AIR FORCE UPDATES ITS DRESS CODE POLICY FOR EXCEPTIONS TO INCLUDE TURBANS, BEARDS AND HIJABS

New York, Feb. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Under the new guidelines that were finalized last week, Sikhs and Muslims can seek a religious accommodation to wear turbans, beards, unshorn hair and hijabs, and expect to be approved as long as their appearance is “neat and conservative,” except under extremely limited circumstances. While we are thankful for the policy allowing Sikhs to serve in the U.S. Airforce, it is our hope that all observant Sikh Americans are able to serve in every branch of the military without seeking accommodations. “This is a great step forward,” said Jasmit Singh, UNITED SIKHS Legal Advocacy Director. The Sikh Identity allows Sikhs to keep their articles of faith – Kesh (uncut hair) with a turban, Kanga (a comb), Kara ( a steel bracelet), Kacheera (string drawers- underpants), Kirpan (sword). Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak almost 551 years ago and number more than 30 million in the world. Close to a million Sikhs are estimated to be in the United States. The separate accounting of Sikhs in the U.S. census 2020 will be the foundation of a fair political representation since the population count serves as the basis for apportioning seats in the House of Representatives and drawing district boundaries to conform to the constitutional requisite of equal population. The census data will also be used for redistricting, state legislative seats and other elected positions including city councils, school boards, and some municipal offices where minorities will be accounted for and positioned. Manvinder Singh, Legal Director, UNITED SIKHS said, “We cannot realize our nation’s promise of equal representation without being represented in the census. Allocating funds for dozens of federal grant programs, including grants for minority business and industry development loans, natural disaster recovery, education, public health services, and Medicaid and supplemental nutrition programs. This will also push forward as a step on behalf of the Sikhs to be able to serve in the armed forces without exceptions”. We are proud of Airman 1st Class Gurchetan Singh who became the first Sikh American to receive an accommodation to serve in the Air National Guard. UNITED SIKHS and The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, brought the lawsuit in November 2014 against the U.S Army. The ruling allowed Iknoor Singh to be able to enroll in the ROTC program with a religious accommodation this summer and compete for a contracted ROTC position (http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-15-06-15-01.html ). “I’m very grateful that the freedom of religion our country fought so hard for will allow me to pursue my dream career – serving this country as a military intelligence officer – without violating my faith,” said Iknoor. As usual, UNITED SIKHS asks all Sikhs and others to practice their faith without any fear and apply to government positions at all levels. For any discrimination and other policy matters impacting your religious freedom, feel free to write to our legal team at law-usa@unitedsikhs.org. Through your donation, we sustain our fight for civil and human rights, provide humanitarian relief and empower those in need through education and personal development programs. To donate please visit http://unitedsikhs.org/donate

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Guneet Kaur
UNITED SIKHS
contact@unitedsikhs.org