Muslim Veil During Citizenship Oath Opposed By Most Canadians, Poll Says

A Muslim veil worn during citizenship oath-taking ceremonies is opposed by most Canadians, the Canadian Prime Minister’s Privy Office Council poll revealed on Thursday, September 24, 2015. The taxpayer-funded poll came in the wake of a Federal Court of Appeal ruling that upheld a Federal Court decision deeming unlawful an official ban of the Muslim veil in citizenship court.

The Globe and Mail reports that four years ago, Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney responded to a complaint by creating a requirement for uncovered faces when new Canadians take the oath. Citizenship candidate Zunera Ishaq challenged the ban on the Muslim veil and won at the Federal Court in February 2015, a decision upheld by the Federal Court of Appeals recently despite government disagreement.

The Muslim veil has become the bone of contention for party leaders preparing for the Canadian federal election to be held on October 19, 2015. The election of members to the House of Commons of the 42nd Parliament of Canada will determine the continuation or dissolution of the incumbent Conservative government, headed by Stephen Harper.

The poll asked participants if they supported or opposed a requirement that people show their face during Canadian citizenship ceremonies. The results: 82 percent supported the requirement, 15 percent opposed it, and 4 percent did not know either way or refused to answer.

Prime Minister Harper, who is appealing a Federal Court decision to allow people to use the Muslim veil or niqab over their faces while reciting the oath of citizenship, called it “not the way we do things here”. According to the Globe and Mail, he addressed the following statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“We do not allow people to cover their faces during citizenship ceremonies. Why would Canadians, contrary to our own values, embrace a practice at that time that is not transparent, that is not open and frankly is rooted in a culture that is anti-women. That is unacceptable to Canadians, unacceptable to Canadian women.”

Outside the House of Commons, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau accused Prime Minister Harper of “Islamophobia”. Trudeau has positioned himself as a champion of religious expression as in the Muslim veil, which is protected by the Charter of Rights.

New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair insisted that defending freedom of religion is the responsibility of courts. He opposed the Conservatives’ seeking a stay on a ruling that would have allowed a Muslim woman a face-covering veil in citizenship court.

The Canadian rejection of the Muslim veil stems from the bigger concern within Canadian Parliament of Muslim communities exercising Sharia law within their enclaves. On February 23, 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence questioned Marc Lebuis, the founding director of the Montreal-based independent research organization Point de Bascule, on the curious behavior of Islamist leaders in Canada.

Lebuis reported that in the early 2000s, Jamal Badawi, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood operating in Canada, advised Canadian Muslims to become judges and government officials and use their influence to stop applying current national legal provisions that are incompatible with Sharia law.

Outside of the parliamentary investigations, Canadians also look across the border at the Sharia controversy in the United States, specifically at presidential aspirant Ben Carson’s well-known objection to public officials practicing sharia.

Along the same thread, Carson, according to the Washington Post, has also begun questioning the Islamic practice of taqiyya, which by definition is dissimulation or concealment of one’s thoughts, feelings, or character — a pretense.

“Taqiyya is a component of Sharia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals.”

Under the threat of information overload, the Canadian public might be better served with just mulling over the Muslim veil first.

[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]