- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2016

The historic Citadel military academy is considering granting its first ever uniform exception to a female cadet who has asked to be allowed to wear a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith.

Citadel spokeswoman Kim Keelor said Friday that is it the first such request that has been made, although the school has had a number of Muslim cadets, The Associated Press reported. 

Cadets at the South Carolina military college are required to wear their uniform at nearly all times — even on a beach trip. College rules stipulate that “Cadets will change into appropriate swimwear upon arrival and change back into uniform when departing,” according to The Washington Post. 

The proposal to allow the first uniform exception for a Muslim cadet has been met with mixed response.

Some opponents say that allowing an exception to the uniform rules that have been kept strictly in place for decades would create a slippery slope that could see the disintegration of the institution’s standards that all cadets must meet. 

“It doesn’t bring harm to the school. But it is a blatant disrespect to what a military school stands for,” one cadet wrote in response to a Facebook post about the issue, The Post said.

“We come here and willingly give up our individuality and become a part of a group that upholds the time honored traditions of this school. So for anyone to come, not even walk through our hallowed gates, and force the school to go to extreme lengths both financially and resourcefully, to accommodate one person, isn’t right. I can’t wear a tshirt around campus that says “I love Jesus.” Why? It’s not because of religious intolerance, it’s because it does not meet uniform requirements that all 2400 of us are held to,” the cadet wrote. 

But others praised the idea on social media, saying it represents growing acceptance of Muslims in the U.S. 

Earlier this month the U.S. Army granted Capt. Simratpal Singh a long-term religious accommodation, making him the first active duty Sikh soldier to be allowed to wear a turban and grow a beard in accordance with his faith.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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