CAIRO - A Muslim woman who wears full face veil will have to remove it before reciting the oath to get Canadian citizenship in new federal rules that go into effect on Monday, December 12.
Under sweeping regulations that take effect Monday, Muslim women will have to remove their niqabs or any other face-coverings such as burkas before reciting the oath of citizenship to become Canadian, Toronto Sun reported.
The new rule requires the citizenship judge to see the person's face as the oath is being spoken.
According to the paper, the new rules would condition that women should show their faces during citizenship ceremonies; the final step in the process to officially become a Canadian.
Participants who don niqab would be given two warnings to unveil themselves.
The first would be upon arrival, when a department official will explain the requirement. If the person refuses, a citizenship judge will ask the individual to show her face before reading the oath.
If the person refuses the second request, the judge will ask them to leave, putting their citizenship in jeopardy.
In such case, they will remain permanent residents and give up their right to vote, run for office and hold certain jobs.
Muslims make around 1.9 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.
While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face veil, or niqab, but believe that it is up to women to decide whether to cover her face.
In October 2010, a Canadian court said that a Muslim woman was allowed to testify in court while wearing her face veil as long as the fairness of the trial is not compromised.
Not only in Canada. The issue of Muslim women's face veil has seen heated debates in several Western countries over the past months.
France has already adopted a ban on face veil in public places last year.
Following the French suit, movements for veil bans have been gathering pace all across Europe, with similar laws being proposed and considered in Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Britain
Amnesty International has warned that Western governments risk with their anti-veil campaigns stigmatizing their Muslim minorities.