Sexual Apartheid in University College, London (w/ Spanish and Polish translations)

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Lawrence Krauss has told me of a remarkable meeting at University College, London last night  (March 9th) where he had a debate with a Muslim spokesman.

A few days ago, I had received a tip-off from somebody who had made an inquiry about tickets: ‘We contacted the organizers today and learnt that "as for seating, it is according to when the ticket was booked and gender”.’


“Gender”?  Seating at a public event in UCL organized by gender?

I passed this on to Lawrence, with the suggestion that he might consider withdrawing from the whole affair. He immediately asked the organizers, who assured him that the audience would not be segregated by sex, and Lawrence agreed to go ahead.

When he got to the meeting he discovered that actually the seating in the auditorium was indeed segregated by sex. There was a men’s section, a women’s section, and a “couples” section. Did the “couples” have to produce a marriage certificate, one can’t help wondering? And, while wondering such things, what would have been the reaction of the audience if they had been segregated, as in apartheid South Africa, into a black section, a white section and a “coloureds” section?

When Lawrence realised that he had been duped, he immediately secured permission from the organizers to announce that – contrary to previous instructions – people could sit wherever they wanted. Three young men, described by Lawrence as nice gentle guys, then got up and moved to the women’s section in the back. “In the back”, by the way, may resonate with those who remember Rosa Parks in Alabama in 1955. Security guards then tried to eject the three young men. Lawrence went to find out why, and the guards told him the three were a “threat”. Threat to whom, one wonders?

Lawrence then packed his bag and walked out, explaining why he was doing so, and this part of the evening’s events was filmed by Dana Sondergaard on a smartphone. She sent the film to Lawrence and has said that I can re-post it her. Her own eye-witness account of the event is on her Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151324574843231

After Lawrence walked out, the organizers, perhaps worried about adverse publicity, ran after him and persuaded him to come back, agreeing to let the three young men return to their seats in the “women’s section”. Unfortunately in my opinion, Lawrence agreed to return. It was a decent gesture on his part, but I can’t help wishing he had refused and generated maximum publicity for this disgraceful episode. I suspect that he too now regrets his bending over backwards to be polite, and to return. I also regret that more people didn’t move along with the three men, and it’s a bit of a shame that no women, in the spirit of Rosa Parks, moved to the men’s section.

It is unclear whether the UCL authorities were aware that sexual apartheid was being practised in one of their lecture rooms, but we may hope that a full inquiry will be launched.

University College, London is celebrated as an early haven of enlightened free thinking, the first university college in England to have a secular foundation, and the first to admit men and women on equal terms. Heads should roll.

Isn’t it really about time we decent, nice, liberal people stopped being so pusillanimously terrified of being thought “Islamophobic” and stood up for decent, nice, liberal values?

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Apartheid Sexual en el University College de Londres

 

 

via http://es.richarddawkins.net/

 

Lawrence Krauss me ha platicado de una singular reunión en el University Collegede Londres, la noche del 9 de marzo, en la que debatió con un portavoz musulmán.

Unos días antes yo había sido alertado por alguien que había hecho preguntas respecto a las entradas al debate: 'Hoy contactamos a los organizadores y nos enteramos que "con respecto a la asignación de asientos, esta será de acuerdo a la fecha de reservación y al género (sexo)".'

¿"Género"? ¿La signación de asientos en un evento público de la UCL, organizado por género?

Avisé de esto a Lawrence, con la sugerencia de que tal vez debería considerar retirarse de todo el asunto. Él inmediatamente llamó a los organizadores, quienes le aseguraron que la audiencia no sería segregada por sexo y Lawrence accedió a proseguir.

Cuando llegó a la reunión descubrió que, de hecho, la asignación de lugares en el auditorio estaba segregada por sexo. Había una sección de hombres, una de mujeres y otra de "parejas". Uno no puede dejar de preguntarse si las "parejas" habrán tenido que mostrar algún tipo de certificado de matrimonio… Y, ya que estamos en esto, ¿cuál hubiera sido la reacción del público si hubiesen sido segregados, como en la Sudáfrica del apartheid, en una sección de negros, una de blancos y otra de "coloreados"?

para continuar al artículo en español 

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Apartheid płci w University College w Londynie

Autor tekstu: 

Tłumaczenie: Małgorzata Koraszewska

Lawrence Krauss opowiedział mi o zdumiewającym spotkaniu wczoraj wieczorem (9 marca) w University College w Londynie, gdzie odbył debatę z rzecznikiem muzułmańskim.

Kilka dni temu dowiedziałem się o tym spotkaniu od kogoś, kto zadzwonił z pytaniem o bilety: "Skontaktowaliśmy się dzisiaj z organizatorami i dowiedzieliśmy się, że 'jeśli chodzi o miejsca, zależy to od tego, kiedy bilet został zamówiony oraz od płci'".

„Płci"? Rozmieszczenie słuchaczy na publicznym spotkaniu w UCL zorganizowane zostało z segregacją według płci?

Przekazałem to Lawrence’owi, sugerując, że może powinien zastanowić się nad wycofaniem z debaty. Natychmiast zapytał organizatorów, którzy zapewnili go, że sala nie będzie podzielona według płci i Lawrence zgodził się przyjść.

Czytaj dalej

Written By: Richard Dawkins
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229 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article Richard. You’re right this is an absolute disgrace and the University should have an inquiry to find out how this could have been allowed to happen.

    We must stop capitulating to theocratic bullies!

  2. One wonders what the reaction would have been to same-sex couples in the audience, if it was indeed some kind of regressive islamic social police arranging this.

    Jeremy Bentham is no doubt spinning in his box as we speak. Perhaps somebody should attach a couple of magnets to him and generate a bit of free electricity from this traditional form of post-mortem outrage…

  3. If I was Professor Krauss I wouldn’t have even given this Hamza fellow the air time. Such spokesmen are relics of a sexist belief system and only stand to gain credibility when they get the chance to rub up against someone as respected as Professor Krauss whatever the outcome.

  4. I’ve been doing my best to publicize this too. I learned about it via the invaluable Chris Moos of the LSE ASH society – who was also invaluable during the horrible episode last year when the LSE SU accused the ASH society of “Islamophobia”. I did a post about it on Friday in the hopes that more people would be aware of the situation in time for the debate.

    [Link to personal blog removed by moderator]

    I updated the article to report the good news that the organizers had agreed there would be no gender segregation. Funny how it turns out they didn’t mean a word of it! It’s a stinking outrage.

  5. Dr. Krauss shouldn’t have even shared a platform with a half-wit like Hamza. Would he have a public debate with a primary school child about religion and science? It would be insulting to Dr. Krauss and the profession for such a humorous event! What relevance does Hamza have to share a platform with a scientist? The man read two books and now considers himself in the same league as people who dedicated their lives to the study of a profession a few have the ability to succeed in. What a pathetic scum.

  6. “It is unclear whether the UCL authorities were aware that sexual apartheid was being practised in one of their lecture rooms, but we may hope that a full inquiry will be launched.”

    They were aware. Chris Moos of LSE ASH wrote to them, and they responded. The Equalities and Diversity officer told him that while “voluntary” segregation would be permitted there would also be a large area of mixed seating. This is a slightly ambiguous response, since it’s not clear what is really “voluntary”…

    • In reply to #7 by OpheliaBenson:

      “It is unclear whether the UCL authorities were aware that sexual apartheid was being practised in one of their lecture rooms, but we may hope that a full inquiry will be launched.”

      They were aware. Chris Moos of LSE ASH wrote to them, and they responded. The Equalities and Diversity officer told him that while “voluntary” segregation would be permitted there would also be a large area of mixed seating. This is a slightly ambiguous response, since it’s not clear what is really “voluntary”…

      It was voluntary.

      At the end of the Q&A session, one of the Muslim females from the back actually read out a statement to Krauss on behalf of them defending their preferred seating at the rear and that HE should not have forced his atheistic rule on them, by forcing a mixed seating arrangement upon them.

  7. I read this article twice and still have a rough time understanding it. I even looked at my calendar. Do you mean, somebody asked for gender of ticket buyers for a SCIENCE conference? At UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, in London? In 2013?? And people got along with it without bashing any cretin missoginist’s skull in???

    I guess we all deserve the world we live in, eh?

    • In reply to #8 by Sue Fics:

      I read this article twice and still have a rough time understanding it. I even looked at my calendar. Do you mean, somebody asked for gender of ticket buyers for a SCIENCE conference? At UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, in London? In 2013?? And people got along with it without bashing any cretin missoginist’s skull in???

      I guess we all deserve the world we live in, eh?

      Unfortunately I have been reading a book about racism across Europe and it is reported that in Spain a cinema ticket was not available for black people. (difficult to believe isn´t it ?)

      I would leave the place and wouldn´t accept attending, but it seems most people accepted this.

  8. What blows me away about this whole incident, and many like it, is the unquestioning complacency and obsequious, ovine nature of the audience. Were they aware of the college seating arrangements or were they simply indifferent to being manipulated? If people refuse to take charge of their personal freedoms they are destined to prolong a sick, top-down social psyche in humanity.

  9. Here is what Hamza had to say about this:

    “13. At the beginning of the debate the Professor made a huge spectacle concerning the way a section of the audience was segregated. The auditorium had a mixed gender section, a male section and a female section. This was not enforced and was done to cater for everyone’s social etiquettes. Unfortunately, the Professor stormed out of the room and demanded that a couple of guys who wanted to sit in the middle of the sisters section were not thrown out of the room. He obviously did not want to hear the truth, as the guys were thrown out of the room due to their behaviour (I believe they were allowed back in). Also, if some women didn’t want to sit with men, then we should respect that. Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think? This seems to have been a deliberate move from the some of the Atheists because they probably knew their spokesman would not have a strong argument. It seems to me that the Professor was just forcing his own beliefs on others.”

    I don’t see what the big deal is. This has absolutely nothing to do with “sexual apartheid” as the author implies, or one gender being better than the other or any of that nonsense. Respect other people’s choices the same way you expect others to respect yours.

    • In reply to #10 by aboodesta:

      Here is what Hamza had to say about this:

      “13. At the beginning of the debate the Professor made a huge spectacle concerning the way a section of the audience was segregated. The auditorium had a mixed gender section, a male section and a female section. This was not enforced and was done to cater for everyone’s social etiquettes. Unfortunately, the Professor stormed out of the room and demanded that a couple of guys who wanted to sit in the middle of the sisters section were not thrown out of the room. He obviously did not want to hear the truth, as the guys were thrown out of the room due to their behaviour (I believe they were allowed back in). Also, if some women didn’t want to sit with men, then we should respect that. Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think? This seems to have been a deliberate move from the some of the Atheists because they probably knew their spokesman would not have a strong argument. It seems to me that the Professor was just forcing his own beliefs on others.”

      I don’t see what the big deal is. This has absolutely nothing to do with “sexual apartheid” as the author implies, or one gender being better than the other or any of that nonsense. Respect other people’s choices the same way you expect others to respect yours.

      Hang on. This is not about someone’s choice to segregate from others. It is about someone exporting their choice to segregate from others to the realms of a university founded on the virtues of equality. If you feel uncomfortable near people of different gender, race or faith – no one forces you to come in contact. However, you cannot expect an institution like a university to cater for that. If you want to visit the equality club you have to accept equality rules. Just as if I wouldn’t like to take my shoes of, I would not be able to visit the mosque. I could not expect people to ‘respect my choice’ to wear shoes wherever I like. I have to accept the rules of the host institution.

      • no, you should respect the rules of the organisers. or don’t attend their events.

        In reply to #13 by Bam:

        In reply to #10 by aboodesta:

        Here is what Hamza had to say about this:

        “13. At the beginning of the debate the Professor made a huge spectacle concerning the way a section of the audience was segregated. The auditorium had a mixed gender section, a male section and a female section. This was not enforced and was done to cater for everyone’s social etiquettes. Unfortunately, the Professor stormed out of the room and demanded that a couple of guys who wanted to sit in the middle of the sisters section were not thrown out of the room. He obviously did not want to hear the truth, as the guys were thrown out of the room due to their behaviour (I believe they were allowed back in). Also, if some women didn’t want to sit with men, then we should respect that. Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think? This seems to have been a deliberate move from the some of the Atheists because they probably knew their spokesman would not have a strong argument. It seems to me that the Professor was just forcing his own beliefs on others.”

        I don’t see what the big deal is. This has absolutely nothing to do with “sexual apartheid” as the author implies, or one gender being better than the other or any of that nonsense. Respect other people’s choices the same way you expect others to respect yours.

        Hang on. This is not about someone’s choice to segregate from others. It is about someone exporting their choice to segregate from others to the realms of a university founded on the virtues of equality. If you feel uncomfortable near people of different gender, race or faith – no one forces you to come in contact. However, you cannot expect an institution like a university to cater for that. If you want to visit the equality club you have to accept equality rules. Just as if I wouldn’t like to take my shoes of, I would not be able to visit the mosque. I could not expect people to ‘respect my choice’ to wear shoes wherever I like. I have to accept the rules of the host institution.

    • It has everything to do with sexual apartheid – if a group of people want to sit together, they could easily do so. The system as it is works. LET people sit where they wish, women can group together if they wish, men can too, Races even. But they do so on their own, without the establishment getting involved. creating barriers like this is just the start of tyranny, it sounds good and liberal on the face of it, when in reality making these rules of separation is just pointless control. Why did they even try to make a point of this system?

      why the need to create something, for which people could create on their own if they wished? there could be designated seating of 100 women 200 mixed 100 men.. Well what happens if only 3 women want to sit in womens only and the rest do not mind. they could surly just sit next to another women and be fine with it. and not force 97 other women who do not care about sitting amongst men, to be in the “womens only” section.

      This is not something we face here in this country, women do not in general care what sex they sit with, its an equality thing.
      In reply to #10 by aboodesta:

      Here is what Hamza had to say about this:

      “13. At the beginning of the debate the Professor made a huge spectacle concerning the way a section of the audience was segregated. The auditorium had a mixed gender section, a male section and a female section. This was not enforced and was done to cater for everyone’s social etiquettes. Unfortunately, the Professor stormed out of the room and demanded that a couple of guys who wanted to sit in the middle of the sisters section were not thrown out of the room. He obviously did not want to hear the truth, as the guys were thrown out of the room due to their behaviour (I believe they were allowed back in). Also, if some women didn’t want to sit with men, then we should respect that. Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think? This seems to have been a deliberate move from the some of the Atheists because they probably knew their spokesman would not have a strong argument. It seems to me that the Professor was just forcing his own beliefs on others.”

      I don’t see what the big deal is. This has absolutely nothing to do with “sexual apartheid” as the author implies, or one gender being better than the other or any of that nonsense. Respect other people’s choices the same way you expect others to respect yours.

    • In reply to #10 by aboodesta:

      I don’t see what the big deal is. This has absolutely nothing to do with “sexual apartheid” as the author implies, or one gender being better than the other or any of that nonsense. Respect other people’s choices the same way you expect others to respect yours.”

      No sir, this is just another variant of the “separate but equal” doctrine used to justify segregation.

  10. New information via Chris Moos of the LSE Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society. What he describes is shocking. There were segregated queues; there were five security guards provided by the organizers, who tried to physically remove audience members who refused to comply with gender segregation.

    [Link to personal blog removed by moderator for 4th time. Please do not repost]

    • In reply to #11 by OpheliaBenson:

      New information via Chris Moos of the LSE Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society. What he describes is shocking. There were segregated queues; there were five security guards provided by the organizers, who tried to physically remove audience members who refused to comply with gender segregation.[Link to personal blog removed by moderator for 4th time. Please do not repost]

      How the hell (pun) can UCL allow this sort of thing, thugs (allied to one side of a debate at that) police a university campus lecture and segregate queues by gender? UCL should not be allowed hold such events ever again. I’ll be reading the personal blog also even though it might be a little bit of work to find it.

      • In reply to #167 by Tintern:

        In reply to #11 by OpheliaBenson:

        New information via Chris Moos of the LSE Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society. What he describes is shocking. There were segregated queues; there were five security guards provided by the organizers, who tried to physically remove audience members who refused to comply with gender segregation.[Link to personal blog removed by moderator for 4th time. Please do not repost]

        How the hell (pun) can UCL allow this sort of thing, thugs (allied to one side of a debate at that) police a university campus lecture and segregate queues by gender? UCL should not be allowed hold such events ever again. I’ll be reading the personal blog also even though it might be a little bit of work to find it.

        Yes I agree.

        [Comment on moderation policy removed by moderator in keeping with site policy]

        Still there are no rules about me posting links to related articles referring to the thread, so here they are – including Maryam’s site who is (rightfully) really giving this a push.

        Ophelia Benson

        Maryam 1

        Maryam 2

        Maryam 3

        Also, regarding the misogyny, I followed a link from one of Ophelias’s posts regarding Hamza Andreas Tzortzis: Islam or Atheism? from the Aston Humanist Society (yep, from Washington to the British midlands in the click of a mouse!) where, at a talk in 2010, women were not allowed to directly address the speaker:

        The Q(and)A session started with the announcement that whilst the Brothers in the audience were allowed to address the speaker directly, the Sisters had to write their question on a slip of paper which was then passed down to the front and vetted before being answered. Unbelievable.

        Apparently this was because Islam (read muslim men) knowing the true nature of (muslim) women, understand that they are but shy, withdrawing, mousey little creatures.

        Somewhat like flowers, delicate and easily harmed by the lightest of breezes.

        None of their questions, after vetting, were answered.

        I can only suppose that being referred to by the speaker may have caused them some considerable shock?

        See how considerate Islamism can be.

        The piece gives a good insight into Tzortzis, and is really worth a read.

        Anvil.

  11. I hope the organisers of this event are exposed, they should not be allowed to mediate events at a university, especially for a debate like this. I agree that Krauss shouldn’t of returned, but I guess not everyone is as capable as Dawkins for causing controversy and fighting issues like inequality head-on with little compromise. (I know I don’t have the balls to be like Dawkins; I probably would’ve just fumed on the inside)

    However, if it was in the interest of religious respect, they could of offered a segregated section for those who WANTED and CHOSE to sit separately from the other sex. But I guess that still doesn’t make sense; bottom line is that this was an university event taking place in a university lecture hall.

  12. Well, there is, in my view, such a think as Islamophobia. I understand it as the irrational fear and mistrust of all Mulsims, itself an unchecked belief that singles them out from other extremists and see all public manifestations Islam it as an aggression and at its core has more to do with xenophobia towards Eastern people than with secularism. I find it a useful term, but also one that can be abused, and this is definitively NOT it.

    You can have all sort of extravagant seating arrangements in private, but in an open debate at a university it is not just unacceptable as diametrically opposed to what universities stand for, but also humilliating for the adult men and women who attend. UCL should really reconsider their links with this iERA thing. Surely there are some equality regulations in place?

    Also, the most striking thing of this is how strikingly medieval and unpleasant it all sounds, but perhaps it was simply a cynical attempt to gather a predominantly Muslim audience, favourable to Hamza´s opinions and ready to cheer…

    • I don’t agree with your point that segregation in private is okay..it is discrimination and practicing it even at a private level is not victim less.

      In reply to #17 by locoloco:

      Well, there is, in my view, such a think as Islamophobia. I understand it as the irrational fear and mistrust of all Mulsims, itself an unchecked belief that singles them out from other extremists and see all public manifestations Islam it as an aggression and at its core has more to do with xenophobia towards Eastern people than with secularism. I find it a useful term, but also one that can be abused, and this is definitively NOT it.

      You can have all sort of extravagant seating arrangements in private, but in an open debate at a university it is not just unacceptable as diametrically opposed to what universities stand for, but also humilliating for the adult men and women who attend. UCL should really reconsider their links with this iERA thing. Surely there are some equality regulations in place?

      Also, the most striking thing of this is how strikingly medieval and unpleasant it all sounds, but perhaps it was simply a cynical attempt to gather a predominantly Muslim audience, favourable to Hamza´s opinions and ready to cheer…

      • In reply to #227 by tantrai:

        I don’t agree with your point that segregation in private is okay..it is discrimination and practicing it even at a private level is not victim less.

