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Nov 23 2013

Rescind endorsement of sex segregation at UK universities

segregationlogoUPDATE:

* There will be a protest at Universities UK offices in London on 10 December 2013, International Human Rights Day, to oppose sex segregation. You can join Facebook Events Page here.

* Teams of Sex Apartheid Busters are being organised to break segregation wherever it is instituted. To join, email [email protected] 

UniversitiesUKSegregationUniversities UK (UUK) has issued guidance on external speakers saying that the segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as “both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.” The guidance has been supported by the National Union of Students.

UUK add that universities should bear in mind that “concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system” and that if “imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely-held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully.”

We, the undersigned, condemn the endorsement of gender apartheid by Universities UK. Any form of segregation, whether by race, sex or otherwise is discriminatory. Separate is never equal and segregation is never applied to those who are considered equal. By justifying segregation, Universities UK sides with Islamist values at the expense of the many Muslims and others who oppose sex apartheid and demand equality between women and men.

The guidance must be immediately rescinded and sex segregation at universities must come to an end.

Join initial list of signatories below by signing the petition here.

Initial List of Signatories:
A C Grayling, Philosopher
Abhishek N. Phadnis, President, London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
Anissa Helie, Academic
Charlie Klendjian, Secretary of Lawyers’ Secular Society
Chris Moos, Secretary, London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
Deborah Hyde, Editor of Skeptic magazine
Deeyah Khan, Film Director and Music Producer
Dilip Simeon, Chairperson of the Aman Trust
Elham Manea, Author
Faisal Gazi, Writer and Blogger
Fatou Sow, International Coordinator of Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizen’s Web
Helen Palmer, Chair of London Humanists
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Marieme Helie Lucas, Coordinator, Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson for One Law for All and Fitnah
Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Stoning
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Nina Sankari, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Ophelia Benson, Writer
Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs of the British Humanist Association
Peter Tatchell, Director of Peter Tatchell Foundation
Polly Toynbee, Journalist
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Rahila Gupta, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Richard Dawkins, Scientist
Rohini Hensman, Social Activist
Rory Fenton, President of The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies of the UK and ROI
Rumy Hassan, Academic
Safia Lebdi, Founder, “Les insoumis-es”
Salil Tripathi, Writer
Soad Baba Aissa, President, of Association pour l’ Egalité, la Mixité et la Laicité en Algérie
Terry Sanderson, President of National Secular Society
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner

47 comments

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  1. 1
    Acleron

    The kowtowing of university student unions and now universities to religion and to one religion in particular is both disgraceful and lacking in intelligence. There is no freedom of speech when a group enforces its views on others. UK universities have taken a step away from equality for all. How long before women are prevented from attending certain classes? How long before they are prevented from entering universities? Not as long as before this decision was made.

  2. 2
    dickspringer

    I envy the Brits for their medical system, but not for their political “correctness” run amok. Guilt over past imperialism seems to distort the judgment of a lot on the left in the UK. Bertrand Russell once wrote an article on “the superior virtue of the oppressed.” No such thing, of course; he didn’t buy it.

  3. 3
    machintelligence

    Take a look at how well “separate but equal” worked in the days of racial segregation in the USA. Separate is inherently unequal.

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    Add me add me add me! It’s only because it’s 9 hours earlier over here where I am that I’m not already added.

  5. 5
    Al Dente

    If the segregation was by race or religion or ethnicity or even sexual orientation then Universities UK wouldn’t endorse it. But since the segregation is by gender then Universities UK thinks it’s a great idea. Which brings up the question: Where do trans* people sit? There are more than a few of them attending British universities.

  6. 6
    Gordon Willis

    Please add me. But don’t call it “sex apartheid”. Call it “apartheid”.

  7. 7
    Robin P Clarke

    Are the “universities” in question “genuine” universities? What proof and who gets to decide?

  8. 8
    Me

    Question sent to UUK:

    Dear UUK,

    In regard to the new UUK segregation policy, could you please tell me on what basis is determined whether a belief is a “genuinely held religious belief” rather than a “non-genuinely-held” religious belief or a belief that is not “religious” anyway.

