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Sikhs Challenge U.S. Army's Ban on Turbans, Beards [Nudists Next?]
AP Report ^ | June 14, 2009

Posted on 06/14/2009 6:04:43 PM PDT by Steelfish

Sikhs Challenge U.S. Army's Ban on Turbans, Beards Sunday, June 14, 2009

NEW YORK — Military service is in Capt. Kamaljit Singh Kalsi's blood.

His father and grandfather were part of India's Air Force. His great-grandfather served in the army in India under the British. So when U.S. Army recruiters talked to him during his first year of medical school, he readily signed up.

But his plans to go on active duty in July are now on hold. An Army policy from the 1980s that regulates the wearing of religious items would mean he would need to shave his beard and remove the turban he wears in accordance with his religious precepts.

Kalsi and another Sikh man with the same concerns, Second Lt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan, are the centerpieces of an advocacy campaign launched by the Sikh Coalition as it tries to persuade the Army to let them serve without sacrificing their articles of faith.

"I'm an American, there's no reason why I can't serve," Kalsi, 32, said.

The Army has a long-standing interest in how its members carry themselves, with policies that ban exotic hair colors, long fingernails or certain colors of lipstick. Army officials declined to comment on the reasoning behind its policy that would force the Sikh men to give up their religious displays. Sikhs who were active-duty military when the policy was adopted were allowed to continue serving without shaving their beards or removing their turbans.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: sikhs; uniform; usarmy
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1 posted on 06/14/2009 6:04:44 PM PDT by Steelfish
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To: Steelfish

Give Sikhs a pass. Just my opinion.


2 posted on 06/14/2009 6:06:00 PM PDT by allmost
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To: Steelfish
"I'm an American, ...

Then act like one - shave the beard ...

3 posted on 06/14/2009 6:07:14 PM PDT by Ken522
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To: Ken522

Not right.


4 posted on 06/14/2009 6:08:31 PM PDT by allmost
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To: Steelfish

The problem is a very slippery slope.


5 posted on 06/14/2009 6:08:31 PM PDT by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG 49) We know how to deal with Iran.)
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To: Steelfish

Really appreciate your patriotism, now remove the Sikhs so we can give you a buzz cut and issue you a nice helmet.


6 posted on 06/14/2009 6:09:51 PM PDT by VicVega (Join Jihad, get captured by the US and resettled in the best places in the world. I love the USA)
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To: Ken522

“I’m an American, there’s no reason why I can’t serve,” Kalsi, 32, said.
He’s right, he should follow the rules like every American that wants to serve and that starts with a haircut.


7 posted on 06/14/2009 6:11:19 PM PDT by omega4179 (America is a Christian Nation.)
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To: Steelfish
That's Sikh!!
8 posted on 06/14/2009 6:11:29 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet ("The unarmed man is not just defenseless - he is also contemptible." Machiavelli)
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To: Steelfish

Conform to military standards or get out!


9 posted on 06/14/2009 6:11:39 PM PDT by Cheetahcat (Zero the Wright kind of Racist! We are in a state of War with Democrats)
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To: Steelfish

the RCMP had the same issue in 1994 - They caved.


10 posted on 06/14/2009 6:11:49 PM PDT by Perdogg (Sarah Palin-Jim DeMint 2012 - Liz Cheney for Sec of State - Duncan Hunter SecDef)
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To: allmost
Agreed. Some great soldiers and allies.


11 posted on 06/14/2009 6:12:06 PM PDT by icwhatudo (For every clinic bombed or burned, 17 to 18 churches are burned down. MSM? MSM?)
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To: Ken522

They shouldnt have to shave the beard. Sikhs are very patriotc. All the great Civil war generals had a beard. It is a modern invention that really doesn’t help or hurt one’s ability to be a soldier. They way the sikhs deal with their hair, I don’t think is really an issue as well, unless they can’t get it under a helmet.


12 posted on 06/14/2009 6:12:14 PM PDT by Blogger (It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. - Ben Franklin)
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To: Steelfish

When I was in the Army we had Sikhs. They wore their sword as a photograph. The underwear we didn’t care about. The olive drab turban fit nicely under their helmets. Beards were trimmed so that gas masks fit.


