PeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA


So, in Florida a woman showed up to get her driver's license..which requires a photo.
She insisted she leave her Berka (sp??) on for the photo, because of her religion.
However, the point of the photo is to serve as i.d. and so you must show your face in order to get your license, and passport for that matter.

So, she was denied the license because having a license is not a necessity, it is concidered a priveledge and if you do not comply with the rules of the license, you do not get one.

She is fighting it stating freedom of religion.

However, by not showing her face, the officials, whomever they are, are insisting this plays into the terrorism thing (no visual record) as well as allows anyone to use her license for illegal purposes.

I must say, that while I support freedom of religion, I agree with the fact that all people must comply with the same rules for such priveledges, and they are. She opted to get a license which means she understood that a photo i.d. would be necessary. I think she either forgoes the Burka or the license.
I thought about it quite a bit to come to that conclusion though, and in some ways am still a bit torn.

Now, I also want to emphasize this isn't just a terrorist thing. There is a religion (which escapes which one, aside from Penatite) that insists that photos not be taken of them and they also must choose between a license or how strong their faith is.

Please do not turn this into a religious discussion. It is not meant to be.

What I am wondering about is how do you feel about this? Not initial knee-jerk style stuff, but the weights and balances of it.
Is a license a priveledge to you?
Should these people have to choose?

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

1,463 posts
Location: Florida

i think that we are all equal and if everyone else is expected to confirm to rules and regulations your religion should not interfere with the needs of society...

I mean in this case specifically...

Otherwise we could all claim that we cant take off our berkas...

On the same note I had to give the US Government my fingerprints when I turned 18 to get a job in the government (the only job I was allowed to have in the UK) so I did.
In my life philosophy though I dont think that we should mistrust people in society so much so that we have to bully everyone into putting their details on record. BUT the choice for me was either no employment or fingerprinting... I got them done and did not complain so as not to raise eyebrows with the security types which took our fingerprints...

So what I am saying is that my life philosophy (could be called a religion) does not include many of the things I have been subjected to but I cant complain anymore (I used to) cause at the end of the day there are needs and wants.

If you mess up on the freeway the cops NEED to know who you are. If you depend on your religion for beliefs then its your personal issue. So she does not WANT to take it off but in our society we NEED to know who is driving and we NEED to be able to physically describe them.

So to make a blabber stop... She should take it off or not drive. Besides it probably messes with her field of vision on the road and is therefore not safe for other road users.



onewheeldaveGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,252 posts
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

presumably a berka is one of those things that leaves just the eyes showing?

Is the religion in question Islam? Because, if it is, isn't it the case that muslim women, according to the purely religious aspects of Islam, are actually under no obligation whatsoever to cover their face- isn't the covering up thing actually a cultural matter?

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AFC 32

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BansheeCatBRONZE Member
1,247 posts
Location: lost, Canada

We have the same kind of things surfacing in Canada, and I think we handle it pretty reasonably. If it effects the function, then it is not permitted. So in this case, no license, she has made a choice to cover her face, and to serve its purpose, the license must have face uncovered. Practical, not discriminatory.

We have Sikhs, who wear turbans, and wanted to be RCMP. But you can not wear a turban with the RCMP regulation gear. But the gear was not a functional necessity, more ornament and identity than anything. So eventually, people were permitted to wear the turbans as RCMP( police) uniforms, and all was well.

Then, another situation came up, about turbans again. This time, on a construction site where people are required to wear protective gear, specifically, hard hats. So, no turban, does not fit under the hard hat. So, no Sikhs on the job. Some protest it is religious discrimination, but so far it has been rejected, as the requirement serves a practical necessity, nothing to do with religion.

There are other situations with the carrying of their symbolic knives/swords, which have been resolved practically speaking as well...

I think we all make choices for religious and other beliefs that may limit what we can do as a proffession, or restrict activities we can participate in. That is just normal, in my mind. As long as both individuals and regulators check in with themselves, and make sure the limitations are serving practical purposes, and that those purposes are neccessary for the safety/function of the individual and community, then fine. If they are simply cultural, or ornamental, well, then they need to be reconsidered, and find a way to include people of all religions and cultures if possible.

I think Canada is doing okay with this sort of thing so far, we encompass many diverse religoins and cultures within our communities without too much conflict in this area...

thanks for an interesting topic...

"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

145 posts
Location: Little Rock, AR

I agree, Pele - religious freedom gives you a certain amount of give and take, but not all give or all take.

I do believe that a license is a priveledge, not a right. As is following your own religious freedom and choice, it's a priveledge, not a right. Therefor, it must be within acceptance of certain laws...(I give example of this being that it might be in someone's religious beliefs that all people who don't believe the way they do to be put to death. However - that would be against the law of the land and therefor not allowed. - A very obtuse example.)

I'm also under the impression that the main purpose of a Berka is to hide yourself in public, is it not? I'll have to learn some more on that, I don't know.

Solely my opinion and I don't hold it against people who think otherwise.

"I'm your Huckleberry."

The muse spake her thought and then there was silence. Thy spiked tongue had melted, only a bitter heart remained.

PeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

I went to college with a girl who wore a Berka. She told me that they essentially are to no disrupt the thinking of men. Women are distractions. Being covered keeps them from being a destraction. I believe it is married women that cover their faces (they are the property of others and therefore, can not even show their faces for temptation), while the yet single women are allowed to show their faces but not their bodies or hair except within their own homes.

I do not know if this is how it works for everyone. She said this was the interpretation of her step-father who made her entire family convert when he married her mother.

I would have to look into the religious purpose of it more, because I agree that I thought it was more of a cultural thing that tied into the religion (woman:Eve being tempting and the fall of man and all that).

