Muslim Women Must Show Face to Become Canadian Citizens

Joanna Smith, The Star, December 12, 2011

Muslim women who wear the niqab and other face-covering garments will now have to lift or remove their veils while they take the oath of Canadian citizenship in front of a room full of people.

“This is not simply a practical measure. It is a matter of deep principle that goes to the heart of our identity and our values of openness and equality,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Monday as he announced the changes in Montreal.

“The citizenship oath is a quintessentially public act. It is a public declaration that you are joining the Canadian family and it must be taken freely and openly.”

The new rules require, effective immediately, anyone wishing to become a Canadian citizen to show their faces at public ceremonies as they swear the oath of citizenship, which means that Muslim women wearing a niqab or burka must remove them or else remain permanent residents.

The change came hastily as far as government policy is concerned, with none of the news releases or background material that usually accompanies such announcements.

Neither Kenney nor his department was able to provide any statistics on the number of women who have covered their faces during citizenship ceremonies, but departmental spokeswoman Nancy Caron said it used to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

It appears the issue began with four women in Mississauga.

Newly elected Conservative MP Wladyslaw Lizon (Mississauga East–Cooksville) called up Kenney a few weeks ago to tell him that he had just left a citizenship ceremony in his riding.

“Four women had taken the oath wearing full burkas and veils,” Kenney told reporters Lizon informed him. “He raised this with the citizenship judge beforehand to say, ‘Is this illicit?’ And the citizenship judge said, ‘My hands are tied. The rule is that we have to permit them to take the oath.”

Lizon confirmed the gist of the story in an emailed statement from his office.

There was more.

“(Lizon) later noted as he was leaving the ceremony that these four people and a man who was accompanying them got into a car with New York state licence plates to drive away,” said Kenney, who added that he later asked about it at a meeting of citizenship judges in Ottawa and those from large urban areas told him it happens every week.

That was enough for Kenney, but not for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), an Ottawa-based Muslim civil rights organization that accused the Conservative government of basing harmful policy on anecdotal evidence.

“This decision will have a damaging effect on our democracy because it forces those who wear the niqab to choose between their religious convictions and adopting Canadian citizenship,” CAIR-CAN’s acting executive director Ihsaan Gardee said in a news release.

The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments last week in the case of a female complaint who wants to testify against male relatives in a sexual assault case while wearing the niqab.

David Butt, the lawyer representing the unnamed woman, said that while his case pits the religious rights of his client against the rights of the defendants to face their accuser, there is not a strong enough argument against extending Charter rights to women who want to cover their faces at a citizenship ceremony.

That is because a microphone could help judges hear the woman swearing the oath and a private check of documents in the presence of a female official would be enough to verify the identity of the applicant, Butt said.

“What you have is simply an announcement that a government is going to interfere with a Charter-protected right without even anything coming close to a valid reason,” Butt said.

Liberal interim leader Bob Rae said Kenney should have waited until the Supreme Court decides on the niqab case.

“This is all about taking a decision which the minister feels will be politically popular in the short term,” Rae said. “For the long term, we would be all wiser to have a look at the Supreme Court decision and see how they balance these issues in their own mind.”

Caron said anyone wearing a full or partial face covering will be told when they check in for the ceremony that they must remove them in order to become citizens that day and then be reminded once again by the clerk before oath begins.

Candidates for citizenship will now also be informed of the new requirement during their first interview.

“While the department does not keep stats on this, the requirement for citizenship candidates to show their faces is not expected to affect a large number of people,” Caron wrote in an email Monday.

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  • Survivalist

    When they use words like ‘deep principles that go to the heart of our identity and our values of openness and equality’. You can be sure it’s Orwellian Double-speak applying make-up on the face of oppression from the left. Actually, that goes for about everything they say in the mainstream. The only thing unusual here is the targets are not white men, therefore expect some resistance and for this resistance to appear in mainstream publications.

  • Georgeanne

    This whole requirement of Muslim women being veiled at all times goes directly to the utter male dominance of Muslim societies. Muslim women are, essentially, the property of their menfolk, to be treated as the men feel appropriate.

    While there are doubtless a good many Western men who’d like to see a similar arrangement in force in their own societies, the simple fact is that Islam is utterly imcompatible with Western values and mores.

    We’re insane to give these people access to our western societies, and those who adopt Islam in this country should be kept under surveillance.

  • Anonymous

    But it is otherwise just fine for them to wear it? This is a ridiculous concept.

  • GM (Australia)

    A glimmer of hope for Canada? Perhaps, but unfortunately this sort of thing is likely to go all the way to the supreme court of even the UN and the Islamists will win again.

    I have a better idea. This women should remove her burqua and exchange her medieval robes for a smart western style dress. She should then renounce Islam, learn english and become a real Canadian.

  • Jeddermann.

