Dutch police ‘cannot ban’ headscarf for officers

Dutch police ‘cannot ban’ headscarf for officers

Dutch police ‘cannot ban’ headscarf for officers

The police discriminated against a Muslim female officer by forbidding her to wear a headscarf when interacting with the public, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights ruled on Nov. 20, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

The ruling came over a complaint by Sarah Izat, 26, a police officer who wore a headscarf, after she was dismissed over violating the dress code.

The Dutch National Police had claimed that religious symbols are incompatible with police uniforms both to ensure neutrality and the officers’ safety.

But the council said Izat was mainly answering emergency calls in the police department where there was limited contact with the public.

“When she is on the phone, civilians can’t see her. Prohibiting her [from wearing the scarf] therefore does not add to the intention of being neutral”, the council reportedly said, adding that the police had made a “forbidden distinction on the basis of religion.”

As with all of its decisions, the council’s decision is non-binding, but the police forces are expected to abide by it.

“We Won! The Council confirms just: I have the right to wear uniform and headscarf. This means everything and this is a victory for all of us!” Izat wrote on her Twitter account.