Florida Muslim Loses Lawsuit Over Removing Veil

A Florida judge ruled in early June that a Muslim woman's religious liberties are not violated by the state's demand that her driver's license include a photo without her religiously mandated veil.

In early 2001, Saltaana Freeman obtained a Florida driver's license with a picture of her face covered by a customary veil. Nine months later, the state threatened to revoke her license unless she returned for a photograph with her face uncovered. The ACLU of Florida, representing Freeman, sued in state court arguing that that the requirement violated her religious freedom.

On June 6, Circuit Judge Janet C. Thorpe ruled that the state mandate does not subvert Freeman's right to free exercise of religion.

Thorpe said the state "has a compelling interest in protecting the public from criminal activities and security threats," and that photo identification "is essential to promote that interest."