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Canada cracks down on veils

posted 13 Dec 2011, 06:12 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 13 Dec 2011, 06:13 ]
 
Canada's government introduces a new rule banning women from wearing veils while swearing the oath of citizenship. Travis Brecher reports.
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CANADA FILE-VEIL - In a move likely to increase tension with Canada's Muslim minority, the country's immigration minister said on Monday it would bar women from wearing face coverings while taking part in citizenship ceremonies.

JASON KENNEY, MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION, SAYING:

"To segregate one group of Canadians or allow them to hide their faces, hide their identity from us precisely when they are joining our community is contrary to Canada's proud commitment."

The announcement will primarily affect Muslim women wearing the niqab, which covers the whole face with only an opening for the eyes.

Muslim leaders say the move would force Muslim women to choose between their religious convictions and adopting Canadian citizenship.

WAHIDA VALIANTE, CANADIAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS, SAYING:

"That would be very uncomfortable because they have not made that choice themselves, and also this is their religious duty."

The government's decision might well trigger a court challenge from those who say the restriction violates freedom of religious provisions under Canada's constitution.

Travis Brecher, Reuters

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