As a bleeding-heart, knee-jerk liberal, most people would expect me, I think, to take the side of the poor Muslim woman who lost her driver’s license because she would not remove her veil, in the name of Islam and modesty. The signs point to underdog, and I’m all about boosting the underdog. The ACLU, an organization I support and admire, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sultaana Freeman. There is currently an email missive, which incorrectly states that Florida gave in and is allowing Freeman to wear the veil on her license photo, that goes on and on about immigrants not playing by the rules, and this is God’s country, and love it or leave it, and all that crap. In other words, I should be decrying the heavy-hand of the government, and freedom of religion, and all that crap. But I’m not.
It turns out that that the stupid email missive mentioned above, which claims falsely to be an editorial in a Tampa-area newspaper, is wrong on many counts. One of the main ones is the immigration status of Sultaana Freeman. She’s an American, who once went by the name of Sandra Kellar. A short while after she converted to Islam, she was arrested in Illinois on battery charges after beating a 3 year-old child in her care. In that case, she also tried to refuse the lifting of the veil on the child in the name of modesty and Islam. Underneath the veil of the child, police found bruises on her face. Her arm was also broken. The mug-shot of Sultaana was taken without the veil.
Suddenly, I see no reason to side with this woman.
Moreover, the sticking point in the Florida driver’s license issue is that Freeman already had her photo taken with the veil, and only, she and the ACLU claim, after 9–11 did the state have interest in persecuting Muslims. But there are two problems with this argument.
The first is that the state has always said that driving is a privilege, and its rules are now that the whole face must be shown in the license. If Freeman doesn’t want to take off the veil, she is welcome not to. And she will not be granted a license. Simple. It is not religious persecution.
The second point: It is not religious persecution. In Islamic countries where women can travel or drive, they do not wear their veils in their passport or driver’s license. Their whole face must be visible. There is no Islamic law that makes it immoral, or immodest, to remove the veil when identification is needed.
I wanted, in my liberal, knee-jerk reaction, to think that Florida was needlessly troubling this woman. But now, my spider-sense is tingling with the possibility that Sultaana Freeman, nee Sandra Kellar, former Pentecostal preacher and child-abuser, may just be hiding something besides her modesty behind that veil.