Canada Bans Some Veils
December 13, 2011 by staff
Canada Bans Some Veils, Some Muslim groups are disturbed by the federal government’s decision to immediately ban the wearing of the niqab and burka during Canadian citizenship ceremonies and worry it could lead to similar bans in other settings.
Federal Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said Monday the ban was necessary because he recently discovered women with face coverings could not be fully identified at ceremonies to swear in new Canadians.
Some citizenship judges have told him it’s a common practice. “It is happening pretty much every week around the country,” Kenney told CBC News in a TV interview. “My view is that this is a public act of testimony in front of your fellow citizens – it’s a legal requirement – and it’s ridiculous that you should be doing so with your face covered.”
Salam Elmenyawi, head of the Muslim Council of Montreal, said the ban is an attempt by the Conservative government to divide Canadian Muslims.
He estimated that perhaps two dozen Muslim women in Quebec wear face coverings and a few hundred across Canada.
He said a woman who chooses to cover her face is doing so because she believes it is the best way for her to live her faith.
There is widespread respect by those who don’t cover their faces for those who do cover them, he added.
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