Litigation Director Kevin Vodak resolves delayed passport case
By Isamar Mendoza, Communications Intern
CAIR-Chicago’s Litigation Director Kevin Vodak resolved a delayed passport case involving an American Muslim citizen. Cliff Urban applied for his passport three years ago, but was not able to attain it until CAIR-Chicago filed a lawsuit on his behalf.
Urban, the plaintiff, wanted to make his pilgrimage to Mecca three years ago. When he applied for his passport, he could not receive it because the Hammond, Indiana Post Office insisted on a new picture without his tarboosh, a hat which he wears to identify as a Moorish national.
After enduring delay for over two years, with no reason given by the U.S. State Department, Urban decided to seek legal assistance and came to CAIR-Chicago. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) referred him to CAIR-Chicago, assuring him that they would take his case.
Seven months after he filed the lawsuit, Urban was finally able to receive his passport. He was also given his right to wear his tarboosh in the required picture. He said, “CAIR-Chicago connected the issues, so no other Muslim will have to go through what I just did.” Now that he has obtained his passport he is planning on completing the Hajj to Mecca and hopes to travel the rest of the world, as well.
CAIR-Chicago also resolved issues he had with his driver’s license, as well. The state did not allow Urban to have his picture in his driver’s license on account of the tarboosh. CAIR-Chicago sent out a letter seeking an explanation and the case was resolved without going to court. CAIR-Chicago is currently addressing the Hammond Post Office’s continued failure to recognize the right of Mr. Urban to wear a tarboosh in his passport photos.