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A veil or drive...whats it going to be?


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ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- Experts in Islamic law are being called to testify in the lawsuit of a Muslim woman fighting a state order to take off her veil for her driver's license photo.

Sultanna Freeman, 35, says Florida's insistence on photographing her face violates her religious rights.

"I don't unveil ... because it would be disobeying my Lord," Freeman testified Tuesday at the start of her non-jury trial.

Assistant Attorney General Jason Vail argued that having an easily identifiable photo on a driver's license is a matter of public safety.

"It's the primary method of identification in Florida and the nation," Vail said. "I don't think there can be any doubt there is a public safety interest."

Freeman's attorneys argue that state officials didn't care that she wore a veil in her Florida driver's license photo until after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, an allegation the state denies.

"This is about religious liberty. It's about whether this country is going to have religious diversity," said Howard Marks, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

Both sides planned to call experts in Islamic law at the trial, which continues Wednesday. A copy of the Quran has been entered into evidence.

Freeman, a convert to Islam previously known as Sandra Kellar, wore her veil for the photo on the Florida driver's license she obtained after moving to the state in 2001.

Nine months later, she received a letter from the state warning that it would revoke her license unless she returned for a photo with her face uncovered.

Freeman claims her religious beliefs require her to keep her head and face covered out of modesty and that her faith prohibits her face from being photographed.


I say if her religious belief, especially after 9-11, endangers the lives of the public.... including public safety officials (Police)... than she shall be forced to choose..... veil.... or drivers license. What do you think?

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This lady can wear a f@#king veil in a DL photo and people will defend her, but try and wear a crucifix as a teacher and you get fired.

This is so absurd. The whole point of a photo is for visual identification. If she doesnt want to show her face, she should have a right to drive.

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Is that true? It's not in the places I taught (both college and middle school). Where do they fire teachers for wearing crosses?

To the issue, her id should show her face. How is a veiled woman an identification? If she chooses to drive on her licence she should have her photo taken. While driving she can wear the veil. If she really feels persecuted, I can even see them taking her driver's licence photo sans veil by another woman in a private room. That should alleviate her cultural alienation, I think.

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My mistake, it was a teachers aide.

First up on google-----


FLA has made the option available to allow women a private area with no men present to take their veils off. They also offered to let her affix a sticker to the license to cover her face. One that a police officer could remove if needed.

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Originally posted by Bush League Bufford

I saw this on the news last night.

You need to have your PICTURE taken so you can drive. No exceptions. If your religon is against it....then praise God or Allaha that there is public transportation for you.

Exactamundo. :thumbsup:

Now, if they would just do something about the illegal tinting and covering of license plates...

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If your religon is against it....then praise God or Allaha that there is public transportation for you.

Bufford.... my sentiments exactly. It's a priviledge to drive in this country, and it is granted to those individuals that meet the requirements in order to do so. This includes driving tests, written tests, and a valid driver's license. If one of the reasons for a license is to correctly identify who in fact is driving the car, than how can this be done when viewing a license consisting of a woman in a veil. Additionally, what keeps her from giving her license to some other muslim, let's say an illegal alien female of middle eastern descent who is also a terrorists and who has been flagged by the national agencies as BOLO (Be on the Look Out), yet the traffic officer lets her go during a traffic stop because of this veiled driver's license. Who's suing who then.... when this woman later drives a minivan under a federal building and presses "DETONATE".

She either agrees to be photographed correctly or she simply does not get a driver's license. Enough....

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It is interesting though that this woman 1st obtained a license (pree 9/11, 2001) in Florida, with a picture of her wearing a niqab (veil).

Interesting to note that 15 other states have regulations that state that pictures are not required for those who have legitimate religious objections. Of recent history, courts have ruled in favor of 3 christians who objected to having their picture taken.

Additionally, interesting to note that "Florida officials issued more than 800,000 temporary licenses and/or driving permits - without photographs - in the past five years to individuals in a variety of different categories. Convicted drunk drivers with revoked licenses are legally allowed to drive in Florida using only driving permits without photographs, as are foreign nationals, those who failed their eye or written exams and military personnel."

Now that said, I think she and everyone else should have her picture taken. Its a safety thing - and driving is, IMHO, an earned privelege.

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Revoke the first license that was issued due to PC considerations, then tell her to get her picture taken like everyone else in this country or phucking walk. If religion means that much to her, then she can go someplace that likes to keep their women clothed from head to toe. Oh, but wait, women can't drive in those countries, can they?

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