sexual segregation in UK universities

(220 Posts)
carlajean Mon 09-Dec-13 19:35:58

I don't know if i've missed any threads on this, but i'm horrified to have just learnt that some UK universities are going to allow sexual segregation in some lectures. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown commented on it in today's Independent, and Polly Toynbee wrote about it in the Guardian.
Why hasn 't the NUS objected?
I'd be interested to hear what other mnetters think about this. As i've said, I object strongly to this, but would be interested to hear what others think.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Mon 09-Dec-13 21:11:13

The NUS are as far as I can tell being spineless apologists for this. It is appalling and should be banned. Speakers who want to segregate can find, book and pay for a private venue if they want, and should be obliged to advertise their policy of segregation in enormous letters on any publicity material relating to the letter. Then let's see how many people outside their religious fundie niche group turn up. angry

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 10-Dec-13 00:16:39

No, no, you all misunderstand. Because the women are to the side not at the back, it's all OK. hmm What a load of sexist nonsense. Here is the Avaaz petition.

Wow.. it is 2013 right??

“imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely-held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully.”

WTAF? Unsegregated areas could be curtailing freedom of speech? What on earth is going on??

PosyNarker Tue 10-Dec-13 00:30:26

Religious beliefs are no different from any other belief, except within a religious group. I don't know the details of the lectures, but by not allowing free choice (women right, men left, the sane people not bothered in the middle) they are arseholes.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 10-Dec-13 00:36:02

wtaf ?

KissesBreakingWave Tue 10-Dec-13 00:39:15

Religion is no different from any other hobby. We don't give trainspotters special privileges, and they can prove trains actually fucking exist.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Tue 10-Dec-13 00:43:33

Well said, kisses

Princessdeb Tue 10-Dec-13 00:48:45

Dear OP,

I just want to point out this is not going to be applied to lectures within a university course but could be applied to events with external speakers arranged for example by university societies.
That said I do not agree with it and I think the part of the text accompanying the petition that states "separate is never equal" is very true. I hope that the liberal societies that flourish in the university setting will use their right of freedom of speech to protest if their own university allows this misogynistic nonsense to happen on their premises. And I have signed the petition!

DoctorDonnaNoble Tue 10-Dec-13 05:20:24

Wouldn't have been allowed in students' unions in my day as it is in contravention of the equal opps policy. Actually, most speakers who wanted segregation would contravene the equal opps policy in several ways.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Tue 10-Dec-13 08:58:48

Petition signed and shared. What a bunch of sandal-socked politically correct spineless little turds the people who have allowed this are...

fairisleknitter Tue 10-Dec-13 09:11:48

I heard a (female) speaker on the radio justifying this for talks hosted by student Islamic societies. I do not find it acceptable (the NUS do?confused)

VivaLeBeaver Tue 10-Dec-13 09:18:08

Blimey, if I was a student I'd be staging a sit in in the middle of the mens area and refusing to budge! Ahhh, actually I am a student. Have an nus card and am enrolled at sheffield uni......forgot that! grin

Are there any of these events at sheffield because I'm there. Seriously.

nomorecrumbs Tue 10-Dec-13 09:25:43

It is a contravention of equal opps. Both women and men should be able to sit wherever they damn well want in a university setting. This is not a religious setting.

fairisleknitter Tue 10-Dec-13 10:06:43

Viva I'd join in!

I got very het up at the radio and started telling the kids I would go along and sit where I liked.

carlajean Tue 10-Dec-13 11:01:18

Thanks for the clarification PrincessDebs. As you say, though, it's still shocking. Imagine if a group decided that you should segregate racially, but hey, this is religious based, so it's OK.

nomorecrumbs Tue 10-Dec-13 11:07:19

I would just deliberately sit with the men if this ever came into force.

Actually I did this at primary school when they made us line up into "boys and girls" queues angry

I made a boys name for myself and got to play football with them grin

Equal opps have come a long way in the last 20 years...let's not regress now.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 10-Dec-13 11:58:07

It's the seating arrangements a club (which would presumably be the university Islamic society) has for it's members, that the members are obviously happy with. So unless you wanted to actually go to an Islamic society event, it would never effect you.

I'm struggling to see the reason for the outrage, tbh. Maybe they can have some special chairs in the middle for all the many, many people that obviously desperate to go to an ISOC event (as I'm sure all the signers to the petition are), but aren't able to go because they feel too offended at having to sit on either the left or right side of the hall.

fairisleknitter Tue 10-Dec-13 12:20:17

The primary issue to me is that it is taking place in a University.

In my experience you did not have to be a member of a society to attend an event and I as a student attended many events run by different socs.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Tue 10-Dec-13 12:39:18

Exactly, fairisle. The fact that they are allowed to do this on University premises is the decider for me. If they want to impose their 12th century rules, they can do it in a private venue that they pay private level fees for. Or in a mosque, if they so desire. I would feel no different if a fundamentalist Christian or very orthodox Jewish group decided to pull a stunt like this, by the way.

fairisleknitter Tue 10-Dec-13 12:51:54

Gosh of course the attitudes of some people towards gender segregation affect me. Why wouldn't they? Why would I not care, male or female?

MamaMary Tue 10-Dec-13 12:59:20

Shocked and appalled at this.

What nonsense about non-segregation violating the freedom of speech of the speaker. That just doesn't make sense. Let him speak to whoever wishes to listen, but what right has he to dictate where people sit?

It's not a religious event if it's taking place in a university and I'm amazed universities are allowing this.

AuraofDora Tue 10-Dec-13 13:20:24

Utter bonkers, dangerous and so very kwrong. Have signed.

ParcelFancy Tue 10-Dec-13 13:39:11

Wow. I've often been in two minds about No Platform, and the value of allowing speakers to explain their views and be shot down vs not validating them.

But I can't remember a speaker ever having the gall to enact their views on the audience. Yeah, let's have all the black people over there, or Jewish over here, or women over there - cos it's what I believe and I'll get all offended, man.hmm

Also worth bearing in mind that, if an entire audience were genuinely in agreement with sexual segregation, there would be no need to actively prevent unsegregated areas, because no one would chose to sit in them.

ParcelFancy Tue 10-Dec-13 14:04:11

What with Mandela in the news ATM, this is bringing back memories of white South Africans saying with a completely straight face: "It's important to have laws to stop black people marrying white people, because black people don't want to marry white people."

And later the more stupid younger ones saying, "I know black people don't want to marry white people, because I never see any who have!"

grimbletart Tue 10-Dec-13 17:40:46

This is the UK. I am ashamed how we pander to these antediluvian views.
What the hell is it about religion that turns others soft in the head and treat it as something special and different?

And yes, where is the NUS? Can you imagine the NUS of the 60s/70s putting up with nonsense?

scattergun Tue 10-Dec-13 19:58:01

This has really disturbed me and would definitely have me protesting in the street and resigning from academic posts in participating universities. Segregation by gender, colour whatever cannot be allowed. Even my devoutly misogynistic dh (I have to carry my own suitcases, open my own jars and put the spiders out - isn't that misogyny?) was shocked by this.

Bumblebzz Tue 10-Dec-13 20:23:37

Signed.
What a load of nonsense.
How will these undergrads survive in the real world when they leave Uni and (hopefully) get a job, if this is considered normal behaviour.

ChattyKa Tue 10-Dec-13 22:04:48

I went to the demo outside UUK office in Tavistock Square tonight, something I have not done for many a year! Please sign the petition - this makes me scared for my daughter and her future.

carlajean Tue 10-Dec-13 23:08:29

Did many attend chattyKa?

ChattyKa Tue 10-Dec-13 23:21:01

Maybe a hundred but some speakers and quite a lot of noise. I hope there will be more action about this and if there is I will go along! I have seen it is on C4 news site tonight, which is a change as no other news channel has seemed v interested so far.

I've signed.

It's not the first time a patriarchal religion has stamped on gender equality... FFS.

MillyMollyMama Wed 11-Dec-13 02:28:10

C4 News had a good debate with Yasmin Alhibi Brown winning hands down. Universities are publicly funded and therefore no segregation of any sort should be tolerated on any grounds whatsoever. If these people want meetings, they can find a private space in which to hold them. What rules they have in the Mosques is up to them ,but this cannot be allowed to happen in any University or school (as alleged in Derby fairly recently).

Let's hope the students take a more robust approach when these meetings take place and sit where they want.

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 11-Dec-13 12:21:58

I do honestly think we are going backward sometimes. No way would this have been allowed at my University in the eighties.

Totally trivial side issue but in Fresh Meat this week, one of the students was campaigning against lads mags being sold in the SU shop. Please tell me this doesn't really happen. In the eighties we'd have looted and burned the lot of them.

payney954 Wed 11-Dec-13 17:34:01

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

kistanbul Thu 12-Dec-13 08:20:43

Listening to the representative of Universities UK on the Today programme. I'm genuinely shocked.

Why is there even an argument?!

It's disgusting.

alpinemeadow Thu 12-Dec-13 08:27:45

"C4 News had a good debate with Yasmin Alhibi Brown winning hands down. Universities are publicly funded and therefore no segregation of any sort should be tolerated on any grounds whatsoever."

Did anyone on the C4 News debate make the point that we have state funded single sex schools? Is that different? - it may be, but why? I'm not making a point either way - I genuinely am interested in the answer!

TheCrimsonQueen Thu 12-Dec-13 08:37:46

Disgusting. Petition signed.

ParcelFancy Thu 12-Dec-13 08:52:29

I've always been a bit hmm about single sex schools too.

Historically they come from the same mindset as the current segregationists - a combination of fear of sex, and of ensuring girls stay in their box don't expect the same education or opportunities as boys.

To some extent this has now been turned on its head, as girls actually get better results in single-sex schools (and boys poorer ones, IIRC). So as long as the schools aren't imposing societal or curricula restrictions, girls' single-sex schools may be in some respects be a good thing.

But it's difficult to be sure. When I did the 11-plus and dinosaurs walked the earth, the pass mark in my area was set higher for girls than for boys, as there were more places at boys' grammar schools than girls'. confused

And then there's the problem of the now underperforming boys.

kistanbul Thu 12-Dec-13 08:56:10

If men/women choose to attend a single sex college, I might not like it, but they can.

