Muslim-American Woman Sues Florida DMV

January 30, 2002

Source: Yahoo News

On January 30, 2002, Yahoo News reported that "a Muslim woman in Florida [Sultaana Freeman] sued the state for revoking her driver's license because she refused to have her photo taken without the face-covering veil she wears for religious reasons, her lawyer said... Howard Marks, of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the license revocation violated U.S. and Florida constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and violated a Florida law saying the state cannot 'substantially burden a person's exercise of religion'... Florida law has long required full-face photographs of anyone obtaining a driver's license or identification card from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, department spokesman Peter Stoumbelis said in a phone interview... Florida reviewed its licensing procedures after learning that some of the Sept. 11 airplane hijackers had obtained Florida driving licenses while living in the state in the months before the attack. The motor vehicle department sent Freeman a letter giving her 20 days to obtain a free duplicate license with the full-face photo... When she refused to do so, the state revoked her license. Through her lawyer, she appealed to the Orange County Circuit Court in the Orlando area on Jan. 17, challenging the revocation as an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom... Earlier this week, the judge issued an order giving the motor vehicle department 20 days to submit briefs showing cause for its action, but has not scheduled any hearing."