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Judge Ted Coleman denied a state motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Sultaana Freeman, whose driver's license was revoked when she refused to replace her photograph with one showing her face unveiled.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