Muslim women must show face to become Canadian citizens
By Rizwan Khatik - Tue Dec 13, 10:41 am
A requirement for new Canadians to show their faces while taking the oath of citizenship puts the federal government on one side of a simmering debate over how far the state should go to accommodate minorities.
“This is not simply a practical measure. It is a matter of deep principle that goes to the heart of our identity and our values of openness and equality,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Monday as he announced the changes in Montreal.
“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.”
Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Mr. Kenney said showing one’s face while taking the oath is a matter of “deep principle” that strikes at Canadian values of openness and equality.
“Four women had taken the oath wearing full burkas and veils,” Kenney told reporters Lizon informed him. “He raised this with the citizenship judge beforehand to say, ‘Is this illicit?’ And the citizenship judge said, ‘My hands are tied. The rule is that we have to permit them to take the oath.”