        I’d agree. Segregation is always unhealthy at most levels. The incidences where it is ok are few and far between and linked more to personal space and privacy than segregation per se – eg hospitial wards. I think it does lead to vicims, segregation is the best way to dehumanise someone and dehumanisation is the first step to discrimination.

        However no state can regulate how private individuals choose to live or worship. All it can do is educate people outside of those private spaces as best it can.

  13. There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

    • In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

      There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

      With a minuscule change this is revealed as the alarmingly inhuman nonsense that it is:
      “There’s a certain type of white woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t race segregated.
      And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of blacks ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a black atheist speaker present their case in person?”

      • In reply to #20 by Michael Kingsford Gray:

        In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

        With a minuscule change this is revealed as the alarmingly inhuman nonsense that it is:
        “There’s a certain type of white woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t race segregated.
        And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of blacks ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a black atheist speaker present their case in person?”

        Although they’re both heinously unacceptable, there’s a difference between a discriminatively brainwashed person and a oppressively brainwashed person. In this case, this certain type of white woman is showing her ‘distaste’ toward the other race, and this certain type of Muslim woman is showing her ‘respect’ toward what the males in her religion are telling her to abide to, based on their own interpretation of their ‘holy’ book.

        • In reply to #21 by dearbeatrice:

          In reply to #20 by Michael Kingsford Gray:

          :

          Although they’re both heinously unacceptable, there’s a difference between a discriminatively brainwashed person and a oppressively brainwashed person. In this case, this certain type of white woman is showing her ‘distaste’ toward the other race, and this certain type of Muslim woman is showing her ‘respect’ toward what the males in her religion are telling her to abide to, based on their own interpretation of their ‘holy’ book.

          I’m afraid that I must be very thick, as I cannot make logical head-nor-tail from your paragraph.
          To me, it sounds like so much Social Justice Gobbledegook.
          Are you able to define your two novel terms for me please?

          • In reply to #67 by Michael Kingsford Gray:

            In reply to #21 by dearbeatrice:

            In reply to #20 by Michael Kingsford Gray:

            :

            Although they’re both heinously unacceptable, there’s a difference between a discriminatively brainwashed person and a oppressively brainwashed person. In this case, this certain type of white woman is showing her ‘distaste’ toward the other race, and this certain type of Muslim woman is showing her ‘respect’ toward what the males in her religion are telling her to abide to, based on their own interpretation of their ‘holy’ book.

            I’m afraid that I must be very thick, as I cannot make logical head-nor-tail from your paragraph.
            To me, it sounds like so much Social Justice Gobbledegook.
            Are you able to define your two novel terms for me please?

            Haha yeah, it was a little wordy.

            Basically, racist woman is discriminating against another race, and muslim woman is not discriminating against another gender.

      • It’s not a good parallel though. Sexual segregation in Islam is done with the consent of both parties, whereas racial segregation usually implies the oppression of a minority race by a majority one. This particular situation was obviously a difficult one, because the audience was a mixture of people who did and did not want the segregation. I can’t say that I think the organizers came up with the best solution, but I also can’t say what the best solution would be.

        In reply to #20 by Michael Kingsford Gray:

        In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

        There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

        With a minuscule change this is revealed as the alarmingly inhuman nonsense that it is:
        “There’s a certain type of white woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t race segregated.
        And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of blacks ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a black atheist speaker present their case in person?”

      • This is disgraceful in any civilized society.

        I was just going to make a comment about a certain type of “cracker” in the Southern US, black people and miscegenation. The black people of course used to drink from the “coloreds” fountain out of respect for the white people.

        In reply to #20 by Michael Kingsford Gray:

        In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

        There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

        With a minuscule change this is revealed as the alarmingly inhuman nonsense that it is:
        “There’s a certain type of white woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t race segregated.
        And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of blacks ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a black atheist speaker present their case in person?”

      • In reply to #25 by stevencarr:

        In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

        There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated.

        How do they get a bus or a train?

        Look, I’m not being flippant, but….until the mid 1970s, there used to be Ladies Only carriages on some sections of the British Rail network….they’ve long since been abolished, but obviously there is some kind of precedent for women being able to travel separately if they wish to do so….

    • In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

      There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

      And there are certain western women, actually just about all of my female friends, lovers, and family, and not just the women, who wouldn’t attend an event that segregated men and women. Or lets imagine this in a different context, if this had been a few decades ago and in the US there would have been people who would be offended by a joint audience of blacks and whites. Was it right back then to just accomodate them?

      And in any case I don’t usually call someone a liar for an internet comment, to use a term from the world of computer science I take an open world assumption when talking to people on the Internet usually but in this case I think you are a liar. I don’t believe there are muslim women at a place like UCL that wouldn’t attend an integrated event. If they felt that strongly about it they never would venture out of Saudi Arabia or whatever theocracy indoctrinated them to be such self hating women.

    • There’s a certain type of white person who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t racially segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the front for fear of non-whites feeling equal to them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a non-racist speaker present their case in person?

      In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

      There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

    • In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

      There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

      How do they get to an event in the first place then? Do they not go to other lectures at the university?

    • Yes there is. It’s the type of Mulsim woman who has been indoctinated into believing that she is lower than men and that she is responsible for their inability to control their own desires. In accomodating these medieval practices we imply that they are valid points of view in our society, which further reinforces the control that muslim men have over muslim women. As with anyone brainwashed into a cult, you do them no favours by suggesting that the abuses of the cult leaders are in any way legitimate. Better for them to see British society rejecting segregation than allowing it. That way they know that they a real choice, beyond where they sit on a particular evening.

      In reply to #18 by MatthewMatic:

      There’s a certain type of Muslim woman who would not attend an event if the seating wasn’t gender segregated. And they wouldn’t want to sit anywhere but the back for fear of men ogling them. This event provided for the needs of those people. Would Dawkins prefer their needs not to be provided for, preventing them from ever seeing a male atheist speaker present their case in person?

  14. I’m a student at UCL, this appalls me. I have no idea why this was allowed, as the article points out UCL has always had an enlightened attitude toward gender, sexuality, religion etc. I will be making contact with the powers that be, earthbound university powers that is, hopefully there will be enough complaints to at least make sure this doesn’t happen again. It’s embarrassing that it was allowed to happen at all.
    The roadshow rolls on to Kings tomorrow, I’ll be making sure tomorrow that they are aware what occurred and let my friends there know.

    Cartomancer, I do hope Jeremy doesn’t spin to fast, his head is not well connected to his body and things could get ugly.

  15. I wonder if the audience thought that the segregation was part of an experiment, or part of a point that someone wanted to make. I’m sure that’s what I would have thought. I’d never in a million years think that the sexes were being segregated because the Muslims demanded it.

  16. Outrageous that UCL could have let these misogynists practice their discrimination at the venue. Shame on the UCL- and they should issue a public apology for bad judgment and not following their own anti-discrimination policies. I thought Reading University and the LSE were bad! This is what passes for university policy in the UK? Grief. Time to write another letter….

  17. I´m sorry, MathewMattic. But, you say that “Sexual segregation in Islam is done with the consent of both parties”. Sorry, but, no. When you have no other choice, but consent – otherwise you risk being stoned or mutilated, at best, or outright assassinated, at worst. In any case, harm WILL come to you, no matter what – well, that is not consent by any stretch of the imagination. Is It?

    • In reply to #27 by sith1970:

      I´m sorry, MathewMattic. But, you say that “Sexual segregation in Islam is done with the consent of both parties”. Sorry, but, no. When you have no other choice, but consent – otherwise you risk being stoned or mutilated, at best, or outright assassinated, at worst. In any case, harm WILL come to you, no matter what – well, that is not consent by any stretch of the imagination. Is It?

      That is a bit dramatic…I don’t think that most women who went to this event risked mutilation if they did not follow the sitting guidelines, but perhaps “simply” social and family ostracism or scorn from their peers. And some probably did it out of their own volition (which, although based on individual fredom of chouice, ends up putting more pressure on the women who find this sort of segregation humilliating) There are Muslim women in my class and they just sit wherever happens to be a free space. I never thought this would be an issue, particularly with students.

    • In reply to #27 by sith1970:

      I´m sorry, MathewMattic. But, you say that “Sexual segregation in Islam is done with the consent of both parties”. Sorry, but, no. When you have no other choice, but consent – otherwise you risk being stoned or mutilated, at best, or outright assassinated, at worst. In any case, harm WILL come to you, no matter what – well, that is not consent by any stretch of the imagination. Is It? Absolutely agree with you. We tend to treat Christians (in all it forms) with safety, when we disagree with them. However, when we dare to question Islam in it’s proven hatred of women and infidels, then we fear it. Why?………….because the hardliners are so rabid and vitriolic (and feel embarressed to say the majority men), will give you the gift of a “fatwa”. Killing you for even thinking “My soul can be free”! …and questioning God or Allah. No wonder we fear. We discuss the implications of Christianity…………however, what about the insidious presence of fundamentalist islam? Looking at The UCL in a recent post, I fear for true freedom.

  18. This is the Muslim spokesperson’s side of the story:
    “The auditorium had a mixed gender section, a male section and a female section. This was not enforced and was done to cater for everyone’s social etiquettes. Unfortunately, the Professor stormed out of the room and demanded that a couple of guys who wanted to sit in the middle of the sisters section were not thrown out of the room. He obviously did not want to hear the truth, as the guys were thrown out of the room due to their behavior (I believe they were allowed back in). Also, if some women didn’t want to sit with men, then we should respect that. Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think? This seems to have been a deliberate move from the some of the Atheists because they probably knew their spokesman would not have a strong argument. It seems to me that the Professor was just forcing his own beliefs on others.”

    source: fb.com/HamzaAndreasTzortzis

  19. I don’t understand how this sort of shameful nonsense can go on at a university in London… but respect to Dr. Krauss for not accepting it.
    It makes me wonder if other events at UCL are gender segregated, but we don’t hear about it…?

    • In reply to #31 by helen sotiriadis:

      I don’t understand how this sort of shameful nonsense can go on at a university in London… but respect to Dr. Krauss for not accepting it.
      It makes me wonder if other events at UCL are gender segregated, but we don’t hear about it…?

      I would bet that regular courses at this, other UK universities, and many schools, are not segregated – which might explain the lack of education and integration in some sections of immigrant communities who have only lived in third world countries and immigrant ghettos.

  20. Dear Prof Dawkins: I’m sorry that you have portrayed the event in this way when I’m sure that if you ask Professor Krauss you will find that he was treated very well by the organisers who hosted him and they genuinely gave him the best hospitality they could and wanted to engage with him. I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places. There was a mixed section for people who wanted to sit there, and a section for women like me who prefer to sit separately. So the organisers were actually being considerate to everyone and making women like me who wanted to sit separately more comfortable. They gave everyone the choice to sit in the mixed section if they wished to. To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism. For someone like you who talks about reason and proof to comment about an event you were not at, using badly conveyed third party information is really quite ironic. Well at least it has given the debate a higher profile so that even more people will see for themselves that one of atheism’s biggest names was answered so well and his arguments so effectively refuted. We look forward to seeing the video when it is released.

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      Dear Prof Dawkins: I’m sorry that you have portrayed the event in this way when I’m sure that if you ask Professor Krauss you will find that he was treated very well by the organisers who hosted him and they genuinely gave him the best hospitality they could and wanted to engage with him. I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places. There was a mixed section for people who wanted to sit there, and a section for women like me who prefer to sit separately. So the organisers were actually being considerate to everyone and making women like me who wanted to sit separately more comfortable. They gave everyone the choice to sit in the mixed section if they wished to. To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism. For someone like you who talks about reason and proof to comment about an event you were not at, using badly conveyed third party information is really quite ironic. Well at least it has given the debate a higher profile so that even more people will see for themselves that one of atheism’s biggest names was answered so well and his arguments so effectively refuted. We look forward to seeing the video when it is released.

      This is what I would write If I were a male apologist too. Either that, or it’s a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome.

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places.
      To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism.

      How do you go to a restaurant or a cinema? Surely there will always be a possibility that there will be some men at a nearby table in a restaurant?

      • In reply to #45 by stevencarr:

        In reply to #32 by hubbee:

        I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places.
        To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism.

        How do you go to a restaurant or a cinema? Surely there will always be a possibility that there will be some men at a nearby table in a restaurant?

        A restaurant isn’t a problem, surely? Women can go for a meal together and sit at a table together, they don’t have to invite men to sit with them……?

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      Dear Prof Dawkins: I’m sorry that you have portrayed the event in this way when I’m sure that if you ask Professor Krauss you will find that he was treated very well by the organisers who hosted him and they genuinely gave him the best hospitality they could and wanted to engage with him. I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places. There was a mixed section for people who wanted to sit there, and a section for women like me who prefer to sit separately. So the organisers were actually being considerate to everyone and making women like me who wanted to sit separately more comfortable. They gave everyone the choice to sit in the mixed section if they wished to. To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism. For someone like you who talks about reason and proof to comment about an event you were not at, using badly conveyed third party information is really quite ironic. Well at least it has given the debate a higher profile so that even more people will see for themselves that one of atheism’s biggest names was answered so well and his arguments so effectively refuted. We look forward to seeing the video when it is released.

      Thanks for Clarification. I have a question: Was the mixed-gender section named a “Couple’s” section? If not, how was it named?

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places.

      Then you would definitely prefer to pursue your education in wonderful Iran, Saudi or Indonesia. Where segregation is the default, social standard, pretty much to your liking. Why suffer the oppression of “secular fundamentalism”, when you can study else where, and be right at home? I find it hypocritical, to say the least. I think you are not ready for properly functional western, social dynamics, kindly let us, the civilized lot, follow what worked and works for us. Segregation is disgusting, just because your culture require it, it doesn’t mean it should be held in any respect by others.

    • Dear Hubbee:

      Sometimes I would actually PREFER to have a whole tube carriage to myself. Sadly there’s no good reason for it so it doesn’t happen. Get over it.

      In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      Dear Prof Dawkins: I’m sorry that you have portrayed the event in this way when I’m sure that if you ask Professor Krauss you will find that he was treated very well by the organisers who hosted him and they genuinely gave him the best hospitality they could and wanted to engage with him. I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places. There was a mixed section for people who wanted to sit there, and a section for women like me who prefer to sit separately. So the organisers were actually being considerate to everyone and making women like me who wanted to sit separately more comfortable. They gave everyone the choice to sit in the mixed section if they wished to. To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism. For someone like you who talks about reason and proof to comment about an event you were not at, using badly conveyed third party information is really quite ironic. Well at least it has given the debate a higher profile so that even more people will see for themselves that one of atheism’s biggest names was answered so well and his arguments so effectively refuted. We look forward to seeing the video when it is released.

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places. There was a mixed section for people who wanted to sit there, and a section for women like me who prefer to sit separately. So the organisers were actually being considerate to everyone and making women like me who wanted to sit separately more comfortable. They gave everyone the choice to sit in the mixed section if they wished to. To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism.

      Dear Hubbee,

      I happen to be a man and I find your attitude extremely sexist and offensive. It seems that you find my being a man so utterly disgusting that you are uncomfortable even sitting next to me in a public place. What else do you find so uncomfortable about me, that you would not allow me sitting in a chair next to you? My skin colour? My political opinions? My religion or the lack thereof? Is it also ugly secular fundamentalism, if you had no extra-special section for your extra-special gender, race, colour and religion, but — horror of horrors — were made to sit next to a Chinese person? A handicapped person? A homosexual person? A Jewish person?

      You have a problem. So acknowledge it, get over it and grow up. Or stay home. Actually I’d prefer you get over it, since you’re probably a nice person and I’m sure you’ll enjoy life more that way than by staying home.

      I am a man. That is he way I was born, and I had no choice over the matter. What I have a choice over is my behaviour. And if there is something wrong with my behaviour, please tell me so and I will try to amend it. However, taking a vacant chair next to you at a lecture hall in a public European university does not count as wrong behaviour.

      You’re welcome to enrich the culture I live in with your insights, but please do not propagate your backward cultural problems and primitive sexist attitudes. It is deplorable that you have been taught to think men are some kind of disgusting animals and even more deplorable if some men around you haven’t been taught how to behave themselves. However, I am a father to a very smart daughter, whose choices shall not be limited by the gender of her fellow students and future co-workers. So I wish you’d keep from spreading such harmful medieval attitudes about male and female places in our society.

      So yes, comfortable or not, we do have this strange thing you refer to as “ugly secular fundamentalism”, which the society will force upon you. It’s called the LAW.

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      Dear Prof Dawkins: I’m sorry that you have portrayed the event in this way when I’m sure that if you ask Professor Krauss you will find that he was treated very well by the organisers who hosted him and they genuinely gave him the best hospitality they could and wanted to engage with him. I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places. There was a mixed section for people who wanted to sit there, and a section for women like me who prefer to sit separately. So the organisers were actually being considerate to everyone and making women like me who wanted to sit separately more comfortable. They gave everyone the choice to sit in the mixed section if they wished to. To say to women like me – no YOU HAVE TO SIT WITH MEN at an event organised by Muslims who know my sensitivities is an ugly form of secular fundamentalism. For someone like you who talks about reason and proof to comment about an event you were not at, using badly conveyed third party information is really quite ironic. Well at least it has given the debate a higher profile so that even more people will see for themselves that one of atheism’s biggest names was answered so well and his arguments so effectively refuted. We look forward to seeing the video when it is released.

      Over the past few years I’ve attended several lectures and conferences at 2 Universities in Islamabad, Pakistan. At NONE of these events was there ever any gender assigned seating or special arrangements made for female students, faculty or guests. Yes, women tended to congregate, as did men, but contrary to popular perception, during informal meetings, or during breaks, there was significant debate between the genders and interaction between visiting Lecturers and the Student body- REGARDLESS OF GENDER!
      Seriously, if you are so insecure in your own skin and think members of the opposite gender are a threat to you- especially at a “Western” University, you have serious psychological problems that need addressing before you can become a productive member of society.
      Bending to the demands of ignorant Mullahs who impose their will through decree rather than rational discourse while a guest in another country is unnecessary and has nothing to do religious sensibilities. It is just plane rude, inconsiderate and self centred! jcw

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places.

      Would you care to expand on WHY you prefer to sit separately from men? I mean in more specific terms than simply being a Muslim.

    • In reply to #32 by hubbee:

      I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places.

      Of course, you can prefer to sit precisely where you choose. (I personally prefer to sit near any black/white board as I have the eyesight of Mr Magoo). However, if you are not careful you can find your preference being first assumed, and then dictated, for you. This by people who care not a bit for your preferences and instead want to place you into a easily defined box: for it is so much easier when people stay in their assigned places.

      The telling question to ask here is “How do you think people would react if – for some reason – you preferred to sit elsewhere?” Maybe with a platonic male friend/cousin who is new to town, who has few friends, and is feeling shy. Now, do you think your change of preference here would be understood or looked down upon? Would you be ignored or gossiped about? (Uncomfortable question now) Would you be ignoring, or gossiping, about another women doing the same?

      So, when working out whether or not we are being given respect and consideration – and giving it in turn – we should ask not “Are my preferences being accommodated?” but instead “Is my right to change my preferences being respected?”

      A very great number of women worked … and fought … and got beaten (even killed)… while fighting for our rights as women not to have to sit at the back of a bus. Yes, OUR rights. They fought for a right to change a preference – often against other women who wanted to keep the status quo.

      A very great number fight still.

      Please, please do not disrespect their contribution. They were, and are, very brave ladies indeed.

      Sometimes sitting right at the front of the bus is not a place that any woman would ‘prefer’ to be.* It can be uncomfortable, it can be lonely, and people can give you grief. Sometimes, though, it is the only moral place to be.

      -=-=-=-

      • Heh! Of course, no one sane individual would PREFER me at the very front of the bus, because that would mean I would be driving – and crashing. Did I mention I can’t see past my nose? :P
  21. Well, safi, a perfectly reasonable answer from the spokesperson up until…”This seems to have been a deliberate move from the some of the Atheists because they probably knew their spokesman would not have a strong argument. It seems to me that the Professor was just forcing his own beliefs on others.”

    Oh, I see, Prof. Krauss was being an asshole because he had no valid arguments. That is quite an statement. And perfectly reveal this “answer” to be a bullshit misleading excuse to play the victim card… once more. Once more, deflecting blame. How convenient. How dishonest. How pathetic.

