A wonderful victory for Australian freelance journalist Alison Bevege, who has single-handedly dragged our Hizbie friends into the mid-19th century:
Radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir will not be allowed to segregate women at its events after a NSW tribunal ruled in favour of a female journalist.
Former News Limited journalist Alison Bevege sued the group and five members for sexual discrimination after she was forced to sit in the women and children’s section at a public lecture she reported on in 2014.
The freelancer called her win “a victory for secular law over theocratic fascism.”
Alison Bevege took on the Hizbies and won. Observe and learn, cowardly leftwing feminists.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Ms Bevege was treated unfavourably on the grounds of her sex in contravention of section 33 of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act …
The court ruled that group spokesman Ismail al-Wahwah was personally liable for the discrimination.
We now pause to consider the onomatopoeic implications of Mr Wahwah’s name, given that he’s just been thrashed by a girl.
It also ruled that for all future public events, Hizb ut-Tahrir must clearly state “at venues and … in all promotional materials” that segregated seating is not compulsory.
I’ll be buying a drink for Alison later this week to celebrate her legal triumph. She’s a freelancer, which from personal experience I know is not a massively profitable occupation. Pursuing a case for this long would have consumed a huge amount of time that Alison might otherwise have used to earn a living. If you would like to show your appreciation, please donate now and buy her a drink yourself.
She’s earned it.
UPDATE. Like Alison, this site’s readers stand for freedom:
Thank you to everyone who donated so incredibly generously. You rule.
I took on Hizb ut-Tahrir. And I won
Without a hint of irony the next 10 tweets called me a racist. An Islamophobic bigot, a liar and a whore.
It was a swarm.
People should be judged for their character, intelligence, ideas and abilities — not their skin colour or gender.
On Friday, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled the event’s organisers broke the law when they gave me no choice but to sit at the back section of the room or leave.
The Tribunal has ordered them to make sure that everyone in their organisation understands that gender segregation is not compulsory.
They have to put up signs at their venues and in all published promotional material to make this clear.
Islamists argue that gender segregation is “separate but equal”, and voluntary — a free religious choice.
But secular Muslims exposed this idea as false. Lejla Kuric, a former Bosnian refugee, is among those who have pointed out that women are subject to social coercion if they step out of line in the West — and ha swritten about how in countries where gender segregation is enforced women are severely held back in every aspect of life.
In their Draft Constitution of the Khilafa State, Hizb ut-Tahrir state that they want full Sharia, including gender segregation under a Caliphate. By imposing it at their events they are normalising it.
But the Tribunal drew a line on Friday: the rule of secular law trumps the demands of the religious in the public square.
It was a long road from October 2014 when I was first directed to the back of the room.
After filing the original complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Board there was a long stretch of email mediation with Ismail al-Wahwah on behalf of the group.
I wanted a public apology, a guarantee they would not impose it on the unwilling and for them to donate to charity.
But the dispute dragged on.
In May 2015 it landed before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and I asked for the maximum compensation for charity — $100,000.
I obtained an immensely helpful hour of free legal advice at Kings Cross’s Inner City Legal Centre, plus another two at Kingsford Legal Centre, and researched the law online at the Austlii website.
But disaster struck.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a registered organisation. They keep their leadership secret. The public face of Hizb ut-Tahrir is only “media spokesmen”. There is no legal entity to sue.
After much effort, the Tribunal gave leave to join the five “media spokesmen” to the complaint along with the association that rents the rooms they use, Public Forums Incorporated.
There were then seven respondents — and I had no addresses to send notification of the case to.
Without successfully serving documents on at least one of them, every time, it would die.
After discovering Seven News reporter Bryan Seymour had previously written about Hizb ut-Tahrir so I asked him if he had any addresses. He did not — but he covered my story and stood by me every step of the way. He was always fair, even when I was called a bigot by my detractors.
The Tribunal summonsed the addresses of the top five leaders from NSW Police and the Roads and Maritime Service so I could serve papers, and the photocopying began.
Submissions of more than a hundred pages had to be copied four times for the Tribunal, one for each of the seven respondents, one for me, plus a couple of spares. It took hours — days, every time.
I posted them and they all came back: “Return to sender”.
I had to hire process servers to chase them around town.
Bankstown Sheriffs Office served Ismail al-Wahwah a couple of times. Another process server managed to find Wassim Doureihi and Ismail al-Wahwah at the KCA Centre with a group.
At one point time I posted a notification in the comments section of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia Facebook page. It was deleted and they fixed it so I could never do that again.
I scanned the documents and emailed, Facebooked and tweeted notifications. I stuck letters to the door of their room at the KCA Centre and on the Public Forums Incorporated mailbox.
I tried to serve directly to Uthman Badar’s address once but his mother said he had gone to Pakistan indefinitely.
Hamza Qureshi indicated on Facebook that he would be at a university talk on Orientalism — so I took my paperwork there, only to be humiliated by the MC who pointed me out to the room and announced I was a racist while lecturer Yassir Morsi smirked beside him. I did not even get to serve the documents.
Their supporters taunted me on Twitter and on Facebook saying I had no legal entity to sue.
But the Tribunal ruled that Hizb ut-Tahrir is an unincorporated association that broke the law and Ismail al-Wahwah is legally responsible for their discrimination.
No money was awarded but I don’t care about that. It is the principle that counts. It might seem trivial to those of us living in a land used to freedom, but if we don’t defend the rule of secular law, it will be eroded.
The best part is that brave progressive and secular Muslims such as Maajid Nawaz and the Muslim Reform Movement tweeted their support and are celebrating the win. For that I am deeply grateful.
We stand together in this fight.
If you wanna give Alison a thumbs up here is her Facebook address: https://www.facebook.com/alison.bevege
Drop her a line. And let her know not to waste the money on some of these taqiyya gigolos she wants to give it to:
THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS – HOLY SHIT look what Tim Blair did — there is money to donate to charity from the court case after all. We should do the breakdown like this. $10 for soda water for me (I don’t drink much) $90 for other people’s beers who are lovely, and all the rest goes to those charities that I would have given it to if i won anything at the Tribunal!
Paging #MuslimReformMovement Homa Arjomand (No Sharia, Canada) Maryam NamazieChris Moos – (One Law For All) Maajid Nawaz (#Quilliam) The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (Official) … Malala Fund and if Lawrence M. Krauss Krauss has a fund, him too. And – Halal Choices deserves something too for hard work on telling us about religious certification-for-pay and getting sued for defamation, though please can you support secular, progressive Muslims because they support us.
The Muslim Reform Movement is going nowhere; Mayam Namzie is a Marxist Muslim;, Dawkins has enough money, Malala promotes Islam, she and her insufferable father are nothing more than Muslim racketeers.
It would be better to give the money to the Q-Society or to the Australian Liberty Alliance.