Thursday, April 27, 2006

Coast Guard drops ban on religious headgear in photos

NEW YORK Plaintiffs' lawyers say the Coast Guard has abandoned a rule requiring anyone seeking a merchant marine license to submit photographs showing no religious head coverings.The lawyers, from the New York Civil Liberties Union, sued the Coast Guard in federal court on behalf of Khalid Hakim, a devout Muslim who has served in the merchant marine while working for private shipping companies since 1973. Workers like Hakim are not members of the military but are required to obtain licenses to work on commercial ships that transport cargo in U-S waters.

The N-Y-C-L-U says the Coast Guard has directed field offices to accommodate religious beliefs and permit the use of photos with head coverings so long as the applicants can be identified.

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