A UNIFORM serves a purpose: To be an easily recognizable symbol that unites and quickly distinguishes people with a specific role or function. It radiates authority and reduces the wearer's individuality so they are in line with - and accountable to - the organization as a whole.
So it can disturb the order of things when one group member chooses to change the uniform's look for themselves. Especially if a military or quasi-military organization like the Philadelphia Police Department is involved.
Kimberlie Webb is a police officer who is Muslim. She wants wear a "khimar," or traditional head scarf, while on duty. Webb says the scarf can be wrapped on her head in such a say that it would not jeopardize her safety, or be seen under her cap. In 2005, Webb sued the city in federal court, claiming discrimination. A U.S. District Court judge dismissed her case. Last week, she filed an appeal.
We commend her religious faith, but when people choose to take on jobs that have a high public-safety and public-interaction factor, like that of a police officer, they know going in what the requirements are. Our reaction has nothing to do with Webb's religious affiliation - but it shouldn't be part of a police uniform. And what happens when her cap comes off in the normal course of duty?
We'd have the same problem if a police officer who is Christian wanted to wear a crucifix pin behind her holster, or a Jewish officer wanted to wear a yarmulke under his cap. [Link]
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