- Pam Zubeck
- Sgt. Cesilia Valdovinos believes that she was discriminated against when a superior officer at Fort Carson ordered her to remove her hijab.
Sgt. Cesilia Valdovinos has been demoted for alleged inappropriate contact with a soldier while in Afghanistan last year, which Fort Carson officials say is unrelated to her recent hijab controversy.
On March 6, Valdovinos said, a command sergeant major ordered her to remove the Muslim scarf in public and claimed her hair wasn't in a bun as Army regulations require. She had obtained a religious accommodation in mid-2018 and says she complied with Army rules.
A reduction in rank and pay cut, imposed in late March, are retaliation over the hijab incident (for which the Army found Valdovinos to be in the wrong), says Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He vows to help the soldier file a lawsuit in federal court.
Fort Carson officials deny Valdovinos was punished because of her religion, according to The Denver Post, and said soldiers' rights to observe their religions are protected.