London UK, 15th August 2009 – UK Minister and MP for Poplar and Canning Town Jim Fitzpatrick has condemned the Islamic tradition of separating men and women at weddings.
Mr Fitzpatrick went public with his decision telling the press, “It’s a disappointment. We are trying to build social cohesion in a community but this is not the way forward.”
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, the Women’s Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain commented “These comments from Mr. Fitzpatrick are little more than a shameful political stunt, pandering to populist racist attitudes amongst certain sectors of British society. How does he hope to build social cohesion by seeking political capital by publicly disrespecting and insulting the beliefs of others?”
“The evidence of this being a cheap populist move is the hypocrisy of his position with regards to gender segregation. He has singled out Muslim practice for condemnation, yet his own government’s policy is to aim for complete gender segregation in hospital wards!”
“He accuses the Islamic rule of separating men and women at social events as a symbol of extremism and cause of community division. Does he then also believe that those who organise bachelor and bachelorette parties, those who establish Gentlemen’s clubs, those who attend single-sex schools, or those of the orthodox Jewish faith who also separate men and women at weddings are reflective of the increasing radicalisation of British society and damaging to social cohesion?”
“It would also be interesting to know if he plans to storm out of a public toilet the next time he finds it is gender segregated, or plans to boycott the 2012 Olympics because men and women compete separately!”
“Mr. Fitzpatrick’s position as an MP is not to dictate religious values to his constituency, where over a third of his constituents are Muslim, nor to make cheap political capital at their expense. When one sees this episode, together with Fitzpatrick’s strong support for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws and the war in Iraq, one wonders why some Muslims worry about a threat from the BNP when they have MPs like this!”