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Mar 10 2013

More on yesterday at UCL

Chris Moos has written again to UCL, and urges others to do the same. He gives a detailed account of how the gender segregation was enforced and what a crap job UCL did of interfering with it. Hello world, it’s 2013, and University College London is allowing segregated events on its campus. Chris has given me permission to quote his letter.

Following up on the emails I had sent you on Thursday and Friday, I am writing to inform you that I was shocked about the manner in which the Islam or Atheism: The Big Debate event was carried out yesterday.

1) The organisers clearly and repeatedly violated UCL’s Equality and Diversity policy. Not only did they enforce gender segregation, but five security guards of the organiser intimidated and attempted to physically remove audience members who refused to comply, falsely claiming that these attendees had been disruptive. Both male and female audience members felt intimidated by the actions of the organiser’s security guards.

Only after Professor Krauss threatened thrice to leave the debate if the organisers should continue to enforce gender segregation (follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151324574843231 ), the organisers cleared one row of the women’s area and allowed the male attendees to sit there, thereby maintaining forced gender segregation. Notably, the women who were sitting in that row were not asked by the security guards whether they would feel comfortable with a man sitting next to them, or whether they would be willing to move. Forced gender segregation was thus maintained.

Keep in mind that the segregation was arranged in advance, by assigning seating on the tickets and stipulating that the seating assignments could not be changed.

The five security guards of the organiser – that’s new information. I didn’t know that via any of the tweets, or Krauss’s Facebook post either. Fabulous. They enforced gender segregation and they tried to physically remove people who disobeyed. London, 2013.

2) Separate entrances were in place for women and men, although ‘couples’ were allowed to enter via the men’s door. Several members of the organiser’s security team directed people to stand in either the male or female queue based on their sex, both at the entrance to the building and the lecture theatre. Signs pointing to “men” and “women” areas were in place.  There were no signs for a mixed seating area, and attendees were guided by the guards to either the “female” or “male” area. Only attendees who insisted not to be separated were guided towards a “mixed” area, which only comprised two rows.

That is not what the Equality advisor told Chris would happen. She said there would be a large mixed area. She also said people could self-segregate if they wanted to – which she should not have said. It’s not possible to self-segregate in a public space without shunning other people, so we’re right back where we started.

God almighty. Segregated fucking queues – in London, in 2013.

3) A woman who identified herself as a Chemistry teacher at UCL said the segregation had been agreed with UCL. She also stated, that “I’m actually booking this room on behalf of UCL Chemistry, I’m Dr Aisha Rahman”. Dr Rahman repeatedly refused two male attendees access to the “women’s” seating area. When asked if the event was segregated another security guard said: “It’s slightly segregated.”

Oh, slightly, well that’s all right then.

4) There were only two UCL security guards on site, and they at first declined to help two audience members who were being denied access to the “women’s” seating area. They said that the only instructions they had received were to follow the instructions of the organisers. They specifically told the attendees who wanted to sit in the woman’s area to comply with the instructions of the organiser. Only after pointing the UCL security guards to that fact that they might be complicit in a breach of UCL’s Equality and Diversity policy, they reluctantly agreed to “look into the issue”.

None of that matches what the Equality Advisor told Chris on Friday. It’s a stinking outrage.

I cannot tell you how disappointed I and many other attendees are that UCL did not live up to its promise to make sure that its Equality and Diversity policy was enforced and that the event was inclusive for all attendees.

Overall, the atmosphere of the event was intimidating for both male and female attendees. Attendees were shocked to see that although concerns about the plans to enforce gender segregation had been raised before with UCL, the organisers were able to violate UCL’s Equality and Diversity policy, discriminating attendees by their apparent gender and creating a threatening and divisive atmosphere that was not inclusive to all attendees.

It is an outrage.

Chris provided contact addresses last week:

Head of Equalities and Diversity Sarah Guise
For staff and student queries related to age, disability, gender, race, religion & belief and sexual orientation.
Email [email protected]
Ext. 53989

Equalities and Diversity Adviser
Fiona McClement
For staff and student queries related to age, disability, gender, race, religion & belief and sexual orientation.