This situation is about imposing segregation in institutions where people have not made that choice.

fairisleknitter Thu 12-Dec-13 09:01:30

alpine I believe the education of children is ultimately their parent's responsibility and so long as those parents ensure they are being educated the state shouldn't interfere with their wishes too much, so home education is fine for example, as is single sex schooling.

Universities are for adults. As an adult male or female I don't expect to be segregated at an event hosted at a university.

Nicola Dandridge on the radio didn't make sense to me. If it is to be done only if the women in the audience choose why can they not just allow informal sex segregation to occur naturally for those who want it? Are the talks open to all-comers on the day? Or is the audience to be by invitation only?

noddyholder Thu 12-Dec-13 09:29:58

Yasmin was on Ch4 news with a representative from the Fed Islamic Students Omar Ali debating this and I was watching with my ds 19. We were both shocked and think this is the start of a slippery slope. Why on earth would something like this even be considered? His opinion was frankly terrifying

noddyholder Thu 12-Dec-13 09:34:07
fairisleknitter Thu 12-Dec-13 10:46:04

I have been reading online about US physicist Lawrence Krauss protesting about an attempt to enforce gender segregation at a meeting at UCL. He was accused by an audience member of intolerance.

TheCrimsonQueen Thu 12-Dec-13 11:56:50

As a muslim woman living in the UK I am grateful that this country is enlightened and is prepared to stand against such disgusting mysogonistic behaviour.

As I woman I have the right to sit wherever I bloody well like. You do not get to tell me where i am allowed to sit, you do not get to judge me for what I wear and I would rather burn in hell than practice a religion that classes me as second class citizen.

Please sign the petition. This blatant sexism has no place in UK universites or anywhere else for that matter.

ParsingFancy Thu 12-Dec-13 12:07:11

noddy, thanks for that article. I am shock at the experiences Albhai Brown describes:
"Some preachers on campus are today telling women to get back into the home, to get out of public life. Muslim women in jeans or with hair uncovered have been asked to leave lecture rooms by clothes vigilantes. Two Muslim LSE students harangued me for my unholy attire and views just a month back."

I had NO idea crap like this was going down in our universities. Who do these arseholes think they are?

fairisleknitter Thu 12-Dec-13 12:19:33

TheCrimsonQueen the Universities UK are suggesting this segregation be allowed under advice from their lawyers in order to comply with Human Rights legislation. No political party could provide contributors to the debate on the Today radio show this morning. I suspect the political parties will try to remain on the sidelines.

Thus this country does not appear to me to be taking a stand at all against the behaviour , rather condoning it and enabling it. (This official advice seems to be get around the issue by not putting women at the back but rather to the side.)

flatpackhamster Thu 12-Dec-13 12:29:41

It's interesting that the left-wing press have finally noticed this, and that it's finally made it on to Mumsnet, because this issue has been raised outside that rather exclusive discussion group for some time.

This is, of course, the inevitable consequence of cultural relativism, where you treat all cultures as equal and anyone not doing so is accused of intolerance and racism. And ironic, I think, that the very same groups who have been so energetic in accusing others of intolerance and racism for years and years and years are now shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you - to find out what happens when you treat all cultures identically.

fairisleknitter

TheCrimsonQueen the Universities UK are suggesting this segregation be allowed under advice from their lawyers in order to comply with Human Rights legislation.

Frankly that sounds like bollocks to me. It's like the old 'Elf and Safety' argument councils use for not putting hanging baskets up. And it rather smacks of the worst kind of cowardice.

No political party could provide contributors to the debate on the Today radio show this morning. I suspect the political parties will try to remain on the sidelines.

Of course they will, because they're as craven as the universities. They're far more interested in not being seen to give offence than in actually solving a problem.

Thus this country does not appear to me to be taking a stand at all against the behaviour , rather condoning it and enabling it. (This official advice seems to be get around the issue by not putting women at the back but rather to the side.)

What will happen when people have finally had enough and do take a stand? Will we have endless threads condemning evil racialists and blaming the Daily Mail for failing to celebrate diversity?

PointyChristmasFairyWand Thu 12-Dec-13 13:13:27

I'm not sure that conflating this particular issue with the matter of cultural diversity in general is helpful... I would like to think we are a little more sophisticated and a little better able to identify what matters and what does not matter.

Condoning sexism (whether rooted in extremist religoin or not) = bad.
Condemning all multiculturalism = just as bad.

Most of us, whether on the left or the right politically, have the ability to distinguish right from wrong without making sweeping statements. Are you advocating that we should believe that all Western cultural values are better than all other cultural values, flatpack? Because that really would be a hiding to nowhere.

I am absolutely against FGM, gender segregation, 'sharia patrols' and the like. I am also against anyone religious who demand exemption from the law - as in, if you take a job that means working Friday, you do it - no matter how devout a Muslim you are, or you take another job. If you work as a Christian registrar and same sex marriage becomes part of your duties, then you conduct those ceremonies, or you take another job if you feel this conflicts with your faith.

There are very many Muslims who oppose this condoning of segregation as vehemently as the rest of us. This matter is also not exclusively confined to extremist Muslim groups - there are Orthodox Jewish and extreme Christian groups who also have some very odd ideas about the place of women. Let's by all means hold spineless politicians and politically correct bullshit organisations to account, but saying 'I told you so, it's all down to multiculturalism' adds nothing to the debate.

fairisleknitter Thu 12-Dec-13 13:57:44

There's another thread touching on this in GuestBlogs section. I ought to learn to link..

Bloodybridget Thu 12-Dec-13 14:01:26

what PointyChristmasWand said

Bloodybridget Thu 12-Dec-13 14:06:17

and I've signed the petition - here's a [[https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Universities_UK_Rescind_endorsement_of_sex_segregation_at_UK_Universities/?fbss link] again if you missed it above

Bloodybridget Thu 12-Dec-13 14:07:11

oh sod it - sorry link

Juliet123456 Thu 12-Dec-13 14:36:09

It's very bad.
The guidance by the way is not about segregation at normal student lectures. It is for visiting speakers and it suggests as long students are givein a choice of mixed and also segregated then that is allowed so no one would actually be segregated unless they wanted to. However even that is not good enough for me.
As Radio 4's Today programme has been highlighting in the last few days replace women for gays or blacks and there would be uproar - come to a lecture on XYZ and we will offer 3 blocks of seats - (a) straight people ; (b) gay people and ( c) the area where both will mix (or black or whatever). As it's women only the sub species under Islam it is apparently all right.

flatpackhamster Thu 12-Dec-13 17:46:38

PointyChristmasFairyWand

I'm not sure that conflating this particular issue with the matter of cultural diversity in general is helpful... I would like to think we are a little more sophisticated and a little better able to identify what matters and what does not matter.

But what has happened is that we have been pushed in a direction that ALL cultural diversity is a good thing. That's been combined with a relentless attack on any aspect of Britishness (for want of a better word) to the point where we no longer have any reasonable definition for it, let alone feel comfortable demonstrating it without there being negative connotations. The ownership of a St George's flag was, until very recently, the mark of a member of the National Front or BNP, not the mark of a patriot. In the minds of many it still is grounds for suspicion.

^Condoning sexism (whether rooted in extremist religoin or not) = bad.
Condemning all multiculturalism = just as bad.^

Is it? What is multiculturalism? What it means is not us all mixing and getting along together, but ghettoisation. It's a pernicious ideology whose damaging effects only appear as decades pass. Why can't we say that a failure to adopt the mores, culture and language of the place where you live is a problem?

Most of us, whether on the left or the right politically, have the ability to distinguish right from wrong without making sweeping statements. Are you advocating that we should believe that all Western cultural values are better than all other cultural values, flatpack? Because that really would be a hiding to nowhere.

No. But we should be able to stand up and say "These values - such as the ones where we don't separate women off and treat them as second class citizens - are better than yours, they are non-negotiable, and if you don't like them then tough." And our political classes can't, because they're so uncertain about what they stand for or what country or society they're representing that they have no sense of why it matters to say 'no' to segregation in universities.

flatpackhamster Thu 12-Dec-13 17:48:14

Juliet123456

As Radio 4's Today programme has been highlighting in the last few days replace women for gays or blacks and there would be uproar - come to a lecture on XYZ and we will offer 3 blocks of seats - (a) straight people ; (b) gay people and ( c) the area where both will mix (or black or whatever). As it's women only the sub species under Islam it is apparently all right.

I'm pretty sure Islam has just as clear views on gays.

missinglalaland Thu 12-Dec-13 17:57:33

For me, women's rights always trump religious rights.

And, while Brown vs. Board of Education is a US touchstone, I think it applies here. Separate is not equal.

I don't think women should be relaxed and pragmatic about the little things. I don't think we should give a single inch.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Thu 12-Dec-13 18:27:59

I'm pretty sure Islam has just as clear views on gays.

Yes, they're pretty much the same as those views held by fundamentalist Christians in much of Uganda. Your point is?

I absolutely agree with you that there are certain cultural things that we do better in the West. And I don't apologise for saying that they are better either. Equality and freedom are some of the bigger things in that list and we should absolutely stand up for those. We need far stronger action against FGM, forced marriage. 'honour' killings and so on.

I also agree that if you come to live in a country you should adapt - I just question how far people should be obliged to go in that. Sometimes I feel like a lone voice on here when I say that immigrants of all nationalities should have to learn English. It would be a blow for women's rights - no more men keeping their women mute and unable to flee DV because they don't speak the language, and that is just one consideration. I'm an immigrant myself and I wouldn't dream of expecting people here to speak Dutch to accommodate me.

However, there are some British mores that I have no intention of adopting - xenophobia and the island mentality being the main one. And try as I might I will never find cricket interesting. There has to be a balance. At the moment it is tipping too far towards political correctness, but pushing it in a general UKIPwards direction is just as undesirable.

flatpackhamster Thu 12-Dec-13 19:20:43

PointyChristmasFairyWand
Yes, they're pretty much the same as those views held by fundamentalist Christians in much of Uganda. Your point is?

That the poster I quoted was making an incorrect claim when she said that under Islam the only people classed as a sub species were women.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Thu 12-Dec-13 19:59:56

Fair point. Though fundamentalist Christians of the Uganda type(and of the US surrendered wives type) class women as a subspecies too. There's something about extremes of religion that does weird things to people's brains.

