Selected Article Excerpt:
Earlier this month, a major in the U.S. Army who is a Sikh American took his case to staffers on the Hill, explaining how he and other Sikhs should be able to serve in uniform and still maintain their religious beliefs, including wearing turbans and unshorn hair, including beards.
The new directive will explain that if the articles of faith or physical attributes interfere with the proper function of protective clothing and equipment, the request could be denied. For example, a beard or unshorn hair cannot interfere with gas masks or helmets.
Jewish service members can request permission to wear a yarmulke while in uniform. Muslim service members can request to wear a beard and carry prayer beads. Even Wiccan service members, those who practice “Magick,” can seek accommodation — the directive covers all religions recognized by the U.S. military.