Two Countries Are Sending A Message Of Acceptance By Allowing Police To Wear Hijabs

A welcome contrast to France's burkini ban.

As controversy continues to rage over France's burkini ban, two others countries are making the news for policies related to Muslim women's clothing. This time, however, instead of policing what women wear, the news is about what policewomen are wearing. 

Both Scotland and Canada have announced they will allow hijabs as an optional part of a police officer's uniform.

The Independent reports that hijabs were previously allowed in Scotland only with a senior staff member's permission. The Metropolitan Police in London, meanwhile, made hijabs optional in 2001.

Scottish Chief Constable Phil Gormley said in a statement that he hopes this announcement will encourage a more diverse police force:

Like many other employers, especially in the public sector, we are working towards ensuring our service is representative of the communities we serve. 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.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have similarly inclusive reasons for loosening their policy, which previously required an "exemption" from the commissioner. Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for the public safety minister, told CBC, "The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a progressive and inclusive police service that values and respects persons of all cultural and religious backgrounds."

The Mounted Police previously allowed Sikh men to wear turbans in 1990. It now becomes the third police force in Canada, after Toronto and Edmonton, to allow hijabs. In 1996, Lt.-Cmdr. Wafa Dabbagh became the first Canadian Armed Forces member to wear a hijab.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Julie Gagnon said they have designed a hijab that meets "the highest standards of officer safety." Although no members have currently requested to wear the item on duty, making the option available is an important step in welcoming diversity and encouraging cultural acceptance.

(H/T: Washington Post)

Cover image via Mariemily Photos / Shutterstock.com