Richard Dawkins and gender segregation

Richard Dawkins is apparently angry at a Muslim-Atheist debate that was held in London on Saturday 9th March between Prof. Lawrence Krauss and our colleague in Muslim apologetics, Hamza Tzortzis.

At the event, the Muslim organisers, catering to the preferences of some of the attendees, made available to people so inclined, areas suggested for women or men only. Apparently the Atheists took extreme umbrage at this, and Lawrence Krauss threatened to walk out of the debate! Now the news that Muslims held an event at a London University that was ‘gender segregated’ has hit mainstream newspapers in London – with many Atheists, such as Dawkins calling for ‘heads to roll’ and for Liberals to take a stand on Liberals values!

However I find the Liberals and Atheists lack of integrity and consistency, disturbing. Have we heard them complain that the sexes are segregated for public toilets, sports, prisons and some schools?

Furthermore, how is gender segregation an infringement of equality? If the event was equally open to both genders to attend and participate, then where is the inequality? There were no positioning of seats due to privilege; I heard from a colleague who attended the event, that men were sitting at the back of the room – will the Atheists and Liberals seriously suggest that Muslims treat men as less-equal to women now?

Lastly, to break the sacred taboo, can Liberals and Atheists even justify why humans are equal in the first place? I mean, according to the natural world, we are NOT equal. Humans have different intellects, strengths, sizes and physical abilities – so where do they get the idea that humans are all equal? Equality, in Liberalism, is nothing but a quaint affectation, harkening back from their long forgotten past. A past which Atheists and Liberals never dare philosophically delve in to, because they know where it leads. The only reason to base the belief in Equality, is upon the old Christian idea that all Human souls are equal in the eyes of God. For as the Professor of Political Science, Hunter Baker said “If we are equal, it must be in the eyes of God, for we are not equal in anything else”.

Seeing as both Liberals and Atheists already silently approve of commonly accepted forms of gender segregation in their society, and have failed to explain how gender segregation is even unequal in the first place (let alone their intellectual bankruptcy to even justify the concept of Equality), their protestations against the event and the Muslim organisers ring hypocritically hollow, and smack of a double-standard excited by an Islamophobic prejudice.


In response to my previous post on Atheists and segregation, the UK Atheist Campaigner Nicola Young Jackson  commented:

“Abdullah Al Andalusi rightly points out that there is socially acceptable forms of gender segregation. I would argue that we shouldn’t be segregating in any part of society. Even sex education should be mixed. We are all basically the same and the sex we are born with is hardly the best indicator of who we are. Something I am confused with is the joke about same sex toilets? They’re more efficient – end of! Sport is interesting, especially as Sarah Taylor is now playing in a men’s team.

Perceived gender segregation is an infringement on equality as it is saying that men and women are intrinsically different. Imagine if black and white people could sit in their own sections, if they wanted. If a black or white person didn’t want to mix with people of a different colour, they didn’t have to. That would be a horrible atmosphere.

Do you now see the liberal’s view point? We are all human beings. It doesn’t matter what race, religion, Tetris-high-score, nationality, sex gender, religious observance, faith/beliefs, hair colour, blood type, star-sign, political views, whether we are menstruating/pregnant, sexual orientation, academic performance, IQ, how many kick-ups we can do, state of health, past experiences, past action, age or disability. We are all human beings and should be treated as such.

I really don’t think the people campaigning are Islamophobic, although I understand why you think so. By branding them as Islamophobic you are not listening to what they are saying and are generating hate and anger, which is not helping matters”

Abdullah al Andalusi’s response:

Hi Nicola,

Thanks for the comment on the post. The point of my original post, is that Atheists do not protest against the socially accepted forms of segregation, yet cry havoc at the harmless segregation Muslims may practice in lecture halls. It was the double standards of those Atheists who always complain conspiculously only when people of Theistic belief are involved, that I was rebuking.

However there are some problems with your subsequent criticisms above. Just because you argue that there shouldn’t be gender segregation at all, does not mean your argument is valid, just by dint of you making it. You need evidence and reasons to compel people to do something different then what they do today and are happy with.

For example, your advocacy for gender mixing in toilets leads one to only wonder in horror, at the kind of society where women would be forced to use toilets occupied by strange men, and visa versa. Considering this could involve situations including having to use toilets during late nights and/or in secluded areas, I don’t think your suggestion would be popular with women.

If you are interested in studies on sex segregation in schools, these show beneficial outcomes with gender segregation helping students to focus better, and improve their behaviour.
If that is so for the learning environment of schools, then why do you say it is it wrong for the ‘learning environment’ of one-off lectures and debates?

As for sports, if you let men and women compete side by side, there will still be segregation, albeit due to the laws of human sexual dimorphism (physical difference in genders). Plato argued for equality between the sexes for such things, but he expressed that not so much should be expected of women (ref. Plato’s Republic). The reason they segregate women in sports, is so most of them have a chance to avoid being denied a career due to relegation against male atheletes/sportsman.

As even the Corston Report, comissioned by the Feminist Baroness Corston, states, ‘Women and men are different. Equal treatment of men and women does not result in equal outcomes’

You say that humans should not be segregated according to any attribute they possess – however what about wealth? If you go to a movie, theatre production or even airline – seating effectively is segregated according to the wealth of the passengers/attendees. In those situations, wealthy people are exclusively given privileges not accorded to the rest of their ‘equal’ bethren! How are you going to ‘equalise’ that? Communism? (go on, you know the Atheist inside you wants to).

You say that we should not segregate according to health/ability? Then please inform me of the next Atheist campaign against disabled parking spaces, disabled toilets and state benefits and privileges accorded to disabled people by law – which the other ‘equal’ humans don’t get to enjoy.

You say that people should not be segregated according to experience or academic achievement, yet the jobs market regularly does this – for in a meritocratic environment, merit leads to segregation.

Lastly, you say that people should not be segregated for past action, well pray tell, when will we see Atheists condemn the Western  justice system for segregating humans from society, who have committed bad actions in the past (i.e. crime)?

The final point in my argument is, we are not basically all the same, even amongst humans of the same gender (e.g. in physical size, strength, intellect, height, health, wealth). Seeing as you have no intellectual basis to justify why all humans are equal, and considering that we Muslims believe all humans are equal in the eyes of God – the argument should not be whether Muslims should advocate equality, but whether you Atheists should .

Kind regards,

Abdullah al Andalusi

Categories: Atheism, Islamophobia, Liberalism, NEWS COMMENTARY, The Muslim Debate Initiative, UK. Europe, North America & Muslim communities in the West, WRITINGS

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3 replies

  1. Perhaps they should protest that men are treated unequally because they cannot get pregnant too.

  2. On an atheistic worldview, atheists can’t even prove that it’s objectively permissible to define equality based on their subjective opinions. Even if atheists could this and could objectively define what it means to be equal (even though they can’t), that it no way proves that we have an objective duty to exercise equality or that we should exercise equality.

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