    Could you please tell me who gets to make that determination and on what criteria, and what scope there is for challenge of such determinations. And on what basis do the assertions of those authorities have greater validity than those who assert the beliefs themselves.

    I should mention that my own most central genuinely-held religious belief is that Islam is an exceptionally evil cult concocted by the most revolting thug in history and which is most definitely not worthy of even the slightest respect but should rather be condemned by all honest and honourable people everywhere. The same does not apply to other major faiths, none of which were founded by thugs let alone a vile sadistic mass murderer mass rapist liar thief pedophile bigamist.

  9. 9
    opposablethumbs

    Signed the petition – thank you for creating it.

    I don’t have a book of face, but I hope you may be posting updates about the day of protest? Coincidentally that’s the exact same day my youngest spawn is taking a major uni entrance exam; I’d want to protest this bastardised bullshit anyway, that just adds a little extra fuel to the flame.

    Back to the 1930s! Let’s hear it for discrimination and marginalisation! Let’s hear it for grovelling at the feet of misogyny dressed in religious vestments!

    Didn’t we get rid of this crap already? Evidently not.

    Incidentally, Me#8, you are utterly wrong to imagine that the other “major faiths” are any better or any different; it doesn’t matter who founded them – what matters is that when they can they pull the exact same shit when it comes to marginalising and oppressing women and LGBT people. The point here is that secular government in general and, in this case, the universities in particular, have no damn business bowing and scraping to superstition, homophobia, racism or misogyny just because it’s waving a “religion” flag. Religious exceptionalism is never acceptable. And none of that is any excuse or justification for racism or islamophobia either – this is not about muslims, it’s about islamists and islamism and the religious apologists who support “special status” for any kind of religious prejudices.

    1. 9.1
      Me

      Incidentally, Me#8, you are utterly wrong to imagine that the other “major faiths” are any better or any different; it doesn’t matter who founded them

      But here you just parade your routine cultural relativist ignorance. On the contrary it matters absolutely who founded them. Islam was from the outset a scam invented by one crook to abuse others. As was Scientology more recently. The other major faiths were not thus started by conmen, and that is reflected in the vastly different values enshrined in their founding texts. Right at the beginning of Christianity for instance is a stupendously high respect for women. Every christian has to believe that a pregnant woman was indeed a holy virgin as she says. And then the crucial testimony of Christ’s resurrection came from two women. These are the most central tenets of xtianity and absolutely depend on belief in the honesty and credibility of women, in stark contrast to Islam.

      You also fail to understand that the very notion of freedom of expression (and telling the truth) which you use here is a key element of Christianity. (That is xtianity itself rather than how others later abused it.) The whole of our modern civilisation and human rights has come from western Christendom xtianity and certainly not from the Quran.

      – what matters is that when they can they pull the exact same shit when it comes to marginalising and oppressing women and LGBT people.

      But “They”, namely lying abusers exist in all societies and their stealing the names of religions has nothing to do with religion per se, except that in the case of Islam, those abuses are indeed central “virtues” of that cult of sacred criminality. And Christ at no point said anything negative about lgbts and had a chat with a woman of (despised) Samaria, a bit like as if Cameron stopped to chat with an unwashed Roma traveller.

      The point here is that secular government in general and, in this case, the universities in particular, have no damn business bowing and scraping to superstition, homophobia, racism or misogyny just because it’s waving a “religion” flag.
      Religious exceptionalism is never acceptable.

      Except that a crucial part of Islam is that its central tenets include waging a constant military and political war to impose obedience to Islam on everyone else. That’s the whole point of why people are “picking on” Islam. And having to fight horrible wars against it all around the world right now.

      this is not about muslims,

      Did anyone say it was?

      it’s about islamists and islamism and the religious apologists who support “special status” for any kind of religious prejudices.

      But “Islamists” and “Islamism” ARE the authentic Islam, as permanently enshrined in the bio of the revered founder and his sacred texts. And special status is the most central tenet of genuine Islam which is determined to exterminate all other religions from the face of the earth (many quran verses relate to that point).

      1. opposablethumbs

        Every christian has to believe that a pregnant woman was indeed a holy virgin as she says.

        … because the madonna/whore binary is based on such respect for women as human beings, right.

