Fitnah’s Unveiled: Against Gender Apartheid

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Unveiled
A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
January 2014
Volume 2, Issue 1

Editor: Maryam Namazie
Design: Kiran Opal

Read PDF file here.

Against gender apartheid: Mixing is the future of humanity
Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas

Maryam Namazie: What is the nature of the recent sex segregation scandal at Universities UK where the representative body issued guidance saying side by side sex segregation was permissible? Why does it occur and by whom is it imposed? Also, it’s more than just a question of physical separation isn’t it?

Marieme Helie Lucas: Just like with the niqab, it’s an extreme-Right political organisation working under the cover of religion to promote sex segregation as a pawn in the political landscape and using all possible means to make itself visible and impose its mores and laws. The idea is to permanently demonstrate that the law of god (as interpreted by them) supersedes the law of the people. It is a blatant attack on the very principle of democracy and one woman/man, one vote, particularly relevant in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s death. Read the rest of the interview here.

News Flash: December 2013

Iran: The new president Hassan Rouhani pledged during election campaign speeches that he ‘would not allow any agent to question anyone in the street’ and that ‘girls should feel secure’. But only four months later, the Headquarters for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has announced improperly dressed women will be issued with official warnings. Cleric Hayder Zahraei, who is in charge of the nationwide plan, said: ‘This grand plan will be implemented in some 200 cities across the country. The plan will be expanded and fully implemented in society.’ Brig. Genral Ahmadi Moghadam, commander of the State Security Forces, also said on August 12: “With Rouhani there will be no changes with regards to the veil.” On September 8 an order was issued to ‘intensify dealing with women who are not properly dressed’. Read the rest of News Flash here.

Arts Corner

Kiana Hayeri’s photographic project Beyond the Veil shows a predominantly young Iranian population (more than seventy-five percent is under the age of thirty-five) challenging compulsory hijab or veiling and restrictive rules in the way they dress or interact with the opposite sex despite fines, imprisonment and worse. Read the rest here.

Campaigns

More than a 100 protestors rallied outside the office of Universities UK (UUK) to condemn their endorsement of segregation of the sexes and demand gender equality on 10 December 2013, International Human Rights Day. The rally was organised by Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation, One Law for All and London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society. Read the rest here.

Letter to the Editor

Having naked women on your cover is offensive and pornographic, N Abraham: Having naked women on many of your covers daubed in slogans does not empower me – it reminds me of page three models who are said to be exploited by men/media. It feeds into western ideals that twerking is good, in my opinion, and loses the message these girls are trying to make (except look at her body; she wants to be a porn star. And I am not religious – yes we get that! It is also a bit clichéd). Much better to put Iman from a Vogue fashion shoot on the front – that would make a point without nudity (assuming you chose the right photo!) Also, having naked women half draped in the Muslim women’s covering showing their nude parts is offensive and belittles the women who choose to cover up…! I find this offensive. Women have the right to cover up or not. Your pictures and not just one, encourages pornographic imagery and the consequences of that – you saying these women want to be part of this industry under their burkas. I am not a feminist as defined by some people but a woman and this is my opinion.

Read our response here.

Editorial
Gender apartheid is an Islamist demand
Maryam Namazie

Segregation of the sexes is an Islamist demand though it is often couched as a right and demand of ‘Muslims’. When Islamists have state power like in Iran or Saudi Arabia, it’s the law. Transgressing it can mean fines, imprisonment or worse. There, women must enter government offices via separate entrances from men; they must sit behind men or boys in classrooms and at the back of the bus… Read the rest here.

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 maryamnamazie@gmail.com. 

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

Sexual segregation at a UCL event is a scandal

I posted earlier about the sex segregation scandal at UCL.

Here’s a statement by concerned students on the matter (updated with a quote from a woman student):

A policy of sexual segregation was enforced at an event at University College London on Saturday, with the organisers’ security trying to physically remove members of the audience who would not comply.

Seating at the event was segregated between men and women, with a small ‘mixed’ space allocated for couples.

Separate entrances were in place for women and men, although ‘couples’ were allowed to enter via the men’s door. Male attendees were refused entry via the women’s door.

The event “Islam vs Atheism” on Saturday 9th was organised by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), and pitted writer Hamza Tzortzis against Professor Laurence Krauss in a debate.

A policy of segregation was suggested by IERA in a statement before the event, which said: “As for seating, it is according to when the ticket was booked and gender.” This was raised by students with UCL, who gave assurances that no segregation would be allowed.

Fiona McClement, UCL equalities and diversities adviser, said on 8th March: “We have been in contact with the event organisers and made it clear that UCL will not permit enforced gender segregated seating. All attendees are free to sit wherever they feel comfortable.” [Read more…]