Court Holds Sikh Student May Enroll In ROTC Without Removing His Turban Or Cutting His Hair

By KATELYN HARROP, ThinkProgress – Putting religious freedom first, a federal court has ruled in favor of a Sikh college student wishing to enroll in Reserve Officer Training Corps with his religious articles of turban, uncut hair, and beard intact. The case was brought by Iknoor Singh, a rising junior at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York after being denied a uniform exemption by the University’s ROTC program. It is customary for practicing Sikhs to wear their hair unshorn, under a turban and to keep a beard, which the ROTC saw as a blanket violation of U.S. Military uniform requirements. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in favor of Singh last week on the grounds of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Based on the favorable ruling, Singh, who was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the United Sikhs, will be granted the ability to freely...

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