Feminists and Hijab
My comment here is on Western attitudes toward Muslim dress in general rather than the French law under discussion. For many Westerners, especially feminists, hijab is seen as the physical expression of a Muslim misogyny that also includes everything from honor killings to forced marriages. In doing so, they unconsciously fall into a mindset where Islam is a religion which needs to be reformed with the help of a supposedly superior West. Because they make these links, they object strenuously to a religious choice made by many women, while ignoring the choices made by men who choose to wear beards, for example.
When I was in the Arab world, I found that standards of modesty were higher for both men and women. You could not wear shorts, for example, and nice jeans was the lower limit of public acceptability. Behavior patterns were also different. Above and beyond that, everyone finds their own level at which they are comfortable. Questions of cultural conflict arise when these informal dress codes are transferred to a different milieu. In the West, we have people who wear nice slacks to class even in summer, choose to grow beards and avoid profanity, but we do not have women who choose to wear headscarves unless it's cold out. Well-meaning feminists pick up on this difference as dangerous, a sign that women are being hidden from view (note the passive voice) as a means of disempowering them. Yet in reality, every hijabi student I have had in class has been an active student leader, and not just in the Muslim Students Association.
It is true that some men may force their wives or daughters to dress a certain way against their will. But if you're going to crack down on domestic abuse, mental cruelty, and that sort of thing, let's do it on those grounds for all citizens, regardless of their religion. Forcing women to choose between their religious convictions and their opportunities for a public life is not a policy for a progressive society.