Norway drops hijab for police officers

Oslo – Norway will not go ahead with plans to allow women police officers to wear the hijab – the Muslim headscarf – as part of their uniform, the justice minister said Friday.

Keltoum H. Missoum. Photo: Torstein Lillevik/Aftenbladet Stavanger.

Keltoum H. Miseltoum sparked the hijab-debate in Norway. Photo: Torstein Lillevik/Aftenbladet Stavanger.

Knut Storberget and his ministry has come under fire after the recent proposal to change regulations for police uniforms to allow religious headwear to be used was announced.

“Today we have decided not to go ahead with the proposed changes,” Storberget told reporters.

He cited discussions with the police, other parties including the Labour Party which is the main force in the red-green coalition as factors that contributed to the decision to drop the idea.

“We concluded this is not a sufficiently strong measure to recruit minorities to the police force,” he said.

The justice ministry probe was launched after a 23-year-old Muslim woman last year asked if it was possible to wear the hijab during police training and as a trained police officer.

Storberget said efforts would continue to increase recruitment from representatives of people from all walks of life, ethnicity and faith traditions.

The minister’s statement was welcomed by the Norwegian Police Federation that has opposed any form of religious headwear, saying the police force had to be viewed as neutral. That stance was also supported by members of minorities in the force, the union said.


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