The beard is considered by Islamists a sign of a man's commitment to his faith, but regulations bar police and army officers from growing beards, the Egypt Independent Web site said Thursday.
Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa issued a fatwa -- Islamic ruling -- stating prominent Islamic scholars disagreed on whether the beard is religiously mandatory, the site said.
Wednesday's hearing before the Cairo Administrative Court came after a group of bearded police officers filed suit against Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, calling on him to reverse the decision. The officers said the beard ban was a "violation of personal freedom and Shariah [Islamic law], which is one of the main sources of legislation under the 1971 Constitution," the Web site said.
The site said the court ruling contradicts a court decision made by the Alexandria Administrative Court in May permitting policemen serving in the area to grow beards.
Both the Interior Ministry and the police officers have the right to appeal Wednesday's court decision. The Supreme Administrative Court will have to make a final ruling on the issue, the site said.
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