    How do they even know those are women under those wraps? NO ONE actually does know, do they. Have the female officer identify the “woman” using documentation provided but I presume in a private setting so NO ONE else can see. Otherwise, SOMETHING MIGHT HAPPEN!

  • Adi

    I was recently naturalized in Los Angeles. While I didn’t see too many Sons and Daughters of Allah, what i saw was bad enough.

    I saw many women in headscarves who were obviously Muslim. None of them appeared to speak English. I know this because I tried to speak to them in English and all I got was a blank look. Their children were acting as interpreters and guiding them through the process.

    Most people in that room (almost 4,000 were natuarlized on that date 09/30/2011) were Hispanic. Most of them couldn’t speak English. Almost everyone flubbed the oath. I think it was the word “potentate”, which they couldn’t pronounce, and for some reason, found hilarious. Ironically, the only English speaking and friendly and polite person I found in that room was a white woman from Canada.

    The most repulsive and painful part of the ceremony was listening to the Judge blather on about his Eastern European family and what immigration meant to them. I wish I could have shaken him by his coat lapels and demanded that he look around and see whether that room was full of Jewish refugees fleeing Cossacks, or whether it full of hostile non-Westerners fleecing America. I wanted to know whether he could see any similarity between European mass immigration and the absurdity of naturalizing 4000 people (a day, who knows!) who can’t even be bothered to learn enough English to take their oath.

    This is possible because the average Westerner (middle class, white) has abdicated all responsibility for his nation and culture. This is the wages of the sin of indifference.

  • Crystal Evans

    I think that this is a good proposal because I would assume that they would have to show their full face when they take pictures for their naturalization certificate, drivers licenses, passports and other forms of ID. After all, a picture of a woman in a full face veil could be anyone ad not the person listed on the id.

  • Anonymous

    Why would anyone disagree with this. ?

    I would not conduct a job interview with an applicant who has his or her face covered and I believe that taking the oath of citizenship is far above the job application level.

    As an immigrant to Canada some years ago, I proudly took the oath of citizenship and complied with all of the requirements. We have become so politically correct that we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated by certain groups who have their own agendas. These are the people who will object to the new requirements.

  • Irish

    Headline needs fixing. Muslim Women Must Not Become Canadian Citizens. There, fixed.

  • cecilhenry

    Its still a dodge of the real issues here. Racial and ethnic identity of a country and the right of the citizens to dictate that to their interests.

    Regarding the veil issue itself– it is also a dodge. Why?

    Immigrants who refuse can remain permanent residents indefinetly, have children who would then be citizens– and they can choose to continue the veil (and the culture that goes with it) as they wish here in Canada.

    Just a dodge. If polticians were made to stop and think more than 10 seconds, they would see this.

  • Miguel

    It should not be acceptable anywhere in Canada. No one should be allowed to go into banks, jewelry stores, convenience stores, etc wearing what is essentially a mask. We have no history in the West of having citizens wandering about with their faces covered. Why should we accept it now? Even if it’s just on a public safety level.

  • fred

    Rag or no rag, I don’t care. They shouldn’t even be allowed the opportunity. The countries they’re from are sworn enemies. And they value those countries above the one to they wish to move. Why? Because they are invaders. Why are we constantly being told to grab our ankles by those who should be run out of town on a rail?

  • Anonymous

    So the savvy Islamic miss will take off the veil, take her oath (with silent reservations), and get on with the real business of out-breeding white Canadian women. The dumb jihadist blows up buildings; the smart ones move in, have large families, and colonize the country for the umma. Meanwhile, Canadian “conservatives” stupidly imagine that requiring an uncovered face for the few minutes of the citizenship ceremony amounts to ‘taking a tough line’. How the jihadists must laugh at us behind those veils!

  • Anonymous

    Is this the same marxist Canada that has a love affair with islam, attacking people who talk out against islam with their “Human rights” tribunals? Ezral Levant ring a bell?

  • Doepster

    I’m a first time commentator… My background is a born and bred 3rd generation Rhodesian, moved to South Africa when my country went black, and when RSA went the same way as the rest of Africa, came to Australia.

    I have since become an Australian citizen and it is my firm belief that should you want to become a citizen of a country (any country) then you MUST accept that country’s culture, law’s, language, traditions, religion as well as be willing to go to war for your new country . What I struggle to understand is why do 3rd worlders WANT to be in a 1st World country and then want it changed to their beliefs and traditions. If they loved that so much, then why don’t they just stay where they are and fight the govt there that makes them want to leave ( if that makes sense?)

  • Tim Mc Hugh

    “This is possible because the average Westerner has abdicated all responsibility for his nation and culture. This is the wages of the sin of indifference…” Well, that is so concise I could put it on my tombstone… I plead guilty as charged, especially the years 1978 to 2000… My bad!

