It’s a nice day for a segregated wedding

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The Jim Fitzpatrick wedding walkout story is bizarre in many ways. It does not make much electoral sense for Fitzpatrick to hit the headlines like this – so who told the press about the kerfuffle? And why would the couple invite their MP and his wife to the wedding but fail to inform them about the strictly enforced segregation between the sexes?

The not-especially-happy couple have said that they are a bit miffed with Fitzpatrick’s behaviour. They claim that no-one has a right to dictate to them how to organise their own wedding. They then undermine that claim by saying they were obliged to segregate the guests out of respect to elderly and presumably very charmingly oldfashioned/horribly reactionary relatives.

Of course the situation of a young couple being bossed around by their families and having wacky cultural obligations thrust upon their wedding plans is not unique to the Muslim community. After all marriage – especially when it involves religious ceremonies – is fundamentally about securing social approval for a relationship through cultural conformity (ok, and maybe getting some juicy tax benefits). 

Kia Abdullah over at Comment is Free recalls her own (Muslim) wedding which somehow ended up being segregated against her will. She applauds Fitzpatrick for his stand. Perhaps she wishes she had done a better job of asserting control over events at her wedding and resisting her “in-laws’ expectations of demureness”.

Comment is Free is famous for attracting contributions from some certifiable loons and the response to Kia Abdulla’s piece is no exception:

“Jim Fitzpatrick is a product of a colonial mindset”.

“A poor article. A 4 year old could do better…Maybe you should have listened to your listened to your elders before showing your wrath and ignorance”.

Unsurprisingly, George Galloway (who will be challenging Fitzpatrick in his constituency at the general election) has opened his mouth and nasty gibberish has poured forth:

Mr Galloway called [Fitzpatrick’s] walk-out a “disgusting insult, cynically motivated by political opportunism.”

He said: “If you don’t want to go to a Muslim wedding, don’t go.

“But don’t turn up and then carry out a wholly artificial politically motivated stunt.”

He added: “I am amazed and astounded by this behaviour by a Government minister who represents a very substantial Muslim minority in his constituency.

“I honestly did not think anyone could stoop so low”.

Would that be stooping even lower than making a career out of sucking to up to numerous dictators around the world, George?

George likes to present himself as the lover of all things Islamic and the defender of the Muslims. Just don’t ask him to defend the Muslims in Iran being locked up or even murdered by their government.

As a society we would surely not tolerate (let alone ‘respect’) segregation at an event on the grounds of race. Pushing for segregation between men and women is not much different.

As usual, traditionalists present their actions as ‘protecting’ women and simply affirming natural distinctions between the sexes. Anyone who cannot see how this invariably leads to the dis-empowerment and marginalisation of women is a fool.

Whilst I feel somewhat sorry for the couple whose wedding has inadvertently attracted a lot of negative attention, good on Fitzpatrick for not putting up with this segregation nonsense.

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