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London Atheist Activist Group (informal community) Message Board 1. MAIN FORUM - (non-Islam) › Segregation in Universities.

Segregation in Universities.

Richard F
user 2543752
London, GB
Post #: 1,128
Sorry that I can't make the debate next week. I would love to help 'unleash reason upon them'.

Just a couple of things.

I wanted to give you a quote from my debates on the 4thought: Islamic veil week. (edited slightly to be appropriate)

"We Brits are very protective of liberty (rightly so), and whenever we think that it is threatened, we have a knee-jerk reaction to put blue paint on our faces and shout "You'll ne'er take our freeeedom!" However, sometimes that noble automative reaction can blind us to what we are protecting.

This debate is a case in point. When people accept segregation, they are NOT protecting liberty. They are protecting gender discrimination. They are protecting a divisive patriarchal construct. Should we be protecting this sort of thing? I would argue not.

I just don't want a twisted version of liberty to justify patriarchal discrimination. I was hoping that we were moving away from that offensive behaviour, yet we seem to be moving back into it.

I also saw an article in The Times today by David Aaronovitch about this topic. A good article and here is a highlight.

"This year an officer of the National Union of Students really did say the following about allowing gender segregation in public meetings: "I personally don't believe in gender segregation, but that's just my personal view from my own personal moral subjectivity. So it's not my right to impose that on another group of students." Well, he almost certainly would have exercised his right had the proposed segregation been by race or sexual orientation. But it only had to be done in the name of a religion or a minority community, and the whole NUS and many universities gave in. What relativists overlook, in their disdain for what they imagine are 'neo-imperialist' attempts to impose values, is how hard-won, long-grinding and sometimes shockingly recent the things they take for granted actually are. There is hardly an argument against the forced marriage legislation that campaigners didn't hear over women's right to divorce, women's property rights, the outlawing and then the prosecution of domestic violence, domestic rape, child physical abuse, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, disability rights and homosexual rights."

4Thought Debate

I wish I was there for the debate but I know it is in safe hands. ;)

Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 2,203
A few people have asked me to post my speech from the protest, so here it is:

You all know the reason we’re here; It’s a 44 page document produced by UUK.

Yes, 44 pages.

Wow. This must be a VERY complex matter.

Well I must be naïve because it seems simple to me.

You see, on one hand we have the immutable characteristic of people. Those for which we have no choice. For example - 1/ Colour. (When we say ‘race’ we really mean colour so as adults let’s speak straight forwardly. Racism really mean colour, because the ‘race’ = human. What we’re referring to when we say ‘race’ is a euphemism for skin colour, because we’re too afraid to say what we really mean). 2/ Ethnicity. Not all ‘racism’ come from white people – for example, a brown person can hate another brown person just because they come from a different ‘ethnicity’. 3/There’s also sexual orientation – here’s where some of our religious friends tend to forget the ‘tolerance’ mantra they use when it suits them. “We want equality but a little more than you” seems to be the way to go for some religions? 4/ And of course GENDER.

On the other hand, we have choices. What flavour ice cream is my favourite, what brand of politics ….what brand of faith. I have empathy that religion/faith may not feel like a choice - since that’s how the faith virus works. Each generation of well meaning parents foist their own brand of it upon their children to replicate it on and on. No doubt done with good intent but nevertheless taking away the choice from the child. But when grown, people do switch faith traditions – going from one to another, Xtian to Muslim or whatever, and some do leave faith altogether ( GASP!). And here again the rights they demand for their choices seems to be forgotten by some of our religious friends here too doesn’t it? This choice is called “apostasy’ and is sometimes ‘punishable’ by death!) So clearly, there can be NO QUESTION! …that faith is a choice!

So instead of 44 pages, we needed only this - One hand you have No Choice = where we’re talking about the immutable characterics of PEOPLE (This justifies protection and HUMAN rights). The other hand are your CHOICES, including religious faith (these are just ideas, not PEOPLE and therefore justify no protection). Humans need human rights and protections for human dignity , ideas should never get them because they are CHOICES. Religious faith is merely an idea, it should get no human rights and human dignity to protect the chosen behaviour and chosen ‘offence’ of its adherents!!

What do you think folks? Nail. Head. job done?

But what’s really disturbing about this is the intellectual rigor mortis seems to have set in. That’s why we’re in this position today. Certain parasitic ideas have eaten away at ‘liberalism’ so that it now a haven for “PC” triteness about ‘tolerence’ which is actually as condescending to the very people it thinks it’s ‘protecting’ as it is misguided. When tolerance—and the protection offered by toleration—are extended from people and cantilevered out to ideas, we end up protecting intolerance, antiscience views, irrationality, and all other forms of rank bias. “We cannot make judgments about cultural practices” has been adulterated to, “We should not make judgments about cultural practices.” The self congratulatory platitude of ‘tolerance’ belies its ideological blindness. It both demeans the experience of people who suffer from discrimination and simultaneously tosses away a root liberty: the freedom to rationally analyze and critique. Instead, “Appease appease appease the bullies lest they might choose to take ‘offence’”. But someone choosing to take offence isn’t the worst thing in the world. Most people would rather not confront, challenge or disagree but sometimes it’s the moral thing to do. But sometimes it has to be done, to protect hard won rights and freedoms, whether others choose to take offence or not.

