WASHINGTON – A Muslim US soldier, Sergeant Cesilia Valdovinos, was allegedly forced to take her hijab off by her command sergeant major in front of her colleagues. She tagged it as “extremely hateful” behavior to her identity while planning to sue the US army for such indecent act.
Sergeant Cesilia Valdovinos is serving in the 704th Brigade Support Battalion.
“I got called a terrorist. I got called ISIS,” Ms Valdovinos told Yahoo “I hear comments that I’m the reason why 9/11 happened. There’s a lot of anger and animosity.”
She said her brigade commander, Colonel David Zinn, gave her permission in June 2016 to wear the hijab while in uniform.She filed a complaint with Equal Opportunity Office in the army saying that her sergeant major pulled her off the rank and misbehaved with her pertaining to her religion and identity.
“I felt embarrassed and religiously raped in a sense,” Ms Valdovinos said in an email to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to religious freedom.
“My religious preference is only to unveil in front of my husband in the comfort of my own home,” she added.
In an official complaint to the Military Equal Opportunity Office (MEO), Ms Valdovinos alleges that she was removed from her post as a “culinary arts specialist” because she had a “religious preference to not handle pork.” She also reported that she was referred to as “the girl with the hood” by her sergeant among other incidents.
Although the MEO complaint was reportedly considered to be “unsubstantiated,” Ms. Valdovinos is now planning on taking legal action, according to international news website, against the US Army for denying her religious rights protected under the First Amendment.