Email: [email protected]

Ext 53988

Policy Advisor – Athena SWAN and women in SET
Harriet Jones

For queries related to the Athena SWAN Charter.

Email: [email protected]

Equalities and Policy Administrator Sonal Bharadva
For general enquiries.
Email: [email protected]

Ext. 53991

50:50 Gender Equality Group
Annette Dolphin, Co-Chair,

Rob de Bruin, Co-Chair

[email protected],

[email protected]

Professor Mary Collins
Gender Champion
Dean of Life Sciences
[email protected] .uk

—–
Baroness Diana Warwick of Undercliffe
Gender Champion
Member of Council
[email protected]

—-
Dean of Students
Academic, Mike Ewing

[email protected]
Ext.24649

—–
Welfare, Ruth Siddall [email protected]
Ext. 32758

44 comments

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  1. 1
    cz

    So, when folks pre-purchased their tickets, how’s the organizers know what gender they were? No Terrys or PZ’s allowed, or did they actually ASK people their gender before issuing tickets?

    As one who remembers the bruises I received in second grade for lining up in the “wrong line”, this issue burns me to the core.

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson

    They did ask people their gender. This was one of Chris’s many objections, naturally!

  3. 3
    evilDoug

    The only Aisha Rahman I can find on UCL’s web site is a PhD student in chemistry. It may well be that she has now graduated and is on staff, but she certainly isn’t listed as such. Regardless, claiming to book the room for the chem department and then using it for a function having nothing whatever to do with the department is likely frowned upon.

    The fact that there were queues for entry strikes me as rather odd. With assigned seating (I wonder if the seats are even individually identifiable), it seems to me unlikely that people would show up more than a few minutes early, and hence normally just walk on in and sit down. It would be easy to convince me that the queues were forced entirely for purposes of forcing the segregation. Five enforcers! What was the capacity of the room?

  4. 4
    PatrickMefford

    Krauss missed a real chance here, I wish he had stayed and rove this point home instead of walking out. You can’t engage if you are not present.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I really want to see their answer…

  6. 6
    Ophelia Benson

    Ditto.

  7. 7
    Ophelia Benson

    He did stay. He walked out, then they tweaked the seating just a tiny bit, and he returned.

  8. 8
    PatrickMefford

    Ah, I stand corrected. I’m glad he got a chance to confront the issue head on. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to try and understand Islamic thinking, addressing these kind of issues in a manner that cogent for a Muslim is beyond difficult.

  9. 9
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    PatrickMefford

    I’m glad he got a chance to confront the issue head on. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to try and understand Islamic thinking, addressing these kind of issues in a manner that cogent for a Muslim is beyond difficult.

    Can you perchance elaborate on whose human rights and dignity can be ignored for the sake of “engaging” and “making a point”?
    Don’t you think that not compromising on your principals that men and women are equal is a much more important point?

  10. 10
    PatrickMefford

    Hi Giliell,

    When you get a chance to address a room full of Muslims willing to at least listen, you really have to jump on the chance. Muslim communities really don’t engage in the level of self criticism that we are so used to and their way of understanding social issues can be incredibly foreign to Western norms.

    I’m willing to bet that the majority of Muslims at that event don’t really understand the issue Krauss had with gender segregation. Our egalitarian notions of gender are not obviously intuitive, and need to be broken down and explained in way that is easier to grapple with

  11. 11
    Chris O'Regan

    I’m horrified that such segregation has occurred in a British university. We do not live in a country that decrees that gender has any bearing on a person’s attributes. This kind of ignorance cannot and should not be allowed to permiate into any civilised nation.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    That’s ridiculous. The people at that debate aren’t from Mars, or even the Northwest Territories. This contrived horseshit about “gender segregation” is just that. The event took place in London! It’s very unlikely that anyone went to the debate straight from Heathrow having just arrived from a tiny village in the tribal belt. The people at the event were Londoners. They’re naturally perfectly used to being among both genders as a matter of course.

    And the gender segregation was imposed by the organizers, so it’s wrong to assume that anyone in the audience chose it, except Mo Ansar.

