(TheBlaze/AP) — After a lengthy legal battle, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is saying an Iraq war veteran’s personalized license plate encourages violence and is vulgar.
Sean Bujno’s plate reads: “ICUHAJI,” which can be read to state: “I See You, Haji.”
A “haji” is a Muslim who has made the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, though some U.S. soldiers use the term indiscriminately overseas. Bujno had the plates for about four years before someone complained, and some Arab-Americans are interpreting the phrase as threatening.
But Andrew Meyer, Bujno’s attorney, claimed: “That couldn’t be further from the truth…He really means it respectfully.”
A circuit court judge ruled last November that the DMV couldn’t deny the Chesapeake man’s license on the basis that it denigrated individuals of a particular nationality, but now the DMV has taken a new approach, saying it encourages violence.
And according to the Virginian-Pilot, the DMV indicated in a letter to Bujno that they’re willing to continue the legal battle over the plates.
Bujno’s attorney responded to the same paper that the DMV is acting unreasonably.
“It never should have taken this long,” he said. “They didn’t like the plate and decided to hold on to it until they found a reason to deny it.”
Here’s more on the story from when the DMV first claimed the plates were inappropriate in 2012, including a survey of what people in a parking lot thought the plates meant:
Uh huuuuuuh. I’d find that a lot easier to believe if not for the license plate that Bjuno requested in 2007: “HAJIKLR.” He was turned down for that one too. (His attorney claims it was actually Bjuno’s dad who requested that plate.)