Muslim Canadians divided on veil ban

Prince Albert Daily Herald 16 December 2011
By Keely Dakin

The recent ban on Muslim women wearing veils while taking their oath as Canadian citizens has Muslim Canadians divided. Some state that it is a violation of the Canadian charter or rights and freedom to religion, others say it makes perfect sense. The regulation states that individuals are no longer able to wear a niqab or any facial-covering while making their oath to Canada, said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on Monday, Dec. 12. He cited that judges performing the ceremony had complained they could not tell if someone was actually reciting the oath.

Ihsaan Gardee, executive director for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) dismisses that argument. How, he asks, can a judge really tell who is reciting the oath properly or sincerely, when up to 100 people stand in one room, speaking at the same time? He says the problem is that this law is assuming insincerity on the part of the oath giver.

Gardee argues that these regulations will alienate veil-wearing women or even prevent them from becoming citizens, "We are concerned that it will force some women to choose between becoming a Canadian citizen or not, based on her beliefs.” (...)