BarbarianMum Thu 12-Dec-13 20:10:22

so let me get this straight. If I sit next to a man in certain debates or lectures I may be infringing the human rights of the speaker?

How does that work?

<<Oh wait, it doesn't hmm>>

LineRunner Thu 12-Dec-13 20:19:13

I signed the petition.

I hope my University isn't buying into this nonsense.

flatpackhamster Thu 12-Dec-13 22:12:58

BarbarianMum

so let me get this straight. If I sit next to a man in certain debates or lectures I may be infringing the human rights of the speaker?

Basically they're playing minority top trumps. Islamist beats woman. An inevitable consequence, sadly, of defining people in that way.

I'm so fucking sick of women being classed as second class citizens. It's the 21st century, racist segregation is frowned upon, sexuality segregation is frowned upon, but gender segregation is fine. Why? Why am I not as worthy because I don't own a penis? Are there some sort of special seats with special penis holders in them that only the men can sit in? Do they also have special boob holders in the women seats? Because I can see no other reason for separating the genders and sitting them in different areas. The only reason this being done is because the organisers/university peeps in power (I'm drunk, can't bothered figuring out what they're called) are complete and utter wankers!

wetaugust Thu 12-Dec-13 22:32:34

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown told that idiot on C4 just where he was wrong. Good for her. His arguments were simply ridiculous.

We need to stamp this nonsense out before it takes hold and women become 2nd rate citizens.

Bumblebzz Fri 13-Dec-13 11:15:41

I heard Nicola Dandridge (spelling?) on BB R4 yesterday morning, she's the CEO of the UK University group that have permitted this segregation. She was wholly unconvincing during the interview and when pressed on how similar this sounds to apartheid, could not answer. As others have commented, she referred to legal advice they've had and she couldn't articulate that either. She surely should resign. And as a woman, she should be ashamed to be associated with this.
Good on Jack Straw for being the only political figure who was brave enough to speak out on the same programme.

Jux Fri 13-Dec-13 13:22:42

Guidelines from Universities UK apparently say that gender segregation may be appropriate in some cases. It's disgusting.

Cameron says he's not comfortable with it, and wants the guidelines reviewed. I should bloody jolly well think so.

I can't believe this is happening in the UK, in the 21st century. It's astonishing and shameful.

Bumblebzz Fri 13-Dec-13 13:57:09

Finally the politicians are weighing in (Cameron, Gove), I suppose they had to have their advisors trawl over this for a few days before they could make their mind up on what their public opinion "should" be. Pathetic.

And where are our female MPs, there might not be many of them but I would like to hear them comment on this, or are they also devoid of opinion, or perhaps afraid to speak lest they offend the people who want to segregate gender. Shame on you.

Jux Fri 13-Dec-13 16:13:28

Now there are reports that UK Unis have withdrawn their advice. They seem thoroughly unfit for purpose. It would be better if they were disbanded altogether.

Jux Fri 13-Dec-13 16:14:47

And, yes, where are our female MPs who should be up in arms at this? osie Winterton, the Eagles, Primarolo et al. Disgusted with the lot of you.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 13-Dec-13 16:20:13

I've not read the whole thread... there was a blog thread about this yesterday, which prompted me to read the actual report that the brouhaha is about rather than just the media reporting. Here it is.

It is an interpretation of the laws relevant to external speakers. I really don't think that the universities should be targeted for ire for producing these guidelines - save it for campaigning to make sure that the law of the land enshrines rights due to inherent characteristics (gender, race) above religion.

>Cameron says he's not comfortable with it, and wants the guidelines reviewed
I hope he has - or will - read the guidelines and then put a review of the relevant laws into place.

ParcelFancy Fri 13-Dec-13 16:47:00

Hmm, today's BBC story is rather different from the original complaint:

"Universities UK concluded: "If neither women nor men were disadvantaged and a non-segregated seating area were also provided, it might in the specific circumstances of the case be appropriate for the university to agree to the request.""

That's a HUGE difference from the original text of:

"imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely-held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully."

Are UUK pretending they never made the original statement, and that all the fuss is about the existence of additional segregated areas?

The new version is also problematic - but the original is incendiary.

It's also a nice illustration of how easy it is to segue from one state to another - let's have optional segregated areas, now let's get rid of the non-segregated area; or let's harangue people who use the non-segregated areas.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 13-Dec-13 16:52:42

Read my link. IIRC it says both but - as I said - it is an interpretation of the laws, which the UUK did not create.

Bumblebzz Fri 13-Dec-13 16:56:40

I emailed UUK to ask when the next segregated talk is happening at one of their Unis. I'll be happy to attend and sit where I like, as their CEO tried to imply on R4 that despite the guidance they issued, no-one would be actually forced to be segregated unless they wanted to, it's like, all voluntary. Which makes no sense, because wouldn't that mean the precious speaker would walk out in a huff, if people voluntarily broke the segregation? However, nothing she said really made sense.
And i get that they sought legal advice, it just didn't come across as if they'd really tried hard enough on this one.
I am so incensed by this, grrr.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 13-Dec-13 18:10:54

The hypothetical case study of what could/should be done if a visiting speaker requested segregation of the audience has now been removed from the document I linked to, which is rather frustrating.

IIRC the main points were that segregation is lawful (not desirable, not something they encourage - a matter of law) if there was equal access. So front/back would be discriminatory, left/right wouldn't. That an institution could propose to the speaker that there should be male, mixed and female seating available - I think more from the perspective of accommodating the preferences of the attendees rather than pandering to the speaker. But that this might not be deemed acceptable and in that case the part quoted by ParcelFancy applies ... the law puts them between a rock and a hard place.

It may be somewhat hard for lawmakers to frame laws which allow for separation which is a matter of choice, but disallow segregation which is enforced. Be careful what you wish for if you don't want the rugby club boys in your changing room ... in the current unequal world where women are routinely objectified and girls in mixed schools are put of STEM subjects, separation isn't something we can lightly dispense with.

Juliet123456 Fri 13-Dec-13 18:56:41

The example which was so hotly opposed has been removed today from the official guidance (those issuing it were interviewed on Radio 4 at 5pm on it. They are now seeking a second legal opinion on the rest of the guidance and have referred it to the equalities people too for a view.

The guidance says if the speaker wants segregation you can have it but then you must provide three areas - men, women and mixed. If a woman in the mixed area wanted to plonk herself amongst all those muslim men who apparently cannot stop touching women's breasts to such an extent they need women covered in order to prevent such acts then I think the guidance would allow the university to require the woman to move back to the mixed area. My view is that that is not good enough and that at a university rather than a private club or rooms which are hired which are not publicly funded we should not have in lectures even with visiting lecturers tolerance of segregation.

Of course a lot of people do segregate. Go to any primary school play ground in the country and you'll see little girls chatting and boys taking up 90% of the play space with a ball. Go to many a mosque or synagague and women will be forced to be separate. Christina Lamb was visting the area where Malalah came from in Pakistan and said the women serve meals to the men however long and late it gets and eat nothing. Many a night the women could only get fed at mid night once all those men had eaten. That will be replicated around plenty of homes in the UK even today. Universities need to take a stand and say that if the speaker requests single sex (or single race or colour) seating he or she needs to be told that that is not permitted for talks on university land in the UK.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 13-Dec-13 21:21:21

>Universities need to take a stand and say that if the speaker requests single sex (or single race or colour) seating he or she needs to be told that that is not permitted for talks on university land in the UK.

I think the problem is that they shouldn't have to take a stand. They should just be able to say 'sorry, the equalities legislation means it would be illegal for us to host a segregated meeting'. This is what they cannot currently do.

hiddenhome Fri 13-Dec-13 21:34:04

How do you actually sign the petition? It just kept asking for my email address. Do you put your name in the top box and your email address in the bottom or what?

alemci Fri 13-Dec-13 22:02:35

yes exactly Errol. good point

Jux Fri 13-Dec-13 22:19:36

Hiddenhome, if you're already a member of Avaaz then you just put your email address in, as they'll have the rest of your details in their database, so the petition is signed automatically.

If you're not a member, fill in the boxes under First Time Here?

perlona Fri 13-Dec-13 23:43:54

How is this not illegal? If they were segregating people according to race the police would be investigating, any body receiving public funds should be banned from discrimination, in fact I thought that was the law alreadyconfused

TheCrimsonQueen Sat 14-Dec-13 05:50:56

Bumblebzz I will come with you. How dare they think that sexual apartheid can be justified ever.

flatpackhamster Sat 14-Dec-13 09:23:55

ErrolTheDragon

I think the problem is that they shouldn't have to take a stand. They should just be able to say 'sorry, the equalities legislation means it would be illegal for us to host a segregated meeting'. This is what they cannot currently do.

I think that's exactly the problem, though. Instead of making a moral stand and saying 'We are committed to liberty' you're asking them to hide behind the very legislation that is causing the problem in the first place.

Where's the willingness just to say 'No, this is wrong'?

Juliet123456 Sat 14-Dec-13 09:39:37

Today I believe the guidance has been withdrawn.

"Islamic speakers at universities will no longer be allowed to demand that men and women sit apart after vice-chancellors withdrew their controversial guidance that sex segregation was acceptable. Universities UK was forced into a humiliating climbdown yesterday after David Cameron intervened, saying he felt very strongly that students should have the right to sit together. The Prime Minister said: “I’m absolutely clear that there should not be segregated audiences for visiting speakers to universities in Britain. That is not the right approach, the guidance should not say that, universities should not allow this. I’m very clear about this.”

Shenanagins Sat 14-Dec-13 10:18:49

I and shocked to that a) this was even considered acceptable and b) i have only just heard about it. It is truly scary that our media and politicians were not all over this.

MadameLeBean Sat 14-Dec-13 10:25:57

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100250298/sex-segregation-on-campus-is-wrong-but-that-doesnt-mean-it-should-be-outlawed/

An interesting point and I agree there is a difference between public and private meetings. What about women who have suffered abuse and want to meet in a female only space.

flatpackhamster Sat 14-Dec-13 10:48:14

The article you linked to is by Brendan O'Neill, who runs Spiked magazine. They have been highlighting this concern for some time. I've been reading their stuff for a couple of years now, and I like their no-compromises stance on liberty.

Women only spaces are different. People who are part of a group that is discriminated against, or disadvantaged, are entitled to safe places.

