US Air Force opens process for religious clothing

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. Air Force has instituted sweeping changes to its dress code to allow service members to wear items of clothing obliged by their religions, including turbans and hijabs.

The new updates to the dress guidelines were finalized last week, according to CNN. Religious exemptions can now be sought for beards, turbans, unshorn hair and hijabs.

Previously, exemptions could be granted on a case-by-case basis, but the approval process was oftentimes drawn out.

The new guidelines set a timeline and formalizes the process with a final review to be made within 30 days for U.S.-based cases, and 60 days for other instances. Those exemptions can be expected to follow a service member throughout their career, according to CNN.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for a Muslim advocacy group welcomed the new regulations.

"We support these new guidelines as a step toward religious accommodation and inclusion for military personnel of all faiths," Hooper, the Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman, told CNN.