Honestly, due to the history of this bb I expected more "anti-policy" posts.

I agree that I do not feel it is at all religiously discriminatory because of practical application as well as it being standard for everyone. If someone walked in tomorrow with a KKK hood on and was allowed to wear it for his/her photo, then this woman would have a case.

Thanks for the thoughts. It's intriguing to me.

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

Rouge DragonBRONZE Member
Insert Champagne Here
13,215 posts
Location: without class distinction, Australia

you might also be interested to know that, at least a few years ago, passports could be taken wearing the berqua. I was talking to a man who worked as an immigration/customs officer and he was investigating a ship that had arrived in an australian port and the people on it. and the women, in all their passport photos were covered except for their eyes. and of course the women standing in front of him were only eyes as well. the man's comment was that he just couldnt do his job to the full extent, because what was he supposed to do? compare eyes?

i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

linden rathenGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
6,942 posts
Location: London, UK

personally im with the gov on this one

basically while people have a right to practice their beliefs within a country. they also have to follow the laws of that country

should they not agree with the laws they can move to a differnt country... while that sounds harse its true

the rules are there for a reason - some yes are disciminatory as they are inforced..

privalages like a liscense are gaind via choise.


MynciBRONZE Member
Macaque of all trades
8,738 posts
Location: wombling free..., United Kingdom

Having been close to losing my liscence on medical grounds (luckily) I see a liscence as a great privilage. I could live without it but the costs would be higher and my life more difficult. I can see the womans perspective, but can I ask, what is the nature of the burka? I thought it was to prevent men seeing the face... surely if no man was present at the photo shoot (as it were) it would be ok?
But I believe the system works if she cannot have a liscence without showing her face. She could quite easily take and pass her test then allow another to drive risking lives and when the liscence is produced there is no proof (if no face) that the woman behind the wheel could drive...

A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

AkashlaBRONZE Member
72 posts
Location: On the far left of sane, Ireland

Written by: andrealee

Some protest it is religious discrimination, but so far it has been rejected, as the requirement serves a practical necessity, nothing to do with religion.

This seems to be quite a reasonable view to take. However, in the UK and Ireland, people of certain religions are allowed to forgo protective headware and wear their turbans instead. Im not sure if this stretches to building sites etc., but it is definitely in place in regards to motorbike helmets, which are not required by law if you wear a turban.

As for the initial topic, i would view the license not as a right or a privelage as such, for me, its more of an acquisition. And to acquire it you must meet the criteria. As you said, anyone who came in and refused to show their face would also be refused the service, so it seems in no way to be discriminatory. It equates in my head with suing a shop for discrimination because you can not afford to buy their products.
Completely ridiculous.

I am not a bitch.
I am THE bitch.
And Im Miss Bitch to you.

Groovy_DreamSILVER Member
449 posts
Location: Australia

Imagine if they did take a photo of her with only the eyes showing. Anyone could easily steal her ID, impersonate her and commit all kinds of fraud. She'd be endangering herself!

GnorBRONZE Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
5,814 posts
Location: Perth, Australia

Does a burka showing only the eyes cause any visual impairment when driving. As a veil hanging down the back ,does it stop the head turning. Ive tried to drive in veils and its been a real pain and Ive always removed them.

I agree that if she wants to drive she needs to follow guidelines. Presumably the only people needing to see it will be the police if she is pulled over. There must be some muslim women in the force able to take the picture.
Does there need to be a compromise with a Burka picture supported by fingerprints on the liscence for these circumstances.

Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

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MiGGOLD Member
Self-Flagellation Expert
3,414 posts
Location: Bogged at CG, Australia

Sorta on-topic ish:

At whyalla's steel making place, you must be clean shaven to be employed. The reasoning behind this is that there are certain times when breathing apparatus may be neccessary, ie a gas leak or somesuch.

My thoughts, being rather unshaven myself, are that it comes down to choice. If you choose to get a job there, you have to shave. if you devoutly follow a religion that forbids shaving, you must make a choice. either shave, or don't work there.

Same sorta thing with Pele's example. i guess she'd know that identification is needed for a licence. Thus, if she chooses to try get a licence, she must accept the requirements and show her face. If she doesn't want to show her face, then no licence.

Something about having cakes and eating them might be appropriate, but i don't know.

"beg beg grovel beg grovel"

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"

IcerSILVER Member
just a shadow of my former self...
205 posts
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

kinda related, i used to work at a very upmarket hotel, i couldnt work there as unshaven as i tend to be (i had to take a month off when i got black eye in a scuffle), but this what the job that i was doing required. if you dont want your photo taken for drivers liscense, then you dont get D-license; simple as that.

It took a while, but once their numbers dropped from 50 down to 8, the other dwarves started to suspect Hungry.

4,308 posts
Location: York, England

Liscense is a privledge yes. Maybe not even as well regulated as it should be, also too regulated, or too much buracracy. Mine has been suspended for 7 months now, and I'm only just getting it back- and all over some problems with the postal service, basically.

That said, I think the bare-faced photo is the wrong reason to be denying the privledge, assuming of course she can see properly. In current society, I'd say that I'm not going to argue the photo thing. I'm not sure I agree with it, but I won't argue.

But a photo showing just the eyes can be positive identification to a well trained official. Most artists will tell you how diferent everyone's eyes are, the lines around them and how they shape. I think anyone who wants to have photo id with burka should just have to do some extra work- they go somewhere where there's a photo operator who can make sure there's a good picture taken, and they have to go in to see someone special when they need to use photo id, a supervisor at an airport or a police artist or whoever can be trained to look for those kind of smaller differences.

My 2 cents.

I barely look like my photo anyway, if it wasn't for my eyes (which are now covered by glasses, so who knows....).

Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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