Muslim civil rights group says new guidelines are ‘step toward religious accommodation and inclusion’
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/12/20) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today expressed support for the U.S. Air Force’s new guidelines allowing personnel to request a waiver to wear religious apparel, including turbans and hijabs (Islamic head scarves), and to grow beards for religious reasons.
On Friday, the Air Force updated its regulations to formally allow requests for waivers for religious reasons as long as they are “neat and conservative” and present a professional and well-groomed appearance.
Those requesting waivers must submit a request for these religious accommodations, and those requests can only be denied if the policy “furthers a compelling government interest” and is the least restrictive way of furthering that interest.
In recent years, Air Force personnel have been granted permission to wear beards, turbans and the hijab for religious reasons. In 2017, the Army became the first service to allow Muslim and Sikh soldiers to wear head coverings and beards.
In 2014, CAIR similarly welcomed an updated Pentagon policy on religious accommodation for military personnel.
In a statement, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said:
“We support these new guidelines as a step toward religious accommodation and inclusion for military personnel of all faiths. Thousands of American Muslims and members of other minority faiths serve in our nation’s military and should be able to practice their faith while serving.”
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.