Action Alert: Oklahoma Legislature Considering a Ban of the Use on Head Cover for Driver’s License Photos
(March 9, 2009) The Islamic Society of North America is deeply concerned about the recent vote in Oklahoma lower house to ban the use of head cover for driver’s license photos, and believes that such move violate the civil rights of Muslims. The Oklahoma state Senate is considering a bill that has already passed the Oklahoma state House, HB1645, which is intended to amend the present law to prohibit Oklahomans from wearing head scarves or other coverings in driver’s license photographs. If passed, the law will violate the religious and constitutional rights of Oklahomans Muslim women who are required by their faith to cover their heads in public.
Wearing a headscarf is a religious duty for Muslim women, not merely a cultural custom, and legislating its removal from driver’s license photos would create an extreme hardship as it would force Oklahoman Muslim women to choose between applying for driver’s license and following their faith requirements. No American should ever be forced to make such a choice.
The US Constitution protects the free exercise of religion and ensures that religious practices and traditions are respected and accommodated. The Founding Fathers enshrined this inalienable right in the constitutional Bill of Rights and countless fellow Americans fought long and hard to ensure that all Americans are able to enjoy the values of freedom and equality.
Please call the leaders of the Oklahoma state Senate and ask them to protect the religious freedom of Oklahomans and to reject the ongoing attempt to undermine the civil liberties of Muslim Americans and other religious minorities.
Senator Charlie Laster
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Rm. 522
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Senator Glenn Coffee
President Pro Tempore
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Rm. 422
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For questions and further information on this Action Alert, please call Louay Safi at 317-839-1807.
Please comment if you wrote an email or called them. JazakAllah khair. This law doesn’t seem like a big deal, but we need to voice our concern against this, because this could set a precedent for future bans in other areas and other states may follow. The domino effect comes into play. Also, this could be a subtle and indirect attack on the hijab. I am not saying that it is, I am simply theorizing this. So don’t go all crazy and start spreading the word that Oklahoma is banning hijab. They are not. They are just banning head covers on photos on driver’s license photos.
Here is a PDF of the legislation.