Washington: A prominent Sikh-American organisation has urged US President Barack Obama to allow Sikhs to serve in the American military “without restrictions”.
Obama in turn promised to look into the matter and agreed to follow up, according to the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.
The chairman of the council, Rajwant Singh, met Obama at the White House on Wednesday and pressed him to allow Sikhs in US Armed Forces without any restrictions.
“US President promised to look into the matter and agreed to follow up,” a media release said. Singh and his wife were invited to the White House Holiday reception hosted by the First Family.
“You have to allow Sikhs to serve in the Army without any restriction. They are only able to serve if Pentagon gives them an exception. This needs to go. Please do not leave office without taking away this restriction against Sikhs,” Singh told the President.
“Sikhs are great warriors. I will look into it and will follow up,” the release quoted Obama as saying. Singh also pointed out to Obama that Canada has a turban wearing Sikh as its defence minister, which the President acknowledged.
Earlier this month, in a rare exception, an active-duty Sikh combat soldier in the US army was granted a temporary religious accommodation that allowed him to grow his beard and wear a turban.