Female SRP wins right to wear hijab on duty

Female Special Reserve Police (SRP) officer, Sharon Roop,39, yesterday won the right to wear her hijab while in uniform.

The High Court today struck down a ruling that barred female Muslim police officers from wearing hijabs while on duty. 

Roop, in a telephone interview shortly after the victory, said she could not wait to wear her hijab and her uniform together.

"I did not want to have to choose between my faith and my love of policing," Roop said.

Roop converted to Islam back in 2009 while already of SRP and sought permission to ad the hijab to her uniform. She wrote to then Commissioner of Police Stephen WIlliams but was ignored for about two years.

She then looked at her legal options and retained Senior Counsel and former attorney general, Anand Ramlogan to fight on her behalf.

"I am really, really happy with this result," she said.

Roop said, as an SRP, she had to deal with the men and as such wanted her religion to be respected while on duty.

"When you have to interact with the opposite sex, it is important to wear the hijab," she said.

Roop said she sent a pre-action protocol letter to the CoP last year and that was the only time she heard from that office.

On Friday Justice Margaret Mohammed struck down the longstanding rule against the headwear by law enforcement officers.

"I am just very happy that Muslim women can stand up now and be counted in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service," she said.

According to the judgement, Mohammed said that the intention of the framers of the Constitution was for an "evolving plural society" where religious symbols were permitted.

Mohammed listed those religious symbols as the cross, the rosary, raksha sutra, sindoor and hijabs which are permitted in public places.

- by Renuka Singh

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