Why does everyone sue every body?
A Hofstra University student who is Sikh has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army, alleging it won’t allow him to join the campus ROTC unit unless he shaves his beard, cuts his hair and removes his turban — all requirements of his religion.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Iknoor Singh, 19, a Hofstra sophomore and Queens native fluent in four languages who hopes to become a military intelligence officer.
The lawsuit argues that the Army’s denial of a religious exemption for Singh violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which provides heightened legal protections for religious exercise.
Sikhism — which says it is the world’s fifth-largest organized religion, with origins in the 1400s — requires its male followers to grow their hair and beards long and cover their heads with a turban.
Singh is requesting an exemption from Army regulations that typically mandate short hair and clean-shaven faces.
A spokeswoman for the Army, Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, said it does not comment on specifics of pending litigation.
In general, Conway said, the grooming regulations are in place to ensure the safety of soldiers and their units. In cases of combat, where a soldier might need to wear a gas mask, the exception may not be allowed, she said.
Exceptions are granted by a soldier’s immediate commander and are considered on a case-by-case basis, she said.
What happened to separation of Church and State?
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