Fons et origo

I think I know where Pryiamvada Gopal got her distorted and ignorant idea of the people behind the protest against gender segregation. I think she read a repellent article at “Loonwatch” on the website “Islamophobia Today” titled UK: Islamophobes Manufacture “Gender Segregation” Controversy. It’s wrong in just the way her article is wrong, and it does it a few days earlier.

The author is billed as “Ilisha.”

An Islamic society wants to host a university event where–gasp!–men and women are seated separately. Suddenly this minor event is major news in the UK.

Yes, “gasp,” Ilisha. It’s not just routine and normal for university events to seat women and men separately.

People who apparently never planned to attend the event in the first place have decided they must publicly protest “gender apartheid,” an intolerable affront to their sensibilities. [Read more...]

Rupert Sutton clears up some things

Rupert Sutton of Student Rights has a reply to Priyamvada Gopal’s article at the Rationalist Association. It’s calm

Unfortunately, [Gopal's] attempt to persuade greater numbers of people to criticise reactionary religious practice was marred by a number of inaccurate attacks on my organisation, Student Rights, which seeks to highlight political and religious extremism on university campuses regardless of provenance. This included claims that we had brought the issue to national attention despite a lack of evidence for its occurrence, and presented the campaign as part of a running battle between white conservatives intent on imposing their views on others, and the beleaguered representatives of minority communities standing against this. [Read more...]

Concerns about the motivation

Daniel Trilling at the Rationalist Association blog offered their position on gender segregation today. He started with Gopal’s article.

The piece raised concerns about the motivation of the pressure group Student Rights, which has been campaigning on the topic, and the way in which the story had been picked up by the media, but argued that such concerns should not prevent people from criticising the policy. [Read more...]

That’s not how it happened

Amazingly enough, it appears that Gopal wrote that article in complete ignorance of the December 10 protest that got major media coverage and thus the attention of politicians who then firmly rejected gender segregation.

demo            Priyamvada Gopal @PriyamvadaGopal

@dandelionscrews @CEMB_forum @NickCohen4

I have no idea why they are banging on about some demo when I was talking about SR campaign

Ophelia Benson @OpheliaBenson 

“some demo”? Are you serious? you wrote that article w/o even knowing about the demo?

That sheds a somewhat new light on the article, but not in a good way. Apparently she simply had no idea what she was talking about, and made a complete dog’s breakfast as a result. [Read more...]

Until the West comes along to teach us progress

I said I would continue my disagreement with what Priyamvada Gopal wrote, so here I am continuing.

The fact is that challenging traditions and questioning authority are practices common to all societies; changing in response to circumstances is a human capacity and not one limited to a particular culture.

Again – no kidding, and no one who is criticizing gender segregation said otherwise. [Read more...]