What appears to be missing in discussions around the niqab is a reminder what the garment's purpose is.
There exists in fundamentalists religions a gynophobic belief that women are more evil than men because female bodies provoke men to act in "lustful" ways.
In pop psychology and law, this approach is known as "blame the victim".
Such religious doctrine is based on interpretations of the Old Testament, the New Testament or the Qu'ran that exculpate or exonerate a man who has sexually violated a girl or a woman, instead of insisting that he be held accountable for his actions.
As an extension, women are told that hiding their female bits - and more - from the gaze of men who are not authorized to look on them will protect them.
Perhaps men offended, threatened or tempted by girls' and women's bodies should be made to wear blindfolds.
Of course, those - like Blob Blogging Wingnut - who claim to be oppressed and persecuted by feminism tend to project their paranoid fantasies about what would happen if women were in charge.
According to scripture: "And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."
That's really too bloody and barbaric for my taste, but I get male theocrats' fears that female religious jurists could apply this punishment by condemning men who have sexually assaulted girls or women to pluck out an eye.
It would certainly be a deterrent. And also easy to identify those men that women should avoid. A one-eyed priest, imam or rabbi would certainly not be left alone with children.
Just thought I'd end this rant on a note of levity - and sanity.