Open Letter to ‘Student Rights’ from SOAS Christian-Muslim Dialogue Society

Students from the Christian-Muslim Dialogue Society at SOAS, University of London, have written this open letter to ‘Student Rights’ and asked Real Student Rights to publish it. It was first published here.

It condemns Student Rights ‘vilification’ of university Islamic societies and its association of segregated seating with ‘extremism’, suggesting that this is ‘motivated by Islamophobic sentiments’. It also argues that seating arrangements should allow each student to act ‘according to his or her personal religious convictions’.

*Update* Since the society sent the below letter to ‘Student Rights’, the organisation has published a response here.

Open Letter to ‘Student Rights’

As members of SOAS Christian-Muslim Dialogue Society, we oppose your vilification and targeting of university Islamic societies including SOAS Islamic Society on the issue of gender segregation in their events.

We support the right of each student to act according to his or her personal religious convictions. For some, segregated seating serves these convictions and allows participation in mixed events. We support the right of SOAS Islamic Society to accommodate both segregated and mixed seating in any event.

We oppose the notion that segregated seating is somehow indicative of extremism, and believe this to be motivated by Islamophobic sentiments.

As members of a Society including Christians, Muslims, and individuals of other faiths and none, we stand with SOAS Islamic Society in this matter.

The appended list of names represents members of the society who have expressed agreement with the contents of this letter.

1. Laura Hassan
2. Mujahid Dattani
3. Afia Ahmed
4. Johanna Schnell
5. Amina Bayoumi
6. Tariq al-Daour
7. Hind Alasgah
8. Zarqa Parvez
9. Nafeesa Mistry
10. Talene Bilazarian
11. Deborah Harrison
12. Salima Bandji
13. Rawia Tawfiq
14. Husaini Jamil
15. Lauren Pilgrim
16. Rabia Khan
17. Aneesa Eps
18. Makhdoom Mohsin Ali
19. Jasmine Arif
20. Omar Salha
21. Rene Sieger
22. Brittany Smutek
23. Karmel Aktopuk-Carey
24. Hanaa Hasan
25. Fatima Jama
26. Behar Sadriu
27. Anwar Anwar
28. Duncan Tarrant
29. Katya Nell
30. Hutabarat Nerci
31. Ecre Karadag
32. Caroline Osella
33. Jacob Hinds
34. Sila Ulucay
35. Anastasia Ravenall
36. Saqib Ali Rafiq
37. Maryam Siddiq
38. Jane Nurse
39. Tom Linton
40. Safiya Abdi
41. Helena Wondim
42. Nurullah Guley
43. Nadia Chan

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