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New niqab law puts Canadian values first
by Barbara Kay
As part of a wider circle of reforms in his department, Citizenship and Immigration minister Jason Kenney has announced a regulation requiring Muslim women who observe the custom of wearing the niqab to remove it before taking the oath of citizenship, the final step in becoming fully Canadian. According to the new rule, the judge must see her face as she takes the oath, but she can replace the face cover afterwards.
Women with face cover will receive two warnings before being refused the oath. On her arrival, a department official will explain the new regulation. If the woman does not comply, the judge will inform her that she cannot say the oath with her face covered. If she again refuses, the judge will request that she leave.
Women who do not swear the oath in this scenario will not receive their citizenship papers and will remain classified as permanent residents, a status that withholds the right to vote, run for office or hold certain jobs. Nor does it offer protection from deportation in the event of serious criminal charges. Such women will have the right to retake the oath if they choose to respect the rule.
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