    • In reply to #35 by sith1970:

      Well, safi, a perfectly reasonable answer from the spokesperson up until…”This seems to have been a deliberate move from the some of the Atheists because they probably knew their spokesman would not have a strong argument. It seems to me that the Professor was just forcing his own beliefs on others.”

      Oh, I see, Prof. Krauss was being an asshole because he had no valid arguments. That is quite an statement. And perfectly reveal this “answer” to be a bullshit misleading excuse to play the victim card… once more. Once more, deflecting blame. How convenient. How dishonest. How pathetic.

      No, Prof. Krauss was being an Ausshole. And he definitely got his Auss kicked in the event.

      • In reply to #126 by safi:

        Oh, I see, Prof. Krauss was being an asshole because he had no valid arguments. That is quite an statement. And perfectly reveal this “answer” to be a bullshit misleading excuse to play the victim card… once more. Once more, deflecting blame. How convenient. How dishonest. How pathetic.

        No, Prof. Krauss was being an Ausshole. And he definitely got his Auss kicked in the event.

        Those theist blinker-specs really do filter out reality
        for the cheer-leaders for stupidity!

        (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.

        “It now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting.

        IERA broke the terms of the letting, ignored legal requirements, because they were too bigoted or illiterate, and got kicked out of the university – So this = Prof. Krauss got his behind kicked for calling out them out on the misconduct!??

    • In reply to #37 by alevel18:

      I was at the debate. There was no “couples” section LOL, People were allowed to sit where they wanted. There was a space reserved for ladies, but some perverts were causing mischief.

      So people were allowed to sit where they wanted, and there was a space reserved for ladies. I think there is a contradiction here. Out of curiosity, where were the Jews allowed to sit?

      • In reply to #40 by stevencarr:

        In reply to #37 by alevel18:

        I was at the debate. There was no “couples” section LOL, People were allowed to sit where they wanted. There was a space reserved for ladies, but some perverts were causing mischief.

        So people were allowed to sit where they wanted, and there was a space reserved for ladies. I think there is a contradiction here. Out of curiosity, where were the Jews allowed to sit?

        There was a space reserved for those ladies who wanted to sit in privacy. As the Muslim debater Hamza says: “Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think?”. There was a separate section for mixed genders and those ladies were free to go and sit there. Where do you see contradiction in that?

        • “In privacy”? It was a public debate, no? If people want to sit in privacy, they should do it in private. Otherwise expect to mingle with- shock horror- other human beings. That’s all anyone is, every last one of us: it’s really not that scary!

          In reply to #49 by safi:

          In reply to #40 by stevencarr:

          In reply to #37 by alevel18:

          I was at the debate. There was no “couples” section LOL, People were allowed to sit where they wanted. There was a space reserved for ladies, but some perverts were causing mischief.

          So people were allowed to sit where they wanted, and there was a space reserved for ladies. I think there is a contradiction here. Out of curiosity, where were the Jews allowed to sit?

          There was a space reserved for those ladies who wanted to sit in privacy. As the Muslim debater Hamza says: “Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think?”. There was a separate section for mixed genders and those ladies were free to go and sit there. Where do you see contradiction in that?

        • Also that dinner analogy is a hideously bad one: of course if you are arranging a private function such as a dinner party you invite whomever you want to and could even apply a seating plan if you so wished. Why are you comparing this to this UCL debate?

          In reply to #49 by safi:

          In reply to #40 by stevencarr:

          In reply to #37 by alevel18:

          I was at the debate. There was no “couples” section LOL, People were allowed to sit where they wanted. There was a space reserved for ladies, but some perverts were causing mischief.

          So people were allowed to sit where they wanted, and there was a space reserved for ladies. I think there is a contradiction here. Out of curiosity, where were the Jews allowed to sit?

          There was a space reserved for those ladies who wanted to sit in privacy. As the Muslim debater Hamza says: “Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think?”. There was a separate section for mixed genders and those ladies were free to go and sit there. Where do you see contradiction in that?

        • In reply to #49 by safi:
          This is totally disingenuous. Being seated at a neighbouring table in a restaurant is not the same as forcing yourself onto a ladies-only table. This event, however, was for EVERYONE, and so is a mixed-seating event at UCL. If you don’t like it, never use University of London facilities ever again.

          There was a space reserved for those ladies who wanted to sit in privacy. As the Muslim debater Hamza says: “Imagine if there were a bunch of ladies in a restaurant and they wanted to have a female only dinner party, but a bunch of males forced themselves on their table, what would you think?”. There was a separate section for mixed genders and those ladies were free to go and sit there. Where do you see contradiction in that?

    • In reply to #37 by alevel18:

      I was at the debate. There was no “couples” section LOL, People were allowed to sit where they wanted. There was a space reserved for ladies, but some perverts were causing mischief.

      Presumably those would be the two people referred to here

      After more discussion, three male attendees were told they would be permitted to sit in the women’s section, but were directed to an isolated space on the side of the lecture theatre, away from everyone else.

      One of the students, Christopher Roche, said: “It was clear that the segregation was still in effect as when I sat in the same aisle as female attendees I was immediately instructed by security to exit the theatre. I was taken to a small room with IERA security staff and an organiser named Mohammad who told me that the policy was actually given to IERA by UCL.

      “Shocked, I said that I would like to return to my seat but was told that security would now remove me from the premises for refusing to comply with the gender segregation.”

      The organisers’ security staff then tried to physically remove Mr Roche and Adam Barnett, a journalism student and friend of Mr Roche, from the theatre.

      Professor Krauss intervened and threatened to leave to stop the removal of the two audience members. The organisers then prepared a row near the women’s section at the back of the room where the two men sat quietly for the event. Professor Kraus said he had been told in advance that there would be no segregation, and that people could sit wherever they wanted.

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2013/03/11/sexual-segregation-at-a-ucl-event-is-a-scandal/

      Maybe you would like to elaborate and explain why you think they are perverts?

      Michael

  22. “Unfortunately in my opinion, Lawrence agreed to return. It was a decent gesture on his part, but I can’t help wishing he had refused and generated maximum publicity for this disgraceful episode. I suspect that he too now regrets his bending over backwards to be polite, and to return.”

    It just goes to show: you can take the scientist out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canada out of the scientist.

    • In reply to #38 by McCourt:

      “Unfortunately in my opinion, Lawrence agreed to return. It was a decent gesture on his part, but I can’t help wishing he had refused and generated maximum publicity for this disgraceful episode. I suspect that he too now regrets his bending over backwards to be polite, and to return.”

      It just goes to show: you can take the scientist out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canada out of the scientist.

      Oh yes he does regret. He got face-punched in the debate. All the time he was saying words like “Islam is non-sense”, and pointing fingers, in front of everyone, at the Muslim women saying “these ladies are wearing baggage on their heads”. From an atheistic-point-of-view morality, I can agree he was right, but he being a speaker at the debate, and exhibiting such behavior was without any doubt not only unethical but also inarticulate. He did not prove any of his points, and just ‘blind’-fired at Islam (that’s what we Muslims usually expect form an Atheist). You should have seen the his face. It totally looked like an Atheist got helplessly emotional.

      • In reply to #48 by safi:

        All the time he was saying words like “Islam is non-sense

        But Safi – Islam IS nonsense. From the idea that the whole Koran was dictated by an angel to the idea that it provides a perfect guide to life, the universe and everything, it’s nonsense on stilts.

  23. There was a Golden Age of Islam with advances in science and mathematics, and where anybody could practice their own religion, have their own religious buildings as they wished. A Golden Age of Islam or normal , everyday life in modern Britain? Modern secular Britain has values of tolerance and freedom that matches the very best of the Golden Age of Islam.

    Let us be proud of that, and not jeopardise the values of secular Britain that has made this country a country of great religious freedom.

    • In reply to #42 by stevencarr:

      There was a Golden Age of Islam with advances in science and mathematics, and where anybody could practice their own religion, have their own religious buildings as they wished. A Golden Age of Islam or normal , everyday life in modern Britain? Modern secular Britain has values of tolerance and freedom that matches the very best of the Golden Age of Islam.

      Let us be proud of that, and not jeopardise the values of secular Britain that has made this country a country of great religious freedom.

      Islam’s ‘Golden Age’ was indeed an era of flourishing by any standards, and should be recognised as such. Though present day claims by Islamists as to its cause are much more than simply overstated.

      History shows us that in fact the very reverse is true: Islamism, Koranic literalism both in law and education, and the consequent denial of classical philosophy this engendered, rather than being the progenitor of an Islamic Golden Age, was the very cause of its demise.

      It remains the cause of backwardness in Islam to this day, and is echoed in the social and educational policies of both its states and organisations such as those promoting this event at UCL.

      It is easy to see how this backwardness and moral stagnation moves from an insistence that women cover their faces, through segregated seating, to staying at home, to the eventual non-education of women.

      This is reflected, at its extremes, in the names of its revolutionary organisations sworn to attain another Islamic ‘Golden Age’ – for example Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, which literally translates as Western Education is Forbidden.

      It is almost unnecessary to add, ‘and what education is allowed will be forbidden to women‘. Almost.

      It is unfortunate that misogyny is blind to the damage done to misogynists – would Islamism forbid men an education that included Chemistry, Algebra, or Algorithms, I wonder?

      Would it be forbidden to teach the location of Betelgeuse, Vega, or Rigel?

      All products of the previous great and truly ‘Golden Age’ of Islam.

      A Golden Age that wasn’t destroyed by Crusaders, competing Caliphates, or Mongol hordes, but by Islam itself as it declined into literalism and a celebration of the philosophy of ignorance.

      An ignorance that shows us that Islam can no more return us to a Golden Age than it can advance the status and welfare of women, or children, or dogs.

      Understanding why this is, and how it manifests itself is an important weapon in the fight against Islamism, against religion, against ignorance, irrationality and unreason.

      Muslims need to comprehend that their religion did indeed have a golden age of which they can be immensely proud. Unfortunately they’ll never learn about its growth, and the reasons for its demise, through reading just one book.

      Anvil.

  24. I’m a man, happily (and legally!) married to my husband for nearly seven years. I’m fairly certain they would not have allowed the two of us to sit in the “couples” section. This segregated seating is just another example of the disgraceful intrusion of religion into secular institutions.

  25. Well at least we can now all sit back and watch as the islamic world collapses. Allah will be so pissed off that unattached men an women sat together. Expect earthquakes, storms, fire and (more entertainingly) fornication in the streets. The end is nigh!

  26. Why does religious belief trump everything else? Even if it is true that some women wanted to sit separately from men, why should they be allowed to impose that on everyone else? Can I demand not to sit next to people who support a different football team? Or vote for a different party, and therefore have a different political belief? Of have a different skin colour? No! So why should ANYONE have the right to impose their own seating plans based on religious belief? You can sit with friends – but you cannot demand that someone does not then sit next to you. You are offended? Tough. There is no right not to be offended.

    And this all presupposes these women really ARE offended if men sit next to them – which seems somewhat unlikely as they would have to live staggeringly sheltered lives. How did they get to the event? Clearly not public transport. Presumably they also never go to a doctor. Or indeed any public place.

  27. [I'm re-posting this here because this is where the discussion is happening!]

    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 #57 by Kevin Solway:

      Organized specifically by “gender” rather than by “sex”. That wouldn’t be easy to do!
      I thought we were all the same gender: animate. Or was Jeremy Benhtam’s corpse propped up at the back of the room?

  28. So there is disagreement about the degree to which Lawrence Krauss should have rocked the boat (†), at least we’re getting back to this position. In my recent observations New Atheism has gone a bit soft.

    (†) The link system has failed me before. So for the newer folk: http://youtu.be/VxGMqKCcN6A

    This act of sexual segregatio,n what is no less than twentieth-century discrimination, is happening in London and in a center of academic learning and in 2013, and the institution and the authorities are fine with this?

    Is University College part of a temple? Is it under Shariah law? Doesn’t the rule of equality prevail?

    If this were a university in Saudi Arabia, I could understand, but not in the UK.

  29. Its a shame that a couple of uncivilised disrespectful men had to disrupt an otherwise amazing well organised event.

    Clearly this was a pre-planned tactic to divert attention away from the actual outcome of the debate.

    Men forcing themselves upon women yesterday and promoting incest
    between a brother and sister. Whats next Krauss? Genderless toilets? Its
    very clear that Islam is based upon Moral guidance and more beneficial
    to Human Society and Atheism is degrading our society as can clearly be
    seen by the moral decline of the west over the last 100 years. Clearly
    Islam is more sensible.

    • In reply to #59 by Salahuddinlives:

      Men forcing themselves upon women yesterday and promoting incest between a brother and sister.

      What a truly bizarre remark!
      Only clinical insanity, or the delusions that result from cultish indoctrination can possibly produce such sincere off-the-planet assertions as the above.
      They bear zero correlation with any reality.

    • In reply to #59 by Salahuddinlives:

      Its a shame that a couple of uncivilised disrespectful men had to disrupt an otherwise amazing well organised event.

      Clearly this was a pre-planned tactic to divert attention away from the actual outcome of the debate.

      Men forcing themselves upon women yesterday and promoting incest between a brother and sister. Whats next Krauss?

      I sit next to my sisters all the time the thought of incest has never occurred to me. Does it will occur to you if you do? Must make family meals difficult.

      Genderless toilets?

      Afraid to tell you some European countries already have them and people are not bonking each other senseless. Queensland Police Academy (Australia) has genderless toilets/shower (closed cubicles) in their training institution. Many a nude beach around the world, again people restrain themselves.

      very clear that Islam is based upon Moral guidance and more beneficial
      to Human Society and Atheism is degrading our society as can clearly be
      seen by the moral decline of the west over the last 100 years. Clearly
      Islam is more sensible.

      Really? Moral decline? Most of the West is being flooded with Muslims from countries where their particular brand is putting their lives at risk, others are economic refugees because many Islamic countries have collapsed upon themselves. Now you’re genuinely welcome (for my part at least). But you should not come demanding that every bit of cultural baggage you have will be catered for, it won’t. Universities are places where often the push to advance our civilization has come from. Our technology, science and understanding of our place in the universe and yes our morality have came to a large extent from people studying and working at universities. They are to a large extent the reason the West is more affluent and yes civilized and tolerant enough to take many of the people from Islamic countries in. They are therefore as sacred to any intellectual as your mosques are to you. You want use these spaces and apply medieval standards of morality to them, expect a backlash.

    • In reply to #59 by Salahuddinlives:

      Its a shame that a couple of uncivilised disrespectful men had to disrupt an otherwise amazing well organised event.

      Clearly this was a pre-planned tactic to divert attention away from the actual outcome of the debate.

      If the audience has been pre-screened for acceptance of segregation and female servility – What debate? – With an audience selected for cheerleaders for segregation and dogma, is their any point in evidenced rationality?

      Men forcing themselves upon women yesterday and promoting incest
      between a brother and sister. Whats next Krauss? Genderless toilets? Its
      very clear that Islam is based upon Moral guidance and more beneficial
      to Human Society and Atheism is degrading our society as can clearly be
      seen by the moral decline of the west over the last 100 years. Clearly
      Islam is more sensible.

      Clearly there are some apologists who need to get out into the real educated civilised world more often!

    • In reply to #59 by Salahuddinlives:

      Its a shame that a couple of uncivilised disrespectful men had to disrupt an otherwise amazing well organised event.

      The Nazis were well organised.

      Clearly this was a pre-planned tactic to divert attention away from the actual outcome of the debate.

      A pre-planned attack? This is nothing more than a victim mentally at play here.

      As to diverting attention from the ‘actual outcome’ of the debate… this was at the start of the debate. We did not, at this point, know the actual outcome? Only fascists know the outcome of debates before they have begun.

      Men forcing themselves upon women yesterday and promoting incest
      between a brother and sister. Whats next Krauss? Genderless toilets?

      You really ought to get out more. There are genderless toilets at the end of my street. They have been there for over thirty years.

      And as for men forcing themselves upon women you seem clearly unaware of your religions oppression of women and children even though it is written down in the one book you seen to have read.

      Its very clear that Islam is based upon Moral guidance and more beneficial
      to Human Society and Atheism is degrading our society as can clearly be
      seen by the moral decline of the west over the last 100 years. Clearly
      Islam is more sensible.

      Your cognitive dissonance really is stunning to observe.

      Your absolutism has produced nothing in 700 years but death, misery, oppression, and disaster.

      Look around you.

      Your religion has been an abject failure in advancing the human condition in any way beyond physically chaining half its adherents whilst mentally maiming the other half.

      There are many reasons for this impoverishment, none of which you will see whilst you continue to cast your eyes on other uncivilised and disrespectful men, rather than looking inward at yourself and the nonsense that binds you to your creed.

      It is telling, perhaps, that you chose Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb as your pen-name. A warrior and soldier whose greatness followed the demise of the islamic intellect, rather than any of the truly great minds of an earlier Islam.

      Your words (and the words of others who have posted here and ran away) bring shame and dishonour on you and your forebears.

      That is the real shame here – intellectual cowardice, and fear.

      Not something that the great Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn was known for, either.

      Anvil.

    • In reply to #59 by Salahuddinlives:

      Its a shame that a couple of uncivilised disrespectful men had to disrupt an otherwise amazing well organised event.

      Sorry, what you mean is “It’s a shame that the preposterous nonsense of attempting to segregate people by sex had to be shown up by a couple of extremely civilised men – far more advanced than you, obviously, in their respect for women – who refused to accept this discrimination, and who were subsequently treated in an uncivilised and disrespectful manner by the Muslim organisers.”

  30. What can we learn from this discussion? Apparently western women can feel free to sit next to men, secure in the knowledge that the vast majority of western men can be trusted to behave like civilized beings.

    Not so, apparently with Muslim women. Judging from the comments here, Muslim men cannot be trusted to behave themselves in simple proximity to women. And instead of taking responsibility for their bad behavior, they force the women to the retreat to the back of the auditorium for safety.

    • In reply to #61 by mudskipper:

      What can we learn from this discussion? Apparently western women can feel free to sit next to men, secure in the knowledge that the vast majority of western men can be trusted to behave like civilized beings.

      Not so, apparently with Muslim women. Judging from the comments here, Muslim men cannot be trusted to behave themselves in simple proximity to women. And instead of taking responsibility for their bad behavior, they force the women to the retreat to the back of the auditorium for safety.

      Yes, and that’s why Muslim women are treated like children.

      • In reply to #70 by Fouad Boussetta:

        In reply to #61 by mudskipper:

        What can we learn from this discussion? Apparently western women can feel free to sit next to men, secure in the knowledge that the vast majority of western men can be trusted to behave like civilized beings.

        Not so, apparently with Muslim women. Judging from the comments here, Muslim men cannot be trusted to behave themselves in simple proximity to women. And instead of taking responsibility for their bad behavior, they force the women to the retreat to the back of the auditorium for safety.

        Yes, and that’s why Muslim women are treated like children.

        Like 9 year old girls? How did Muhammad treat 9 year old girls?

        A Muslim on the facebook page ‘The Big Debates’ just posted ‘the islamic ruling is that you are allowed to get married as soon as you hit puberty.’

        No wonder Muslim women are uneasy about allowing their 13 year old daughters to sit next to Muslim men.

        That is totally unfair of me, because , and this will come as no surprise, I’ve found that Muslim men and women can be in each other’s company and absolutely nothing outrageous happens.

        So why insist on segregation at a public debate at the University College of London?

  31. In 2013 this is absolutely disgusting, the UK is a country that is proud to be multicultural and is accepting of different religions and races. Why then is it acceptable for a religion to discriminate agaist gender, and to force people of other religions to follow this to attend a public event IN A SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTION!

    I hope that this is taken up by the NUS, and a full investigation is launched.

  32. My first reaction after reading the original post watching the video and reading some of the replies here was a similar sense of indignation. What an outrage! What an offense to our egalitarian sensibilities! I abhor these archaic customs as much as anyone. After a while though, it started getting tiresome to read because I started thinking about it from a different angle. Now, I am definitely not an apologist for anybody’s religious customs so don’t misunderstand me as I offer some other thoughts for consideration.

