The Sikh IDentity…

In a press release yesterday, SALDEF reported that the state of Indiana has recently implemented new guidelines for drivers license photographs:

license_sm.gifThe new policy incorporates the use of new facial recognition software and involves restrictions on smiling, head coverings, scarves, glasses, and facial hair. The security software is supposedly designed to protect customers from identity fraud.

Apparently, the new no-smiling license picture is to go into a database which:

[S]tores your undistorted image and if someone later tries to get a photo ID in your name, the computer will scan it’s facial files and find out. [Source]

Obviously, the state has a good motive for implementing the software, even though I’m not too convinced that it will be successful. In any event, the Sikhs aresupposedto be safe in one regard – as it is reported that if you wear a head covering for religious reasons (read: TURBAN!) you can apply for a waiver. It is not clear how the policy’s facial hair restriction will apply to Sikhs.

Interestingly, with the new regulations having been in place for one whole whopping day now, there has already beena report from an Indianan Sikh that he was (a) not told of the exception for religious attire and (b) not provided any waiver documents.

If the state is going to provide you with an “accommodation” doesn’t it make sense for them to inform you of it when it is obvious that you are wearing a turban for a religious reason or when you inform them of that fact? As with so many other instances regarding security precautions, it seems that our community has to take a proactive role in making sure we are not pushed around by the state. So kudos to the Sikh for reporting to SALDEF, and to SALDEF for being on top of the Indianalicensingpolicy issue and reporting to us.

On an up note – Indiana is to be recognized for being wise enough to place an exemption for religion in their new guidelines – unlike France and the story reported afew days prior – where Camille discussed the how the European Court of Human Rights ruled against French Sikhs on the issue of being able to wear the turban/dastar in drivers license photographs there.


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4 Responses to “The Sikh IDentity…”

  1. Suki says:

    On an up note – Indiana is to be recognized for being wise enough to place an exemption for religion in their new guidelines – unlike France and the story reported a few days prior – where Camille discussed the how the European Court of Human Rights ruled against French Sikhs on the issue of being able to wear the turban/dastar in drivers license photographs there.

    Why does France get held to a different standard then does Saudi Arabia. I have heard stories about sikh truck drivers being told to cut there beards, and other sikh who have problems there cause of there outward apperance. And last time I checked there are not building any Gurdwara there's anytime soon.

  2. Suki says:

    On an up note – Indiana is to be recognized for being wise enough to place an exemption for religion in their new guidelines – unlike France and the story reported a few days prior – where Camille discussed the how the European Court of Human Rights ruled against French Sikhs on the issue of being able to wear the turban/dastar in drivers license photographs there.

    Why does France get held to a different standard then does Saudi Arabia. I have heard stories about sikh truck drivers being told to cut there beards, and other sikh who have problems there cause of there outward apperance. And last time I checked there are not building any Gurdwara there’s anytime soon.

  3. sickofreligion says:

    You know…I used to like Sikhs, but am just so sick of them now.
    Every five minutes they want special rules for their superstition.

    Its a turban, geeze, so f-ing what?

  4. sickofreligion says:

    You know…I used to like Sikhs, but am just so sick of them now.
    Every five minutes they want special rules for their superstition.

    Its a turban, geeze, so f-ing what?

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