Friday, September 07, 2012

Military Judge Orders Hasan To Shave Beard, Rejecting RFRA Claim

Yesterday at Fort Hood, Texas, a military judge in the court martial of accused mass killer Maj. Nidal Hasan has ordered Hasan to shave his beard or be forcibly shaved. The New York Times and a press release from Ft. Hood provide details on the decision. Hasan claims he has grown the beard for religious reasons.  The judge, Col. Gregory Gross, ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to court martial proceedings, but that the government has a compelling interest in requiring Hasan to shave because his wearing the beard would make it more difficult for witnesses to identify him.  The prosecution also introduced evidence that Hasan grew the beard in part to identify himself with the radical Islamic Mujahedeen. Col. Gross ruled that his order will not be carried out until Hasan has a chance to appeal the ruling.