    The first thing that hit me was that Krause, Dawkins, a lot of the respondents and I seemed to get a heck of a lot more incensed about this than the people in the audience who were subjected to it. It seems that they rather sheepishly submitted to this segregation without so much as a bleat. Why? Could it be that no one was bothered enough to object?

    Next I thought that this event was sponsored by an Islamic group. It is reasonable to assume that a good number of the audience would be from that religious/cultural tradition and therefore that accommodations to their customs should and would be provided. This is not unreasonable. It would appear that by offering a couples section they were willing to accommodate those who came together but did not want to be separated according to strict Islamic custom.

    This created a situation offensive to our conflicting sensibilities. One could entertain the charitable and completely speculative hypothesis that a substantial clash of cultural and social practices came about due to a blind failure in communication.

    Finally, it occurred to me that when I toured the historic Touro synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the only time I’ve ever been in one, I first learned that there were separate sections for men and women. Furthermore, out of respect for their tradition and hospitality, it was no problem to wear the yarmulkes we were offered. When I attended a Jewish wedding and was a guest at a Passover Seder, I felt privileged to be included and in no way demeaned or offended to honor the traditions.

    This wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_segregation. discusses gender segregation in various contexts for Islamic, Judaic and some Christian traditions.There are single sex educational institutions where religion has no bearing on the matter.

    ….. for what its worth ……

    • Since it is too late to edit my post, I want to add two things: (1) I don’t think it might have been beneath the organizers to misrepresent their intentions to achieve other objectives (2) the truly principled response to the situation would have been to boycott the event altogether or demand refunds for ticket purchases and leave them with empty seats and insufficient income to cover their expenses. In reply to #72 by whiteraven:

      My first reaction …blah, blah, blah…..

    • In reply to #72 by whiteraven:

      The first thing that hit me was that Krause, Dawkins, a lot of the respondents and I seemed to get a heck of a lot more incensed about this than the people in the audience who were subjected to it. It seems that they rather sheepishly submitted to this segregation without so much as a bleat. Why? Could it be that no one was bothered enough to object?

      Or could it be be that Islamic women surrounded by Islamic men know how they are supposed to behave and the dangers of not behaving that way ?

      Next I thought that this event was sponsored by an Islamic group. It is reasonable to assume that a good number of the audience would be from that religious/cultural tradition and therefore that accommodations to their customs should and would be provided. This is not unreasonable. It would appear that by offering a couples section they were willing to accommodate those who came together but did not want to be separated according to strict Islamic custom.

      So where do single people of either sex who don’t want to be segregated sit ?

      Finally, it occurred to me that when I toured the historic Touro synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the only time I’ve ever been in one, I first learned that there were separate sections for men and women. Furthermore, out of respect for their tradition and hospitality, it was no problem to wear the yarmulkes we were offered. When I attended a Jewish wedding and was a guest at a Passover Seder, I felt privileged to be included and in no way demeaned or offended to honor the traditions.

      So why is it not reasonable that when others attend a university they show the flexibility that you showed and behave in a manner consistent with the traditions of that institution ?

      Michael

      • In reply to #75 by mmurray: I don’t know the answers to your questions, I wasn’t making pronouncements of right or wrong. I just wanted to throw out some ideas for discussion if they aroused any interest. Not being a witness or having complete details, I may have misunderstood, misinterpreted or even misread some things.

        In reply to #72 by whiteraven:

        The first thing that hit me was that Krause, Dawkins, a lot of the respondents and I seemed to get a heck of a lot more incensed about this than the people in the audience who were subjected to it. It seems that they rather sheepishly submitted to this segregation without so much as a bleat. Why? Could it be that no one was bothered enough to object?

        Or could it be be that Islamic women surrounded by Islamic men know how they are supposed to behave and the dangers of not behaving that way ?

        Next I thought that this event was sponsored by an Islamic group. It is reasonable to assume that a good number of the audience would be from that religious/cultural tradition and therefore that accommodations to their customs should and would be provided. This is not unreasonable. It would appear that by offering a couples section they were willing to accommodate those who came together but did not want to be separated according to strict Islamic custom.

        So where do single people of either sex who don’t want to be segregated sit ?

        Finally, it occurred to me that when I toured the historic Touro synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the only time I’ve ever been in one, I first learned that there were separate sections for men and women. Furthermore, out of respect for their tradition and hospitality, it was no problem to wear the yarmulkes we were offered. When I attended a Jewish wedding and was a guest at a Passover Seder, I felt privileged to be included and in no way demeaned or offended to honor the traditions.

        So why is it not reasonable that when others attend a university they show the flexibility that you showed and behave in a manner consistent with the traditions of that institution ?

        Michael

    • Hi Whiteraven,
      A couple of things I respectfully disagree with…

      The first thing that hit me was that Krause, Dawkins, a lot of the respondents and I seemed to get a heck of a lot more incensed about this than the people in the audience who were subjected to it. It seems that they rather sheepishly submitted to this segregation without so much as a bleat. Why? Could it be that no one was bothered enough to object?

      I watched the video on the other link I thought I heard Boos and cheers. The camera was quite close to Lawrence, so possibly people further back may not have known what was going on? You may have seen a video of the whole talk, is so would you mind linking to it?

      Next I thought that this event was sponsored by an Islamic group. It is reasonable to assume that a good number of the audience would be from that religious/cultural tradition and therefore that accommodations to their customs should and would be provided. This is not unreasonable. It would appear that by offering a couples section they were willing to accommodate those who came together but did not want to be separated according to strict Islamic custom. This created a situation offensive to our conflicting sensibilities. One could entertain the charitable and completely speculative hypothesis that a substantial clash of cultural and social practices came about due to a blind failure in communication.

      I would agree if they held the event in a mosque or institute owned by a Muslim group. I’m not from the UK but I’m assuming the university receives tax payers dollars for the purpose of education and higher order thinking. And in the video Lawrence clearly stated that his participation was conditional to not having a segregated audience, if this is the case then they were in breech of this agreement so therefore he was not the one who caused the fuss. The organisers who mislead or were too disorganised to ensure this agreement was in place who are responsible. If what Lawrence says is correct then the organisers should admit fault and defuse the situation.

      Finally, it occurred to me that when I toured the historic Touro synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the only time I’ve ever been in one, I first learned that there were separate sections for men and women. Furthermore, out of respect for their tradition and hospitality, it was no problem to wear the yarmulkes we were offered. When I attended a Jewish wedding and was a guest at a Passover Seder, I felt privileged to be included and in no way demeaned or offended to honor the traditions.

      Yes, again on their ground, not public, tax payer funded, education ground.

      • I only saw the short clip that ends with L.K.’s dash for the exit. As for the venue and what the arrangements were set up, I don’t know any more than what’s here. Did they rent out the hall for the event or was the space provided free with ticket sales going to fund other stuff? Don’t know. The whole thing seems like a nasty mess. In reply to #76 by Reckless Monkey:

        Hi Whiteraven,

                     A couple of things I respectfully disagree with...
        

        The first thing that hit me was that Krause, Dawkins, a lot of the respondents and I seemed to get a heck of a lot more incensed about this than the people in the audience who were subjected to it. It seems that they rather sheepishly submitted to this segregation without so much as a bleat. Why? Could it be that no one was bothered enough to object?

        I watched the video on the other link I thought I heard Boos and cheers. The camera was quite close to Lawrence, so possibly people further back may not have known what was going on? You may have seen a video of the whole talk, is so would you mind linking to it?

        Next I thought that this event was sponsored by an Islamic group. It is reasonable to assume that a good number of the audience would be from that religious/cultural tradition and therefore that accommodations to their customs should and would be provided. This is not unreasonable. It would appear that by offering a couples section they were willing to accommodate those who came together but did not want to be separated according to strict Islamic custom. This created a situation offensive to our conflicting sensibilities. One could entertain the charitable and completely speculative hypothesis that a substantial clash of cultural and social practices came about due to a blind failure in communication.

        I would agree if they held the event in a mosque or institute owned by a Muslim group. I’m not from the UK but I’m assuming the university receives tax payers dollars for the purpose of education and higher order thinking. And in the video Lawrence clearly stated that his participation was conditional to not having a segregated audience, if this is the case then they were in breech of this agreement so therefore he was not the one who caused the fuss. The organisers who mislead or were too disorganised to ensure this agreement was in place who are responsible. If what Lawrence says is correct then the organisers should admit fault and defuse the situation.

        Finally, it occurred to me that when I toured the historic Touro synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the only time I’ve ever been in one, I first learned that there were separate sections for men and women. Furthermore, out of respect for their tradition and hospitality, it was no problem to wear the yarmulkes we were offered. When I attended a Jewish wedding and was a guest at a Passover Seder, I felt privileged to be included and in no way demeaned or offended to honor the traditions.

        Yes, again on their ground, not public, tax payer funded, education ground.

        • In reply to #88 by whiteraven:

          I only saw the short clip that ends with L.K.’s dash for the exit. As for the venue and what the arrangements were set up, I don’t know any more than what’s here. Did they rent out the hall for the event or was the space provided free with ticket sales going to fund other stuff? Don’t know. The whole thing seems like a nasty mess. In reply to #76 by Reckless Monkey:

          I didn’t see much more than you, I looked at the facebook page of a person sitting quite close to the front in which Kruase was explaining the organisers had agreed there would be no segregated audience. There clearly was even if it wasn’t enforced or the people ejected were due to other reasons.

          My position is basically that this is a public or at least in part publicly funded institution, as such certain standards should apply, for example I would consider it racist to segregate say Indians on Caste in an audience even if they had paid to rent the room. In this case of course many of Muslim women may have genuinely been more comfortable being segregated, however many covered Muslim women clearly are not happy with the barbaric religion they unfortunately were born into. The question is, in the West, in public institutions should we continue the sexist religious/cultural to effect citizens of our society. I say no, I say even if only one young Muslim girl already forced to cover herself gains one little taste of freedom by when in public seeing things like general public seating, seeing people being civilized in-spite of the danger of being temped into incest as one Muslim contributor stated Krause was encouraging above. I grew up in a church that tried very hard to contain you in every aspect of your life, seminary classes before school, social and sports events after school, almost every evening had something planned. This is oppressive, the only relief and exposure to the real world was at my public school. If Muslims are allowed to not only control the lives of their children at home but to also have a little cloud of ignorance follow them around where-ever they go in public, sorry I have to disagree. Even if you are the son/daughter/wife of a Muslim family if you are a citizen that gives you rights, and public institutions should not be a party to trampling them.

          Granted, this should be made clear to organisers before an event, I have no idea if this happened. But Krause definitely told them his participation was based upon there being no segregation. So from my viewpoint I’d say the attempt to segregate even voluntarily, was a step too far, they should have trusted their good Muslim wives, daughters and sons to self segregate if they so choose and they should have made it clear they were going to segregate to Krause in which case he would not have attended in the first place.

          • In reply to #123 by Reckless Monkey: I wrote what I did, the way I did, because my impression was that a lot of the response was based on partial or inadequate information and hearsay. I probably overreached and underperformed attempting to be a voice of reason, but that was me trying to approach it objectively. Personally, I’ve found solidarity in the expressions of impatience and intolerance expressed by the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens for the opposing forces of ignorance, authoritarianism, fundamentalism, obscurantism, and so on. They’ve benefited from tolerance but they’ve taken advantage of it and are unwilling to reciprocate. Time to draw a line, stop retreating from it and start pushing it back In some ways it seems like there was some indistinct point where liberalism, progressivism, tolerance, open-mindedness, pacifism, etc. disconnected a bit from reality and the fact that none of those things mean you have to retreat, put up with bullying, rollover, skulk away with your tail between your legs, let yourself be walked all over and take it with a meek smile. If one tolerates too many mosquito bites, one will die from blood loss.

            In reply to #88 by whiteraven:

            I only saw the short clip that ends with L.K.’s dash for the exit. As for the venue and what the arrangements were set up, I don’t know any more than what’s here. Did they rent out the hall for the event or was the space provided free with ticket sales going to fund other stuff? Don’t know. The whole thing seems like a nasty mess. In reply to #76 by Reckless Monkey:

            I didn’t see much more than you, I looked at the facebook page of a person sitting quite close to the front in which Kruase was explaining the organisers had agreed there would be no segregated audience. There clearly was even if it wasn’t enforced or the people ejected were due to other reasons.

            My position is basically that this is a public or at least in part publicly funded institution, as such certain standards should apply, for example I would consider it racist to segregate say Indians on Caste in an audience even if they had paid to rent the room. In this case of course many of Muslim women may have genuinely been more comfortable being segregated, however many covered Muslim women clearly are not happy with the barbaric religion they unfortunately were born into. The question is, in the West, in public institutions should we continue the sexist religious/cultural to effect citizens of our society. I say no, I say even if only one young Muslim girl already forced to cover herself gains one little taste of freedom by when in public seeing things like general public seating, seeing people being civilized in-spite of the danger of being temped into incest as one Muslim contributor stated Krause was encouraging above. I grew up in a church that tried very hard to contain you in every aspect of your life, seminary classes before school, social and sports events after school, almost every evening had something planned. This is oppressive, the only relief and exposure to the real world was at my public school. If Muslims are allowed to not only control the lives of their children at home but to also have a little cloud of ignorance follow them around where-ever they go in public, sorry I have to disagree. Even if you are the son/daughter/wife of a Muslim family if you are a citizen that gives you rights, and public institutions should not be a party to trampling them.

            Granted, this should be made clear to organisers before an event, I have no idea if this happened. But Krause definitely told them his participation was based upon there being no segregation. So from my viewpoint I’d say the attempt to segregate even voluntarily, was a step too far, they should have trusted their good Muslim wives, daughters and sons to self segregate if they so choose and they should have made it clear they were going to segregate to Krause in which case he would not have attended in the first place.

          • In reply to #129 by whiteraven:

            In reply to #123 by Reckless Monkey: I wrote what I did, the way I did, because my impression was that a lot of the response was based on partial or inadequate information and hearsay. I probably overreached and underperformed attempting to be a voice of reason, but that was me trying to approach it objectively. Personally, I’ve found solidarity in the expressions of impatience and intolerance expressed by the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens for the opposing forces of ignorance, authoritarianism, fundamentalism, obscurantism, and so on. They’ve benefited from tolerance but they’ve taken advantage of it and are unwilling to reciprocate. Time to draw a line, stop retreating from it and start pushing it back In some ways it seems like there was some indistinct point where liberalism, progressivism, tolerance, open-mindedness, pacifism, etc. disconnected a bit from reality and the fact that none of those things mean you have to retreat, put up with bullying, rollover, skulk away with your tail between your legs, let yourself be walked all over and take it with a meek smile. If one tolerates too many mosquito bites, one will die from blood loss.

            Whiteraven,
            all you responses have been reasonable and it’s been clear from the start that this has been your intention. I genuinely haven’t been offended by what you’ve said, just disagreed in some places or tried to explain my own position in others. If I’ve offended please know that wasn’t my intention. I have a tenancy (so my wife tells me) to be a bit pedantic, so sorry if I’ve come off too full on or anything.

    • Sorry edit didn’t seem to be working.

      In reply to #72 by whiteraven:

      This wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_segregation. discusses gender segregation in various contexts for Islamic, Judaic and some Christian traditions.

      ….. for what its worth ……

      Not much IMHO. The Abrahamic religions are all crazy about the uncleanliness of women and menstruating women in particular.

      There are single sex educational institutions where religion has no bearing on the matter.

      There may be some educational benefits for girls but it can stuff around kid’s socialisation. Speaking from personal experience of two years with the Marist Brothers in an all boy institution.

      Michael

      • Sorry you did not appreciate my effort. My comments were aimed above the genitalia so I can’t address the concerns you voiced on that except to say that there are ancient swell as modern taboos on that. I’m not advocating any kind of gender segregation, just making an observation, As for the general insanity of the conflicts between those three groups, I sometimes think the world would be safer if the whole region was sterilized leaving no trace of them … maybe an asteroid impact of the right size … a shame to lose the archeological treasures but life is full of tradeoffs. In reply to #78 by mmurray:

        Sorry edit didn’t seem to be working.

        In reply to #72 by whiteraven:

        This wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_segregation. discusses gender segregation in various contexts for Islamic, Judaic and some Christian traditions.

        ….. for what its worth ……

        Not much IMHO. The Abrahamic religions are all crazy about the uncleanliness of women and menstruating women in particular.

        There are single sex educational institutions where religion has no bearing on the matter.

        There may be some educational benefits for girls but it can stuff around kid’s socialisation. Speaking from personal experience of two years with the Marist Brothers in an all boy institution.

        Michael

  33. SO what you are saying is that University College London is perfectly right to hold public events where people are segregated by gender. And that Muslim women are really not happy about having men in the same area as them…. After all, some of those men might be Jews, or atheists or black, or Hindus.

    • No, I don’t see where you got that from. In reply to #73 by stevencarr:

      SO what you are saying is that University College London is perfectly right to hold public events where people are segregated by gender. And that Muslim women are really not happy about having men in the same area as them…. After all, some of those men might be Jews, or atheists or black, or Hindus.

  34. More Muslims on the organisers Big Debates Facebook page
    claiming that ‘ oh yeah what the quran says about marrying a 12 year old, it says nothing. in this regard, there is nothing that constrains us, so we can get married at any age, after puberty ofcourse. ‘

    No wonder Muslim women do not like their 12 year old daughters being with Muslim men…

  35. Atheism has not been degrading our society or causing the moral decline of the West or East over the last 100 years. Believers in religions using their texts, tenets, and dogma as weapons against family, community, and society is what degrades everybody and everything.

  36. I was at the debate and saw the whole incident and sat next to the individual who was asked to leave. Taking video footage of a part of what happened and making an overall judgement on it – is misrepresentation. What you were told had happened and what actually happened are two different things. Professor Krauss was nowhere near the individual who caused the commotion. The particular individual who caused a scene was all the way at the back of the lecture theatre – next to me, and Professor Krauss was right at the front. This particular individual’s behaviour was the only reason he was asked to leave, not his choice to sit in a particular seat. This particular individual then shouted from the back that he was being asked to leave because he ‘was not allowed to sit next to women’. “More people didn’t move with him” because they were there to see what and how events transpired. I’m sorry to say this, but this article is a misrepresentation of what actually happened, and misinformed.

    • In reply to #86 by mindmineral:

      >
      This particular individual’s behaviour was the only reason he was asked to leave, not his choice to sit in a particular seat. This particular individual then shouted from the back that he was being asked to leave because he was not allowed to sit in the women’s area. “More people didn’t move with him” because they were there to see what and how events transpired. I have to say that this article is misrepresentation of what actually happened, and misinformed.

      So maybe you could correct that misinformation by telling us what this person did that caused them to be asked to leave.

      Michael

  37. Interesting question. There are occasions/situations in which women PREFER to have their own space, undisturbed and uninterrupted by men, but this was obviously not one of them….it appears that women were OBLIGED to sit separately because MEN had decided that this was what THEY wanted….it does seem to be the norm in Islam, also in some branches of Judaism and Christianity…..not that women ASK for a separate space, but they are FORCED to occupy a separate space.

    I’m not sure the example that follows is entirely relevant, since it;s not about religion, but FWIW – a few years ago we formed a group called GREEN PARTY WOMEN, the original meeting was advertised as WOMEN ONLY, but some men asked if they could attend. Some women were very angry about this, but I asked why the men wanted to attend – and they said, they were all gay men and they wanted to show solidarity….

    • In reply to #89 by jane.s.ennis:

      .not that women ASK for a separate space, but they are FORCED to occupy a separate space.

      That does seem to be the issue. I would have some sympathy if this was a women’s Islamic group making a request for segregated seating. I would also have some sympathy if a case was made that a group of women who would benefit from this talk would not attend it without segregated seating.

      Michael

  38. I was in the middle of writing a wall of text about the claims of moral superiority of muslims being contradicted by their behaviour but then again, why bother? My only question to these kinds of arguments are: Why are you even here(here being the western hemisphere rather than the morally superior place of your or your parents origin) if that is the case? I can’t for the life of me think of any reason why Prof. Krauss would stoop down to bandy words with such an extreme example of a benighted culture like Hamza whatshisface.

