A Muslim woman has called for Finland’s armed forces to drop the ban on the hijab, arguing that allowing the garment would increase participation in the military.
Farowsa Mohamud, a 20-year-old of Finnish-Somali background, said she wanted to join Finland’s armed forces to become a peacekeeper.
She claims that she had been invited to join the Karelian Brigade, a part of the Finnish army, in March, but when she asked about wearing the hijab, she was sent an email stating that wearing the garment was a security risk and was told soldiers must conform in how they present themselves, YLE reports.
After posting her experiences on social media, Mohamud told the broadcaster she had received negative feedback and even death threats from those she said were either serving in the military or were veterans.
“By allowing the hijab to be worn, we could get more soldiers, and I don’t think that would be bad for Finland. The general Code of Service must be followed, but it is possible to update it,” she told YLE.
Swiss Army Greenlights Islamic Headscarf for Female Soldiers https://t.co/jTlxJc2om3
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Major Marko Maaluoto of the Finnish Defence Forces stated that the ban on the hijab was not a religious issue but down to conformity, stating: “This is general guidance. Only military headgear is approved. They are part of the military equipment configuration. We have general guidance on what kind of headgear can or cannot be worn.”
While Finland bans the wearing of the hijab for soldiers, other countries have allowed it in recent years. In 2017, the Unites States army relaxed regulations and allowed turbans, hijabs, and beards to be worn by soldiers, whereas before, they required special permission.
In 2018, Switzerland allowed soldiers to wear the hijab as well, with the first woman to wear one enrolling into the Swiss armed forces that year.