I really really dont like this trend. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali * has pointed out, just because we are multicultural, does not mean we need to be tolerant of intolerance. Quite the opposite! Our multiculturalism is a product of our tolerance. The only thing we need to be intolerant of is intolerance itself.
Whether the mullahs of Islam claim otherwise or not, Islam is an implacably intolerant religion. Central tenets of its faith require the treatment of women as second class citizens. To quote Ayaan again, "Sharia states that women are considered naked if any part of their body is showing except for their face and hands, while a man is considered naked only between his navel and his knees. Finally, although Muslim men may marry Christian or Jewish women, Muslim women may only marry Muslim men." Sharia law is an essentially segregationist legal system. We should not under any circumstances tolerate it.
What we are doing by even considering allowing women to appear in public courts wearing the Niqab is granting Sharia respectability. We are not being intolerant of the women who appear to be prepared to wear the face covering, but of the mysogonistic system that requires them to do so.
If we stand for equality of the sexes, if we stand for freedom in any real sense of the word, we cannot allow any person, male or female, to hide behind a mask in public places. We need to know who you are, and we know that by seeing your face. Be it a court of law, a citizenship ceremony, or taking part in almost any public ceremony, the Niqab should be banned.
* Blog in the Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ayaan-hirsi-ali/from-selma-to-tunis-when-will-we-march-against-the-segregation-of-our-own-time_b_6915660.html?1427112386&ncid=newsltushpmg00000003