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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

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.

‘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.

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.

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.

Secularism, today, now

Secularism, today, now

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:22 by Marieme Helie Lucas

Ahead of an historic conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London this October, Algerian secularist, Marieme Helie Lucas calls on secularists everywhere to mobilise to counter the rise of the Religious-Right – and to urge the elements of the left that support them to reconsider their stance.

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Posted: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:57 by Stephen Evans

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evans.

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Posted: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:36 by Achieng Maureen Akena

Political religion, particularly that exported from the US, is impeding the struggle for universal human rights in Africa and the two must be kept separate, argues Achieng Maureen Akena.

Kerry County Council crucifix a challenge to religious diversity

Kerry County Council crucifix a challenge to religious diversity

Posted: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:27 by Dr Ronan McCrea

Following the erection of a crucifix in the newly renovated Kerry County Council chambers, Dr Ronan McCrea argues that the values of a particular faith should not be given predominance in State institutions.

Will the Equality Act be battered into submitting to religious exemptions?

Will the Equality Act be battered into submitting to religious exemptions?

Posted: Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:25 by Terry Sanderson

Misleading reporting of individual cases and calls for "conscience clauses" feed into a false narrative of Christian persecution aimed at undermining the Equality Act, argues Terry Sanderson.

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Posted: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:44 by Terry Sanderson

On 21 June 2014, NSS President Terry Sanderson spoke at the Chatham Unitarian Church, about the importance of equalities protections and secularism to religious freedom. This is a transcript of his speech.

The debate over David Cameron’s call to Christianity has taken a wrong turn

The debate over David Cameron’s call to Christianity has taken a wrong turn

Posted: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:49 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson argues that the debate over David Cameron's assertions that the UK is a "Christian Nation" has led away from the important question of whether it should be.


Religion as a human rights liability

Religion as a human rights liability

Posted: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:23 by Nida Kirmani

While human rights movements must engage people of all religions and none, Nida Kirmani argues that explicitly linking religion to human rights can lead to the exclusion and persecution of minority groups and undermine human rights' claims to universality.

Secular values, not religion, make us a tolerant society

Secular values, not religion, make us a tolerant society

Posted: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 08:27 by Oliver Kamm

When trying to reach reasoned and compassionate judgments, religion is frequently a source of confusion rather than light, argues Oliver Kamm.

Fundamentalist Christians seek to use Council of Europe to entrench religious privilege

Fundamentalist Christians seek to use Council of Europe to entrench religious privilege

Posted: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 16:59 by European Humanist Federation

A new report from the Council of Europe which uses anti-discrimination rhetoric to justify discrimination and obscurantism, poses a potential threat to democracy and secularism in Europe, argues the European Humanist Federation.

Religion is not accommodated, it is privileged

Religion is not accommodated, it is privileged

Posted: Wed, 05 Feb 2014 14:56 by Anne Marie Waters

Anne Marie Waters reports on an event, held on 4 February, organised by the Cutting Edge Consortium, a group which campaigns against homophobia in religion, and looks at how far religious belief should be, and is being, accommodated in employment and public life.

Double-talk and betrayal put massive obstacles in the way of women’s rights

Double-talk and betrayal put massive obstacles in the way of women’s rights

Posted: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 20:30 by Anne Marie Waters

Using the language of freedom, Islamists are turning back the clock on women's human rights. Segregation in universities is just another example, argues Anne Marie Waters.

Secularism seeks to balance everyone’s religious freedoms fairly. Why would anyone oppose that?

Secularism seeks to balance everyone’s religious freedoms fairly. Why would anyone oppose that?

Posted: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 12:36 by Stephen Evans

Despite the claims of its critics, secularism protects the freedom of conscience for all citizens, and welcomes believers and non-believers into the public square on equal terms, argues Stephen Evans.

Do you know what a Concordat is?

Do you know what a Concordat is?

Posted: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 13:50 by Anne Marie Waters

Concordats are a little known tool of the Vatican to impose its dogma in to the public square. They are anti-democratic and anti-secular and, as Anne Marie Waters argues, are having a serious impact on the safety and health of millions of women.

Chaos in the workplace will follow if this case succeeds

Chaos in the workplace will follow if this case succeeds

Posted: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:25 by Terry Sanderson

If an employer can reasonably accommodate religious requests without disrupting their business or disadvantaging their other staff, we have no objection. But if they can't, then employers should have the right to say "no" argues Terry Sanderson.

It’s not culture, it’s a crime against humanity

It’s not culture, it’s a crime against humanity

Posted: Fri, 26 Jul 2013 15:18 by Anne Marie Waters

Women's rights are being ignored and side-stepped under the guise of 'culture', 'tradition' and religion, argues Anne Marie Waters.

Human rights are for humans, not for ideologies

Human rights are for humans, not for ideologies

Posted: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 10:49 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson argues that human rights are not there to fulfill religious demands; but to protect individuals.

Multiculturalism and Cultural Relativism

Multiculturalism and Cultural Relativism

Posted: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 14:00 by Maryam Namazie

Maryam Namazie argues why we must oppose the far-tight of all varieties, but also the pro-Islamist left and side with universalism, equality for all and secularism, irrespective of beliefs.

You can’t do that – it’s against my religion

You can’t do that – it’s against my religion

Posted: Fri, 31 May 2013 13:48 by Margot Fernandez

As the Same-Sex Marriage Bill reaches the House of Lords, Margot Fernandez writes about the American experience of religion trying to dictate the law.

Britain’s feeble religious right learns no lessons from its debacle at the European Court

Britain’s feeble religious right learns no lessons from its debacle at the European Court

Posted: Wed, 29 May 2013 18:42 by Terry Sanderson

With the recent rejection by the Grand Chamber of three 'religious discrimination' cases, Terry Sanderson questions why the religious right are still determined to push for their Christian privileges.