University College London expelled an Islamic educational group from campus after reports surfaced that the group held an event where women were forced to sit in the back.
The Islamic Education and Research Academy, which sponsors lectures and seminars on college campuses, held a debate on “Islam vs. Atheism” at UCL on Sunday. But went attendees arrived, they were told that the front rows were reserved for men and couples. Women had to sit in the back.
Lawrence Krauss, a physicist at Arizona State University and representative of the atheist position in the debate, refused to participate unless attendees were allowed to sit wherever they wanted.
“Quit the segregation or I’m out of here,” he told IERA organizers, according to video footage recorded by a UCL student. “I was promised it wouldn’t be segregated.”
Organizers then told students they could sit anywhere they wanted. But when three men attempted to sit in the women’s section, security guards heckled them and said they were “a threat,” according to Krauss. He responded by walking out of the debate.
The college released a statement explaining that organizers had promised not to segregate the event.
“We do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds at meetings held on campus,” said the press release. “It now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting.”
The college said that although the matter was still being investigated, IERA was henceforth prohibited from holding events on campus.
“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.”
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