I know we've discussed the rights and wrongs of the burqa ban endlessly before, but Monday was an historic day in France and deserves some notice.
In my opinion all legislation is a crude mechanism for controlling human behaviour, and there's always an inbalance between competing public goods, but I welcome the burqa ban.
I know there's a small minority of French women who feel their right to express religious freedom by covering their faces has been trampled on. I'd support their position if there were incontrovertible evidence that all women who wear face veils "for religious reasons" do so entirely of their own free will. In fact, I feel really pissed off when I see a few privileged women whingeing about their "right" to wear what they want when they know damn well there are millions of muslim women all over the world who are forcibly (and often brutally) denied that very same right. They should be ashamed of themselves.
'La supériorité de Mahomet est d'avoir fondé une religion en se passant de l'enfer.' - Napoleon Bonaparte
The burqa is not even a religious item; it's a cultural inheritance from the bedouin cultures of the Arabian peninsula and forced upon a growing number of women, so the "it's a violation of my religious freedom to ban it" claim is false.
I have to agree with Hitchens who argued that we should be able to see who we are dealing with. Similar items such as ski masks which hide the wearer's identity are banned in many places. If you want to wear a burqa in your own home, fine, but when you're standing next to me in line somewhere I think I ought to be able to see your face.