An Islamic preacher from Turkey has an interesting theory: men without beards look like women and thus trigger other men to have "indecent thoughts."
Yeah, we're not entirely sure which beardless men look like women to the Islamic leader, but it seems clear he's a little, um, sexually confused.
According to Newsweek, Murat Bayaral explained to Fatih Medreseleri, a religious TV station in Turkey, that "men should grow beards" because they help "separate men from women."
Beardless males “cannot be distinguished from women," he said, and can trigger “indecent thoughts.”
“[Beards are] one of the two body parts that separate men from women," Bayaral said.
The Islamic preacher continued, "For example, if you see a man with long hair from afar, you may think he is a woman if he does not have a beard. Because nowadays, women and men dress similarly. God forbid! You could be possessed by indecent thoughts,” he said.
Turkey has increasingly departed with secularism since President Erdoğan has emboldened a "new version of Islamic nationalism," notes Newsweek. "Over the past year, classes on evolution have been removed from public school curricula, and the government permitted girls to wear headscarves in school, something that was prohibited in the past."
According to Magdalena Kirchner, a fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center, Bayaral is not a highly-influential figure in Turkey, but his comments are representative of recent "efforts by the government and their societal base to create a 'bottom-up pressure against [a secular] way of life without having to impose legal constraints.'"