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Islamists: turning back the clock on women’s human rights

By Anne Marie Waters

Double-talk and betrayal put massive obstacles in the way of women’s rights

There has been condemnation from both the left and right following revelations that gender segregation is taking place in British universities. Last Tuesday (on Human Rights Day) I spoke at a protest — which I attended on behalf of the National Secular Society — against Universities UK (UUK), the so-called “voice of the UK’s universities”, which issued guidance recently stating that it was A-OK to segregate men and women at public debates if some Islamist misogynist requires it be so.

The guidance of UUK stated that universities must consider freedom of speech alongside discrimination and equality considerations if faced with a request, from a speaker, that an audience be segregated along gender lines. The Chief Executive of UUK, Nicola Dandridge, told the Guardian that as long as participants were happy with arrangements, and neither sex was disadvantaged, segregation should be permitted. It appears she is concerned that said Islamist misogynist may have his freedom of speech infringed if his demands for segregated audiences are not adhered to – in which case the Islamist misogynist may not wish to speak.

I am pretty much speechless.

First of all, how on earth does a person choosing not to speak because they don’t have their backward medievalism pandered to, have his right to free speech impeded? He doesn’t, he chooses not to speak. He will not be physically incapable of opening his mouth at the sight of women and men sitting together.

Secondly, “voluntary segregation” is simply not possible, or plausible. Take this example; if a room is “segregated” and I go in there and decide to sit with the men, will I be moved? If yes, then it is enforced. If I will not be asked to move, then the room is not segregated.

Here we go again with this Orwellian nonsense, designed to confuse.

As I said at the protest last Tuesday, language is being manipulated and abused by Islamists and their enablers to hide the nasty realities of this situation. “Voluntary segregation”, “freedom of speech” and “religious freedom” are being thrown about as justifications for turning the clock back and pushing women to the edge yet again.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown quite rightly articulated what is going on here, when she appeared on Channel 4 following Tuesday night’s protests. She said that Islamists were using democracy to destroy democracy and she is absolutely right….

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