Canada court lets women wear veil for citizenship oath
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Canada court lets women wear veil for citizenship oath

Ruling overturns controversial Harper government ban on face coverings at such ceremonies

Illustrative photo of the niqab. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)
Illustrative photo of the niqab. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada’s government has lost an attempt to ban the practice of wearing face veils while swearing the oath of citizenship.

Zunera Ishaq is a 29-year-old woman with devout Muslim beliefs. She came to Canada from Pakistan in 2008 and refused to take part in a citizenship ceremony because she would have to remove her niqab.

A rule instituted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government banning face coverings at such ceremonies was earlier found unlawful by the Federal Court.

Appeal Justice Mary Gleason said Tuesday the court saw no reason to interfere with earlier ruling. The three justices ruled quickly so Ishaq could obtain her citizenship before the Oct. 19 federal election.

The ban had sparked a bitter debate in Parliament when it was first announced.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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