        The whole of our modern civilisation and human rights has come from western Christendom xtianity

        What rubbish. You could make a better case for the Ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire, both pre-xtian.

        Christ at no point said anything negative about lgbts

        So what? Xtians cherry-pick just like all the rest; they’ve always got Leviticus to get excited about (and yes, I know it’s in the Old Testament, technically superseded, yaddahyaddahyaddah. The ones who like what it says don’t care about that).

        The CofE may be a bunch of mild-mannered sweethearts in the UK, but it’s xtians, not muslims, who are imprisoning and murdering LGBT people in Uganda. And it’s jews, not muslims, who are spitting on girls in the street and pushing women to the back of the bus in parts of New York and in Israel.

        lying abusers exist in all societies and their stealing the names of religions has nothing to do with religion per se

        … No True Scotsman …

        All the world’s major religions have got good and decent people among their adherents, and all of them are riddled with bigoted misogynists and homophobes. Islam has more theocracies, a stranglehold on more governments, but the only practical difference is in how much power – not what they do with it.

        xtian and jewish extremists would pull exactly the same shit as islamists if they could, and in countries where they can, they do. And they are just as much “the authentic” version of their respective skyfairy cults as islamism – they’re fundamentalists, after all!

        Islamism is an oppressive and violent cult and this kind of bigotry should get no special treatment of any kind. The same goes for the others; they only have “fatwah envy” in countries where they don’t have the power to issue the same kinds of edict. Religious exceptionalism is at issue here; I don’t care who wants to keep women out of any particular space – the resulting exclusion is the same shit every time.

        1. Me

          >>Every christian has to believe that a pregnant woman was indeed a holy virgin as she says.
          >because the madonna/whore binary is based on such respect for women as human beings, right.

          But Christ never talked of “whores”. He himself associated with prostitutes and adulterers and defended them and certainly never condemned any woman.

          >> The whole of our modern civilisation and human rights has come from western Christendom xtianity
          >What rubbish. You could make a better case for the Ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire, both pre-xtian.

          Typical gross ignorance of history. Greeks and Romans didn’t illegalise slavery or illegalise rape and pillage or promote the rights of the oppressed as per xtian. They were militarists who certainly wouldn’t sign a geneva convention or any notion of war crimes let alone endorse the pacifism of xtianity. They failed to invent/discover any of modern science and tech and so on. Just about all the modern world and values that surround you were originated by the CIVILISATION called Western Christendom. And Xtianity was absolutely central to the founding of that civilisation (hence all those huge cathedrals across europe.) Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to read and write let alone use the infidels’ internet let alone be alive anyway.

          >> Christ at no point said anything negative about lgbts
          >So what?

          So your claim that they are all as bad as one another (and specifically re lgbts) is untrue rubbish.

          >Xtians cherry-pick just like all the rest; …..

          So-called Christians more like. And so what? I was talking about the ideology that authentic xtianity IS not the assertions of some people who just happen to claim to be xtians.

          > it’s xtians, not muslims, who are imprisoning and murdering LGBT people in Uganda

          But they are most certainly not doing it on the directions of J Christ who said love your enemies, father forgive them, Peter put away your sword and so on and furthermore upheld the Ten Commandments “Thou shalt not kill [end of sentence]”. To the extent that they kill or even hate lgbts they are NOT xtians, not ARE xtians. Which is entirely in contrast to the cult of killing that originated in Arabia.

          >xtian and jewish extremists would pull exactly the same shit as islamists if they could, and in countries where they can, they do.

          More gross ignorance here. For 14 centuries the jihadists have been trying to destroy all infidel societies and cultures, following the example of their “prophet” as documented in Quran etc. They failed (e.g. Vienna 1683) because a system that kills free speech with bullying became intellectually outpaced by the European civilisation that was based on the massively superior xtian values of honesty and free speech even in the face of death threats (and their carrying out).
          Subsequently the xtian world has developed nukes and so on with which they could have easily exterminated all the Muslim populations. But they are not quite so murderous and even have anti-war movements, geneva conventions war crime courts etc. So you have it 100% backwards there.

          >Islamism is an oppressive and violent cult .

          True.

