NYC Police Allow Sikh Officers To Wear Turbans & Beards for Religious Reasons

NEW YORK — New York Police Department (NYPD) now allows officers to wear turbans in place of the traditional police cap and they may have beards up to an inch away from their faces for religious reasons. Apparently there is no separation of Church and State within the NYPD.

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Sikh officers of the NYPD with Police Commissioner James O’Neil (center) .
To comment on this Deplorable decision contact PC O’Neil at DCPI@NYPD.org

Police Commissioner James O’Neill has announced new rules affecting all religious officers in the NYPD. Officers must first have approval and their turbans must be navy blue with the NYPD insignia attached. O’Neill says there are about 160 Sikhs serving in the NY Police Department.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, meaning they believe there is “only one God.” It was founded in India in the 15th Century in rejection to Hinduism and its caste system. Men and women sit apart when they worship as Sikhs, nor do either cut their hair.

“The NYPD’s refusal to hire turbaned and bearded Sikhs allows other employers to justify refusing to hire Sikhs,” Harsimran Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, said in a statement sent to FoxNews.com. “If the NYPD’s new policy indeed allows for Sikhs to maintain unshorn beards and turbans, that sends a powerful message to the rest of America that Sikhs are an important part of our nation’s fabric.”

It also proves that both the NYPD and Sikhs “fail to perceive the concept” of what a police “uniform” is.  Uniformity in uniforms reinforces the message that all laws are the same for everyone. Everyone in NYC, or elsewhere, must follow the same laws of the city, state and country where they live. Police officers represent the interests of the state, i.e. government. They do not represent religious interests. This is a Constitutional principle of the United States.  We Americans are not allowed to push Christianity or Judaism in public schools or other public facilities. Why are Sikhs allowed to push their beliefs in front of us when Buddhists, Catholics and Baptists are not?  Especially in the field of law. First Sikh police can wear they want. How long before they chose which laws they want to enforce? What if Catholic police refuse to assist women found bleeding from self inflicted abortion attempts? Civilization break down begins with a political good intention. Sikh police wearing turbans and beards in NYC is setting the stage for unintended consequences. What if they become targets for political zealots? And what does it say to fellow police officers? If they get a good lawyer and declare they are doing it for God may they break rules too?  Why even bother to have rules? Why not have a ‘suggested’ dress code? If the police office can wear what he wants how do we know he is a real policeman? What if police who immigrated here from Great Britain decide they do not want to carry guns because it’s against their political beliefs?

If the NYPD officially enacts this policy, it will join a small group of law enforcement agencies that already permit their ranks to wear a beard and turban. They include police departments in Washington D.C. and Riverside, CA , as well as the U.S. Army. Since the 1990s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have permitted beards and turbans. Earlier this year they allowed Muslim “Mounties” to wear a hijab. How should any woman in America react when she sees a police officer with a hijab approaching her knowing the Muslim religion does not hold women in the same esteem as Christianity and Judaism? Why are Eastern religions allowed to force their religious images upon us in public while Christians and Jews are not allowed to do so? Are police departments in America so desperate for help they are willing to undermine the nation’s founding?

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“This has been a careful process that we’ve been working with the Sikh officers to try to make sure we get this done,” O’Neill said of the NYPD’s new policy. “We want to make the NYPD as diverse as possible and I think this is going to go a long way to help us with that.”

Send your comments about this new NYPD policy to DCPI@NYPD.org.

The Associated Press contributed to this report, written by Cynthia Neu McCluskey. 

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