British MP Under Attack for Walking Out of Segregated Wedding in East London

FitzpatrickMP Jim Fitzpatrick is under fire by the large Muslim population in East London after he and his wife left a wedding party when they were told that it was segregated by gender due to the Islamic faith of the couple. Tory candidate Tim Archer attacked Fitzpatrick, saying that he “is playing a certain race card to save his skin at the next election.”

Fitzpatrick has said that he did not want to endorse the conservative religious practice. Some groups in both the Jewish and Muslim faiths segregate men and women at weddings and other events.

Fitzpatrick argues that such segregation is a relatively recent tradition by the most conservative elements in the Islamic community.

Fitzpatrick has been denounced as intolerant for his stance.

He is the local representative of the area and a family friend of bride Mahbuba Kamali and groom Bodrul Islam.

Mr. Islam has lashed out and said that he is “upset and embarrassed” by the incident. He added “I don’t think anyone deserves to have their wedding hijacked for political purposes, or any other purposes.”

For the full story, click here and here.

14 thoughts on “British MP Under Attack for Walking Out of Segregated Wedding in East London”

  1. Yes, shame on him for not tolerating someone elses’ bigoted views on gender. His intolerance of intolerance boarders on the intolerable!

  2. Foo,

    I’m with you on this one. With the caveat that it depends on how he left. Shouting “This is a travesty, you people are barbarians” is a different beast than saying “Oh, well I don’t feel comfortable here” and just turning around and walking out the door.

    My guess is that the MP did something much closer to the second then the first.

    As a hypothetical, how would everyone react if the segregation was by race and not gender? Keeping the religious motivation the same.

  3. Firstly, there is no “race card,” since Islam is a religion not a race. Secondly, I guess I don’t see that what he did was wrong. Maybe rude, but not wrong, unless being rude is wrong, which it is in certain aspects, but probably not the aspect we’re thinking of here. If he doesn’t think the whole segregation thing is kosher (ha ha) then why not leave? Heaven forbid some religious person gets offended at something.

  4. Texas Yellow Dog writes: urthermore, this incident is not comparable to someone telling a racist joke at the wedding. It is comparable to the minister standing in front of the wedding party and telling racist jokes as part of the ceremony.

    actually, it is neither. this couple were married in accordance to their religious customs. nothing racist, obscene or unacceptable about it.
    sometimes people get to choose how they observe their own religious customs. while you may find it repugnant, and while I would not choose to be present it is not because of their religion, it is because I do not subscribe to this particular custom.
    there are Jews I know who won’t attend weddings in churches. When I was bat mitzvah my catholic friend was not permitted to attend the service. she did come to the party afterwards which was just fine with me.

  5. Mr. Fitzpatrick was interviewed by the BBC about this incident. On rare occasions, Fitzpatrick will get a wedding invitation which specifies a segregated wedding. He does not attend these weddings. For the wedding in question, he did not receive any notice of segregation.

    Furthermore, this incident is not comparable to someone telling a racist joke at the wedding. It is comparable to the minister standing in front of the wedding party and telling racist jokes as part of the ceremony.

  6. I don’t really get it. Was it wrong for him and his wife to leave because he’s an MP? If my wife and I were invited to a wedding or other event that was segregated by gender (and we hadn’t been informed ahead of time), we would leave as well. If we knew ahead of time, we’d politely decline.

  7. Deborah writes: I don’t know how else you express your objection to segregation at an event except by leaving. We certainly would expect a decent person to leave if racist jokes were told. By leaving, this MP and his wife told the women there that there are people in the world who do not approve of women being treated as second class citizens. I say good on them for walking out.

    would we really expect a decent person to walk out of an event because someone told a joke that someone else found offensive? if we did, we’d wind up alone alot. look. over here is the real world, and over there is the joke world. sometimes joke are offensive but funny as hell. what do you do? laugh and then got offended?
    women are second class citizens all over the world. do you stay home because people who design baseball stadiums don’t build twice as many women’s rooms as mens rooms? the sight of women having to wail in long line to pee is offensive to me. being one of them, tap dancing after that second beer, and seeing men walk in and out of their wash rooms galls me. not because of anatomy, but because the people who design these facilities don’t figure that sometimes women who don’t do it standing up at a trough have different needs.

    perhaps there is a way to walk out of an event like this and do it tastefully. is a wedding really the time to protest this?

  8. I don’t know how else you express your objection to segregation at an event except by leaving. We certainly would expect a decent person to leave if racist jokes were told. By leaving, this MP and his wife told the women there that there are people in the world who do not approve of women being treated as second class citizens. I say good on them for walking out.

  9. I see this guy’s point of view, to a certain extent. I respectfully decline invitations to life cycle events at orthodox jewish synagogues. I see nothing wrong with not knowing in advance of the segregated nature of the event and after staying a minimal amount of time leaving in an unobtrusive way.
    but this is me, I am a Jew and I know that if a wedding or bar mitzvah is being held at a certain synagogue that it will be segregated. I also know the people who invite me and their religious inclinations.
    for me, it isn’t just the segregation, it is why the genders are segregated that bothers me. Jews also have a dress code that bothers me and you kind of need to be in the know beforehand. I’ve been handed additional clothing to cover elbows and find this hugely offensive.
    While I see your point of view Jill, this is not the sort of thing that goes on the bottom of the invitation right next to Black Tie Optional. It would be lots easier if it were.
    as Emma Goldman said, if I can’t dance I’;m not coming to your revolution. If I can’t dance with my husband I’m not going to the wedding.

  10. I wish he would have checked into this in advance as well. I also think guests should have been warned that they were about to enter the zone of ignorance where women and men are not thought of as equals. But if he was caught by suprise I believe he has every right to choose to leave. No one should be required to tolerate intolerance, this includes at a wedding.

  11. “It seems very disrespectful to leave as he did”

    And incredibly opportunistic and selfish. It was someone else’s wedding! At a minimum he could have played “food poisoning” and bailed. You’d think a politician would be an astute enough liar to pull off that socially awkward but acceptable out instead of leaving AND commenting on it.

    Yeah, what Roland said. The MP should have stayed home or taken his knocks. Next election, he may get his wish on that staying home thing if this is how he operates. Machiavelli wouldn’t be impressed with his PR savvy.

  12. The MP should not have atteneded in the first place. Once there he was in a “no win” situation. He either A) stays and looks as though he endorses the segregation or B) leaves and look like a bigot. I think he should have stayed and dealt with the blow back since there are many instances where men and women have their own, separate activities i.e. wedding showers, batchellor parties, etc..

    It seems very disrespectful to leave as he did,

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