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Chicago cops fight for right to wear Muslim, Jewish garb on the job.
July 12, 2002 1:48 AM   Subscribe

Chicago cops fight for right to wear Muslim, Jewish garb on the job. They've compromised, but she's suing for "emotional distress".
posted by owillis (24 comments total)

 
FYI, I'm starting a satanic death cult in which we wear giant goat horns as a headdress. Your cult leader commands that you wear the "Goaty Horns of Power" in DMV photos and on the job. That'll be fun.
posted by owillis at 1:51 AM on July 12, 2002


My cult demands that no men around me wear clothing (it's offensive to my "culture"). RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!
posted by dagny at 1:59 AM on July 12, 2002


so devout; in fact she feels so indignant that only financial recompense can heal the open wound, I know which religion she is devoted to.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:26 AM on July 12, 2002


There should be no compromise on this issue. One joins the law enforcement community with the full knowledge of uniform requirements. If you feel compelled by your religion to constantly wear specific items that are not allowed within the regulations, then you need to find a new job.
posted by a3matrix at 4:58 AM on July 12, 2002


She wants money for the "emotional distress" the department caused her since January by not allowing her to dress in accordance with her religion.

Truly pathetic.
posted by a3matrix at 5:00 AM on July 12, 2002


I hope she gets a Jewish lawyher who wears the skull cap...they might even begin to...
posted by Postroad at 5:45 AM on July 12, 2002


The saddest thing about this is all the publicity these two-bit celebrity hounds are getting. I saw one woman on O'Reilly last night. She wanted to dress in full muslim garb while working as an officer.

I want to hear from all those here who were earlier defending that poor, oppressed woman who simply wanted to have her license photo taken with her burqa on. I imagine you all would support this, too, eh?
posted by eas98 at 6:20 AM on July 12, 2002


The RCMP (ie, the Mounties) have allowed religious headgear for several years, now. There was a huge controversy when the issue first arose, but in the years since, uh, it hasn't caused any problems. So what's the big deal?
posted by Marquis at 6:52 AM on July 12, 2002


If what you wear affects your job performance, then it is understandable to expect to be asked to remove it. Skullcaps and the type of headscarf the woman in question wants to wear will not affect their performance. She's not asking to wear a dress, people.
posted by laz-e-boy at 6:59 AM on July 12, 2002


headgear? pshsht!
a fat, irish chicago cop in assless chaps? priceless!
posted by quonsar at 7:15 AM on July 12, 2002


She's not asking to wear a dress, people.

She shouldn't be asking to wear anything other than her approved uniform, period. If she doesn't like it, then she should leave her job and go somewhere else.

What's next? Military members wearing turbans because of their religions?
Uniform policies are not secrets. She should expect to wear the approved uniform when she is on duty, nothing else.
posted by a3matrix at 8:17 AM on July 12, 2002


The guy wants to wear a yarmulka, she wants to wear a scarf and cover her throat. WTF is the big deal, people? You're never going to notice what they're wearing: it's gonna be under their hat and collar.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:31 AM on July 12, 2002


What's next? Military members wearing turbans because of their religions?

And, so? If it doesn't affect one's duties, why does it matter? Am I supposed to hate turbans and say this would be a horrible thing?

My mailman sometimes wears shorts when it is hot, sometimes he dons the pith helmet, sometimes he wears a baseball cap. His ballcap isn't US Mail issue, but I get my mail just the same and don't give a care.

We're talking about cops wearing their own headgear because they find it important to them. It's not important to me, so I say go ahead.
posted by mathowie at 8:36 AM on July 12, 2002


I gotta say: I love the Pith Helmet. Because delivering mail is exactly like going on safari.
posted by ColdChef at 8:47 AM on July 12, 2002


Ok, I support her right to wear what ever she wants to, but the emotional distress case just doesnt cut it for me. Screw that.
posted by adnanbwp at 9:20 AM on July 12, 2002


but the emotional distress case just doesnt cut it

welcome to america.
posted by Marquis at 9:23 AM on July 12, 2002


Britain allows Sikhs to wear turbans as police officers (with the same checker patterns as the hats of the non-Sikh officers)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/england/newsid_1717000/1717832.stm

and I believe the RCMP in Canada allows Sikh mounties to wear a turban (the same color as the regular mountie hat).

