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A young Muslim girl. Is there really no hope for the police dream?

A young Muslim girl. Is there really no hope for the police dream?
A young Muslim girl. Is there really no hope for the police dream?
That in our modern society we exclude a whole group of people from certain professions cannot be right, writes Hani Hussein Ali. Photo: Heiko Junge, NTB

I want to be a police officer. There is only one problem.

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I am an 18-year-old Muslim girl who is passionate about one thing: helping others. This has been central to my search for future educational opportunities.

That’s why I was overjoyed when I finally found a profession that I thought suited me. I found out I wanted to be a police officer.

There was just one problem, one I hadn’t anticipated. I had never thought that what would prevent me from having a career in the police would be that I have chosen to wear a hijab.

That we in our murderous society exclude a whole group of people from certain professions cannot be right.

Neutrality

The hijab ban in the police service is justified by the fact that the uniform must be value-neutral and the same for everyone. This is not a rule that is unique to the police in Norway. But still we see that many other Western countries have allowed the use of the hijab in the police, and that it has gone without problems.

In, for example, parts of the USA, parts of Canada, Sweden and New Zealand, it is already legal to wear the hijab in all or part of the police force, which they have done to improve recruitment among the immigrant population.

Moreover, I believe that it is wrong to say that religious headgear is not compatible with neutrality. As a religious person, one can still be professional when required, headgear or not. Because what is the difference between a visible Muslim woman and an “invisible” Muslim man? Will the fact that I wear a hijab make a real difference to the work I do?

Positive effects

Appearing neutral is of course important, and I am not claiming otherwise. But it is also important to highlight that allowing the hijab in the police could have a number of positive effects.

Firstly, hijab-wearing policewomen will be able to strengthen trust in the police among minority groups. It is already a problem that people with a minority background have little trust in the police, whether it is based on personal experiences or the situation in other countries.

A wider recruitment could help to change this, as more people will meet someone they can relate to, and who has a greater understanding of their point of view.

In addition, hijab-wearing women in the police would have had a preventive effect. Representation in important societal roles is extremely important for young people with a minority background to feel that they are part of society, and that they can relate to the government officials they meet.

Reflect the population

The police must reflect the population, which unfortunately they do not do today. In 2019, researchers from the Norwegian Police Academy and Oslo Met conducted a survey of the students who entered the Norwegian Police Academy that year. Of these, 4 per cent had an immigrant background.

Surveys from 2017 also show that the proportion of employees in the police service with an immigrant background and police training was 2.6 per cent.

Making the hijab permissible would help with wider recruitment, and could help lower the threshold for people from all walks of life to become part of the police force.

Hijab-wearing policewomen would help show, among other things, vulnerable people with minority backgrounds that there is room and acceptance for everyone in our small country.


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The article is in Norwegian

Tags: young Muslim girl hope police dream

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