Tag Archive: hijab

Yorkshire’s first hijab-wearing Police Officer handles pub brawls, domestic incidents, dead bodies and more

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INSPIRING: PC Tayyaba Afzal is Yorkshire’s first female Muslim hijab-wearing police officer pictured here with PC Amjad Ditta

INSPIRING: PC Tayyaba Afzal is Yorkshire’s first female Muslim hijab-wearing police officer pictured here with PC Amjad Ditta - Positive Action Coordinator and Authorised Firearms Officer

 

Super hijabi cop!

“A person’s role in society shouldn’t be seen as any different from anybody who doesn’t wear the hijab or the turban or the mosque hat.” PC Tayyaba Afzal

The Bradford District continues to set standards nationwide with it being the Curry Capital of Britain for the sixth year running, part of the epic Tour de Yorkshire (third instalment this weekend), UNESCO’s City of Film and home to some 200 South Asian restaurants, just to mention a mere handful of attributes.

And now, the City can add to its growing portfolio of sheer uniqueness, a female Muslim bobby patrolling the streets donning a hijab as part of her official attire. She’s involved with handling pub brawls, domestic incidents, dealing with dead bodies amongst some of her daily duties.

PC Tayyaba Afzal, one of the latest trained District Response Officers from the force, is Yorkshire’s first hijab-wearing police officer and marks the growing diversity and ever-evolving ethnic dynamics of West Yorkshire Police (WYP).

She became interested in a career with the police and attended a workshop led by PC Amjad Ditta a Positive Action Coordinator and Authorised Firearms Officer. Here she quizzed PC Ditta about if she would be accepted by WYP if she wore her headscarf and whether she’d be granted permissions to offer her prayers.

“I feel strongly about wearing the hijab as it’s an intrinsic part of my beliefs and values,” explains PC Afzal.

“PC Ditta answered all of my questions. He reassured me that WYP, due to the diverse work that it does and deep involvement with the communities, I’d be welcomed into the force.”

Following the application process, PC Afzal dedicated herself to completing each stage of the recruitment process. Finally, after finishing 12-weeks of intense training, she’s now a police officer serving the communities.

“Staying true to my identity has been really important for me, and what I have accomplished shows that no matter what background you're from you can be part of the service and make a difference; this reflects on the police force in a very positive way.”

“I would say it’s a career like no other and a varied role. You can still practice your religion and beliefs and have a career. It gives you skills for life and is a very rewarding job.

“A person’s role in society shouldn’t be seen as any different from anybody who doesn’t wear the hijab or the turban or the mosque hat.

“It’s a shame that we live in an age where we are judged by the way we look, but that’s why I have joined to bust these myths and overcome the barriers others may perceive that exist.”

The Muslim communities have given PC Afzal much respect, and she says mostly when dealing with disruptions or tense situations, seeing a Muslim headscarf-wearing female demands respect.

“It’s really encouraging,” comments PC Afzal.

“While arresting an individual recently they commented ‘It’s nice to see the police becoming diverse and accepting all other communities as well.’ I was totally taken aback, slightly amused and also pleasantly surprised – I took it as a huge compliment. It made my day.”

PC Amjad Ditta worked with PC Tayyaba Afzal to create the WYP-approved hijab which would be both professional and comfortable to wear and says he felt that WYP had taken a great positive leap in representing the communities out there

“There’s more to be done. However we are going in the right direction,” comments PC Ditta.

“The engagement that I and other officers including members of the community, mosque leaders, councillors and others have undertaken has had a significant impact in attracting a more diverse workforce.

“PC Afzal is a role model and an inspiration for other females who have always wanted to join but for reasons like "is the headscarf allowed" and "will we get time to pray" may have stopped them from applying.

“We as a force encourage all backgrounds to come and join our service.

“We need more individuals like PC Afzal and others to come and be part of the service.

“I would say it's a job for life and a vocation. No one day is the same and each day brings its own challenges and rewards.

