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Religious Belief vs. Civil Law in License Photo Lawsuit

June 02, 2003

Re "Woman Says Veil Is a Must in License Photo," May 28: I was under the impression that, even though we have religious freedom here, we still have separation of religion and government. Wearing the veil is Sultaana Freeman's prerogative for her religion. The government has its own requirements.

Note that Utah rescinded the multiple marriage law (which was a part of Mormonism) and went to the law of the land. I see other Muslim women who interpret the Koran as not requiring the veil. Freeman has other alternatives, especially in Florida, with a large senior community that fosters the use of public transportation. What has happened to the majority rule on laws enacted?

Martin Brandon

Hemet

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Michael Ramirez's cartoon (Commentary, May 29) depicting the Muslim woman suing the state of Florida is, to say the least, offensive and insulting to all Muslims. He suggests that the woman and her lawyer, whom he calls a "clown," are fighting for a ludicrous cause and should just acquiesce to demands to compromise her religious beliefs.

Ramirez conveniently overlooks some basic facts: The Muslim woman is suing Florida to uphold her own religious beliefs, and, rather than being a crime, practicing one's religion is a freedom protected by the 1st Amendment.

Surely she cannot be the first veiled woman to apply for a driver's license. Why has the state government not explored or implemented more-effective options and policy rather than just insisting that individuals discard their religious beliefs?

Rabeya Sen

Los Angeles

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