Sana Hamze knew it would be controversial when she asked The Citadel, the historic military college in South Carolina, for an exception to the uniform rule: She wanted to wear a hijab because of her faith.

"I knew it would be an uproar, just because of how Muslims are portrayed in the media now," she said. But she was surprised how soon word leaked out that an accepted student had requested a religious accommodation and how intense the reaction was.

It made national headlines and generated debate about religious freedom, corps unity and the ideals of a system that requires uniforms to encourage cadets to work together and judge one another on character and leadership rather than individual preferences, habits and surface traits. Some talked about whether traditions were upheld because they embodied fundamental values or just because it had always been that way.

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