Iraqi war veteran Sean Bujno had used the license plate “ICUHAJI” for four years before Virginia’s DMV revoked it in 2011. After first winning the case last year by a circuit judge’s decision, Bujno has had his lawsuit twice dismissed by a state court judge and is now considering filing a federal lawsuit. DMV deemed the plate to violate regulations against letter combinations that are “socially, racially, or ethnically offensive or disparaging.”
The plate “ICUHAJI” can be interpreted to mean “I see you, Haji” (“Haji” apparently is a common racial slur among U.S. soldiers to describe muslims or arabs). For his part, Bruno, who was honorably discharged in 2009, claims that during his service in Iraq he got to know Muslims and intends the plate to mean “I see you, brother.” Complicating the case somewhat is the fact that “Haji” apparently is also an honorable term used to refer to Muslims who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. DMV didn’t buy it, noting that Bruno’s father had also attempted to register the plate “HAJIKLR.” Bruno’s attorney offered another explanation, that it was meant as a message of “solidarity” to fellow soldiers.