Police in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, this weekend unveiled official hijab-style headscarves approved for use by female Muslim officers, in a move that has revealed a growing split in attitudes towards the wearing of religious symbols across the country.
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) said in a press release that the the hijab-style headscarf, which covers the hair and neck but not the face, was designed to “reflect the changing diversity in the community, and to facilitate the growing interest in policing careers from Edmonton’s Muslim community”.
Edmonton city councillor Scott McKeen said the move was a “gesture of inclusion” towards the Muslim community.
|Councillor McKeen; I wonder how many of the so called rednecks that voted for you feel about you pretty much calling them ignorant hicks, and how they feel about having to change their customs to make a foreigner feel welcome in their own country?|
“One of the perceptions about Edmonton and Alberta is that we’re kind of redneck,” he told reporters, adding that the decision to allow headscarves was “sort of saying that we want to have a diverse police service that reflects the diversity and multicultural aspects of Edmonton.”
Alberta has Canada’s biggest Muslim community (some 45,000 Muslims in a total population of 700,000), followed by Ontario, which has allowed women police officers to wear hijabs since 2011, and then Quebec
Ontario capital Toronto is looking to extend the freedom to wear religious symbols to other areas of the public service and there is also a campaign to make hijabs permitted in hospitals (see below). more