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Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

Posted by Pauline on 6/06/03 at 15:23 (121183)

Muslim Woman Must Drop Veil for Florida License
2 hours, 43 minutes ago Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Jane Sutton

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Muslim woman who cited religious reasons in refusing to remove her veil for a driver's license photo must show her face for the camera if she wants her license reinstated, a Florida judge ruled on Friday.

Reuters Photo

In a case that pitted claims of religious freedom against security concerns, Circuit Judge Janet Thorpe ruled that Florida has a compelling interest in identifying drivers during traffic stops and that photo images are essential to promote that interest.

'The requirement that all potential drivers have their driver's license photos taken unveiled, uncloaked and unmasked does not unconstitutionally burden the free exercise of religion,' the judge wrote.

The plaintiff, Sultaana Freeman, obtained a Florida driver's license that showed her wearing a black veil with only her eyes uncovered in February 2001.

Seven months later, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles notified her that her license would be revoked unless she was photographed with her face showing.

Freeman refused, saying her faith did not permit her to reveal her face to strangers or men outside her family. The 35-year-old U.S. citizen has worn a full veil since converting to Islam about six years ago.

The American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) sued on her behalf, arguing that revoking the license violated her right to religious freedom. They said the state acted out of prejudice against Muslims and only objected to the veiled photograph after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Attorneys for the state said Florida has a legitimate public safety interest in establishing drivers' identities. They said the original license was issued in error and that if Freeman were allowed to hide her face in her license photo, terrorists could do the same. They also said she could be photographed privately by a female licensing official.

Islamic scholars differ widely on the religious requirement of veiling for women, as well as the extent of what the faithful call 'modest dress.' As a result, practice among Muslims varies widely

Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

bgcped on 6/06/03 at 15:58 (121188)

I applaud the Judge for having the common sense to make that decision. Maybe I will start a religion that says taxes and social security numbers violate my beliefs.

Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

Pauline on 6/06/03 at 16:28 (121192)

How would they even know who is behind the Birka if only eyes are showing.
In case of an accident you wouldn't be able to identify the driver. Makes no sense to have an ID picture taken with the face covered.

That would mean the rest of us could get better D.L. pictures if we put a brown bag over our head. Wouldn't even have to smile for the camera.

Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

marie on 6/06/03 at 17:24 (121203)

Well I would have to applaud the judge on this issue. All Muslim countries that allow women to drive, such as Egypt, require the ladies to drop their veil for drivers license photos. I thought these ladies were wasting taxpayers money. Aside from that there is the simplee security issue that must be a priority.


Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

Peter R on 6/06/03 at 18:02 (121207)

I have seen some that should have apaper bag ove rtheir heads. As far as those wanting to keep their face covered as an expression of their religion they should do it in a country run by muslims.

Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

Max K on 6/06/03 at 18:03 (121208)

This lawsuit was not one of those dumb frivolous lawsuits, this was a serious threat to homeland security.

Of all the tasks of our government, the most important one is homeland security and preventing more 9-11 style (or worse) terrorist attcks. The enitities involved in the lawsuit DISAGREE WITH THAT!

Aside from that, your argument, Marie, is so powerful, that it might have sufficed all by itself by itself to decide this lawsuit.


Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

Dorothy C. on 6/06/03 at 19:13 (121213)

I think it is irrelevant what the Islamic scholars say is the religious requirement. We do not need Islamic scholars or Christian scholars or Jewish scholars or Buddhist scholars or Hindu scholars or any other kind of religious scholar advising our judicial system about the suitability of a given law to individual religions. This is a state law and the laws of our society must be kept strictly separate from any religious 'requirements.' If one carries the argument to its logical conclusion and Islamic or any other religious 'requirement' takes precedence over state law, then before long we women are all required to wear burkas if there are Muslim men around. No way! No one prevents her from wearing her burka anywhere she wants, but she cannot be permitted to insist that the law change to suit her religion. I am glad for the judge's ruling, too, but was a little bothered that a rationale for it had to include that 'nod' to Islamic scholars' review. This is America.

Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

Dr. Z on 6/06/03 at 22:37 (121224)

Driving isn't a right it is a privilege with it come rules and regulations. There is always the option of not driving if any of the rules and regulations are against anyone's religious brief. In pain English this is BS and the woman should pick up the legal fees that costed the tax payers of that state. If I sound pissed you are right on the money

Re: Here's a new one. Agree or disagree?

marie on 6/07/03 at 09:11 (121245)

I agree, the women should pick up the legal fees. Driving is a choice. Our government doesn't require it. I think alot of folks are pissed...accept of course the ACLU.