  13. 13
    PatrickMefford

    Ophelia,

    How familiar are you with Islamic thinking, epically when it concerns how foreign exchange students, refugees, and immigrants from Islamic countries? I want to know, so I can frame my answer to you better.

  14. 14
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    PatrickMefford
    Since you didn’t answer my question apart from it being “important!!!!” to talk to those muslims, maybe you missed it.
    Here it is again:
    Can you perchance elaborate on whose human rights and dignity can be ignored for the sake of “engaging” and “making a point”?

    And to add another question:
    If it were segregated (or even banned) along the lines of:
    women, gays, blacks, would you still be allowed to sit in the front row?
    If yes, who do you think you are to decide that my human right can be thrown under the bus because you think that The Point is important?

  15. 15
    PatrickMefford

    Giliell,

    I did answer your question, but let me try again. None of the major schools of Islamic Jurisprudence acknowledges “Human Rights” in the way you understand the term. Women and men integrated is not really an issue about justice to most Muslims, it is merely an issue of the settled order of nature; men and women are different and that is that.

    Getting indignant without any sort of cultural/ideological translation is going to be pointless, because your message isn’t going to get through. The influence of jurisprudence runs that deep, and just because someone is capable of speaking English well doesn’t mean they are taking the time to understand why Krauss got upset. Look at Ophelia’s screen shots of those tweets, most of the authors are not even framing the incident correctly.

    So instead of refusing to participate and letting your message get lost in the drama, you take the effort to articulate your objections to gendered segregation to your audience, finding out what points aren’t getting through and why. Krauss trying to explain all this isn’t ignoring your rights, it’s trying to talk to an audience of people who are unfamiliar with anything else but a superficial and probably erroneous idea of what a human rights are.

    To say that I’m advocating for Krauss to ignore the issue is to say that I want Krauss to fail to acknowledge or discuss the segregation. This is not what I’m saying.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    Patrick Mefford you’re still talking as if you know everything you need to know about the people who made up that audience. You don’t.

  17. 17
    Eristae

    @PatrickMefford

    It is not acceptable to deny women (like me) our civil rights so that Muslims will deign to speak with the non-Muslim world. It’s stupid, offensive, and lets everyone know that Muslims (and anyone else, for that matter) can get away with human rights violations if they just throw a loud enough tantrum.

    Fuck that. Let our message be “We will not let you deny people basic human rights.” Let our message be “You will not lie and deceive to get your way.” Let our message be “We will not help you inflict injustices upon anyone.”

    Now, I don’t know what your message is, but those are my messages, and they cannot be spoken, displayed, or otherwise expressed by allowing forcible, sex based segregation. From where I stand, Krauss being willing to leave rather than allow injustice is the message.

  18. 18
    Shrikant

    It’s not just “Islamic thinking”. Most engineering colleges in Chennai (in India) have officially sanctioned — and vigorously enforced — gender-segregated seating in classes (..and by extension for every event that happens on the campus)

    Some of them even go as far as having gender-segregated staircases.

    Source: I graduated from one such college. (My place had “co-ed” staircases though..)

  19. 19
    PatrickMefford

    Ophelia,

    I’m very familiar with the work of Hamza Tsortzis, I’ve publicly and formally engaged an Islamic Apologist on campus who relied almost exclusively on Hamza’s work. More to the point, I’m very familiar with the iERA and the style of Dawah they do. Internationally, it is very influential, especially here in Minnesota and specifically in the Somali communities in the Twin Cities and Saint Cloud. Their target audience is always the same, they thrive off getting the same type of crowd, it is part and parcel of their marketing strategy.

    So what is it that you know about the crowd that allows you to accurately judge the situation that is unavailable to me?

  20. 20
    PatrickMefford

    Eristae,

    Hey that’s great. How does that do when trying to reach people who don’t understand the term “basic human rights” in the same fashion you do? Does your “Fuck that” attitude just sort of translate all the cultural, intellectual, and cognitive baggage into something that everyone easily and intuitively understand?

  21. 21
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    PatrickMefford seems to be under the impression that a religious group should be able to dictate the use of a secular facility for an event that is open to the public.

