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Muslim group lauds St. Paul police policy allowing officers to wear hijabs

Muslim officers may wear department-issued head scarves under the new policy.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is lauding a new policy by the St. Paul Police Department that allows Muslim officers to wear a hijab, or Islamic head scarf, while on duty.

The policy led to St. Paul recently becoming the first police department in the state to hire a female Muslim Somali-American community liaison officer.

St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith said that St. Paul joins Washington, D.C., in allowing officers to wear department-issued hijabs.

Lori Saroya, executive director of CAIR-MN, said: “We congratulate Chief Smith and the St. Paul Police Department for creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for Muslim employees. This decision will enable more Muslim women to consider serving their community through a career in law enforcement.”

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Saroya said in a statement that “Muslim women who wear the hijab sincerely believe it is their religious obligation and asking them to remove it is akin to asking them to remove a shirt or other piece of clothing.”