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Tue, 05 Sep 2017

Non-believers outnumber the faithful by widest margin yet – NSS mentioned

Non-believers outnumber the faithful by widest margin yet – NSS mentioned

The National Secular Society said the figures in the BSA survey should prompt a rethink about the places granted to bishops in the House of Lords and about church-run state schools.

The Times (£)

Duncan Barkes show – NSS featured

Duncan Barkes show – NSS featured

NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans appeared on BBC London to discuss the implications of the BSA survey. The relevant section begins after 8:17 and ends after 20:11.

BBC London (radio)

Church vicar promoted after he was caught abusing choirboy – NSS council member quoted

Church vicar promoted after he was caught abusing choirboy – NSS council member quoted

Rev John Roberts was allowed to carry on working for 24 years, and promoted, after he was convicted of indecently assaulting a choirboy in Liverpool. The NSS's Richard Scorer says "questions need to be answered as to how this scandal was allowed to happen".

Liverpool Echo

Home schooling is blamed for rise of extremist Islam

Home schooling is blamed for rise of extremist Islam

Unregulated education including home schooling and the segregation of some communities are helping to create extremists and future terrorists, the national police counterterrorism co-ordinator warned.

The Times (£)

Edinburgh law student who ridiculed Isis is accused of hate crime

Edinburgh law student who ridiculed Isis is accused of hate crime

Edinburgh University is investigating a student over claims that he mocked Islamic State on social media and put "minority students at risk and in a state of panic and fear". Robbie Travers wrote that it was "excellent" that the US administration had "ordered an accurate strike on an IS network of tunnels in Afghanistan".

The Times (£)

Lidl removes crosses from Greek church on food packaging

Lidl removes crosses from Greek church on food packaging

Lidl has come under fire for editing a cross at the top of a church out of an image it uses on the packaging for its own-brand range of Greek-style food. A spokesperson said the supermarket was "extremely sorry for any offence caused".

The Independent

Tower Hamlets is the ‘bleak end-point of diversity’

Tower Hamlets is the ‘bleak end-point of diversity’

Douglas Murray argues that recent events in Tower Hamlets and on Channel 4 show "a different mono-culture asserting itself in the way it knows how".

Spectator

Can’t talk about Muslims? It seems ‘we do little else’ in the UK

Can’t talk about Muslims? It seems ‘we do little else’ in the UK

Nesrine Malik argues that there is an inaccurate narrative that people in the UK cannot criticise Muslims.

The Guardian

Persecution of all Muslims in Myanmar on the rise, rights group says

Persecution of all Muslims in Myanmar on the rise, rights group says

The systematic persecution of minority Muslims is on the rise across Buddhist-majority Myanmar, a rights group said on Tuesday.

Reuters

Mon, 04 Sep 2017

Take hijab off uniform lists, campaigners urge primary schools

Take hijab off uniform lists, campaigners urge primary schools

A survey by The Sunday Times found that a fifth of 800 primary schools, including Church of England schools, list the hijab as part of their uniform. In some cases children as young as three are wearing the garment. Campaigners say school authorities are causing classroom divisions and putting pressure on Muslim girls to cover up.

The Times (£)

Belfast's atheist mayor skips prayers before installation dinner

Belfast's atheist mayor skips prayers before installation dinner

A row has erupted after Belfast's new Lord Mayor dispensed with prayers before her installation dinner. Nuala McAllister, an atheist, didn't invite anyone to say grace at the event on Saturday night.

Belfast Telegraph

Murphy O’Connor’s cover-up of child abusers must be a lesson to the Catholic Church - by NSS executive director

Murphy O’Connor’s cover-up of child abusers must be a lesson to the Catholic Church - by NSS executive director

Keith Porteous Wood seeks to set the historical record straight about Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster who died on Friday, with this alternative obituary.

Conatus News

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor ‘found that Catholics have to be outsiders’ in Britain

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor ‘found that Catholics have to be outsiders’ in Britain

Luke Coppen argues that Murphy O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster who died on Friday, tussled with an "establishment" that embraced "a new belief system – secular liberalism".

