The conservative government has announced in december that it will prohibit muslim women from covering their faces during citizenship ceremonies.
The muslim canadian congress has met this news with an applause.
The immigration minister Jason Kenney has declared that the face veil goes against Canadian indentity and Canadian values to openness and equality. He believes that allowing women to cover their faces during theses ceremonies will prevent them from integrating into canadian society.
The Canadian Islamic Congress has seen this as an attack on religious freedom. They have said :
”“Those women have the same rights as other Canadian citizens. The laws apply to us equally,” Whida Valiante, the Congress’ national president told HuffPost. “If the Minister thinks that these women are not living by the very heart of our values, and just by taking the niqab off they will join the heart of our values, they already have. They went through the process of learning and making sure that they passed the (citizenship) exams. If their heart and soul was not there, why would they do all that?” ”
Mr. Kenney said that he has received complaints from citizenship judges saying thay they could not tell if a women was truly taking the oath.
Mr. Kenney goes as far as saying that the face veil is not a religious obligation and it should not be encouraged in canadian society.
This article demonstrates the different tensions between the integration and accomodation of religious groups and the religious freedom. Does religious freedom has limits ? Is an absolute right ? Is the governement entitled to put such limits according to the Canadian constitution ?
Does are questions that canadian citizens should ask themselves.