The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a witness can — in certain circumstances — wear a religious veil known as a niqab while testifying in court.

In a split decision, the court affirmed both an accused person's right to a fair trial and the right to religious freedom.

The controversial issue, which has divided the Muslim community, has reared its head in recent years, leading to a new law in Quebec for public sector workers and new federal immigration rules that ban face coverings while taking the oath of citizenship.

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