Fishel Litzman, the Orthodox Jewish NYPD recruit who was dismissed from the police academy over the length of his beard – which he keeps for religious purposes – is receiving support from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group with suspected links to the terrorist group Hamas.
“We urge the NYPD to reinstate Mr. Litzman and to work out a reasonable compromise that protects his religious rights and those of other officers while maintaining good order and discipline in the ranks,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick.
The police department says Litzman “did not comply with the NYPD’s reasonable accommodation to keep his beard trimmed,” according to Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. “He did not keep it trimmed to 1mm and he stated that it was his intention to never cut or trim his beard.”
While Browne says that other NYPD officers who are of the Orthodox Jewish community have no issues with observing the department’s “reasonable accommodation” of keeping beards within 1mm of length, Litzman says “it is absolutely forbidden in my religious beliefs to cut or trim my beard in any way.”
In a release to reporters, CAIR says it is dealing with a similar situation involving a Muslim NYPD officer who is “facing disciplinary action because of his beard”.