Complaints Filed by Muslim Women Over Head-Scarf at New Jersey DMV

December 4, 2005

Source: Newsday

Wire Service: AP,0,5317760.story

On December 4, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "Despite a policy that allows motorists to wear religious head coverings in their driver license photos, some Muslim women complain that workers at the state motor vehicle commission continue to require them to either remove their head [scarves] or pull them back so that a substantial amount of hair is showing. After several of the women complained, the motor vehicle agency wrote several letters of apology, and promised to redouble its efforts to make sure all its employees are familiar with guidelines on head coverings... Sarah Elfayoumi went to have her photo taken at the Lodi office in October, and said she was told by a female employee to take off her hijab, or Muslim head scarf... Elfayoumi sat for a picture with much of her hair showing, then covered it back up as soon as the photo was taken. 'Not only was this an offense to my religion, but I was also stripped of my dignity,' she said... The agency held a meeting with managers of its 45 offices last week to remind them of the policy [on head coverings] and the requirement that it be applied equally to everyone. It also applies to Jewish women or men who wear religious head coverings, as well to members of other religions."