          >The same goes for the others;

          Most definitely Untrue, as proven by tons of evidence in for instance the Gospels.and Acts of Apostles which I suggest you spend a while reading before further reckoning to have any expertise in comparative religions. Cheers.

          1. opposablethumbs

            Ooookay. It’s No True Scotsman all the way down, then. If xtians do something bad, they’re not proper xtians. If they do something good, they are. It’s so convenient!

            The xtian slaveowners can’t have been real xtians … nope, nary a one. All the real xtians were on the side of abolition. The transatlantic slave trade only lasted about 400 years odd, and no real xtians were involved at any point. No real xtians were involved in the 75-year-odd Belgian sack of the Congo … in the Irish troubles … in the Magdalene laundries or the Catholic cover-ups. All those priests and nuns – not real xtians. Any reverent reverends defending slavery in the southern USA and blessing the confederate forces – not real xtians. All the conquistadors and their priests in the Americas, all the crusaders slaughtering their way to Jerusalem – not real xtians; St Bartholomew’s Day – never happened, or if it did, no real xtians involved; same goes for the massacre of the Cathars at Montsegur. Real xtians don’t do bad things … by definition.

            Glad we’ve got that cleared up. The funny thing is, any of these not-real-at-all xtians would have been (just like the Ugandans and their USA backers today, or just like the Pearls) just as adamant as you that they are the real thing and that it’s you who are not. Of course I prefer the nice, non-violent, non-homophobic and non-misogynist xtians and I’m only too glad that there are many; unfortunately there are plenty who are not nice … and unfortunately you don’t get to define them out of existence.

            We could doubtless go on indefinitely, but I think that’s enough of a derail. Back to decrying the (inexcusable) islamic flavour of bigotry it is, then.

          2. Me

            We could doubtless go on indefinitely,

            No we could not. It IS the case that only good deeds are of genuine Christianity. And bad deeds only come from breaching the directions and values of Christ. That’s the whole point of why the gospels have been BY FAR the most powerful influential documents in history, on which our present vast civilisation was built (albeit with a lot of abuse from “leaders” uncluding some dubious popes along the 2000 year way.. And yes, I can appreciate that that’s too big and too simple a concept to fit in the remaining space of your ignorance-filled brain.

            You’ve done far too much grossly ignorant writing here. Time for you to catch up on reading instead.
            Part of your problem is your inability to understand that what you see as “good” is exactly what your christendom context has trained you to believe is good. But outside of christendom, mass murdering and raping and theft and lying and pedophilia are defined as good because the revered “prophet” did all those things and hsi example must be followed.
            Narrated Abu Huraira Radhi-allahu anho, the Prophet Sallallahu-alaihi wasallam said, “A single endeavour of fighting in Allah’s cause in the afternoon or forenoon is better than all that, on which the sun rises and sets.” (Saheeh Bukhari, p392, Vol.1)

          3. sqlrob

            But outside of christendom, mass murdering and raping and theft and lying and pedophilia

            Yes, it’s so good that Christendom is condemning pedophilia and doing everything possible to bring those that perpetrate it to justice, rather than just shuffling them around different parishes.

          4. Me

            sqlrob wrote: Yes, it’s so good that Christendom is condemning pedophilia and doing everything possible to bring those that perpetrate it to justice, rather than just shuffling them around different parishes.

            What a load of cheap rubbish there. I had already stated the obvious point that in every society and organisation there are bad and good people. Including people who subvert what that organisation is about. Show me ANY country in the Christendom world in which pedophilia is actually considered legal and good. By contrast, in the Islamic world, pedophilia IS considered a good and legal thing precisely because it was practiced by the revered “Prophet” (and ditto rape, mass murder, theft and lying, in this wondeful religion of “peace”). Many self-styled Muslims are decent people who condemn these things but they do so despite Islam rather than due to it. As others have put it, to be a good Muslim you have to be a bad person. Whereas for xtianity the opposite holds, to be a good xtian you have to be a good person. And Christ certainly didn’t endorse pedophilia or any kind of abuse as a good thing. The notion that Islaim is a fellow “Abrahamic” faith closely related to xtianity is the very reverse of truth. As one apostate put it very accurately, Islam is the religion of Satan.

