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Scotland allows women police officers to wear hijab

The announcement comes a day after Canada’s Mounties allowed the same

Published: Updated:

After Canada allowed its officers to wear hijabs as part of their uniforms, Scotland’s police have announced on Wednesday that the Islamic head cover will also be part of its official uniform in hopes of recruiting more Muslim women and creating more diversity.

In a statement, the Scottish police said this move will “encourage women from Muslim communities, who may previously not have seen policing as a career option, to reconsider,” reported The Independent.

While Muslim police officers in Scotland were allowed to wear the hijab, today’s announcement made it official. Previously, it was only allowed after being approved by senior staff members.

“I am delighted to make this announcement and welcome the support from both the Muslim community and the wider community, as well as police officers and staff,” chief constable Phil Gormley said.

“I hope that this addition to our uniform options will contribute to making our staff mix more diverse and adds to the life skills, experiences and personal qualities that our officers and staff bring to policing the communities of Scotland,” he added.

Canada wants more Muslim Mounties

Hoping to boost recruiting of Muslim women, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is allowing its officers to wear hijabs as part of their uniforms, the government said on Tuesday.

Three types of hijabs were tested before one was selected as suitable for police work, according to correspondence between Goodale and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson published in a local newspaper.

No officers had yet asked to wear hijabs as of earlier this year, when the policy was quietly enacted.

France’s burkini ban

Both announcements come after the controversy in France, where some 30 towns banned the burkini, the Islamic swimwear that leaves only the face, hands, and feet exposed.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a major Western capital, spoke out against the ban as he headed to Paris Thursday for talks with his French counterpart.

London’s Metropolitan Police has allowed its female police officers to wear hijabs since 2001.

“I don’t think anyone should tell women what they can and can’t wear. Full stop. It’s as simple as that,” he told the London Evening Standard newspaper.

“I don't think it’s right. I'm not saying we’re perfect yet, but one of the joys of London is that we don’t simply tolerate difference, we respect it, we embrace it, and we celebrate it.”

(With AFP)