Something that started 1000 years ago in an attempt to prevent raiders from identifying the most beautiful women to kidnap, has now turned into a fashion item, a political statement, a way of oppressing women and a religious obligation (I think about three people actually believe that one!).
Niqab’s, Hijab’s and Burka’s are all the rage at the moment in the UK because a woman wanted to wear a Niqab whilst giving evidence at a trial where she is charged with an offence. We have had previous peaks of interest such as when girls, and probably a few boys, wanted to wear them at University and teachers were allowed to wear one in the classroom. At first they banned them and then allowed them.
The current matter was decided when the judge allowed her to wear one during her trial but when she gave evidence she had to take it off so the Judge and jury members could see her face, at this point they put up screens to stop anyone else seeing her.
In France they have banned the wearing of these garments in Public. There was an outcry at the start but it has now settled down. In the first year Police stopped 354 women and 20 were fined. Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Malaysia and other such Countries have a mixture of rules but only Saudi Arabian females strictly adhere to the cover up rule.
I notice that in a local shopping centre (Mall) they have banned head coverings because local young troublemakers wear hoods to stop them being recognised (hoodies). I expect a few Islamic women will go there fully covered to test reactions and get bit of publicity. The other day a 75 year old woman wearing a headscarf because of the cold day was prevented from entering.