This chapter examines historical and contemporary discourses of the Muslim veil, and outlines the implications of this rhetoric for veiled Muslim women in the West. The chapter argues that through the colonial lens, the Muslim veil was seen as a symbol of gender oppression. From this perspective, the ‘liberation’ of veiled Muslim women became fused with the motivations of imperial expansion. In a post-9/11 climate, the wearing of the veil is routinely seen as a symbol of Islamist extremism and segregation as well as a sign of gender oppression. The chapter also examines contemporary legal restrictions upon the wearing of the niqab (face veil) in public places in the West, and suggests that banning the niqab potentially legitimises public acts of violence towards veiled Muslim women. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the gendered dimensions of Islamophobia.