By Susan Svrluga
The Citadel is considering a request from an admitted student that she be allowed to wear a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith, a move that would be an unprecedented exception to the school’s longstanding uniform requirements.
If the request for the traditional Muslim hair covering is granted, it apparently would be the first exception made to the Citadel’s uniform, which all cadets at the storied public military college in South Carolina are required to wear at nearly all times. (At beaches, for example, college rules stipulate that, “Cadets will change into appropriate swimwear upon arrival and change back into uniform when departing.”) A spokeswoman said that to her knowledge, in its nearly 175-year history, the school has never granted a religious, or other, accommodation that resulted in a change to the uniform.
That the first exception might be for a Muslim student was an additional provocation for some — and welcome symbolism for others — in the midst of a national discussion about Islam in U.S. culture.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has called for strict limits on Muslims entering the U.S. because he considers the religion one of hatred and violence, while President Obama has said the fight against extremist terrorism is not a fight against one of the world’s largest religious faiths.
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