  • Anonymous

    The real problem is not what they wear at citizenship ceremonies, but that they’re allowed into Canada in the first place. Check out the following pic of a citizenship ceremony from the Edmonton Journal newspaper:

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Government+right+dictate+what+women+wear/5849296/story.html

  • Mike H

    Not sure what political rights Muslim women have in Islamic

    countries but I suspect they have none.

    If this is the case isn’t CAIR being hypocritical in

    having these women made citizens.

    Of course, a citizen can vote and if the Muslims can

    garner enough votes they can control the government, change the

    laws and put their woman back in purda.

  • Anonymous

    Reply to #15

    “What I struggle to understand is why do 3rd worlders WANT to be in a 1st World country and then want it changed to their beliefs and traditions. If they loved that so much, then why don’t they just stay where they are and fight the govt there that makes them want to leave ( if that makes sense?)”

    You make a very good point, indeed. This is a question that we Americans have for the Mexicans. They come here because conditions are horrible in Mexico. Then they constantly attack our people and culture and say that this is Mexico and we stole it from them! They cheer for Mexico against the U.S. in soccer games here in the U.S.!

  • Anonymous

    A mild “silver lining” in all this might be the inadvertent extension of it to majority women who use so much make up as to

    be unrecognizable to anyone simply knowing them from waking up in bed with them or drinking breakfast coffee with them across a table. While it clearly is in evolved feminine nature to adorn

    themselves, this natural instinct has been morphed into a media

    generated obsession with two or more yards of endless bottles,

    tubes, sprays, brushes, etc Like so much in America, it is bizarre to the perceptive eye and commonplace to the mesmerized mass.

  • Shawn (the female)

    Why, in the first place, are these women – or anyone – wanting to become citizens of a country whose very fundamentals are against their beliefs?

  • GM (Australian)

    To # 15 Doepster. I am very pleased to see persons such as yourself come to this country as well as your first time comment on Amren. I am certain that with your Rhodesian background you will be able to provide some interesting comments about the left wing hypocrisy, stupidity and double standards that are destroying our western way of life.

    On the lighter side, apart from our funny accent here I am sure you did not have too much trouble adapting to the Australian lifestyle!

  • Anonymous

    “why do 3rd worlders WANT to be in a 1st World country and then want it changed to their beliefs and traditions. If they loved that so much, then why don’t they just stay where they are and fight the govt there that makes them want to leave ( if that makes sense?)”

    People of color the world over are all aggrieved, and want to get in special contact with their roots, culture, and others like themselves. People of light, or whites, are all about apology and are defensive and behave as if they are all guilty of a great crime. There appears to be a network in place creating this mentality in people the world over. It’s understandable people of color feel this way, that their problems and their nations problems are caused by whites, and that they are morally superior to us. What’s less understandable is why whites and those in the west seem to follow this line of thinking even more than do people of color. I suppose, over here, encouraging them and paying them to hate us is the only way we can make them feel at home.

  • Ben

    I would like to welcome Doepster to Australia. I often ask the many African and English immigrants why they came, was it because of non white crime and mischief? Few are willing to out right say yes it is but most of them do have a dislike of blacks and Muslims in particular. It breaks my heart to see large groups of black Africans here. Ten years ago there were hardly any but now there is even neighbourhoods going black, its awful. I wish we would discriminate and offer refuge to any White Africans that want to leave that hell hole. And refuse entry to the blacks for any reason, not even welcome to vacation here. Wake up White people!

  • Judith

    What do these women want to hide, is their a man under cover or a crook, who knows, I am scared. Canada speak up. I’m not a born Canadian, but I’m a good citizen and there was no question about not going by Canadian laws and heritages.

  • Doepster

    Thanks for the welcome fellow Aussies! I must say that it didn’t take long to settle in here..after all, we are fellow ‘colonialists’ so our lifestyles are very similar. I, too, am concerned regarding the increase of black Africans around the joint and the soft approach to the boatloads of ‘asylum seekers’. I just hope the general public wake up before it’s too late…

  • Anonymous

    Are you kidding me? What is the real issue here? Grown women, in this day and age, walking around with their bodies covered by ‘tents’? This is the age of the internet, the man on the moon, equality, intellectualism.

    Why is ANY woman being forced to walk around covered head to toe in a black ‘tent’? It’s so backwards, it’s frightening!

  • Anonymous

    ““(Lizon) later noted as he was leaving the ceremony that these four people and a man who was accompanying them got into a car with New York state licence plates to drive away,” said Kenney, who added that he later asked about it at a meeting of citizenship judges in Ottawa and those from large urban areas told him it happens every week.”

    So they get welfare in 2 countries. If they are Algerian, Moroccan or from another former French colony they could very well also maintain an address in France to get French welfare as well as Canadian and American.