Citadel Rejects Student’s Request to Wear Hijab

     (CN) – The Citadel, the South Carolina military college in Charleston, will not allow a prospective female student to wear her traditional Muslim headscarf to class.
     In an email to alumni, the school’s president, Lt. Gen. John Rosa, said “while we hope the student will enroll in the college this fall, the Commandant of Cadets, after considerable review, determined the uniform exception cannot be granted.
     The historic school, founded in 1842, has longstanding uniform requirements for cadets. In short, they are required to be in uniform nearly all of the time.
As far as anyone knows, this is the first time in its history that The Citadel has been asked to make a special religious exception to those rules.
     The Citadel declined to identify the student beyond saying that she is an incoming freshman who will begin classes in August.
     Rosa said the school believes that having all cadets where a common uniform is “a highly effective educational model.”
     “Uniformity is the cornerstone of this four-year leader development model,” he wrote. The standardization of cadets in apparel, overall appearance, actions and privileges is essential to the learning goals and objectives of the college. This process reflects an initial relinquishing of self during which cadets learn the value of teamwork to function as a single unit.”
     Family spokesman Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., said the woman will not attend the school unless there is a change and that her family is now considering its legal options.
     She told the commandant that it wasn’t fair that she had to choose between going to the school and her faith, Hooper said.
     “We view it as a continuation of the civil rights movement,” he added.

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