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
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.

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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