The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that has been linked to the Hamas terrorist group, says that it is planning its “legal options” against The Citadel after the South Carolina military academy rejected a request by a prospective female Muslim student to wear a hijab with her uniform.
In a statement, CAIR attorney William Burgess declared: “The Citadel violated the student’s right to a religious accommodation under the First Amendment and the South Carolina Religious Freedom Act, which makes it illegal for a state institution to place a burden on a person’s ability to practice his or her faith without the most compelling justification.”
CAIR frequently speaks out on what it regards as violations of the U.S. Constitution when Muslims and the Muslim community are involved. It is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing case, and has also been designated terror organization in the United Arab Emirates.
In his statement, Burgess said, “We believe the desire to maintain an outdated ‘tradition,’ which was the same argument used to initially deny admittance to African-Americans and women, does not justify violating a student’s constitutional rights. Our nation’s military currently accommodates religious attire in the form of headscarves, beards and turbans. The Citadel should offer the same accommodations.”
CAIR has also frequently represented other Muslims caught in the public eye. For example, in the wake of the terrorist shootings in Sacramento last year, CAIR represented the parents of one of the two terrorists who went on a killing spree in Sacramento. In latter case, Ibrahim Hooper, who is also with CAIR, is representing the prospective Muslim student at The Citadel. He said that she is disappointed and also wept when she was told that she will not be allowed to wear the optional Muslim headdress used by some Muslim women. Hooper added that the family is considering legal options to challenge The Citadel’s decision because “it’s the same issue faced by African-Americans and women in this situation.”
Hopper said that his client will not attend The Citadel unless the venerable institution changes its policy. Hooper said that the student told the commandant of the academy that she was being asked to choose between Islam and the school. “We view it as a continuation of the civil rights movement,” Hooper said. He argued that The Citadel has no basis to bar a hijab because the American military now accommodates a variety of religious traditions with regard to uniforms. “We defend the right of American Muslims to practice their faiths while participating in all levels of society,” Hooper said.
“Uniformity is the cornerstone of this four-year leader development model,” Citadel president retired Lt. Gen. John Rosa said in a statement. “The standardization of cadets in apparel, overall appearance, actions and privileges is essential to the learning goals and objectives of the college.” He added, “This process reflects an initial relinquishing of self during which cadets learn the value of teamwork to function as a single unit.”
Recently, the U.S. Army decided to allow an infantry captain to not only wear the beard and long beard characteristic of his Sikh faith, but he will also be allowed to wear a turban, which is also a hallmark of devotees of the religion. Sikhs are numerous in India but are not Muslim.