by Adel Manoukian
City Comptroller John C. Liu called on Mayor Bloomberg today in a letter to reform NYPD’s policy so that Sikh officers can serve their duty without removing their turbans or beards, parts of their religious garb.
In the letter, the comptroller commended the mayor for his words of support to the City’s Sikh community in the wake of the Sikh temple shootings in Wisconsin this past Sunday that left six people dead and two injured. Following the massacre, Liu now feels that it is time to make a change of inclusion to Sikh members of the NYPD. The Metro Police Department in Washington D.C. has already made this change, allowing Sikh officers to wear their beards and turbans.
Liu also made note of a recent City Council law that requires workplaces to be religiously tolerant.
By this reform, other religious groups who wear head-coverings and sport beards would also benefit.
This past June, Hasidic NYPD recruit Fishel Litzman made headlines due to his dismissal from the Police Academy because he would not trim his beard. Trimming the scruff would mean a violation of his religious beliefs.
“Shouldn’t the NYPD, providing security in one of the most diverse cities in the world, proudly display its own diversity?” questioned Comptroller Liu in a statement released today.
Jasminder Kaur, project manager of the religious organization United Sikhs created to enlighten the society of underprivileged and minority communities, supports and is appreciative of Liu’s requests.
“It’s imperative for people to know that Sikhs are woven into the fabric of American society and are not the ‘other’. One way to promote that is through increasing participation of Sikhs with turbans and beards in government jobs,” said Kaur in a statement.
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