12 March 2013

Lawrence Krauss nearly walks out of Islam debate over segregation

On March 9, the Islamic Education & Research Academy (IERA) organized a debate at the University College in London between atheist Dr. Lawrence Krauss and Muslim Hamza Andreas Tzortzis on the question, "Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?" But before the debate even began, Dr. Krauss walked out.

Krauss was originally told by the organizers that the audience of the debate was to be segregated by gender. Couples were to be allowed to sit together, but single women were to be seated in the back. Krauss had told the organizers that he would not be a part of debate with such seating restrictions. [source]

The organizer agreed not apply the gender segregation.

But upon arriving at the debate, Krauss discovered that the segregation rule was still in effect. Krauss wrote in his blog
I had been promised that would not be the case, and then saw 3 really nice kids being ejected for sitting in wrong place. I packed up my bags and walked out. They caved in, and let the kids back, not without complaints of course from some of the attendees.[source]

After the incidence, University College London banned future event from the same organization.
An organisation known as the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) booked a room at UCL for a debate on Saturday evening (9 March). UCL was notified during Friday by some individuals planning to attend the event that the organisers intended to segregate the audience by gender.

This was directly contrary to UCL policy. We do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds at meetings held on campus. We immediately made clear to the organisers that the event would be cancelled if there were any attempt to enforce such segregation. We also required the organisers to make it explicit to attendees that seating arrangements were optional, and guests were welcome to sit wherever they felt comfortable. We also arranged for additional security staff to be present to ensure that people were not seated against their wishes.

It now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting. We are still investigating what actually happened at the meeting but, given IERA’s original intentions for a segregated audience we have concluded that their interests are contrary to UCL’s ethos and that we should not allow any further events involving them to take place on UCL premises. [source]

That's what a civilized world should behave. Stand up to the principle of gender equality.

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