The U.S. military continues to bend its strict grooming rules for Muslims, most recently allowing an Air Force sergeant to sport a beard for religious reasons. It marks the sixth — and counting — religious waiver permitting a beard in service for the Air Force, according to the online military news conglomerate that broke the story.
It doesn’t end there. An official with the terrorist front group that claims to be a Muslim civil rights organization blasted the sergeant, Abdul Rahman Gaitan, posting on social media that the airman can “now rock your Sunnah beard while bombing your Muslim brothers and sisters.”
The attack came from Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group with extensive links to foreign and domestic Islamists. It was founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, known then as the Islamic Association for Palestine.
In 2008 CAIR was a co-conspirator in a federal terror-finance case involving the Hamas front group Holy Land Foundation. Read more in a Judicial Watch special report that focuses on Muslim charities. Keeping with CAIR’s radical agenda, Billoo has a history of defending terrorists and considers Palestinians who terrorize Israel martyrs engaging in acts of resistance.
You’d think her group would appreciate the U.S. military going beyond the call of duty to acknowledge a Muslim’s religious rights. After all, CAIR professes to be the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights group and a “leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding.”
Back to the Pentagon bending over backwards to accommodate certain religions. Under Barack Obama the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a policy allowing service members to display their religious beliefs with prohibited displays such as turbans, piercings, beards, long hair and tattoos.
Under the new rules Muslim service members can request to wear a beard and carry prayer beads, Wiccans, who practice “Magick,” can seek accommodations according to that religion, Jews can get permission to wear a yarmulke while in uniform and Sikhs can have long hair. Tattoos, which are banned on the neck and below elbows or knees, can also be allowed under “religious body art.” This also permits “piercings through the skin or body parts,” unheard of in the military. It’s all in the name of religious freedom and, more importantly, political correctness.
Under the original military rules, religious apparel, described as articles of clothing worn as part of the doctrinal or traditional observance of the religious faith, was pretty much banned. It is, after all, the military, a “specialized community within the United States governed by a discipline separate from that of the rest of society, the importance of uniformity and adhering to standards.”
Compromising its reputation as a bastion of discipline and respect, the military broke with its strict uniform and grooming regulations last year when the Army became the first to permit any solider seeking to wear a religiously mandated beard, hijab or turban in uniform. The Army had already granted several Sikh soldiers temporary appearance waivers to wear turbans while in uniform, but many were forced by lawsuits. Earlier this year the Army issued its first beard waiver to a member of the Norse pagan faith.
Besides Gaitan, five other beard waivers have been issued by the Air Force recently and others are being processed. Gaitan, who is stationed at Travis Air Force Base in northern California, was raised Catholic but got into Islam while deployed in Turkey in 2011.
“He continued his pursuit of the faith as he moved on to his next duty station in Hawaii, and ultimately decided to convert,” according to the military news story. It took him around four years to get the beard waiver to keep with his new faith. The article cites a statement issued by Gaitan saying the following: “A month after I started growing my beard, someone shooed me away with their hand saying very negative things because I was a Muslim. A week later, another person from a different squadron felt comfortable enough to ask me if I had joined ISIS. These two incidents weren’t the only ones. Earlier … someone openly questioned if I was a terrorist.”
Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch, and a frequent contributor to Fox News.