Spectator

A-level dispute pupils to return to C of E school

A-level dispute pupils to return to C of E school

Sixth formers excluded from a Church of England school because they did not get at least B grades at AS-level will be allowed to return. Pupils at St Olave's in Orpington, south-east London, were told they could not progress to take their A-levels. A lawyer for parents says the school has backed down amid the threat of legal action.

BBC

Government prepares clampdown on fixed-odds betting machines

Government prepares clampdown on fixed-odds betting machines

The government has signalled that it is preparing to clamp down on fixed odds betting terminals in a letter from the Chancellor to the Bishop of St Albans. Philip Hammond wrote:" I appreciate your concerns about gambling related harm, and I welcome the work that the Church of England is doing in this area."

The Observer

This survey is about much more than same-sex marriage

This survey is about much more than same-sex marriage

Aubrey Perry argues that Australia's upcoming postal vote on same-sex marriage will allow voters to reject the religious right's excessive influence in the country's politics.

Sydney Morning Herald

Cultural left wants to 'banish religion from the public square'

Cultural left wants to 'banish religion from the public square'

Kevin Donnelly responds to Perry's piece. He writes: "Saying Yes will radically undermine the place of religion in Australian society and deny the individual's right to religious freedom".

The Australian

'I signed the Nashville Statement. It’s an expression of love'

'I signed the Nashville Statement. It’s an expression of love'

Dr Albert Mohler explains his decision to sign a statement which called 'homosexual immorality' and 'transgenderism' sinful.

Washington Post

New Zealand university to “examine” historian’s criticism of religion on Facebook

New Zealand university to “examine” historian’s criticism of religion on Facebook

Waikato University lecturer Dr Raymond Richards criticised those who stop work five times a day to pray. Some have branded his comments intolerant and the university says it "will be examining this matter carefully".

Stuff

Fri, 01 Sep 2017

Don’t let religious apartheid infect our faith schools

Don’t let religious apartheid infect our faith schools

Jonathan Romain, the chairman of the Accord coalition, argues that the government should not lift the 50% cap on faith-based entries to faith schools. He says doing so would amount to "educational apartheid".

The Times (£)

Britain forges ahead with anti-extremism commission - NSS mentioned

Britain forges ahead with anti-extremism commission - NSS mentioned

The prime minister plans to introduce a new anti-extremism commission. This has dismayed members of the Defend Free Speech coalition, including the National Secular Society.

National Catholic Register

Britain is 'home to 35,000 Islamist fanatics', top official warns

Britain is 'home to 35,000 Islamist fanatics', top official warns

The EU's anti-terror chief says Britain is home to more Islamist fanatics than any other country in Europe.

The Telegraph

Channel 4 faces backlash for giving voice to racist Islamist

Channel 4 faces backlash for giving voice to racist Islamist

Channel 4 News has been criticised for giving a platform to a racist Islamist who has previously declared her hatred of "honkies" and "Israeli parasites" and her support for terrorists.

The Times (£)

Trojan horse: the story behind the 'Islamic plot' to take over schools

Trojan horse: the story behind the 'Islamic plot' to take over schools

In the Guardian's long read, Samira Shackle gives her take on what happened when allegations were made of a plot to Islamise schools in Birmingham.

The Guardian

‘We shouldn’t care that a Muslim family fostered a child from a Christian one’

‘We shouldn’t care that a Muslim family fostered a child from a Christian one’

Rabina Khan, a former cabinet member for Tower Hamlets council, says the case of a child who was placed with a Muslim family has been used "as a chance to bash immigrants".

The Independent

Rapprochement between Protestants and Catholics in Europe, study finds

Rapprochement between Protestants and Catholics in Europe, study finds

A study from the Pew Research Centre suggests there has been reconciliation, although there are still "pockets of sectarianism".

The Guardian

Lesbians win judgment against county clerk for calling them an ‘abomination’

Lesbians win judgment against county clerk for calling them an ‘abomination’

A deputy clerk called a lesbian couple who were seeking a marriage licence in West Virginia an "abomination" and said God would "deal" with them. The clerk claimed a religious right to express his view. The relevant county will now pay the couple $10,000.