13 posted on 06/14/2009 6:12:43 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
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To: Blogger

Gas masks have to seal. That can be achieved with a trimmed beard.


14 posted on 06/14/2009 6:13:31 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
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To: Steelfish

A beard is less disruptive than open, practicing homosexuals in uniform.

Since the latter is already supposed to be coming down, I can’t see a problem with giving into the Sikhs on this one.


15 posted on 06/14/2009 6:15:01 PM PDT by I_Like_Spam
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To: allmost

Rules exist for a reason. If you can’t obey them, do not enlist.


16 posted on 06/14/2009 6:16:45 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: Steelfish

It must have been a terrible shock to him when he found out he wouldn’t be the first soldier to be allowed to have a beard.


17 posted on 06/14/2009 6:17:07 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Overproduction, one of the top five worries for the American farmer.)
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To: I_Like_Spam

Gas masks, helmets fitting, all of the rules appplying to everyone equally...


18 posted on 06/14/2009 6:17:50 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: donmeaker

And so they can be modified. Israel is doing it.

http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2009/04/sikhs-ask-to-serve-in-army-des.php


19 posted on 06/14/2009 6:18:01 PM PDT by Blogger (It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. - Ben Franklin)
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To: Steelfish
By virtue of Admiral Zumwalt's directives, I was allowed to have a beard the last two years I was in the Navy. When I was in combat, we shaved irregularly, including the officers. I don't see facial hair as an impediment to military discipline.

Lamh Foistenach Abu!
20 posted on 06/14/2009 6:18:54 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: Steelfish
There's some reasonable precedent for this -- not legally binding in the USA of course -- of the Gurkha regiments in the imperial era British Army.

They have a hell of a reputation as good soldiers in every way.

21 posted on 06/14/2009 6:19:25 PM PDT by Salman
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To: ConorMacNessa

I was in during the Zumwalt yrs. I remember that. However, if the Army doesn’t allow this now...


22 posted on 06/14/2009 6:20:23 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: Ken522
Let 'em keep the beard and the turban.

Trust me, neither one will affect the combat efficiency of a Sikh warrior.

23 posted on 06/14/2009 6:20:31 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Lurker

agreed


24 posted on 06/14/2009 6:21:07 PM PDT by Blogger (It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. - Ben Franklin)
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To: Ken522
Hey Ulysses! Act like an American and lose that beard!


25 posted on 06/14/2009 6:21:41 PM PDT by Salman
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: allmost
So what would it cost to provide Kevlar strips for them to make their turbans of?

Has any branch of our military tested Kevlar turbans against the standard helmets and other issued headgear?

The “turban type troops” would never be without their Most Protective headgear.
I'll wager that a turban has more “stopping power” than a ball-cap or Dress uniform “class A” head gear.

Heck, our Turban troops would have their Kevlar turbans far more often than other troops have their helmets. Ergo, on average they'd be More Protected!

27 posted on 06/14/2009 6:31:54 PM PDT by PizzaDriver (an heinleinian/libertarian)
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: Steelfish

Steel turbans?


29 posted on 06/14/2009 6:41:50 PM PDT by SkyDancer ('Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..' ~ Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Steelfish

My dad has pictures of two Sikhs he served with in the 70’S and both are wearing turbans. Doesn’t seem to have been a problem then.


30 posted on 06/14/2009 6:44:03 PM PDT by TWfromTEXAS (Life is the one choice that pro choicers won’t support.)
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To: Ken522

31 posted on 06/14/2009 6:46:55 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (a competent small government conservative is good enough for government work)
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To: Steelfish

Ditto to all who said it, give Sikhs a pass.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

In cases like this, a well regulated military can make small concessions for a greater good.

These guys are good to have, and they are no danger to good order and discipline.


32 posted on 06/14/2009 6:47:19 PM PDT by buwaya
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To: SkyDancer

Steel turbans? Exactly.

Really, this is a matter for Congress since the Supremes have ruled that in relation to military matters Congress has virtual plenary authority on the subject. Some years ago, Congress allowed the use of yarmulkes after a certain Jewish recruit lost his case to wear it as a matter of constitutional right.


