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Challenging Religious Privilege

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Tower Hamlets and the Dangers of Communal Politics

Tower Hamlets and the Dangers of Communal Politics

Posted: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:28 by Rumy Hasan

With the embedding in of multiculturalism, communal, sectarian politics are becoming prevalent in many towns and cities with significant religious-ethnic minority communities. Rumy Hasan argues that many candidates now seek votes from people on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, and country of origin, rather than on political ideology.

Mission creep in the anti-war left

Mission creep in the anti-war left

Posted: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:43 by Benjamin Jones

Video has emerged of the Left Unity political party voting on whether to endorse the Islamic State. Although the amendment was easily defeated, Benjamin Jones argues that this is just the latest flirtation in a long courtship between elements of the British far left and the Islamist far right.

Parent's perspective: The Collective Worship dilemma

Parent's perspective: The Collective Worship dilemma

Posted: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:00 by a parent

One parent speaks out about the damaging impact of excluding her young child from mandatory collective worship in school, and how withdrawal isn't really an option at all.

Who are the true Muslims – all or none?

Who are the true Muslims – all or none?

Posted: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 12:27 by Matthew Syed

Moderate believers argue that Isis has misinterpreted the Koran. But no one can determine who is right or wrong, argues Matthew Syed.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Posted: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 12:10 by Alastair Lichten

Every year the National Secular Society is contacted by parents upset to discover that a festive charitable project in their children's school is unwittingly making them tools for evangelisation. Alastair Lichten looks at some of their concerns.

Assisted Dying: It is now a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’

Assisted Dying: It is now a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’

Posted: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:20 by Keith Porteous Wood

On Friday 7 November the Assisted Dying Bill was debated in the House of Lords. The executive director of the National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood, who attended last Friday's debate, reports back about the debate and the Bill's progress.

Remembrance Sunday should not be dominated by religion

Remembrance Sunday should not be dominated by religion

Posted: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:43 by Dan Snow

Historian, broadcaster and NSS honorary associate Dan Snow on the need for an inclusive and secular remembrance ceremony that better reflects the society it serves.

Transport to faith schools: Local authorities shouldn't be subsidising religious segregation

Transport to faith schools: Local authorities shouldn't be subsidising religious segregation

Posted: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:38 by Stephen Evans

A "hideous form of discrimination" or the justifiable removal of a religious privilege? NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans takes on Conservative MP Nigel Evans over the removal of transport subsidies to faith schools.

The rise of political Islam in Turkey: how the West got it wrong

The rise of political Islam in Turkey: how the West got it wrong

Posted: Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:21 by Safak Pavey

Political Islamism has undermined the Turkish Republic's secular social order, education and legal systems and Western pundits manifestly failed to see this coming, argues Turkish opposition MP, Safak Pavey.

New data revealed on 2015 voting intentions of non-believers

New data revealed on 2015 voting intentions of non-believers

Posted: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:45 by Benjamin Jones

The British Election Study (BES) has shed new light on the voting intentions of non-believers and religious minorities. Benjamin Jones explores the results and considers some of the potential long term consequences.

Free Church of Scotland attacks secularism and “sexual equality”; calls for Biblical principles in Scottish Government

Free Church of Scotland attacks secularism and “sexual equality”; calls for Biblical principles in Scottish Government

Posted: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:14 by Benjamin Jones

The Free Church of Scotland has labelled secularism "harmful to society". Benjamin Jones argues that secularism is in fact entirely impartial, and defends the rights of the religious and non-religious.

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

Posted: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:08 by Pragna Patel

The state's adoption of 'faith based' approaches to address minority issues are increasingly marginalising women from minority backgrounds and denying them the right to participate in the wider political community as equal citizens, argues Pragna Patel.

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force

Posted: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:53 by Terry Sanderson

The passion of feminist secular activists from around the world at a recent conference inspired Terry Sanderson, who chaired a panel on religion in the state, law and politics.

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

Posted: Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:37 by Alistair McBay

Alistair McBay argues that a growing political alliance between the leadership of the Catholic Church in Scotland and SNP has implications which stretch far beyond the Referendum campaign and threaten to revive religious identity politics.

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

Posted: Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:42 by Gita Sahgal

Ahead of this weekend's conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights, Gita Sahgal highlights the importance and bravery of secular activism in the Global South.

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to human rights

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to human rights

Posted: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:20 by Alastair Lichten

Iran's execution of Mohsen Amir-Aslani on apostasy charges illustrates the injustices caused by such laws in the Middle East and around the world, argues Alastair Lichten.

Secularism and religious intolerance - an Ex-Muslim perspective on Karen Armstrong's essay

Secularism and religious intolerance - an Ex-Muslim perspective on Karen Armstrong's essay

Posted: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:17 by al-Razi

In a recent essay, Karen Armstrong diagnosed the secular impulse as a cause of religious intolerance and extremism. In a robust response, al-Razi says Armstrong's critique of secularism is a form of apologetics for fundamentalism and bigotry.

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Posted: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 10:23 by Stephen Evans

Sixth form pupils can excuse themselves from acts of worship – but it appears some schools aren't so keen on recognising their students' rights to religious freedom.

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

Posted: Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:04 by Maajid Nawaz

Maajid Nawaz argues that a London girls' school is right to ban the Niqab on educational grounds

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

Posted: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:18 by Alastair Lichten

Reports of a Cabinet row over plans to require faith schools to teach more than one religion at GCSE level show that even baby steps towards greater objectivity in religious education will face fierce opposition, argues Alastair Lichten.

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:40 by Stephen Evans

A Catholic diocese has made clear its intention to replace a headteacher, drafted in to save a failing school, because he isn't Roman Catholic. Stephen Evans argues that such discrimination would be totally unacceptable in almost all other areas of public life.

Rowan Williams and his ilk are not the people to decide where religion sits in public life

Rowan Williams and his ilk are not the people to decide where religion sits in public life

Posted: Sat, 13 Sep 2014 08:56 by David Voas

David Voas questions whether a commission set up to consider the role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and to "make recommendations for public life and policy" can reach a conclusion that reflects the priorities of the general public.

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:52 by Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant DhaliwalI

An interview with Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant Dhaliwal, co-editors of the new book telling the story of Women Against Fundamentalism, set up in 1989 by women of many faiths and none to work at the interface of feminism and anti-racism.

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:41 by Alistair McBay

Both media commentators and politicians seem keen to claim religion as a cause for good deeds but determined not to acknowledge it as a contributing factor to bad ones, argues Alistair McBay.

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:04 by Michael Hall

Michael Hall reflects on the importance of Lord Avebury's bill to abolish chancel repair liability and places it in the context of privilege and inequality.