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Islamic group asks Holder to probe headscarves proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to determine whether proposed legislation in Minnesota and Oklahoma, which could prohibit headscarves in driver’s license photographs, would violate the U.S. Constitution. (Check out our in-depth story about the issue in Minnesota here.) 

The council, which is the United States’ largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group, has contended that if passed both bills would infringe on First Amendment rights of Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and members of other faiths who wear religious head coverings.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice declined to comment.

In the letter to Holder, the Council’s Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote: “We believe both of these unnecessary and apparently unconstitutional bills would have a negative impact on the First Amendment rights of Muslims and members of other faiths in Minnesota and Oklahoma. We urge you to address the civil liberties implications of these bills and to offer a formal opinion that may be used by legislators who wish to support the Constitution and its protection of religious rights.”

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