Sparked by


From a couple of weeks ago there is this Huffington Post article by Hilary Aked, finding deep sinisterness in the opposition to gender segregation at university events.

She starts by saying the furore was “sparked by” the Student Rights report. But that’s not clear at all – the report played a part, but far from the only part.

After that, there’s a lot of hand-wringing about the Henry Jackson Society, without anything really showing what difference it makes. She does at least admit as much, which is a nice change from Gopal and Penny, but she adds,

However, it is vital to situate the origin of such a controversy and origins like this should, I think, lead us to pause and consider whether the narrow framing of this issue is problematic. Is the current discussion, provoked by Student Rights’ report, more about feminism or Islamophobia?

It depends on which people and organizations you’re talking about, surely. The existence of the HJS doesn’t do much to change that fact.

Several commentators believe it is largely about the latter, and so do many students. Apart from being busy fighting to keep their campuses cop-free, a growing number are also giving their support to a campaign called ‘Real Student Rights‘ (RSR), founded to expose and oppose ‘Student Rights’ (far more, I should add, than the turned out for the demo outside Universities UK, which despite what some media reports suggest, was very small and not attended by many actual students – though it was able to compensate for this thanks to a handful of vocal journalists).

“A growing number” – well that could mean it was two yesterday and today it’s three.

There’s a lot more in the same vein, with lots of pointing and suspecting but very little real substance. I think Aked could do a lot more to undermine prejudice against Muslims by marginalizing far-right Islamist groups rather than by trying to marginalize people who resist them.

Comments

  1. quixote says

    I get soooo tired of how the human rights of half the world matter less than some guy throwing a tantrum about getting his way. Matters less? Hell, they’re invisible. Almost as if one was arguing for something ridiculous like the rights of tropical fish.

  2. Omar Puhleez says

    My bet is that the tantrum-throwing Islamist speaker would reject 3-way seating if it were offered to him. That is, one section for women who of their own choice want to sit amongst women; one for men who on the same basis want to sit amongst men, and one mixed-sex section open to all comers.

    Because giving people choice is not what any authoritarian Islamist control-freak wants.

  3. Bernard Bumner says

    Real Student Rights is promoting a motion that includes the statement, “That Student Rights is not transparent about its origins or funding…”, however despite listing supporters it isn’t clear who organises or funds RSR, or the organisations to which they might be affiliated.

    Any organisation which claims to be independent and grass-root, would do well to make clear that it is really the case.

    It is unsurprising that LSE and Goldsmiths SUs have adopted the motion.

  4. Decker says

    However, it is vital to situate the origin of such a controversy…

    Doesn’t the origin of the ‘controversy’ lay in the fact various universities allowed gender segregated assemblies?

    Apparently, the problem is not one of gender segregation at all, but rather the idenitity of those exposing it.

    So gender-segregation appears OK; it’s just that reporting about it is immoral.

    That Student Rights is not transparent about its origins or funding…”, however despite listing supporters it isn’t clear who organises or funds RSR, or the organisations to which they might be affiliated.

    Are you not at all concerned about the real identities, associates, sympathisers and funding of the Far Right islamist jokers insisting on gender segregaterd seating?

    That would be quite the piste to investigate

  5. Katherine Woo says

    Who thinks Aked would express even a moment’s concern about the “origin” of a report documenting clear discrimination against Arabs or Muslims?

    Focusing on things like “origins and funding” means putting power conspiracies ahead of an actual argument over principles. But of course she announces on HuffPost that she is “researching the pro-Israel lobby in the UK.”
    Sounds like she is not big on people having the audacity to disagree with her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>