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Mar 14 2013

iERA Investigates

iERA has issued a press release with the heading

iERA Investigates Complaints about Seating Arrangements at the debate, “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?”

It reports that UCL doesn’t want iERA doing any more talks at UCL, because of the gender segregation.

UCL’s reasoning is that they do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds at meetings held on campus and their assertion is that “attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting (sic).” iERA complied with the request from the University to cater for all preferences by having seating that was open for all attendees, male or female, and two sections to accommodate those that wished to adhere to their deeply held religious beliefs.

Ahhhhhh look how they word that, the tricksy buggers. They make it look as if the university requested two sections to accommodate those that wished to adhere to their deeply held religious beliefs. I don’t think the university did request that – although according to what Fiona McCallum told Chris Moos, they did say that would be “fine” – which was a big mistake.

We also adhered to UCL’s request to make sure that the respective areas were clearly marked and ushers were employed in order to facilitate the seating.

Did the university request that? How interesting if so. Reminiscent of signs saying “white entrance” and “colored entrance.”

iERA is an inclusive organisation and its lecturers are the most popular on UK campuses.

The most popular on UK campuses? I don’t believe that for a second.

iERA aims to bring different people together and with this goal seeks to accommodate varying needs. It is a common practice amongst Muslim communities across the UK, based across different schools of thought, to have separate seating arrangements for men and women out of modesty.

So everywhere they go in the UK, Muslim women demand that men evacuate the premises out of modesty? I don’t believe that for a second either.

In light of this iERA accommodated various preferences on the matter, whether religious or non-religious, by having areas to suit everyone. iERA has a responsibility under the Equalities Act 2010 to accommodate any reasonable adjustment to enable all members of society fair access of opportunity including those of religious orthodoxy.

Bullshit. iERA does not have a responsibility under the Equalities Act 2010 to force its own horrible theocratic rules about shoving women to the back on everyone else. On the contrary. It has a responsibility not to.

UCL claims to have received some complaints from attendees who say they were asked to sit in a different section to what they chose. In a formal meeting we asked UCL to furnish us with details of those attendees and they were not forthcoming. We then offered UCL our entire guest list to check the email addresses to that of the complainants, they declined this also.

Ah. iERA tried to get UCL to identify the people who complained. Oddly enough, UCL didn’t feel obliged to help iERA bully the people who objected to gender segregation on university property. Good for UCL.

iERA is an organisation committed to constructive dialogue between people of all faiths and none, people of all colours, creeds or sexual orientation so it takes any complaints very seriously. In the absence of co-operation from UCL (although we are hoping that this will no longer will be the case), iERA is conducting an internal investigation with immediate effect. If we find there were any failures on implementing the agreed guidelines on the day, we will be the first to admit this and we will apologise for not honouring our word to UCL, our attendees as well as the general public. This is in accordance with the ordinance from Almighty God who states in the Quran, the final testament to mankind:

“You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly– if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do.” [Surah An-Nisa, Verse 135]

Oh fuck off.

 

 

15 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    To be fair, it is entirely possible that iERA and its lecturers are in fact the “the most popular on UK campuses.”

    It could be in the same way that Fox “News” has the “highest ratings” while providing little news coverage, geared towards a minority viewpoint. They have high ratings compared to any of the other 24/7 cable news outlets, but when you add up the ratings of all the other cable news outlets plus the network news programs, it turns out that Fox “News” has pretty cruddy ratings. In the same way, because their events might draw close to 100% of the local Muslim population plus interested outsiders, they may have the single biggest draw of any group that provides speakers/events… and they could be less than 5-10% of all the events that happen.

  2. 2
    Woman Being

    They’d make Rosa Parks sit at the back of the bus, not for being black but for being female.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Even that way it seems pretty unlikely, Joe. Universities get masses of speakers, many of them interesting. iERA is not interesting, and Islamists are a small minority. I really doubt, for instance, they they attract 100% of the Muslim students.

  4. 4
    Argle Bargle

    In a formal meeting we asked UCL to furnish us with details of those attendees and they were not forthcoming.

    I can’t imagine why UCL might not let an organization know who objected to their bigotry.

  5. 5
    Kengi

    I must admit, they put on a compelling dog and pony show with this particular argument. After all, with no other context it actually is reasonable to allow women to have a section of their own if they want one to feel safe and comfortable. In that respect they are playing to the A+ notion of recognizing the needs of women at a conference or meeting.

