Friday, January 29, 2021

SANDF allows wearing of Islamic headscarf

Last year, we noted the South African government withdrew charges against an officer serving in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Major Fatima Isaacs had refused to remove her headscarf under her military cap, but escaped a trial even though she had willfully violated existing policy. The SANDF has now amended those regulations, making it official that Muslim women serving in uniform can lawfully wear a headscarf.

The SANDF's decision marks a positive trend in the last few years. The U.S. Army in 2017 amended its regulations to allow Soldiers with "sincerely held religious beliefs" to wear hijabs, turbans and beards based on approval by their brigade commanders. And in 2018, the U.S. Air Force permitted a JAG officer to wear the hijab.

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