POLITICS

Zunera Ishaq Takes Oath Of Citizenship While Wearing Niqab

10/09/2015 03:26 EDT | Updated 10/09/2015 05:59 EDT

The woman at the heart of the federal election's niqab debate officially became a Canadian citizen on Friday.

Zunera Ishaq took the oath while wearing the niqab, a religious garment that the election has unexpectedly become fixated with, and one that Stephen Harper's Conservatives have repeatedly tried to ban during citizenship ceremonies.

"It was a very emotional ceremony," said her lawyer Lorne Waldman.

Before the oath, "she was taken into a room and identified herself and took off her veil in front of a female officer," he said.

"After that, we went into the office of the judge and performed the full ceremony," Waldman said.

"The judge made a very moving statement about what it means to be a Canadian...and then she was given her certificate, she signed her oath card, which every Canadian has to do, and then after that we all sang O Canada."

Ishaq said much of the discussion swirling around the issue in recent weeks has been based on misconceptions about Islam, the niqab, and the women who embrace both.

She attributed much of that misinformation to the Conservative government, accusing Harper of turning her personal choice into a national vote-getting strategy.

Harper has consistently argued that showing one's face at the moment of becoming a Canadian citizen is consistent with Canada's values and a necessary measure to ensure national security.

With files from The Canadian Press

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