Sexual segregation at a UCL event is a scandal »« Impossible not to see

Sex segregation not miscommunication

On March 9, the Islamic Education & Research Academy (a nice sounding front for Islamism) organised a “debate” at the University College in London between atheist Lawrence Krauss and Hamza Andreas Tzortzis entitled “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?” I guess that’s what they call it when they don’t have political power.

Just in case you don’t know about IERA, here’s more information. I’ve also written a post about them in the past, aptly titled: “For those who don’t know the difference between a Muslim and an Islamist“.

Despite sex-apartheid and segregation of the sexes at the event, the debate shockingly went ahead. I was returning from an 8th March conference in Germany. Had I been there, I would have been arrested before I would have allowed the debate to go ahead.

For all those who stayed on as if it was business as usual: you remind me of those who sat through “debates” with racists at racially segregated events. How utterly shameful.

Lawrence Krauss has Tweeted: “Met with IERA people today, who told me there was no intent to have enforced gender segregation. Problem was communication to and from staff.” IERA lies. Sex apartheid and misogyny is a pillar of their existence. It does make me wonder when people will stop believing their propaganda and instead side with human principles and equality?

By the way, here is a letter written by Chris Moos to UCL about the event:

I am writing to inform you that I was shocked about the manner in which the 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 trice to leave the debate if the organisers should continue to enforce gender segregation (follow this link), 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.

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.

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.”

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”.

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.

I would urge to look into the matter and come back to me as soon as possible.

Comments

  1. says

    It sounds like segregation on a Riyadh bus. Bad example to copy. Deep South in USA. Jews in Nazi Germany. Palestinians in Israel. Saudis themselves have groups which want to end this segregation.

    Attempts to segregate an audience is pre-judging the debate. Also continued imprisonment of Hamza Kashgari and others shows a certain pre- judgement by fans of Islam.

    It’s up to the audience of such events to have mobile phones to show what happens. It is always difficult
    for speakers to decide whether to walk out of such an event, or improvise a riposte to failures of organisation.

    If UK mosques want to be part of the next round of the #occupy movement they must tackle gender segregation.
    Mosques are in many UK cities, but #occupy concentrated on Church precincts last time. Imams and suchlike must look to the future where problems of wealth distribution will tax their minds.

  2. Salahuddin says

    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.

    • Peter Sanders says

      How long will we need to confront this rubbish ?

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

      No one “forced” themselves upon women unless it was the blackshirts who herded the ADULTS into segregated rows. Incest is illegal in Britain. Men sitting next to women is not.
      .

      “Whats next Krauss? Genderless toilets?”
      .

      Most homes have genderless toilets, Many workplaces do too. It’s not the end of civilization. What’s more likely to cause social stress is telling girls that exposing their hair to a man is going to send him crazy with lust. Women are not your property to decide what they wear and where they sit.
      .

      “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.”
      .
      Islam is based not on moral guidance but on an old book stitched together from men’s memories and fragments scrawled on bone etc. It may have been helpful when discovering how to live in the 6th Century in the middle east, but we have actually made some progress since then, particularly in the field of moral philosophy.

      Yes the moral decline of Scandinavia, the most non religious of states, known for their low crime rate. Until crazy immigrants began trying to inflict their sad religion on the local people.

      The most sensible thing to do with Islam is to consign it to the dustbin of history, along with Christianity and Judaism.

      • testostyrannical says

        I do like how “genderless toilets” are invoked like some kind of ultimate moral smackdown. Genderless toilets, dogs and cats sleeping together…mass hysteria!

        • davehooke says

          I’ve been to raves and the like which had genderless toilets, and festivals where men and women shower together. What happened? Nothing. Total moral collapse is already upon us, Salahuddhin!

    • Khalid says

      Mr. Salahuddin,

      You make people like me ashamed to even have a Muslim name. You have not given any logical explanation as to why you hold the beliefs you hold. Your comment is nothing but utter rubbish. I am sorry, I am very disappointed with your logic and stand. MY 12 year old could articulate all that much better…

    • says

      Mr. Salahuddin, if you think that the lack of segregation promotes rape and incest I’d like to humbly suggest that you voluntarily segregate yourself from the rest of society until you can learn to control yourself.

