Air Force allows Sikh airman to wear turban and beard while serving
The US Air Force granted a religious accommodation to a Sikh airman to allow him to wear a turban, beard and unshorn hair while serving, making him the first active duty airman to receive such an accommodation, a group that assisted with the accommodation told CNN Friday.
Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa, a crew chief at the McChord Air Force Base near Lakewood, Washington, was granted the accommodation in March after he made a request for it in coordination with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Sikh American Veterans Alliance, Lt. Col. Kamal Kalsi, the president of SAVA, told CNN.
"I'm overjoyed that the Air Force has granted my religious accommodation," Bajwa said in a statement released this week by the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund. "Today, I feel that my country has embraced my Sikh heritage, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity."...
This is nothing new. When crash helmets were made compulsory for motorcyclists many years ago here in Britain, there was a landmark court case, and religious Sikhs were exempted from the law, provided they wore their turbans.
There have been similar decisions that could have security implications, as Sikhs carry a ceremonial knife as part of their religious observance.
True most Sikhs are generally fairly peaceable folk, but it does set a dangerous precedent.
God is working however, with Sikhs, as a leader and his wife of an Asian ministry at a Pentecostal Church I attended for some years, were converts out of Sikhism to Christianity, and the former deputy pastor of a Reformed Free Evangelical Church I also attended for some years, and is now a pastor at an international English speaking Reformed church in a foreign country, was converted at an evangelistic meeting when he turned up out of curiosity at the meeting as a zealous Sikh university student in his turban!!
Matthew Cox wrote: Following graduation this June, Manav Sodhi will help lead a new wave of Sikh soldiers enlisting in the U.S.¬†Army¬†who will be allowed to wear the traditional turban and beard in Basic Combat Training.
Sodhi, who is currently attending Kings Park High School in New York, was recently granted a religious accommodation by the Army, according to the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA).
Military service has always been a proud tradition in Sikh culture, Kalsi said, adding that more than 80,000 Sikh soldiers died serving alongside allied forces in World War I and World War II.
"The Germans were actually terrified of the Sikh regiments in World War I; they referred to [Sikhs] as the black lions," he said. "If we were good enough to fight in a world war and die in the trenches, then I think we are good enough to continue to serve today."
excerpt from, "14 Sikh High Schoolers Get Waivers to Enter Army Basic With Beard, Turban"