According to a US court decision, Marine Corps cannot bar Sikhs from entering if they are sporting beards and turbans. Three Sikh recruits can now begin the unit’s basic training, which is a significant triumph for them. Aekash Singh, Jaskirat Singh, and Milaap Singh Chahal, the three recruits, had requested an exception from the Marines regulation requiring them to remove their beards. The Marine Corps informed the three Sikh men that they could only serve if they shaved before to the basic training, despite the men’s contention that their beards and turbans were a sign of their dedication to their religious religion.
After a judge in a lower court rejected their motion, the men appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in September. Beards will affect ‘troop homogeneity’ and look, according to the Marines, endangering national security. The three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals declared that they ‘are already experiencing and will continue to suffer grave, immediate, and ongoing damage to the exercise of their faith’.
‘A federal judge has decided that Sikhs may continue to wear their religious beards while serving their nation in the US Marine Corps. Three Sikh recruits who had previously been refused accommodations due to their religion can now begin basic training’, according to attorney Eric Baxter, who represented the three men.
‘This is a significant victory for religious liberty since the Marine Corps has long prohibited Sikh recruits with religious beards from enrolling in basic training. As a result of today’s decision, the order is invalidated as a ‘violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),’ he continued, adding that ‘no one should have to choose between serving God and country’.