So, we all know that I am speaking from the peanut gallery on this matter. I'm not Muslim, and I don't ever intend to be a Muslim. Even when I was seriously investigating Islam as a possible convert, I did not find the evidence for the niqab being fard to be overwhelmingly convincing. Hijab, yes, if we're speaking of a standard of modesty. Not so much if we're speaking of a very specific uniform. Okay?
That being said, I am very much against banning the niqab. In the exact same vein I am against any religious clothing being banned in public. So yamuka, headscarves of other religious women, a Sikh turban, tzitzit, crosses, crucifixes, rosary beads, prayer ropes, etc.
France says that they are banning the face veil because of security concerns. I don't believe that to be true, given that their president flat out said that he was against the Islamic face veil in particular. They're a 'secular country', right?
In my opinion, that's fine and dandy. A nation can be secular. It should be, as a matter of fact - in the sense that the nation should not be run on religious rules. Any nation run on religious rules will, without fail, wind up discriminating against those people living within it who are not of the predominant faith. That doesn't mean that the people, however, must be secular or that the secular nation can or should infringe on their rights. One of the rights people have is religious freedom. If a woman believes that her faith requires her to veil her face in public, then she should have the right to do that. In the same way that other women have the right to walk around half naked on beaches. Two ends of the same problem.