The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army has taken new steps to make it easier for Sikhs, Muslims and other religious minorities to obtain approval to dress and groom themselves according to their religious customs while serving in the military, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Army Secretary Eric Fanning, in a memorandum signed this week, revised the uniform policy to set appearance standards for people seeking religious accommodations to wear beards, turbans and head scarfs.

The new rules also enable brigade-level commanders to approve the religious accommodations, an authority that previously rested with the Army secretary. Denial of a religious accommodation may be appealed as high as the Army secretary.

An approved religious accommodation will continue throughout the soldier’s career and may not be revoked or modified without approval of the Army secretary, the memo says. The accommodation will not affect job specialties or duty locations, except in a few limited cases, the memo says.

“Our goal is to balance soldier readiness and safety with the accommodation of our soldiers’ faith practices, and this latest directive allows us to do that,” Lieutenant Colonel Randy Taylor said in a statement.

The new rules were welcomed by the Sikh Coalition.

“We are pleased with the progress that this new policy represents for religious tolerance and diversity,” said coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur.

Sikhs have a long tradition of military service in India and elsewhere and have served in the United States as far back as World War One. But uniform reforms after the Vietnam War made it difficult for them to serve without violating the tenets of their faith.

The new rules permit religious accommodations for beards, but they may not be longer than 2 inches unless rolled or tied up. Soldiers with a religious accommodation may wear a turban or under-turban known as a patka.

Soldiers with religious accommodations still must be able to wear combat helmets and other protective headgear and must modify their hairstyles to achieve a proper fit.

The new rules allow head scarfs, or hijabs, for Muslim women. They must be of a similar color to the uniform and be free of designs or markings, unless they are camouflage and worn with a camouflage uniform.

Hair grooming rules have been amended to allow for braids, cornrows, twists or locks, the memo said.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

IMAGE: U.S. troops participate in Latvia’s Independence Day military parade in Riga, Latvia, November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

New Poll Reveals Problems For Trump--And His Party

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump Testifying To January ^ Committee Is Vital

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is the focus of a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}