Dutch police officers permitted hijab

28th Dec 2017

Elham Asaad Buaras

A new court ruling in the Netherlands will allow Muslim policewomen serving in certain posts to wear the hijab (headscarves). Dutch police had claimed that religious symbols are incompatible with police uniforms.

On November 27 the Human Rights Council HRC ruled in favour of Sarah Izat, 26, who was dismissed for violating the dress code.

Police are expected to abide by the non-binding HRC decision. Religious symbols were banned under 2011 Code of Conduct. The code stipulated officers should present a “neutral and uniform appearance”.

HRC ruled the need for a neutral appearance is limited in this case, as Izat’s job as call handler had no physical public interaction.

Therefore, the hijab ban cannot be justified.

Rotterdam-based Izat said she considered the ruling an important first step. “It will not be solved in a day, but hopefully the police can now look to the next step when it comes to headscarves.”

In May, Amsterdam police considered making the hijab an option with police uniform to attract more ethnic minorities but the move was opposed by police chief Erik Akerboom. In addition, an Amsterdam policewoman who went on patrol wearing a hijab under her cap later that month was heavily criticised for her action

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