Department of Defense Introduces New Religious Guidelines: UNITED SIKHS Statement

Washington, DC- On January 22, 2014, we learned that the Department of Defense released new policy instructions addressing religious accommodations in the military.  They can be viewed here:

We at UNITED SIKHS welcome these new revisions and believe it is a step in the right direction. It speaks to the hard work we and other Sikh organizations have put in to bring this to the government’s attention.  This new instruction shows that concerns for religious freedom in the military are finally being considered and debated by our government.

However, these revisions still include a presumptive ban on the Sikh articles of faith. The new standard continues to give the military full discretion to deny a Sikh from serving this country while maintaining his faith. Sikh Americans are still being forced to request an accommodation and wait, and hope, that the military will provide them with an accommodation. They still must worry that an accommodation will be denied because a finding was made that such a denial “serves a compelling government interest.”

We will continue to work on a national level with other Sikh organizations so that Sikhs in America may serve in the U.S. Military, with their articles of faith intact, without having to choose between the two.

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