  39. In reply to #27 by sith1970:

    I´m sorry, MathewMattic. But, you say that “Sexual segregation in Islam is done with the consent of both parties”. Sorry, but, no. When you have no other choice, but consent – otherwise you risk being stoned or mutilated, at best, or outright assassinated, at worst. In any case, harm WILL come to you, no matter what – well, that is not consent by any stretch of the imagination. Is It?

    That is a bit dramatic…I don’t think that most women who went to this event risked mutilation if they did not follow the sitting guidelines, but perhaps “simply” social and family ostracism or scorn from their peers. And some probably did it out of their own volition (which, although based on individual fredom of chouice, ends up putting more pressure on the women who find this sort of segregation humilliating) There are Muslim women in my class and they just sit wherever happens to be a free space. I never thought this would be an issue, particularly with students.

  40. 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 Akbar’.

    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 .

  41. This is an example of one culture attempting to impose it’s own inflexible views on another’s and using Religion to exempt the behaviour from any common sense or criticism.
    As Chris Hitchens once said: I’m happy for you to play with your toys but please don’t bring them round to my house and expect me to play as well.

  42. I totally agree that in a liberal civil society, at a secular university, this kind of behavior should not be tolerated under any circumstances, if this event was held at a religious venue this would be considered within their rights.
    It’s unfortunate the good professor did not skip the event as was his first inclination.

  43. It is great to see some Muslims visiting this site and posting their comments. It must be a positive thing if they are bringing their highly developed reason, powerful rhetoric, persuasive logic, acute historical analysis and innate sense of justice and equality to the RDFRS table (excuse the sarcasm).

    It is less ‘impressive’ to read the words of the multiculturalists (yes, there are several of them among us) whose weasly words undermine the discussion. They unfortunately only bring spineless accomodationism and pander pathetically to the religious bullies.

    Anyway, I’ve tried to simplify this discussion so let’s look at what appears to have happened:

    Muslim: “We should be allowed to enforce Muslim ‘rules’ at a public event, in a public university in the UK”

    Lawrence Krauss: “If that happens then I’m not taking part”

    Muslim: “OK we promise we won’t”

    Lawrence Krauss: “It appears that Muslim “rules” are being enforced at a public event, in a public university in the UK…I’m leaving”

    Muslim (with fingers crossed behind back): “Ok, we’ll stop then”

    There are 2 points worth noting here:

    1. Organised gender segregation at a public event is ILLEGAL in the UK (Any person can sit anywhere they like in a public auditorium)
    2. Organised gender segregation contravenes UCL’s Equality and Diversity Policy (you can wade through it here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/equalities)
    3. The Quran and Hadith encourage the use of lying in order to further the cause of Islam (as well as lying in order to get a girl into bed!! Among other nonsensical BS)

    It appears to me that UK law and UCL policies were broken here regardless of what anyone’s opinion is. It is a disgrace that administrators and security staff at UCL allowed this to happen and I firmly believe that a report should be made to the police as well as the University’s governing body – those responsible should be prosecuted/sanctioned. For future events the organizers should be forced to provide written confirmation that they will abide by the laws of the land and the policies of the university. This will allow simple exposure of the deceitful ways by with Muslims enforce Sharia in non Islamic states.

    For information, the following is lifted verbatim from the UCL equality website:

    Before UCL’s inception in 1826, the benefits of a university education in England were restricted to males who were members of the Church of England. UCL was founded, in part, to challenge that discrimination and so became the first university in England that provided a progressive alternative to the social exclusivity and religious restrictions of its predecessors, Oxford and Cambridge. UCL does not have any religious affiliation or endorse any particular denomination or faith. The secular values that UCL upholds are as relevant today as they were at its inception.

    Laughable isn’t it?

    Al

    • In reply to #105 by alonthemed:

      It is great to see some Muslims visiting this site and posting their comments…
      … This will allow simple exposure of the deceitful ways by with Muslims enforce Sharia in non Islamic states.

      All good so far, agree with every word. However…

      For information, the following is lifted verbatim from the UCL equality website:

      Before UCL’s inception in 1826, the benefits of a university education in England were restricted to males who were members of the Church of England. UCL was founded, in part, to challenge that discrimination and so became the first university in England that provided a progressive alternative to the social exclusivity and religious restrictions of its predecessors, Oxford and Cambridge. UCL does not have any religious affiliation or endorse any particular denomination or faith. The secular values that UCL upholds are as relevant today as they were at its inception.

      Laughable isn’t it?

      Not laughable at all, not ironic either.
      The stated policy stands and is probably the reason that IERA was allowed to book in the first place. As far as I can see that was the right decision, we don’t shut down people we don’t agree with by not allowing them a platform. (there obviously have to be limits but I don’t see how that limit was reached, especially when agreement was reached not to segregate)

      What happened in the run up to the event appears to have been pretty well dealt with, restatement of policy, agreement from IERA and permission to carry on, with a couple of precautions. Nothing there that runs contrary to UCL policy. The errors were made on the night and in hindsight we can see that it was almost bound to go the way it went. But step back to the lead up and have UCL ban the event. That would most definitely have been against UCL’s policy and the IERA would have made much mileage about the prejudice.

      In hindsight it seems that UCL should have done more, perhaps had a more senior person overseeing the event, it appears that those in control from the UCL position were ‘rank and file’, not decision makers.

      I think that the most important thing now is UCL’s response and the thoroughness of their investigation. They have started well by stating that IERA will not be welcome to use UCL facilities in future because they breached UCL policy. At this point that is as much as they can do. Even without the investigation it looks as if the fault lies with IERA who lied to get what they want, even if the responsibility ultimately lies with UCL for allowing the event to be run without more oversight. I certainly don’t agree that ‘heads should roll’, this is not a case of someone allowing a policy breach in full support and knowledge, this is, perhaps, a case of someone erring too far on the side of the policy.

      ps
      I think I have already declared my ‘interest’ here, I am not a UCL fanboy, I am as incensed as anyone here, perhaps more so because of my association with UCL and subsequent embarrassment caused by this failure.

  44. There is no acceptable reason anywhere for people to be forced to sit in an assigned area in a public forum. The fact that the organizers (who to my knowledge are not Muslim) were willing to make an effort to accomodate demonstrates that it isn’t the Muslims that have the monopoly on good moral value.

    In these chats it seems pretty easy to lose track of what it means to have morals and ethics in a society. What it isn’t about is preventing people from doing things because they aren’t married, or happen to be women, or any of the other bizarre choices made in the name of following tenets as opposed to adhering to the law and being respectful of all other people.

    Morals and ethics once again, are the by products of a process as old as civilization itself to provide an environment for all people to exist in beneficially. They do not come from religion and most certainly was not perfected some 2000 years ago. It should be painfully obvious that moral and ethical ideas are still in progress as we as a species still are. So why on earth would someone comport their thinking to the edicts of bronze age books? Depressing, to say the least.

    I agree with the article that Krauss should have left and not come back. It’s amazing how a sublte act can assert such control, and that there are those willing to do it for their selfish ends.

    • In reply to #109 by achromat666:

      There is no acceptable reason anywhere for people to be forced to sit in an assigned area in a public forum. The fact that the organizers (who to my knowledge are not Muslim) were willing to make an effort to accomodate demonstrates that it isn’t the Muslims that have the monopoly on good moral value.

      You should probably have a read through and catch up on developments, the organisers did not accommodate the segregation, they addressed it and took steps (ineffective) to prevent it. The event was allowed to go ahead and the IERA went back on agreements that they probably had no intention of keeping.

      I think we are far enough into this by now that people should be past the ‘Something should be done!!’ and ‘UCL should be hung!!’ as if they were complicit rather than duped and perhaps naive. If we hold them responsible for what they have done, not overseen the event closely enough, rather than trying to paint them as religious nuts who were in cahoots with IERA then we don’t end up looking like a load of ill informed ranting Daily Mail readers or Fox watchers.

      • In reply to #112 by Confero:

        In reply to #109 by achromat666:

        I think we are far enough into this by now that people should be past the ‘Something should be done!!’ and ‘UCL should be hung!!’ as if they were complicit rather than duped and perhaps naive. If we hold them responsible for what they have done, not overseen the event closely enough, rather than trying to paint them as religious nuts who were in cahoots with IERA then we don’t end up looking like a load of ill informed ranting Daily Mail readers or Fox watchers.

        Agreed Confero. However the cries of “something should be done” have now been answered – pretty much satisfactorily to my mind. They hadn’t been answered earlier which is why people were suggesting that something be done.

        Also, no one was accusing UCL of religious nuttiness. The general fear in my mind was that UCL had succumbed to the ethos of pandering multiculturalism. This appears not to be the case, and barring any further information we should be relatively happy with the result.

        I am in 2 minds however as to whether Krauss should have left or not…but I am reminded of Dawkins’ comment of a while back: “Debating xxxx will look better on his CV than mine”

        Al

        • In reply to #113 by alonthemed:

          Agreed Confero. However the cries of “something should be done” have now been answered – pretty much > satisfactorily to my mind. They hadn’t been answered earlier which is why people were suggesting that
          something be done.

          Without trying to appear too picky, I had posted a link to the UCL statement about 20 minutes before your post and 30 minutes before achromat’s, as soon as the Provost’s office replied to my email. As it has only been posted once when you posted and was a bit buried in the text it wouldn’t have been fair to point it out when responding to you. However, by the time achromat had posted his ‘organisers were complicit’ comment the UCL statement had been posted at least three times and in much clearer terms. As I was reading both this site and the FB page, where there was a much higher volume of accusation and ‘Daily Mail type comments I guess I just lumped the whole thing together.

          Also, no one was accusing UCL of religious nuttiness. The general fear in my mind was that UCL had succumbed to the ethos of pandering multiculturalism. This appears not to be the case, and barring any
          further information we should be relatively happy with the result.

          Perhaps I was confusing this site with the more ranting comments found on the facebook page. Many people, here and on the FB page, including you, had made statements about UCL’s culpability when we hadn’t heard their side of the story. It was quite plain that there wouldn’t have been time for them to have produced a statement outlining their position but it was also fairly certain that there would be one, and probably quite soon. It was all looking decidedly unreasonable. If you look at the antepenultimate paragraph of the original post, in english, you’ll see that Richard Dawkins was careful to leave wiggle room for a response from UCL and made no accusations of complicity.

          I am in 2 minds however as to whether Krauss should have left or not…but I am reminded of Dawkins’ comment of a while back: “Debating xxxx will look better on his CV than mine”

          Al

          I don’t know, it’s a hard call. On the one hand we have an obvious issue that requires a response, on the other he has an audience of people who have come to hear the debate, many have come to support his side of the debate. I guess he was just caught up in feeling committed. On balance I wish he’d walked but understand why he didn’t.

  45. According to Ophelia Benson – I think quoting Chris Moos,
    “A woman who identified herself as a Chemistry teacher at UCL said the segregation had been agreed with UCL. She also stated, that “I’m actually booking this room on behalf of UCL Chemistry, I’m Dr Aisha Rahman”.
    So why would that be? some sort of subterfuge? Or because that way the Chemistry Department would pay?
    As for breaking the law by segregating, if the enforcement of the prohibition on supplying meat from unstunned animals is anything to go by, nobody’s going to be the least bit bothered. Do they serve unlabelled halal meat in the UCL canteens, I wonder? Or allow non Muslims to buy halal meat?

  46. The issues have just been clarified on this parallel discussion!
    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/3/10/segregated-seating-row-at-ucl-debate-between-islam-and-atheism#

    TheRationalizer
    19 – 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.

    It seems that this Islamic organisation considers its self “above” contractual arrangements and legal requirements, with its sheeples playing the martyr-song routine while abusing others who called it on its misconduct!

  47. In response to locoloco:

    If you read Mathewmattic comment carefully, he was talking of Islam as a whole and not referring specifically to the event in question or the day to day life of muslim women in UK or other secular countries where there is – at least – some form of civil and legal presion against sharia and other nonsense. Only the second part of his comment touches the issue of the event.

    So my comment is to be applied to Islam in general and specially where Islamism runs rampant. Surely you cannot be so dismissal of the reality of woman in such countries, with humiliation and bodily harm as normal currency, where sharia law is a full legal reality. May I remind you that even in secular countries we can find, and will continue to find, acts of violence toward women – and children – based solely in islamist creed.

    If you find my comment dramatic, I find your lack of outrage and empathy on this issues dramatic.

  48. In reply to #126 by Safi

    No, Dr. Krauss was being provoked as admitted already by the organizers who begged him to stay.

    If I’d attended I’d have been tempted to throw the fire alarm. Then when people shuffled back in the ones that want segregation could sit in the bloody back and segregate themselves and each other.

  49. Thought you may be interested to read that the Provost and UCL have released the following statement:

    There has been some speculation in the media in the last two days about an event that was held at UCL on Saturday evening. A room had been booked by a member of staff of the Chemistry Department for a public debate mounted by an external organisation.

    We issued today the following statement:

    “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.”

    UCL was founded in 1826 as a secular institution. That does not mean it is institutionally atheist but that it is an open institution, tolerant of difference, strong on of freedom of speech, but intolerant of discrimination on grounds of gender, race, religion or other irrelevant grounds. There is no shortage of other premises available in London to organisations wishing to operate to different rules.

  50. Ophelia Benson reports that some ex-Muslims have been duped into handing over their personal details. This seems to be because they thought that the meeting was organised by something called “Big Debates” and didn’t realised that it was a front organisation of EIRA.
    I wondered (#112) why the room had been booked in the name of the Chemistry Department and whether that was a subterfuge. It looks increasingly as though it was. It is, of course, still possible that Chemistry copped the bill, as well.
    Edit: that was Abishek N. Phadnis writing as a guest on Ophelia Benson’s blog.

  51. As long as the authorities involved in any future events organised by IERA in any University or public auditorium are fore warned about religious gender separation imposed or enforced by IERA either by stealth or by open condition then technically, since such gender separation is actually against the law they will (should) never be allowed to stage any further events if they seek to impose such gender separation by stealth or condition. Which means they are free to bang on about their oppressive comedy religion but behind their own closed doors, to their own audiences. Thereby “Telling their ‘truths’ not to those who ‘don’t know’ but reminding those who already do.” (W. Blake)

    Make no mistakes, any activities organised by IERA such as debates on Atheism/Islam etc have nothing whatsoever to do with examining the ‘nature of reality’ they are entirely and only about sustaining the myths which hold a manifestly oppressive religion together and sustaining the mental limitations (and oppression) it is based upon in the minds of its ‘casualties’ or ‘believers’ – and anyone else cracked, lost or vulnerable enough to want to convert to it.
    IERA is a charity based ‘institution’ whose sole purpose is sustaining itself and proselytising for Islam amongst the vulnerable the damaged and the naive.

    Hamza Tzortsis, Krauss’ opponent is an IERA ‘professional’ Muslim. Sustaining the Myth Islam is, is his job.

  52. The problem would have been solved if the bushy bearded muslim men and mullahs were kept out of the event. They were the one who ogle and forbid women from entering into mosque because they (mullahs) can’t control their urges. Such weak barbarians.

    • In reply to #140 by bagus.marwoto:

      Sexual Apartheid in UCL …. really? Let me guess your mind …. “There are toilets segregated by sex in UCL”

      I don’t know about UCL, but the disabled toilets in the university where I work are unisex!

  53. Whilst I entirely disagree with this segregated event and I am in fact quite appalled by it, if one thinks for a moment about other instances of gender segregation or discrimination in the UK there are actually quite a few examples which have nothing to do with Islam.

    One of the most widespread examples is gender segregation in schools, both state funded and private institutions. I have always wondered why, as a country, we segregate our children. Is it merely because the other sex causes a distraction thus leading to enhanced educational performance in single sex schools? Does this enhanced performance somehow validate the use of gender segregation?

    And on the subject of gender segregation at UK universities, are there not still female only colleges at Cambridge?

  54. Sorry to be really picky, but wasn’t this website planning to segregate men and women? I’m sure I recall reading there were plans for a special womens section at some point earlier this year or late last year. Which I would be as against as I would be against this.

    • In reply to #144 by atheistengineer:

      Sorry to be really picky, but wasn’t this website planning to segregate men and women? I’m sure I recall reading there were plans for a special womens section at some point earlier this year or late last year. Which I would be as against as I would be against this.

      Doesn’t ring any bells with me. Have you got a link or something ?

      Michael

  55. Over three-quarters of the room was available for both genders to sit together in a mixed arrangement. This catered for both Muslims AND non-Muslims, whether male or female!

    At the back of the room, there was a special provision for conservative Muslim females to sit together away from other males, in line with their beliefs. The organisers responded to the needs of EVERYONE, and ensured that everyone could sit in a manner that was comfortable and appropriate. Instead certain non-Muslim male members of the audience deliberately ignored the mixed-area provided in the middle/front of the room, and chose to sit among the Muslim females at the back. They were asked by the organisers to move, and they objected which resulted in much unnecessary drama and attention. WHY were they deliberately looking for confrontation when there was absolutely no need? The sisters at the back asked for special consideration for their beliefs, in the same way that Jews and Muslims have dietary requirements and who can expect, in this modern society to have their beliefs respected!

    Now I’m willing to accept that there will always be a group of idiots in any given sample of the human population, but what really disappointed me was when Professor Lawrence Krauss (someone who I actually admire for his work in the scientific field and have read his books) decided that he would throw a tantrum like a 3 year old, and demanded to leave unless his intolerant demands for absolute non-segregation were met! He’s walking out of a hugely anticipated event for which many people have travelled great distances in order to debate and learn, and here he is – the grand Professor refusing to even discuss the issue with Hamza Andreas Tzortzis and come to a compromise (a compromise that was already achieved by the seating arrangement already in place!!)

    Absolutely disappointed with Krauss, moreso than the idiots that caused the problem!!

    • In reply to #149 by akadir:

      Over three-quarters of the room was available for both genders to sit together in a mixed arrangement. This catered for both Muslims AND non-Muslims, whether male or female!

      At the back of the room, there was a special provision for conservative Muslim females to sit together away from other males, in line with their beliefs. The organisers responded to the needs of EVERYONE, and ensured that everyone could sit in a manner that was comfortable and appropriate. Instead certain non-Muslim male members of the audience deliberately ignored the mixed-area provided in the middle/front of the room, and chose to sit among the Muslim females at the back. They were asked by the organisers to move, and they objected which resulted in much unnecessary drama and attention. WHY were they deliberately looking for confrontation when there was absolutely no need? The sisters at the back asked for special consideration for their beliefs, in the same way that Jews and Muslims have dietary requirements and who can expect, in this modern society to have their beliefs respected!

      Allow me to explain some points of western social etiquette you don’t seem familiar with.

      Women (particularly young women) may flock together by choice already. This is not a condition imposed by anyone but themselves. Already it is taboo for a stranger of either gender to impose themselves at their table, or violate their personal space in theaters, on buses or in shops, to touch them in any way, to talk to them unwantedly, or make cat calls or ogle and leer. These actions result in all parties making the acquaintance of the bouncer/usher/ bus driver/shop keeper/police to expel the offender.

      Single women attending the UCL event have this right already as do the 2 or 3 men labeled “perverts” for merely sitting in the same section. If these men showed no sign of wanting to offend, those women have no right to be offended.

      Do you really not know this?

  56. There is clear precedence in many cultures for gender segregation, including the West. You need to realise that segregated seating is not done on the basis of prejudice, discrimination or to place the said-gender at a disadvantage. If it was so, then the Muslim females in this example would not have been ok with it (At the end of the Q&A session, one of the Muslim females from the back actually read out a statement to Krauss on behalf of them defending their preferred seating at the rear and that he should not have forced his atheistic rule on them).

    The fact that Islam prefers segregation of the genders is because of a value that you simply won’t understand. Look, just think of the premise, the value, the belief that underpins the segregation before you start to disagree with me. People seem to appreciate the obvious reasons behind gender segregation in sport, toilets and prisons. So how about you try and understand what seems “obvious” to Muslims?

    Muslims recognise the innate nature of both males and females to feel attracted to the opposite sex, and prefer to prevent scenarios where premarital/extramarital relationships may find an opportunity. No ones accusing the opposite gender of “pouncing” or lacking self discipline entirely. But humans have time and time again, through what is only a natural and innate instinct, found themselves attracted to / indulging in what is considered to be a sin. High school, college and university romances are not new, so let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen. The only difference between the non-Muslim and Muslim view about this is that Muslims consider such relationships/indulgences to be a sin, hence a measure of prevention is considered necessary.

