Woman Asks To Be Sworn In as Citizen After Overturn of Niqab Policy


From National Post

Zunera Ishaq stands for a portrait in her home in Mississauga on Wednesday February 11, 2015. She is excited about a court ruling that allows women to wear hijabs while taking the Canadian citizenship oath.

Zunera Ishaq stands for a portrait in her home in Mississauga on Wednesday February 11, 2015. She is excited about a court ruling that allows women to wear hijabs while taking the Canadian citizenship oath. Aaron Vincent Elkaim for National Post


A Muslim woman is asking to be sworn in as a Canadian citizen as soon as possible while wearing a niqab, even as the Harper government considers appealing a court ruling overturning its policy requiring women to remove face coverings while reciting the oath.

“I hope my wait [to become a citizen] is not very long,’’ said Zunera Ishaq, the 29-year-old Toronto resident and mother of three who challenged the policy.

Kevin Menard, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, said Wednesday “all available legal options” are being kept open in the wake of a new Federal Court ruling that found the policy violated the government’s own regulations.

“New citizens are obliged to confirm their identity when taking the Oath of Citizenship, which is sworn or affirmed in public,” he said in an email. “It is simply common sense to require the removal of facial coverings or other items that hide new citizens’ mouths from view.”

Aaron Vincent Elkaim for National Post

Zunera Ishaq stands for a portrait in her home in Mississauga on Wednesday February 11, 2015. She is excited about a court ruling that allows women to wear hijabs while taking the Canadian citizenship oath.

But Ms. Ishaq said she was hopeful that the government would let the decision stand as she has been “imagining for so long” to become a Canadian citizen.

“The basis of my challenge was proved true,” she said.

Ishaq’s lawyer, Lorne Waldman, said Wednesday he was sending a letter to the citizenship office requesting a quick date for his client to take the oath, and advising that his client expects to be able to wear her niqab.

“The Court found that the policy of requiring a woman to remove her facial covering, where there is no question of identity or security, was illegal. The government is required to follow the law,” he said.

Naseem Mithoowani, Mr. Waldman’s colleague, added that if the government chooses to appeal, it would have to seek a separate stay to stop the enforcement of the court order. That’s a high bar because the government would have to show that it was sufferingirreparable harm” from women being allowed to take the oath while their faces are covered, she said.

About 100 niqab-wearing women are affected by the policy each year. It was introduced by Jason Kenney, the former immigration minister, in 2011.

The policy didn’t sit well with Ms. Ishaq, a Pakistani national and devout Sunni Muslim, who says her religious beliefs obligate her to wear a niqab. While she did not object to unveiling herself in private so that an official could confirm her identity before taking the citizenship test, she drew a line at unveiling herself at the public citizenship ceremony.

“I feel that the governmental policy regarding veils at citizenship oath ceremonies is a personal attack on me, my identity as a Muslim woman and my religious beliefs,” she told the court.

Her lawyers also pointed out that while the Citizenship Act requires people to take the oath, it does not require them to be “seen” taking the oath.

She rejected a government offer to seat her at the front or back of the ceremony so her face would not easily be seen.

In a ruling last week, Judge Keith Boswell said the government’s own regulations require that citizenship judges administer the citizenship oath “with dignity and solemnity, allowing the greatest possible freedom in the religious solemnization or the solemn affirmation thereof.” How is this possible, Judge Boswell asked, if a policy requires citizenship candidates to “violate or renounce a basic tenet of their religion?”

“For instance, how could a citizenship judge afford a monk who obeys strict rules of silence the ‘greatest possible freedom’ in taking the oath if he is required to betray his discipline and break his silence?” he wrote.

The government had argued that the policy was not mandatory and that citizenship judges were free to apply it or not.

But the judge cited internal department emails stating that it was “pretty clear that [the Minister] would like the changes to the procedure to ‘require’ citizenship candidates to show their face … regardless of whether there is a legislative base.”

The judge also cited a media interview in which Mr. Kenney said it was “ridiculous” that a face should be covered during the citizenship oath.

The ruling was hailed by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, which said in a statement this week that while the niqab was controversial even among Muslims, “this ruling reflects what Canada is about: accommodating differences that harm no one in order to preserve and protect individual freedom.”

From The Star

OTTAWA—Vowing to appeal a federal court decision that allows people to take the oath of citizenship while wearing face coverings, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it’s “offensive” that someone would want to hide their identity “at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family.”

“That is not the way we do things,” he told reporters in Victoriaville, Que., on Thursday.

“This is a society that is transparent, open and where people are equal, and I think we find that offensive.”


Mrs. Ishaq…. You came to Canada for freedom yet you insist that you are allowed to wear your face veil according to your so called religion of peace that subjugates women to the lowest form of living being. It does not state in your pseudo- religious book, the quran, that you be veiled! It says that you must dress modestly!

In your so called religion you are not suppose to take any oath that would make you a subject of a country….your only allegiance is to allah. So…right there you are already breaking one of the beliefs of your so called religion!

No Mrs. Ishaq….. I do not believe that you truly want to be a citizen of Canada. You do not believe in our values or our principles!

If I went to Saudi Arabia and wished to be a Saudi citizen I would subject to the laws of that country. I could not demand or take to court my religious beliefs to over ride the Saudi Sharia laws! Why do you think it should be any different in Canada? If you can’t abide by the Canadian Laws for even a moment of time…..why would we want you here? You are a troublemaker! Most importantly….Why are here in the first place?

