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UK: Islamophobes Manufacture “Gender Segregation” Controversy

Gender Apartheid

by Ilisha

An Islamic society wants to host a university event where–gasp!–men and women are seated separately. Suddenly this minor event is major news in the UK.

People who apparently never planned to attend the event in the first place have decided they must publicly protest “gender apartheid,” an intolerable affront to their sensibilities. There is no evidence men and women who planned to attend the event complained, yet the controversy has become the subject of a national debate of such importance, Prime Minister David Cameron has weighed in on the matter.

Cameron made it clear he disapproves of “gender segregation,” which he said is, “not the right approach.” He added that the practice is never appropriate on British university campuses, even if separate seating is voluntary.

The event gained the national spotlight through the efforts of Student Rights, a group affiliated with the Henry Jackson Society. In other words, the “controversy” has its roots in the incestuous Islamphobia network operating on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Henry Jackson Society is a British neoconservative think tank and political action committee with ties to prominent US neoconservatives. The group also enjoys support from two of Prime Minister David Cameron’s closest advisers. In 2011, the Henry Jackson Society merged with the Center for Social Cohesion (CSC). From the start, the CSC was also affiliated with high profile anti-Muslim activists, including Ayaan Hirsi AliWafa SultanIbn Warraq and Mark Steyn.

The CSC was criticized for its “relentless Islamophobia” by the Guardian’s David Shariatmadari. Shariatmadari argued the group has, “spread poison and whipped up anti-Muslim paranoia at every turn,” a strategy that has apparently continued since the merger with the Henry Jackson Society.

The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include prominent US neocons, including Robert KaganWilliam KristolR. James Woolsey, Jr.Max BootDore Gold, and “Prince of Darkness,” Richard Perle. The group was formerly affiliated with the now defunct think tank, Just Journalism, which was devoted to smearing critics of Israel, and has since sponsored the Friends of Israel Initiative.

The Friends of Israel Initiative is a neoconservative Israel lobby group founded in 2010 by former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar and a number of other right-wing luminaries, mostly from Spain, Italy, and the UK:

The Henry M. Jackson Society Hosts Friends of Israel in London

July 19th, 2010 | by Jim Lobe

The Friends of Israel Initiative says it ‘aims to create a network linking private and public figures who agree with the idea of an Israel fully anchored in the West’. This network will not have to be built from scratch; rather Friends of Israel will be able to integrate itself into extremist networks already well established in UK politics….

….This notion of a Western civilisation weakened by liberal guilt is commonly held on the right and is propagated by Britain’s Islamophobic think-tanks. It is a perception apparently impervious to the reality of growing Islamophobia on Europe’s streets and a proliferation of anti-Muslim legislation. For Anzar and those like him, this repression is part of protecting Europe’s ‘Judeo-Christian roots’ and Israel is seen as being on the frontline in this imagined war.

The “gender segregation” campaign in the UK is reminiscent of the manufactured “Ground Zero mosque” controversy a few years back in the US. Once again, a minor (non-)event has been transformed into a national debate by the usual suspects. The purpose is to generate another round of anti-Muslim hysteria.

As Associate Director at the Henry Jackson Society, Douglas Murray, has openly stated, “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.”


Gender Segregation debate: Dr. Nazreen Nawaz VS Maryam Namazie:

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  • Ilisha

    1. favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, esp. that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.

    That’s what I wrote, and that’s precisely what I mean.

  • Holtrum

    I think you need to look up the word authoritarian as you seem to be using it out of context so as to render it meaningless. I am propounding my thoughts on a subject not insisting that everyone should live as I demand.

    You still don’t see that your idea is the one that would be imposing on others. You seek to complicate a situation that has no need to be complicated and that desire comes from how you view the world,
    if I had a penchant for imprecise contextual usage of words I would say that is a pretty authoritarian stance to take. I have already the idea you propound is unworkable. There cannot be a voluntary agreement which means there are areas out of bounds to others. It is a complete non-sequitur.
    I think your argument is one based on dogma and not an intellectual position you are defending,I therefore think we have probably taken this exchange as far as we can.
    However,thanks for engaging with me for a while.

  • Ilisha

    I’m stating a simple fact.

    You can’t stand to have everyone enjoy the seating option of his or her choice. You can’t just sit in the mixed seating section and mind your own business.

    You MUST impost your will and demand that since you don’t like separate seating, no one else is allowed to enjoy it either. That’s authoritarian.

    I didn’t simply resort to calling you names or attacking you personally. You stated your views, they are authoritarian, and I simply stated the obvious.

  • Ilisha

    You are authoritarian, and refuse to allow others to make their own choices. You should just own that and stop trying to wrap in concern for “human rights.”

  • Holtrum

    Let me start by saying that I have absolutely no problem with gender separation within a private setting where everyone is happy with it.,
    The problem is when it is in a public setting.Then no group or interest should get to enforce their dogma on others. Your personal beliefs do not trump universal rights. Nor do human rights mean the right to intolerance of sensitivities outside any particular group.
    As to the concept of Voluntary Separate seating llet me explain my position.
    This is a complete red herring and I believe an attempt to get the thin end of the wedge into public life.
    Besides that, ‘Voluntary Separation’ is an oxymoron.

