Canada's government has lost an attempt to ban the practice of wearing face veils while swearing the oath of citizenship.

Zunera Ishaq is a 29-year-old woman with devout Muslim beliefs. She came to Canada from Pakistan in 2008 and refused to take part in a citizenship ceremony because she would have to remove her niqab.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper government's rule banning face coverings at such ceremonies was earlier found unlawful by the Federal Court.

Appeal Justice Mary Gleason said Tuesday the court saw no reason to interfere with earlier ruling. The three justices quickly ruled so Ishaq could obtain her citizenship before the Oct. 19 federal election.

The ban had sparked a bitter debate in Parliament when it was first announced.