  22. 22
    Eristae

    @PatrickMefford

    I’m going to assume you meant “How does that go,” because otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.

    So! How does it go? It goes really damned well, thank you very much. After all, how have members of any oppressed group gained their rights? By sitting down quietly with the oppressors in a manner of the oppressors’ choosing and speaking with the oppressors in a way they find pleasing? No. They do it by refusing to bow down to the powerful and forcibly throwing off their oppression. Rosa Parks on the bus, blacks sitting down at white’s only tables and refusing to move, suffragettes going on hunger strikes, Gandhi breaking the salt law by making salt, all involve the oppressed refusing to allow their own oppression.
    But somehow you think your way is better. So, please show me this in action. Show me an example of a civil rights movement that has both succeeded and has gone about it as you have suggested.
    Because from where I stand there is not one civil rights movement that has succeeded through the methods that you are advocating.

    And yes, I think that “fuck that” tranlates quite well. People of all cultures, intellectual levels, and congnitive bents can understand, “I refuse to let you treat me that way.” Whether or not they listen . . . well, that’s what the rest of this is all about, eh?

    However, I will note that it’s interesting that you expect women to give up their rights to Muslims and not the other way around. Why is this? I’d guess that it’s because you believe that women will give up their rights and Muslims will not. And so I have to tell you, quite firmly, that we will not. You can no more order us to do as you please than you can order the Muslims. We will not consent to the loss of our rights. If the only way to make our rights worthy of your support and consideration is to do as the Muslims do and refuse to budge, then I don’t see why you would be shocked by or object to us refusing to budge. If you want to demand that someone make a concession, then demand it of the Muslims, for we will stand our ground.

    Of course, the other option is that you consider the rights of women to be less important than the comfort of Muslims, but I’m hoping that’s not where you stand.

  23. 23
    Salahuddin

    Its a shame that a couple of uncivilised disrespectful men had to disrupt an otherwise amazing well organised event.

    Clearly this was a pre-planned tactic to divert attention away from the actual outcome of the debate.

    Men forcing themselves upon women yesterday and promoting incest
    between a brother and sister. Whats next Krauss? Genderless toilets? Its
    very clear that Islam is based upon Moral guidance and more beneficial
    to Human Society and Atheism is degrading our society as can clearly be
    seen by the moral decline of the west over the last 100 years. Clearly
    Islam is more sensible.

  24. 24
    Eristae

    Oh, and if you want to go on about how Muslims must not be required to respect the basic human rights of others because they “don’t understand” and it isn’t part of their culture, let’s try this:

    I do not understand ceding my rights to Muslims. It is not a part of my culture to cede my rights to bigots. To me, this is a matter of great justice.

    Now, when do I get people making concessions to me based on the above? When will I see you going to the Muslims and telling them that they must base their actions around my lack of understanding, my culture, and my general view point, and as such they must allowed mixed seating in order to accomodate me?

  25. 25
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    NO, PatrickMefford, you did not answer my questions, as they were very concrete.
    And you are fucking arrogant as you are acting here like you’re the expert on muslims and Islam here and the rest of us is ignorant.
    Again:
    Even if some muslims don’t do this pesky human rights concept (and living in London they sure have never heard of it), why should we abandon the concept as well just to get them to listen to Lawrence Kraus? And why do you think that you as a member of the dominant group have the right argue that my rights can be denied because you think that your point is more important.
    Sounds like you don’t grok the concept of human rights either.

  26. 26
    'dirigible

    “So what is it that you know about the crowd that allows you to accurately judge the situation that is unavailable to me?”

    It’s a crowd at a college in London in 2013.

  27. 27
    Patrick Ryan

    All we need to know about the crowd is as pointed out by ‘dirigible: it’s London in 2013. All else is irrelevant. And I agree completely with Eristae’s choice of language: if you think there is any cultural, religious, or socio-political milieu that justifies violating basic human rights, fuck that and fuck you too.