It is deeply depressing that universities, FFS, could pander to this sort of oppression. Universities are supposed to be educating people about oppression, not encouraging it.

It's not Cameron alone who has changed Universities UK's mind, btw, it's the Equalities Commission response to UUK's 'guidance'. EC said, um, actually, you might want to re-think that.

I would suggest that inviting women only was ok if the purpose of the event required it.

If I ran a chess club I could say I only wanted people there who play chess.

If I were making a film about say slavery in the US I would expect to be able to specify black actors for certain roles and white actors for others.

If I ran a class related to pregnancy then yes I could specify women only.

There are situations where the color, gender or skill are themselves significant to the purpose of the event.

But then I can't say "no black chess players" because the color isn't relevant to the chess playing. Nor is deciding where the audience sit relevant to someone giving a lecture/speech.

flatpackhamster Sun 15-Dec-13 08:11:48

edamsavestheday

Women only spaces are different.

I'm sorry, but I have a real problem with this argument. Your line of argument is precisely why this whole mess has happened in the first place. What you're doing is elevating the rights of one group that you define as oppressed over the rights of another group.

Now you could argue, reasonably, that women should be free to assemble without men, and I would agree with you. Where I disagree with you is with the notion that women should be defined as a special interest group and thus should be privileged over other groups. Because as soon as you do that, you get everyone defining themselves as a special interest group. Black people, gay people, disabled people, Islamist loons, people who wear chickens every second Thursday, everyone looks for a way to have themselves defined as a special group entitled to privileged treatment.

And sorting that mess out means you have to privilege one group's special interests above another.

Until you can move beyond defining people as in need of special privilege by the state, this problem will continue to arise as special interest groups fight for access to the best 'rights'.

carlajean Sun 15-Dec-13 08:17:57

I'm als

carlajean Sun 15-Dec-13 08:18:13

Ei

carlajean Sun 15-Dec-13 08:23:51

I am uncomfortable with the idea of women only spaces.i imagine that some women attending these hypothetical segregated meetings want segregation. So, should they be allowed this? I don't think so, but if you start arguing that women should be entitled to this what do you do?

ErrolTheDragon Sun 15-Dec-13 09:59:20

>It's not Cameron alone who has changed Universities UK's mind, btw, it's the Equalities Commission response to UUK's 'guidance'. EC said, um, actually, you might want to re-think that.

Yes - the UUK was certainly foolish not to run this all by them prior to publication.

Hopefully this debacle will result in clarifications of the laws and modifications where necessary. One in particular is that, as it stands, a 'genuinely held religious belief' seems to trump a secular belief (in this case, the feminist principle that women should not be segregated against their will). I personally don't think that religious belief of itself should be a protected characteristic, and certainly not one which is given more weight than a rational ethical principle. 'You win because your belief is based on something supernatural' really doesn't bear scrutiny.

flatpackhamster Sun 15-Dec-13 10:01:43

ErrolTheDragon

Hopefully this debacle will result in clarifications of the laws and modifications where necessary. One in particular is that, as it stands, a 'genuinely held religious belief' seems to trump a secular belief (in this case, the feminist principle that women should not be segregated against their will). I personally don't think that religious belief of itself should be a protected characteristic, and certainly not one which is given more weight than a rational ethical principle. 'You win because your belief is based on something supernatural' really doesn't bear scrutiny.

But you still come back to 'my oppressed minority is more important that your oppressed minority' with this line of argument.

Backonly - agreed, v sensible explanation.

Playback, I think it's straightforward to define minority/oppressed groups - the equality legislation does it quite effectively.

ErrolTheDragon Sun 15-Dec-13 10:12:01

>Until you can move beyond defining people as in need of special privilege by the state, this problem will continue to arise as special interest groups fight for access to the best 'rights'.

people will no longer require special protection (No one should be 'privileged' over another group any more than they should be discriminated against) when society is truly equal. Whoa, I just saw a pig fly...

So, when push comes to shove, the relative merits of different groups do need to be weighed against one another. In recent cases pitting fundamentalist Christians against homosexuals, a general principle seems to be that inherent characteristics trump religion. What someone is over what someone else believes. There are harder cases, but that one really is quite simple.

flatpackhamster Sun 15-Dec-13 11:24:34

ErrolTheDragon

people will no longer require special protection (No one should be 'privileged' over another group any more than they should be discriminated against) when society is truly equal. Whoa, I just saw a pig fly...

What does 'society' being 'equal' actually mean though? In actual, real terms how would you define it?

So, when push comes to shove, the relative merits of different groups do need to be weighed against one another.

In recent cases pitting fundamentalist Christians against homosexuals, a general principle seems to be that inherent characteristics trump religion. What someone is over what someone else believes. There are harder cases, but that one really is quite simple.

No it isn't. YOU think it is because you believe that the rights of homosexuals trump those of Christians. It fits the temporary morality of 21st century British society and you are writing your temporary morality in to law. But what you are doing is expecting the law to decide which minority interest is more important. That's not justice, that's just taking sides.

It isn't equality, either. There can be no equality when you define one group as privileged in law over another.

alemci Sun 15-Dec-13 14:54:13

I think the university is a publicly funded body and this just shouldn't be happening in 2013. zero tolerance towards this by university I think.

in a religious building not great but more acceptable

also I don't mind women only swimming

No group should have special status. Not Homosexuals and not Women, not Christians, Muslims or Sikhs.

When we say for example that a gay person should be able to book a room in a B&B that's not because gay people are more important than Christians, but because everyone should be able to book a room in a B&B. I don't want them treated better, I want them treated the same as everyone else.

ErrolTheDragon Sun 15-Dec-13 21:17:44

Exactly, BOB. In those cases, the gay couple weren't asking for special status, merely the same treatment. In the current case, women aren't asking for special treatment - on the contrary! These disputes arise when religious people think that they have a right to impose their moralities (the details of which vary between co-religionists and over time so surely deserve that tag of 'temporary') and strictures on other people simply for what those people are. They are the ones who seem to think they have a 'special status' which allows them to ignore other peoples right to equality.

I sincerely hope that the concept of sexual equality isn't a 'temporary morality' any more than racial equality is - it may have taken humankind a long time to arrive at it but now it's here, can anyone seriously think it's going away?

flatpackhamster Sun 15-Dec-13 22:01:14

ErrolTheDragon

Exactly, BOB. In those cases, the gay couple weren't asking for special status, merely the same treatment. In the current case, women aren't asking for special treatment - on the contrary! These disputes arise when religious people think that they have a right to impose their moralities (the details of which vary between co-religionists and over time so surely deserve that tag of 'temporary') and strictures on other people simply for what those people are. They are the ones who seem to think they have a 'special status' which allows them to ignore other peoples right to equality.

What was happening was that the religious people's freedom of conscience was denied. You and many others no doubt approve of that because of your political and social leanings. Others would disagree with that. I've no time for any religion but I don't like to see people bullied by the state in to 'accepting' societal behaviours they believe are wrong.

I sincerely hope that the concept of sexual equality isn't a 'temporary morality' any more than racial equality is - it may have taken humankind a long time to arrive at it but now it's here, can anyone seriously think it's going away?

It depends on a large number of factors. But it may go away. Look at the social changes in the 18th and 19th century. Victorian society was a reaction against the free-living licentiousness of the Georgian era. Could anyone living in 1810 have imagined that half a century later society would have changed so much? The same goes for people living in the 1940s and then looking at life in the 1970s. So who knows? I think you make a mistake if you imagine society will stay as it has. I suspect we aren't far off from a major tightening in moral codes as we swing away from the 'anything goes' culture of the last few decades.

What was happening was that the religious people's freedom of conscience was denied.

That's actually not the case.

What the B&B owners lost was not the right to obey their god, but the right to provide a service to some and not others.

If they had a dilemma because their religion required them to discriminate against other people when providing a service then they had the last ditch option of not providing a service at all.

This would satisfy their belief while not breaking any laws.

Their freedom of conscience would only be denied if they were forced to continue to provide a service, but to everyone equally.

ErrolTheDragon Sun 15-Dec-13 22:51:22

Exactly, BOB.

Flatpack, we're talking about equality here. The right to rent a room the same as anyone else ; the right to sit in whatever part of a lecture theatre with whoever you choose.

'I don't like to see people bullied by the state in to 'accepting' societal behaviours they believe are wrong.' . Me neither (you make some odd inferences, incidentally) - but I like even less people being discriminated against for what they are.

flatpackhamster Mon 16-Dec-13 07:52:22

ErrolTheDragon

Flatpack, we're talking about equality here. The right to rent a room the same as anyone else ; the right to sit in whatever part of a lecture theatre with whoever you choose.

What we're talking about is whose rights trump whose.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 16-Dec-13 08:19:04

You seemed to have wandered off onto something quite different with the stuff about 'licentious behaviour' and 'anything goes'.

flatpackhamster Mon 16-Dec-13 11:40:48

I don't understand the reference to praying. What do you mean?

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 11:52:48

the women in the burka looked very intimidating.

I think Choudary could do with a reallity check - could someone tell him this isn't Saudi Arabia.

Flatpack you somehow got onto "a major tightening in moral codes" and that's what Citizen Smith Choudary wants too.

You are still talking about islamic rights trumping others so not sure what else to say to you.

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 12:08:09

Do you mean Wolfy or Foxy smile

Power to the people

That's the one smile wasn't sure anyone would remember him.

flatpackhamster Mon 16-Dec-13 12:17:28

BackOnlyBriefly

Flatpack you somehow got onto "a major tightening in moral codes" and that's what Citizen Smith Choudary wants too.

You are still talking about islamic rights trumping others so not sure what else to say to you.

If you're asking me 'Does a rapid rise in the number of Muslims in the UK mean that there will be pressure on moral codes to bring them more in to line with the Koran', then the answer is 'probably yes'.

Here's a possibility you may not have considered - an Islamic political party in the UK. They would campaign for Sharia to be imposed. They wouldn't need many seats in Parliament to be a strong political force. We could be in a position where we have a hung parliament, and a Labour/Islamic party coalition holds the balance of power in government. Consider what price that party would exact for their support for the government.

But it isn't just from that quarter. The Baby Boomers are now in their sixties and seventies. That generation weighs heavily upon our culture, because it was them that tossed out the old order in the sixties and them that have defined social mores. Are they likely to continue accepting ever more liberal social mores? Unlikely.

