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Old 04-15-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
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Default Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

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For Capt. Kamaljit Singh Kalsi, a doctor, and 2nd Lt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan, a dentist, this is a hill worth fighting for.



These two U.S. military recruits of the Sikh faith are challenging an Army order that they remove their turbans and cut their unshorn hair and beards when they report for active duty in July.

In Sikhism, which originated in northwestern India, the turban and unshorn hair are articles of faith and can't be removed.

But the U.S. military says there are times when the military cannot accommodate certain religious practices, "such as when those religious observations would interfere with the wear of proper military headgear or protective clothing or equipment."

"It doesn't make sense to me, especially in these hard times," Kalsi told CNN. "The military is hurting for professionals. They need doctors, they need nurses."

Aided by the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights group, and a law firm, the men have filed requests that their religious needs be accommodated. They have filed appeals with their immediate superiors and complaints with the inspectors general of the Army and the Pentagon.

The Sikh Coalition said Kalsi and Rattan had been assured that when they were recruited to join the Army's Health Professions Scholarship that their unshorn hair and turbans "would not be a problem."

"Both men were both recruited and commissioned -- with their Sikh articles of faith -- during their respective first years of medical and dental school (2001 and 2006) through the Army's Health Professions Scholarship Program.

"Both are concluding their training and are slated to begin active duty in July 2009. However, the U.S. Army is now disputing their ability to serve with their Sikh identity intact," the Sikh Coalition said in an April 14 letter addressed to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Amardeep Singh, the head of the Sikh Coalition, told CNN that the issue at hand involves observant Sikhs, not those Sikh-Americans who entered the military after removing their turbans and shaving their beards and hair.

The issue is all-important for the roughly 500,000-strong American Sikh community, which faced hostility after the September 11, 2001, attacks, when people associated them with al Qaeda terrorists because their turbans and beards resembled the militants' appearance.

"The perception is still there," said Singh. "We're sort of still feeling it."

He said surveys -- including one done recently in Queens, New York, where children reported being on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse -- chronicle the problems Sikhs face.

"These kids are being harassed in New York. It's Queens, the most diverse county in the United States. If this is happening in Queens, it's happening in other parts of the country."

So, he said, the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Army sends the opposite message -- "that we are part and parcel of the fabric of this country."

Kalsi, Singh and the Sikh community stress the Sikhs' military heritage. Kalsi, for example, is the fourth generation in his family to serve in the military, and his ancestors served in India's military. The Sikh served in allied forces in the two world wars and they serve in the militaries of Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, Pakistan, as well as India.

The coalition notes in its letter to Gates that a Sikh doctor and dentist were serving in the Army, "grandfathered in under the old policy" that ended in the 1980s when observant Sikhs were barred from admission to the armed forces.

Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver, an Army spokesman, told CNN in an e-mail that "the Army places high value on the rights of Soldiers to freely observe the tenets of their respective religions."

"Accommodation of a Soldier's religious practices must be examined against military necessity and cannot be guaranteed at all times," he wrote. "There are times when the Army cannot accommodate for religious reasons, such as when those religious observations would interfere with the wear of proper military headgear or protective clothing or equipment.

"The Army regulations which establish the standards of wear and appearance of the uniform and accommodating religious practices are in accordance with the Department of Defense Instruction on this subject," he said.

But the Sikhs want the Army to rethink and reconsider their situation.

"If they can come up with another policy that would allow Sikhs to serve, I guarantee you, they will have many, many people join from the Sikh community," Kalsi said.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/04/15...ef=mpstoryview
What do you guys think?
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

well i think these rag heads were well aware of the military's dress codes long before they ever joined. so why the hell do they think they'll bend thier guidelines for these clowns? if they make exceptions for these then EVERYONE will be bitching about thier religious rights. since they've already reaped the benefit of the training at the governments exspence, if they don't comply, they should spend some time in levonworth......
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

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But the U.S. military says there are times when the military cannot accommodate certain religious practices, "such as when those religious observations would interfere with the wear of proper military headgear or protective clothing or equipment."
Pretty much trumps everything. They can stay home if they wish.

Edit: You know "The Army of one" slogan. What are they going to change it to........"the army of one.... oh yeah... plus those two other homeless looking guys......"
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

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well i think these rag heads were well aware of the military's dress codes long before they ever joined. so why the hell do they think they'll bend thier guidelines for these clowns? if they make exceptions for these then EVERYONE will be bitching about thier religious rights. since they've already reaped the benefit of the training at the governments exspence, if they don't comply, they should spend some time in levonworth......
And waste all the good money the tax payers have dished out to educate these guys..... I think we need to establish a poorly supplied 2 man out post in Antartica.