  28. 28
    Jason Loxton

    I am a little torn on this. The debate was specifically designed to engage and challenge the Muslim community, parts of which practice gender segregation (including many men and women who self-segregate voluntarily). Without some guarantee of gender segregation, many orthodox women would either have been unwilling or unable to attend, and it seems that this group is one of those most likely to benefit from hearing Krauss’ talk. While it sounds like they did not adequately support mixed attendance, and no men or women should have been forced to sit in areas specific to their gender (it is unclear from reading the various reports if this happened, or if people–as the organizers contend–were just removed from areas that were intended to be exclusive to the opposite gender), I would personally not be opposed to allowing a mixture of voluntary gender segregated areas and non-segregated in very specific context s such as this*.

    *Other examples might include public health meetings or human-rights meetings specifically targeting the Muslim community, where maximized attendance, specifically by orthodox Muslims, was the goal .

  29. 29
    nullifidian

    Clearly this was a pre-planned tactic to divert attention away from the actual outcome of the debate.

    So how does that work, Salahuddin? Are you claiming that Krauss conspired with the event organizers to gender segregate the event just so that he could complain about it later? Why would the event organizers want to divert attention away from the event they were sponsoring?

    Besides, we know what kind of debate performance Tzortzis puts on: the dishonest and ignorant kind.

    Men forcing themselves upon women yesterday and promoting incest between a brother and sister.

    Wow, you must have had quite an eyewitness account, completely like any other one I’ve read of this debate. I hadn’t heard that people were satisfying their lust right in the venue and rolling around in the aisles for a bit of rumpy-pumpy. And brothers and sisters going at it like rutting animals too! Wow!

    Of course, none of that actually happened, because simply sitting next to each other does not cause normal men and women to lose all their inhibitions. I’ve sat near women thousands of times in thousands of different venues, and in no case has mere physical proximity turned me into a sexually ravening monster.

    Its very clear that Islam is based upon Moral guidance and more beneficial to Human Society and Atheism is degrading our society as can clearly be seen by the moral decline of the west over the last 100 years.

    Oh, yes, clearly. After all, on the one hand, we have a society where men and women can be out in mixed company and this does not lead to wild orgies on cafeteria tables, and this group is clearly the one with a problem with its moral compass. Don’t they know that morally upright people should be so sex-obsessed that they can barely keep it in their zips when any woman walks by? Don’t they know that morally upright people should then blame their poor impulse control not on themselves, but on the women they want to ogle and fondle, regardless of her wishes?

    Yeah, sounds like Islam has done wonders for your morality. *slow clap*

  30. 30
    PatrickMefford

    Eristae,

    Actually, I was asking about how that worked for *you* in convincing Muslims of your beliefs, or even getting them to actually consider them. Your analogies with Rosa Parks and Gandhi sort of miss the point, we are talking about a single course of action relative to one specific event, not some universal categorical imperative.

    I firmly believe there is a time and place for a “Fuck you!”, but I don’t think this specific instance qualifies. I don’t think Krauss was wrong for reacting the way he did, the event organizers deceived him and they acted very unprofessionally in that situation. Still, I think there was a missed opportunity.

    And yes, I would immediately go to bat for you and inform a Muslim group that their gender segregation offends you deeply, and if they want you present and considering what they have to say, they need to accommodate you. Of course, this would require someone (anyone!) to be in the room, talking to them and explaining it to them. Not outside.

    Giliell,

    You are right, I do consider you fairly ignorant. Not just about Islam and Islamic communities in the “west“, but about the critical theory from which you’ve borrowed a great deal of your discourse. Given your inability to even fairly reconstruct my viewpoint pretty much leaves me with the tentative conclusion that you’re just a blog warrior blowing steam.

    Dirigible,

    I’m not following you. Just because the event took place in London at a University does not necessitate that the Muslim audience has a clear grasp of the issue.

  31. 31
    Ophelia Benson

    Patrick Mefford – you’re still assuming that all the “Muslims” present had the same view of the event. You’re treating “the Muslims” as a unit with but one outlook. That was my point in saying you keep assuming you know all about the audience. It’s possible that all the Muslims present did have a single outlook, but you don’t know that, and it’s dense to keep assuming it.

