Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sikh Student Sues For Accommodation To Enlist In ROTC

The ACLU yesterday announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of a Sikh college student who was refused a religious accommodation to permit him to enlist in the ROTC program at Hofstra University.  The complaint (full text) in Singh v. McHugh, (D DC, Nov. 12, 2014), contends that plaintiff's rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act were violated:
As a practicing Sikh, Mr. Singh’s religious beliefs require him to maintain long hair and wear a turban and beard. Defendants have refused to allow Mr. Singh to enlist in ROTC unless he agrees to abandon these practices upon enrolling as a Cadet. Specifically, Defendants will not allow Mr. Singh to enlist in ROTC unless he agrees to follow all Army grooming and uniform regulations, which would require him to cut his hair, remove his turban, and shave off his beard.
Singh, who is fluent in Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu, wants to become a military intelligence officer. The military says it will not consider Singh's request for an accommodation until he formally enlists and complies with the grooming and uniform regulations.