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Army veteran sues Michigan for 'infidel' license plate

A northern Michigan man who was a combat soldier during the Iraq war is suing to get a personalized license plate carrying a shortened variation of the word "infidel."

Michael Matwyuk says the Michigan Department of State rejected him because the plate could offend people. He says it's a violation of his First Amendment right, and he filed suit Wednesday in Grand Rapids federal court with help from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The 57-year-old lives in Kingsford in the Upper Peninsula community and is a retired U.S. Army sergeant. He sustained brain injuries and hearing loss during combat.

Matwyuk says soldiers were repeatedly called "infidels" or non-believers by enemies in Iraq. Secretary of state spokesman Fred Woodhams says Michigan law bars plates that might be offensive.

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