17:34 GMT25 January 2021
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    Police in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk are arresting anyone wearing “Bermuda” shorts or ripped jeans, prompting many locals to criticize the peculiar ban.

    "The decision to ban shorts and ripped jeans came from the [police central] operations room in Kirkuk," Colonel Afrasyaw Kamel, a spokesperson for the Kirkuk Police, told the Kurdistan 24 news outlet. It is unclear whether the ban will only be implemented during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, celebrated this year between May 5 and June 4, or if it will continue afterward. Police have also issued a ban on using motorcycles during Ramadan, according to reports.

    ​"The decision was sent to all the police stations to arrest anyone who wears short jeans and jeans with fashionable slits or rips in them," Kamel added. Anyone who is caught violating the ban will be detained for 24 hours and must pledge not to wear the banned article of clothing again before being released from police custody. It is unclear what repercussions second-time violators may face.

    ​Kirkuk, which is located about 148 miles north of the capital city of Baghdad, has a very diverse population of Kurds, Iraqi Turkmen, Arabs and Assyrians and is a multilingual city. According to initial reports by Kurdistan 24, at least 20 young individuals have been arrested so far for wearing shorts or ripped jeans since May 5. 

    An unidentified shop owner in Kirkuk criticized the ban in a statement to Kurdistan 24.

    "The decision [to ban the clothing] denies an individual his personal and constitutional freedom. At the same time, it prevents people from exercising with comfortable sportswear outdoors," the shop owner said.


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    Ramadan, jeans, ban, shorts, Iraq
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