If anyone is interested in any role in the police services, you can contact PC Ditta direct on Facebook PC Amjad Ditta or Twitter @wyp_amjadditta or email amjad.ditta@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

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Ban on religious wear is “not discriminatory”

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ANGRY: Bana Gora (CEO, Muslim Women’s Council) delivering a speech on Muslim Women’s Rights

ANGRY: Bana Gora (CEO, Muslim Women’s Council) delivering a speech on Muslim Women’s Rights

 

Outrage after European Court of Justice (ECJ) says Employers are entitled to ban workers from the "visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign”

In a devastating blow to human rights and the right to religious freedom, this week’s  ruling from the ECJ, which says employers have the right to ban any visible religious attire and signs, has caused outrage.

The case was prompted after Samira Achbita, a receptionist for global company G4S in Belgium was fired from her job, after three years with the company, when she began to wear a headscarf to work.

She claimed she was being discriminated against because of her religion But when the Belgian's court of cassation referred the case to the EU's top court for clarification, they cleared G4S of any discriminatory charges.

G4S claimed in their workplace regulations  they forbid employees "from wearing any visible signs of their political, philosophical or religious beliefs and/or from engaging in any observance of such beliefs.”

This is the court's first decision on the issue of Islamic headscarves at work and whilst they have instigated the ruling, it must be based on internal company policy requiring all employees to "dress neutrally.”

Covering up: Muslim women wear the hijab for modesty as part of their faith

Covering up: Muslim women wear the hijab for modesty as part of their faith

 

Now human rights groups say that the suggestion that the hijab is not part of a “neutral” dress code merely implies that it is a provocation, and it only serves to undercut the religious freedoms of Muslim women, a group who are already bearing the brunt of rising Islamophobia in Europe

Bana Gora (CEO, Muslim Women’s Council) said: “This ruling is a violation of women’s rights and autonomy.

“Given the alarming rise in hate crimes, the timing of this ruling will only embolden growing far-right sentiment which has been resurrected since Brexit.

“Instead of focussing on the hijab, which has been so grossly dissected by the media and politicians alike, we must focus on the more pressing issues on our doorstep. The last thing we want to do is to alienate Muslim women who are already heavily disenfranchised.”   

FREEDOM: 2012 saw the first Sikh men given permission to wear turban in armed forces

FREEDOM: 2012 saw the first Sikh men given permission to wear turban in armed forces

 

Of course, the ban doesn’t just have implications for the female Muslim community; Sikh men who wear the turban may face persecution in the workplace now as a result of the ruling.

Only in 2012, were communities celebrating the first Sikh guardsman to be given permission to wear a turban instead of a bearskin while on duty outside Buckingham Palace. This ruling now threatens to undermine the progress made by a range of religious and minority groups to express their freedom in the workplace.

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VIRAL VIDEO: Torrent of abuse for hijab-wearing girl twerking in public

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VIRAL VIDEO: Torrent of abuse for hijab-wearing girl twerking in public

SHOCK: The video of a young hijab-wearing woman twerking in public went viral and became the subject of a barrage of abuse – one person posted “stupid b**** needs to be killed” and “F****** s*** someone give me her address I will kill her”

A young girl has been the subject of a barrage of abuse after a video of her dancing went viral.

The woman, who hasn’t been named, was caught on camera twerking to music while wearing a hijab in the street in Birmingham.

After being viewed over 1 million times on social media, the video has resulted in a backlash against the woman with comments including death threats.

While opinion on social media was divided, some users posted very strong reactions with comments like “Stupid b**** needs to be killed” and “F****** s*** someone give me her address I will kill her”.

 

INTERVENTION: Islamic YouTuber's Ali Dawah and Musa Adnan attempted to reach out to the girl and restore public calm

Islamic YouTuber Ali Dawah, who has over 100,000 subscribers, posted a reaction video to his channel, in which he interviewed the woman in video. In the video Ali, along with fellow Youtuber Musa Adnan, deemed the video “inappropriate” but made an attempt to reach out to the woman and try to understand what happened.

A political activist and rights campaigner who is a critic of Sharia Law, spoke in defence of the woman. She tweeted: “Why the hell does she need to say sorry?”

During their initial viewing of the original video, the pair were angry and confused about the incident, but after talking to the woman their frustration transferred to those who are continuing to share the video on social media.

“I was out with my friends, we were going shopping and there were these people playing music, there was one song that a girl wanted to dance with me,” the woman explained, before sharing that she has mental health issues including depression and self-harm.

The girl apologised, before imploring Ali’s viewers to stop sharing the video and to remove it from the internet where possible.

