A debate hosted by the Islamic Education and Research Academy ignited fire after attendees were required to separate by gender, with single women forced into seats in the very back rows.
The group has since been banned from holding any events on Britain’s leading University College-London campus, The Telegraph reports.
Panel participants said they were shocked by the segregation when they looked into the audience, and one — Professor Lawrence Krauss, a prominent physicist and atheist who served on President Obama’s science committee in 2008 — threatened to walk out unless the seating arrangement mandate was relaxed, and men and women could sit together, The Telegraph says.
He also suggested that Brits were cowed to comply with Islam standards.
“People are not only afraid to offend, but afraid to offend a vocal and aggressive group of people,” Mr. Krauss said, in The Telegraph report.
Richard Dawkins, another notable atheist at the Islam event and quoted by The Telegraph, said: “There is a segment of the Islamic community that is very vocal about this.” But the university wrongfully allowed “sexual apartheid” to occur, he said, and “heads should roll.”
The debate was titled: “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?”
The IERA said segregated seating did take place, but denied it was due to its mandate and that officials would launch a “thorough internal investigation,” The Telegraph reported.