Cultural Revolutions

Nidal Hasan's Rivival

When Nidal Hasan arrived at the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas after receiving his death sentence on August 28, he was wearing an Islamic beard.  The Koran is sketchy on the exact requirements for facial hair, but many imams, past and present, have argued that shaving the face is haram.  (Whereas trimming the mustache is encouraged, as Allah permitted this to Adam and Abraham.)  Bear in mind that, according to a prison letter to a medical student in which he offered test-taking advice, Hasan has been “trying to concentrate on being good so that I can go to Heaven—eternity is a long time and I don’t want to spend it in Hell.”

The holy hairs didn’t last long at Leavenworth.  “In keeping with AR 670-1 and AR 190-47, . . . inmate Hasan has been shaved,” announced Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt, a Pentagon spokesman, immediately after Hasan’s arrival, according to the Killeen Daily Herald.

Indeed, Army Regulation 670-1 plainly states that “beards are not permitted,” and AR 190-47, which governs the Army Corrections System, requires that “Prison haircut standards will comply with AR 670-1.”  The rules also note that, if an inmate “refuses to bathe or comply with haircut or shave standards . . . the prisoner may be restrained with the reasonable force necessary to administer...

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