    Muslims have no problem with males and females interacting where necessary; teacher-student, salesman-customer, employer-employee, doctor-patient, etc. There are some grey areas too, but mixed seating between opposite genders is seen as unnecessary. In any case, this event did NOT enforce segregation, it merely provided a section for those who wanted to reserve their own area while allowing everyone else to sit in a mixed arrangement.

    Disagree all you want, but you can’t call it prejudice, discrimination or a deliberate attempt to place anyone at a disadvantage.

    • In reply to #150 by akadir:

      Muslims recognise the innate nature of both males and females to feel attracted to the opposite sex, and prefer to prevent scenarios where premarital/extramarital relationships may find an opportunity. No ones accusing the opposite gender of “pouncing” or lacking self discipline entirely. But humans have time and time again, through what is only a natural and innate instinct, found themselves attracted to / indulging in what is considered to be a sin. High school, college and university romances are not new, so let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen. The only difference between the non-Muslim and Muslim view about this is that Muslims consider such relationships/indulgences to be a sin, hence a measure of prevention is considered necessary.

      You claim that something which you admit is “natural and innate” is a somehow a “sin” and should be prevented by keeping women separate from men whenever possible. Please provide evidence for this claim.

      In any case, this event did NOT enforce segregation, it merely provided a section for those who wanted to reserve their own area while allowing everyone else to sit in a mixed arrangement.

      As soon as you ask someone to move because they’ve sat in a segregated section, you can no longer claim that segregation is not being enforced.

  57. Not only does enforced gender segregation exist in Western prisons, toilets and sports, but there is also clear gender segregation in western education too; in both public AND private education. Here are a few examples of UK segregation of gender in private schools: St Paul’s School – London, Westminster School – London, Eton College and many more! And there are plenty of UK public schools enforcing gender segregation too. One local school in my hometown: Challney High School, enforces segregation of the sexes – one section is all-boys and the other is all-girls.

    In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of single-sex public education in the 1996 case of United States v. Virginia. This ruling, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg concluded that single-sex education in the public sector is constitutional only if comparable courses, services, and facilities are made available to both sexes. Which is precisely what Muslim educational establishments try to achieve for both genders and in some cases, excel at.

    So are you atheists going to claim that your Western schools, prisons, toilets and sports are illegally segregated too?!

  58. A debate is meant to be about learning and understanding between two groups of people. The Quran encourages such interaction, which is why iERA organises these debates.

    What Krauss demonstrated on Saturday was a flagrant violation of his liberal values, and an arrogant imposition of his opinion upon those who do not subscribe to it. Somewhat hypocritical and contradictory for someone who claims that there are no absolute / objective moral truths!

    Instead of debating and discussing the problem, he chose to force his view as the fundamentalist that he is.

    • In reply to #153 by akadir:

      Somewhat hypocritical and contradictory for someone who claims that there are no absolute / objective moral truths!

      Claiming that there are no absolute / objective moral truths is not the same as not holding any beliefs about what is the moral thing to do and why. So there is no contradiction here. Atheists accept that morals are invented by humans. The hypocrisy lies with the religious who pretend their holy books contain the inerrant word of god while at the same time writing endless commentaries interpreting their god’s inerrant words.

      Michael

      • In reply to #157 by mmurray:

        In reply to #153 by akadir:

        Somewhat hypocritical and contradictory for someone who claims that there are no absolute / objective moral truths!

        Claiming that there are no absolute / objective moral truths is not the same as not holding any beliefs about what is the moral thing to do and why. So there is no contradiction here. Atheists accept that morals are invented by humans. The hypocrisy lies with the religious who pretend their holy books contain the inerrant word of god while at the same time writing endless commentaries interpreting their god’s inerrant words.

        Michael

        Not but the sheer force and arrogance with which he imposed his opinion, you’d think it was a moral value as certain/objective as saving a life. This is a culturally-subjective issue, one which can be debated but not forced on others without consent.

        And the hypocrisy also lies with Atheists who claim to be liberals, but at the heart of what they really want is an abandonment of all social values held by others, for the sake of their promoting their morally bankrupt worldview.

        • In reply to #159 by akadir:

          In reply to #157 by mmurray:

          Not but the sheer force and arrogance with which he imposed his opinion, you’d think it was a moral value as certain/objective as saving a life. This is a culturally-subjective issue, one which can be debated but not forced on others without consent.

          And the hypocrisy also lies with Atheists who claim to be liberals, but at the heart of what they really want is an abandonment of all social values held by others, for the sake of their promoting their morally bankrupt dogma.

          Ah so I have morally bankrupt dogma do I ? Remind me again what you were saying about arrogance.

          What do you think of the response from UCL:

          http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0313/11032013-meeting

          Was it true that the organisers ignored the instructions from the people they hired the room from ? Surely they wouldn’t have indulged in such immoral behaviour ?

          Michael

        • In reply to #159 by akadir:

          Not but the sheer force and arrogance with which he imposed his opinion, you’d think it was a moral value as certain/objective as saving a life. This is a culturally-subjective issue, one which can be debated but not forced on others without consent.

          And the hypocrisy also lies with Atheists who claim to be liberals, but at the heart of what they really want is an abandonment of all social values held by others, for the sake of their promoting their morally bankrupt dogma.

          Here is a short list of the words and phrases you’ve used in these three sentences, the meaning of which seems to escape you almost entirely: arrogance; imposed; forced; consent; hypocrisy; liberals; morally bankrupt dogma.
          (I saved the best till last, I think you’ll agree)

          Still waiting for evidence back at #155.

          • In reply to #163 by skeelo:

            In reply to #159 by akadir:

            Not but the sheer force and arrogance with which he imposed his opinion, you’d think it was a moral value as certain/objective as saving a life. This is a culturally-subjective issue, one which can be debated but not forced on others without consent.

            And the hypocrisy also lies with Atheists who claim to be liberals, but at the heart of what they really want is an abandonment of all social values held by others, for the sake of their promoting their morally bankrupt dogma.

            Here is a short list of the words and phrases you’ve used in these three sentences, the meaning of which seems to escape you almost entirely: arrogance; imposed; forced; consent; hypocrisy; liberals; morally bankrupt dogma.
            (I saved the best till last, I think you’ll agree)

            You could add Psychological projection to that list! – When those who get caught reneging on agreements, try to play the martyr, and project their short-comings on to others.

  59. I would like to tell you that as a Muslim woman, I actually PREFER to sit separately from men in public places. There was a mixed section for people who wanted to sit there, and a section for women like me who prefer to sit separately. So the organisers were actually being considerate to everyone and making women like me who wanted to sit separately more comfortable.

    Hey Hubbee, as a woman, I hope one day you will find the BEST seat in the house and not think twice about taking it. You can sit front and center with all your friends (or alone) or back and center and men will surround you and it will be no issue at all. There should be no issue at all about where you sit. Think about this.

    • In reply to #156 by oeditor:

      @akadir
      Why were the women segregated to the back of the room, instead of its being divided into two sides? Because, it would appear, they are considered inferior.

      Would it have made any difference to these atheists had it been a left/right segregated seating? I think not. Their issue lies with the mere segregation, not the specific positioning.

      You infer that the rear seating implies inferiority, but that is purely your own interpretation and clearly not what the Muslim women intended for themselves! If anyone wanted to sit at the front in a mixed setting, they could do so (just like I did!)

  60. akadir #153

    A debate is meant to be about learning and understanding between two groups of people. The Quran encourages such interaction, which is why iERA organises these debates.

    Welcome Akadir, and thank you for at least putting your point of view forward. This site encourages such interaction.

    However, I’m sure that iERA organised these debates simply to proselytise and garner publicity.

    I’ve honestly no objection to that. They are free to do so.

    That is their right, of course, in a liberal democracy – but let us be honest here, Akadir, there is no learning or understanding going on here, for as you well know, where conflict exists between science and islamic theology, science must subvert itself to the Qur’an.

    What Krauss demonstrated on Saturday was a flagrant violation of his liberal values, and an arrogant imposition of his opinion upon those who do not subscribe to it. Somewhat hypocritical and contradictory for someone who claims that there are no absolute / objective moral truths!

    It was his liberal values that insisted a precondition of his attendance was non-segregation.

    It was his liberal values that caused him to protest when this precondition was abandoned.

    It was his liberal values, and the liberal values of the institution that allowed the meeting, that were abused when segregation was arrogantly imposed on people who do not subscribe to it.

    Instead of debating and discussing the problem, he chose to force his view as the fundamentalist that he is.

    I feel quite proud of him that he held to the preconditions that he had asked for when patently he would have been under pressure to conform to the ‘as is’ situation – in much the same way that people will meekly segregate if they are told to by authority.

    We all have our Rosa Parks moments. It is to our shame that we mostly do not show the courage that Krauss did.

    The difference between Krauss and iERA regarding fundamentalism is that given evidence that his viewpoint is wrong, Krauss will immediately change his position – and be happy to do so.

    Dogma can never do that, Akadir. This is why islam remains stuck as a weak, backward, impoverished ideology.

    It is why it has to employ sophism in debate, and has to impose itself on people in a dictatorial and often violent manner.

    It is why the protagonists in this debate could not have their roles reversed were we in an Islamic Caliphate.

    By the way, your claim that institutionalised misogynistic segregation exists elswhere in the west does not give you the right to get an ought from an is.

    Misogyny is misogyny.

    That there are many problems in so called western society goes beyond saying. One of these problems – especially for women – is Islam.

    Again, welcome to the debate.

    Anvil.

  61. akadir #158

    In reply to #156 by oeditor:

    @akadir Why were the women segregated to the back of the room, instead of its being divided into two sides? Because, it would appear, they are considered inferior.

    Would it have made any difference to these atheists had it been a left/right segregated seating? I think not. Their issue lies with the mere segregation, not the specific positioning.

    This is correct, Akadir. It is the mere segregation.

    You infer that the rear seating implies inferiority, but that is purely your own interpretation and clearly not what the Muslim women intended for themselves!

    Less imply, much rather_state_ inferiority – as does the position of women in muslim society generally, and Islamic jurisprudence specifically.

    Women did not make up this and other rulings which discriminate against their gender – muslim men did.

    In the muslim world muslim Women intend very little for themselves. Muslim Men do that for them.

    It’s all about knowing their nature, I suppose?

    So again, whilst it is correct that any rational thinking person be against segregation per se, regardless of position, it should come as no surprise that the people being discriminated against in such segregation, where it is allowed to occur, should be found to occupy the inferior position.

    If anyone wanted to sit at the front in a mixed setting, they could do so (just like I did!)

    Of course, as I mentioned earlier, in the coming Caliphate you could not do this if you were a women. Could you.

    Anvil.

  62. There isn’t a religion out there that doesn’t promote women as second class citizens. As long as religion and politics are allowed to be so closely entwined together there is no hope for change or progress of any kind in the future. Looking at nature there are always balance’s, male and female. As long as one gender has rights over another there will be no balance’s and progress of any kind. Dr Krauss, reacted as most of the population… A little out of fear that he would be perceived as Islamaphobic. We all rant and rave about the situation but in the long run, nothing changes. In response to “13… In a situation such as this women don’t always sit in a female only section due to preferences, it is out of fear to be singled out and ridiculed for their actions and taking the “quiet life” approach is the preferable approach to their circumstances. Each generation is supposed to learn and improve on the previous not copy outdated views and approaches to life. this is a modern world and a multicultural one. One religion can’t hold president over all others. I was brought up to believe that religion is a personal choice and nobody has the right to inflict their views and beliefs on others. Religions are based on each persons interpretation of the written word and depending on your circumstances that interpretation is very different. Religion is supposed to promote forgiveness and harmony with other cultures and religions but all it does is give people excuses to segregate and exclude certain groups in society that the individual deems to be unworthy. I was brought up under the catholic faith and once I developed my own sense of reasoning very quickly realized that to believe that there is an all powerful being in charge of things is a purely delusional perspective. You give away credit for your accomplishments and allows you not to take responsibility for ones actions and the state your life is in right now, it is just easier to blame it on “Gods path or way” and say that he doesn’t want us to understand his reasons… If so called “western women” were sat at a table and wanted an all women dinner (Girls night out) they would have no hesitation in telling the men where to go and involving the management of the establishment to help with the situation if they didn’t take the hint…. “We are as powerless as we allow ourselves to be”

  63. A peice of crap….! There are many events in this world, where the organisers arrange allocated seating for VIPs, special guests, press or disabled access. Allocated seating to cater for people’s preferences is known and acceptable. Many Muslim men and women feel comfortable seating amongst their gender – should they not have their preferences respected? Are not all preferences equal? Fundamentally, are not Muslims equal to other humans? Here lies the real question, upon which we’ll discover the real answer behind the distaste against Muslims and their practices.

    • In reply to #170 by king.loin.90226:

      A peice of crap….! There are many events in this world, where the organisers arrange allocated seating for VIPs, special guests, press or disabled access. Allocated seating to cater for people’s preferences is known and acceptable.

      False analogy. It appears that this event was segregated into men, women and a few couples. Only the couples seem to have had the choice of sitting together or apart. Otherwise, all other men were segregated from all other women from the outset , without any say in the matter, and had no opportunity to mix.

    • In reply to #170 by king.loin.90226:

      A peice of crap….!

      Welcome to the site king.loin.90226!

      Many Muslim men and women feel comfortable seating amongst their gender – should they not have their preferences respected?

      In the mosque, perhaps. Elsewhere, not so much.

      Are not all preferences equal?

      No.

      Fundamentally, are not Muslims equal to other humans?

      Yes, they are. Fundamentally, however, women are also equal to men, despite what the Quran might say.

    • In reply to #170 by king.loin.90226:

      A peice of crap….!

      I would suggest a semi-colon rather than an exclamation mark.

      There are many events in this world, where the organisers arrange allocated seating for VIPs, special guests, press or disabled access.

      Are they allocated by race, creed or colour or gender? Could you cite examples?

      Allocated seating to cater for people’s preferences is known and acceptable. Many Muslim men and women feel comfortable seating amongst their gender – should they not have their preferences respected?

      No. Not when this is in the public square. Not when they have been informed that they cannot do this – by both the venue and one of the main guests who had this specifically as a precondition of his appearance.

      Are not all preferences equal?

      No, they are not.

      Fundamentally, are not Muslims equal to other humans?

      Fundamentally, are not women equal to men?

      Fundamentally, are not Muslim women equal to Muslim men?

      Here lies the real question, upon which we’ll discover the real answer behind the distaste against Muslims and their practices.

      Your attempt to play the race card here is both weak and as unbecoming of civilised debate as is the segregation of people by gender.

      The real question here is one of a totalitarian islamist ideology that seeks to engender the oppression repression and suppresion of fully one half of the population of the planet.

      Not all elements of all cultures are acceptable. Relativism is bunk.

      Was it acceptable to lie to both the organisers and participants in order express your preference for the segregation of women and men?

      Anvil.

    • In reply to #170 by king.loin.90226:

      A peice of crap….! There are many events in this world, where the organisers arrange allocated seating for VIPs, special guests, press or disabled access. Allocated seating to cater for people’s preferences is known and acceptable.

      None of which discriminate (that is the key here) on gender, sexuality, or race….this is where your swing manages to miss it’s mark by a mile….

  64. The point of my original post, is that Atheists do not protest against the socially accepted forms of segregation, yet cry havoc at the harmless segregation Muslims may practice in lecture halls. It was the double standards of those Atheists who always complain conspiculously only when people of Theistic belief are involved, that I was rebuking.

    However there are some problems with your subsequent criticisms above. Just because you argue that there shouldn’t be gender segregation at all, does not mean your argument is valid, just by dint of you making it. You need evidence and reasons to compel people to do something different then what they do today and are happy with.

    For example, your advocacy for gender mixing in toilets leads one to only wonder in horror at the kind of society where women would be forced to use toilets occupied by strange men, and visa versa. Considering this could involve situations including having to use toilets during late nights and/or in secluded areas, I don’t think your suggestion would be popular with women.

    If you are interested in studies on sex segregation, these show beneficial outcomes with gender segregation at schools (allow students to focus better, and improve their behaviour): http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2011781
    If that is so for the learning environment of schools, then why not for the learning environment in lectures and debates?

    As for sports, if you let men and women compete side by side, there will still be segregation, albeit due to the laws of human sexual dimorphism (physical difference in genders). Plato argued for equality between the sexes for such things, but he expressed that not so much should be expected of women (ref. Plato’s Republic). The reason they segregate women in sports, is so most of them have a chance to avoid being denied a career due to relegation against male atheletes/sportsman.

    As the Corston Report, comissioned by Feminist Baroness Corston, states, ‘Women and men are different. Equal treatment of men and women does not result in equal outcomes’

    Lastly, you say that humans should not be segregated according to any attribute they possess – however what about wealth? If you go to a movie, theatre production or even airline – seating effectively is segregated according to the wealth of the passenger/attendees. Heck, people even get different privileges according to wealth! How are you going ‘equalise’ that? Communism? (go on, you know the Atheist inside you wants to :P ).

    You also say that we should not segregate according to health? Then please inform me of the next Atheist campaign against disabled parking spaces, disabled toilets and state benefits and privileges accorded to disabled people by law – which the other ‘equal’ humans don’t get to enjoy.

    The final point in my argument is, we are not basically all the same, even amongst humans of the same gender (e.g. in physical size, strength, intellect, height, health, wealth). Seeing as you have no intellectual basis to justify why all humans are equal, and consider that we Muslims believe all humans are equal in the eyes of God, the argument should not be whether we should advocate equality, but whether you Atheists should :)

    • In reply to #177 by king.loin.90226:

      The final point in my argument is, we are not basically all the same, even amongst humans of the same gender (e.g. in physical size, strength, intellect, height, health, wealth). Seeing as you have no intellectual basis to justify why all humans are equal, and consider that we Muslims believe all humans are equal in the eyes of God, the argument should not be whether we should advocate equality, but whether you Atheists should :)

      You show no intellectual basis for how a single woman is disabled, or has “special needs” which justify enforced separation.

      Indeed if all are equal, your actions are speaking louder than your God.

    • In reply to #177 by king.loin.90226:

      The final point in my argument is, we are not basically all the same, even amongst humans of the same gender (e.g. in physical size, strength, intellect, height, health, wealth). Seeing as you have no intellectual basis to justify why all humans are equal, and consider that we Muslims believe all humans are equal in the eyes of God, the argument should not be whether we should advocate equality, but whether you Atheists should :)

      You are confusing equality of personal attributes with equal rights. The atheist intellectual argument for equal rights is not based on some pretence that everyone has the same attributes or on the existence of an imaginary god.

      Michael

    • In reply to #177 by king.loin.90226:

      You need evidence and reasons to compel people to do something different then what they do today and are happy with.

      Indeed you do, perhaps you’d like to offer some in favour of religiously inspired sexual segregation in lecture halls?

      In modern societies, people are, on the whole, very happy for lecture halls to remain unsegregated. Indeed, the toleration or endorsement of sexual segregation in a publicly funded seat of higher learning would be considered a blatant reversal of the progress made in granting equal rights for women.

      As has been noted elsewhere on this thread, while they continue to move, generally speaking, in the right direcction, western societies are not perfect. You will find forms of misogyny, prudery and bigotry that may still be considered ‘socially acceptable’, or at least tolerable, by many people. This does not, however, constitute and argument in favour of more misogyny, prudery and bigotry; it’s astonishing that anyone could suggest that it does.

      • In reply to #184 by skeelo:

        In reply to #177 by king.loin.90226:

        You need evidence and reasons to compel people to do something different then what they do today and are happy with.

        Indeed you do, perhaps you’d like to offer some in favour of religiously inspired sexual segregation in lecture halls?

        In modern societies, people are, on the whole, very happy for lecture halls to remain unsegregated. Indeed, the toleration or endorsement of sexual segregation in a publicly funded seat of higher learning would be considered a blatant reversal of the progress made in granting equal rights for women.

