Netherlands allows police officers to wear headscarves in certain positions

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A new ruling in the Netherlands will allow policewomen serving in certain positions to wear headscarves.

The Human Rights Council ruling came Monday over a complaint by Sarah Izat, 26, a police officer who wore a headscarf, after she was dismissed over violating the dress code.

The Dutch National Police had claimed that religious symbols are incompatible with police uniforms both to ensure neutrality and the officers’ safety.

But the council said Izat was mainly answering emergency calls in the police department where there was limited contact with the public.

The council’s decision is non-binding, but the police will probably abide by it, as previously its chief said that they were open to allowing officers to wear headscarves.

‘Equal treatment legislation states clothing regulations which conflict with freedom of religion laws should be limited to those which are strictly essential,’ the council said.

“We Won! The Council confirms just: I have the right to wear uniform and headscarf. This means everything and this is a victory for all of us!” Izat wrote on her Twitter account.

Izat told broadcaster NOS 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 a headscarf an option with police uniform to attract more people from ethnic minorities but the move was opposed by police chief Erik Akerboom.

An Amsterdam police woman who went on patrol wearing a headscarf under her cap later that month was heavily criticised for her action.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Tweet photo of Sarah Ezat]

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