“To all the girls that wear hijab and wear abayah I’m sorry for disrespecting it,” the girl said. “I’ve learnt from my mistake.

“I’m just hurt, I just want everybody to leave it alone and keep everything away.

“I don’t want it to be how it was and I’m not gonna do anything like again and I’m sorry for disrespecting it and thank you to all of you that helped.”

Maryam Namazie, a political activist and rights campaigner who is a critic of Sharia Law, spoke in defence of the woman. She tweeted: “Why the hell does she need to say sorry”.

Maryam received some backlash from Twitter users for her comments. When a user pointed out that this was none of her business, she tweeted: “Women's rights is my business”.

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Modest Miss Minnesota: Beauty in a hijab reaches US semi-finals

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BEAUTY IS WITHIN: Halima Aden said that people should be ‘confident in their own skin’ (Pic cred: Halima Aden’s Instagram)

BEAUTY IS WITHIN: Halima Aden said that people should be ‘confident in their own skin’ (Pic cred: Halima Aden’s Instagram)

A 19-year-old Minnesota woman made history in the state's Miss USA beauty pageant over the weekend, becoming the first contestant to compete in a hijab - and during the bathing suit competition- a burkini.

Halima Aden, a Somali-American teen who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, opted for traditional attire at Miss Minnesota USA pageant.

Halima immigrated to America with her family when she was six. During the beauty competition, she says she has found support from her fellow contestants. 

GROUNDBREAKING: Halima Aden with her top 15 trophy (Pic cred: Ellery McCardle’s Twitter)

GROUNDBREAKING: Halima Aden with her top 15 trophy (Pic cred: Ellery McCardle’s Twitter)

She said: “A lot of girls were very supportive of what I’m doing, and that just makes it all worth it.

“My advice to them is just be confident in your own skin, know that an extra layer of clothing does not define your beauty, because beauty is within.”

Halima didn't win the competition — she made the top 15 in a contest of 45 — but she still took the showing as a victory.

“This is a big win for us,” Halima told American press.

“I'm the first to do this, and I'm hoping to see more Muslim women wearing burkinis, being celebrated.

“Be who you are. It's easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”

She told MPR: “What I wanted to do was to just give people a different perspective. We just needed one more thing to unify us. This is a small act, but I feel like having the title of Miss Minnesota USA when you are Somali-American, when you are a Muslim woman, I think that would open up people’s eyes.”

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HIJAB BAN: First time anyone’s talked sense about banning headscarf

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BANNED: Under a possible new ruling, all religious and political symbols could be banned in the workplace

BANNED: Under a possible new ruling, all religious and political symbols could be banned in the workplace

An EU court adviser has said that companies should be allowed to ban Islamic headscarves from the workplace, but only if all other religious and political symbols are banned as well, in a move that’s a victory for common sense.

The opinion was issued by Juliane Kokott, an Advocate General to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) who said that while an employee cannot 'leave their sex, ethnicity, age or disability at the door', he or she may be expected to moderate exercise of religion in the workplace.

The long-debated topic arose once again after a Belgian court sought clarification on what is banned by EU anti-discrimination laws.

In the case, a receptionist wore her headscarf to work and was subsequently fired for wearing it.

Claimant Samira Achbita told the court how she was being discriminated against on the grounds of her religion.

SYMBOLIC: The latest EU ruling suggests an ‘all or nothing’ policy when it comes to banning religious or political symbols

SYMBOLIC: The latest EU ruling suggests an ‘all or nothing’ policy when it comes to banning religious or political symbols

The latest opinion by Ms Kokott suggests that if visible religious or political symbols are banned as part of company dress code or uniform policy, the hijab should not be exempt as it falls under exactly the same category.

Likewise, if such symbols are allowed in the workplace, so should the hijab.

The advocate general's findings are not binding but the EU court typically follows the adviser's recommendation.

A ruling from the European Court of Justice is expected later this year. The Belgian court will rule on the matter thereafter.

The wearing of headscarves or full-face veils has been an increasingly touchy debate in Europe between the forces of secularism and some sections of the continent’s Muslim community.

There are already some headscarf bans in schools and public institutions in Belgium and France whilst protests have been seen by women donning the hijab, calling them ‘liberating’ not ‘oppressing’.

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