Zeena Ali hopes to inspire other Muslim women to join the police following her ground-breaking feats.
Zeena Ali has had two reasons to celebrate this week.
Firstly, the 30-year-old has graduated as a police officer and to cap her achievement, she will become the first person in New Zealand to wear a police-issued hijab as part of her uniform.
Ali told the New Zealand Herald about her pride at being able to respect her faith while working and said she had even helped design her hijab, offering recommendations and improvements where necessary.
“It feels great to be able to go out and show the New Zealand Police hijab as part of my uniform,” she said.
Following the Christchurch attack, Zeena Ali was inspired to join the police force. Now she is the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab as part of the official uniform.
— Islam Channel (@Islamchannel) November 12, 2020
“I think that seeing it, more Muslim women will want to join as well.”
Ali had been working in customer service, but was inspired to join the police by the tragedy of the Christchurch mosque shootings of March 2019.
Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people and injured 40 at consecutive shootings at two mosques in the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand.
“The Christchurch terror attack happened and that’s when I realised more Muslim women were needed in the police, to go and support people with things like this,” said Ali, who was born in Fiji but who moved to New Zealand with her family as a child.
“If I had joined the police earlier I would have been down there to help.”
She said she was proud to represent the Muslim community – particularly women – and hoped to inspire others to join the police and help ensure diversity in the force.
Ali feels that some women may previously not have considered joining the police because they would have been unsure how the job would incorporate their religion or culture.
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