Challenging rules

Family of Muslim student may sue Citadel over headscarf ban

Citadel cadets march. (Stephen Morton/Getty Images)

A Muslim family is considering filing a lawsuit against the Citadel military academy over its decision to forbid a female Muslim student from wearing a headscarf if she enrolls in the fall. The school announced Tuesday its decision to ban the scarf, saying it would break with the school’s policy of uniformity among cadets.

“Uniformity is the cornerstone of this four-year leader development model. The standardization of cadets in apparel, overall appearance, actions and privileges is essential to the learning goals and objectives of the college,” Citadel President retired Lt. Gen John Rosa said in a statement.

The family of the student who petitioned to be able to wear a headscarf compared the situation to that faced by African-Americans and women who at times prohibited from attending the school too. They pointed out that female soldiers in the United States military are now allowed to wear headscarves, so military students should be able to as well.

“We view it as a continuation of the civil rights movement,” family spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, part of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Associated Press.

Hooper said the student is not planning on attending the school unless she can wear the headscarf, and criticized the school for making her choose between a military education and her faith. She has not been publicly identified.

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