In the media

Here is some press coverage on the sex segregation issue and the niqab. The first one is a debate with a member of Hizb-Ut-Tahrir. Ironic how a representative of a misogynist Islamist organisation can speak of women’s rights. And using language Universities UK has used to defend its indefensible position.

Whilst UUK has now withdrawn the section endorsing sex apartheid, we still need to be vigilant as they will be rewriting the guidance to most likely legitimise “voluntary” segregation. Rather than re-writing their document, the head of UUK should resign for the sex segregation scandal.

See some of the coverage below:

Religion and democracy: never the twain, The Times, 18 December 2013 [external link]

On sex segregation, BBC World Service, 14 December 2013 [external link]

Gender segregation guidelines u-turn following PM warning, Channel 4 News,13 December 2013 [external news]

Universities pull back from sex segregation as Cameron weighs in, Daily Telegraph, 13 December 2013 [external link]

On the niqab, Community Channel, 13 December 2013 [external link]

Sexual apartheid: Is there any room for gender segregation, This Week, 12 December 2013 [external link]

A future labour government will ‘not tolerate’ gender segregation at our universities, Left Foot Forward, 12 December 2013 [external link]

Outcry at ‘gender apartheid’ in new guidance for UK universities, The Independent, 11 December 2013 [external link]

University gender segregation ‘violation of women’s freedom’, BBC, 11 December 2013 [external link]

Backlash grows over university gender segregation guidelines, Daily Telegraph, 11 December 2013 [external link]

Gender Apartheid is real in UK universities so why aren’t more people fighting it? Daily Telegraph, 11 December 2013 [external link]

‘We will fight them like the suffragettes’: Protesters target Universities UK over sex segregation policy, Politics, 11 December 2013 [external link]

The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry at UK’s universities, The Spectator, 11 December 2013 [external link]

Sex apartheid in British universities deemed acceptable, Voice of Russia, 11 December 2013 [external link]

Gender Segregation protests against university guidelines, Channel 4 News, 10 December 2013 [external link]

Why we are protesting against gender segregation this evening, Left Foot Forward, 10 December 2013 [external link]

Sex segregation at university debates is not okay, Care2, 30 November 2013 [external link]

Should Britain ban the niqab? Channel 4thought.tv, 27 November 2013 [external link]

Leaving the Faith, BBC Radio 4, 27 November 2013 [external link]

British Universities shouldn’t condone this kind of gender segregation, The Guardian CiF, 26 November 2013 [external link]

Other press coverage can be found here.

Islamists and Universities UK: You have been warned!

To mark 10 December, International Human Rights Day, and in lieu of our protest rally against Universities UK’s endorsement of sex segregation at British universities, which is being held today from 5-6:30pm in London today, Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation announces the official start of sex apartheid busters.

Here’s what you can do:

* Join today’s rally. DATE: Tuesday 10 December 2013. TIME: 5:00-6:30pm. Universities UK, Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ (Closest Underground Stations: Euston or Russell Square).

Sign our petition against sex segregation at universities. Let’s get 10,000 signatures by the end of today.

* Contact us if you hear of any segregated events so we can organise against them.

* Become part of a team that will go to segregated events and stop the segregation. Anyone who is opposed to segregation and is pro-equality, women’s rights, and secularism is welcome to join.

From this day on, there will no longer be any segregated meetings at universities or public spaces if we can help it.

Islamists (and your apologists such as Universities UK): You have been warned!

To join Sex Apartheid Busters, contact Maryam Namazie.

December 10: Protest Universities UK’s endorsement of Gender Apartheid at British Universities

CAMPAIGN-genderequaluk-Maha-Kamal DATE: Tuesday 10 December 2013

TIME: 5:00-6:30pm

AT: Universities UK, Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ (Closest Underground Stations: Euston or Russell Square)

Universities UK (UUK) guidance to universities on external speakers endorses gender apartheid by saying that 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!”

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.

