Black excellence

‪Kadra Mohamed: The first police officer to wear a hijab while on duty in Minnesota ‬



HER NAME is Kadra Mohamed, a Somali-American police officer in St. Paul, Minnesota – and she is the first to wear a hijab while on duty.

Kadra was hired by the St. Paul Police Department in 2015 as a way to improve relations with the 80,000 Somali-Americans living in the country’s largest known Somali community.

The 24-year-old is one of four female Somali graduates from the academy.

Her hijab is specially designed for police work, with a row of buttons that can come undone if the head wrap is used as a strangling weapon against her in a combat situation.

However, her presence has divided this Midwestern city of 290,000 residents.

One blogger called her hiring a politically correct and potentially perilous gesture. By allowing her to wear a hijab, he wrote, the department “has placed her life on the line in more ways than one.”

While older Somalis say she’s breaking a cultural creed: wearing pants and short-sleeve shirts and working closely among men in public.

And some officers complain she is breaking a long-standing uniform code.

“I’m a target for those with concerns about safety,” she says. “I’m a short, black, Muslim female. Of course I stand out.”

Kadra was born in a refugee camp in Kenya in 1991. Not long after, her parents fled Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, and its nearly daily bombings and strife.

One thing she’s not afraid of is arresting a Somali man, an unimaginable scenario for many in the male-dominated culture.

“I’ll speak to him in our language — Somali to Somali,” she told the LA Times. “I’ll explain that this is my job.

“He broke the law. And there are steps that must be taken.”


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