‘This policy clarification is a great step forward towards ensuring equality of opportunity and religious freedom in the Air Force…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) The Air Force revised its dress code policy to give Sikhs and Muslims a simple approval process to sport hijabs, turbans, beards and long hair.
Prior to this change, Sikhs and Muslims had to request special accommodations on an individual basis, CNN reported.
The Air Force will allow these service members to wear religious clothing as long as their appearance is “neat and conservative,” though some cases may require them to adhere to the Air Force’s dress code policies that apply to everyone else.
Once Air Force members submit a request for accommodation, the Air Force will review their application within 30 to 60 days.
As usual, the move toward further accommodation for non-Christian Americans was not enough for activists, though they praised the Air Force’s diversity.
“We support these new guidelines as a step toward religious accommodation and inclusion for military personnel of all faiths,” said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the far-left Council of American–Islamic Relations, in a press release.
Activists called on the military to let people of all religions serve and wear their preferred dress, without exception, in every branch of the Armed Forces.
“The Department of Defense should have a consistent and department wide policy on religious accommodation,” said Sikh American Veterans Alliance President Kamal Singh Kalsi said in a news release. “Those who are committed and qualified to serve our country in uniform should be able to do so in a more streamlined and efficient manner.”
Airman 1st Class Gurchetan Singh on Wednesday became the first American of Sikh faith to receive special exemption to wear a beard and turban.
“Sikhs have served honorably and capably in the U.S. Armed Forces and other militaries around the world, and while we are eager for a blanket proclamation that all observant Sikh Americans can serve in every branch of the military without seeking accommodations, this policy clarification is a great step forward towards ensuring equality of opportunity and religious freedom in the Air Force,” Giselle Klapper, a staff attorney for the Sikh Coalition, said in a statement.