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Freeman's Florida driver's license photo.

Sultaana Lakiana Myke Freeman is a resident of the state of Florida, United States. She gained media attention when she sued the state of Florida in order to wear a face veil for her driver's license picture.

Contents

Background

Born as Sandra Keller in Washington, D.C. in 1967, she attended school in Effingham, Illinois and, in 1985, she enrolled at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, graduating in 1989 with a degree in Commercial Music and a Business Administration minor. Later in 1989, she began employment at a utility company which lasted for a ten year period, in which she was an engineering assistant.

Freeman converted to Islam in January 1997, initially only wearing the headscarf, but donning the full face veil (niqab) by the end of the year. In December 1997, she obtained an Illinois driver's license with the veil, to reflect her new outside appearance and faith.

In 1998, she was arrested in Decatur on charges that she committed battery of one of her foster children, and her foster children were removed. Freeman eventually plead guilty and served 18 months of probation. Freeman was veiled when she was photographed by police for her mug shot, but she was forced to take a second picture without the veil.

Timeline

1997

  • January - Converts to Islam
  • August - Legally changes her name to "Sultaana"
  • October - Meets and marries Abdul-Maalik Freeman
  • December - Obtains an Illinois driver's license wearing the face veil in the photo and begins regularly veiling her face while working and elsewhere in public

2001

  • February - Sultaana Freeman obtains a Florida driver's license wearing the face veil in the photo
  • Nov & Dec - Freeman receives two letters demanding her to unveil for a new photo or her current license will be cancelled before expiring

2002

  • Jan. 7 - Freeman's license is cancelled
  • Jan. 21 - Freeman's lawsuit is filed, represented by lawyer Howard Marks and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • June 25 - Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
  • June 27 - Orange County Circuit Judge Ted Coleman denies a motion by the state to dismiss Freeman's lawsuit

2003

  • May 27-29 - Freeman vs DMV trial takes place in Orlando residing under Circuit Court Judge Janet C. Thorpe
  • June 6 - Janet C. Thorpe rules against Freeman
  • July 3- Sultaana Freeman appeals
  • Oct 31- Freeman files Appellate briefs; awaiting a response from Defendant by the end of the year

2004

  • June 9 - Appellate Court Oral arguments

Florida Lawsuit

In 2002, Freeman filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Florida when the state's Department of Highway Safety suspended her license when she refused to be re-photographed without her veil. Freeman's legal license was suspended without change in policy or law following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Freeman's lawsuit argued that her religious beliefs required her to wear a veil "in front of strangers and unrelated males". It also stated that other states allowed photo-free licenses for religious reasons. Judge Janet C. Thorpe denied her lawsuit that year, and a state appeals court later upheld her decision. Freeman has reportedly continued her appeal.

See also

External links

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