The case of Kimberlie Webb — the Philadelphia Police officer whose department superiors disciplined her for wearing a hijab (a Moslem headscarf) while on duty — took a new twist on April 12, when the Third Circuit Court rejected her last ditch appeal.
Ms. Webb’s case has stirred debate among religious discrimination scholars and ideological advocates alike. The situation began when she refused to remove her headscarf while on patrol; this act violated Philadelphia’s City Police Directive #78, which prohibits on-duty officers from wearing religious symbols. Ms. Webb’s supervisors reprimanded her in accordance with the regulation. To protest this response, she brought her complaint to the Philadelphia Police Commissioner. But although the Commissioner was himself a Moslem, he refused to exculpate her and instead ordered her suspended for two weeks.