College Student Wins Right to Wear His Turban While Serving in Military

Yay for religious freedom! Isn't that what America is about anyway? A Sikh college student recently won his battle in court to join the U.S. Army via his school's Reserve Officer Training Program, without having to choose between that and practicing his religion.


Iknoor Singh is a 20-year-old student at New York's Hofstra University who wanted to join his campus' ROTC program last year. He was faced with a difficult choice -- in order to join, he'd be required to cut his hair, shave his beard, and remove his turban, which are acts prohibited by his Sikh beliefs. 

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled last week that he could enroll without compromising his religious values. The young man said in a statement, "I'm very grateful that the freedom of religion our country fought so hard for will allow me to pursue my dream career -- serving my country -- without violating my faith."


ACLU attorney Heather Weaver, who represented Singh, said, "I think that many Sikh students may have felt there was no place at all for them in the ROTC, but they still want to serve their country ... This case lets them know that there's an opportunity there for them to pursue."

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There's still a long way to go when it comes to inclusion of religious garb in the military. Individuals still must seek specific approval before joining, when it comes to body art, facial hair, or adornments like turbans.

But still, cases like this are a step in the right direction -- because shouldn't patriots of all religions be able to serve their country without compromising their values?

Do you think the court made a good ruling in this case?


Image via Iknoor Singh/Facebook

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