US Army allows servicemen to keep beards, turbans, hijabs

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jan 2017 11:56:24


WASHINGTON,

Jan 5,

(PTI),

The new set of rules allows religious accommodations to be approved at the brigade-level. Previously it was at the level of Secretary

IN A significant move to enable all religious minorities in America including the Sikhs to freely serve without exception, the US Army has issued new regulations on religious liberty to accommodate people who wear beards, turbans or hijabs.


The new set of rules, issued by Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, allows religious accommodations to be approved at the brigade-level. Previously it was at the level of Secretary.


Once that approval occurs, the change will ensure that the religious accommodation is enduring and applies to most positions within the US Army. The new regulations came about largely in response to litigation and advocacy from Sikh servicemen who wear beards and turbans for religious reasons, and who wanted to be able to keep them while actively serving. The regulations provide that — except in rare circumstances — sincere followers of the Sikh faith may no longer be forced to abandon their religious turbans, unshorn hair, or beards to serve their country.


“This is a major progress, not just for the Sikh-American community but for our nation’s military. Sikh-Americans love this country and want a fair chance to serve in our country on equal footing. Today’s announcement will help do just that,” Congressman Joe Crowley said welcoming the directive issued by the US Army Secretary.
“We are a stronger nation, with a stronger military because of our respect for religious and personal freedom,” he said.