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January 23, 2014 1:32 pm

U.S. Department of Defense Loosens Religious Clothing Restriction on Troops

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Jewish U.S. soldiers praying. Photo: Wiki Commons.

JNS.orgThe Pentagon has agreed to allow U.S. troops greater freedom to grow beards or wear religious garments such as head scarfs, turbans, and yarmulkes with their military uniforms. The new policy will mostly affect Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and others with religious traditions pertaining to clothing and facial hair.

Men and women in the military, however, still must seek special accommodation from their commanders to be allowed to wear religious garments, and the request can still be denied. “The new policy states that military departments will accommodate religious requests of service members unless a request would have an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan J. Christensen said in a statement released by the U.S. Department of Defense.

“All requests for accommodation of religious practices will be assessed on a case-by-case basis… Each request must be considered based on its unique facts, the nature of the requested religious accommodation, the effect of approval or denial on the service member’s exercise of religion, and the effect of approval or denial on mission accomplishment, including unit cohesion,” Christensen said.

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