US Army now more open to turbans, beards and hijab

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Previously, Sikh-Americans and others had to be granted a limited permission to serve in the Army while maintaining their articles of faith. In a significant move to enable all religious minorities in America including the Sikhs to serve without exception, the U.S. Army has issued new regulations on religious liberty to accommodate people who wear beards, turbans or hijab. 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 U.S. 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.

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