Segregated Seating Row At UCL Debate Between Islam And Atheism

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An academic says he threatened to walk out of a debate hosted by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) because organisers tried to segregate the audience.

Professor Lawrence Krauss, one of the world’s leading atheists, was lined up to debate against Islamic lecturer Hamza Andreas Tzortzis at University College London on Saturday.

Women were reportedly told by organisers to sit separately from men and couples.

Krauss refused to participate in the debate, entitled ‘Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?’ until they changed their minds.

He tweeted: “Almost walked out of debate as it ended up segregated + saw 3 kids being ejected for sitting in wrong place. I packed up and they caved in.”

Krauss posted a link to a video and account of the row from a woman who said she had been told “women were to sit in the back of the auditorium, while men and couples could file into the front.”

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Update: An article from The Guardian

UCL investigating after Islamic group debate segregated seating by gender

A professor speaking at the event organised by an Islamic group refused to participate unless segregation was abandoned

University College London. An Islamic group reportedly held a debate there at which seating was segregated by gender. Photograph: Rex Features

London university has launched an investigation after an Islamic group hosted a debate on its premises with seating segregated bygender.

University College London said reports of segregation at the debate hosted by the Islamic Education and Research Academy on 9 March were worrying.

The debate, “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?” featured Professor Lawrence Krauss, an eminent atheist, and Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, a lecturer on Islam.

When Professor Krauss saw people being removed from their seats, he said he would not speak at an event that was segregated and walked out to cheers and boos from the audience. An organiser pursued him and said segregation would be abandoned.

A spokesman for UCL said they learnt of the incident late on Sunday and were investigating to see if any internal policies had been infringed.

Read more

Written By: Tom Moseley
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.co.uk

28 COMMENTS

  1. London, UK, my goodness one would think that the event was being held in Saudi Arabia and not one of the world’s great cities. Good for you Lawrence Krauss for being firm on equality. If every nation and all people had the courage to take a stand against oppression, segregation and tribalism, then surely all communities would benefit.

    • LOL. There was no “segregation” just some women who wanted to sit separately from everyone else and some perverts who were harassing them.

      In reply to #2 by lindawardselbie:

      London, UK, my goodness one would think that the event was being held in Saudi Arabia and not one of the world’s great cities. Good for you Lawrence Krauss for being firm on equality. If every nation and all people had the courage to take a stand against oppression, segregation and tribalism, then surely all communities would benefit.

      • In reply to #6 by alevel18:

        LOL. There was no “segregation” just some women who wanted to sit separately from everyone else and some perverts who were harassing them.

        I am sure there was a door in the building labelled “LADIES”, where they could have done so in individual cubicles !!!!

        … . . Although as far as “perverts harassing them” goes: – They would have to go home in their black sacks as second-class citizens eventually!

      • In reply to #6 by alevel18:

        LOL. There was no “segregation” just some women who wanted to sit separately from everyone else and some perverts who were harassing them.

        What do you know… playing the victim card, again. That´s new…

      • In reply to #6 by alevel18:

        LOL. There was no “segregation” just some women who wanted to sit separately from everyone else and some perverts who were harassing them.

        In reply to #2 by lindawardselbie:

        London, UK, my goodness one would think that the event was being held in Saudi Arabia and not one of the world’s great cities. Good for you Lawrence Krauss for being firm on equality. If every nation and all people had the courage to take a stand against oppression, segregation and tribalism, then surely all communities would benefit.

        In reply to #6 by alevel18:

        LOL. There was no “segregation” just some women who wanted to sit separately from everyone else and some perverts who were harassing them.

        In reply to #2 by lindawardselbie:

        London, UK, my goodness one would think that the event was being held in Saudi Arabia and not one of the world’s great cities. Good for you Lawrence Krauss for being firm on equality. If every nation and all people had the courage to take a stand against oppression, segregation and tribalism, then surely all communities would benefit.

        No alevel18, you’re wrong. The iERA admitted that they broke the agreement and tried to have some segregated areas of the room. What woman or guy moved where is a moot point. They ( the iERA) admitted they tried to segregate the event against the agreement.

  2. I am a big fan of Lawrence Krauss. But did he research this Hamza character before agreeing to debate with him? This guy already declared publicly that homosexuality should be criminalized in exactly the same way as cannibalism and pedophilia. And that it should be punished the same way as adultery: by stoning.
    Lots of people mobilized here in Montreal, successfully, to prevent him from speaking at Concordia University.
    That’s because we’re for free speech, except when it’s to incite murder!

    I’m not sure what one can hope to achieve debating a man like that.

    By the way, this Hamza individual is himself against ANY free speech. Here are his words:
    “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom. We see under the Khilafa (caliphate), when people used to engage in a positive way, this idea of freedom was redundant, it was unnecessary, [...]“

    • In reply to #3 by Fouad Boussetta:

      I am a big fan of Lawrence Krauss. But did he research this Hamza character before agreeing to debate with him? This guy already declared publicly that homosexuality should be criminalized in exactly the same way as cannibalism and pedophilia. And that it should be punished the same way as adultery: by stoning.
      Lots of people mobilized here in Montreal, successfully, to prevent him from speaking at Concordia University.

      Fouad, Inviting people like Hamza to speak is par for the course for the useful idiots that run British Universities. I assume they will now give a voice to a representative of the BNP or EDL. Nothing suprises me in the crazy crazy world of British student politics. The phrase “useful idiots” was coined for them!!

