First of all, I strongly oppose gender segregation. In developed countries like Malaysia and the UK, I think it achieves little. What is the couple going to do? Have sex right on the floor? Not likely. & if the girl is being harassed by a member of the audience, she need only ask for help and that particular member of the audience would be promptly escorted out.
The university's move to ban the group, quite frankly, is acceptable. The group was formed with the university's permission. It is understood that the university does not tolerate segregation in any form and it was made clear to the group organizing the debate. Yet, they chose to ignore the university's policy. There is a saying in Bahasa; di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung. It's English equivalent is when in Rome, act like the Romans. Basically, when you are in another person's place, you must respect their wishes and customs. Note that respect does not mean follow blindly. :)
As a Muslim, we need to be proving all these misconceptions wrong! Not correct. When the film came out depicting Muslims as violent, what did many Muslims do? Prove the film correct.
So how do you prove all these misconceptions wrong? If you must, have segregated seating side by side. This way, men and women get equal opportunity to listen, learn, and ask. For those who hold strongly to segregated seating, they still get to sit away from the opposite gender. Regarding the film, have a silent vigil, praying that the man sees the light. Send letters expressing regret that he perceives Islam as it is, not hate mail condemning him and saying he is wrong.
I grew up learning that Islam is beautiful, understanding, all encompassing, but most importantly, INDISCRIMINATE. African, Russian, British, Irish, Iroquois, Navajo, Mongolian, Maori, Thai, Japanese, Korean, all are welcome.
It truly breaks my heart to see these fools reinforce the perception that Islam is cold, bitter, cruel, chauvinistic, and violent.
Stop you fools! Stop! This is not Jihad! This is madness! Jihad is the ability to fight your anger and treat your enemies with wisdom and patience. Jihad means to fight for Islam, yes but how that fight takes place is what is important. Not all Jihad is about taking up arms. Fighting laziness to perform the solat 5 times a day is Jihad. Resisting the urge to engage in pre marital coitus and instead waiting to be legally married is Jihad. Jihad is fighting against all your imperfections to be a better Muslim, practicing all that the Almighty had taught us through our prophet, Muhammad PBUH.
I am not a pious Muslim. I do not even consider myself a good Muslim. I do however, hope that I am not a bad Muslim.
My friend who asked the question posted earlier, I certainly my message is not lost in translation as you read this. :)