Muslim U.S. Soldier Suing Army For Telling Her To Remove Hijab During Inspection

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There’s an unusual situation developing on a military base in Colorado and it’s starting to get national attention.

Spc. Cesilia Valdovinos is considering suing the Army for telling her to remove her hijab.

From New York Post:

A Muslim soldier says she will sue the US Army because her commanding officer forced her to pull off her hijab, according to a report Wednesday.

Spc. Cecilia Valdovinos, who converted to Islam in 2016, says she had special permission from her brigade commander to wear the religious head covering as part of her uniform.

But during a suicide prevention briefing March 6, Valdovinos, 26, says Command Sgt. Maj. Kerstin Montoya grabbed her by the arm, took her outside and made her rip off her hijab in front of others, the Army Times reported.

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“To me, it was the same thing as if they had asked someone to take their top off,” Valdovinos, who is a member of the 704th Brigade Support Battalion in Fort Carson, Colorado, told the outlet.

The officer was trying to determine if Valdovinos hair was in a bun or not. It would violate the dress code if it wasn’t. Religious freedom is incredibly important in this country but the military also has the right to ask you to do certain things to make sure you are following the rules.

Here’s more.

From Business Insider:

She was later demoted from sergeant to specialist, though Zinn said in a statement he could not get into the specifics about the cause of Voldovinos’ demotion. The Army “has not taken any adverse actions against Spc. Valdovinos in response to the wear of any religious garment, her equal opportunity complaint, or the resulting media attention,” Zinn told Task & Purpose.

“The senior non-commissioned officer acted appropriately by enforcing the proper wear of the hijab, in compliance with Army Regulations,” Zinn added.

Army Capt. Brooke Smith, who was reportedly present during Valdinovos’ and Montoya’s exchange, told Army Times that “[u]pon removing her hijab it was evident her hair was completely down … CSM Montoya told her to get her hair back in regulation and not let it happen again. At no point did CSM Montoya touch the soldier or yell at her (at all or within earshot of other soldiers).”

Weinstein told Task & Purpose that Montoya approached Valdovinos a second time “after the story went viral,” and asked again if her hair was within regulations. Valdovinos replied that it was, according to Weinstein, to which Montoya replied, “I don’t believe you,” and told her to go into the restroom to fix her hair. He said that Valdovinos was advised by other soldiers who witnessed the interaction to “go…and pretend to fix her hair.”

What’s your take on this?

Let us know in the comments.

H/T Army Times