FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Criminal Justice Degrees - Columbia Southern University
Let Columbia Southern University help you change your community with an MBA in...

Top News

Officer Fights to Wear Religious Headgear On Duty

August 15, 2003  | 

A Muslim police officer has been told she will be fired from the Philadelphia Police Department if she returns to work wearing a head scarf.

Kimberlie Webb, an eight-year veteran of the Philadelphia PD, was told to remove her scarf, called a hijab, or go home without pay when she showed up to roll call wearing the religious headgear for the first time.

Webb first requested to wear the scarf, which covers a woman’s head and neck but not her face, in 1998, shortly after she converted and became a Sunni Muslim. The department denied her request, saying wearing the headgear under her uniform cap could be dangerous.

But days after Philadelphia police officials agreed to let male officers grow beards for religious or health reasons, the issue is again a hot topic.

“It is commanded by Allah that all Muslim women must cover their hair,” Webb said in a recent interview. “As a Muslim woman, I must follow this command.”

Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson disagrees. He says Webb will be fired if she wears a hijab to work again. “It is dangerous. A quarter-inch beard is not dangerous,” he says.

Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islam Relations in Washington, D.C., says using pull-apart hook-and-loop closures to secure the head scarf eliminate any safety problems. She notes that other departments have worked out a compromise to satisfy employees and agencies.

“Other departments in other parts of the country have had similar situations, in Chicago in the sheriff’s department and in a fire department in Maryland. They were able to come to a compromise and accommodate scarves.” Ahmed believes religious freedom is the key issue under debate.

“As long as it’s her religious belief, it’s for her to decide,” says Ahmed.

Request more info about this product / service / company


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Baltimore Interim Police Commissioner Withdraws from Consideration
Baltimore’s interim police commissioner, Gary Tuggle, said Tuesday that he has withdrawn...
Ti Training LE to Show New TLEX 180 Features at IACP
Ti Training LE LLC will offer new features, scenarios, and sound upgrades to its TLEX...

Police Magazine