    The context and implementation, however, tell a different story.

    There was no intent, of course, to provide a safe place for women to feel comfortable, but instead to relegate women to an inferior status by forcing them to sit in a separate location without regard for individual preference. The specific action of segregating women and men/couples at the outset by different and enforced entrances is a dead giveaway.

    There wasn’t an entrance and section for women who felt uncomfortable and another for all others. All unaccompanied women were forced into the “women-only” entrance and seating section.

    The iERA claims break down at this point, even without knowledge of their other misogynistic rhetoric and actions. There’s a big difference between forcing women to do something (both directly and through community pressure) and providing a service for women who want to partake of it.

  6. 6
    crowepps

    I’ve seen this “providing what people wanted” excuse several different places and it’s bogus on its face. People buying tickets were not asked ‘do you want to sit in the women’s section, the men’s section or the couples section?’ Instead they were asked if they were male or female and their seating assigned on the assumption they *should* want to be segregated. As I understand it, it was only at the point where people showed up that they were told where they must sit. Not audience demand at all, but instead a top-down imposition of religious practices not shared by everyone present.

  7. 7
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Unbelievable.

  8. 8
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    iERA is an organisation committed to constructive dialogue between people of all faiths and none, people of all colours, creeds or sexual orientation so it takes any complaints very seriously.

    Notice how “gender” is suspiciously missing even on this bullshit-list of lip-service?
    Because dialogue between men and women, with this pesky notion of dialogue being between equals talking to each other and then right back is just not something that’s possible between men and women.
    Can’t be having that!

  9. 9
    sheila

    Excuse me for being off-topic, but I thought you’d want to know about a quote from Jorge Bergoglio (yup, the new pope), published in the newspaper Telam Argentina on June 4, 2007.

    “Las mujers son naturalmente ineptas para ejercer cargos politicos.” “El Orden natural y los hechos nos enseñan que el hombre es el ser politico por excelencia; las estricturas nos demuestran que la mujer siempre es el apoyo del hombre pensador u hacedor, pero nada más que eso.”

    “Women are naturally unfit for political office.” “”The natural order and facts teach us that man is the being political par excellence; scriptures show us that women is always the support the thinking man or maker, but nothing more than that.”

    It’s all over Facebook in Spanish, and I think it ought to be spread around in English, too.

    What gets me is that the bishops and cardinals claim that the church does a lot of good in the world. I recently realised that most of the good (soup kitchens, passing on second hand clothes etc.) is done by women. The women don’t “support the thinking man or maker”, they do it all. At least in this village they do! And the credit grabbing and very real harm (lying about condoms and AIDS, hating on gays, protecting rapists etc.) is done by the all-male clergy, mostly the higher-up clergy.

    Although they don’t make the women sit at the back. So far.

  10. 10
    gregburke

    As usual, iERA have no scruples about lying to defend themselves or the rubbish they preach. They say there was a mixed area, so that they were not enforcing their views on non-Muslims, but this area was for couples only. Men and women, whether Muslim or not, even had to queue at different doors, unless they were couples. One girl reported that she had to pretend to be with a guy so she could sit in this area near the front.

  11. 11
    Eamon Knight

    iERA is “investigating” WHAT, exactly? Whether they did what UCL asked them to? What complete bafflegab. As far as I can tell, they told the Uni one thing, then tried to enforce their own rules under the radar.

    Segregated seating is only the current visible manifestation of the problem with this bunch. How about they get banned from all campuses, everywhere, for being lying theocratic scumbags who cannot be trusted?

  12. 12
    Jafafa Hots

    Well, they can’t be just lying ’cause I hear that’s a SIN.

  13. 13
    sheila

    Sorry for being off topic again. That quote from Jorge Bergoglio in my previous comment? Snopes has declared it a hoax. Obviously they’re way more likely to be correct than me. Sorry.

  14. 14
    Ummer Farooq

    Dana Sondergaard and Lawrence Krauss … sitting comfortably together. Oh and look at that Krauss talks to Dana after he comes back from his protest.

    This was staged!

  15. 15
    dan

    Only this week, iERA have been advertising voluntary admin assistant jobs, where the job description specified men only

  1. 16
    Islamic excuses for Misogyny « Skeptical Science

    [...] were simply catering to deeply held religious preferences and had arranged for three sections, male, female and mixed. Now does this remind you of anything … (Hint: Whites,Blacks and mixed-race). In that [...]

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