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Donna, 26, Sweden's first police recruit in hijab

Rebecca Martin · 6 Dec 2011, 15:14

Published: 06 Dec 2011 15:14 GMT+01:00

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”If anything it is a reflection of the multicultural Sweden we live in today,” Eljammal told The Local.

It has only been five years since the ban on police recruits wearing a veil, a kippa or a turban as part of their regular uniform, was lifted.

Although the decision came some years ago, the matter has been controversial in Sweden since then and so far no woman wearing a traditional Muslim veil had attended Sweden's police academy. '

Until now.

However, Donna Eljammal has known since she was a little girl that she wanted to be a police officer.

”I like working with people, helping people, and to not do exactly the same thing everyday. I always knew it would fit my personality,” she said.

”And it shows the public another side of women choosing to wear the veil, that we are not oppressed but can be strong and independent women.”

Before being accepted into the police academy, Eljammal worked for the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården).

Wearing a veil never constituted a problem there either, and she always felt she was well treated and respected by the other members of staff.

Eljammal thinks that it is an asset in all professions today to have staff with different cultural and religious backgrounds.

”The veil shows clearly that I have first hand knowledge of a different aspect of Swedish society,” she said.

And at the police, they welcome having recruits with different backgrounds representing the variety of Swedish contemporary society.

”We're living in a modern and multi-cultural society and it goes without saying that we must recognize the fundamental rights that exists therein. And freedom of religion is one of them,” Kalle Wallin of the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) said to daily Expressen.

According to Wallin, there are currently no restrictions on headgear of a religious kind among recruits.

Hwever, he couldn't answer whether they would allow something as concealing as a burka on a recruit.

”The day we are faced with that question we will have to assess if we will allow it or not,” said Wallin to the paper.

Story continues below…

Eljammal knew that she would receive a lot of attention as Sweden's first veiled police recruit.

”Sweden's first ever female police recruit received a lot of attention as well. It's just because it is the very first time,” she said.

However, she had not expected all the attention to come so early, during her first term at the police academy.

”It places a huge responsibility on me to really set an example and be a role model to others,” she told The Local.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:29 December 6, 2011 by philster61
Hahaha. Let the Stockholm Syndrome begin.....
18:43 December 6, 2011 by Beavis
Pathetic..sorry, Im all on for integrating everyone, but in Islamic countries this is not even allowed! If you want to do the job, wear the uniform- there are some jobs that require you to show your face and this is one of them, were not talking about someone working in a call centre here! Does this mean the police will now accept recruits belonging to the spaggetti monster religion, will they have the freedom to wear a seive on their head? Please someone test this out!
19:13 December 6, 2011 by truthworthy
@Beavis You really dont know the difference between hijab or niqab, do you ? Google it.

This is a positive move. There is no way hijab limits the ability of any women to do their job. It is just like any other piece of cloths.

The niqab or burqa is a different story. It will be impossible for a women wearing a burqa or niqab to work in the police or any other job. Maybe the call center as Beavis says.
20:26 December 6, 2011 by calebian22
The police uniform needs to be called an outfit now. Uniform means uniformity. This is crap.
20:30 December 6, 2011 by BritVik
Can't wait until they allow naturists to join - in their 'full regalia' and of both sexes - of course.
20:49 December 6, 2011 by Svensksmith
Wonder wear the naturist police officers would wear their flak jacket?
20:52 December 6, 2011 by Ivan Juric
Does this mean Santa Claus can join Svenska Polis and still dress up in his big red suit?
21:21 December 6, 2011 by bloor west
I think this is fantastic. It's only through exposure to different cultures that we'll break down the prejudices. A female, muslim police officer in hijab will break down barriers between the police force and important parts of the population here. @beavis and @calebian22, I suspect this freaks you out because you otherwise have no direct contact or even exposure to muslims.
21:35 December 6, 2011 by Migga
Can`t she be a muslim and a police without wearing the hijab? Or is the entire meaning of being a muslim dependent on the hijab? I thought being a muslim was more then just a piece of cloth. If so, then why wear it? If not, you will exlude yourself. All because of a piece of cloth which in the big picture doesn`t mean anything. So just remove it.

The police represent the secular state that we live in. Religion has no room in the public space, it should be kept in private.
22:04 December 6, 2011 by Just_Kidding
Lets see if Saudi Arabia (the birth place of Muhammad) will hire a miniskirt wearing policewoman.

