Muslim women in Iceland need confirmation or justification from one of the two Islamic associations in order to be allowed to wear a hijab, or head scarf, in their passport photo.
The rule came to light this week when a Muslim woman had her passport renewal application denied because she was wearing a head scarf but is not a member of either Islamic association and does not want to become one.
The woman eventually got her new passport, after one of the associations assured the authorities that she is indeed Muslim.
According to Icelandic law, passport photos must be face-on and both eyes seen. Sunglasses may not be worn, and heads must be uncovered. People can request exemptions from parts of the rules on religious grounds. Registers Iceland usually requires official confirmation of religion from a religious organization.
Sverrir Agnarsson, leader of the Association of Muslims in Iceland, says it is a fairly funny situation to be in: “I’m not a massive supporter of it, but many women want to wear head scarves and veils and I can absolutely attest that they are Muslims. But it’s a very funny arrangement,” he says, asking why women can’t simply declare themselves Muslim and be believed, Vísir reported.