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Sikh Turban Victory Against U.S. Army: UNITED SIKHS, ACLU Win Sikh Student's Right to Join ROTC with Beard, Long Hair, Turban.

[[para]]"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,"-- Iknoor Singh[[/para]]

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, Federal Court ruled that a Sikh student must be allowed to enroll in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) without shaving his beard, cutting his hair, or removing his turban. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson acted in the case of Hofstra University student Iknoor Singh, who was barred by the Army from the ROTC because of his religious practices. This violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), designed to protect non-harmful personal religious expression and practice.

UNITED SIKHS and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought one of the first lawsuits filed by a Sikh against the U.S. Army.

Manmeet Singh, UNITED SIKHS counsel, said "Ever since the army grooming regulations were changed back in 1981, it's for the very first time that a court of law has granted relief to a Sikh on this issue. This makes the victory historical, something to be remembered by the future generation of Sikhs, and derive inspiration from."

"We are pleased that the court has recognized that Iknoor should have the opportunity to join the tens of thousands of Sikhs who have served in military forces around the world without having to choose between his faith and serving his country," said Anisha Singh, UNITED SIKHS D.C. counsel.

Minority faith members and Sikhs, in particular, have had difficulty obtaining religious accommodations that will allow them to serve. This decision permits Mr. Singh to equally and fairly compete for a contracted position in the ROTC while maintaining his turban and beard. This provides a chance to add one more Sikh to the very short list of Sikhs in uniform in this country.

"Even the Army must respect religious freedom where, as in this case, doing so wouldn't interfere with its mission."; said Arthur Spitzer, Legal Director of the ACLU of the Nation's Capital.

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Issued By- Mejindarpal Kaur International Legal Director law-usa@unitedsikhs.org

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150616/223321

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 16, 2015
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