    How could it be voluntary in a public setting? If some non muslim men walk into a public meeting with voluntary separation and sat beside a group of muslim females wishing to be separate or some women sat in amongst separation seeking men you could not tell me that there would not be someone with something to say,that everyone would be like ‘ye cool man’. There would be shouts about disrespecting rights and insulting Islam,and with it this the pretence of Voluntary ” is unmasked.
    No matter how you dress it up , It is an unworkable concept.

  • Ilisha

    That’s a start, but I think you are confused about who is trying to impose their will on whom.

    There is no “preaching” that women SHOULD have separate seating. The point is that men and women who want it should have the OPTION of separate seating.

    If mixed seating is offered, then there is absolutely no logical reason why people cannot have the OPTION of separate seating as well.

    I have no idea why you think VOLUNTARY separate seating is a violation of anyone’s human rights. Not only it is a matter of choice, but people who say this is “sexist” have yet to explain how VOLUNTARY separate seating privileges men of women. It doesn’t.

    Those who refuse to allow all options for everyone–separate and mixed seating–are the ones imposing THEIR will on people, not the other way around. Frankly, if I want to sit only with other women, I think it’s not your concern.

  • Ilisha

    You should engage in a little thinking here. The article is not about preaching.

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  • Ilisha
  • Guess

    “That’s an extremely silly comparison, the two aren’t even remotely equivalent.”

    Dear Suada, before jumping the gun and going hysteric, if you have read the exchange between Colin and I more carefully, you’d realized it is not me that brought-up the racism-based African-American segregation analogy.

    But since this is how most opponents of the modesty-based gender separate-seating view this “issue” (and of-course unless you agree with them), then I don’t see how it would be “extremely silly comparison” to point out their hypocrisy of not seeing in the same light other modesty-based gender-separations, in restrooms for example.

    As even Sarah observed this analogy in her bit more balanced article — notwithstanding that I still believe she did not argue along those line of thoughts here on this thread — quote:

    “Some compare [gender separation] to apartheid – if conservative Muslims argue that they freely choose to segregate themselves by sex, they are asked in return how they would feel if people chose to segregate themselves by race. But as people already segregate by sex in other contexts (e.g. toilets) this does not seem fully fair.”

  • The greenmantle

    The deacon Rev Robert Spencer thinks Stormfront is a leftist dhimmi front
    Sir David

  • Ilisha

    As for HP, it was set up as a hate site from the very beginning.

    I agree. I’ve been thinking about the criteria for a “hate site.” After all, some of the regulars on HP refer to LW as a “hate site.”

    I’ve been monitoring HP for a long time now, and I’ve found it helpful to compare them to Jihad Watch, which is more extreme. They overlap but are differ in some ways.

    Robert Spencer lies outright and continues to lie even after he’s been outed as a liar. If HP outright lies, I haven’t caught them. They depend on other tactics to demonize and alienate Muslims, including cherry picking and making liberal use of biased sources, like MEMRI. The impact is similar in that both spread fear and hatred, but the tactics differ.

    Spencer appears to hate all Muslims, period. Maybe there are a few exceptions, but generally, for him, there is no such thing as a “good Muslim.” Many people at HP seem to agree, judging from the comments.

    But some HP visitors will make space for someone who identifies as Muslim as long as it’s in name only and they are a total sell out. They have to be 100% supine and agree on certain matters, like the absolute innocence and superiority of the West. Then they may be accepted, with reservations.

    Above the line, there is more space, and that’s true of Sarah in particular. There is some effort to engage Muslims like Mehdi Hassan, though Sarah also takes a lot of abuse for her efforts.

    HP is, of course, pro-war and associated with neocons. They allow extreme abuse to flourish on their pages, where vile (often completely fact averse) things are said daily about Islam and Muslims, and Islamophobia is entirely denied. There is no such thing, according to many of the comments there. The other day, I saw Islamphobia being compared to unicorns when someone was saying they didn’t bother to read past the headline of one my articles.

    I like the defense they try to use, which is the distinction between “Above the Line” and “Below the Line” contributors. I actually agree HP ATL is less overt and extreme than BTL. But if you attract a bunch of thugs, isn’t it reasonable to ask why? If the ATL contributors are entirely reasonable, then why do they attract so many hateful thugs?

    Well, because HP is a hate site. They invite that sort of audience, and so, nor surprisingly, that’s what they attract. Self-appointed bouncers make sure the neighborhood is kept sufficiently pure and on mission. I know from personal experience.

    The best thing that can be said for HP is that it’s not as bad as Jihad Watch. I haven’t caught them outright lying, and at least Sarah tries to be more reasonable–cast in the role of “moderate” in that context.

    HP, like Jihad Watch, is a hate site with ties to the Islamphobia network. They each have their niche, or at least that’s my conclusion after observing HP for many months now.

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