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Canada Bans Veils at Citizenship Ceremonies

Oath 'must be taken freely and openly,' minister says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2011 1:09 AM CST
Canada Bans Veils at Citizenship Ceremonies
Muslim women wearing a niqab or burka must now remove them to gain Canadian citzenship.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Authorities in Canada have decided that anybody taking the country's citizenship oath must show their face to do so. A rule introduced yesterday requires women wearing a burka or other face-covering veil to remove it during the ceremony, reports the Toronto Star. "The citizenship oath is a quintessentially public act. It is a public declaration that you are joining the Canadian family, and it must be taken freely and openly," said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

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The head of the Muslim Council of Montreal, however, accuses the government of attempting to divide Canadian Muslims, noting that out of the million or so Muslims in Canada, only a few hundred women choose to cover their faces. With the ban, the government is "sending a message that we’re watching you and we’re going to tell you which parts of your religion are acceptable and which are not," he tells the Gazette. (Read more Canada stories.)

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