by JOANNA ZEGARRA
At Hofstra University this past week, a Sikh student filed a lawsuit against the United States Army. Iknoor Singh said that the service was exhibiting religious discrimination because they refused to allow him to enroll without shaving his facial hair and removing his turban. He and the United Sikhs claim that the army’s denial of religious exemplification violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“I couldn’t believe the military was asking me to make the impossible decision of choosing between the country I love and my faith”, says Singh.
The thing about the army is, everyone is supposed to be uniform. Having structure and order, even in the outward appearance of soldiers is just part of the general attitude of the army. If that isn’t something one just can’t put up with, then the army is not the place for them. Also, nobody is making Singh here choose between either. If he cannot comply with the army’s rules and regulations then he can most definitely serve the country he loves by being a good citizen.
Another thing that he seems to be misunderstanding is, that if he stands by the importance of his religious beliefs so much, then why does he want so badly to go to war and kill people, when the peace religion of Sikh discourages the killing of other lives?
“The Army does allow personnel to request waivers for practices that may conflict with current Army regulations and policies and are considered on a case-by-case basis,” says the army website in response to this. So maybe Singh will be able to serve his country, despite misunderstanding the purpose of the army’s rules.