Justice minister again says no to police officers in headscarves

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz has reaffirmed her opposition to serving police officers wearing headscarves or other religious symbols, saying as long as she is in charge, this will remain the situation.

‘As long as I am minister of justice and safety, police uniforms will be neutral,’ she said on Thursday. ‘And that means no headscarf or whatever else as far as I am concerned. That is why it is called a uniform.’

The minister was responding to questions about the new police anti-racism coordinator who has said he sees no reason why police officers cannot wear headscarves. The government’s own anti-discrimination chief has made similar comments.

Yeşilgöz told MPs that in public functions, where officers wear uniforms, headscarves are unsuitable, but in situations where no uniform is required women who wear them are welcome.

‘This is a free country and we choose the job that fits us best,’ she said.

Yeşilgöz has also said council wardens (boas) should not be able to wear religious symbols either, because they too should reflect neutrality.

Under official guidelines, wardens who have contact with the public must not show ‘visible expressions of belief, religion, political opinion … or other form of lifestyle that detracts from their authority, neutrality and safety’.

The Dutch human rights council College voor de Rechten van de Mens said at the time the standpoint was ‘stigmatising’ and ‘not an effective way to guarantee neutrality.’

The European Court of Justice ruled recently that employers are not discriminatory in banning visible religious symbols if the ruling is applied to all workers in a general and undifferentiated way.

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