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UK: Islamophobes Manufacture “Gender Segregation” Controversy

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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  • 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.

  • 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.

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  • 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

  • Tanveer Khan

    Europe really isn’t as bad as you seem to think it is….. or maybe I’m just in a good area.

  • The greenmantle

    I’m shocked truely shocked
    HP has moderation ?
    Sir David

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