Well I guess I am a Baby Boomer so I don't feel too worried on that score.

And the social changes I would be concerned with - the one we're dealing with here - would be rules that if a muslim is in the room then he gets to decide what is right and wrong for everyone. and I don't think that will happen.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 16-Dec-13 12:29:27

Flatpack - again - this discussion is about equality, not 'liberal social mores'.

FWIW I really can't see a Labour/Islamist (not 'Islamic', note - Islamist - big difference!) coalition, and certainly not one which in any way reversed the moves towards equality thus far achieved by women and gay people. Women and gays have the vote too you know. hmm

flatpackhamster Mon 16-Dec-13 12:53:03

ErrolTheDragon

Flatpack - again - this discussion is about equality, not 'liberal social mores'.

Far be it from me to distract you all from agreeing with each other. I'll leave you in peace to pretend that equality is everyone doing what you think is right.

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 13:40:00

showing my age I'm afraid. remember Hilda Braid who went on play Nana Moon in it.

unfortunately Choudary seems to lack any humour and I liken their behaviour to 16th century England, Cromwell not allowing theatre and spying on people who had any fun.

I know it's slightly off topic

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 13:43:56

you're frightening me Flat pack but I think this may happen. look at recent history, a ' civilised' country in Europe not so long ago and a minority party.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 16-Dec-13 13:47:24

> Far be it from me to distract you all from agreeing with each other. I'll leave you in peace to pretend that equality is everyone doing what you think is right

OK, feel free to keep on pretending that is what everyone else is doing here.

Mary2010xx Mon 16-Dec-13 15:35:32

I believe in a generation or two the radical muslim young will be nicely influenced by Western values and change.

oh yes I remember Hilda Braid. She was good in it.

Mary, I hope you are right. Certainly when people like Choudary or those idiots in Tower Hamlets try to stir up trouble we get Muslims saying that they don't want any of this crap. They just want to get through the day like everyone else.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 16-Dec-13 16:20:18

BOB - yes, and of course those vigilantes were targeting Muslim-owned businesses. If Sharia law started to be allowed, it would be aimed at muslims first.

But of course, the scaremongers forget that people who try to impose their own ideas of law will be brought to book by the actual law of the land - a so-called Muslim Patrol have recently been jailed.

Jux Mon 16-Dec-13 16:40:09

Sense will prevail. When I read or hear people like Choudury and Flatpack, then I want to ban religion completely. Of course, I don't actually advocate doing that, because I'm a baby boomer and a woolly liberal.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 16-Dec-13 17:00:11

Do you not ever wonder why the thoughts and opinions of Anjem Choudary are so easy to read and why he is invited on tv so much? The man is widely despised in the Muslim community and is the definition of a fringe figure, yet he gets more publicity then any other Muslim man in Britain.

The equivalent would be claiming the head of the EDL represents all white, British, working class men and giving him airtime in accordance with that.

SilverApples Mon 16-Dec-13 17:06:04

No, I don't wonder, Gosh. He's good television, the Bogeyman incarnate with all the terror and thrill that goes along with it. Just the thing to get the millions of tabloid and conservative press readers running around and building the barricades.
Muslim patrols harassing citizens? Let's tool up the Neighbourhood Watch and sit back for the show. Whilst it is recorded for posterity and the paranoia increases.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 16-Dec-13 17:13:28

I will quote what someone (Muslim) said about Anjem Choudary a while ago.

"What he needs is a good kicking. But that won't happen to him, it will be some uncle on the way back from the mosque, or an auntie doing her shopping who will get attacked instead and it will happen because people think we're all like Anjem Choudary".

grimbletart Mon 16-Dec-13 17:20:21

Flatpack: on a point of fact people in their seventies are not baby boomers. Baby boomers refers to the generation born after World War II - not before or during it.

I'm touchy about this because baby boomers get pilloried for all sorts of things and as someone of 70 I most definitely am not a baby boomer.grin

Ok, as you were folks……..

As for your point about an Islamic party being part of a coalition, any party that found itself in that situation would be mad if it did not attempt to form a minority government instead, and if defeated, call another election.

SilverApples Mon 16-Dec-13 17:21:57

I agree, it is what will happen. I think that was the point I was trying to make on the other thread, that the tension and intolerance rises, and the easy targets get hit. Then there is retaliation, and counter-retaliation.
The EDL are gathering support from a wider number of people than just the loony right now, unlike a few years ago.

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 17:31:12

goshanne I can see your point about Anjem. don't know about a kicking as I hate violence; do some people call the police when he starts harassing them say outside their restaurant or are the police ineffective. are the marchers not trying to stir up trouble. why is it allowed?

ErrolTheDragon Mon 16-Dec-13 17:44:42

alemci, see my link about the 'muslim patrol' - people who step beyond the law are subject to it. I'm not sure whether the recent anti-alcohol demonstration went beyond it or not - we do allow free speech - though the part about facing 40 lashes sounds like incitement to violence and intimidation. I'd be pretty sure that if anyone actually carried out this threat they'd be tried and imprisoned for GBH or suchlike.

SilverApples Mon 16-Dec-13 17:47:27

'I'd be pretty sure that if anyone actually carried out this threat they'd be tried and imprisoned for GBH or suchlike.'

Yes, if they had evidence and witnesses. Which often tend to be hard to obtain in cases of intimidation in a close-knit community.

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 17:58:01

Ercol that is what I am commenting on.

it makes all Moslems look bad in some peoples eyes and the thought that if Choudary can get away with his bullying behaviour then how long before they turn up at the Toby Inn up the road, I am being a bit flippantsmile

also it is bad for the restaurant owners. he should be made to stop.

Gosh Choudary is on TV because that's how TV works. They are hardly going to say "and here is a muslim man waiting for a bus on his way to work".

Though I suppose his actions are somehow the fault of all non-muslims or the patriarchy or something.

SilverApples Mon 16-Dec-13 18:13:50

faith-matters.org/component/content/article/44-news/303-speech-given-by-the-rt-hon-baroness-warsi-to-tell-mama-measuring-anti-muslim-attacks-originally-given-at-tell-mama-fundraising-dinner-london-this-is-the-text-of-the-speech-as-drafted-which-may-differ-slightly-from-the-delivered-version

'Research by the excellent Dr Matthew Goodwin and Dr Chris Allen lifts the lid on this, showing attitudes towards Britain’s Muslims.
Look at their recent polling - indicative data from a recent online YouGov survey.
Just 23% of people said that Islam was NOT a threat to Western civilisation.

And only a mere 24% thought Muslims were compatible with the British way of life - with nearly half of people disagreeing that Muslims were compatible.

Perhaps most disturbingly, nearly half of people polled thought there would be a clash of civilisations between and Muslims and other Britons.'

This level of paranoia is what I am concerned about, and it's a fear that people like Choudary feed.

Of course there's fear. What people see is the loud Muslims just as they see the loud Christians.

There have been polls showing that huge numbers of Muslims - ordinary people, not terrorists or activists - would like to see Sharia law replace UK law. I haven't asked each Muslim myself, but I'm hoping the polls are biased.

Sharia law IS a potential threat to Western civilisation.

SilverApples Mon 16-Dec-13 18:48:36

So the attacks on the vulnerable will continue, and the country will become more impervious to the pressure of refugees from Muslim-majority countries, and more indifferent to Muslim on Muslim conflicts.
And many of the resident Muslim population will become more defensive and reluctant to engage with non-Muslim citizens.

Perhaps, or perhaps the polls are wrong and most Muslims really just want to get on with life without changing the basic structure of the country. I'd certainly like to think so and it's quite possible. We know that polls can be skewed by asking the questions the right way.

I think it helps to deal decisively with real troublemakers like Choudary as we did with the so called 'Muslim Patrol'. They were simply ordinary criminals and were arrested, charged and convicted as such. What would have caused problems would be if we'd said "We better let them be because they are Muslim and that will cause tension". That kind of talk makes people nervous and rightly so.

Which is why I'm sick of hearing about Islamophobia. Anyone who really hates Muslims should go around saying that disagreeing with muslims is evil and should be stopped. That will do it.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 16-Dec-13 19:59:53

Back - I don't understand, first you say Choudary is on tv, because that's how tv works but then say that all people see are the loud Muslims.

My point is that giving an unrepresentative, minority figure like Choudary airtime or publicity. serves no positive purpose whatsoever - that's why all people are seeing are the loud Muslims.

Let the police continue to monitor him and by all means, if he breaks the law, then I hope they through the book at him.

There are far more positive and representative Muslims out there and it's time people got to see them instead.

Pixel Mon 16-Dec-13 20:13:50

Going back to the original subject, what would happen I wonder, if a lot of women turned up early to one of these meetings and took the seats at the front?

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 20:27:33

Gosh, is right. Choudhary is given publicity in the same way that the EDL was given publicity. Neither are representative but the media gives them both lots of publicity and media access. Why?

Gosh and Claig I am not in control of the media. Even though I'm white I never got my invitation to join the secret world government. You have as much control over what they show as I do.

I simply note that they do report things that are out of the ordinary. (sometimes this is called 'news').

Also people who live in brick lane and other places will have seen Choudhary with their own eyes and people in Tower Hamlets will have seen the 'muslim patrol' with their own eyes.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 20:44:43

Back, they decide what to show on the media and who to give publicity to. They won't show you many climate change sceptics on TV, but they will show you lots of polar bears. But Anjem Choudhary goes on Newsnight and on Channel 4 News to spread his poison and they put the EDL and Tommy Robinson on debate chat shows etc. Think about it.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 20:47:13

And if you think they do it because they like controversy and discussion, ask your self why they don't put the BNP on and do put the EDL on.

More people will watch polar bears.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 20:50:12

I agree with Gosh. They should not put Choudhary on Newsnight or on our TV stations and they should not give him any publicity or media access as all he does is spread poison and because he is totally unprepresentative.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 20:52:59

'More people will watch polar bears.'

They put polar bears on to manipulate people's minds and convince them about what they want them to think is real. They choose what to show you and what to inform you about and what they promote increases credibility and suggests that it is more representative than it really is. Choudhary is not representative and yet he is the go-to man they often show on TV.

Who is they?

Do you see all the media, the government as one big gang arrayed against you?