          5. sqlrob

            Show me ANY country in the Christendom world in which pedophilia is actually considered legal and good.

            Which makes it worse. It’s acknowledged bad and still handled improperly. I don’t consider “orders from the highest level” the same as “a few bad apples”. It’s institutional. Now it’s coming out the same for Protestants and Judaism as well. All the Abrahamic religions are rotten to the core.

          6. Me

            Islam is NOT an “Abrahamic religion” supposedly related to xtianity./judiasm. Rather it is a deceitful scam personality cult invented by a crook for his own self-aggrandisement (not least 12 wives). Being rather provincial and ignorant without a theology degree he had to copy his “religious” idea of only one god from the surrounding jews and xtians, that is all they have in common. The commands and values are more from Satan than from anything in xtianity or judiasm.
            The “Abrahamic religion” is pseudic claptrap propaganda in line with the “religion of peace” lie.

          7. Maryam Namazie

            Islam is a religion as is Christianity and Judaism. Problem with all religions but particularly with those that have access to power and state.

          8. Me

            Maryam, I think it depends on how you define (or interpret) the word “religion”. A great many people absolutely assume the word indicates a good thing which promotes good values love and tolerance, such that all religions must be respected. In that sense of the word, most of the other major faiths do qualify but Islam clearly does not. It is all too clear that Islam was founded by a conman as a scam for his own selfish purposes. But that does not appear to be true of the other major faiths. For instance the two Marys were mistaken in their belief that Christ had risen from the dead, but they hadn’t realised that it was someone other than Christ that had been crucified anyway (so Christ was indeed still alive and scarpered off down the road to Emmaus before the authorities could catch him). So Christianity was founded from an honest mistake rather than a dishonest con. Huge, fundamental, difference.

          9. Maryam Namazie

            I really have no time for those who excuse one religion over another. Everything from the inquisition, to witch burnings to the Magdalene Laundries are evidence of the brutal role Christianity has played. Still today there is ample evidence in many places. The only good religion is one that has been pushed to the wall.

          10. Me

            Also, I guess you have a limited understanding of Christianity and European civilisation due to your origins in the Islamic world. Most native Europeans are equally clueless nowadays in my experience.
            You have to understand that human societies cannot work on rationality alone. Every civilisation has had a religion at its core (or in the case of Islam a piracy dis-civilisation with a dis-religion at its core). As was documented in the great book A study of history by Arnold Toynbee (grand-dad of Polly!).
            The religion brings the values and norms and social principles that are fundamental to an effective society. In the case of Christianity, the Gospels have been the most powerful documents in history. That is because of important messages they contain.
            1 – be honest., be courageous
            2- love your enemies
            3- you can kill the messenger but you can’t kill the message
            4 – the good people are constantly killed by the bad, and yet goodness forever keeps resurrecting rather than being exterminated.

            And fifthly the most important principle of all, shown by example rather than stated:
            5 – The religious authorities were wrong, the political authorities were wrong, and the masses were wrong, and only the lone man abandoned even by his friends was right.
            That is the strongest anti-authoritarian message that can exist, right there at the very centre of this religion (the Easter Passion story). And authoritarianism is the very deadliest enemy of creativity and civilisation.
            And that is why the Gospels led to the greatest civilisation ever. Here endeth the Sermon to Maryam of little faith!

          11. Me

            Maryam, I am myself an atheist, apostate from Christianity, and I detest the mindless insistence on faith without evidence, and yet I can still see the immense positives we have gained from Christianity, which greatly outweigh those negatives. Not least because the anti-authoritarian point 5, which is the most central message of Christianity, contradicts that mindless faith principle, and thus led to the enlightenment and scientific revolution, and the growth of atheism in western lands.

            The very fact that you are able to dispute and criticise as you do is entirely down to the Christianity-based culture we have here. Ditto the existence of electronics and internet all invented by Christendom people.

            PC people fail to understand just how much is Christian values. The message in Acts 10:34-36 (and also some Gospel verses) is the origin of the modern anti-racism that allows you to live freely here.
            “I see clearly enough, that God makes no distinction between man and man; he welcomes anyone, whatever his race….”
            Ditto the upholding of equal respect for women and the oppressed. Even most ‘Muslims’ actually hold these Christian values nowadays, because Christianity is the so much more powerful ideology than that qurrant fruitcake ranting.