Iranian Atheist
22:51 December 6, 2011 by chemo007
wt sweden wants by this....in many Muslim countries all women are free not to wear hijab during job. its strange if she ll wear hijab or not......if its not in the law then she souldnt
23:43 December 6, 2011 by sendia
I am looking forward to see a kimono wearing ethic Japanese police woman, wouldn't that be a sight?
00:08 December 7, 2011 by swedejane
Cool...can every police officer now where something identifying their religious beliefs? It sounds like a perfectly lovely idea.
00:23 December 7, 2011 by Beavis
@bloor west ..have a reread what i wrote.. @migga agree totally on this basis, sd members will want the right to wear their clan white headgear when on duty as police, so will that be ok with you? I guess you didnt get the spagetti monster reference. This is now an "official religion" (and just as valid as any other imo) So if a muslim is demanding the right to wear hijab, then a spagetti monster follower has an EQUAL right to demand they can wear a sieve on their head as part of a police uniform..
00:27 December 7, 2011 by Grokh
I thought cops were supposed to wear uniforms and only single eachother out by actual rank thus eliminating unequality based on their backgrounds.

IF this is about equality and she can wear stupid religious stuff, THEN doesnt that means all cops should be allowed to come to work wearing whatever they want?

If not then we clearly see how special exceptions is made to accomodate religious crap once again.
00:36 December 7, 2011 by Slash
This is ridiculous.

Uniform is like an identity the Police carry with them.

I don't understand the point Sweden is trying to prove by making such moves.

It's good to be flexible but there is a limit.
00:38 December 7, 2011 by GLO
This is just Nuts!!!!!
00:48 December 7, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
Canada has allowed a handful of Sikh RCMP officers to wear turbans, but this is a bit over the top, even for Sweden.
01:13 December 7, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
This person will never be accepted as a Swede, I guess the Muslim cop would be her calling.

That's true integration for you...you come to a country and never be accepted because PC allows you to remain as you were in you previous beliefs.

Then you say prejudice!

Or you come to a country and change it because PC fanatics don't like what gave them the power to be themselves... so they destroy being themselves and become "others".

I recommend PC enthusiasts be chosen as people to be sent to other countries to learn their culture and prejudice toward others and be allowed to spread their doctrine to improve their lifestyle...I heartily recommend that Saudi Arabia be the first country to experience the wonders of PC and it's benefits to the Saudi people.

After a while they will dress like Swedes! Nah. I guess not.
01:20 December 7, 2011 by mafketis
Hijab is by no means a requirement for muslim women. I work with several muslim women (all wonderful people) from different countries who have never shown any inclination toward wearing hijab. One was freaked out as any westerner when she had to interact with a woman in niqab, it was as alien to her majority muslim country as it would be to Swedes.

So since hijab is not a requirement (like a Sikh's turban), this woman wants an exception made to the dress code for her entirely voluntary symbol of religious observance.
01:45 December 7, 2011 by Da Goat
Good luck to her i say !

the police need more religious people to keep them Honest!
02:19 December 7, 2011 by rouzi
Do not like it ! Just it!
05:54 December 7, 2011 by blursd
This is bullish#$ ...

So, if a Catholic nun decided to become a police officer would she be entitled to wear a habit whilst on duty? How many Jewish police officers are allowed to wear a yarmulke? Or, how about a Lutheran police officer with a giant wooden cross around their neck ...?

If you're a police officer you represent the State ... and as a representative of the State it's unethical for that officer to show religious affiliation or preference. Suppose a Coptic Egyptian immigrant in Sweden who's asylum was granted on the basis of religious persecution in their native country at the hands of Muslims is confronted by a Swedish police officer decked out in the religious symbols of his/her oppressor?

If you're a Muslim ... great ... but, keep it to yourself. I don't need or want to see your outward expressions of your religion when I might not have a choice to be subjected to those expressions. The same goes for any other religion ... I don't care if you pray to Mary or a giant spaghetti monster ...
08:09 December 7, 2011 by Abang Beruang
Its as simple as that, she wants to wear a hijab, let her wear. How can you separate a person from his/her own belief? Asking someone not to wear a religious symbol amounts to tempering his/her religious freedom.

Now, whether Police should allow someone to wear an extra piece of clothing with the regular uniform, that's a different issue. I think, since society consists of many different kinds of people, all public service entities should reflect that diversity. Thats the most logical way of business. In any successful organization, the personnel team always consists of people who are directly related to the main function of the organization. If police is required to serve all citizens regardless of their faith, color and origin, then police force should be built by making sure that they have representative from all parts of society.

Face it as it is! Do not complain simply because she is Muslim! This is a good first step to integrate people of Muslim background in Swedish society. I laud it whole heartedly. After all, she is very pretty!!
08:32 December 7, 2011 by Liquidmonkey
lets just ignore the fact that religious people talk to imaginary people (although that in itself is reason enough not to put these people in positions of power).

i'm all for immigration BUT when u immigrate to another country YOU SHOULD RESPECT THEIR BELIEFS, LAWS AND HISTORY.

sweden is sweden, period!

show respect and adjust to swedens way of life, don't make everyone else adjust to yours, just cause you come from a different country and claim to have a certain religious belief.

its disgusting. u wanna wear your offensive clothing, then go to a country that does that.

sweden does not so please take it off or go away!
08:58 December 7, 2011 by Central European
bloor west :D

Tooooooooo optimistic this : A female, muslim police officer in hijab will break down barriers between the police force and important parts of the population here ????

