Hani Salam escaped civil war in Syria and survived the journey from Egypt to Europe. But when he saw men with bushy long beards at a mosque near his current home in Cologne last November, he was worried.
The men's appearance reminded him of Jaish al-Islam, the Islamist rebels who took over his hometown near Damascus, said Salam, 36, who wears a mustache but no beard. One of them told Salam that "good Muslims grow beards, not moustaches," he recalled – a centuries-old idea that he dismisses.
"Everything about this mosque made me feel uneasy," he said.