If you won’t or can’t assimilate then flock off to another country….we don’t need you here!

~Blessed B~

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26 Responses to Woman Asks To Be Sworn In as Citizen After Overturn of Niqab Policy

  1. Terry says:

    If she was seeking citizenship in the U.S. she would undoubtedly win her case. And I’m not placing any bets on her losing in Canada either.

    BTW…has anyone ever done a study on the effects of breathing CO2 while wearing a niqab ? It may reveal a multitude of answers for the actions of these barbaric people.

  2. Clyde says:

    These assholes. Harper has it right. Come to Canada, or the FEW freedom-loving nations left, and DEMAND they be FORCED to abide by their 7th century “customs”. She OUGHT to go back to Paki-land, and DEMAND her “rights” there. I would give her to the part where she says “my rights” before her head lands on the ground. Good one, B.

  3. captbogus2 says:

    You mean after all the muslim terrorism you are still naturalizing them?
    Oh, we are, too…
    Never mind.

    • I.R. Wayright says:

      Hell Capt, we made one president. Well, I didn’t, but some other idiots did…LOL.
      Self deprecating humor intended.

      • Blessed B. says:

        I.R….. unfortunate but true.

        Don’t feel bad though….idiots in Calgary, Alberta made one their mayor!

    • Blessed B. says:

      Yep….she was here before the terrorist attacks and before we joined forces with Israel to do full background checks for terrorist ties, criminal activity, etc.

      The ones now wanting to immigrate are checked out for these things…..

  4. Uriel says:

    there are a Lot of reasons this is wrong. But, one of the strongest for government. Is how to identify that person by facial recognition. Heck 5 different women (or bombers) could hide behind the one persons niqab if facial features are nearly the same and then claim to be here. The most strong for me however, is the slur and outright disdain one wearing this garbage has for All women who have fought and died for to gain rights for women. I could care less if they chose this garb for their home country in the Middle Ages (oops I meant East. Or did I) But these are not visitors vacationing in another land (if so please get vacation over with shills and go home) but people coming to immigration to take an oath of country. That country’s laws and customs are inviolate. I am woth everyone else go home.

    • Blessed B. says:

      She seems to think since she unveiled before taking the citizenship test that that should be sufficient to know her identity….but her face needs to be fully seen to see that someone else hasn’t gone in her place to take the oath…. it’s not a long ceremony!

      I’m with you Uriel! I don’t care what they wear or don’t wear in the Middle East or any other Islamic run country! They could walk around in animal skins if they so pleased!

      When you come to my country to take advantage of the freedoms we have here…then you better just fit in! Follow the laws and how we do things here. If you can’t or won’t abide by them, then you can go somewhere else!

  5. Uriel says:

    By the way. In that ceremony do the applicants by chance swear on a bible? Because they are really lying since they do not believe in its power of truth. If they swore on their quar’an, would they be swearing to an islamic nation or the country they are petitioning?

    • Blessed B. says:

      I haven’t seen any video to say that they take the oath with a hand on a Bible. They usually are all in a large room and say the oath together….then they go up and get their citizenship papers and shake hands with some officials.

      IMHO…. since the quran says that their allegiance is only to be to allah, I don’t think they are being truthful when they pledge allegiance to the country. It goes against the quran and their beliefs anyways.

      I suppose one could even say they are apostates if they do the oath to a country! Bet that would get some blowback if I ever decided to use that argument when fighting with them on other blogs! LOL!

  6. Kathy says:

    I’m with you, BB, if she could swear an oath to another country, she could take off mask, especially for something so important. Besides, they’ve offered to make it as easy on her as possible, and she’s not willing to compromise.

    More of that attitude of I want your country’s privileges but I expect you to treat me special because of my outdated religious hang-ups. I say go back to Pakistan and take a few others with you.

  7. Blessed B. says:

    Yep…she wants it her way. Would be nice for our courts to say then It’s NO WAY! take your pick! BUT the courts are filled many liberals……

  8. I.R. Wayright says:

    If I lived next to a woman wearing that outfit, every time I saw her I would holler out, “Hey, is it Halloween already?”
    Actually, I figure they wear it to hide all the bruises from their peaceful husbands.

    • Blessed B. says:

      LOL! I figure that most do it for this reason also……not to forget though it’s due to most of their husbands demanding that they wear it too!

  9. vonMesser says:

    Why is she ashamed to show her face as a Canadian citizen? I’d think she would be proud to show her face as a Canadian.

  10. Boo says:

    Blessed B I agree! This is just another example of a special interest party under the guise of religion looking for special treatment and in the process distracting our government to the highest level. We trip over ourselves trying to accommodate everyone, and in return loose our identity. We are a multicultural society, but we have to draw a line.

    • Blessed B. says:

      Welcome Boo! I haven’t seen you before. Thanks for dropping in and commenting!

      Yep, we have to draw that line! Especially with this group! At some point our Canadian Gov’t. will have to open up our Constitution and especially our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and do some changes or amendments.

      As it stands right now….all the little special interest groups have more rights and freedoms as a whole than just a single individual. This needs to be rectified otherwise the majority is being led by a minority!

      Our Constitution and Charter also need to be re-written in plain English and not Legalese so the average person can understand them both clearly without needing a Lawyer to explain it!

      We have lots to do in Canada. I’m confident though that with keeping Harper as our PM, we will get a handle on the muzzie problem. If Trudunce or mulCAIR get in as PM….we might as well start looking for a burka!