Police and banks considering adding hijab to official uniform

From next year Westpac bankteller Manija Akbari will wear a new corporate hijab to work.

Let’s stop focusing on the outward appearance of Muslims, and look at their inner teachings; there is no command in the Quran to wear this clothing at all, and the only specific command is for non-Muslim women to go topless.
Police and banks considering adding hijab to official uniform

A major Kiwi bank that is considering allowing staff to wear hijabs as part of its official uniform may have started a trend. Westpac New Zealand announced it will consider adding the Muslim headwear to the uniform list, after its Australian arm said hijabs will enter rotation next year. Westpac New Zealand spokeswoman said hijabs were the “type of options” they would consider ahead of their next uniform renewal, which was due in a couple of years.

This has prompted other major New Zealand companies to consider – or do – the same. ANZ have recently confirmed they will be making hijabs available “as part of our corporate wardrobe”, a spokesman said. Logistics were being worked through, but staff at ANZ were welcome to wear their own hijabs and turbans, he said. A New Zealand Police spokeswoman said if staff asked to wear a hijab or any “other articles of faith”, it would be considered. “As police’s workforce becomes increasingly diverse, we need to ensure we are responding to the individual needs and requests of our employees.

“If requests to incorporate hijab or other articles of faith into police uniform were received, we would be open to looking at adopting this,” she said.

“Employees who wear a turban as part of the Sikh faith have had the option of wearing a police-issue turbans since 2008.”

A BNZ spokesman said: “I’m not aware of any requests we’ve had to make the hijab part of our official uniform.

“I guess we are a bit different from others, in that we have no issue with anybody if they’ve got a cultural or religious desire or requirement to wear any form of headwear.

“We are happy for them to do so and we have some employees who already do.”

ASB also offers the hijab as part of the official uniform for staff.

ASB general manager branch of banking Logan Munro said he was delighted it was available as part of the corporate wardrobe.

“The initiative was driven by a member of the bank’s diversity council and is a great demonstration of ASB’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

” We are looking forward to seeing our people make use of this uniform option.”

Air New Zealand has not responded to requests for comment.

Last week, Westpac Australia announced it had recruited designer Carla Zampatti, a Westpac customer for half a century, to design the Muslim headwear in an effort to expand its work wear range and encourage diversity in the workplace.

Westpac’s hijab will be navy and emblazoned with a charcoal Westpac logo. It will be launched next year to coincide with the bank’s 200th anniversary.

“Westpac has a long proud history of ensuring diversity and inclusion for our people, customers and communities,” a spokesman said.

“This is another way we can show our support for our people and ensure they feel great at work.

“Feedback from staff so far is that it blends beautifully with the broader uniform.”

Employees will continue to wear their own hijabs until the new uniform is released in April 2017.

The move follows other Australian businesses like Optus and the Commonwealth Bank, which also incorporate hijabs – the traditional covering for the hair and neck worn by Muslim women – in staff uniforms.

It has been available to women in the Victorian police force since 2004.

At the time, it was designed for just one police academy graduate, Constable Maha Sukkar.

Her navy, lightweight hijab had Velcro fastenings for safety reasons, to enable its release if she was caught in a physical scuffle.

Westpac’s announcement follows the furore over France’s controversial burkini ban, which was overturned last month after worldwide outrage and condemnation.