Religious Freedom, Secular Forum, penned by Kenan Malik and printed in The New York Times discusses a topic that has come up many times in non-Muslim-majority countries: “Should gender segregation be allowed in Muslim public meetings.”
Please note that we’re not talking about gender segregation in religious services, but at forums open to the public at educational institutions (this time, in the United Kingdom).
As Malik writes, “To challenge specifically Islamic practices is not necessarily to be ‘Islamophobic’.” The question is whether religious practice should be allowed to “escape” religous confines and be enforced in arenas where not all the participants are expected (or required) to be Muslim.
In Western nations, he writes, “Religious freedom requires that people of faith be allowed to speak or act in ways that might offend others; it does not require that others do not cause them offense.”
This writer is not aware of any such university directives in the United States or Canada.
What’s your take on the controversy?