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Diversity

The Army welcomes people from all backgrounds. Whatever your gender, race, ethnic origin or religious belief, there is a role for you in the Army. No account is taken of sexual orientation or social background. The Army has a strict code of conduct to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.

Questions?

0345 600 8080

Faith in the Army

Belief and non belief

Faith in the Army

The Army will always try to help you observe the customs of your faith.
Spiritual advisors serve with most units, offering help and guidance to soldiers at home and overseas. Padres are Christian ministers, but they support soldiers of any faith as well as those who have no religious beliefs at all. There are also Armed Forces Chaplains of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh faiths and a network of religious advisors.

Buddhist

Buddhist soldiers serve in both the Regular and Reserve forces. There are currently around 800 Buddhists serving in the Regular Army, who are employed in a variety of roles and do so balancing the needs of the services and their faith, while maintaining operational effectiveness. Those serving have no doubt that practising their faith while serving complements the Army’s values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.

There are no special arrangements in place for Buddhist soldiers with regard to dress and worship.  Vegetarian options are available in camp, on operations and on exercise.

Buddhists are ministered to by the Buddhist Chaplain to the Forces, Dr SM Kariyakarawana, who offers spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance.  Most units are establishing World Faith Prayer Rooms (WFPR) or quiet rooms for those who wish to meditate.

Contact details:

• Network for serving Buddhists, the Armed Forces Buddhist Society

Dr Sunil Kariyakarawana  Buddhist Chaplain to HM Forces

Flt Lt Calum Ferguson Chair of Armed Forces Buddhist Society

Christian

There are around 75,000 members of the Christian church denominations in the Army. The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department (RAChD)  gives them 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. Due to the limited availability of Padres of specific denominations, churches and Christian fellowships on military bases tend to be ecumenical (ie all denominations worship together).

Armed Forces’ Christian Union

The AFCU is an organisation of Christians who wish to grow in their faith and share it with those around them. More about the AFCU

Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association

The SASRA has two main roles, the first to introduce service personnel and their families to a practical experience of the Christian faith, and the second, to give support and encouragement to Christians serving in the Army and RAF.

Hindu

There are currently around 2,600 Hindus serving in the Regular Army, who are employed in a variety of roles and do so balancing the needs of the services and their faith, while maintaining operational effectiveness. Those serving have no doubt that practising their faith while serving complements the Army’s values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.

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. Hindu personnel are able to celebrate festivals, such as Diwali, subject to operational and training requirements which generally must be met.

Vegetarian options are available in camp, on operations and on exercise, and quiet rooms are available when you want to pray.

Hindus are ministered to by the Hindu Chaplain to the Forces, Acharya Krishan Kant Attri MBE, who offers spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance. There is also a network for serving Hindus, the Armed Forces Hindu Network

Judaism

There are many Jews serving in the Regular Army, who are employed in a variety of roles and do so balancing the needs of the services and their faith while maintaining operational effectiveness. Those serving have no doubt that practising their faith while serving complements the Army’s values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.

A male Jewish soldier may wear a dark, plain pattern yarmulke whenever he removes other headdress. 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. Quiet rooms are available if you wish to pray, and provided that your operational and training needs are met, you are free to observe the Jewish Sabbath and other festivals.

Jews are ministered to by the Rabbi to the Forces, Rabbi Reuben Livingstone, who offers spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance. There is also a network for serving Jews, the Armed Forces Jewish Network.

 

Muslim

There are currently around 550 Muslims serving, who are employed in a variety of roles. They balance the needs of the services and their faith while maintaining operational effectiveness. Those serving have no doubt that practising their faith complements the Army’s values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.



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 (eg if a respirator needs to be worn the beard will have to be trimmed accordingly). Female Muslim soldiers may wear trousers and shirts with the sleeves rolled down, so that their arms and legs are covered. A hijab may be worn all with orders of dress, subject to safety and operational considerations (eg when a helmet is required on operations).

Observing Ramadan will depend on your circumstances - we'll look at operational effectiveness and health and safety. Halal food is available both on camp, exercise and operations.

Muslims are ministered to by the Imam to the Forces, Imam Ali Omar who offers spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance. There's also a Defence Islamic adviser, Imam Asim Hafiz, who advises those in charge of the UK Armed Forces on all Islamic matters. There's also a network for serving Muslims, the Armed Forces Muslim Association

Rastafarian

There are around 100 Rastafarians serving in the Regular Army, who are employed in a variety of roles and do so balancing the needs of the services and their faith while maintaining operational effectiveness.  Those serving have no doubt that practising their faith while serving complements the Army’s values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.

Rastafarians may wear beards, which must be kept neatly trimmed and may have dreadlocks which must be neat and tidy, not of an exaggerated nature and no longer than collar length.

The Army has a zero tolerance approach to all illegal drugs including Marijuana

Sikh

There are currently around 150 Sikhs serving in the Regular Army, who are employed in a variety of roles and do so balancing the needs of the services and their faith while maintaining operational effectiveness. Those serving have no doubt that practising their faith while serving complements the Army’s values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.

A turban (or patka) may be worn by Sikh soldiers with all orders of dress, subject to safety and operational considerations (for example if a helmet is required on operations). Kanga, Kara, Kacha and Kirpans may be worn, and a beard may be worn and remain uncut, provided that operational effectiveness and health and safety are not at risk.

Sikhs are ministered to by the Sikh Chaplain to the Forces, Mrs Mandeep Kaur, who offers spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance. She offers her support to all serving members of the Armed Forces and their families in UK and overseas. There is also a network for serving Sikhs, the Armed Forces Sikh Association

Other

Agnostic: There are around 3,780 registered agnostic personnel serving in the Army.

Atheist: There are around 7,000 registered atheist personnel serving in the Army. 

Humanist: There are around 50 registered humanists serving in the Regular Army. The Defence Humanists (formerly the UK Armed Forces Humanist Association) is a network of non-religious service personnel, within the British Humanist Association, who seek to represent the interests of all those who subscribe to humanist ideals.

Humanist personnel believe in the key principles of humanism , which are all compatible with military service.

On joining the Army you will be asked to record your religion or other belief system. You can choose ‘non-religious/humanist’. This will be recorded on your official documentation and shown on your identity discs.

There are many other religions and beliefs, if you want to know more ask at the careers office.

Equality in the Army

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation

Everyone in the Army, no matter what their sexual orientation, has the right to be treated fairly with dignity and respect. Recognising that we are all different and using those differences to benefit the team is what the Army is all about.

The Army considers sexual orientation to be a private matter for the individual. Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) soldiers serve throughout the Army’s corps and regiments playing their part in the country’s security.

Serving personnel are entitled to march in uniform at London Pride only. Other Pride events are attended for recruiting purposes.

There is a formal network that operates in the Army to ensure that LGB soldiers can find help and support with issues that affect their daily lives. LGBT forum

FAQs

Will I be able to pray during the day?

It's MOD policy to help you observe this, where circumstances allow. Many units now provide a multi-faith room which can be used for prayer time.

Do I have to attend religious services?

Army personnel are not obliged to attend any form of religious service. This is specifically stated in Queen’s Regulations. The Army takes its responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 very seriously and belief or lack of belief is a protected characteristic under UK law.

Who is entitled to married quarters?

Anyone who is married or in a civil partnership is entitled to occupy Army housing.

Are LGB personnel entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual personnel?

Yes, this includes the same maternity rights, and pension arrangements for  spouses / civil partners.

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Call us on 0345 600 8080

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