Virginia Veteran Headed to Court Wednesday Over Controversial License Plate

Virginia DMV says personalized license plate encourages violence and is vulgar

An Iraq war veteran and his attorney are headed to court Wednesday to argue that the DMV is violating his free-speech rights by attempting to cancel his personalized license plate.

Sean Bujno's plate reads "ICUHAJI," which can be read to say, "I see you, Haji."

Some Arab-Americans object to that phrase.

Bujno's attorney says the use of the word "Haji" is not intended as a slur. He says it simply refers to someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, or the hajj. Bujno expanded the meaning to include soldiers who have served in Iraq, his attorney told The Virginian-Pilot last month.

A circuit court judge ruled last November that the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles couldn't deny the Chesapeake man's license on the basis that it denigrated individuals of a particular nationality.

The Virginian-Pilot reported last month that Bujno -- an Army sergeant honorably discharged in 2009 -- has displayed the plates on his car for more than four years before the DMV sent him a letter saying the plates had been revoked.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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