Face Veils Banned from Citizenship Ceremonies

Muslim women are no longer allowed to wear traditional face coverings during the swearing of the oath of citizenship, announced the Conservative government Monday.

The ban is generating mixed reactions as our nation prides itself on being a cultural mosaic. But in this case, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says allowing the niqabs would be “completely counter to Canada’s commitment to openness and social cohesion.” Kenney told the CBC that it is “frankly bizarre” that women had been allowed to wear face veils during their citizenship ceremony. Kenney also cited complaints from MPs and citizenship court judges who can’t tell whether those wearing face veils are actually reciting the oath of citizenship, a requirement to become Canadian.

The Canadian Islamic Congress considers the Conservative government’s decision an attack on religious freedoms. But this is only the beginning of niqab-bans, as they may soon be outlawed at government workplaces in Quebec, as well as nurseries, hospitals and schools.

– Tianna Robinson