- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Sikh college student has won a court battle against the U.S. Army over its grooming standards that had prohibited him from growing a beard and wearing a turban.

Iknoor Singh challenged the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps rules on shaving, hair length and proper head gear for roughly three years before U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Friday that Mr. Singh’s religious practices wouldn’t hinder his ability to serve in the military, The Associated Press ARMY_LAWSUIT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT” target=”_blank”>reported.

“I didn’t believe it at first when I heard about the decision. It was kind of surreal. This is something I have been fighting for for two or three years. I’m excited and nervous; very excited to learn,” Mr. Singh told AP on Monday from Queens, N.Y.

The prospective officer, who is studying at Hofstra University on Long Island, will not be required to shave, cut his hair or remove his turban.

“It is difficult to see how accommodating plaintiff’s religious exercise would do greater damage to the Army’s compelling interests in uniformity, discipline, credibility, unit cohesion, and training than the tens of thousands of medical shaving profiles the Army has already granted,” Judge Berman wrote in her decision.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ben Garrett said in a statement that the decision is currently being examined.

“The Army takes pride in sustaining a culture where all personnel are treated with dignity and respect and not discriminated against based on race, color, religion, gender and national origin,” he said, AP reported.

Mr. Singh said he hopes to work in military intelligence. He speaks English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu, AP reported.

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