one nation, under a veil, indiviskable

Muslim woman to challenge ban on veil in driver's license photo

(Someone on IRC said, "for religious reasons, I'd like to spray-paint the lens of your camera before you take my picture.")

June 27, 2002

ORLANDO, Florida. (AP) -- A judge ruled Thursday that a Muslim woman can pursue her legal fight to wear a veil for a driver's license photo, despite objections from the state that it jeopardizes public safety.

Judge Ted Coleman denied a state motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Sultaana Freeman, whose driver's license was revoked when she refused to replace her photograph with one showing her face unveiled.

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Freeman, 34, is suing to get her license back with a photo that hides most of her face, except her eyes, behind a veil known as a niqab.

Freeman wears the veil for religious reasons.

When Freeman applied for a Florida license last year after moving from Illinois, she had no problems getting a license wearing the veil, said her attorney, Howard Marks. It was only after the September 11 attacks that the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles told her to replace the photo, he said.

Jason Vail, an assistant state attorney, argued that having a face visible in a driver's license photo is a matter of public safety since criminals are often identified through such pictures.

"It doesn't target religion," Vail said of the requirement. "It targets everyone."

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One Response:

  1. waider says:

    Cue congressional exodus to the steps again, all holding up driving license:

    "I pledge Allegiance to the driving license of the United States of America and to the DMV for which it stands, one highway under God, faces visible, with Chrysler Neons for all."

    You guys have such a FUN judiciary.