It’s called a “UNIFORM” for a reason


The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that the Department of Defense will begin allowing Muslim and Sikh students who wear an Islamic head scarf (hijab) or a turban to participate in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).


In October, the Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta after a 14-year-old Muslim student at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn., was forced to transfer out of a JROTC class when her commanding officers told her she could not wear hijab while marching in the September homecoming parade.

CAIR requested constitutionally-protected religious accommodations for the girl and for future Muslim JROTC participants.

You know why we wear uniforms? To make us a part of a unit – a cohesive organization where no one receives special treatment and everyone operates as part of an entity.



All as one.

A unit is supposed to be a single, indivisible entity – not a place where everyone’s special “needs” are accommodated.

I don’t care whom you worship or how. You are part of an organization in which you and your buddies operate as a team, as parts of a cohesive whole. The uniform is part of that cohesion. It’s part of that strength.

Get it?

Obviously CAIR doesn’t.

So what’s next? Burqas in the battlefield?

Can’t wait for that one.


11 responses

  1. The mentality of the day, was illustrated recently at “This Ain’t Hell”, when a commenter claims that “being in the US military is a “right”. He was discussing gays in the military, but no matter who; Service is NOT a right, but a “privilege”.
    “They” just don’t get that the armed forces is not a laboratory for experimentation on social desires.


    1. I think service is both a right and a privilege. I know that sounds strange, but those of us who have served understand the kind of privilege it is. But to me, having come from the former USSR, I also understand that everyone should have the right to render service to the nation they love – a nation that has given them so much in terms of freedom an opportunity. Now, granted, one has to be qualified to serve, but I don’t think going home to someone of the same gender makes one any less physically fit, any less capable of doing their job in the military or any less capable of shooting straight. I think most of us have served with at least one gay person, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had any trouble with said service members.

      For a more detailed description of my views about gays in the military, read here. These three reasons in particular:

      I support the repeal because I served with a man who, for the sake of his own career denied his true orientation to me despite being a good friend, even though he wasn’t fooling anyone.

      I support the repeal because of the soldier who tearfully confessed his orientation to me while on fireguard during basic. I was pretty open about my feelings on the subject even then, and he was scared about having to lie about who he was in order to be allowed to defend the country that he loved more than his own life. And I was the only person he had met in months that acted like that sort of thing wasn’t a big deal.

      I support the repeal because there is nothing patriotic about nosing in on what other people are doing with the genitals.


  2. Merry CHRISTmas, Nikki! Again, you have knocked it out of the park with that massive club of simple logic that you swing so well. Head scarves or turbans indicate they are apart from the UNIT, and demonstrates their alligence to another group apart.


    1. Merry Christmas to you too. I’m pretty much an atheist, but I appreciate the sentiment. 🙂

      I just don’t get how these people consistently get special treatment! UGH!!! We were always told there’s only one color in the Army – green. But apparently, it’s OK to alter the uniform according to one’s religious beliefs? Double UGH!!!


  3. Okay, I will take issue with your position here on Constitutional and legal rounds, Nicki.

    The Federal Government cannot interfere with a person’s free exercise of religion. As a result, accommodating religious practice is a long tradition of work in the Armed forces.

    Jewish Rabbis wear the Yarmulke under their headgear. Roman Catholic service members wear scapulars under their T-shirts. Mormon service members wear their temple garments as long as they cannot be seen. Even we renegade Anglican chaplains wear Celtic crosses on our ID tags.

    The active Army made accommodation for Sikhs and Muslims years ago. They wear their headgear as long as they are inside. Under no condition are they allowed to wear it as a replacement for Army headgear. All the Army Imams I know wear the hijab when inside.

    Allowing JROTC Soldiers that are Seikhs and Muslims to wear the Hijab is to introduce consistency with DA policy about religious accommodation. As long as they aren’t given prejudicial treatment (pro or con), I’m in favor of the policy.

    BTW…one should wear their rank on their Gortex jackets and the new ACU colored coats. I will always wear a cross instead. My rank is not important to a young Soldier…that I am a chaplain and love them is!



    1. But Jim – here’s the thing… Those things are concealed. I remember in basic training, the drill instructors telling us the crosses, yarmulkes, etc must be worn under the uniform. I’ve seen Rabbis wear yarmulkes under the cover and the Mormon undergarments under the ACU. How is the hijab to be concealed? If a Christian is told to put that cross away inside the T-shirt, while a Muslim or a Sikh can wear headdress visible, how is that equitable?


    2. I have no problem with the exercise of religion. You know that. But as servicemembers, there are certain things we give up while in uniform. We can’t protest, we can’t engage in political activity while in uniform. Those our fundamental rights too, but while we’re in uniform, we’re in uniform. If there’s a way to conceal the headdress so that the uniform remains intact, I have no problem with it, but I have a problem with allowing anyone to alter the uniform according to their religious beliefs.


    3. Any religious faith that uses headgear as a legitimate expression of their faith has the same rights. Accommodating Religious Practices (DA PAM 600-75) might be helpful here.

      BTW, one of my fellow chaplain colleagues is an Imam. He wears the Hijab and a Star with Crescent under his uniform.

      And his wife (who is from Turkey) makes a mean Kallafel 🙂



  4. Actually, headgear is the exception to the “hidden” rule. I am a case in point. During Lent, I wear the Zucchetta, which looks almost exactly like a Yarmulke. When I put on headgear, it covers the Zucchetta. Same thing with the Hijab or the Turban for the Seikhs. In the case of the Turban…it must be removed.

    Accommodating religious practices is at the discretion of the commander. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t allow a Soldier to wear a Chicago Cubs baseball hat – indoors or out (btw, I am a big Cubs fan!). But if the commander says a Soldier can wear that hat as a legitimate religious article during their worship…well, dem’s da regs.

    The larger point is that religious freedom in our country allows us to express our faith in this way while serving in the military. I view this as something that enriches the life of the military member, not something that undermines uniformity or unit discipline.


    1. I guess it would depend on how you practice it. I don’t think religion – or the practice thereof, in and of itself – undermines uniformity. You’re a Chaplain – religion is part of your function in the military. I don’t even mind wearing of religious articles during worship. But any public function, such as a parade, or a formation… it’s a different story. A unit needs to give the appearance of cohesion, of unity, of uniformity. This particular case, the JROTC cadet wanted to wear a hijab as part of a parade. Don’t you think there’s a difference?


      1. No problem to me…as long as it fits neatly under his service headgear. If it doesn’t nope.

        And that’s not just my opinion…it’s Army regulation.

        I guess a commander could waive the requirement in the name of accommodation, but that would be on that officer, not the Muslim Soldier in question.


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