February 20th, 2009 14:50 EST
Muslim In Okla. Allowed to Take Driver's Photo with Hijab
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today thanked that state`s Department of Public Safety (DPS) for allowing a Muslim driver to take her driver`s license photograph while wearing a religiously-mandated head scarf, or hijab.
CAIR-OK said the Muslim driver attempted to renew her driver`s license in September of last year, but was initially told her she was required to pull her hijab back past her hairline. Following intervention by CAIR-OK, the director of the DPS Driver License Examining Division offered to take the photograph with hijab and to institute diversity training for staff.
SEE: Metro Woman Said Religious Beliefs Compromised (Video)
SEE ALSO: Muslim Woman Takes Driver`s Photo with Head Scarf (Video)
The Muslim driver received an apology and DPS clarified its policy on religious accommodations. That policy states that head covering is permitted if it does not obstruct a full front view of the face from hairline to chin. "
We appreciate the support of the DPS in resolving this matter and upholding the constitutional right to freedom of religious practice, " said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. CAIR will continue to work with DPS on training to prevent similar situations. "
Hashmi said that according to a 2004 CAIR review, most states, with the exception of Georgia, Kentucky and New Hampshire, have addressed religious accommodation concerns. Five states - Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas, Missouri, and Maine - recognize some religious practices, while the other 42 states have adopted more inclusive approaches to religious accommodation policies.
SEE: Religious Accommodation in Driver`s License Photographs
CAIR, America`s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-248-5853, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-OK Chairperson Lobna Hewedi, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Operations Coordinator Tariq Ahmad, E-Mail: email@example.com