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1-min read

Muslim woman cop snubs handshake

A Muslim woman police officer refused to shake hands with Britain's most senior police chief for religious reasons.

News18test sharma |

Updated:January 21, 2007, 10:46 PM IST
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Muslim woman cop snubs handshake
A Muslim woman police officer refused to shake hands with Britain's most senior police chief for religious reasons.

New Delhi: The row regarding Muslim women started with Britain’s former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw who first said that women visiting his office will have to remove their veils.

Straw was soon followed by a senior judge of Pakistan who expressed similar concerns and ordered that woman lawyers should not to wear veils in courtrooms.

But now a Muslim woman police officer in London has sparked off a new debate. The officer has refused to shake hands with Britain's most senior police chief for religious reasons.

The controversy started at a passing-out parade where Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair was inspecting a line-up of 200 recruits.

She not only refused the customary congratulatory handshake from Blair, but also declined to get a photograph clicked with him.

The Daily Mail reported on Sunday that the officer, who wore a traditional Muslim hijab (headscarf) refused the picture because she didn’t want the picture used for ‘propaganda purposes’.

She had maintained that touching a man would be flouting her religious learning.

The paper said that the incident had sparked off top-level discussions at Scotland Yard.

Meanwhile, an inquiry has been launched against the unidentified officer who is described as ‘a non-Asian Muslim'.

She could be sacked if it is considered that her staunch religious beliefs put a check to her performing as an efficient police officer.

But at the same time, senior commanders are worried that if they dismiss her, it would deepen the atmosphere of mistrust between the police and the Muslim community, the paper reported.

Scotland Yard has allowed Muslim officers to wear an adaptation of the hijab since 2001. There are still only around 300 Muslims among the Metroplitan Police's 35,000 officers and fewer than 20 are women.

A row flared up in October last year when a Twenty four-year-old Muslim teacher in London was suspended after she refused to take off her veil while in class.

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