After a new regulation was passed by the US Army, allowing servicemen to be enrolled with their religious insignia such as turbans, hijabs, beards, etc., five Sikhs have been inducted in the US Army with their religious insignia intact. The new rules were announced on January 4, effectively eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks that had earlier led to discrimination of Sikhs. It may be recalled that the Department of Defense had banned visible articles of faith in 1981.
“After a 35-year presumptive ban on observant Sikhs, our nation’s largest employer has taken a vital step in embracing policies that reflect the rich diversity of our nation,” said Sikh Coalition Legal Director, Harsimran Kaur. “We look forward to permanent policy change across all branches of the military so that all religious minorities can freely serve without exception,” she said.
As per information provided by Sikh Coalition, there are now a total of minimum 14 Sikh soldiers who are now serving in the US Army with their religious articles of faith intact. Private Shabaddeep Singh Jammu, an Infantry Recruit, born and raised in Elk Grove, California, said that he is fully committed to serve the interests of the United States. Shabaddeep had lost his brother in a tragic incident in 2013. “The ability to serve my country and faith has been a lifelong goal. I’m now honoring my brother while pursuing a career that serves our nation without compromising my beliefs,” he said.