Sharjah : Long hair and ponytails for men are definitely out in Sharjah. And nobody can vouch for this better than a group of four young aspiring rock musicians who had their beloved locks unceremoniously cut after a close shave with Sharjah police last week.
The four Indian friends had stopped to grab a bite from an Emarat convenience store near Tasjeel off the Sharjah Airport highway at around 5pm on August 4. However, just when they were about to drive out, a white Toyota Camry carrying plainclothes Sharjah Police officers intercepted their car.
"We were accosted as soon as we stepped out and severely reprimanded for sporting long hair. They took our identity cards and asked us to report to the Sharjah Police headquarters," recalled M.K., 19, a guitarist with a local band and a resident of Sharjah's Al Taawun area.
At the police headquarters in Maysaloon, the musicians were made to face more music. The hair delinquents were photographed for police mugshot records, holding boards with their names, and were repeatedly warned against sporting long hair.
"The police ordered us to cut it, saying it's indecent for guys to have long hair," said 18-year-old S.S., also a Sharjah resident. "We were also asked to produce our passports so we had to call our parents. It was very embarrassing," said M.K.
Fearing police retribution, the following morning all four boys got their hair cut. "I am a big fan of Metallica [heavy metal rock band] and, following in the footsteps of some of their band members, had grown my hair to shoulder-length. It took quite a while to grow it. I felt really sad losing it," said S.S.
"Long hair is strictly prohibited for men. If we catch any man with long hair, we will have his hair cut," an officer at Sharjah's Criminal Investigation Department who identified himself as Mohammad told XPRESS over the phone.
As part of a decency law, introduced in September 2001, Sharjah Police routinely crack down on ‘objectionable practices'. The law forbids men from wearing bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Those caught are hauled up and the jewellery is confiscated. In April this year, Sharjah Police arrested an Asian man for wearing a lungi, a piece of cloth wrapped around the waist.
Last year, several teenagers in Ras Al Khaimah got their hair inexpertly shorn by the police following a crackdown on youngsters sporting unusual hairstyles.