A member of the U.S. Air Force who is Sikh has won the right to wear a beard and turban with his uniform and to refrain from cutting his hair.
Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa will be the first Sikh active-duty airman to serve with a beard, turban and unshorn hair, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented Bajwa, reported last month.
The ACLU noted that branches of the military have granted religious accommodations to members of minority faiths. For example, a Muslim Air Force officer in 2018 was permitted to wear a hijab during her training and service. The Air Force has also granted accommodations to Muslims who wear beards.
Bajwa, who serves at McChord Air Force Base nearTacoma, Wash., told Air Force Times that he's pleased with the outcome.
"I'm overjoyed that the Air Force has granted my religious accommodation," said Bajwa. "Today, I feel that my country has embraced my Sikh heritage, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity."
In a blog post, the ACLU noted that religious accommodations in the military are not uncommon.
"Indeed, the U.S. military has already granted hundreds of thousands of exceptions to its appearance...