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Reuters/Laszlo Balogh
Take it all off.

Turkish men are going under the razor to avoid looking like ISIL fighters

Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

Turkish men are shaving off their once-fashionable beards due to fears they might be mistaken for ISIL militants—much to their barbers’ satisfaction.

“ISIL has damaged the beard fashion but helped our business,” Ali Batu, chief of the Chamber of Barbers and Hairdressers in the Aegan province of Manisa, told the Turkish news agency Doğan. Turkey has stepped up its attacks on the group after a grisly suicide bombing in a town near the Syrian border.

“It had become fashionable for men to grow their beards and everyone was growing one. This situation led to a decrease in barbers’ work. However, citizens no longer want to look like people who commit such atrocities after seeing members of the ISIL terrorist organization,” Batu added.

“I saw ISIL members everywhere in the news. I had grown my beard longer but now I’m getting it cut. I don’t want to look like a member of ISIL,” a local man told Doğan.

The BBC reported a similar phenomenon last year, when Turks in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir started shaving off their beards after angry crowds accused bearded citizens of being jihadists.

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