Daytona Beach, Fla., Sept. 7 - A Muslim woman in Florida has lost a state appeal to allow her to wear a veil for her driver's license photograph.

The 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach upheld an Orlando civil trial court's decision that enforcing the full face photo requirement did not violate the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because forcing Sultaana Freeman's compliance of the law did not place a substantial burden on her free exercise of religion.

In a 15-page decision, Appellate Judge Emerson Thompson Jr., wrote, "As long as the laws are neutral and generally applicable to the citizenry, they must be obeyed," the Daytona Beach News Journal reported Wednesday.

Born Sandra Keller, Freeman, 38, was raised in a Christian household but converted to the Islamic religion in 1997. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles originally issued her a license showing her wearing a veil in 2001, but later suspended it.

In July 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush signed legislation requiring that Florida driver's licenses must include a picture of the driver's full face.

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad