Oklahoma Law to ban “head cover” in Driver’s License Photos

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
Democratic Leader
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Rm. 522 
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-5539

Senator Glenn Coffee
President Pro Tempore
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Rm. 422
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
405.530.2304 (fax)

For questions and further information on this Action Alert, please call Louay Safi at 317-839-1807.

Source: ISNA

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.

17 Replies to “Oklahoma Law to ban “head cover” in Driver’s License Photos”

  1. Just banning head covers on licenses? /Just/? Unless they make an exception for all religious headcovers (like for Muslim women, or for Sikh men even), then they are absolutely violating first amendment rights.

    And if they approve it, then those who hate Islam and hate hijab will have one more card to play in their own legislatures. It is a step towards religious oppression, and we should stop it in its tracks.

  2. They were proposing this in MN but the bill could not be heard bc the it did not offer a concession to religious headwear, similar to what we have for passports. If the federal government does not consider it a security threat for passports, then no argument can be made state issued driver’s licenses. And anyways, wth is in oklahoma?

  3. Yeah same thing happend in MN but the muslims all stood up and was like hell nah and they listend. allahu akbar

  4. Sometime last year a sister was told by the Oklahoma DMV to remove her Khimar for her license photo. Of course she refused and was denied a license. CAIR fought against this and the DMV backed off and agreed to sensitivity training.

    The exact same thing happened in NJ a couple of years ago. However, in Oklahoma someone decided to propose legislation to ban headcoverings in DMV photos.

    Based on the timing of the events, I would definitely say this is a subtle attack on Hijab. And even if it isn’t it will directly affect Hijab and the lives of Muslim women in Oklahoma. It is good to hear that the legislation died in MN.

  5. The problem is that recently the Oklahoma legislature had a big shift and Republicans are in control of the state legislature for the first time in decades. This was one of the things they immediately brought up, despite the fact that it was never a problem to begin with.

  6. Man, this can’t pass, it’s been stopped from happening before and it needs to be stopped again. Everyone call and email!!

  7. If you don’t like the laws in Oklahoma, then move to a state that panders to every immigrant that comes to this country and doesn’t like our laws. I wonder if I could get away w/ wearing a christian cross in a muslim country and not catch any grief. I’d probably get my head cut off. Welcome to the civilized world cry babies!

  8. i am sick at the idea that jim would say that i was born seattle wa my mom usa my dad usa my grandfather grandmother i am a muslim and my hijab does not and will not come off in public and that is my right

  9. I don’t care if you were born here or not. I don’t care if your parents were born here or not. My family has been here since the 1860’s. They had to adapt, learn the language and customs. If you get ID’d somewhere how are they supposed to know you are who you are? If you have a problem w/ uncovering your head for your driver’s license then take the bus and keep your mouth shut.

  10. Jim you can wear the cross in pakistan, malaysia, Emirates, Dubai etc. So yea umm educate yourself.

    As far as not liking the laws, is that what you said to African/black Americans during the 60’s?

    Isn’t democracy all about asking governments to make laws that we like cause we elect them? Isn’t democracy suppose to REPRESENT its citizens? And if we are legal citizens (which we are) shouldn’t we have the right to write letters, or do you deny us the right to say what we want? Furthermore learn a little history about the Italians and Irish immigrants. They didn’t adapt and learn the customs and language. Just go to NYC (where I am from) most of them speak their original language and kept their customs. AND they did it through VIOLENT ways and not letter writing.

  11. Pakistan, malaysia, Emirates, dubai…you’re probably right, because they are not as radical as say….Iran, Syria, Afghanistan(under the taliban of course) etc. Hell, my white skin and American accent would be enough reason for someone to end my life in those countries. So yea, I am educated.
    I wasn’t around in the 60’s to say anything to blacks about the laws they didn’t like.
    Oh and we don’t live in a democracy. We live in a federal constitutional republic with a democratic system. So yea umm educate yourself. And my Italian ancestors did have to adapt. Not sure if you know this but not all Italians are a part of the mafia. Obviously you watch too much t.v. And the last time i checked they spoke english in Ireland. I’m not telling muslims they can’t speak arabic or farsi, in fact I encourage it. I’m all for people having their own communities w/ their own kind of people if it makes them comfortable. However, outside of the home you need to abide by established rules and laws no matter what your religion is. Being identifiable is a security issue, not religous.

  12. So if we don’t like a law we can’t write letters or do any type of protest. we shoudl just suck it up. And with the Italian history I was tlaking about what they went through specifically in NYC and what is taught in urban studies in colleges in NYC..and another people you should look at are the jews and what they did in NYC and how they got what they wanted..they payed taxes and wrote letters. Also when I said to educate yourself I meant about other countries and as far as your skin color goes, if I went down south past Georgia I would prolly be killed too so is America a radical country?? Hell there’s places in Jersey I’m scared to go to. As far as countries like Yemen there are militant groups (religious AND non-religious) that are all about th emoney and they live in parts where the government cannot enforce the laws. But where the laws are enforced you’ll prolly be safe. Infact my WHITE blonde hair blue eyed arabic professor started his studies in Yemen and ended in Syria. Plus umm most syrians (the ones I know) look white and Damascus has LOTS of tourists so you can visit there to. Hell youtube Damascus Nightclubs…actually try LEBANESE nightclubs..yea you’ll be in for a surprise. (I’m a conservative Muslim and don’t club but I do not force my views on others so if others wanna club they can)

    As far as the law goes, laws are changed all the time. What if abortion was banned, should all women just leave the U.S. what if segregation was still in effect, what should blacks do? So Brown v. the board of education should have never taken place. Brown should have just went to a black school?

  13. Oh and not all Italians are part of the mafia I never said that (in fact that’s a very racist shallow thing to say), but they have had hardships in this nation and dealt with it. They have had successful businesses and I would say played a great role in NYC’s history and bring culture to many of our neighborhoods. However if we all Adapted/Assimilated All these neighborhoods would look the same and NYC wouldn’t be the great placce it is. What makes America great (specifically NYC) is that all the neighborhoods from jackson heights being colombian and indian to greenpoint in brklyn being polish to bayridge being Arabic to Kanarsi (spell check that one) being Italian is that ALL these neighborhoods are what America stands for. Diversity. EVERYONE kept their identity and we are able to go to another people’s neighborhood and LEARN about them.

  14. Everyone should keep their identity, culture, language etc. However my ancestors kept all that and assimilated into American culture at the same time. Muslim women won’t have an identity if they do not show their faces on their ID’s. Like I said, its a security thing not religous or cultural.

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