        As has been noted elsewhere on this thread, while they continue to move, generally speaking, in the right direcction, western societies are not perfect. You will find forms of misogyny, prudery and bigotry that may still be considered ‘socially acceptable’, or at least tolerable, by many people. This does not, however, constitute and argument in favour of more misogyny, prudery and bigotry; it’s astonishing that anyone could suggest that it does.

        Very nicely put. I’ve been pondering a response to this off and on today but you’ve nailed it and in a lot less words than any of my attempts.

        Michael

    • In reply to #177 by king.loin.90226:

      The point of my original post, is that Atheists do not protest against the socially accepted forms of segregation, yet cry havoc at the harmless segregation Muslims may practice in lecture halls. It was the double standards of those Atheists who always complain conspiculously only when people of Theistic belief are involved, that I was rebuking.

      Hi, king.loin.90226:

      Rebuke away, but I’d like to see some evidence for your assertions of double standards?

      Personally I know many, including myself, who ‘cry havoc’ at various forms of ‘socially accepted segregation’.

      You yourself include Anne Coulson, hardly a believer, who fought for justice for vunerable women incarcerated in a British criminal justice system that sought to punish them, needlessly, rather than help them.

      A point of note here is that Anne’s work (along with that of her late husband, sociologist Peter Townsend) moved the moral Zeitgeist along as regards the treatment of women.

      Not something I’d expect from islamist ideology which sees morality as a set of absolutes.

      However there are some problems with your subsequent criticisms above. Just because you argue that there shouldn’t be gender segregation at all, does not mean your argument is valid, just by dint of you making it. You need evidence and reasons to compel people to do something different then what they do today and are happy with.

      I’m not too sure what post you are responding to here but allow me to respond in return:** Yes. Evidence. Reason. Rational thought. Please provide some.** People were happy with slavery at one point.

      For example, your advocacy for gender mixing in toilets leads one to only wonder in horror at the kind of society where women would be forced to use toilets occupied by strange men, and visa versa. Considering this could involve situations including having to use toilets during late nights and/or in secluded areas, I don’t think your suggestion would be popular with women.

      Again, I’m not too sure who you are responding to here, but, speaking as a male, I wouldn’t want to use toilets occupied by strange men, late at night, and in secluded areas, either. Wherever this is happening we should do something about it.

      If you are interested in studies on sex segregation, these show beneficial outcomes with gender segregation at schools (allow students to focus better, and improve their behaviour): http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2011781
      If that is so for the learning environment of schools, then why not for the learning environment in lectures and debates?

      I disagree with segregation in schools based on religion or gender. I have two well educated, well rounded daughters who are comfortable in the presence of males and females of various sexual orientation.

      Anvil.

    • In reply to #177 by king.loin.90226:

      The point of my original post, is that Atheists do not protest against the socially accepted forms of segregation, yet cry havoc at the harmless segregation Muslims may practice in lecture halls. It was the double standards of those Atheists who always complain conspiculously only when people of Theistic belief are involved, that I was rebuking.

      Well I don’t agree with anything else you say at all, but very sadly I have no option but to agree here with respect to to double standards. As this site was planning segregation along gender lines and nobody complained.

      However there are some problems with your subsequent criticisms above. Just because you argue that there shouldn’t be gender segregation at all, does not mean your argument is valid, just by dint of you making it. You need evidence and reasons to compel people to do something different then what they do today and are happy with.For example, your advocacy for gender mixing in toilets leads one to only wonder in horror at the kind of society where women would be forced to use toilets occupied by strange men, and visa versa. Considering this could involve situations including having to use toilets during late nights and/or in secluded areas, I don’t think your suggestion would be popular with women.

      Only because the behaviour of a small but very dangerous minority of men would make it unsafe. Most women feel very vulnerable, or actually terrified when alone at night, or just alone. That is not really an argument for segregation just an argument to make the streets/toilets safer. To be honest in the sorts of circumstances you cite a womens toilet would be just a hazardous – alone, late at night – men can actually follow you into womens toilets..

      If you are interested in studies on sex segregation, these show beneficial outcomes with gender segregation at schools (allow students to focus better, and improve their behaviour): http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2011781 If that is so for the learning environment of schools, then why not for the learning environment in lectures and debates?

      As for sports, if you let men and women compete side by side, there will still be segregation, albeit due to the laws of human sexual dimorphism (physical difference in genders). Plato argued for equality between the sexes for such things, but he expressed that not so much should be expected of women (ref. Plato’s Republic). The reason they segregate women in sports, is so most of them have a chance to avoid being denied a career due to relegation against male atheletes/sportsman.

      The degree of sexual dimorphism is not absolute tho. At the highest levels yes, Bradley Wiggins will be stronger and faster then Victoria Pendleton but I bet she’d beat most other men in any cycling race.

      Plus sexual dimorphism is not an issue in this case. There are no real sex differences in the ability to sit and listen to a lecture. Sitting is not an olympic sport. Nor is learning, academia or just going about everyday business. In fact there are very few areas where sexual dimorphism can be used as an excuse to discriminate.

      As the Corston Report, comissioned by Feminist Baroness Corston, states, ‘Women and men are different. Equal treatment of men and women does not result in equal outcomes’Lastly, you say that humans should not be segregated according to any attribute they possess – however what about wealth? If you go to a movie, theatre production or even airline – seating effectively is segregated according to the wealth of the passenger/attendees. Heck, people even get different privileges according to wealth! How are you going ‘equalise’ that? Communism? (go on, you know the Atheist inside you wants to :P ).You also say that we should not segregate according to health? Then please inform me of the next Atheist campaign against disabled parking spaces, disabled toilets and state benefits and privileges accorded to disabled people by law – which the other ‘equal’ humans don’t get to enjoy.The final point in my argument is, we are not basically all the same, even amongst humans of the same gender (e.g. in physical size, strength, intellect, height, health, wealth). Seeing as you have no intellectual basis to justify why all humans are equal, and consider

      Not really relevant. You are talking about groups that have specific special needs. Yes a special area just for wheelchairs is fine. But women in a lecture do NOT have specific special needs. We can actually walk an sit quite well.

      that we Muslims believe all humans are equal in the eyes of God, the argument should not be whether we should advocate equality, but whether you Atheists should :)

      Then there would appear to be no Islamic argument for segregation at all! Segregated societies are unhealthy societies where people stop seeing the opposite sex as human beings to be commicated with as friends and start to see them purely as sexual objects. It is inevitable in segregated communities that one group will be treated differently and as inferior. Segregation is never good and never healthy.

      • In reply to #203 by atheistengineer:

        As this site was planning segregation along gender lines and nobody complained.

        A ‘parallel’ site for women certainly sounds like a daft idea, and I hadn’t heard a word about it until you brought it up, but without knowing what is/was planned I have no reason to think that it would amount to ‘segregation’ or come anywhere near to being “equally patronising and offensive” as the Islamic misogyny that is the subject of this article.

        If such plans do go ahead (especially if they are as terrible as you seem to assume, on the basis of a single sentence) I promise that I’ll be as up in arms about it as you seem to be; I’m sure a lot of other posters would be too.

        Perhaps, in the meantime, instead of accusing fellow posters of ‘double standards’ for not objecting strongly enough to a theoretically possible, future instance of ill-advised sexual segregation (even though we know almost nothing about it), we’d be better off focusing on the subject in hand (that we know quite a lot about): the blatant, misogynistic, Islamic sexual segregation enforced at UCL on the 9th of March.

        • In reply to #204 by skeelo:

          In reply to #203 by atheistengineer:As this site was planning segregation along gender lines and nobody complained.A ‘parallel’ site for women certainly sounds like a daft idea, and I hadn’t heard a word about it until you brought it up, but without knowing what is/was planned I have no reason to think that it would amount to ‘segregation’ or come anywhere near to being “equally patronising and offensive” as the Islamic misogyny that is the subject of this article.

          Well we probably know as much about it as we do about the event at UCL in the absence of an inquiry carried out by the university. And you will have heard and rightly rejected the excuses given by those defending it at UCL. How different can the excuses for this realistically be? 50% of the population are not homogenous, special or different they are the population!

          The core issue remains the same whatever excuses, and the core issue is that segregation on gender grounds without very good reasons (and I’m struggling to think of any outside of medical care and showers) no matter how benign it seems – is wrong and to be opposed.

          If such plans do go ahead (especially if they are as terrible as you seem to assume, on the basis of a single sentence) I promise that I’ll be as up in arms about it as you seem to be; I’m sure a lot of other posters would be too.Perhaps, in the meantime, instead of accusing fellow posters of ‘double standards’ for not objecting strongly enough to a theoretically possible, future instance of ill-advised sexual segregation (even though we know almost nothing about it), we’d be better off focusing on the subject in hand (that we know quite a lot about): the blatant, misogynistic, Islamic sexual segregation enforced at UCL on the 9th of March.

          I am focusing on the UCL debate. I read the exuses given by those defending the indenfensible at at UCL and disagreed with nearly all of them. I posted why I disagreed though I did come relatively late and therefore most had been dealt with already.

          However in that one respect of double standards where atheists segregation is ok but theistic one not,I very sadly I agreed with the posters, said so and stated why. In doing so gave a genuine reason rather then the ridiculous ones of sports and toilets that they’c come up with.

          Pointing to blatant double standards was a part of a debate and became a bigger part of the debate. And perhaps pointing to it here might actually ensure the site doesn’t go down the Islamic route of separate sites for women. Segregation always leads to discrimination. It is never healthy anywhere, not even when done by atheists.

          • In reply to #210 by atheistengineer:

            Well we probably know as much about it as we do about the event at UCL in the absence of an inquiry carried out by the university.

            This is simply not the case: we know a huge amount about what happened at UCL, much of it detailed on this thread. When it comes to the ‘parallel’ site for ‘women’ that may (or may not be) developed by the RDFRS web team in the future, we know almost nothing.

            You seem determined to assume that this new site, should it ever appear, will amount to “segregation”, on only, to put it mildly, the flimsiest of evidence.

            However in that one respect of double standards where atheists segregation is ok but theistic one not,I very sadly I agreed with the posters, said so and stated why.

            And here you press on with the “double standards” accusation. You have no evidence that posters here think sexual segregation performed by atheists would be “ok”; you haven’t even demonstrated the existence of an instance of sexual segregation performed by atheists that we could object to.

            If you want to find out more about what RDFRS have planned for future parallel sites and report back, then feel free. If the plans do indeed amount to sexual segregation then, as I’ve said, I shall object strongly; I’m sure many others would do the same. Until then (although I’d be astonished if such a thing came to pass) perhaps you could drop the “double standards” line just because not everyone here shares your burning desire to leap to unwarranted conclusions.

  65. I am a woman and was on my own at the debate. I was told I could sit anywhere and sat in the men’s section where there were other women as well. I would have caused a riot if they had forced me into the area where the Moslem women were!!!!!!

  66. Wecome ?!?newphone?!?

    I wish I could have sat with you in the “men’s section” but that would have made the “women’s section” that much more distant and crowded. Perhaps then, I might have asked you to join me, in solidarity and rear seating, with the Moslem ladies.

    I understand that (according to custom) if they did not have a segregated area, they MAY NOT attend.
    THESE ARE THE VERY PEOPLE WHO NEED TO SPEAK TO US MOST. I can’t honestly exagerate how important this is. These are the people we most need to dialogue with.

    So I may be dreaming, here’s an idea for the next IERA organized debate:

    The “women’s section” should include half of theater seating and a screened off area near the stage, so that strictly Moslem ladies may view the stage but none may view them from outside. From here they see, hear, and understand better than in inferior rear seating.They may vote with anonymity and those voting systems might work better nearer the stage.They may ask questions by microphone with anonymity. Imagine the freedom of asking “What do I think is right for me?” for the first time.

    Include an optional questionnaire after the event asking, “Now that you’ve experienced life at the front of the room, would you ever go back?”

    I bet the farm they won’t.

  67. The point of my original post, is that Atheists do not protest against the socially accepted forms of segregation, yet cry havoc at the harmless segregation Muslims may practice in lecture halls. It was the double standards of those Atheists who always complain conspiculously only when people of Theistic belief are involved, that I was rebuking.

    I am a 44 African American Atheist, old enough to have parents and grandparents that lived in the segregated south. Old enough to have seen the changes that have been made toward equality for people of different races, genders and sexual orientations.

    And there are others like me, and many others of different walks of live that are atheists that indeed stand against segregation and inequality of many types.

    Do you really want to have this discussion based on what you think atheist stand for on a subject where you couldn’t possibly have such a consensus? What is your assumption based on?

    I’m seeing a bit of false equivocation concerning the segregation of other types (health, wealth, athletic ability) and it all seems to rely on the same assumptions that all atheist have the same idea concerning all of these subjects.

    Perhaps if you actually talked with atheists BEFORE drawing your conclusions….?

    • In reply to #187 by achromat666:

      Perhaps if you actually talked with atheists BEFORE drawing your conclusions….?

      In fact, perhaps it would be best if these apologists simply talked first to some people not hankering after throwing the world back into the Middle Ages.

      • In reply to #188 by oeditor:

        In reply to #187 by achromat666:

        Perhaps if you actually talked with atheists BEFORE drawing your conclusions….?

        In fact, perhaps it would be best if these apologists simply talked first to some people not hankering after throwing the world back into the Middle Ages.

        And frankly, I’m disturbed by anyone daring to use the term harmless segregation. That speaks volumes.

  68. I know the organisers and, while I don’t subscribe to their religion (I’m a Pastafarian), I am positive this is just a misunderstanding.

    They have responded to an article on the matter here:
    http://www.ahsstudents.org.uk/news/2013/3/11/gender-segregation-at-ucl-event/

    …I would urge you all to read Aisha’s comments on that page. She provides her side of the story, pointing out that “there were 325 attendees in that auditorium, it was only 2 who were insistent on playing musical chairs”. I presume the other 323 got the correct end of the stick instead of flying off the handle. At least then you will be in a position to make your own conclusions instead of accepting dogmas.

    One might expect atheists to be better at questioning one-sided stories than most, rather than simply accepting everything that they read, regardless of how well they respect whomever wrote it. The above is effectively saying ‘my good friend told me that something bad happened to women’, and most of the below is saying ‘it’s terrible that the friend of this guy I respect saw something bad happen, and this means more bad things will happen’.

    Unfortunately I missed the event, so I hesitate to tar myself with the same brush as all the rest of the commentators who are (ironically religiously) relying only on second- or third-hand information (including the Great Prof D himself). However, I look forward to the outcome of the UCL investigation, which I’m sure will be thorough, balanced, and show the organisers acted in good faith (ho ho), probably just trying to stimulate debate, and certainly not trying to cause offence. I also hope that the outcome is reported here, as regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, no one deserves their names to be muddied by misunderstandings such as these.

    To be honest, I don’t really see what the fuss is about anyway. If I walked into a lecture theater and was politely asked to sit in a particular seat, or to avoid a particular area, I’d just do it – as long as I can still see and hear, have an equally comfy seat etc. All the lecture rooms I’ve had the pleasure of attending in UCL are pretty good, and all seats are perfectly fine. I certainly wouldn’t antagonistically force myself in somewhere against the organisers’ will. Even if my favorite seat or my chosen company was disallowed, I may think it a little odd, but wouldn’t take offence. After all, I am their guest, and if they have a cunning plan which may become clear over the course of the event, then so be it. There’s certainly no need to be an arse about it.

    My two pence.

    Phil

    • In reply to #189 by aboldguess:

      …I would urge you all to read Aisha’s comments on that page. She provides her side of the story, pointing out that “there were 325 attendees in that auditorium, it was only 2 who were insistent on playing musical chairs”.

      Thanks for flagging up Aisha Rahman’s comments. She confirms (and she should know, since it seems that it was she who booked the room) that, contrary to assurances given to UCL and Lawrence Krauss, the event was sexually segregated and that this segregation was not voluntary: there was a ‘ladies only’ section that men were not allowed to sit in.

      To be honest, I don’t really see what the fuss is about anyway.

      Really? Perhaps you could try actually reading the thread on which you have just posted: various objections to this sort of sexual segregation have been spelled out, in black and white, again and again.

    • In reply to #189 by aboldguess:

      To be honest, I don’t really see what the fuss is about anyway. If I walked into a lecture theater and was politely asked to sit in a particular seat, or to avoid a particular area, I’d just do it – as long as I can still see and hear, have an equally comfy seat etc. All the lecture rooms I’ve had the pleasure of attending in UCL are pretty good, and all seats are perfectly fine. I certainly wouldn’t antagonistically force myself in somewhere against the organisers’ will. Even if my favorite seat or my chosen company was disallowed, I may think it a little odd, but wouldn’t take offence. After all, I am their guest, and if they have a cunning plan which may become clear over the course of the event, then so be it. There’s certainly no need to be an arse about it.

      So basically the only time you would make a fuss would be if you were personally inconvenienced. Understood.

      By the way UCL take on this is here

      http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0313/11032013-meeting

      Michael

    • In reply to #189 by aboldguess:

      I know the organisers and, while I don’t subscribe to their religion (I’m a Pastafarian), I am positive this is just a misunderstanding.

      There was no misunderstanding. It is fairly clear that they said one thing, then did another.

      This is lying, isn’t it?

      Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

      They have responded to an article on the matter here:
      http://www.ahsstudents.org.uk/news/2013/3/11/gender-segregation-at-ucl-event/

      …I would urge you all to read Aisha’s comments on that page. She provides her side of the story, pointing out that “there were 325 attendees in that auditorium, it was only 2 who were insistent on playing musical chairs”. I presume the other 323 got the correct end of the stick instead of flying off the handle. At least then you will be in a position to make your own conclusions instead of accepting dogmas.

      What dogmas are people accepting? It seems to me that people are coming to conclusions based on the evidence as presented.

      One might expect atheists to be better at questioning one-sided stories than most, rather than simply accepting everything that they read, regardless of how well they respect whomever wrote it. The above is effectively saying ‘my good friend told me that something bad happened to women’, and most of the below is saying ‘it’s terrible that the friend of this guy I respect saw something bad happen, and this means more bad things will happen’.

      So far we have heard from people in attendance at the event, people who were booked to speak at the event, the owners of the venue, UCL, the organisers of the event, the person who booked the room, the equalities dept at UCL…

      Is there anyone else you can suggest that we may have missed?

      Unfortunately I missed the event,

      …and the bus, apparently, Phil.

      (…) so I hesitate to tar myself with the same brush as all the rest of the commentators who are (ironically religiously) relying only on second- or third-hand information (including the Great Prof D himself). However, I look forward to the outcome of the UCL investigation, which I’m sure will be thorough, balanced, and show the organisers acted in good faith (ho ho), probably just trying to stimulate debate

      No, they were definitely just trying to segregate people by gender.

      Want to suggest any other totalitarian ideologies that have tried to stimulate debate?

      (…) and certainly not trying to cause offence. I also hope that the outcome is reported here, as regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, no one deserves their names to be muddied by misunderstandings such as these.

      To be honest, I don’t really see what the fuss is about anyway. (Blah blah…)

      That’s is how you end up on cattle trucks. Good luck, Phil, and don’t hide in the attic.

      Anvil.

      Ps:

      …I would urge you all to read Aisha’s comments on that page. She provides her side of the story,

      You do realise that her side of the story is only worth half of your side of the story, don’t you, Phil?

  69. Yes, no atheist organisation could ever be so boneheaded and illiberal as to try to regulate conduct between the sexes in such a patronising and…wait…you are tricking me, aren’t you? #atheism+

    • In reply to #192 by robert.king.7121:

      Yes, no atheist organisation could ever be so boneheaded and illiberal as to try to regulate conduct between the sexes in such a patronising and…wait…you are tricking me, aren’t you? #atheism

      What, pray, has this got to do with atheism? It’s about Islamist misogyny, if you hadn’t noticed. Pop along to a Christian church at the weekend, and see how much sexual segregation there is there. There’s a fair chance that the preacher is a woman, even.

    • In reply to #192 by robert.king.7121:

      Yes, no atheist organisation could ever be so boneheaded and illiberal as to try to regulate conduct between the sexes in such a patronising and…wait…you are tricking me, aren’t you? #atheism+

      Did you even read skeelo’s post at 184 ? Atheism isn’t a monolithic ideological block that anyone who calls themselves an atheist has to sign up to and defend. We aren’t a religion! If you have an issue with atheism+ go over to their forum and argue with them.

