11/25/2013 12:46 EST | Updated 11/26/2013 12:31 EST

Edmonton Police Will Unveil Hijab Uniform Option For Muslim Officers

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Hoping to attract more Muslim women to the force, the Edmonton Police Service is developing a prototype hijab for female officers.

According to Metro Edmonton, the force is considering two hijab designs, each with snaps on the scarf to allow for quick tear-away and designed so as not to obstruct the vision or breathing of the officer.

Natasha Goudar with the Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Unit told the Edmonton Sun officers are working with Muslim community groups and Imams to ensure religious and cultural practices are respected. b

“One of the big concerns for them was an educational element to the introduction of the hijab. They didn’t want to just bring it in and have it sit on a shelf,” she told the Edmonton Police Commission at a meeting last week.

The introduction of the hijab is part of a larger strategy to attract more women to the force, Goudar told Global News.

“We want more women in policing. And women are also Muslim. And so while we’re focusing specifically on reducing a barrier with regards to a religious and cultural practice, we’re also looking at this as reducing a barrier to women period becoming police officers.”

Scott McKeen, an Edmonton city councillor, says the move is a "gesture of inclusion" toward the city's Muslim community and that he's proud to break perceptions that Alberta is "kind of redneck," he told the National Post.

Additionally, he told the commission, the move is impressive considering how far Quebec has gone to try and ban the headpiece.

“This is coming at a time when another province is going in another direction.

“For that reason, I’m most certainly impressed.”

Goudar told Global her unit is finalizing their proposal and will present it to the Chief's committee by the end of the year.

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