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I didn't mean the burqa, but hiyabs in general, which is the genric name of a bunch of clothes and headgears originally thought for life in deserts (to avoid heatstrokes, dehydration and sunburns) which theoretically all muslims should wear (men or women). In women fashion, the burqa is one of the extremes, while the opposite is just a kerchief that covers the whole hair - from the hairline to the tips.
About the crosses, I just mentioned it because the way you wrote it you seemed to imply that in places where they were banned, people asked to lift the ban for crosses used for religious purposes (keeping the ban on non-relious use), while that was the only purposes that have been banned.
In general, recognizing something as a religion is suppossed to serve the purpose of protecting people against harmful sects, as any prospective religion wold have to pass some safety standards to be approved; in practice, it all revolves around money and prejudices.