Last weekend we were faced with a rather blatant bit of Islamic Misogyny. An Islamic far-right group called iERA organized a public debate at a London University between one of their speakers, Hamza Tzortzis, and Professor Krauss, a theoretical physicist, on the topic of “Atheism of Islam: Which makes more sense?”. As the public arrived, they were presented with two doors, one for the exclusive use of ladies and the other for the exclusive use of Gentlemen, and inside they had arranged separate seating areas. Anybody who refused to comply, as three young male students did, were promptly ejected by force.
I blogged about it earlier this week, the good news is that when Professor Krauss saw all this, he promptly packed his bag and walked out. They apparently ran after him and persuaded him to come back by promising to abandon this nonsense and let those they had ejected back in.
So what excuses do they offer for this, what possible justification can they dream up?
They were simply catering to deeply held religious preferences and had arranged for three sections, male, female and mixed. Now does this remind you of anything … (Hint: Whites,Blacks and mixed-race). In that context, the same rationality was deployed, they would drum up individuals from all sides who would assert that they did indeed prefer to be separate. You know that in the case of apartheid it was not “separate but equal”, and this is no different, the belief is that women are inferior beings who must be silenced and shoved to the back … literally. Can you possibly guess where the female section was? The back of course.
This utterly irrational 7th century mentality manifests itself in different ways.
Take a look at the iERA website where they list their speakers, here (pictured) we find that the male speakers have pictures, but the female ones simply have blank shapes. What exactly is the thinking here, do they think that I am going to be suddenly inflamed with passion if I should glimpse the image of an inferior female?
So what else happens? At these Islamic public events men are permitted to ask questions directly, but in stark contrast the woman are not permitted to do so and have to write them down on a piece of paper. One observer at such an event noticed 10 written questions were presented and all happily ignored and not actually answered. When he asked about this, he was advised that “the sisters are a bit shy so they write their questions down”. What utter bullshit, it was not an option for “shy sisters”, being female means you get gagged.
In the UK we have the 2010 Equalities Act … that basically means that they don’t get to impose their batshit crazy irrational bullshit on the rest of us. If they do indeed want to believe in gender separation … fine, but they will face robust criticism. If they want to impose it in their own space … fine. However, the moment they step outside and try to force this on the public they have crossed the line and will face the consequences – they will get banned.
We have a happy ending here.
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.
… and it gets even better …someone contacted the other universities on the iERA current speaking tour about what has been going on and Salford university has now also banned them.
To be frank, it is perhaps better to simply ignore these loons, there is no real intent here for any actual debate, the entire setup is rigged. The “debate” moderator is theirs, the environment is under their strict control, and the room is packed with believers, so they are guaranteed to always win no matter what is actually said – their end game is Religious PR.
Aston Humanist Society engaged with Hamza … it was all reported here.
I was apprehensive about taking on a speaker who had traveled the world and debated many prominent atheists, but the feeling dissipated not more than 5 minutes into his talk, once I realised the extent of the logical behind his arguments. His self-proclaimed reputation as a ‘great debater’ who’d taken on all these famous speakers didn’t count for anything, as his ideas were still nonsense and were presented in such an illogical way.
There is another insightful posting from Harry’s place here … it goes into Hamza’s relationship with extreme Islam and lays out more on the dishonest tactics he deploys when debating.
There is also another well-written expose here as well
So what should we make of Hamza?
We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom. – Hamza Tzortzis
Yep, he is a complete nut who rejects basic human rights, is desperate for the spotlight, so is perhaps best ignored and should not be given a platform to promote his weird beliefs. If invited to debate with him, don’t bother.