Beards and scarves aren’t Muslim. They’re simply adverts for al-Qaeda (says Amir Taheri)

“Muslims could also help by stopping the use of their bodies as advertising space for al-Qaeda. Muslim women should cast aside the so-called hijab, which has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with tribal wear on the Arabian peninsula. The hijab … is now a visual prop of terrorism. If some women have been hoodwinked into believing that they cannot be Muslims without covering their hair, they could at least use headgears other than black (the colour of al-Qaeda) or white (the colour of the Taleban)…. Muslim men should consider doing away with Taleban and al-Qaeda-style beards. Growing a beard has nothing to do with Islam…. The bushy beards you see on Oxford Street are symbols of the Salafi ideology that has produced al-Qaeda and the Taleban.”

Right-wing Iranian exile Amir Taheri – a mainstay of the US neocon consultancy Benador Associates – offers some advice to Muslims.

Times, 27 July 2005