Which important part of population you mean ?

I can imagine than bulk of majority part would accept female muslim police officer, it should be no problem at all ...

But you really think that muslim minority will be happy to see female muslim officer breaking the barriers ?

You are an incorrigible optimist.

09:23 December 7, 2011 by spo10
If Donna wants to serve this country wholeheartedly then she should walk the talk. She should take pride in wearing her police uniform. I don't understand why she's wearing a hijab at work when she can do it on her free time or at home. Leave religion and any other things attached to it while at work.
10:10 December 7, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
This is how it begins... a slippery slope to government workers in burkhas?

Sweden will do down in the books as the country who tried hardest to erase its culture and replace it with another... congrats.
10:26 December 7, 2011 by jomamas
I live in Canada where we are far more multicultural and we do not allow this.

Swedes are so self-righteous that they are completely stupid when it comes to these issues.

Sweden will cease to exist in one generation.
10:48 December 7, 2011 by N0DE
Sweden is new IRAN .......... Throw out all Iranians if you want Sweden to be progressive and democratic ...Iranians may claim they are atheists but in their heart they are Radical muslims
11:27 December 7, 2011 by Douglas Garner
I don't see this as a problem, other than it my single her out for disrespect by non- or anti- religious groups making her job more difficult and dangerous. If an officer was to refuse to allow me to see their face... if was a naqab or ninja mask... then we have a problem!
11:56 December 7, 2011 by DAVID T
I didn't think they liked pork
12:44 December 7, 2011 by gabeltoon
I have checked out what a HIJAB , NIJAB is on the net.Both these head dresses are not a requirement but a preference of some muslim women. If i needed the service of a police officer i would expect them to in uniform with their face fully visible. I agree with "spo10". DONNA should leave the wearing of such headdress to her private life not her work.
13:26 December 7, 2011 by N0DE
Why do we wear clothes in office, I would like women to come without clothes on. This would Liberate them from all they are suffering from
18:56 December 7, 2011 by waffen
The military and the police forces have uniforms.

When making the decision to join eirther of those forces, a person also accepts that they will wear the uniform of those forces.

Any other explanation to the contrary is illogical. Therefore, what Sweden is allowing with this person is illogical, and , worse, the State is allowing this illogical to accommodate religion.

When a State swings and sways to the whims of religion, that State will slip into anarchy until such time that the dominant religon wins. Thus, that State will cease to exist.

Sweden is now on that path.
19:36 December 7, 2011 by Joeboyscout04
Nice to see that some barriers are being broken down. If it's not affecting her job performance, than who cares what she wears? The hijab just covers the hair...it's not like it covers the rest of the uniform.
19:44 December 7, 2011 by big5
Monty Python could do a good skit on this... cop in a burka LOL.
20:10 December 7, 2011 by martiancat
so, can someone explain. If it is not mandatory to wear a weird cloth which makes (most women's) face looks round and horrible... Why does half the female population in Holland wear it? It really does not make anyone look any better.
20:22 December 7, 2011 by godnatt
I wonder what the police burqa will look like?
20:37 December 7, 2011 by big5
You can still get some kind of glimpse of hips and body parts with a burka. I think they should wear an oil drum.
21:36 December 7, 2011 by mafketis
I wonder what the woman who was gang raped by asylum seekers (see other story here) would feel like if Ms Hijab were assigned to her case...
01:59 December 8, 2011 by Authentica
"We're living in a modern and multi-cultural society ..."

I agree with this totally..however, how does her hijab fit in that modern society, hope she is aware of that and would soon replace the hijab with a police hat.
09:13 December 8, 2011 by seekingthetruth
I agree with Da Goat. Sweden in general needs a little more religion to keep people honest and good. Only 5% of native Swedes go to church that is scary. I am proud of Donna!
11:38 December 8, 2011 by b_raz_swed
Its her choice and she has all the right to do so. She's not abusing or insulting , so why we should not tolerate and complain about it.
13:02 December 8, 2011 by tadetlungt
She is too pretty to be in Police. I wonder which type of cases she is gonna work on :)
16:53 December 8, 2011 by acidcritic
Multiculturalism is very god. However,the rapid arabization of Europe will terminate with it. Arabization will also finish with woman polices.
06:22 December 9, 2011 by calebian22

How will this break down barriers? It will not bring respect from the muslim community, as head covered women are second class citizens. On one side, she is wearing a police uniform, a symbol of justice and equality in Sweden. On the other, she tarnishes that image by wearing a head covering, a symbol of restrictive, chauvanistic thinking implemented around the world to keep women subservient to men. How is this a step forward? How is this a step forward for equality when the step is tarnished with inequality towards more than half the population of the Earth? This is just pandering, for no good reason by idiots who don't understand that they are eroding personal freedoms by doing this.

