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Old 01-10-18, 06:18   #1
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Hot CANADA-Mounties Allow Hijabs & Military Will Allow Beards

Canadian Mounties Update Uniform to Allow Navy Blue Hijabs in Bid to Attract Muslim Women to The Force

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a progressive and inclusive police service that values and respects persons of all cultural and religious backgrounds'

CBC 1 Oct 2018

The RCMP has been introducing different measures to try to attract more people to policing careers.

Female Mounties will now have the option of wearing a navy blue headscarf — or hijab — as part of their uniform, the RCMP confirmed Wednesday.

The policy change is meant to reflect the country’s diversity and to encourage more Muslims to join the force, officials said.

“The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a progressive and inclusive police service that values and respects persons of all cultural and religious backgrounds,” said Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

But before the uniform option was quietly approved in January, there had been concerns that headscarves could pose choking hazards.

Internal RCMP documents obtained by The Rebel media website under Access to Information laws show that three prototypes tested “very poorly” because fasteners did not open easily if the hijab was pulled against the neck.

Rather than make a public announcement about the uniform accommodation in January, the force opted instead for a “low profile internal communication.”

RCMP spokeswoman Staff Sgt. Julie Gagnon would not say Wednesday what specific design changes were made to overcome the safety concerns, saying only that the RCMP hijab is “designed to be unobtrusive, easily removable and present the least possible risk to the member.”

“The RCMP-issued hijab has undergone rigorous testing to ensure the design meets the highest standards of officer safety,” Gagnon said, adding that the final design was chosen in consultation with RCMP’s occupational health and safety program.

The women are still expected to wear their forage caps during regular duties and their wide-brimmed felt hats during ceremonies.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement it welcomed the decision to allow Mounties to wear Islamic headscarves, noting the force’s decision in 1990 to accommodate Sgt. Baltej Singh Dhillon’s request to wear a turban.

“While in 1990 there was initial reluctance to allow Sikh RCMP officers to wear the turban as part of their uniforms, Canadians have since embraced the change and we expect that this will be the same with the decision to allow the hijab,” the statement said.

The RCMP’s embrace of the hijab is a striking contrast to what’s happening in France, where skirmishes have broken out over the decision by at least a dozen towns to ban body-covering burkinis, swimwear favoured by some Muslim women.

Other Canadian law enforcement agencies, including the Toronto and Edmonton police forces, have policies that accommodate officers who wish to wear a hijab. So do police forces in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway.

According to the internal RCMP documents, the force has received about 30 requests for religious or cultural accommodations in the past two years — such as requests to grow beards or to have access to prayer rooms.

The decision to allow members to wear hijabs on duty, however, did not come about because of a formal request, but out of a desire “to better reflect the changing diversity in the community and encourage more Muslim women to consider policing as a career option,” the documents state.

The force has been introducing different measures to try to attract more people to policing careers. In May, the RCMP announced it was opening up applications to permanent residents who had lived in Canada for at least 10 years.

Doing so would improve diversity and help the force deliver “culturally sensitive policing,” according to internal briefing notes obtained by the National Post. The force has set recruitment targets of 30-per-cent women, 20-per-cent visible minority and 10-per-cent aboriginal.

The Canadian Forces will try to accommodate the religious and spiritual requirements of its members “if militarily practicable” and “based on safety and operational considerations,” spokesman Daniel Lebouthillier said Wednesday.

“For example, members who are of the Sikh religion are permitted to wear a turban, provided that the operational mission and safety are not jeopardized,” he said.

He noted that Lt. Cmdr. Wafa Dabbagh became the first Canadian Forces member to wear the hijab in 1996.
With files from The Associated Press..


Canadian Military To Allow Beards to Attract Diverse Applicants & For Religious Purposes.

Keeping up with the times will help 'ability to attract a wider range of Canadians'

CBC 1 Oct 2018

Acting Sub-Lt. Uzi Kamal was recently featured in a Canadian Armed Forces publication on his journey from being a Syrian immigrant to a Canadian naval officer. Kamal was allowed to wear a beard while ashore. The military as a whole is relaxing its policy on facial hair.
(Canadian Forces)...

Members of the Canadian military will be allowed to sport beards, as long as they are not shaggy hipster beards, National Defence announced on Wednesday.

A new general order from the country's top military commander spells out the times and circumstances when facial hair will be permitted.

The order includes specific grooming instructions.

Beards must be neatly trimmed and "shall not exceed two centimetres in bulk" and both the neck and cheekbones must be shaved.

The new policy eases restrictions that have been in place for years. Until now, beards were allowed only on a limited basis and solely at the discretion of the chief of the defence staff.

There has long been an exception for beards grown for religious purposes. The current defence minister, Harjit Sajjan, a Sikh, served as a lieutenant-colonel in the reserves with a full beard.

The change is being made, according to the military's top non-commissioned officer, to keep up the times and to make the Canadian Armed Forces an attractive place to work.

The policy "recognizes that greater control over personal appearance enhances organizational morale and our ability to attract a wider range of Canadians," Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond said in a statement.

In an interview with CBC News, Guimond said military leaders have received regular requests to ease the restriction and started seriously examining the idea almost two years ago.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan served in the military while wearing a full beard. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The grooming instructions which prevent soldiers, sailors and aircrew from going full hipster are important for maintaining an image, he said.

"We did a lot of working groups and consultations," he said. "We need to keep an appearance for the Canadian public so we are all the same and clean. So, those beards absolutely need to be trimmed.

There is one big caveat to the new policy: Commanders can order a soldier, sailor or aircrew member to shave if the beard presents a safety hazard — or there is some operational reason it cannot be worn.'

In fact, the navy will issue its own separate, complementary instructions that clarify its position on the new policy.

Navy Policy To Stay

At the moment, the navy allows sailors to grow beards while ashore, but it insists they be shaved when a warship goes to sea.

That overall policy will remain, said Guimond.

In the early 2000s, the navy fought a pitched battle with sailors when it tried to crack down on the growing of beards, long considered a tradition for men standing watch on deck in cold, stormy seas.

At that time, a working group of senior officials studied how well safety equipment, such as respirators, fit over furry features. Sailors, in emergencies, are required to don the bulky gear in the event of fire or chemical-warfare attack. Guimond said the same concerns are present today.

The debate over whether beards should be allowed in navy has raged for decades.

During the Second World War, the navy instituted an outright ban for safety because beards were considered a hazard to men who were forced to swim in oil-fouled waters after their ships were torpedoed.

The issue resurfaced in the 1950s as gas masks and breathing equipment became standard throughout most warships.

Even though he is now permitted, Guimond, 52, said he doesn't plan to follow the younger crowd, but will keep a clean face.

"I have been shaving since I was 17 and I even shave on the weekends," he said.
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