As more Muslim women join police forces, hijab has become a part of the police uniform in different countries.
But when Maha Ayesh joined Bartlett Police Department, she made history as a first Muslim and hijabi police officer to join the force in Illinois.
“I am the first hijabi officer in Illinois,” said Ayesh, who turns 31 on Tuesday, Daily Herald reported.
“One of my biggest inspirations was I really wanted to challenge cultural barriers.”
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The Lombard resident previously worked as a forensic therapist evaluating inmates at the Kane County jail and as a juvenile justice liaison in Kane County.
Though her hijab is not a common scene for police officers in Illinois, she said that interactions were mostly positive.
“It’s so critical because we bring a background that a lot of people are not used to working with,” Ayesh said.
“I want to bring difference, more of my culture and values to show that we work with people just like me in our communities.”
Ayesh hopes to help the police department provide culturally competent services in the city with a growing ethnic and immigrant population.
“I want to show the Muslim females out there that they can do this … they can break those barriers and walls,” Ayesh said.
Muslim women success stories are growing around the world, with more women achieving glory and breaking records while preserving their religious beliefs.
In New Zealand, Zeena Ali has made history, in November 2020, becoming first Hijabi police officer in the country.
Earlier in 2016, Police Scotland 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.