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U.S. Army eases rules on beards, turbans for Muslim, Sikh troops
by David Alexander
The U.S. Army has taken new steps to make it easier for Sikhs, Muslims and other religious minorities to obtain approval to dress and groom themselves according to their religious customs while serving in the military, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Army Secretary Eric Fanning, in a memorandum signed this week, revised the uniform policy to set appearance standards for people seeking religious accommodations to wear beards, turbans and head scarfs.
The new rules also enable brigade-level commanders to approve the religious accommodations, an authority that previously rested with the Army secretary. Denial of a religious accommodation may be appealed as high as the Army secretary.
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