MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) –– A Sikh college student from New York said Monday he is excited about a federal court decision that will permit him to enroll in the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps without shaving his beard, cutting his hair, or removing his turban.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the ruling Friday in Washington, D.C., saying 20-year-old Iknoor Singh‘s adherence to his religious beliefs would not diminish his ability to serve in the military.
“I didn’t believe it at first when I heard about the decision,” said Singh, who lives in Queens.
“It was kind of surreal. This is something I have been fighting for for two or three years. I’m excited and nervous; very excited to learn,” Singh told the AP.
Singh’s lifelong dream was to serve his country, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
“Hopefully it opens a lot of doors for Sikhs to join in and serve their nation,” Singh told Rivera.
Singh, who will be a junior next fall studying finance and business analytics at Hofstra University on Long Island, said he has had a lifelong interest in public service. He speaks four languages — English, Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu — and he said he wants to work in military intelligence.