WASHINGTON  - A leading US Muslim advocacy group Sunday welcomed the new policy for Minneapolis’ St Paul police in the US state of Minnesota which allows Muslim policewomen to do Islamic headscarf or hijab.

“We congratulate  the St Paul Police Department for creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for Muslim employees,” the Executive Director for Minnesota of the Council on American - Islamic Relations (CAIR), Lori Saroya, said in a statement.

“This decision will enable more Muslim women to consider serving their community through a career in law enforcement.”On Saturday, Kadra Mohamed was recognized as the first Somali-American woman to join the St. Paul Police Department. Ms. Mohamed was recognized at the police's Western District building during a graduation ceremony for youth who recently completed the East African Junior Police Academy. “It's nerve-wracking in a way,” Mohamed, 21, said of being the first woman of Somali descent in the department, TwinCities.com reported. “I want to be a good role model for others, especially Somali women.”

Mohamed said she contacted St. Paul police a few months ago to learn about becoming an officer. She said she expressed concerns over not being able to wear a hijab on duty. In December, the police service in Edmonton, Ontario, approved the option for female officers of Muslim faith to wear a police-issued hijab.

St. Paul police Sgt. Tina Kill said St. Paul police contacted the Edmonton police, and they provided input on a hijab suitable for duty - the final product of which Mohamed wore at Saturday's ceremony. Praising St Paul’s police move, Saroya said that Muslim women who wear the hijab sincerely believe it is their religious obligation and asking them to remove it is akin to asking them to remove a shirt or other piece of clothing.  Though there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to nearly seven million Muslims.