            For this reason I think people should concentrate on singling out Islam as the entirely malign entity that it is, without diluting the message into attacking the other faiths.

            PS: >from the inquisition, to witch burnings to the Magdalene Laundries

            But these are not characteristics of Christianity. Such abuses can be found in ANY authoritarian system. How are they so much worse than Stalin’s gulags or the similar things done by Pol Pot or Mao? Christianity has a 2000 year history. There’s been an amazingly low amount of such abuses given the huge extent of time and space involved. They could have nuked the entire Islamic Ummah into the sand long ago. Instead they have the Christian-based concepts of geneva convention, war crimes, pacifism, and so on.

  10. 10
    Dawah Warrior

    If religious groups decide to choose to sit separately that is their choice. By demonstrating against this you are imposing your belief system on them and this is the first steps towards oppression. In our lives there are everyday examples of segregation yet no one is demonstrating about them. For example, should we now desegregate toilets and showers in the public and make them unisex? How about hospital wards should they also become unisex? This is just absurd!

    1. 10.1
      Me

      Dear Dawah Warrior, There is a crucial difference with toilets and hospital wards which is that people get undressed in them. In just about all civilisations that norm is recognised. By contrast in public meetings the norm is that people don’t get undressed.

      If religious groups decide to choose to sit separately that is their choice.

      Sure, but no-one is demanding that Muslims must sit next to opposite sex others. Just that the (seemingly) Islamic rules not be imposed on the non-Islamic others. As things stand the UUK formula oppresses the non-Muslims, but you apparently aren’t bothered about that oppression. Why?

    2. 10.2
      A Hermit

      if I were to visit a Mosque or other religious temple I would respect the traditions of that place. I would not demand that a place where segregation is the norm change that practice just for my visit. (I might simply choose not to visit…). Similarly, an Imam or other religious speaker who visits a secular place should respect that place’s traditions and not demand that the visitor’s traditions and beliefs be imposed on those who do not share them.

      The attitude of the speakers who are demanding segregation is disrespectful of the traditions and culture of others. They are the ones who are imposing their belief system on others.

    3. 10.3
      Shatterface

      For example, should we now desegregate toilets and showers in the public and make them unisex?

      I think there is a comparison to be made between watching a hate preacher and taking a shit just like Dawah suggests, and it’s disrespectful to treat religion differently to opening your bowels.

      I do wish they’d stop taking a dump in public though.

      1. A Hermit

        I think there is a comparison to be made between watching a hate preacher and taking a shit just like Dawah suggests

        Except the latter rids you of crap and the former dumps crap all over you…

    4. 10.4
      rq

      The choice to sit separately shouldn’t need edicts from the UUK to support them. If attendees would truly choose to sit in a segregated manner, they would do so in and of themselves, and no rules about it would be required, and no speaker would be complaining about the lack of segregation. If it was a real choice, nobody would be trying to set restrictions or guidelines about the right way to make that choice.

      1. Me

        But that isn’t how Islam works. Allah dictates (as per Quran, Hadith, Sira) what people should do (including what times to pray, and which way to face when excreting), and the role of all his subjects (whether Muslim or not) is to just obey without question. Personal choice dosn’t come into it.

      2. Janet

        “If it was a real choice, nobody would be trying to set restrictions or guidelines”.

        You’ve nailed the sheer feebleness of their pretence, RQ — of course no one needs to be ordered to do what they want to do!

        This doesn’t say much for the standard of students being allowed into UK universities. I truly hope these people produce more intelligent and coherent arguments in their exams.

  11. 11
    Barbara Wood

    Sent 2 paragraphs from the guidelines to UUK substituting gender references for racial ones as follows:

    “Segregation in the context of the facts outlined above would only be discriminatory on the grounds of race if it amounts to ‘less favourable treatment of either black or white attendees”…

    Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on race grounds merely by imposing segregated seating. Both whites and blacks are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.

    I have asked the question: “would they allow an external speaker to insist on seating by race and if not, why not? And if not, please explain the difference between gender discrimination and racial discrimination.

