US Army Grants More Exceptions for Sikhs

Update: Follow up on Harpal Singh and the status of Capt Singh’s case here.


The US Army has decided to permit three more Sikh adherents to attend Basic Training while maintaining the articles of their faith:

“After months of waiting, I’m ecstatic that I can finally serve both God and country,” Private Arjan Singh Ghotra, one of the plaintiffs, said…

Religious accommodations were also granted to Specialist Kanwar Singh [and]Specialist Harpal Singh.

While the exceptions are notable, they are still precisely that: exceptions. Thus, the US Army is still not officially more “friendly” to service by Sikhs, a point the Soldiers’ legal team made by saying the lawsuit they just filed will continue:

The soldiers are represented by the Sikh Coalition, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery.

The team said they would continue pursing the previously filed lawsuit to make the accommodations lasting and legally binding, as well as to get a broader answer on the Pentagon’s policies toward Sikhs…

Eric Baxter [of] the Becket Fund [said] “The Army’s current agreement to stop discriminating against these individual soldiers is an important step, but the court should still issue a ruling to extend that protection to all Sikhs.”

In a clear statement of principle, these groups are seeking to secure military religious freedom for all US troops. In particular, the Becket Fund is rapidly establishing itself as the leading defender of military religious freedom for US troops.

Also at The HillStars and Stripes, and Military.com.

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