Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Will Finland's eurosceptic party enter government?

Read more

FOCUS

The health risk behind Argentina's soya paradise

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Top Burundian judge flees country after government pressure

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'60% of British citizens want voting reform'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Swedish FM: ‘Diplomacy today is about courage and patience’

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Women journalists to male politicians: Hands off!

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's billion-euro private beach industry

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

UN denies claims it tried to cover up sex abuse in Central African Republic

Read more

DEBATE

François of Arabia: Hollande's Budding Friendship with the Gulf (part 2)

Read more

Americas

Canada split over hijab-style Muslim police uniform

© Edmonton Police Service

Text by Ségolène ALLEMANDOU

Latest update : 2013-12-10

City authorities in Edmonton, Alberta, have unveiled a new hijab-style headscarf as part of its police uniform for Muslim women officers. Not all Canadian provinces, notably French-speaking Quebec, want to follow suit.

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.

“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 Canada's third 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).

But the attitude in Alberta and Ontario towards their Muslim populations is not shared by all its fellow Canadian provinces.

Notably, French-speaking Quebec is following fiercely secular France’s lead, and its National Assembly is poised to pass its “Quebec Charter of Values”.

The charter, part of a bill proposed earlier year by the nationalist Parti Quebéquois which dominates the assembly, would prohibit public employees at government offices, schools, hospitals, courts and police stations from wearing any religious symbols, including Muslim hijabs, Sikh turbans, Jewish kippas and visible crucifixes.

The move has seen widespread opposition from the province’s Muslim minority, with two protest marches against the proposed law in Montreal in recent months.
 

An earlier version of this article mistakenly claimed that Alberta had Canada's biggest Muslim community.

 

Date created : 2013-12-09

  • FRANCE

    French veil ban upheld in controversial court case

    Read more

  • TURKEY

    Female Turkish MPs break headscarf taboo

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French girl attempts suicide after ‘veil attack’

    Read more

COMMENT(S)