Why are people afraid of burqas? For many, the answer is quite simple: they pose a threat to public safety because they might be used to disguise criminal intent. What seems like a pious woman might really be an Islamist man; there could be grenades or guns or even a suitcase-sized nuclear warhead under there and you would never even know.

This is not the easiest argument to sustain, however, as terrorists of late have cottoned on to the fact that backpacks and trainers are much better suited to their purposes.

If dissimulation of the face in pursuit of criminal ends is reason enough for legislators to go rummaging through women’s wardrobes, surely their attention would be better directed to the underwear drawer. Burqas are rarely the robber’s disguise of choice for a reason: while they may have their loot-stashing advantages, it is much easier to make a quick, unobtrusive getaway by whipping a ladies stocking off one’s head than messing about with a cumbersome burqa.

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