak.
Under his rule a beard precluded Egyptians from holding senior government posts.
Analysts believe this ruling could raise worries among minority Christians and others who fear Islamists will try to force their beliefs and customs on society.