There was a shocking story on the front page of the NY Times today:
By ROBERT F. WORTH
BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 17 – It was almost closing time in Sadiq Abdul Hussein’s barbershop when a man in a black mask walked in, pulled out a pistol, and began spinning it on his finger, cowboy style.
The gunman was not after government officials or American collaborators. He had come because of the way Mr. Hussein cut hair.
OK so maybe it wasn’t THAT shocking. From the LA TImes a month ago (Feb 22):
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A bomb rips through a women’s hair salon, shattering wall-length mirrors and shredding posters of various coiffures.
In another neighborhood, gunmen fire wildly into a busy barbershop, killing the owner and three teenage boys as they wait for haircuts.
At yet another shop, a masked visitor presses a note into the palm of a horrified haircutter. The message: “Our swords are thriving for the neck of barbers.”
Iraq’s insurgency has long targeted other Iraqis – police, government leaders and national guardsmen – as a means of destabilizing the nascent democracy, but now guerrillas have taken aim at a far more unlikely line of work.
In what some describe as a Taliban-like effort to impose a militant Islamic aesthetic, extremists have been warning Iraqi barbers not to violate strict Islamic teachings by trimming or removing men’s beards. Giving Western-style haircuts or removing hair in an “effeminate” manner, they say, are crimes punishable by death.
“They went to all the barbers,” said one threatened hairstylist, Ali Mahmood, 28. “They told them not to shave beards. They told them no sideburns. No American styles. They told them none of this or they would die.”
I wouldn’t bust the New York Times for this except they ran it on page 1.
Via James Joyner who has his say on the story itself.