The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is speaking out on behalf of Fort Carson soldier Sgt. Cesilia Valdovinos, after they say she was discriminated against for wearing a hijab.
“She must have x-ray vision because she can see under the hijab and see her hair if it was down, but it was perfectly up,” said Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Weinstein said Valdovinos was embarrassed on several different occasions by Command Sgt. Maj. Kerstin Montoya, who he says asked her to remove her hijab.
“This is nothing more than the worst type of Muslim bigotry, prejudice, and harassment,” Weinstein said.
The foundation reported that Valdovinos previously had the hijab approved. According to the Army Times, in an Equal Opportunity complaint filed, Valdovinos said her first sergeant referred to her as “the girl with the hood.”
“They are calling her a terrorist,” Weinstein said.
Weinstein said Fort Carson hasn’t done anything to help Valdovinos, so they are considering taking legal action.
Fort Carson released this statement in response:
“A commander’s inquiry found allegations against a senior non-commissioned officer were unsubstantiated regarding discriminating against Sgt. Cesilia Valdovinos. The inquiry concluded that the senior non-commissioned officer acted appropriately by enforcing the proper wear of the hijab, in compliance with Army Regulations.”
“Our leaders are committed to supporting Soldiers’ freedom of religious expression. I have, and will continue to, take all reports of Soldiers disrespecting religious beliefs, observances, or traditions very seriously. I will ensure our unit continues to place a high value on the rights of our Soldiers to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to observe no religion at all,” said Col. David Zinn, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander. “We value diversity within our ranks and will continue to embrace our differences, which make us a stronger more well-rounded team of cohesive, highly-trained Soldiers prepared to answer our Nation’s call anytime, anywhere.” -Col. Dave Zinn, commander 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.