In this Section
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Nov 11 welcomed a U.S. Army decision to review a policy of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) that effectively bars participation by Muslim students who wear an Islamic head scarf, or hijab. Last month, CAIR wrote to Defence 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 Sep homecoming parade. After being contacted by the student’s family, CAIR contacted both the school district and the U.S. Department of Defence (DOD) to seek constitutionally-protected religious accommodations for the girl and for future Muslim JROTC participants.
In a letter sent to CAIR, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Larry Stubblefield wrote: “I have been asked to provide an interim reply on behalf of the Secretary of Defence to your October 13, 2011 letter concerning Miss Demin Zawity’s request to wear a religious head covering (hijab) while participating in an Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) event at Ravenwood High School. Based on your concerns, the Army is reviewing its policies related to religious accommodation as they apply to JROTC, and we will provide you the results of that review upon completion. Please be assured, that it is not the intent of the JROTC policy to discriminate against any individual or religion.”