Local man puts a strain on the DVLA by wearing a colander in his photo for ‘religious reasons’

Eccentric dad Ian is challenging the DVLA who have told him to remove his “religious headgear” from his driving licence photo – because it’s a colander

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Brighton man Ian Harris is a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster whose followers are known as Pastafarians and wear pasta strainers as religious garments.

Ian, 51, is fighting for his “right” to wear the metal bowl in his licence photo, which he says is equivalent to Muslim women being pictured in hijabs. Religious exemptions also include the Sikh turban.

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He has already been turned down once, on March 13, by the government agency, but has sent off a fresh photo wearing the headgear and is making a second bid. Ian hopes to emulate fellow believer Austrian Niko Alm who won the legal write to wear the headgear in his licence photo in 2011.

Dad-of-one Ian said: “I’m fighting for the right to have my religious headgear shown on my photo.

“I don’t understand the DVLA should be able to discriminate whether my religion is valid.

“I have a spiritual connection with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, until they have brain probes how are they going to say I don’t.

“Our religion is a minority but the DVLA is discriminating because it allows people who practice major religions to wear headgear in pictures.”

Ian and his four-year-old daughter Astri both follow the religion that was set up in the USA in 2005 to protest the teaching of creationism as an alternative to evolution in science classes.

A DVLA spokesman said: “The photograph must be clear and be a current likeness to allow the Police to link the driver to driving entitlement held without confusion or ambiguity.

“Headgear is generally not acceptable, but may be permissible on religious or medical grounds and any exemptions are dealt with on a case by case basis.”

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Ian, who plays the banjo in The Iron Boot Scrapers, vows to fight his corner until he runs out of appeals when he will be forced to send a photo of him without the colander.

He said: “When I get to the final appeal I will have to send a photo without a colander but that would be a bad day for religious freedom.”

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