As for my contact level, do you live in Sweden? One can't turn around without having contact with a muslim, sadly.
08:59 December 9, 2011 by seekingthetruth
Hijab and niqab aree not symbols of chauvanistic thinking! They are symbols of modesty and prudence that some women forget that they should have! When I see a hijab, to me it shows a woman who will go to heaven and be blessed! You need to educate yourself a little more @calebian22!!
10:30 December 9, 2011 by biddi
Just a step closer ......
12:54 December 9, 2011 by flintis
As long as her clothing does not obscure her face, hopefully she is capable of doing the job & will not be subject to racist remarks & bullying

@seekingthetruth: it's religion that's scary not the fact that only 5% believe in fairy tales. Belief in humanity is what makes people good, the state of the world today show how much trouble, poverty, war, heartache, disease, famine etc religion brings
14:47 December 9, 2011 by Migga
@ seekingthetruth

Who has told these women that it`s a symbol of modesty and prudance? And who has told them they will go to heaven if they do wear it?

Men has.
16:50 December 9, 2011 by Archie1954
Allowing for veiled female police officers is fraught with potential problems. In most democratic countries a police officer must be identifiable by the people he/she is confronting. Where a veil is involved this is impossible. As well if an officer cannot look the individual straight in the eyes with determination the confrontee will not be able to guage the level of seriousness that the officer is showing. All in all this is a foolish attempt at political correctness.
20:05 December 9, 2011 by calebian22
Seeking the truth.

Migga summed it up precisely.

However, I will add this. The fact that you think a head covering is a sign of modesty rather than oppression shows that you will never integrate into Sweden, because you have no respect for women. But then again, when a marauding, pedophile warlord is your example that should be followed, (Surah 33:21) I am not surprised by your warped thinking. .
04:35 December 10, 2011 by Bolante007
really Sweden? why don't you take France's idea... that would come in handy.
14:48 December 11, 2011 by higher_up
Well done Sweden, you did something that a lot of the so called "developed countries" failed to do! after all; those who deny the freedom of others do not deserve their own freedom! She has been given her freedom of choice AND it's not affecting anyone negatively...let those who want to breach that this is wrong melt in their speeches....the final result is....SHE IS THERE
07:22 December 13, 2011 by Zhorka
Some justice at last!
09:36 December 14, 2011 by Achilles7
The whole point of a uniform is to portray equality amongst all those who wear it; everyone is the same, doing the same job, and no one is 'different' to anyone else. But by breaking this rule and allowing a person to wear what they want, you're effectively saying that we AREN'T equal. "Look at me, I'm different to all the rest of you, I'm wearing a piece of cloth over my head!"

If she genuinely wanted to integrate into the police force and not draw attention to herself, then she would wear the uniform like everyone else.
20:11 December 15, 2011 by jvtx3232
Exactly right Achillies7. I came here to post almost exactly the same thing.

The word "uniform" is not only a noun, it is an adjective. In fact, the noun derives from the adjective. Definition of "uniform":

1. identical or consistent, as from example to example, place to place, or moment to moment: uniform spelling; a uniform building code.

2. without variations in detail: uniform output; a uniform surface.

3. constant; unvarying; undeviating: uniform kindness; uniform velocity.

4. constituting part of a uniform: to be issued uniform shoes.

So if I became a Swedish police officer, could I wear a clown hat with my uniform then? It's only fair after all, if this person gets to wear a hibijab with her uniform.
00:15 December 16, 2011 by bezjaj
What? So now it will be HAram to call out the old swedish say: Polis polis potatisgris..?? gris= pig == prison..and what about the sikh that lost his job because he was wearing his turban... This is hilarious ... Are Islam the bendover mantra to all leftist libs..and what about womens right..all blowed away..
21:54 December 16, 2011 by Chickybee
Donna should go to Saudi and Egypt to see just how these countries are far from multicultral - it's Muslim laws and customs or get out.

Multiculturalism is dead - there are just parallel societies that live rather uneasily side by side.

We all know it - but why is Islam in the news nearly every day in a negative light\/
01:24 December 18, 2011 by Incognito007
Bravo Donna!

May the God bless you and your family for your upbringing!

Don't listen to what sick and angry on themselves people are saying. Those kind of people were throwing dirt and murdering even prophets...

Wishing you success in your career and, most importantly, in hereafter.
13:45 December 21, 2011 by shozea
i donot know what direction the Swedish government is follow. I am imigrant here in Sweden but i am against it
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