Human rights are again on the chopping block. A Muslim woman in Orlando Thursday filed a suit against the state of Florida because she was prohibited from getting a state identification card. The card requires a full-face photo, and Sultaana Freeman refused to lift her veil for the photo.
While laws have tightened since the Sept. 11 attacks, the state and federal governments need to decide who is really a threat and how much they are willing to trample on Americans’ rights.
Freeman has been without a driver’s license since 2001, when she first refused to remove her veil for the photo. Her dependence on family members, in addition to the inconvenience of having no state-issued identification, is ridiculous. People’s driver’s license photos often look nothing like them. A haircut or new hair color, shaving a moustache or growing a beard can easily change the way a person looks.
While no one would consider these changes in appearance drastic, the fact that Freeman won’t remove her veil has prevented her from being able to drive a car or write a check without presenting her birth certificate, social security card and a court order that details her name change.
Many driver’s licenses also recycle pictures year after year. How many people look the same after six years? A new 16-year-old driver looks decidedly different than a 22-year-old. If the state does not require that everyone get new pictures taken every few years, there is no reason why Freeman can’t take her picture with her veil on. If she is stopped by a cop, and she has the veil on, the license will prove that it’s Freeman.
The state seems content to flex its authoritative muscle, but it is really just blowing smoke. Issue the woman an identification card or a license, and let her live her life as a U.S. citizen.