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JROTC reviewing religious clothing regulations after Tennessee teen's complaint about headscarf ban

October 19th, 2011 3:34 pm by Staff Report

BRENTWOOD (AP) — U.S. Army Cadet Command officials are reviewing rules about what religious clothing is allowed by the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Program.

It comes after a complaint on behalf of a Brentwood freshman who was told she could not march in the homecoming parade wearing a headscarf.

JROTC regulations are consistent with U.S Army regulations, which only allow religious headwear that is completely covered by military headgear. But 14-year-old Demin Zawity wears a headscarf that covers her hair and neck, in observance of her Muslim faith.

Cadet Command spokesman Lt. Col. Matt Hackathorn, at Fort Knox, Ky., told The Tennessean the command is reviewing its policies because of the controversy (http://bit.ly/pGwcZo ).

""It turns out that a full headscarf would be inconsistent with an outdoor ceremony. She was not willing to compromise, which is to her credit," Hackathorn said. "We are looking at our current policies. We don't want to be seen as discriminatory. It's not a military program but a citizenship program."

Zawity's mother, Perishan Hussein, contacted a national Muslim civil rights group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and that group sent a letter to the Williamson County Schools last week asking for a policy change.

"It's a little scary the way it's ballooned and gotten all over the place," Hussein said of the media attention the incident has gotten. "I'm not trying to be vengeful. I'm an American to the core. There is always room for improvement."

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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