Judge: Police Can Ban Religious Muslim Garb

June 14, 2007

Author: Joseph A. Gambardello

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer


A Philadelphia police officer has no right to wear a head covering as required by her Muslim faith when she is in uniform, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

The Police Department's uniform code "has a compelling public purpose," Judge Harvey Bartle III wrote in deciding against Kimberlie Webb, an officer since 1995.

The uniform code "recognizes that the Police Department, to be effective, must subordinate individuality to its paramount group mission of protecting the lives and property of the people living, working and visiting the city of Philadelphia," Bartle wrote.

Furthermore, the department's uniform code, known as Directive 78, maintains "religious neutrality," the judge said.