    I have also emailed the National Union of Students, who are reported to be supporting the guidelines, the same two paragraphs with the same questions. It appears that neither UUK nor NUS are aware that side-by-side segregation was a key part of South Africa’s apartheid ideology or, as those with the upper hand put it, “equal but separate”.

    1. 11.1
      Shatterface

      “Segregation in the context of the facts outlined above would only be discriminatory on the grounds of race if it amounts to ‘less favourable treatment of either black or white attendees”…

      Quite. I actually prefer to sit at the back of the bus so telling black people to sit there isn’t necessarily putting them in ‘worse’ or ‘less favourable’ seats – but that’s not the point.

      1. Me

        Funny, in my experience only antisocial yobs and yobbesses sit at the back of the bus. Just as well you’re anon here!
        (Nerdy pathetics like me head for the front window seat in order to do car-spotting.)

    2. 11.2
      Janet

      Thanks for this very valuable information, Barbara. I didn’t realise South African apartheid allowed side-by-side segregation. What an example to follow in 21st century Britain.

  12. 12
    Paul WS Bowler

    All hail separate but equal http://datbeardyman.blogspot.ie/2013/11/separate-but-equal.html

  13. 13
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Me

    1 – be honest., be courageous
    2- love your enemies

    How do you know these are good virtues? As social animals, what would we have done without Jeebus? How do you explain non-christian, non-abrahamic, societies that pursue these goals (with far more success I might add)?

    3- you can kill the messenger but you can’t kill the message
    4 – the good people are constantly killed by the bad, and yet goodness forever keeps resurrecting rather than being exterminated.

    Zombie morality FTW?

    Do you think that, as sociable animals, humans cannot work out for themselves that working together for the common good is far more efficacious than selfish strife?

    5 – The religious authorities were wrong, the political authorities were wrong, and the masses were wrong, and only the lone man abandoned even by his friends was right.

    Whoever wins gets to write the history. Jeebus was wrong, but his fucked up message won out in the end (at least in a few societies). It is easy to imagine a far better message than lying about eternal life and imaginary sky-gods.

    Science! For fuck’s sakes!

    Maryam, I am myself an atheist, apostate from Christianity, and I detest the mindless insistence on faith without evidence,

    You are lying to us. Why should we need to engage you when you are acting in such bad faith?

    and yet I can still see the immense positives we have gained from Christianity, which greatly outweigh those negatives.

    Then why … the fuck … do you choose “apostasy”? Your mind is a muddle of magic thinking and confused xtian bullshit.

  14. 14
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Janet

    I didn’t realise South African apartheid allowed side-by-side segregation. What an example to follow in 21st century Britain.

    Generally it did not. Busses were quite seperate, as were waiting areas and toilets… hell anything that related to travelling by bus.

    Verwoerd famously claimed that Apartheid would mean “separate but equal”. In reality this did not occur. “Seperate” yes, but for the most part blacks were marginalised and forced to make do with second best..

  15. 15
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Sweet, sweet Christianity.
    So good you are compared to the vile Islam.
    Thank you Christianity for helping tear families apart, giving justification for beating children to death, helping support an oppressive patriarchal system where women must sit down and shut up, for aiding in the depression and suicidal thoughts many LGBT youth deal with, for giving rules on when and how to beat a slave, for instructing men on the proper methods to rape, for being such a potent force in holding back scientific enlightment and so much more
    Christianity, truly you are the awesomest religion of all.

    (if uncertainty abounds in anyone’s noggin, I am not serious. It is incredibly easy to undermine commenter ME’s assertions.)

    1. 15.1
      Me

      It is incredibly easy to undermine commenter ME’s assertions.

      But why do such an infantile thing? I prefer to do something useful, namely establishing and stating the truth even though that may not be quite as easy as deluding oneself one has “undermined” what others are carefully explaining.

      Thank you Christianity for helping tear families apart, giving justification for beating children to death, helping support an oppressive patriarchal system where women must sit down and shut up, for aiding in the depression and suicidal thoughts many LGBT youth deal with, for giving rules on when and how to beat a slave, for instructing men on the proper methods to rape,

      Really? Where in any of the Gospels does Christ give any directions on any of that lot? On the absolute contrary there are numerous directives such as do not kill, love your neighbour as yourself, love your enemies, do unto others as you would do unto yourself, and so on. I haven’t even been a Christian for more than 40 yrs now yet I can still remember all this.