I wouldn't be happy with censorship and do you think it would help the Muslim cause if we read in other countries newspapers online that Choudhary was doing what he does, but that our government had forbidden reporting on it because some other Muslims thought it was giving them a bad name?

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 21:00:25

It's nothing to do with the government.

Baroness Warsi of the Conservatives also asks why Chodhary, who is totally unrepresentative, gets access to Channel4 and the BBC.

"The faith and communities minister, Baroness Warsi, and the shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, have criticised the media for giving too much airtime to the radical cleric Anjem Choudary in the wake of the Woolwich attack.

Warsi, who is also a Foreign Office minister, said she felt "angry" about the airtime given to "one appalling man who represents nobody".

She told Sky News on Thursday: "We all have a responsibility, including the media, not to give airtime to extremist voices – idiots and nutters who speak for no one but themselves."

www.theguardian.com/media/2013/may/24/bbc-channel-4-anjem-choudary

I don't think that other countries even know who Choudhary even is, he is so unrepresentative.

I know she says things like that. I consider her part of the problem rather than the solution.

Perhaps she'd prefer to close down the media and just have a government dept issuing carefully vetted statements. People can hear her saying that we should keep quiet about stuff that might make muslims look bad and that makes it worse.

Perhaps they shouldn't have reported the woolwich incident either? That probably didn't help.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 21:10:48

Back, they report what they want to report and what they want you to hear and they don't report about what they don't want you to know. They didn't report about the rumours about Savile for decades when it was common knowledge in some media circles what he was doing.

Baroness Warsi is not part of the problem, she is part of the solution and is asking the legitimate question of why Choudhary, who is totally unrepresentative, gets so much airtime.

And the media ignored her didn't they. Which they were always going to do because we don't have a state controlled media here.

Everyone knows they will carry on showing what they like and the only difference is that they know now that Baroness Warsi wants it kept quiet. Do you not see how that makes it worse?

And you didn't say if you thought it would be better had the woolwich thing had been kept quiet.

Surely that must have been worse than showing Choudhary?

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 21:25:51

Of course the Woolwich murder should not have been kept quiet, because that was an atrocity that needs reporting worldwide. That is news.

Choudhary, a totally unrepresentative go-to man of the media, is not newsworthy at all. He should not get media access.

"Her comments were made before Choudary's appearance on BBC2's Newsnight on Thursday, which also drew fire from Murphy, who criticised the decision to give airtime to the the cleric, who is banned from entering France by the nation's interior ministry.

" Banned from France but welcome on Newsnight ," he wrote on Twitter. "A mistake of the BBC to invite Anjem Choudary onto the telly tonight."

On Newsnight the cleric refused to condemn the killing despite repeated requests by presenter Kirsty Wark."


...

The Channel 4 News interview also sparked a row on Twitter, with Warsi telling Newman that the interview should not have been broadcast because it "undermines the painstaking work community organisations do every day to create understanding". She also wrote on Twitter: " We know his vile extremist views. How many times do we have to hear them ? He simply incites hatred and community tension."

...

How many times will the BBC show us this bogeyman and why are they showing us this bogeyman since he represents no one and is not newsworthy, whereas Woolwich was news?

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 21:29:05

"Baroness Warsi wants it kept quiet. Do you not see how that makes it worse?"

Baroness Warsi does not want real news like Woolwich to be kept quiet, but she asks why the BBC gives airtime to Choudhary who "undermines the painstaking work community organisations do every day to create understanding". Why are the BBC and other media outlets making things worse?

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 21:32:14

I suppose the media have to have a panto villain substitute now that Captain Hook has gone to the Never Never prison in the USA.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 21:38:56

Exactly, alemci.
They need panto villains in order to insult and anger the people. They put Choudhary on shortly after the Woolwich murder and insulted the British public by making us listen to his vile words that disgraced the BBC and the pantomime actor/villain that he is.

Most people don't understand why he is on TV, they think he is for real and therefore they get angry and insulted and that makes things worse.

Understand why he and the EDL are on TV and you will see through the act and realise why it is on your TV screens.

How many people watched it I wonder. I bet it was a lot.

they think he is for real You thought he was an actor hired by the BBC?

Btw you are wrong about not showing the BNP as I remember seeing the guy who runs/ran it being interviewed. It's just that Choudary is more current news.

And you know why don't you? Choudary and the likes of the Muslim Patrol are saying let's take over here and make it like back home, and we all remember the atrocities. We don't want him or others with similar plans to succeed. We don't want to live under sharia law and under the control of gods whose belief system leads to the kind of things we've seen.

In any case since the media is not under my control, your control or Baroness Warsi's control this is pointless. If you want a solution then think of a way to stop the likes of Choudary and the Muslim Patrol because then there will be nothing to report.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 16-Dec-13 21:46:39

Back - asking why does the media continue to select such an unrepresentative figure is not the same as censorship.

Baroness Warsi is not asking for censorship, merely that when TV news shows want to select someone to represent the Muslim community, they choose someone who actually does represent the Muslim community - there are enough of us out there without them having to continually rely on one man.

Of course the media have to cover events like the Woolwich murder, but there is nothing wrong with asking that they do so in a responsible fashion. The vast, vast, vast majority of Muslims were absolutely sickened by Lee Rugby's murder and that should be reflected in the media coverage.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 21:51:45

The BBC don't hire him, they just give him publicity.

The BNP gets on about once every 6 years and yet they are a political party with European MEPs and many tens of thousands of voters. Choudhary gets on TV far more often than them and he represents nobody.

"Hate preacher pocketing £25,000 a year in benefits calls on fanatics to live off the state
Anjem Choudary called benefits 'Jihadseeker's allowance'"

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2279972/Anjem-Choudary-Hate-preacher-pocketing-25-000-year-benefits-calls-fanatics-live-state.html

Can't you see that he is used to wind up decent people and that is why he gets publicity?

'We don't want him or others with similar plans to succeed. We don't want to live under sharia law'

I agree with you. So why do they keep giving him publicity and putting him in interviews with one of our leading news interviewers, Jeremy Paxman. Why give him any publicity or credibility?

Have they asked him for an interview at the job centre to see if he is searching for employment? Have they put him on workfare?

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 16-Dec-13 21:52:43

Back - as a taxpayer, I entrust the police to uphold the law for me. They have done so in the case of the Muslim patrol. Good.

If Chaudry breaks the law, as I've already said, I wish for him to be prosecuted within the fullest extent of the law. I would also support the banning ofany marches/demonstrations by his group.

I don't think as a Muslim I have an extra duty to enforce the laws of the UK. I am a law abiding, tax paying citizen, that should be sufficient to demonstrate my loyalty to the UK.

And all that people are seeing is Baroness Warsi saying don't show muslims doing bad things because muslims don't do bad things so this can't be a true muslim.

She is saying this in a country that remembers some bad things indeed. Therefore I'm saying that's not doing the image any good at all.

I am also puzzled that people expect the media to be some kind of moral guardian. It's just a business you know.

Btw I said before that I hope the polls that showed large numbers of muslims eager for sharia law in the UK are biased and that really most Muslims don't want anything of the sort. May I ask if you do?

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:02:00

Choudhary makes things worse. He is allowed on our TV, he gets access to our most prestigious news programmes and he then insults the public and the country and he gets away with it and they even ask him back for more. He makes things worse and angers a lot of the public, so why do they let him do it and why do they ask him back on TV for more of the same?

As Baroness Warsi rightly said , and as millions of Newsnight viewers must be thinking

"We know his vile extremist views. How many times do we have to hear them ? He simply incites hatred and community tension."

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:04:37

'I am also puzzled that people expect the media to be some kind of moral guardian. It's just a business you know.'

Of course it is a moral guardian. Why do you think that the BNP have only been on Question Time once in their entire existence when they got more votes than the Greens in many seats where they stood.

'It's just a business you know'.
It's show business, and they decide the show and the showman like Choudhary.

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 22:05:41

tbh it does get on my nerves about his benefits. why is he not working in his local poundland.

shouldn't he be down the job centre updating his cv. how has he got time to be a vigilante.

may need some work on his people skills perhaps.

Yes show business. I've been saying that and you talk like I disagree.

Ok now we've established that what do you think we can do about it?

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:13:07

Exactly, alemci. What is going on? He even takes the piss out of the public and the country and he seems to be able to get away with it.

"In another video a grinning Choudary is recorded telling his disciples that it is justifiable to take money from non-believers.

He said: 'The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar. You work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar (God is great).

'Hopefully there's no one from the DSS listening to this.'

Maybe no one from the DSS reads the Daily Mail either.

Incredible. You couldn't make it up!

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:16:17

'Ok now we've established that what do you think we can do about it?'

We stop qiving him publicity and we create laws that outlaw any discrimination or segregation etc. We defend the values of our tolerant society and we give no publicity and BBC access to people whose words undermine our tolerant society, insult society and harm community relations.

alemci Mon 16-Dec-13 22:19:27

yes Claig it seems that the same rules don't apply to him. no worries about his N.I. contributions and about retiring with a pension?

wish he was challenged on news night about this point. does he get paid for his tv work?

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:22:02

We don't have a media where anything goes and where any fanatic is invited onto Newsnight. We have values and we stick by them and we defend them and we don't let them be undermined by people like Choudary and we stop rolling out the red carpet for him as he insults us and takes the piss out of us and the BBC allows him to do so.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:23:06

'wish he was challenged on news night about this point'

I doubt they would challenge him on that, because then the panto might be exposed and it would all come to an end.

We stop qiving him publicity

Err there is no 'we' unless we nationalise all the media.

Ok enough already. This side track started because Gosh said Back - I don't understand, first you say Choudary is on tv, because that's how tv works but then say that all people see are the loud Muslims.

And you joined in also not understanding it. If either of you still don't I can't help you, but the answers are all there is the posts. Even in your own posts.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:29:21

'Err there is no 'we' unless we nationalise all the media.'

There is a 'we', it is society, and it is made up of our views and even though our individual views don't count for much, in unison, as reflected in the newspapers we buy, they do count and they influence politicians who in turn influence the BBC Trust who in turn influence Newsnight producers who in turn tell Choudary to take a hike and tell him that there will be no more red carpets for him to take the piss and insult the public.

claig Mon 16-Dec-13 22:32:28

And Cameron is also influenced by our combined views as represented in the newspapers we buy or in internet forums and facebook and twitter and online petitions etc, and Cameron has come out and said he does not want sexual segregation in our universities.

