Jul 20 2009
Political pressure forces home guard to change position on Muslim headscarves while on duty.
The Home Guard was forced to publicly announce a ban on headscarves this weekend, after it emerged that a Muslim volunteer had carried out her training exercises wearing one.
Maria Mawla and her camouflage headscarf were featured in one of the Home Guard’s own news articles. That article has since been removed from the guard’s website.
Ulrik Kragh, MP for the Danish People’s Party and head of the Home Guard Committee, underscored that uniform guidelines have to be upheld and that Mawla will be expelled from the guard if she refuses to remove the headscarf while at the training camp. Kragh that while he was pleased to see Muslims aking an interest in the Home Guard, headscarves are incompatible with official military approved uniforms.
‘It was an error that the woman in question was allowed to conduct her courses wearing a headscarf,’ he stated on the Home Guard website. ‘Uniform regulations apply to all guard members, primarily for security reasons.’
But Kragh was contradicted by his own party’s defence spokesman, Karsten Nonbo, who said that as long as the headscarf was in keeping with the uniform’s design and colours, he could see no reason Mawla should not be allowed to wear it.
Should the issue not be sufficiently resolved, the Danish People’s Party has requested the matter be put before Defence Minister Søren Gade for a final decision.
The issue of whether public employees should be allowed to wear headscarves has been a recurrent one, most notably when judges were banned from wearing them last year. COPENHAGEN POST
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