      By contrast, the thug founder of the Arabian personality cult and his pretended sky-friend did indeed endorse the goodness of his own hate and rape and beating and slavery and pedophilia and homophobia and so on (killing theft lying bigamy warmongering). And that is not something that can be joked about except in the imagination of those who lack any sense of what a decent sense of humour might be. Like “It would be so funny if two gay guys got trapped in a closet with a lesbo and slowly starved to death as a result” [laugh laugh laugh?].

  16. 16
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Petition signed.

  17. 17
    Manfredi La Manna

    The following open letter was published in yesterday’s (30/11/2013) Scotsman:

    An open letter to the Vice-Chancellors of all Scottish Universities.

    Dear Vice Chancellors,

    Here is your chance. Even though some of you sit on the Board of Universities UK (UUK), now you have a chance to make a stand for Scottish Universities and state unequivocally that the abhorrent guidance on external speakers issued recently by UKK does not apply to Scottish Universities. The document mandates any British University to accede unconditionally to the conditions imposed by any external speaker who demands a gender segregated audience. Indeed in the Orwellian newspeak language of the UUK document, it is the “imposition” of an “unsegregated” area contravening the “genuinely-held religious belief” of the speaker demanding segregation that British Universities should oppose so that the “freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully”. Do you really want your female students to be treated as sex objects and second-class citizens and to be marshalled into special females-only pens so that the “genuinely-held religious belief” of external speakers is not challenged? Would you have acceded to the demand for race segregated audiences by the Dutch Reformed Church (before it apologised for its role in propping up apartheid)?

    Yours respectfully,

    (Dr) Manfredi La Manna
    Reader in Economics
    University of St Andrews

    1. 17.1
      Maryam Namazie

      excellent!

    2. 17.2
      Maryam Namazie

      Great!

  18. 18
    Me

    I should mention that I sent inquiry to UUK several days ago as to how is “genuinely-held religioius belief” determined and by whom. My email was received but no reply forthcoming:.
    “Your message
    To: Information Centre
    Subject: Question about segregation policy
    Sent: 24 November 2013 08:39:38 (UTC) Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
    was read on 25 November 2013 09:02:29 (UTC) Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London.”
    ========
    Dear UUK,

    In regard to the new UUK segregation policy, could you please tell me on what basis is determined whether a belief is a “genuinely held religious belief” rather than a “non-genuinely-held” religious belief or a belief that is not “religious” anyway.

    Could you please tell me who gets to make that determination and on what criteria, and what scope there is for challenge of such determinations. And on what basis do the assertions of those authorities have greater validity than those who assert the beliefs themselves.

    I should mention that my own most central genuinely-held religious belief is that Islam is an exceptionally evil cult concocted by the most revolting thug in history and which is most definitely not worthy of even the slightest respect but should rather be condemned by all honest and honourable people everywhere. The same does not apply to other major faiths, none of which were founded by thugs let alone a vile sadistic mass murderer mass rapist liar thief pedophile bigamist.

  19. 19
    David Ford

    It is disturbing that lobbying MPs, universities etc seems to enter into a veil of silence. I have written to the NUS branch at my local university. Silence. To Caroline Lucas MP, Silence. Better response from my local MP, Philip Davies, who says he is going to take it up with the minister and get back to me with his response. I find the hypocrisy of people who campaign on women’s issues and for gender equality and gay rights when it is safe and uncontroversial but dont when it challenges Islamists nauseating. Are there planned protests throughout the Uk? I cant get to the London event on the 10th. Well done to people like Maryam Namazie, Peter Tatchell and Nick Cohen. How can we raise these voices and get the NUS, universities and MPs to listen and take an honest stand? Praise indeed for the first MP who speaks out publicly against it. Am hoping it will be soon

    1. 19.1
      Me

      Silence indeed. It’s not without reason that the vast majority of uk voters consider the politicians to be all crooks. A possible solution could be the real democracy party

  1. 20
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    Equality and Human Rights Commission rules that gender segregation is unlawful » Maryam Namazie

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