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Muslim woman in Swedish police praised for wearing hijab

STOCKHOLM: Swedish fashion designer Iman Aldebe says she is proud to see Muslim Hijabi woman in the Swedish police.

In 2007, Aldebe was commissioned to create the hijab hat that now forms part of the official Swedish police uniform for those female Muslim officers who choose to wear it. She is also designing an official military hijab for the Swedish army, as well as for the fire department, pharmacies and hospitals, according to a report in Al Jazeera.

In an interview, she recalls the criticism she faced when she first started modernising Muslim fashion in 2001. Her critics came from two usually opposed groups – Muslims and Swedish nationalists.

The turning point for many, Aldebe suggests, came in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the US.

She explains how, in the past, many Muslim women in Sweden felt that they could not apply for jobs that imposed regulations regarding dress. The result was that their career options could be limited.

“I use fashion as a tool to eliminate prejudices against Muslims,” she says. “I want to challenge the image of the oppressed Muslim woman in the West who voluntarily isolates herself from society.”

“I tried to make a difference in society by coming up with solutions instead of letting society dictate what you can and can’t do.”

Today, Aldebe Haute Couture turbans are sold in large retail stores in global shopping hubs, and she is hoping to break into the UK market.

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