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Canada to appeal ruling quashing face veil ban

OTTAWA: Canada will appeal a ruling quashing a ban on wearing face coverings such as a burka or niqab veils when taking the oath of citizenship, the prime minister said Thursday.

Stephen Harper called last week’s federal court decision in a case brought by an immigrant from Pakistan an affront to Canadian values.

“I believe, and I think most Canadians believe, that it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family,” he told reporters.

“This is a society that is transparent, open, and where people are equal.”

“We will be filing a notice of appeal on this decision.”

The plaintiff in the case, Toronto resident Zunera Ishaq, emigrated from Pakistan in 2008 and passed a citizenship test in 2013, but put off taking the oath due to the face coverings ban.

The court ruled that the ban mandated by the immigration minister violated the government’s own immigration laws.

“To the extent that the policy interferes with a citizenship judge’s duty to allow candidates for citizenship the greatest possible freedom in the religious solemnization or the solemn affirmation of the oath,” said Justice Keith Boswell, “it is unlawful.” -AFP

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