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A Sikh U.S. Army captain will be able to keep his religiously-mandated turban and beard.
Capt. Simratpal Singh had filed a discrimination suit against the Army last month. The Army announced last week that Singh, a West Point graduate, would be granted a “religious accommodation” to the rules against facial hair and headwear while on active duty.
The Army also announced that it “intends to gather information to develop uniform standards for religious accommodations.”
“My military service continues to fulfill a lifelong dream,” Singh, who earned a Bronze Star in Afghanistan, said in a press release. “My faith, like [the faith of] many of the soldiers I work with, is an integral part of who I am. I am thankful that I no longer have to make the choice between faith and service to our nation.”
Singh had cut his hair and shaved his face for years to comply with the Army’s regulations.
The Army had requested tests to make sure Singh could wear a helmet and gas mask while wearing the turban. Singh sued, noting that other soldiers with beards were not subjected to tests.
The Army's permanent accommodation comes with conditions. It could be revoked if the beard and turban affect "unit cohesion and morale" and safety.
(H/T Huffington Post)
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com