A round-up of commentary on the UCL fiasco »« A large container of assorted girls

This was not the first time

Student Rights tells us about several university events in London that have been promoted as “fully segregated.”

This even includes events featuring Tzortzis at UCL, with the audience at an event attended by our researcher Rupert Sutton at the School of Pharmacy in October 2012 seating women at the back of the hall and men at the front.

During 2012 Student Rights also logged several events which were advertised in this way, with a speech given by Dr Khalid Fikry at London Metropolitan University in June pronounced “FULLY SEGREGATED!!!

In January the same was true at London South Bank University, where an event encouraging non-Muslims to attend was advertised as “100 Per Cent Segregated”.

Promotional material for November’s talk by Abu Usamah At-Thahabi at Brunel, which saw protests from students after Thahabi’s views were exposed by Student Rights, also declared “all our events are always segregated to the best of our ability”.

Clearly it’s time to pay more attention to this.

To suggest that what happened at UCL this weekend is a one-off therefore ignores the consistent use of segregation by student Islamic Societies around the country.

Whilst this may be portrayed as voluntary by those who enforce it, the social pressure put on female students to conform to obey these rules should not be underestimated.

One student who attended stated on Saturday highlighted this, saying “I regret not joining my male friends in openly opposing this violation of gender equality in public premises. However, I was genuinely fearful of the repercussions“.

Here at Student Rights we would like to see universities coming clean about why they allow such practices in public spaces, and are glad to see that despite its claims of ignorance, UCL has issued a robust response, barring IERA from campus in future.

Time to push back, people.

Comments

  1. says

    There is almost nothing as vile as gender-based segregation of human beings. The sooner people disavow this abominable practice, the better it is.

    This is most certainly one of the not-so-visible harms brought on by religious faith. I pity those unfortunate women who have been brainwashed by their religion into accepting that this practice is good and beneficial to them. (IIRC, there were some of these women who were amongst those mocking Krauss’ demands to do away with the segregated seating enforced at the debate.)

  2. says

    It’s hard to tell. So far, I haven’t even seen anything about how many women there were in total. I’m for sure not assuming it was anything like half. Islamism is so much more of a guy thing…

  3. Rupert T J says

    I believe these ‘Fully segregated’ events are what the Muslims actually want. They don’t attend ‘mixed’ events.

    What seems to be the problem?

  4. says

    Rupert T J – Have you not been paying attention?

    One, this was not an event in a mosque. It was a public event, on property belonging to a secular university.

    Two, it’s not true that “the Muslims” want fully segregated events, much less that “they” don’t attend mixed events. You’re confusing the most reactionary of Islamists with all Muslims, which is an absurd mistake.

  5. says

    Rupert T J – May I also add that even those Muslims “voluntarily wanting” fully segregated events are actually pressured to conform as Ophelia quoted in the OP. Moreover, it is not unusual* to find complacency toward the practice among those habitually segregated.** What’s your problem?

    *Yesterday I was reading MLK’s Letter From Birmingham Jail, and, surprise surprise, he mentions this: “I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses.”
    **Indeed, complacency and even approbation toward a multitude of forms of oppression–FGM, restriction of reproductive rights, sexual harassment….

  6. sailor1031 says

    “….UCL has issued a robust response, barring IERA from campus in future.”

    It’ll be instructive to see how long it takes UCL to forget they barred IERA. My bet – won’t be long. Also intriguing is the statement from UCL about what happened, which bears little or no relation to other reports quoting actual attendees. The useful idiots are backpeddling but probably only for a little while. Allons voir!

  7. Pierre Masson says

    Ophelia says in #6 “One, this was not an event in a mosque.”

    To my mind, segregation in a mosque is just as discriminatory. Location doesn’t change the fact that women are forced to do something against their wishes or best interests for no acceptable reason — just based on the fact that they are women.

    In Canada, it could be argued that such a practice goes explicitely against the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms discrimination based on gender (the same type of situation obtains with respect to the Catholic church forbidding women to become priests just because they are women).

  8. Pierre Masson says

    Oops, sorry. Last paragraph should read:

    In Canada, it could be argued that such a practice goes explicitely against the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with respect to discrimination based on gender (the same type of situation obtains with respect to the Catholic church forbidding women to become priests just because they are women).

  9. Lofty says

    The only appropriate place for gender segragation is in public toilets. Have these people moved on from playing in toilets yet? Its time for them to grow up.

  10. karmacat says

    I wonder what would happen if it was suggested that they can have segregation but only if the women sit up front, and the men sit in back. (I am not actually suggesting this). I imagine islamists’ heads would explode with this kind of choice

  11. ismenia says

    There is nothing new about any of this. I’ve even read reports of events at UK universities where “brothers” sit at the front and can ask questions, whilst “sisters” sit at the back and cannot.

    It’s not easy to go against these rules. The current university intake are people who will hve been taught at school that it is wrong to criticise the religious beliefs of others. It would take a lot of nerve to go and sit at the front when there is strong hostility from the audience.

  12. skmc says

    It would take a lot of nerve to go and sit at the front when there is strong hostility from the audience.

    Agreed, and I’d personally be concerned about physical retaliation for stepping out of line–either being physically removed from the venue or attacked later by people who saw my transgression. I am not Muslim, but I’m a woman, and I’ve seen and felt how severe the backlash against women who defy behavioral expectations can be.

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