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/

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...]

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...]