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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Leicester University in fresh segregated seating row

Leicester University has launched an investigation after male and female students were segregated at a public lecture organized by the university's Islamic society.

The talk by guest lecturer Hamza Tzortzis, titled 'Does God Exist?', was held in February during the Islamic awareness week at the university.

The inquiry comes after The Guardian was handed several photographs of the event showing hand-written signs directing students in opposite directions, one for 'brothers' (males) and another for 'sisters' (females).

One student told the newspaper the Islamic society often segregated events to avoid offending religious members while a spokesperson for Leicester said the university would investigate any incidents of enforced segregation.

The claims emerge a month after an academic at University College London threatened to walk out of a similar debate after organizers the Islamic Education and Research Academy tried to force male and female students to sit separately.

Organizers discarded the segregated seating plan after the threat by American physicist Professor Lawrence Krauss whose actions prompted atheist Richard Dawkins to accuse UCL of "sexual apartheid".

The University of East London also blocked a meeting due to be held on campus with "segregated seating" last month.

Rupert Sutton, from anti-extremism watchdog Student Rights, recently claimed there was "consistent use of segregation by student Islamic societies across the country".

"While this may be portrayed as voluntary by those who enforce it, the pressure put on female students to conform and obey these rules that encourage subjugation should not be underestimated," wrote Sutton.

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