  32. 32
    Eristae

    Your analogies with Rosa Parks and Gandhi sort of miss the point, we are talking about a single course of action relative to one specific event, not some universal categorical imperative.”

    This doesn’t make any sense. Yes, Rosa Parks and Gandhi were engaged in single course actions to specific events,* but so was Krauss.

    *It was not one, it was many

    I firmly believe there is a time and place for a “Fuck you!”, but I don’t think this specific instance qualifies.

    Okay, then what is the time and place you think justifies a “fuck you” if not a situation of lying, intimidation, and violation of people’s basic human rights?

    Still, I think there was a missed opportunity.

    I disagree. I believe it was an opportunity that was taken advantage of.

    And yes, I would immediately go to bat for you and inform a Muslim group that their gender segregation offends you deeply, and if they want you present and considering what they have to say, they need to accommodate you. Of course, this would require someone (anyone!) to be in the room, talking to them and explaining it to them. Not outside.

    I fail to see how it can be “going to bat for me” to explicitly and willingly allow my oppression, which is what you are advocating (Krauss shouldn’t have made desegregation a prerequisite for his participation; instead he should have allowed it).

    I won’t say that I am entirely disinterested in what Muslims** believe, but let me assure you that how Muslims are allowed to treat other people is a far bigger priority to me. Even if I believed your way worked (and I don’t, noting that you’ve not provided me of an example where it did work), I am not interested in allowing Muslims to engage in actual oppression in the hopes that they might be convinced to change their beliefs.

    **overly broad generalization; not all Muslims feel this way

  33. 33
    Crissa

    There’s a big difference between optional segregation and enforced segregation.

    It doesn’t sound like it was at all optional.

  34. 34
    PatrickMefford

    Ophelia,

    I’m not sure I follow your comment in the context of this discussion. You seem to be saying that I can not reasonably infer the makeup of viewpoints of the Muslim audience based on what I know (something I’d challenge). Then from there you seem to imply that since I don’t know the viewpoints of the audience, I can’t really say what would be more effective in influencing them.

    Do I have this right?

  35. 35
    Ophelia Benson

    Actually, Patrick, I’m saying what I said. I think it was pretty clear. I don’t see any need to reword it. No, you can’t “reasonably infer” what every member of the audience thinks. You can reasonable infer that there were some Islamists there, but that’s it.

  36. 36
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Patrick Mefford

    You are right, I do consider you fairly ignorant. Not just about Islam and Islamic communities in the “west“

    And your evidence for that is?

    , but about the critical theory from which you’ve borrowed a great deal of your discourse

    And your evidence for that is?

    . Given your inability to even fairly reconstruct my viewpoint

    Can you give any specifics?

    pretty much leaves me with the tentative conclusion that you’re just a blog warrior blowing steam.

    See, the problem is that I asked some fairly specific questions.
    To this point you haven’t answered any of them.
    You have simply asserted that you know more about the people present at the event than anybody else.
    Without evidence.
    Insert Hitchens here.
    You have further made the point that

    Getting indignant without any sort of cultural/ideological translation is going to be pointless, because your message isn’t going to get through.

    .
    So, let’s just get this clear: Enforcing segregation is a human rights issue. This is irrelevant of whether some muslims agree with me or not. Segregation of genders is a patriarchal tool used to opress women and control them. So, you’re going full cultural relativism at me declaring that me getting “indignant” about a human rights violation is pointless because those people who live in London in 2013 don’t believe in my human rights?
    And you further think that my “message” gets lost when you obviously have no fucking clue what my “message” is. In this case the message I care about is not some intellectual wankery about Islam or atheism. In this case my message is that we will not allow religious fanatics to impose their misogynistic rules on a free society. I understand that you, as somebody who doesn’t have to fear opression from them just for being a man can treat that whole thing as an intellectual exercise. But the moment you demand that I shut the fuck up about my human rights because the men are talking, you become just one of them.

