Having women and children closest to the fire exits

The Muslim Reform Movement on Facebook:

Hizbut Tarir Australia has been found guilty of discriminating against women for making them sit at the back of PUBLIC POLITICAL meetings following a suit raised by progressive woman activist, Alison Bevege. Bevege has since been viciously subject to slurs such as “Islamophobe” and “bigot” by Hizbut Tarir members.

She writes on her twitter (@AlisonBevege): “progressive ‪#‎Muslims‬ and non-muslims together win – no forced gender segregation”

Video report

The Sydney Morning Herald:

Controversial Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir has been ordered to stop forcibly segregating men and women at its public events after a NSW tribunal found the practice constituted sexual discrimination.

Former NT News journalist Alison Bevege sued the organisation and five of its members for sexual discrimination after she was forced to sit in a designated women’s and children’s section at a public lecture hosted by the group on October 10, 2014.

Ms Bevege, then a freelance journalist, told the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal she attended the lecture, titled “the politics and plots of the American led intervention in Iraq and Syria”, with the intention of writing an opinion piece and asking questions of the speakers.

Goodness, what a hussy, thinking she gets to ask questions at a public event.

She went with a male friend.

Though the pair separately entered the lecture hall at the KCA Centre in Lakemba, when Ms Bevege attempted to join her friend in the men’s section “to be closer to the action” a female usher insisted she sit with the other women at the back of the room.

She told the tribunal that from the women’s section she struggled to read captions on a digital presentation accompanying the lecture and occasionally had to “crane my head to see.”

She doesn’t need to see. The men need to see, so that they can participate and even ask questions, but the women don’t.

While no representatives from Hizb ut-Tahrir attended the hearing, spokesman Ismail al-Wahwah disputed Ms Bevege’s account in documents supplied to the tribunal, claiming “she made no protestations at the time about such arrangements.”

Mr al-Wahwah said the segregated seating was “not a compulsory imperative” and Ms Bevege would have been allowed to “choose her own seat selection had she requested.”

While the separation of men and women was “a fundamental consideration in Islam” the event’s segregated seating plan was done as a practical measure, he said.

“The presence of women and children, and the noise that necessarily results from a child’s presence, necessitates seating away from the speakers.”

Because obviously the children aren’t going to sit with the men, and the men aren’t going to take care of any part of the childcare duties. Obviously women and children have to be bundled together and ostracized so that the men can get on with the important stuff.

“More importantly, having women and children closest to the fire exits is a safety priority we take very seriously.”

Right. Also women and children might go blind from the bright lights up front, don’t forget that one.

In its decision on Friday, the tribunal held Ms Bevege’s evidence was credible and found she was treated unfavourably on the grounds of her sex in contravention of section 33 of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.

It found her experience was “diminished” because “the men’s section did offer better seats than the seats in the women’s section because those seats were closer to the stage, speakers and the screen.”

Apparently the fundamental insult isn’t even worth discussing.

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