This has been banging around a few days, and today Larry tweeted the link to the story in the Telegraph.
I think there is an important point being missed. Voluntary (culturally conditioned) segregation is different from enforced segregation, even if you do disagree with both.
- With the former, you can disagree, in fact it’s a valid topic for the talk, given the title of the debate, but the people in the room are not having any human rights infringed here and now, so get over it.
- In the latter case, you can disagree and withdraw cooperation here and now, because rights are being denied here and now.
There was nothing in the context that pointed to Muslim radicalism or extremism any more than there was anything suggesting Larry was promoting incest – god forbid. Get a grip guys ‘n’ gals.
Yes, some of the cultural conditioning, creates intimidation that means the immediate voluntary segregation may not be straightforward – life’s just complicated enough. And, yes it was a “public” event, but in the context the fact that a significant part of the audience is actively Muslim is pretty fundamental, not some incidental factor.
So I do defend respect for, and sensitivity to, cultural differences if you want to start a dialogue where culture might evolve – mutually. Better than a display of rational arrogance.
[Post Note – another example from Leicester Uni on 20th Feb – reported by HuffPo on 16th April – of (non-enforced) segregation.]