Court rejects ban on Muslim veil at Canadian citizenship ceremonies

Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:51pm EDT
 
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - An appeals court rejected the Canadian government's ban on face coverings worn by some Muslims during citizenship ceremonies, the Canadian Press reported on Tuesday.

In response, the ruling Conservative party said the government was considering all legal options following the court ruling in Ontario. CP reported that the court stated it wanted to ensure the woman who triggered the case would be able to obtain her citizenship and vote in the Oct. 19 election.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, facing a tight three-way battle to remain in power, has defended the ban arguing that he believed the niqab, a face covering veil worn by some Muslims, was rooted in an "anti-women" culture.

The opposition New Democrats and Liberals have both criticized the government's ban, saying that it violates the rights of Canadians. They have also accused the Conservatives of fueling prejudice against Muslims by supporting the ban.

In a statement, the Conservative party said a majority of Canadians support their position.

"We regret the court's decision," it said. "We understand the government is considering all legal options. As the prime minister has said, most Canadians find it offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family."

(Reporting By Mike De Souza; Editing by Grant McCool)