Press Releases

Oklahoma Muslims Asked to Challenge Anti-Hijab Legislation

(Oklahoma City, OK, 3/3/09) – The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on Oklahomans concerned with constitutionally-protected religious freedoms to contact their state representatives about a bill that bans religious headwear in driver’s license and other identification card photos.

The bill, HB 1645, passed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday. An Oklahoma Senate subcommittee is expected to take up the bill next week.

The proposed amendment states: “The photograph or image shall clearly identify the licensee or cardholder and shall depict a full front unobstructed view of the entire head and shoulders of the licensee or cardholder. Hats, head scarves, head garments…that cover or partially cover the head or shoulders are strictly prohibited and shall not be worn by the licensee or cardholder when being photographed for a license or identification card.”

CAIR-OK believes the amendment proposed by Rep. Rex Duncan (R-Sand Springs) was introduced in reaction to CAIR-Oklahoma’s successful resolution of a dispute over a Muslim woman’s right to wear hijab in her driver’s license photo.

SEE: Muslim Woman Takes Driver’s Photo with Head Scarf (Video)

A recent Tulsa World editorial pointed out the irrelevance the legislation that bans religiously mandated headscarves in driver’s license photos. It pointed out this would have unintended consequences on other religious groups as well.
SEE: Forced Habit: Driver’s License Law Isn’t Needed (Tulsa World)

Today the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) criticized Oklahoma’s House of Representatives for its attack on religious freedom.
SEE: Proposed Law Will Forbid Sikh Turbans in Driver’s License Photos
SEE ALSO: Religious Freedoms Under Attack in Oklahoma

“This legislation is a violation of all Oklahomans constitutionally-protected religious freedoms,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. “It is important for people to realize that an infringement of one group’s religious rights is a violation of the religious rights of all Americans.”

1. CONTACT YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE and urge him or her to ensure that our state laws continue to protect the religious freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Contact your elected officials here.
Call the Oklahoma State Capitol switchboard at 405-521-3356 and ask for your representative’s office.

2. CONTACT THE SPONSOR OF THE BILL and ask him to ensure that Oklahomans’ First Amendment rights of religious freedom are protected.
Senator Roger Ballenger
Phone: 405-521-5588, Email:
Copy to:
3. THANK the Oklahoma State Representatives who voted against HB 1645.
Copy to:

Rep. Ryan Kiesel
Phone: 405-557-7372, Email:
Rep. Al McAffrey
Phone: 405-557-7396 Email:
Rep. Rebecca Hamilton
Phone: 405-557-7397, Email:
Rep. Jeanie Mc Daniel
Phone: 405-557-7334, Email:
Rep. Mike Shelton
Phone: 405-557-7367, Email:
Rep. Chuck Hoskin
Phone: 405-557-7319, Email:
Rep. Lucky Lamons
Phone: 405-557-7390, Email:
Rep. Richard Morrissette
Phone: 405-557-7404, Email:

4. CONTACT THE TULSA WORLD and thank them for their op-ed. It is important that those who value First Amendment rights make the effort to support positive coverage of this issue. Also comment online about the segment. (Always be polite and respectful.)
Tulsa World
Tel: 918-581-8550
Fax: 918-581-8353
Copy to:
5. SHARE this important alert with your colleagues, friends and family. Post to personal blogs.


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