Does EVERY Iraqi man have a mustache?

In fact, are they all exactly the same style (like Saddam’s)? I haven’t seen a single handlebar, Fu Manchu, or Hitler mustache. Is this required by law, or a custom, or what?

only the eeeeeeevil ones.

I’ve seen a plethors of moustaches on the men of other Arab countries, too. Even Arabs in the US; most have moustaches, even when most Anglo Americans shaved theirs off in the 1980s.

I would think that it’s either a custom, or less likely, a rule of Islam. Someone please chime in here!


So that’s where the WMDs are hidden!

They were right under our…no. I can’t say it.

The ones that have moustaches are all 1970s porn stars.

IIRC, beards are virtually required in the fundie Islamic countries because of something in the Koran. Much like the “take it all much more seriously” Jews have those curley thingies on the side of their heads is based on something in the Old Testement.

My guess is that in the more secular Islamic countries beards are seen by most men as a pain in the ass so they opt for the more managable mustache so as not to be totally in conflict with Islam.

They do if they know what’s GOOD for 'em!

Harry Reems is an Iraqi?

It’s probably more cultural than religious. In a lot of countries, mustaches are seen as “manly”, especially for working class men. The Iraqi leaders are not fundamentalist Muslims for the most part. Tariq Aziz is (gasp) a Catholic! Saddam loves his whiskey I hear.

There are Iraqi men that don’t have mustaches. They seem to be the more “intellectual” types, like many of the scientists that the UN keeps trying to pin down.

I’ve seen several “Iraqi” movies over the past couple of years, probably 20 to 40 or so. They are playing in the US, so I don’t know if any are “officially endorsed” or the opposite, if any are done by anti-government leaning filmmakers (while several are sympathetic towrds the plight of their female characters, none are openly hostile to the government).

In these movies, I would guess that most men do not have mustaches. This is just a gut “remembrance” and not something I have specifically paid attention to, but if these movies are indicative of normal Iraqi life (and they seem to be, with a mixture of comedies and dramas, etc.) then certainly not all men in Iraq have mustaches.

I would like a second opinion on this.

Yup I heard it reported on CNN during some of the hand kissing between the Vatican and Iraq that Aziz was catholic

I have recently watched a load of documentaries on Iraq and the explanation given was that the men were trying to emulate their leader.

This site,, describes Aziz as “a Chaldean Christian.”

Then there’s this story in the Sacramento Bee showing reciting some background about Aziz and quoting the First Ordinary of the Chaldean Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, Aziz’s use of religion doesn’t seem to be much different than Saddam Hussein’s.

Note that the “Chaldean Catholic Church” is the Chaldean Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.

In many cultures, facial hair is considered a sign of manliness. Mustaches (and the goatees that some Saudi princes seem to favor) are a sort of compromise for those who do not wish to grow full beards. And once you DO have a mustache, why of course you should seek to have one just like the glorious leader’s, if you know what’s good for you.

And yes, a very large number of Arabs belong to Christian Churches of the Orthodox, Eastern-Rite-Catholic, or Monophysite/Nestorian ancient traditions of Christianity. The “Eastern Rite”, or “Uniate” Catholics are (mostly) ancient Christian Churches located in the Eastern World that remained (or later joined) in communion with Rome, even though they evolved independently with the local culture. They recognize Rome’s primacy, Rome recognizes their separately-developed rituals and organization. “Legally Catholic” I guess we could call them. (Tarik Aziz is of course being an opportunistic politicizer of religion with Eastern Catholicism, as Saddam and BinLaden are with Islam, and any number of unsavory American politicos with fundamentalist Protestantism…)

Just to answer the OP this picture
shows the head of the Iraqi head of the Chaldean Church (on the right) and he doesn’t have any facial hair.

As it was explained to me (by Iraqis - when I lived in Iraq) the moustache indicates membership of the Ba’ath party. Which is more or less mandatory if you want a decent job.

In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad said “Grow your beards and trim your mustaches.” He said this to differentiate the appearance of Muslims from the Persians of the Sassanid Empire, whose fashion was to shave their beards and grow long mustaches. Some Muslims in India and Pakistan have taken the anti-mustache directive to an extreme by shaving the mustache. Thus bearded and mustacheless, they look oddly like Amish fellows transplanted to South Asia!

Anyway, the beardless mustached look is not connected to Islam at all. The Bektashi dervishes and Janissary troops of the Ottoman Empire had a distinctive look of shaven heads, shaven beards, and long drooping mustaches. The Turkish historian Mehmet Fuad Köprülü, in his essay Influence du Chamanisme turco-mongol sur les ordres mystiques musulmanes (Istanbul, 1929) stated that this mustachioed look was a survival from the shamanistic Mongols and Tatars of the Central Asian steppes. (Think of Shan-Yu and his henchmen in Mulan.)

In Arab newspapers, the political cartoons often show a figure whose head is a big globe with lines suggesting latitude and longitude. As you can guess, this figure’s thought balloons are used to show “World Opinion.”

They use another figure with the same globe head, except this one has a mustache. You can guess what this signifies. That’s right: “The Arab World.”

Yes - Tariq Aziz is christian, not muslim.

No - not all Iraqi men have moustaches. In my workplace they range from clean shaven, to stubble, to close-shaved goatee/stubble-beard, to moustache, to full (in this case slightly pointy) beard.

There is a more cultural and religious practice in the Middle East - and on the Indian subcontinent - of having a moustache. As seen in Afghanistan, a beard often denotes religious devotion (as forced by the Taliban). AFAIK the Qaran also proscribes the regular trimming of all body hair - from facial to pubic.

istara, proscribe means ‘prohibit’.

Not all body hair—they keep arm, leg, chest, etc. hair, but both men and women get rid of armpit hair and pubic hair.

SandyHook, what’s this about the “Koran”? There is nothing at all about beards or mustaches in the Qur’an. The only place the word beard is used in the Qur’an is when Aaron says to Moses, “Please don’t grab my beard!”

This is one more example of the ignorance of Westerners who imagine everything in Islam is in the “Koran.” Every damn thing no matter how picayune that anyone, correctly or incorrectly, connects with Islam, somebody will come along and say it’s in the “Koran.” Has anyone actually read the Qur’an to see what it says? No, why bother, just atttribute stuff to it in your imagination. This has been going on for centuries. If everything ignorant people said was in the “Koran” was really in there, it would be the size of the Encyclopædia Britannica. :rolleyes:

FYI, the directive about growing the beard and trimming the mustache is in a hadith, as I noted above. So is the part about shaving armpit hair and pubic hair. Most of the detailed precepts in Islam come from the hadiths. The Qur’an has relatively little legislation; most of its text contains exhortations to faith and piety in a general sense. A lot of it is repetitive. If you boiled down all the commandments, it would only be a couple of pages. If you don’t know what hadiths are, you have no business offering theories about Islam.

Sorry jomo - don’t know what word I meant to type there, but the opposite obviously!!

I sometimes say “Qaran” when I mean the whole of Islamic teaching, ie hadiths - sorry for the inaccuracy.

Actually, many (most?) women here - for fashion/cultural reasons rather than religious, AFAIK - get nearly all their body hair waxed, certainly calves, thighs and forearms. And they’re always banging on in the newspaper beauty columns about the best way to remove a (female) moustache, often from very very small girls - eg two-year-olds.

They like it smooooooooooooooth here…