    But to give you some more very concrete questions you’re not going to answer anyway:
    So, you consider that the gender segregation was a small price to pay and should have been tolerated for the sake of the message.
    Where do you draw the line?
    Would you think that it would still be an OK price to pay if women were required to cover their heads?
    Would you still think that it would be OK if women were moved to a different room where they could follow the debate via TV?
    Would you still agree with banning women from the Q&A?
    Would you still think that participating in an all male event where women are excluded would be OK because the discussion is more important?

  37. 37
    PatrickMefford

    Eristae,

    First, your analogy between Krauss and Rosa Parks/Gandhi fails because the two situations are so dissimilar that the comparison isn’t even weak, it is almost non-existent. You are inferring that Rosa Parks and Gandhi are reliable guides to how Krauss should have acted, but that is very ahistorical and does violence to both Parks and Gandhi’s contexts.

    Second, Krauss taking time to explain why gendered segregation is wrong and not moving on until it is resolved does not implicitly allow for your rights or dignity to be violated. Mere acknowledgement of a situation does not trespass in any implicit condoning. I’d refer to Adorno’s stuff of Dialectic, or the last 3rd of the Aphorisms in the Minima Moralia.

    Third, I take a lot of direction from Saba Mahmood who actually does a great deal of work and research in the engagements between Islam and Secularism. You want to e-mail me (my name, one word, at Gmail), I’ll gladly send along a PDF of an article discussing this kind of issue from her.

  38. 38
    PatrickMefford

    Ophelia,

    It isn’t clear, because you have made statements that are predicated on the assumption that because the Muslims who attended were “Londoners” that is was ridiculous to think that they didn’t really understand the issues Krauss and others really had (see comment 12).

    To do this requires that you know at least most if not all of the views of audience members towards that subject. To make any judgment about Krauss’ actions requires one to claim something about the Muslim audience’s views.

    I didn’t want to ascribe a contradictory stance to you, but since you feel that you expressed yourself clearly, I’ll just roll with it: You are not being consistent here and this oscillation does more harm than good.

  39. 39
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh well, Patrick, now that you’re citing Adorno (without actually saying anything, but still, you cite the great name), I’m way too impressed to dispute you further. You must be right.

  40. 40
    Ophelia Benson

    Ok I lied. Assuming people in the audience are mostly Londoners (and assuming most non-Londoners are British and urban) is not assuming very much. Assuming they are all reactionary Muslims is assuming a lot, because lots of people could have been drawn by Krauss and/or atheism rather than by Islamism, and also because lots of people could have been misled about the nature of the Islam on offer, and also because lots of people could have been liberal Muslims.

  41. 41
    Francesco Ferioli

    Patrick, your approach might work to get an immigrant woman in Minnesota to visit a doctor, but failed in Europe. In Europe we have large communities of fairly well integrated moderate muslims that are repeatedly failing to marginalise a small minority of radical islamists.

    Programmes based on engagement and making room for dialogue failed and were/are abandoned. We are now forced to “adapt or leave” policies as unacceptable behaviour is spreading to the streets:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/aug/03/femme-de-la-rue-sexism-brussels-video

  42. 42
    FergusMason

    Patrick, you are making a fairly fundamental error. It doesn’t matter if the organisers of this event – or any other muslims living in the UK – understand why Krauss had a problem with segregation. Nobody cares if they UNDERSTAND British law, just as long as they OBEY it. And if they’re not willing to obey it they should leave the country, immediately, and never return.

  43. 43
    FergusMason

    “To make any judgment about Krauss’ actions requires one to claim something about the Muslim audience’s views.”

    Indeed; I claim that it’s irrelevant. This is the UK in the 21st century. People can sit where they like and gender segregation doesn’t happen.

  44. 44
    Tigers!

    Welcome to the baleful effects of multiculturalism. I am young enough to remember when multiculturalism was introduced and there were warnings given that incidents like this would occur eventually. Those warning were called racist, hateful, spiteful etc. yet they have been shown to have been correct. We were assured that it would never happened. Where are those supporters now? Not all cultures are equal or superior.

  1. 45
    Islamic sexual segregation imposed by force at a UCL event in London « Skeptical Science

    [...] by force, but that is a bit strong, are you not blowing this out of context?” Nope, imposed by force is factually correct [...]

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