Could British niqabs be going the way of the French headscarves? A New York Times article suggests as much:
There have been numerous examples in the past year. A lawyer dressed in a niqab was told by an immigration judge that she could not represent a client because, he said, he could not hear her. A teacher wearing a niqab was dismissed from her school. A student who was barred from wearing a niqab took her case to the courts, and lost. In reaction, the British educational authorities are proposing a ban on the niqab in schools altogether. …
David Sexton, a columnist for The Evening Standard, wrote recently that the niqab was an affront and that Britain had been "too deferential."
"It says that all men are such brutes that if exposed to any more normally clothed women, they cannot be trusted to behave — and that all women who dress any more scantily like that are indecent," Mr. Sexton wrote. "It's abusive, a walking rejection of all our freedoms."
I can see why people find a full-face covering unnerving even if they don't support a legislative solution, but maybe we should be wary of assuming that all hijab or niqab-wearing individuals are hapless victims of self-delusion or misogynist oppression. Only a fraction of British Muslims wear them, after all, and the custom is no longer limited just to older, foreign-born women.
Nick Gillespie discusses Salman Rushdie on veils here.