FAITH & THE ARMY
Do I have to wear uniform?
Alterations to uniform or appearance are permitted providing that they do not compromise Operational Effectiveness or Health and Safety. This applies both in barracks and on operations.
Is there anywhere for me to pray?
Quiet prayer rooms, where available, can be used by people of any religion.
What about religious events and celebrating festivals?
Soldiers are allowed to celebrate religious festivals and attend events, however operational and training requirements must still be met.
There are currently around 690 Buddhists in the Regular Army. Buddhist soldiers may wear Protection and Blessing Strings and Mala whilst in uniform, with the exception of Operational Effectiveness/Health and Safety. Vegetarian options are available in camp, on operations and on exercise.
The Armed Forces Buddhist Society (Facebook)
Jews may serve openly within the British Army. A male Jewish soldier may wear a dark, plain pattern yarmulke whenever he removes other headdress so long as Operational Effectiveness and Health and Safety are not compromised. In all barracks, chefs are able to cook vegetarian and kosher options that are suitable for Jewish soldiers, on request, and special ration packs can be arranged when on exercise or operations.
There are around 100 Rastafarians serving in the Regular Army. Rastafarians may wear full beards and may have dreadlocks which do not need to be altered or cut, but should be worn in a manner that is tidy and allows for the wearing of all forms of headdress correctly. Operational Effectiveness and Health and Safety must not be compromised at any time.
The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department (RAChD) gives spiritual support, both publicly and privately, at every level of the Army, at home and abroad. Christian services are conducted every Sunday at Garrison Churches and when deployed on exercise and operations Padres conduct services in the field. Padres have dispensation on religious grounds to give communion to serving personnel while deployed. RAChD Padres have full access to denominational churches and are able to minister to all.
Soldiers' and Airmens' Scripture Readers Association
Armed Forces Christian Union
There are around 450 Muslims serving in the Regular Army. Muslim soldiers may wear a full beard. Beards may remain uncut and worn in accordance with Islamic tradition as long as operational mission and safety are not risked. Female Muslim soldiers may wear trousers and shirts with the sleeves rolled down, so that their arms and legs are covered, they may also cover their arms and legs in all orders of dress - including wearing cravats in orders of dress with open collars. A hijab may be worn all with orders of dress, subject to safety and operational considerations (eg when a helmet is needed on operations).
Halal food is available both on camp, exercise and operations.
The Armed Forces Muslim Association (Facebook)
There are currently around 1,000 Hindus in the Regular Army. Hindu soldiers can wear Raksha Bandhan provided that they don’t compromise operational effectiveness or health and safety. The Tilak may be worn on the forehead where it does not affect operational effectiveness. Vegetarian options are available in camp, on operations and on exercise.The Armed Forces Hindu Network
The Armed Forces Sikh Association (Facebook)
Soldiers can belong to any religion they want, as long as it is not illegal under civil law and is compatible with the Values and Standards of the Army. When you join, you'll be asked about your religion or other belief system, however soldiers are judged only by their actions. You can choose non-religious / humanists. This info will be shown on your identity discs. There are many other religions and beliefs, if you want to know more ask at the careers office.