Bill to Ban Face Veils During Citizenship Ceremony

Proposal submitted to Canadian parliament would require all men and women to expose their faces as part of the naturalization ceremony.

Dalit Halevy ,

Muslim woman (illustration)
Muslim woman (illustration)

The Canadian government introduced a new bill Friday banning the Muslim niqab veil from being worn during the naturalization ceremony to receive citizenship, CIJnews reported. 

The bill, which has been submitted to parliament, would require all participants to ensure their faces were exposed for a few seconds during the ceremony. 

The Ministry for Multicultural Affairs explained that the new law is intended to ensure that applicants' faces will be seen and voices heard by the audience, as well, to ensure applicants' commitment to the laws, traditions, and values of Canada - including equality between men and women. 

During 2014, 3,121 citizenship ceremonies where held, during which 262,000 people were naturalized - a record year for Canadian citizenship.  

The new law rose to prominence after Zunera Ishaq, a devout Sunni Muslim, refused to remove her niqab during a citizenship ceremony in 2014 while swearing allegiance to the Queen, as the law dictated. 

A Federal Court ruling later declared the face veil ban illegal due to a violation of the freedom of religion, but the bill introduced Friday seeks to reinstate the ban. 

67% of Canadians, or 2/3, oppose allowing the niqab to be worn during acquisition of citizenship, according to a poll published on the Canadian The Star news website.