Religion

Police Force Might Allow Female Officers To Wear Burkas

| by David Bonner
Woman wearing burkaWoman wearing burka

A police department is currently aiming to increase its black and minority ethnic staff from 9 percent to 30 percent.

Working toward that goal, West Midlands Police announced that it will consider allowing burkas to become part of Muslim female officers' uniforms, reports the Daily Mail. “Clearly we don’t have any barriers relating to the burka,” said Chief Constable David Thompson.

The burka, as defined by the BBC, “is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It is a one-piece veil that covers the face and body, often leaving just a mesh screen to see through.”

The West Midlands Police Department already allows officers to wear the less-concealing hijab, and Sikh officers can wear a turban instead of the traditional helmet.

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During the police force’s latest recruitment drive, more than 6,000 people have applied for just 1,100 positions. So far, however, none of the applicants have inquired about wearing the burka, Chief Thompson said.

Some people think this idea is “political correctness gone way too far,” as Birmingham salesman Neil Dixon put it. "The idea of police officers walking around in burkas is so wrong. ... Good policing is all about building trust and facial expressions forms a huge part of that."

Allowing police to wear burkas would definitely be a progressive move, considering that many countries do not allow them to be worn by anybody.

According to The Telegraph, the burka is banned in at least some parts of the following countries: France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, The Congo, Turkey and Switzerland.

The motivation to ban the burka is explained by Human Rights Watch: “To its critics, the burka has also become a symbol of Islamist radicalism and even terrorism and is increasingly being seen as a threat to efforts to integrate Muslim migrants into British and European society.”

In an editorial, the organization says that banning the burka is “just as much a violation of the rights of those women who wish to wear it as is the forcing of the veil on those women who do not wish to wear it in, for example, Iran or Saudi Arabia.”

Sources: Daily Mail, BBC, The Telegraph, Human Rights Watch / Photo credit: Marius Arnesen/Wikimedia Commons

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