Thursday, June 14, 2007

Philadelphia: Police can ban hijab

Although the Inquirer refers to it as "religious garb" in its headline. (FYI- the hijabettes are thick on the ground down in Philly.)

A Philadelphia police officer has no right to wear a head covering as required by her Muslim faith when she is in uniform, a federal judge ruled yesterday. The Police Department's uniform code "has a compelling public purpose," Judge Harvey Bartle III wrote in deciding against Kimberlie Webb, an officer since 1995.

In writing the opinion on the case the judge cited the department's uniform code, known as Directive 78, which maintains "religious neutrality" and the ruling overturns a 2003 EEOC finding that the department had "violated Webb's rights in barring her from wearing a hijab/khimar.

The police cited safety concerns, arguing that Webb could have been hurt or restrained by someone grabbing at her hijab. (I think that's one of the reason Muslim men are all for their wimmen folk wearing the things!)

It is not known if Webb will appeal the ruling. I'm betting she will...