33 posted on 06/14/2009 6:47:23 PM PDT by Steelfish
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To: Cheetahcat

Check out the Sikhs service with the British. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragarhi They’re no friends to the muslims and they have a military tradition that demands respect. I’d say let them in.


34 posted on 06/14/2009 6:48:04 PM PDT by SeminoleSoldier
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To: SeminoleSoldier
“Check out the Sikhs service with the British. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragarhi They’re no friends to the muslims and they have a military tradition that demands respect. I’d say let them in.”

The Gurkha's also So what!!Our military has standards they either comply or get the hell out and go home. It is crazy to bend the rules for these people.

35 posted on 06/14/2009 6:53:51 PM PDT by Cheetahcat (Zero the Wright kind of Racist! We are in a state of War with Democrats)
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To: Steelfish

Sikhs are generally very good soldiers. The only half credible excuse for kicking them out over non-sealing protective masks is nonsense, as a large percentage of black male soldiers have facial skin that will not seal masks either, because of Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB).

Uniformity in the military is NOT so that militarists can get all excited about having an army of clones. It is solely for logistics and supply, neither of which are impacted by Sikh religious obligations.

However, Sikhs are in many cases far *better* soldiers than the ordinary good soldier. They are orderly, disciplined, professional, and responsible. This is why they tend to dominate the Indian army as a whole, and the Indian Sikh regiment is one of their most highly decorated units.

“The Battle of Saragarhi is considered one of the greatest stories of collective bravery in human history. The contingent of twenty-one soldiers from the 36th Sikhs was led by Havildar Ishar Singh, and held off an Afghan attack of 10,000 men for several hours.

“All 21 Sikh soldiers chose to fight to the death instead of surrendering. In recognition of their supreme sacrifice, the British Parliament rose to pay them respect, and each one of them was awarded the Indian Order of Merit (equivalent to the Victoria Cross).

“The battle has been compared to the Battle of Thermopylae, where a small Greek force faced a large Persian army of Xerxes (480 BC).”


36 posted on 06/14/2009 6:59:28 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Ken522
Fierce allies! I would gladly fight with a Sikh. We could learn much from those who have been fighting a war with our enemies for a 1000 years.
37 posted on 06/14/2009 7:00:02 PM PDT by fuente
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To: Steelfish
I'll wager that turbans AS HELMET LINERS would serve as well as the issued Liners.

I'll parlay that wager with one Betting that our Sikh troopers would grab a steel pot, when faced with “Incoming Arty”.

38 posted on 06/14/2009 7:00:54 PM PDT by PizzaDriver (an heinleinian/libertarian)
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To: Cheetahcat

Its not crazy to bend rules. Part of the exercise of executive authority is knowing that rules will have to be bent occasionally. No rules were designed to apply to all possible contingencies. When circumstances exceed normal parameters, then it is prudent to bend rules.

This sort of thing runs through all true experience of military service.


39 posted on 06/14/2009 7:02:14 PM PDT by buwaya
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To: PizzaDriver

The new MICH helmets are about as comfortable as you can get.

And this guy needs to shutup and move out or get kicked out. What a freakin’ turd. The military has well-known standards, especially if he’s an O-3. He’s just trying to make waves. My old Battalion Commander would have a field day with this idiot.


40 posted on 06/14/2009 7:03:24 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: allmost
Give Sikhs a pass.

Not a chance. Even if this guy's the Ultimate Super Soldier, you have no idea the can of worms this opens up if he's given a pass. We have rules. Obey them or get out. It's that simple.

41 posted on 06/14/2009 7:05:28 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: Steelfish
Boot camp is where all the bad habits are driven out of you and you become part of a team relying on the man next to you.

To get to this type of comraderie, all of the recruits have to look the same, sound the same, march the same, talk, eat, sleep, crap and generally get robotized before they can rely on each other.

If the Sikhs want to go through that and AFTER getting assigned grow their beards back, and wear their tubans, I see no problem with it. Sikhs are fanatic friends and fearsome fighters. Any of the services should welcome them.

