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Muslim woman takes Oklahoma driver's license photo with head scarf; was denied at previous attempt

By Carla Hinton Modified: February 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm •  Published: February 19, 2009
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Earlier today, a Muslim woman had her driver's license photo taken with her traditional head scarf in place. The state Department of Public Safety personnel took her photo at the headquarters and renewed her license.

Monique Barrett, 21, said she tried to renew her driver's license in September 2008 at a Norman Tag Agency. But an employee taking her license picture told her she was required to pull her head scarf or hijab back past her hairline.

Barrett said she refused and several months later contacted the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma City chapter.

Razi Hashmi, CAIR director, said he contacted the Department of Public Safety and was told that Barrett could take the picture with her hijab as long as her face up to her hairline remained uncovered.

"Of course we wanted to address it as soon as possible," Karen Gentry, a spokeswoman for the public safety department said.

According to the public safety department, a head covering is permitted when taking the driver's license photo as long as it does not obstruct or obscure a full front view of a person's face from hair line to chin.

Barrett said she wears her hijab as a symbol of her Islamic faith and showing any amount of hair to anyone other than other women or male family members is discouraged.