You’ll remember the recent kerfuffle at University College London when a Muslim student group segregated an audience by gender in a debate between Lawrence Krauss and Hamza Tzortzis. Despite some claims that the segregation was “voluntary,” that appears to be untrue, and the Islamic Education and Research Academy has been barred from hosting further events at UCL.
Now it’s happened again, this time at the University of Leicester. And Tzortzis was involved again. According to the Guardian:
The University of Leicester has launched an investigation into gender segregation at a public lecture held by its student Islamic society.
The talk, entitled Does God Exist?, featured a guest speaker Hamza Tzortzis as part of an Islamic Awareness week. Seating at the event was segregated, with different entrances into the lecture theatre for men and women. . .
In Leicester, more than 100 students attended the segregated event, which took place last month. A photograph passed to the Guardian shows signs put up in a university building, directing the segregation.
A message on the group’s website says: “In all our events, [the society] operate a strict policy of segregated seating between males and females.” The statement was removed after the Guardian contacted the society.
The authorities at Leicester are investigating this incident, trying to determine whether the segregated seating was voluntary (apparently okay) or forcible (not okay). I guess I have no beef against Muslim women wanting to sit together on their own, but “voluntary” versus “mandated” blurs when you know you’ll incur the disapprobation of your coreligionists if you try to sit with the men. One person recognizes this obvious fact:
. . . .Rupert Sutton, from the campus watchdog Student Rights, has claimed there is “consistent use of segregation by student Islamic societies across the country”.
He wrote: “While this may be portrayed as voluntary by those who enforce it, the pressure put on female students to conform and obey these rules that encourage subjugation should not be underestimated.”
Here’s a photo from the Guardian article apparently showing the “voluntary” nature of the seating arrangements at that event:
Okay, Peter Hitchens, Glenn Greenwald, et al.: do you really think that Islam is no more pernicious than other faiths? You won’t see this at events sponsored by Christian or Jewish organizations (although, in another case of disempowering women, Orthodox Jews segregate their women at social events and in synagogue, where they must sit in the rear, behind a screen).
h/t: L. G.