42 posted on 06/14/2009 7:09:40 PM PDT by Pistolshot (The Soap-box, The Ballot-box, The Jury-box, And The Cartridge-Box ...we are past 2 of them.)
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To: Future Snake Eater

That is failing to look at the cost-benefit ratio here. Think about what Emerson said about “Foolish consistency”.

Lets put it this way - just from the point of view of public image - Sikhs in turbans as US soldiers and officers would have a wonderfully -er- “complex” effect on the perceptions in much of the world, and on political opponents of the US military. Sikhs are particularly interesting BECAUSE of their turbans.

Just as a for instance, if such a person retired and showed up as a JROTC officer in San Francisco, turban and all, the local leftoids would be tearing their hair out. I can just imagine the next school board meeting.

Think of this too - hardly anything would be as powerful a PR statement in India in favor of a US alliance than the sight of an obvious Indian officer of high rank in the US armed forces; its a statement that “we think you guys are great. Great enough to entrust our men to men like you”.

A regular and obvious Indian would be a good thing, but there is no way to miss a Sikh. Thats the messaging equivalent of a Las Vegas casino sign in animated neon.

And so forth.


43 posted on 06/14/2009 7:17:34 PM PDT by buwaya
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To: Steelfish

Seems to me this might be a case of the US pays for my medical school, and then I don’t have to fullfill my part.
They had to know before that turbans weren’t part of the uniform.


44 posted on 06/14/2009 7:26:20 PM PDT by Tessarie
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To: Steelfish

If he don’t like the way we do things in America he can go back to where he came from. We want miss him.


45 posted on 06/14/2009 7:30:50 PM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: buwaya

“Its not crazy to bend rules. Part of the exercise of executive authority is knowing that rules will have to be bent occasionally. No rules were designed to apply to all possible contingencies. When circumstances exceed normal parameters, then it is prudent to bend rules.

This sort of thing runs through all true experience of military service”

Hell why have rules at all? everybody does what they want!


46 posted on 06/14/2009 7:54:22 PM PDT by Cheetahcat (Zero the Wright kind of Racist! We are in a state of War with Democrats)
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To: Dubya

Him, by himself, not much. Thats just one man.

The example though isn’t good for the national interest.

Them, yes you will miss them. You want them. Think it through. Back home (India) where they have a good bit of a cultural inferiority complex and can be a bit subconsciously touchy about these things, this isn’t going to be good PR. There are a LOT of Indians, and lots of people the Indians bring along elsewhere. They have serious pull already, and they are up-and-coming.

We WANT these people as allies, good friends, inseparable if possible. Thats a benefit worth several divisions. Forgiving a few token turbans is a VERY small price for a powerful political gesture.


47 posted on 06/14/2009 7:58:42 PM PDT by buwaya
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To: Future Snake Eater

I am not budging.


48 posted on 06/14/2009 8:00:59 PM PDT by allmost
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To: buwaya

I want miss any of them. They can all go jump in the lake as far I care.


49 posted on 06/14/2009 8:02:50 PM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: Steelfish

I have met and worked with many Sikhs (including ex Military types) and I respect them enormously.

I believe this insistence on “rules” is ridiculous. These rules are not sacred like our constitution. These rules in many cases were CHANGED tens of times since our country began and can be changed again. Heck, our Constitution, which next to the Bible is the holiest document to me, allows itself to be changed.

We allowed beards once and we can allow it again. Rules should NOT be ignored. No Sir. However, rules can and should be changed when they make sense.

We allowed blacks in the Army. Using the idiotic logic on display in this thread, if FR had existed back in the 40s I am sure someone would have posted “Rules are rules”

Keep context in mind guys. Some random Sikh guy wants to join our United States army and DIE FOR ME!!!!

Did you get that?? He wants the privelege of dying for me, my family, my consitution and my country (and Texas, my most beloved state).

This Sikh guy also likes to wear a beard as his religion asks for it.

So the way I see it, we allowed beards once. Our greatest generals wore beards. We can freaking allow them again for what is arguably one of the greatest martial races in the world.

Go Sikhs! Go US Armed Forces! Go Texas!


50 posted on 06/14/2009 8:09:11 PM PDT by SoftwareEngineer
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