Ireland Allows Muslim Police Officers to Wear Hijab

The police service of Ireland announced on April 4 it would follow the footsteps of its Scottish and Northern Ireland counterparts by allowing Muslim female officers to wear the hijab, Irish Legal reported.

“I hope this move will encourage people from minority communities to join the ‘An Garda Síochána’ police service,” expressed Commissioner Drew Harris.

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He further informed that Sikh citizens will also be allowed to wear their traditional turban.

In an official statement, the police service directly highlighted that its approach was “in line with that adopted by police services such as the PSNI, Police Scotland, New Zealand Police, NYPD, and other police services in UK, Australia, and Canada.”

Harris said: “We want to demonstrate to the citizens from minority communities that the police service is an inclusive employer that is serious about becoming more diverse.”

The ‘An Garda Síochána’ will update its uniform policy to reflect the change, and is carrying out further research with communities who are under-represented in An Garda Síochána to identify what more the organization needs to do to encourage them to join.

The Irish police service is headed by the Garda Commissioner who’s appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

According to the 2016 Irish census, the number of Muslims in Ireland is over 65,000 people. The earliest mention of Ireland in Muslim sources originates in the 12th-century’s encyclopedia, Tabula Rogeriana, of the famous Amazigh Moroccan geographer Al-Idrisi.

In November 2018, a High Court judge in Trinidad ruled that Muslim women police officers are to be allowed to wear their hijabs while on duty.

In 2016, Turkey allowed female police officers to don the hijab.

The move followed an earlier announcement by Police Scotland which declared hijab an optional part of its uniform to encourage more female Muslims to consider policing as a career option.

Similarly, in Canada, the government announced in 2016 that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would allow its officers to wear hijab as part of their uniforms, in the hope of boosting the number of female Muslim recruits.