Muslim Police Officer Refuses to Shave Beard, Is Suspended

Masood Syed, 32, a Muslim NYPD officer, was suspended Tuesday for refusing to shave his beard, his lawyers claimed in court Wednesday.

The 10-year NYPD veteran works as a law clerk for the department. He was told by his bosses on Monday that he had to shave his beard, which he wears between one half and one inch in observance of his Sunni Muslim faith.

While the NYPD maintains a “no beard” policy, facial hair up to one millimeter is the “unofficial ” exception for religious purposes such as Islam. Syed’s lawyers filed this reasoning in a civil complaint at a Manhattan federal court Wednesday morning. Syed has been suspended without pay for 30 days and could be fired if he continues refusing to shave his beard. He was then stripped of his badge and gun and then escorted out of police headquarters by two supervising officers..

Syed, of Whitestone, Queens, previously obtained permission to wear his beard at one millimeter and never had a serious problem with his facial hair exceeding that measure until fall 2015. Since then, Syed has been working to obtain a religious accommodation letter allowing him to wear his beard at its present length, the lawsuit said. More details are in the video below


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