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Heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition

CAIR Michigan Advises Muslim Health Workers to Shave, Citing Mask Guidance

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Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control says healthcare workers should wear masks when in contact with potentially infectious patients. But the directive puts Muslim men with beards in a tricky position.

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The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan chapter is advising Muslim medical professionals to shave off their beards. 

CAIR says it has received calls from Muslim medical professionals who’ve been asked by hospital staff to shave their beards in order to properly wear masks. The workers were asked to do so by their employers so that protective masks would fit better.

It’s better for them to go to work and cut their beard, wearing the proper mask to help save lives.” — Dawud Walid, CAIR Michigan

We have advised the Muslim healthcare professionals that it’s better for them to go to work and cut their beard, wearing the proper mask to help save lives than to stay at home and not shave their beards,” said Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Michigan Chapter of CAIR

The Centers for Disease Control says healthcare workers should wear masks during surgeries, when splashes and sprays are anticipated or when in contact with potentially infectious patients. But the directive puts Muslim men with beards in a tricky position. Beards are encouraged in the Islamic faith.

The wearing of a beard for Muslim men is something that is a firmly established practice in the religion of Islam.” — Dawud Walid, CAIR Michigan

The wearing of a beard for Muslim men is something that is a firmly established practice in the religion of Islam,” Walid said. ”It’s highly recommended to wear beards.”

But Walid says after consulting with local Islamic scholars, CAIR Michigan is encouraging Muslim healthcare workers to shave their beards. He cites the Prophet Muhammed, saying, “There is no harming nor reciprocating harm,” and not properly wearing a mask could cause harm.

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Laura Herberg, Community Reporter

Laura Herberg is a Community Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here. She has reported since 2010 without owning a car.

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This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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