Seriously if these guys are not willing to take off their hats and shave for their country then how could any soldier serving along side of them that follow the rules, ever have any confidence in them? I question their motives for this. I understand somethings are related to religion. Heck thou shalt not kill....is a pretty big part of just about any religion (about I say) but joining the military you would know that there may be a day when you have to pull the trigger...will they.... thats what I'd be thinking.. and so would every other soldier around them. Why put yourself in that position? IMO this is all politically motivated BS..
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Old 04-16-2009, 02:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

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And waste all the good money the tax payers have dished out to educate these guys..... I think we need to establish a poorly supplied 2 man out post in Antartica.

Seriously if these guys are not willing to take off their hats and shave for their country then how could any soldier serving along side of them that follow the rules, ever have any confidence in them? I question their motives for this. I understand somethings are related to religion. Heck thou shalt not kill....is a pretty big part of just about any religion (about I say) but joining the military you would know that there may be a day when you have to pull the trigger...will they.... thats what I'd be thinking.. and so would every other soldier around them. Why put yourself in that position? IMO this is all politically motivated BS..
like i said....EVERYBODY knows your gonna be sportin the high and tight, and dressed in green goin in......i'd say they were after the free education, and now they don't wanna pay for it by serving.....i'm so damn sick of these minorities, and minority religions/ groups hiding behind and bending the constitution to suit there agenda's. i consider myself agnostic, but it pisses me off to know end the way these douchebags go out of thier way to piss off the masses and buck the system with petty bullshit, like christmas decorations and religious symbols , and using the word christ or god.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

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like i said....EVERYBODY knows your gonna be sportin the high and tight, and dressed in green goin in......i'd say they were after the free education, and now they don't wanna pay for it by serving.....i'm so damn sick of these minorities, and minority religions/ groups hiding behind and bending the constitution to suit there agenda's. i consider myself agnostic, but it pisses me off to know end the way these douchebags go out of thier way to piss off the masses and buck the system with petty bullshit, like christmas decorations and religious symbols , and using the word christ or god.

You could be right...They were in it for the education all along, which is a major kick in the sack for the tax payers. Hey I served beside guys from countries I never even heard of, but like you said "the high and tight" is the way it is, and the way it should be for many reasons.

I'm not sure if it's the education or just a politicaly motivated hornswoggle (don't know what that means but seams fitting) but I'm thinking whatever their motivation to join the Military was, it certainly wasent to defend this country. Hell their allready fighting our military policies.....
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

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You could be right...They were in it for the education all along, which is a major kick in the sack for the tax payers. Hey I served beside guys from countries I never even heard of, but like you said "the high and tight" is the way it is, and the way it should be for many reasons.

I'm not sure if it's the education or just a politicaly motivated hornswoggle (don't know what that means but seams fitting) but I'm thinking whatever their motivation to join the Military was, it certainly wasent to defend this country. Hell their allready fighting our military policies.....
well ask yourself what do they have to gain from it ? i wouldn't think they'd have a snowballs chance in hell of winning a suit, and making the military change policy. so that leaves media exposure for thier religion, and a discharge..... .....and these jackasses can't figure out where the hostility comes from...must be nice to migrate to a country and have the chance to get em to cater to your insignificant needs/desires.... just once...ONCE...i'd like to see a figure head tell one of these groups if they can't conform, pack the F up and get the F out !!!
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

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well ask yourself what do they have to gain from it ? i wouldn't think they'd have a snowballs chance in hell of winning a suit, and making the military change policies. so that leaves media exposure for thier religion, and a discharge.....

I see no gain from this on their side at all. The military is not going to change their policy on this.....at least not now.... but they are taking steps to fight the system on this, so my guess is more to come out of their turban.

And another thing....Whats the big F'n deal??? obviously these guys must trim their beards or theirs grow in super slow motion. If I were to go for 3 months without shaving I'd look like a front man for ZZ Top. So I don't want to hear my beard is sacred crap. ZZ Top, now there's the real men who hold their beards sacred. AND....do they wear their turban's to bed too?? You cant tell me they never take it off. Wear 5 turbans on your own time for all I care but when you are on my dime you do what it is you need to do or get out.

Seriously, if they are discharged and I expect them to be, it should certainly be dishonorable. Infact as a nation we should make sure of that. We footed the bill for these guys to hit the private sector and become rich, why help them by giving them an honorable discharge...???
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

It won't be dishonorable discharge...the worst it will likely be is a General Discharge under other-than-honorable conditions. Again, that's the worst it will be.

I don't know which recruiter lied to them and said it wouldn't be an issue...that's just straight up BS. Charge them for their schooling for breech of contract and move on.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

There is only one color in the US Army and that's Green.

Shave and a Hair Cut...Two Bits.
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