- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2013

Reports have surfaced in Britain about women attending college events sponsored by Muslim groups being forced to sit separate from men or in the back of the room — and women’s rights activists and attendees are outraged.

Britain’s Sunday Times reported that women were pushed to the back of the gathering hall at a recent seminar by the Queen Mary Islamic Society at Queen Mary University of London. They also were banned from speaking and forced to enter the assembly through a “sisters only” entrance, The Blaze reported.

Men at the event, meanwhile, were seated in the front rows and were allowed to ask questions verbally. The women had to write their questions on pieces of paper and pass them along for consideration, The Blaze said.

The event was called “Deceptions of the Dunya,” which means “world,” and the keynote speaker was Ustadh Abu Abdillah, the British newspaper The Sunday Times reported.

Women in attendance expressed outrage.

One told The Sunday Times that the entire fiasco was degrading, adding that “it’s not just about segregation but also about how they’re treating women.” A self-proclaimed Muslim herself, the student also said, as The Blaze reported, “You just want to shake them and say, why are you being so disrespectful?’”

A spokesman for the university said in the newspaper that “segregated events are not in line with Queen Mary’s values or equality policy. We will be raising this with our students’ union as this should extend to student society-organized events with external speakers such as this one.”

That event, which took place in November, came on the heels of another earlier this year at the University of Leicester. There, women were seated in rows behind men at an assembly by the University of Leicester Islamic Society, The Blaze reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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