After NYPD allowed its Sikh officers to wear turbans and grow beard, the US army is also allowing that
A fter the New York police department allowed its Sikh officers to wear turbans and grow beard, albeit a short one, the US Army heads have also been ordered to allow Sikhs to wear turbans, karas (iron bangles) and keep beards.
Defence Secretary Eric Fanning signed the order recently. It said: “The soldier’s brigade-level commander will approve a request for a religious accommodation,” by Sikhs.
Till now, Sikhs had to get permission from the Army Secretary, a cumbersome process prone to delays and not automatically given. Now they need to apply only to their brigade-level commanders, who will have to give them permission except in certain cases involving their safety like exposure to poison gases.
Sikh Coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur welcomed the new rule. “We are pleased with the progress that the new policy represents for religious tolerance and diversity by our nation’s largest employer,” she said. The order also allows Muslim women in the army to wear hijabs and men to keep beards.
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