We, as a combined community, do influence what happens because politicians have to listen to our voice.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 16-Dec-13 22:37:57

Back -I've told you what the media can do about it. Stop having him on TV and chose someone more representative - easy.

As for sharia law, just to be clear, this is the term covering all the rules of Islam, so when I pray five times a day, give bacon the swerve and don't play the lottery,I'm following sharia law.

However, I sense those aren't the sort of sharia laws you're on about.

Key point - as part of Sharia, you should respect the laws of the country you live in.

Criminal - there should be no alteration to UK law on grounds of sharia.

Financial - Islamic finance is a growing industry in the UK. The govt has had to put in place particular VAT and tax regs to ensure that products and profits are taxed appropriately. I see no problem with this. Just to add, that Islamic financial institutions in the UK are bound by the same regulatory bodies as conventional banks.

Family law - bigamy to remain illegal in the UK. There are opt-in Sharia family courts in the UK that mainly deal with divorces and family disputes ( Note: they do not have the power to overrule or contradict UK law and generally act as a mediation service or to administer religious divorces). I feel these need to be either properly regulated and monitored, by an independent and impartial body or closed down.

I think that sums up everything.

Mary2010xx Thu 19-Dec-13 07:21:19

Which is the same as C of E or Catholic religious law. Even the rules are different (eg marriage at 14 the religious rules go on to say or whatever it compliant with local civil law i.e. in UK 16 with parental consent).

ErrolTheDragon Thu 19-Dec-13 08:58:06

Gosh - presumably also, moderate Muslims see Sharia law as applicable to muslims? Its the idea of it replacing or in any way overriding UK law which Islamists promote which should be clearly rejected.

There's nothing to stop people settling their own disputes in any way they choose provided it doesn't break UK law.

> Why do you think that the BNP have only been on Question Time once in their entire existence
I reckon it was because Griffin got thoroughly trounced and laughed at, being shown up for what he was. I really doubt they ever want to expose themselves to that scrutiny again.

It may be that part of the problem is that politicians are always fair game but people are too cautious about being 'respectful' of religion.

I also don't think the BBC etc are quite so unbalanced as is being suggested - Newsnight often has moderates eg people from Quilliam on it.

(total tangent but very amused by claigs assertion 'They won't show you many climate change sceptics on TV' when in fact they get a disproportionally large amount of coverage in the name of 'balance')

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 09:32:38

Errol, the Question Time appearance helped the BNP.

"Support for the party has increased in the last month, a survey for The Daily Telegraph indicated.

The findings will lead to accusations that the BBC’s decision to invite the far-Right MEP on to its flagship current affairs programme may have backfired by giving him a national platform.

The YouGov poll was taken hours after Mr Griffin’s appearance on Thursday, before which anti-fascist protesters rioted outside BBC Television Centre in London.

The survey found that 22 per cent of voters would “seriously consider” voting for the BNP in a future local, general or European election. This included four per cent who said they would “definitely” consider voting for the party, three per cent who would “probably” consider it, and 15 per cent who said they were “possible” BNP voters."

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/6417906/One-in-four-would-consider-voting-BNP.html

...

So why did the BBC do it for the first time ever and allow the BNP on Question Time to which 8 million viewers tuned in, which is probably more than usually tune in?

Bio-Dimbleby ” acknowledges his robotic Twitter alter ego during riots debate"

...

'The 3.5m audience figure is Question Time's second biggest of 2011 so far. '

www.radiotimes.com/news/2011-08-12/dimblebot-helps-question-time-special-draw-35m-viewers

A quote from the Guardian says

"Last night a senior BBC source told the Guardian the decision to invite Griffin on to Question Time now had been motivated by a fear that the BNP would have a stunning high court victory against the BBC if the corporation refused to allow the party on the show between now and the general election."

www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/oct/23/bnp-poll-boost-question-time

If the BBC were interested in ratings, then you would expect them to invite the BNP on Question Time more often.

So why do they invite Choudary on, since he won't get any more ratings and he can't challenge the BBC in the high court about any lack of access?

The BBC gave access to Choudhary and also gave access to the EDL and to Quilliam etc etc, but they are all unrepresentative and publicity for all of them just creates more conflict. They don't have a politicial mandate, they do not have many supporters.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 09:39:46

''They won't show you many climate change sceptics on TV' when in fact they get a disproportionally large amount of coverage in the name of 'balance')'

I've seen many more polar bears and BBC Newsnight 'ethical man' climate reports than any involving climate sceptics. There are lots of save the planet slebs, popstars, actors, Lords, OBEs, Sirs and comedians and even the odd right-on revolutionary like Russell Brand, but you don't get many climate sceptics in case they tell the public the truth.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 09:52:01

I am wrong to say that publicity for Quilliam causes more conflict. They are a think-tank founded by three former members of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and they oppose extremism.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 19-Dec-13 10:03:01

You don't get many climate sceptics because there are very few who deal in much more than opinion versus the number of actual scientists dealing in facts. They're disproportionately well represented whenever there's a climate-related news story. (claig will obviously never agree on that... sorry don't want to derail this discussion so will try not to further engage on that)

On the BNP - 'According to the BNP's statement of accounts in December 2012, its membership was 4872, compared to over 12,000 in 2009'. Whatever the poll said, the actuality is that the Newsnight appearance coincided with the decline of the BNP. Which may be coincidental but it really doesn't seem to have done them much good.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 10:04:33

In case anyone missed the Daily Mail a few years ago, this was Choudhary in earlier times with pictures of him enjoying a drink or three

"One former friend of the Muslim extremist said: ' I can't keep a straight face when I see fundamentalist Muslim Anjem Choudary in the papers attacking the British for drinking or having girlfriends

'When I knew him, he liked to be called Andy, would often smoke cannabis spliffs all day, and was proud of his ability to down a pint of cider in a couple of seconds'

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240691/Swilling-beer-smoking-dope--secret-past-hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary.html

His former friend probably can't keep a straight face when he reads about the 'forty lashes' and the panto of Choudhary today

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2523658/Muslim-campaigners-protest-sale-alcohol-popular-East-London-area.html

alemci Thu 19-Dec-13 10:47:46

yes I'd like to see Choudary on QT but knowing the BBC if anyone in the audience asked him something arkward or made an insightful comment that wouldn't do.

I agree Gosh Anne about the Sharia you keep as it is personal and not forcing it on others. I have a problem if someone tried to make someone else who didn't want to obey it as in Choudary's case.

Re: Climate Change - David Bellamy reckons that's why the bbc dropped him, he didn't support it.

GoshAnneGorilla Thu 19-Dec-13 12:07:13

I'm shuddering at the thought of Choudary on QT. We have several Muslim M.P's who at least have a democratic mandate, they would surely be a better choice.

Tbf, I think QT have had James Caan of Dragons Den on there previously, who is considerably more of a positive and relatable figure.

alemci Thu 19-Dec-13 12:15:45

I suppose I would like him to be given a hard time by the public and exposed for what he is. Would that diminish his following? or is that just wishful thinking.

Quangle Thu 19-Dec-13 12:17:45

Late to this and not read the whole thread but what pisses me off about it more than anything is our pathetic inability to stand up and say here are the values we believe in. We are building a society based on equality and this is non-negotiable. And yes I'm making a value judgement.

ParcelFancy Thu 19-Dec-13 12:25:15

Katie Hopkins has been on Question Time. I don't think positive and relatable figure is really the BBC's criterion.

Ubik1 Thu 19-Dec-13 12:38:56

RE BNP

When I was a reporter it was union guidelines that the NF/BNP were not given the oxygen of publicity as union members did not want to be used a promotional tool.

This changed when people started to vote for them and once they got council seats and started general election campaign the rules of impartiality forced the media to start covering them. This is why they appeared on QT - I think the BBC just decided to let them hang themselves.

Re Segregation:

O often see the argument that muslim women may feel oppressed by having a man sat next to them at a debate - but I work with muslim women who spend hours and hours sitting next to a man, chatting and working, I sat through a nursery nativity with a fair few muslim women, sitting next to men, their children taking part - that is multiculturalism in action. I don't see why we should start pearl clutching at the thought that muslim women may have to sit next to men in ordinary life - so many muslim women live and work in a multicultural world and don't seem to suffer as a result

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 12:55:56

'When I was a reporter it was union guidelines that the NF/BNP were not given the oxygen of publicity as union members did not want to be used a promotional tool.

This changed when people started to vote for them and once they got council seats'

Why is Choudhary given "the oxygen of publicity" by union members and journalists and media when no one votes for him and he has no council seats?

Apparently, Choudhary used to drink beer and down cider and smoke dope, according to the Daily Mail, and now the Daily Mail quotes him as saying things like

"People who commit adultery would be stoned to death"

"Anyone who becomes intoxicated by alcohol would be given 40 lashes in public"

"Every woman, Muslim or non-Muslim, would have to wear a burka and cover all but their face and hands"

and yet he goes on our most prestigious news programme and is asked serious questions with a straight face.

It is obvious what he is all about and for. His purpose is to frighten ordinary citizens that the things he talks about may become a reality some time in the future and to make the more credulous ones believe that this is what Islam is about.

Why don't they interview his former friend who said

' I can't keep a straight face when I see fundamentalist Muslim Anjem Choudary in the papers attacking the British for drinking or having girlfriends'

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240691/Swilling-beer-smoking-dope--secret-past-hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary.html

That way the more credulous members of the public, who are frightened by Choudhary's antics, might realise that he is not as real as he seems.

Ubik1 Thu 19-Dec-13 13:04:05

Why is Choudhary given "the oxygen of publicity" by union members and journalists and media when no one votes for him and he has no council seats?

He gives good TV/copy

QT is all about ratings and no longer about discussion

The unions are no longer powerful which means there is no consensus among journalists on this matter

But I agree with you, it is a sad state of affairs when idiots such as Choudary and Katie Hopkins are given a platform to spot nonsense views. I can only think that QT has a tabloid agenda.

Ubik1 Thu 19-Dec-13 13:08:12

I'm shuddering at the thought of Choudary on QT. We have several Muslim M.P's who at least have a democratic mandate, they would surely be a better choice.

Indeed - it would be far more informative and useful to have issues debated between people who have real power - but that is not QT's function anymore. It's a sort of political Jeremy Kyle.

