Editorial: Sultaana Freeman License Case

June 22, 2003

Source: First Amendment Center


On June 22, 2003 the First Amendment Center printed an editorial by Charles Haynes stating that "Sultaana Freeman’s refusal to remove her veil for a driver’s license photo has touched a nerve. Talk-show exchanges and letters to the editor are filled with exasperation – even outrage – over the Muslim woman’s lawsuit against the state of Florida... Americans are all for religious freedom – but often lose patience when someone dares to practice it. Then again, sometimes a compelling public interest makes certain restrictions necessary... Whether or not you agree with the outcome (and I do), the Florida judge asked the right questions. A sincere religious belief should be taken seriously. But if the government has a compelling interest at stake, and if there is no other way to meet that interest except by uniformly enforcing the regulation, then the religious claim for exemption can and should be denied."