Muslim women in Canada say they choose to wear the niqab out of religious obligation and as an expression of their identity, but are flexible about uncovering their faces in specific circumstances, a recent survey found.

A majority of the women included in a Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) report agreed that in certain instances it would be necessary to lift their face coverings, including when going through airport security, accessing health services, or driving.

"Probably the main takeaway of that is that all the people we talked to were very anxious to emphasize that they could be flexible. Clearly they do have boundaries . . . but what they wanted to emphasize is 'yes, I could lift this, I could do that, that's fine,'" said Lynda Clarke, the report's author and a professor of religion at Concordia University in Montreal.

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