But Channel 4 news handles this much better

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 13:12:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 13:33:27

'It is obvious what he is all about and for. His purpose is to frighten ordinary citizens that the things he talks about may become a reality some time in the future and to make the more credulous ones believe that this is what Islam is about. '

How does this help his cause in the long run though? Does he think that by talking about these things that they will come to pass, that people will be convinced that it's the sort of laws they want to live under?
He is gaining support for anti-immigration, anti-Muslim and for a generally increased climate of intolerance in Britain. How is that good for Islam?
We're going to hear more and more of 'It's the thin edge of the wedge' 'Give them an inch and they'll take a mile' and from people that used to see themselves as accepting and liberal and now feel threatened. However misplaced that perception.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 13:33:35

'He gives good TV/copy'

This is the problem. Good copy for whom?

I remember seeing a Channel 4 News report once, where Jon Snow went to interview one of these Muslim fanatics at his office. I can't remember which one it was. But I do remember that while this fanatic was spouting the usual threats against all and sundry, there was a huge banner behind his head with letters so big that you couldn't miss them saying "Islam will rule Britain".

Whom is that good copy for? Why show it?

I think it frightens the ordinary citizen or the good Daily Mail reader who has just put the kettle on for a nice cuppa. The good old granny who has just finished the Daily Mail crossword must be thinking what on earth is going on? Why is Jon Snow interviewing with a straight face this raving fanatic who has got a huge sign behind his head leaving the Daily Mail reader in no doubt of his belief that "Islam will rule Britain".

Is it panto?

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 13:34:22

x-post claig.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 13:38:03

SilverApples, I don't think it is meant to be good for Islam. I think he is panto and not for real. If he was for real, I don't think he would be invited onto news programmes to spread his message. If he was for real, I believe that what Ubik1 said about the BNP would be applied to him by unions and journalists and the media

"When I was a reporter it was union guidelines that the NF/BNP were not given the oxygen of publicity as union members did not want to be used a promotional tool."

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 13:41:09

The increased violence against Muslims isn't panto though, or the withdrawing of sympathy and tolerance by many who were previously neutral or supportive to minority communities.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 13:46:00

I agree that there are real consequences to the media access and oxygen of publicity given to people like Choudhary and the EDL who are invited on to debate with Paxman.

I believe that the media allowing access to Choudhary to spread his poison and what I believe is his act with statements like "People who commit adultery would be stoned to death" frightens many members of the public and makes some of them believe that they are under threat.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 13:48:11

That's why I think the media should give no access to Choudhary who is totally unrepresentative of the millions of Muslims in this country because the publicity he gets may distort the image of Muslims for some members of the public.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 13:51:30

'what pisses me off about it more than anything is our pathetic inability to stand up and say here are the values we believe in. We are building a society based on equality and this is non-negotiable.'

Quangle is exactly right. There should be fewer 10 minute discussions on Channel 4 News or BBC Newsnight about this and a simple, quiet defence of our values instead. Because 10 minute discussions only frighten the old grannies even further about what is going on and when Choudhary pops up with the talk of '40 lashes' some good Daily Mail readers actually believe he is for real.

SilverApples Thu 19-Dec-13 13:56:44

I think what's bothering me more than the DM reading grannies is that I'm hearing opinions that bother me from friends and acquaintances of mine.
I'm a lefty, lentil-weaving treehugger eco-type, as are many of my friends, and many of them are now uncomfortable or becoming more insular in their views about Muslims, immigration and supporting aid requests for victims in countries in conflict, like Syria.
It's disturbing.

claig Thu 19-Dec-13 14:05:17

I agree SilverApples. The more publicity they give to Choudhary, the more they interview him, the more people will become uncomfortable about what is happening.

The more reports Channel 4 News do about some British Muslims driving to Syria to give aid and be doctors etc, the more calls for bombing of Syria by our politicians, the more people will begin to wonder what is going on.

alemci Thu 19-Dec-13 16:28:14

I thought this link was relevant when discussing being tolerant whether you are a minority faith or in the majority

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25426155 is it too low budget for extras/

alemci Thu 19-Dec-13 16:30:55

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25426155

trying again on main pc.

Relevant to this debate - LSE has apologised for stopping two students promoting an atheist society during Fresher's week (dispute about their T-shirts, bizarrely). Heard on Radio 4 news but can't see link on Beeb online.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 20-Dec-13 11:59:01

Apparently BBC Today saw fit to put Anjem Choudary on this morning.

Good response by the Daily Telegraph here: blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100251464/the-bbc-putting-anjem-choudary-on-the-today-programme-isnt-free-speech-its-trolling/

claig Fri 20-Dec-13 12:24:08

Good article, Gosh.

Here are some quotes from another Telegraph article about it.

"John Spellar, the Labour MP for Warley, said: “I find it quite extraordinary that someone who is so hostile to British values and so unrepresentative of the Muslim commuity is endlessly given space by the BBC.

“Their idea of balance seems to be Anjem Choudary and somebody from the BBC and mainstream voices get excluded.

“The worst thing is that they probably even think that it made good radio.”

He added: “I believe in a public service broadcaster. I just wish that [the BBC] would have a greater regard for their public.

“This is a cultural problem inside parts of the BBC.”

Diane Abbott wrote on Twitter: “I am a big believer in free speech. Opposed the war in Iraq etc But WHY give airtime to Anjem Choudary!”

Listeners posted their views about the interview on Twitter. Daniel Trilling wrote: “Morning after the Woolwich verdict and Today invites Anjem Choudary on for yet more BBC airtime. Disgraceful.”

Steve Mitchell wrote: “Ridiculous that Anjem Choudary is given an opportunity to try to legitimise Woolwich attack. Media fascination plays into hands of extremists.”

www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10529802/BBC-criticised-for-giving-extremist-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-airtime.html

None of them, though, understand the real reason why it is done.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 20-Dec-13 12:33:30

If anyone wants to make a formal complaint, here is the page with the relevant info and links.

Ubik1 Fri 20-Dec-13 12:57:55

Two students who were forced to cover up T-shirts depicting the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus at a freshers’ fair have received an apology from their university head.

Chris Moos and Abhishek Phadnis were manning an Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society stall at the London School of Economics’ Freshers’ Fair on 3 October when they were asked to cover their T-shirts, which used pictures from the satirical comic strip Jesus and Mo.

The pair were told by student union officers that displaying the T-shirts, which featured a depiction of Mohammed prohibited under Islamic law, may constitute harassment of a religious group.

With security staff threatening them with expulsion from the fair, the two students reluctantly agreed to cover up the T-shirts.

The LSE later said the T-shirts were “clearly designed to depict Mohammed and Jesus in a provocative manner” and that a number of complaints had been made.

The students formally appealed to the School on 12 November over its actions and have now received a public apology from the LSE director Craig Calhoun.

It's insane. There is no human right not to be offended! It's a Freshers Fair FGS

It's like Christian Union complaining about The Pagan Society

ErrolTheDragon Fri 20-Dec-13 13:58:06

'It's like the Christian Union complaining about the Pagan Society' - exactly, Ubik1, perfect analogy.

Errol, spot on!

Mary2010xx Fri 20-Dec-13 18:06:31

Yes, if they are offended they can always avert their eyes just as they can from women's in jeans and T shirts if that offends these religious types too.

alemci Fri 20-Dec-13 18:32:08

re: offensive t-shirt
are they offended in all honesty or is it about getting the upper hand and wanting everyone to jump to the complainers' tune

alemci Fri 20-Dec-13 18:33:23

or were the organisers offended on behalf of someone else

ErrolTheDragon Fri 20-Dec-13 21:35:55

>or were the organisers offended on behalf of someone else
The report said they had had complaints, so I don't think it was that phenomenon for once.

SilverApples Sat 21-Dec-13 00:13:26

The images were from the comicstrip, Jesus and Mo. here's a wikki explanation of the fine line they were treading.

'The comic is simply drawn, typically using a single image for each face, each of which is duplicated for each panel in the strip. It features two present day religious prophets, Jesus and Mo. While Jesus is portrayed as the actual Christian figure, Mo claims to be a body double, using casuistry to oppose the restriction of Islam in representing the Islamic prophet Muhammad pictorially.

Jesus and Mo share a flat, and occasionally venture outside, principally to a public house, The Cock and Bull, where they drink Guinness and engage in conversation and debate with an atheist female bar attendant known simply as Barmaid, who is never drawn but is characterised only as an out of frame speech bubble.
The barmaid functions as the voice of reason when criticising the Abrahamic religions or religion in general. Other times, Jesus or Mo may act as the voice of reason depending on which religion a particular comic aims to criticise. Jesus will act as the author's mouthpiece if the comic aims to criticise Islam while the character Mo will be used to criticise Christianity.

alemci Sat 21-Dec-13 08:55:03

what do you think to it Silver? As a christian I am unsure. It may be different for me because I am so used to Jesus being portrayed in art, film etc.

I do wonder whether there were any actual complaints or if someone just assumed Muslims would be offended.

Muslims are prohibited from making or showing images of their Prophet, but non-Muslims aren't obliged to obey the rules of Islam. No more than atheists have to avoid bacon because of Jewish or Muslim dietary restrictions.

I'm vegetarian and believe very strongly that eating animals is wrong and cruel, but I don't snatch bacon butties out of other people's hands. Or complain to 'the authorities' in any particular location that people are eating meat. And if I did, I'm sure the authorities - the university, for instance - would tell me to go away.

manicinsomniac Tue 31-Dec-13 02:08:45

It's wrong but UK universities have form for it. Even in the 21st century.

The university I went to had an all female college until late 2005. Most girls who went to it did not apply to it and had been put there because their course had accepted them but their college choice was oversubscribed. They had a fresher's teeshirt one year that said on the back 'St Marys: no we didn't and no we're not' (ie we didn't apply here and we're not lesbians - a so called joke often thrown around about them)

The university my sister went to had an exclusive society that only boys could apply to until 2012! (Kate Kennedy club)

Oxford had an all female college until 2008

I think Cambridge still has 2 or 3 female only colleges in 2013.

Beyond university years there are several gentlemen's clubs that remain men only. One or two still won't even allow women to visit (eg Beefsteak club).

All the universities and clubs mentioned are old and traditionally middle-upper class. Maybe gender segregation is as much about class as religion.

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