  3. says

    Its very clear that Islam is based upon Moral guidance and more beneficial to Human Society

    Does that morality include lying?

    Clearly Islam is more sensible.

    How so? What important moral guidance was featured during this cowardly display? (I say “cowardly” because the organizers had to lie to conceal their agenda, then lied again to enforce it, and – if it was so obviously the right thing to do, that wouldn’t have been necessary)

  4. Comtessa de Metoncula says

    Sex Segragation is directly linked to man’s fear of not be able to tame their primal sexual pulsations and not act on them.
    What a bunch of spineless weaklings! This is World Wide. so my logical conclusion to this is that women are the stronger SEX!

  5. says

    Atheism has not been degrading our society or causing the moral decline of the West or East over the last 100 years. Believers in religions using their texts, tenets, and dogma as weapons against family, community and society is what has degraded everything and everyone.

  6. Perchloric Acid says

    I would rather have moral decline and freedom than some jackbooted thugs constantly telling me what I cannot eat, where I cannot sit, what I cannot say, what I cannot draw, what I cannot read, and what I cannot wear in the name of morality, religion or innocence.

  7. Siverly says

    I’ve been following this outrageous event since Saturday. Breathtaking- but not surprising. Just when you think Islamists have gone too far- they go further. Segregation by gender, in a public forum, at a secular university no less. Yes, the organisers seemed to have lied extravagantly about their aims to segregate. And a chemistry professor complicite with it all? She should be investigated for breach of university policy.
    The rise of Islamism is a political cancer with insidious social consequences. We must not participate in the normalisation of sexism- whether veiling, segregating children from others, condemnation of sexual minorities or gender segregation in public spaces.
    Shame on UCL- now in the ranks of Reading University- in abetting Islamism on university grounds. Shame.

  8. Janet says

    Shame, shame on whoever at University College London let this go ahead.

    UCL was set up in the 19th century specifically as a secular university, I believe the first to be founded without a department of theology. Now in the 21st century the people who should be protecting this fine tradition are grovelling to religious fundamentalism. What a loss.

  9. Anti Theist says

    Only way to progress and grow out of these stupid and barbaric religions is women rights and making genders equal already. Its 2013 for crying out loud.

  10. Debbie Bee says

    This reminds me of the segregated South,prejudice was wrong then, it’s wrong now. This is the 21st century, yet many people prefer the old ways, because it’s easier than to adapt to the present. These men fear women, education and anything else that weakens their control.They are the weaker sex.

  11. Kamran says

    Its funny how people with no understanding of the situation and werent present at the event all start posting texts without checking the facts. Ignorance is bliss when it supports your ignorant standpoint. Women and men who wanted to be segregated were given an area to sit separately. There was also mixed seating for those who wanted to sit together. However there were atheists who forcibly wanted to sit in the womens area where women had chosen to sit separately. If we are so conscious about peoples rights then what about the rights of these women? Come on, lets look to the truth even if it opposes our stubborn view of Islam. Why dont we focus on the debate and the ridiculous comments of professor krauss and his support for incest. Thankfully the facts will soon be up on youtube for all to assess for themselves. Stop pushing your propaganda. Isnt that the true trait of the nazis and racists of the past.

    • Janet says

      Muslims accusing westerners of sexual immorality are on very shaky ground, given the number of muslim men (not teenagers but middle-aged men) recently convicted of sexually abusing minors. Not to mention the present scandal at an islamic school.

      This isn’t paradoxical — it’s unavoidable in a religion that’s obsessed with sex, in a bad way. Demanding that women should cover their lust-provoking heads, or not even dare to sit near men!

      Salahuddin and Kamran, can’t you see that the more you obsess about sex, and how evil women are for embodying it (in your eyes), the worse it gets, for you and everyone around you? You have to control your obsession. It’s in you, not in other people.

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