Canada court rules for niqab wearer in citizenship ceremonies

Mon Oct 5, 2015 6:06pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian Federal Court of Appeals, weighing in on an issue that has proved pivotal in the campaign for the Oct. 19 election, ruled on Monday in favor of a Muslim woman who has sought to take the oath of citizenship with her face veiled.

The court rejected the Conservative government's request for a stay of its Sept. 15 decision also in favor of the woman, Zunera Ishaq, who insisted on wearing the niqab at the citizenship ceremony.

The government is appealing the decision to the Supreme Court and had asked that it be put on hold.

The niqab issue has become a volatile one in the election campaign, particularly in the province of Quebec, where the vast majority of the population supports a ban on niqabs at citizenship ceremonies.

It has badly eroded the support in Quebec of the opposition New Democratic Party, which has declined to back the ban, and this has hurt the NDP's national polling numbers.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Grant McCool)