“Grow up and stop complaining of persecution”

These are not my words, but the sentiment of Rowan Williams, to complaining Xtians. He said, essentially, that we all need to learn to make the distinction between feeling "mildly uncomfortable" and actual persecution.

And the ‘reason’ I have seen given for this proposed gender segregation is just that – so that muslims, SOME muslims, can feel “comfortable”. Discomfort doesn’t trump human rights I’m afraid, and it’d be good if some Islamic leaders also took a leaf from Rowan william’s book and said it. It is disingenuous to cry ‘racism’ when you’re talking about your choice – if your choice of religion or whatever choice causes you discomfort when interacting with the rest of the world’s human rights then think again about your choices. Other people, (including non white muslims) genuinely do suffer from the hideous effects of actual racism. I have experienced it myself and it leaves mental scars, perhaps even physical ones. So it’s not only disingenuous but a DISGRACE to use the term merely to bully people into not criticizing your IDEAS, and for merely one’s own ‘discomfort’!

And this is because we put faith up on a pedestal. Why? It’s ‘pretending to know things you don’t know’ – why are we, and particularly academic institutions, who should stand for the very opposite - kowtowing to this? If a speaker on astrology wanted to segregate the audience by star signs, would they write a 44 page document and thereby give it credence? Astrology is also a version of ‘pretending to know things you don’t know’ – just like religious faith. There are many ideas and concepts that do this –none of them get credence, except faith. Faith is the state sponsored, acceptable delusion. This 44 page document is a waste of public funds, and just as preposterous as if it were drawn up for the bigotry of an astrologer who felt Aquarians should sit separately.

But I’m forgetting - it’s “genuinely held beliefs”. (!!!) This is the amazing phrase that UUK used to justify this 44 page document. Well, if UUK has discovered a way to tell if someone is being “genuine” i.e. truthful - they reeeealy ought to share it with our judicial system. It’d revolutionise law, and save us billions.
Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 2,204

But let’s say it really is ‘genuinely held belief’.

SO. WHAT? (!!!)

‘Belief’ is really just ‘a lazy opinion’. A sort of euphemism that we use. It’s an opinion where you don’t have evidence but you’re going to hold that opinion anyway. ‘Faith’ is pretending to know things you don’t know. Yes, it’s about time we said it. SO WHAT!, therefore, if you’re “GENUINELY” holding a lazy opinion, pretending to know things you don’t know? Should we all kowtow to THAT? Should we all allow our human rights and protections to be swept aside for THAT? We live in a culture where faith claims go unchallenged. Too often people cower before faith statements. We're so afraid that others may choose to be offended or accuse us of racism that we silence ourselves and don’t call faith out for what it really is – no more ‘profound’ than astrology or any other such “pretending to know things you don’t know”

We fear clear, honest, blunt dialogue, but what we ought to fear are stupid and dangerous ideas, because while blunt and honest dialogue might lead some to cry ‘offense’, but history should have taught us that giving automatic deference and protection to stupid and dangerous ideas can be fatal to all of us.

Lets remember the distinction between respecting people and respecting ideas. The first yes, the second only if it deserves it = not automatic, and not just because of the State sanctioning of superstitions, or because it’s the accepted delusion where we’ve been bullied into a “hand off” position.

Thanks to you all for being activists, and to the organizers , Chris Moos, Abishek Phadnis and Maryam Namazie. Thank goodness there are people like them who don’t give into the faith bullies and are active in daring to question and campaign for decency. Thanks to my fellow LAAGers for supporting; our group - London Atheist Activist Group (LAAG), is equally about having a warm welcoming community as it is about peacefully promoting and celebrating Reason.

Thank you for listening, and remember, wear what you want and stand where you want!

user 9335524
London, GB
Post #: 553
Spot on Georgi.
I like the "discomfort (or offence) doesn't trump human rights".
When it's put like that, simples.
Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 2,206
Thanks Cheryl.

Well seems that Cameron, even Gove, and even Labour agree with us. And UUK have withdrawn the 'guidance'! YAY! Here's the full article

Well just goes to show what 120 people protesting CAN do - and LAAGers were 30 or so of that 120 - a significant percentage. Well done everyone - we really have made a difference here, we've helped stopped this country's otherwise inevitable slide into Sharia! The allowing of this 'tolerance' into public spaces would have set SUCH a dangerous precedent, can you imagine what would come next if this had gone ahead?. That there would have been a next and a next, that's without doubt and no doubt they Islamists will try and dream up something else. But we'll be ready won't we? It really gives me confidence that we CAN and do make a difference!love struck

EDIT: 8000 people who signed the petition and 120 protestors made this happen!
Guildford, GB
Post #: 832
A friend of mine needs some advice. As a trans-gender male slave (forced to perform as a female every other Thursday) for a male 'Master' (actually, his wife on said Thursdays), should he/she sit in with the men or women? Or does it change on alternate Thursdays? Or are voluntary slaves completely prohibited anyway?
user 12766064
London, GB
Post #: 122
About to discuss this now on The Big Question, BBC 1.
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