LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Canada's Mounties Say Female Officers Can Wear Hijabs

Canada's national police force confirmed Wednesday that the hijab would be permitted for Muslim female officers.

Canada's national police force says it is allowing women in its ranks to wear the hijab.

A spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known as the Mounties, recently approved the headscarf for its Muslim officers.

"This is intended to better reflect the diversity in our communities and encourage more Muslim women to consider the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a career option," Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Canada's public safety minister, told the Canada-based Global News.

Bardsley said other police forces in Canada have made similar religious accommodations, as have countries such as the U.S., U.K., Sweden and Norway.

Here's more from Global News:

"Three types of hijabs were tested last month before one was approved, according to an internal memo between Goodale and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, obtained by Montreal's La Presse. The memo also said the hijab could be removed quickly if needed, and did not pose a risk to officers."

The Mounties, easily recognized by their scarlet jackets and wide-brim hats, trace their history — and uniform — to the late 1800s, when recruits formed the North-West Mounted Police and headed west to stop an illegal American whiskey trade.

Women were allowed to join as uniformed members in 1974. And an RCMP assessment of gender in 2012 found that women represented 20 percent of the force's 19,258 regular members.

LePresse reports that the RCMP has received some 30 requests for cultural or religious accommodations over the past two years — mostly from male officers wanting to grow beards.

The hijab is not the first religious or cultural garment approved for RCMP officers. In 1990, Global News writes, "the RCMP made the controversial decision to allow Sikh officers to wear turbans as part of their uniforms."

In the U.S., the Defense Department relaxed rules to allow case-by-case religious exceptions for military dress in 2014, as The Two-Way reported at the time.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)