Niqab debate firestorm on Twitter after Harper comment

The online debate over the niqab is coming to a head online, while Canada's ambassador for religious freedoms said it's important for people to talk about the niqab's place in society.

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  1. Andrew Bennett says he's aware how fraught the issue of the niqab can be and that it's important for Canadians to have a say.
  2. The issue blew up online after the Conservative government appealed a Federal Court ruling that would allow a woman to have her face covered by a niqab while reciting the oath of citizenship. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier that it's contrary to Canadian values and "rooted in a culture that is anti-women."
  3. The government argues Canadian values are at stake while the opposition says banning the niqab contradicts those very values. The appeal has people riled up online about religious freedoms and women's rights and the idea that the government can dictate what people choose to wear. The hashtag #dresscodePM was trending across the country for two days:
  4. Some suggested Harper has more important issues to focus on:
  5. People pointed out that prominent women -- and even Harper himself -- have all been photographed wearing head coverings of some sort:
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