TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s national police force recently permitted its women officers to wear the hijab.
The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently approved the addition to the uniform to allow Muslim women to wear the hijab, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s spokesman said Wednesday.
Scott Bardsley said it is intended to better reflect the diversity of Canada and to encourage more Muslim women to consider a career with the force.
The Mounties faced a public backlash more than 25 years ago when a Sikh man took the government to court and won the right to wear his traditional turban instead of the usual Mountie headgear. Canadians have long since accepted the change.
Bardsley noted police services in the cities of Toronto and Edmonton and those across the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway, as well as some U.S. states, have adopted similar policies.
“The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a progressive and inclusive police service that values and respects persons of all cultural and religious backgrounds,” Bardsley said in an email.
The change in Canada is in contrast to France where at least a dozen towns have banned body-covering burkini swimwear favored by some Muslim women, the latest skirmish in a long-running duel between some members of France’s large Muslim population and the secular establishment.