September 26, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) -- Today, the Sikh Coalition congratulates our partners at the ACLU for securing another victory in the ongoing fight to #LetSikhsServe.
This week, the ACLU announced that Airman First Class Sunjit Rathour of the U.S. Air Force has completed his Technical Training, a type of skills training within the U.S. military that service members complete after basic training to prepare for specific work. The ACLU previously worked to facilitate A1C Rathour’s religious accommodation to ensure that he can maintain his Sikh articles of faith while pursuing his Air Force career.
“As Sunjit’s experience demonstrates, recruits with religious accommodations are able to undertake the same training as other airmen,” said Heather L. Weaver, senior staff attorney with the ACLU. “We hope that the other branches of the military will follow in the footsteps of the Army and the Air Force by granting similar accommodations to those who request them.”
We join the ACLU in congratulating A1C Rathour for this accomplishment, which breaks down barriers for observant Sikhs by proving that they can fulfill military training while maintaining their articles of faith.
In 2019, the Sikh Coalition is pursuing accommodations for clients in different branches of the military, including a recently-obtained religious accommodation for a Sikh client to serve in the U.S. Air Force. More broadly, the Sikh Coalition is pursuing policy change as well. Much of this legal and advocacy work continues behind the scenes to ensure that we are advancing long-term progress.
In addition to commending the ACLU for this victory, we have also updated a resource for Sikh community members interested in military service: the latest edition of our Army “Know Your Rights”
This version of the Army “Know Your Rights”
document accounts for the policy change victory originally secured by the Sikh Coalition’s advocacy work in 2017 and subsequent modifications to that policy in 2018. It includes frequently asked questions about religious accommodations and explanations of U.S. Army policies vis-a-vis observant Sikhs as well as information regarding how to request a religious accommodation.
Please note that the Army “Know Your Rights” document is not intended as legal advice. If you or someone you know need specific and immediate legal assistance, please contact
the Sikh Coalition’s legal team directly. We continue to work towards the broader goal of ending employment discrimination in the United States, including the U.S. Department of Defense, our nation’s largest employer.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.