      Michael

  70. The plot thickens. Ophelia Benson now reports:
    “But apparently “Dr Aisha Rahman” isn’t Dr Aisha Rahman but grad student Aisha Rahman.”

    So now we have a student booking the room on behalf of her department and seemingly claiming to be someone else. Does the Chemistry Department still foot the bill?

    Btw, there appears to be no Dr Rahman in the Chemistry Department – just Aisha S and Shimin, both listed as “Miss”.**

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/directory/request/?submit=Submit&name=rahman&department=chemistry&phone=&internalphone=&email=&sort=name

    Could the real Dr Rahman, if any, please stand up?

    **not a foible of the directory, there are both Smiths and Jones’ listed as “Dr”

    • In reply to #195 by oeditor:

      The plot thickens. Ophelia Benson now reports:
      “But apparently “Dr Aisha Rahman” isn’t Dr Aisha Rahman but grad student Aisha Rahman.”

      So now we have a student booking the room on behalf of her department and seemingly claiming to be someone else. Does the Chemistry Department still foot the bill?

      Btw, there appears to be no Dr Rahman in the Chemistry Department – just Aisha S and Shimin, both listed as “Miss”.**

      So we have a booking by a female student or assistant, with policy requirements and assurances made clear, but when the male Islamic activists take the stage, this contractual agreement between a female student and “infidels” is simply ignored.

      This has a familiar Islamic look about it somehow!

  71. In reply to #200 by bluebird:

    In reply to #144 by atheistengineer:Sorry to be really picky, but wasn’t this website planning to segregate men and women? I’m sure I recall reading there were plans for a special womens section at some point earlier this year or late last year. Which I would be as against as I would be against this.

    You are thinking of this

    Thanks yes I am. I was confused as to why all those who have rightly condemned what happened at UCL were seemingly unconcerned by this equally patronising and offensive idea from the Richard Dawkins foundation.

    We are developing parallel websites for specific populations, such as ex-Muslims, secular families, African Americans, Latinos, Women, LGBT and others.

    50% of the population is not a specific population it is mainstream.

    • In reply to #201 by atheistengineer:

      Thanks yes I am. I was confused as to why all those who have rightly condemned what happened at UCL were seemingly unconcerned by this equally patronising and offensive idea from the Richard Dawkins foundation.

      I think I you have to ask first if people saw this announcement. I certainly missed it. I don’t read the website that carefully now. I probably stopped reading that one when I deduced it was a money request. I kept up more when there was a latest postings list on the front page. Hopefully that will be back soon as promised!

      Michael

  72. The Telegraph has taken up the story, and has some quotes from Krauss. such as:

    “People are not only afraid to offend, but afraid to offend a vocal and aggressive group of people
    “There is a segment of the Islamic community that is very vocal about this.”

    The professor said: “I think the notion that these cultural norms should be carried out within a broader society that not only doesn’t share them but that is free and open is a very serious problem.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9932108/Britons-afraid-to-challenge-radical-Islam-says-former-Obama-adviser.html

  73. Now IERA have published time-lapse photography * of the lecture hall filling up. Including – I imagine unsolicited – images of one or two women at the front of the hall, Hypocrites. Why would they want to do that? Because the whole thing was a set-up?
    *See http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Wt77Uua2F6U#t=0s for the video. It shows, by the way, that there was at least one small bank of seats at the side, suitable for any shrinking violets.

    • In reply to #205 by oeditor:

      Now IERA have published time-lapse photography * of the lecture hall filling up. Including – I imagine unsolicited – images of one or two women at the front of the hall, Hypocrites. Why would they want to do that? Because the whole thing was a set-up?
      *See http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Wt77Uua2F6U#t=0s for the video. It shows, by the way, that there was at least one small bank of seats at the side, suitable for any shrinking violets.

      They posted this video in hopes that people would be convinced that it shows that the seating arrangements were totally “voluntary” and no one was forced to sit in a particular section of the auditorium.

      What they hope nobody notices is that a man was made to leave his chosen seat and in fact leave the auditorium because he sat in the “women’s section” in the back and not with the other men in the front of the auditorium.

      Just focus your attention on the upper right hand portion of the video where the door to the auditorium is located.

      Starting at 1:00 you will see a man enter through the door, negotiate around those standing in the aisle and take a seat in the second to the last row in the auditorium. Almost immediately a man wearing a yellow safety vest enters that aisle and approaches the man, leans over and says something to him, and the man gets up and walks to the door, pauses, leaves through the door.

      And if that isn’t trying to enforce segregated seating based on gender I don’t know what is as it doesn’t look as if they guy had done anything wrong except perhaps sit in the “wrong” seat.

      Note: To get a really clear look at the video I downloaded the HD version from Youtube using Firefox and the Download YouTube Videos as MP4 (v 1.5.6) addon and then used VLC player to play the resulting HD mp4. If you pause at 1:00 and then slowly advance the video you can see the action as I described it.

      • Well spotted, Benny. He is at the end of the aisle, not apparently causing any problem, “perving” or harrassing. Perhaps the rude behaviour claims concern what happened when he was allowed back in after the footage ends.

        ?!?newphone07520?!? above claimed she was told she could sit anywhere and she and other women were in the men’s section, but I can’t see any women in that section in the video. Possibly they arrived later, or maybe she meant the front (mixed) section. My main concern is that reportedly people were told “sisters only through this door, brothers through here and mixed through here”[1]. Unless all the women were explicitly told (as UCL required in the agreement) that they could sit anywhere, some, especially Muslim women (“sisters”) might feel they had to sit at the back whether they wanted to or not. Not to mention that whatever happened once inside, the segregation to different doors was not voluntary. At least one woman understood the mixed door and seating to be only for women who were with males (she pretended to be with a man in the queue, and was asked if she was with him before being seated).[2] Indeed an iERA staff member on twitter called jamshady said that the mixed area was so couples could sit together. It’s not clear if unaccompanied women would have been welcome there (and it was only 2 rows at the front). Whatever they intended, they seem to have done a poor job of making clear to everyone if women were allowed to sit anywhere.

        [1] comment on http://homoeconomicusnet.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/take-a-seat-ucl-islamic-v-atheist-debate
        [2] comment on http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/ucl-bans-islamic-group-after-segregation-row-8536088.html

  74. Well spotted indeed, Benny.
    What I was questioning was why on earth anyone would film the arrival of the audience in a lecture theatre – t’s not as if they expected “celebrities” such as Charles Darwin or a fishing lure made in the image of Adnan Oktar to be arriving! I can only think that it was done because they expected complaints about their segregation.

    @bubbub,
    The whole idea of a “couples” section implies that no other women would be allowed to sit among the men – if simple mixed seating was allowed, there would be no reason to have a couples section, as couples could sit in the main section anyway.. Unless the couples section had the double snogging-seats like at the pictures :-)

  75. This is what hamza had to say in regards to the segregated seating arrangement at UCL

    “No one was enforcing segregation but rather giving people the choice. Can’t you see this is more tolerant than other views? Why enforce just one? You will have to show me good reasons for why you think its wrong for women who choose to sit alone shouldn’t be allowed, especially if they had an opportunity to do so?”

    is this true? was there a mixed seating arrangment at this debate as well?

    • In reply to #211 by aasgjamil:

      This is what hamza had to say in regards to the segregated seating arrangement at UCL

      “No one was enforcing segregation but rather giving people the choice. Can’t you see this is more tolerant than other views? Why enforce just one? You will have to show me good reasons for why you think its wrong for women who choose to sit alone shouldn’t be allowed, especially if they had an opportunity to do so?”

      is this true? was there a mixed seating arrangment at this debate as well?

      iERA’s response to the question, “Did you enforce sexual segregation?” has been worthy of Vicky Pollard : No, but yeah but no but yeah but no but…

      I really don’t know if the “mixed area” was intended to be “mixed”, or was a “couples area” that became “mixed” in response to objections received. Maybe you could ask “hamza” yourself, since you seem to be on first name terms?

      The quote you provide, which I assume is from Hamza Tzortzis, is complete gibberish. Could you translate? In the first three sentences he appears to deny that segregation was enforced before then admitting that it was enforced (but that this enforcement constitutes “tolerance”). The final sentence is even more confused, what is it he’s asking for good reasons for?

      If this quote is in any way typical of the sort of thing Tzortzis comes out with, and that his supporters think is worth quoting, I can only imagine the heady intellectual heights he must have reached during the ‘big debate’…

  76. @ Skeele I dont know Hamza Tzortzis personally but i did find this response on his facebook page, i just wanted to confirm if there was such an arrangement available at the debate..im sure there must be a lot of people here who attended the debate, they could confirm the same…

    • In reply to #214 by aasgjamil:

      @ Skeele I dont know Hamza Tzortzis personally but i did find this response on his facebook page, i just wanted to confirm if there was such an arrangement available at the debate..im sure there must be a lot of people here who attended the debate, they could confirm the same…

      See for yourself – IERA photographed the arrival of the audience, for some reason.

      There is clearly a small “mixed” area at the front. Any dispute is whether it was restricted to “couples” or any individual man or women could sit there, and how having the main body of the room restricted to men and a section at the back restricted to women is anything but segregation.

  77. @ Aasgjamil I don’t understand the response of Hanza about giving the choice, it doesn’t make sense.. So a muslim woman turns up and says “I want to sit in a segregated area” and is placed in the section, lets say, on the right. Then a man turns up and says “I would like to sit on the right hand side of the hall, please” (which happens to be the woman’s area). Who’s rights and choice takes priority?

  78. From the video i can clearly see that there is a “mixed” section towards the front of the auditorium. Whether or not the section was designated to “couples” still remains to be confirmed however what i find interesting is that they’ve mentioned on the video that they “iERA complied with the request from the University to cater for all preferences by having seating that was open for all attendees, male or female, and two sections to accommodate those that wished to adhere to their deeply held religious beliefs. We also adhered to UCL’s request to make sure that the respective areas were clearly marked and ushers were employed in order to facilitate the seating”

    I don’t think that we as liberals should have any problems with muslim adherents choosing to sit in their respective designated or segregated places.

    • In reply to #217 by aasgjamil:

      From the video i can clearly see that there is a “mixed” section towards the front of the auditorium. Whether or not the section was designated to “couples” still remains to be confirmed however what i find interesting is that they’ve mentioned on the video that they “iERA complied with the request from the University to cater for all preferences by having seating that was open for all attendees, male or female, and two sections to accommodate those that wished to adhere to their deeply held religious beliefs. We also adhered to UCL’s request to make sure that the respective areas were clearly marked and ushers were employed in order to facilitate the seating”

      I don’t think that we as liberals should have any problems with muslim adherents choosing to sit in their respective designated or segregated places.

      Unless of course both the owners of the venue, and the invited guest speaker stipulate as a precondition for the event going ahead that this should not happen.

      Re’ UCL:

      UCL: 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.

      Re’ Lawrence Krauss:

      (Lawrence Krauss) asked the organizers, who assured him that the audience would not be segregated by sex, and Lawrence agreed to go ahead.

      When he got to the meeting he discovered that actually the seating in the auditorium was indeed segregated by sex. There was a men’s section, a women’s section, and a “couples” section.

      Anvil.

  79. I think Dawkins and Krauss are throwing out a Red Herring here. Segregation was clearly not an issue as Krauss stayed – He HIMSELF said if there was segregation he would not take part in the debate. Video proves it was not a segregated event.

    Krauss got BATTERED in the debate. END OF.

    • In reply to #219 by mindmineral:

      I think Dawkins and Krauss are throwing out a Red Herring here. Segregation was clearly not an issue as Krauss stayed – He HIMSELF said if there was segregation he would not take part in the debate.

      This is staggering. Segregation clearly was an issue, otherwise Krauss would not have been forced to threaten to leave when it became clear that the event, despite assurances he’d been given, and despite UCL’s policy on the matter, was sexually segregated.

      According to iERA, they intended to segregate the event. As well as a mixed/couples area, there were “two sections to accommodate those that wished to adhere to their deeply held religious beliefs.”

      Video proves it was not a segregated event.

      No, it really doesn’t.

      Krauss got BATTERED in the debate. END OF.

      I see. Do you have any evidence for this claim? I do hope you aren’t offended if I don’t just take your word for it; it’s just that I don’t have much confidence that someone who thinks “END OF” constitutes a clinching argument is necessarily the best judge of such matters.

    • In reply to #219 by mindmineral:

      I think Dawkins and Krauss are throwing out a Red Herring here. Segregation was clearly not an issue as Krauss stayed – He HIMSELF said if there was segregation he would not take part in the debate. Video proves it was not a segregated event.

      Krauss got BATTERED in the debate. END OF.

      You wouldn’t care to repeat the arguments that BATTERED him, would you?

      Anvil.

  80. Anvil: Responding to aasgjamil
    >

    I don’t think that we as liberals should have any problems with muslim adherents choosing to sit in their respective designated or segregated places.

    Unless of course both the owners of the venue, and the invited guest speaker stipulate as a precondition for the event going ahead that this should not happen.

    Actually neither UCL nor any invited guest speaker should ever have to stipulate that. It should be taken as read – in any secular venue there is NO segregation. That should be as taken as read! You sit next to whomever is behind you in the queue!

    Secular liberal societies respect anyones wish to hold their beliefs in PRIVATE or in their places of worship, they do not exist to pander to those beliefs outside of those places of worship at all! This is thankfully a secular society and if the minority of extremist muslims involved do not consider themselves mature enough to mix wth members of the opposite sex for an hour in a lecture theatre without issues that is their problem not UCLs and not societies. This should never have been allowed to happen at all and Krauss should have demanded that everyone left and came in again randomly before participating.

    If segregation was considered necessary than the event should have been held in a mosque.

    • In reply to #221 by atheistengineer:

      Anvil: Responding to aasgjamil

      I don’t think that we as liberals should have any problems with muslim adherents choosing to sit in their respective designated or segregated places.

      Unless of course both the owners of the venue, and the invited guest speaker stipulate as a precondition for the event going ahead that this should not happen.

      Actually neither UCL nor any invited guest speaker should ever have to stipulate that. It should be taken as read – in any secular venue there is NO segregation. That should be as taken as read! You sit next to whomever is behind you in the queue!

      Secular liberal societies respect anyones wish to hold their beliefs in PRIVATE or in their places of worship, they do not exist to pander to those beliefs outside of those places of worship at all! This is thankfully a secular society and if the minority of extremist muslims involved do not consider themselves mature enough to mix wth members of the opposite sex for an hour in a lecture theatre without issues that is their problem not UCLs and not societies. This should never have been allowed to happen at all and Krauss should have demanded that everyone left and came in again randomly before participating.

      If segregation was considered necessary than the event should have been held in a mosque.

      That’s right, they shouldn’t – but nevertheless, they did.

      Anvil.

  81. Segregation on the basis of gender is a part of Islamic Shariya system. I have heard about this from many scholars including Zakir Naik of India. In a speech, he said that if women are allowed to sit with men, it would promote fornication, adultery and such things in society. He also said that if women sit along with men, it will be immodest and would fill the minds of men with sin. This whole idea comes from the misogynistic verses of the various islamic texts. It is a shame that none of the women came to sit in the front row as mentioned in above article. Perhaps it was because the thought that they should stay away and not mingle with the person of other gender has been programmed in their minds from their childhood. I feel bad and also angry against such discriminatory practices. I hope this article by Richard will help people understand.

  82. Huge Lolz at these “Sophisticated Muslims” coming to this site and asserting that atheism is a religion, that atheists are fundamentalists, that atheists are communists bla bla…

    They’re almost right on one point though; Atheists DO share the same atheistic belief (not beliefs, just belief), actually it’s not a belief, it’s a LACK OF BELIEF. This is the only “belief” that we all share – WE LACK BELIEF IN A GOD OR GODS. Geddit? understand? When will the majority of these halfwitted, ignorant, misogynistic, homophobic, racist religidiots understand that atheism is that simple? That an atheist may also be a humanist, a naturalist, a libertarian, a liberal or an axe murderer, it has no direct link to their atheism.

    While all religions are poison, Islam is probably the worst – it’s the advocacy of lying, the hypocrisy, the amorality, the violence, the total submission to some completely improbable god and a pernicious, poisonous, perverted, pedophile prophet (may no peace whatsoever be upon his rancid legacy), I could go on and on but this “comments section” is probably way beyond its limit right now.

    I am going to suggest to the “Sophisticated Muslims” (cant’t get the bloody TM symbol to work!!) – that you define an individual argument such as “Are women and men equal in Islam?”, or “what size stones should be used when stoning an adulterer?” and post them to the Discussions board on this site. I’m sure many of us will be happy to debate you…

    If you feel that this is not something you want to do, then may I politely suggest you spend some time educating yourself? Start with the term atheist…..

    Al

  83. As members of a forward-looking, inclusive society, we really should have no problem allowing the morally-handicapped devout followers of a 7th century mass-murdering deluded rapist warlord to organise university events saudi arabia-style now should we. Vive la fundamental difference!

  84. if people should be able to have the freedom from religion, they should also be able to maintain the freedom to practice religion. the key issue here is not that men and women were separated by sex or gender, it is that there is an assumption that there was no choice provided for them to conform or not conform. religion itself is not bad…well, many religions do not have an oppression dogma built-in such as judeo-christian religions do, let me put it that way. the fundamental issue is one of freedom to choose. if women want to conform to religious dictates in which there is a ritual separation of genders/sexes then they ought to have the right to. going to the liberal extreme and banning all religions is no different on principle than the claim that religions offer adherents no options. in many indigenous tribes there is routine ritual separation of the sexes yet in these tribes, this is not a means of justification for treating women as chattel. in fact, these tribes’ social organizations are such that women hold much power. in my opinion, the social orientation of the society is as much a culprit as the religion is in promoting oppression ideologies that privilege this or that group over everyone else.

  85. What absolute bunkum.
    Why was there a need to cater for ‘etiquette’ if not for the infantile male bullying and posturing over women in the name of Islam.
    You treat women as inferiors, and second class citizens….you brainwash them and claim that it is their wish when the follow the stricture and brainwashing you have forced on them.
    If the behaviour of the men in the women’s section was as reprehensible as you claim, do you think that someone of his standing would have made such an issue of it?
    The fact of the matter is that this whole setup does not belong in 21st Century Britain, and anyone who does not see that – despite differences in opinion- have an equal right to be treated equally, as long as one does not infringe the rights of others.
    This infringed on the rights of women. There is no debate here, no argument that can defend this debacle.
    Just as there ultimately was no defence of the ‘Jim Crow’ laws in the USA nearly 60 years ago.

  86. Refuted? Where?
    How did you travel to the venue, do you study – and if so do you study in an all female environment.

    I find your response offensive in the extreme…you prefer not to sit with men? Why? What is so wrong with sitting next to a man?

    Do you instantly expect me to want to do nothing more than ravish you with my eyes, and therefore in my mind with the rest of me? What ego that I would want to! What if I preferred men?

    Or do you fear the wrath of a patriarchal society that constantly tells you that you are property and therefore not free to think of the evils that you perpetuate with your tacit agreement and complicity? Do you cry foul if your sister was murdered because she ‘dishonoured’ your family?

    At worst, this is a sick and twisted worldview; at best naive, uneducated and brainwashed.

  87. 1) One is misguided and because the person doesn’t know any better; they have been educated under a single hegemony of belief and culture and enforced robustly by the heirarchy. They might not know any other way as they simply haven’t encountered it. (Oppressive)
    2) Culturally and knowingly apply what they have been taught; having been taught in such a way that they are now sincerely held beliefs of the individual that have been inculcated for a long period of time and the individual hold to their beliefs – usually with a sense of superiority. (Brainwashed).

    The above are my definitions: if you disagree you might be able to further hone them; this is meant as a starting block, not a set in stone position of the comparative distinctions.

  88. Morally bankrupt?

    Please explain yourself: for such an assertion, a substantial amount of evidence showing this will have to be obtained…likewise I can claim that the subjugation of a section of society on grounds of gender, race, sexual orientation or sexual identification is already unlawful. The same legislation also allows you to be protected – but not at the expense of the freedoms I listed first.

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