An Islamic Society at one of the world’s leading universities has come under sharp criticism after segregating men and women into “Brothers” and “Sisters” sections at a gala dinner in London.
The event, at the luxury Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London, was organized by the Muslim society of the London School of Economics on Sunday night.
Photographs from the event reveal that men and women were kept apart in the main room with the help of a large screen running down the middle of the hall.
The segregation even extended to male and female guests having to call different phone numbers to purchase the £20 tickets for the event.
The move sparked mixed reactions. Some Muslim students who attended the event telling the Daily Mail they were “intimidated”.
One undergraduate told the newspaper: “It’s been going on for quite a while. I have a friend who says she’s really intimidated because she doesn’t believe in gender segregation at all so she stopped going.”
Others however had no problems.
Nona Buckley-Irvine, the head of LSE’s Student Union, said the atmosphere was ‘comfortable and relaxed’.
“I had a lovely time at the dinner and barely noticed the separation between men and women,” she told the Daily Mail.
She also said that it was up to each student society to decide whether to organize themselves “in a way that fits with their religious, cultural and personal beliefs” so long as “both genders consent”.
The University has said it will raise the issue with the society.
In a statement, the Muslim society said that the event had been “checked and approved by all necessary staff within the student union”.