  3. Lawrence does great work and we are indebted to people like him. Freespeech notwithstanding there is something awkward about debating with a half wit and in particular one who denies freedom of speech as a right. On such invitations Jefferson’s advice is appropriate.

    • R.D. has said he won’t debate some category of wing-nuts because to do so would only give them undeserved legitimacy. It would be interesting to know why L.K. chose to engage with this reputed half-wit. I’d certainly like to listen to the debate they had. In reply to #5 by Vorlund:

      Lawrence does great work and we are indebted to people like him. Freespeech notwithstanding there is something awkward about debating with a half wit and in particular one who denies freedom of speech as a right. On such invitations Jefferson’s advice is appropriate.

    • In reply to #8 by Graham1:

      This is what these islamic Fascists do here – it is creeping in little bit by little bit and the British have their heads in the sand.

      Not so much the population but certainly a government and the barking waffling liberal elite classes, that thinks integration is the best thing since sliced bread cos it shows how jolly decent human beings they are…while kicking the indigenous poor in the guts time and again… and multiculturalism is what we all want or should want or indeed will have by hook* or by crook*…seemingly by both at the same time!

      I suggest *Hook as in Abu Hamza and *Crook as in Tzortsis!

  4. So, there was a couples section eh? I wonder how happy they would have been if any gay couples had wanted to sit there.

    There is no place for this type of apartheid in any university, let alone a leading London one.

  5. Big mistake agreeing to debate Tzortsis who is a professional convert and Islamic cabaret proselytiser. Krauss debating this performing convert gives him credibility he is unworthy of and such debates are often used to lead his deluded fans to a frenzy of triumphalism. They usually all end up bleeting ‘Allah Hu Alkbar’.

    There has been an offer by a prominent Ytube Atheist called the TheRationalizer who is an occasional contributor to this channel to debate Tzortsis who though promised he would, never has. He has even managed to avoid addressing a Ytube campaign imploring him to debate TheRationalizer.
    Tzortisis was briefly fried when they clashed on a blog tv show called the ‘Magic Sandwich Show’. He was prevented from performing his tired old ‘William Lane Graig Kalam shtik’ and has avoided TheRationlizer ever since. Kraus is giving credibility to those who are intellectually unworthy of such credibility. Like Dawkins he should refuse to engage these performing professional proselytisers. Tzortsis seeks only to enhance his mythic status as an ‘Islamic intellectual’ (! ) by ‘being seen’ with people of real ability. It lifts him in the eyes of his IERA Islamic fan base who don’t know any better since they suffer the same religious delusion and Islamic mental processing.
    Its a mistake Lawrence. Guys like Tzortisis are best left crowing in the darkness and magic they mistake for reality .

  6. A clear case of Dr.Krauss not understanding that culture matters. That if he is speaking in a forum where they want to live their lives by a 9th century system, and that everyone else must do likewise, than who is he to “inflict” decency and equality onto the scene.

    And great job in calling their bluff Doc. So after the women sat next to the men, did the sky open up? Did lightning bolts flash? Come on, the Huffington Post is silent on the divine retribution angle.

  7. ****UPDATE****

    UCL have made a statement

    IERA event at UCL on 9 March
    11 March 2013

    An organisation known as the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) booked a room at UCL for a debate on Saturday evening (9 March). UCL was notified during Friday by some individuals planning to attend the event that the organisers intended to segregate the audience by gender.

    This was directly contrary to UCL policy. We do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds at meetings held on campus. We immediately made clear to the organisers that the event would be cancelled if there were any attempt to enforce such segregation. We also required the organisers to make it explicit to attendees that seating arrangements were optional, and guests were welcome to sit wherever they felt comfortable. We also arranged for additional security staff to be present to ensure that people were not seated against their wishes.

    It now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting. We are still investigating what actually happened at the meeting but, given IERA’s original intentions for a segregated audience we have concluded that their interests are contrary to UCL’s ethos and that we should not allow any further events involving them to take place on UCL premises.

  8. Poor UCL, how you’ve changed! If only they could see you now!.
    I wonder who was the moron that allowed such stupidity. How is it possible that one of the best institutions in the capital of a great country has fallen so low as to organize a debate where the visitors were forced to adapt to the habits and rules of a primitive society? The barbarians are at the gates, but it seems they’re gradually getting through. Is it possible that nobody has the guts to put an end to all this nonsense?

  9. I have just seen the mobile phone footage of Lawrence packing his bags and walking out on the organisers. It was awesome. When they chased after him and promised to correct the situation he relented, probably for his gentlemanly ways. I wish in some respects he’d refused and treated them like the contemptible shite they are.

  10. This is from the IERA website:-

    >
    iERA is an international dawah organisation committed to educating and informing humanity about the truth and noble message of Islam.
    >

    Really? there is nobility in blatant misogyny?

    >
    Our work is focused around creating a mass movement in dawah, on a scale that would be unprecedented in modern history. As an academy, we support our work through research led initiatives which are developed as projects or ‘models’. For this reason iERA has a dedicated research department; the first of its kind for a Muslim organisation in the West. These projects have already made a big impression in the community; these include Mission Dawah, Muslim Now, One Reason and The BIG Debates.

    >
    In addition to this we have full time Islamic speakers (da’ees) who deliver lectures, seminars and training courses.

    But only to those who sit where we tell them to.

    >
    iERA looks to dovetail into existing dawah efforts, by enhancing their effectiveness, whilst exploring new and innovative methods to reach different audiences and breakdown barriers.
    >

    Breaking down barriers? but not the ones you’d put round half the human race because they were created defective!

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