I am sure if the US Army started a draft and drafter Sikh-Americans they would be able to wear a turban - cutting or shaving off their hair is forbidden by their religion. The marines might be a different as they do not allow any facila hair whatsover.
posted by turbanhead at 10:45 AM on July 12, 2002


Oh yeah and i almost forgot, there is a similar case in NYC - http://www.sikhcoalition.org/amricsingh.asp
posted by turbanhead at 10:51 AM on July 12, 2002


We're talking about cops wearing their own headgear because they find it important to them.
Cops wear a uniform, why must we change this to bend to everyone's whims and personal issues? Will she do her job any better wearing religious garb? No. If she wants to wear it maybe she should look into another line of work.
posted by owillis at 10:58 AM on July 12, 2002


"Uniform" is a self-describing word -- every person's garb is the same. (Military vets all have memories of standing gloveless on a cold day because one troop forgot gloves.) If individual variations are allowed, the uniform is not a uniform anymore.

The worth of the uniform is what it stands for. The cap, badge, belt, etc. signify a policeman. That uniformed figure represents the state's authority and order, protection and/or prosecution of citizens. Ideally, a uniformed representative will reinforce the concept of a uniform application of law and order. Deviations in dress may be seen as sending a signal that law and order is not evenhandedly applied. (Even if evenhandedness is lacking, that's not the ideal and certainly not the desired message.)

Could you trust someone whose religious beliefs supersede the requirements of the uniform? We are not supposed to observe only the rules and laws that we like. What happens if a religion exalts the safety and freedom of its believers over all other laws? Where does the policeman of that religion point his gun?
posted by joaquim at 11:02 AM on July 12, 2002


owillis: Cops wear a uniform, why must we change this to bend to everyone's whims and personal issues?

Because the current uniform was designed according to what was likely a [white,] protestant ideal, with no attention paid to the customs of minorities who would not have been permitted onto the Force to begin with. These cops will still wear a uniform - and a dignified, easily identifiable one - but it will have been adapted to respect the ideals of their faith.

Will she do her job any better wearing religious garb? No.
This is meaningless. The pressing question is: as a side-effect of showing her this respect, will she do her job any worse? The answer, at least according to precedents in a vast number of the world's countries, is no.

If she wants to wear it maybe she should look into another line of work.
Personally, I would want the most qualified candidates to be the ones joining the police ranks, regardless of whether they wear funny hats. But if you prefer not to have those pesky Sikhs and Jews, even the ones who would make terrific officers, my hat's off to your foolishness. [Oop, sorry, I'll put it right back on immediately, lest my ability to perform my duties be sacrificed.]
posted by Marquis at 11:29 AM on July 12, 2002


why must we change this to bend to everyone's whims and personal issues

A whim?! It's a article of their religious faith: to be a good Jew/Muslim, these people must wear a hair-covering.

It's no more a whim than giving people Sunday off because of the Christian commandment about respecting the Sabbath.

And we're not talking cheezy new-age religions or cults here: we're talking cheezy long-established world religions that have been around since before the very concept of police.

But I agree, the emotional distress gambit is lame. She's got what she wants, now: time to get out of the court and into work.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2002


we're not talking cheezy new-age religions or cults here: we're talking cheezy long-established world religions that have been around since before the very concept of police

They still believe in invisible men in the sky, but I suppose I'll be called a troll for pointing that out.
posted by dagny at 11:40 AM on July 12, 2002


They still believe in invisible men in the sky, but I suppose I'll be called a troll for pointing that out.

No, just a smug, unhelpful person. But hey, tomato/tomahto.
posted by Skot at 11:51 AM on July 12, 2002


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