Join Us on International Human Rights Day to unequivocally reject gender apartheid.

It’s 2013. Let’s not time travel.

Contacts: Maryam Namazie, [email protected], 077 1916 6731 or Chris Moos, [email protected], 074 2872 0599.

More information here.

A lesson on sex-segregation with more work to be done

UPDATE: Peter Tatchell just sent information on Islamists being blocked from meeting at East London University after protests; their meeting was meant to be segregated too. Read more here.

gender_segregationI had earlier reported on the sex segregation scandal at University College London (UCL)  during a March 9 debate between atheist Lawrence Krauss and Islamist Hamza Andreas Tzortzis organised by the Islamic Education & Research Academy (a nice sounding front for Islamism).

UCL did quickly concede that sex segregation was contrary to its policies and banned IERA from holding future meetings on its premises.

This is in and of itself an important gain for those who are opposed to sex apartheid given that  segregation of the sexes has happened at UCL before and that segregation at UCL is not an exception as reported by Student Rights.

In discussing the scandal, Lorraine Harding, a retired social policy academic, mentioned that even the police had been segregated at a meeting she attended in Bradford. She wrote on my Facebook page:  “I went to an Islamic Society debate at Bradford University where gender segregation was enforced – even on the police officers present! – by young men. I complained to both the University and the Union but had no response.”

What’s clear as daylight – to me at least – is this: had the two male students not made a fuss about the segregation, the meeting would most likely have gone ahead as planned. It’s a lesson in how even one or two students can challenge Islamists on campus even when the University is complicit. And UCL is no exception. Whilst they have come out with a statement opposing sex segregation, there are still many questions about their complicity in this whole affair, namely via staff members (Dr Aisha Rahman and security staff) who enforced the segregation on the day. You can read more about it in a new statement issued by concerned students below:

The following is a statement from concerned students

Despite denial, UCL staff found to have actively enforced gender segregation.

Following the events of March 9th, UCL has denied that its members of staff were allowing the enforced gender segregation on attendees, and issued a statement that alleged that UCL had responded appropriately to warnings from student, putting measures in place that only failed to protect students because the organiser iERA acted in counter of them (see annex). New evidence has now emerged that UCL has neglected its duty of care towards students to an unprecedented amount, with UCL staff not only tolerating, but also actively enforcing gender segregation.

An individual who identified herself as “Dr Aisha Rahman”, who claimed that she was “teaching at UCL Chemistry” and that she had “booked the room on behalf of UCL Chemistry”, said the segregation had been agreed with the university and repeatedly refused two students, Christopher Roche and Adam Barnett access to the venue unless they complied with the segregated seating plan. [Read more...]

Islamist group banned from UCL for gender apartheid

Earlier I reported on how the Islamic Education and Research Academy, an Islamist front, had segregated women and men at a March 9 debate on Islam and Atheism.

I also posted a statement by students who were there about the scandal and a statement by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

After receiving complaints about sex apartheid on its campus, UCL has banned the organisation from holding events on its premises.

Well done to the UCL for standing up for gender equality!

What remains is for other universities where these misogynists are speaking to follow suit…

(Via Chris Moos)

Institutional incompetence or moral cowardice?

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was horrified to learn of sex segregation at an Islamist-organised event in University College London last weekend.

Whilst the behaviour of the organisers is wholly predictable (it has since come to light that UCL were repeatedly informed of their intention to segregate the audience beforehand), the university’s failure to uphold such a fundamental principle of equality as non-segregation is staggering.

UCL was the first university in England to be founded on an entirely secular basis and to treat women and men equally in admissions. At this point in time it is unclear whether the university’s complicity in enforcing a gender segregation policy was the result of institutional incompetence or moral cowardice. Regardless, UCL must realise that their reputation as pioneers of equality in academia now risks being reduced to tatters unless action is taken immediately to ensure that this is never allowed to happen again.

For more information, contact:
Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: [email protected]
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

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. [Read more...]