Washington Post

Pepe the Frog cartoonist stops distribution of children’s book

Pepe the Frog cartoonist stops distribution of children’s book

The illustrator behind the Pepe the Frog cartoon has forced the removal of a children's book from distribution that featured the frog. His legal team say the book espoused alt-right themes. As part of the legal settlement, the writer must donate his profits from the publication to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

New York Times

Burma’s Rohingya Muslims are under assault again

Burma’s Rohingya Muslims are under assault again

Thousands of Rohingya are fleeing an aggressive military campaign in Buddhist-majority Burma.

Washington Post

Thu, 31 Aug 2017

Drayton Manor lifts ban on Sikh ceremonial swords

Drayton Manor lifts ban on Sikh ceremonial swords

The theme park has lifted its ban on Sikh visitors wearing ceremonial swords following pressure from the Sikh Council UK. In June a primary school teacher was denied entry to a children's party because bosses judged that the Kirpan posed health and safety risks.

Birmingham Mail

Girl in ‘Muslim foster care’ case may move abroad to live with grandmother

Girl in ‘Muslim foster care’ case may move abroad to live with grandmother

A judge says there is evidence a youngster at the centre of a foster care row has grandparents with a Muslim background. The judge added that she might be better off with her mother's mother, who wants to move to her country of origin.

Sky News

Champion silenced

Champion silenced

Julie Bindel reflects on Sarah Champion MP's recent resignation. She argues that many of Champion's critics fail to stand up to the abuse of girls and women among some Muslim men.

Standpoint

Trump advisers sign ‘Christian manifesto’ which calls homosexuality sinful

Trump advisers sign ‘Christian manifesto’ which calls homosexuality sinful

One hundred and fifty evangelical Christian leaders have signed the Nashville Statement, a letter which calls 'homosexual immorality' and 'transgenderism' sinful. The signatories include five members of President Trump's evangelical executive advisory board.

Pink News

New children’s hospital will be secular, says Irish minister

New children’s hospital will be secular, says Irish minister

Irish health minister Simon Harris says a new national children's hospital will be "secular" and completely devoid of any religious control. His words follow a damaging and drawn-out dispute with the Sisters of Charity religious order earlier this year over its role in the new national maternity hospital.

Irish Examiner

Charlie Hebdo: still standing up for freedom

Charlie Hebdo: still standing up for freedom

Naomi Firsht says the French magazine once again made the case for free speech when it focused on the Barcelona attacks.

Spiked

Banning the burqa in Europe is a waste of time

Banning the burqa in Europe is a waste of time

Nilufar Ahmed argues that so few women wear the burqa in Europe that banning it is pointless.

The Conversation

Wed, 30 Aug 2017

NSS speaks out on Aldi checkout assistant row

NSS speaks out on Aldi checkout assistant row

An Aldi branch in Northampton has exempted a Muslim employee from serving alcohol. Our executive director Keith Porteous Wood explained why he found the decision concerning. His contribution begins after 26:03.

BBC Three Counties Radio

Ruling over 'Muslim foster care' girl

Ruling over 'Muslim foster care' girl

A judge has ruled that a girl from a Christian family who was allegedly placed with a Muslim foster family should live with a family member.

BBC

Extremist Islamic preacher hosted foster care workshop

Extremist Islamic preacher hosted foster care workshop

An extremist Islamic preacher helped in the recruitment of foster parents in Lewisham. The revelation comes amid the row over foster care in Tower Hamlets.

Telegraph

Judge orders Muslim defendant who refuses to stand for “any man” to get up

Judge orders Muslim defendant who refuses to stand for “any man” to get up

A Muslim convert accused of breaking an ASBO to preach sharia law was ordered to stand up for a judge who told him: "This is not a court of religion".

Telegraph

England becoming more tolerant despite suspicion of Muslims, report suggests

England becoming more tolerant despite suspicion of Muslims, report suggests

More than four in 10 people in England are more suspicious of Muslims as a result of recent terrorist attacks, the campaign group Hope Not Hate says. But its study also finds that the country is becoming more tolerant and open overall.

Independent

Video criticising Campaign Against Antisemitism pulled by JLC

Video criticising Campaign Against Antisemitism pulled by JLC

The Jewish Leadership Council has removed a video of its chief executive slamming a survey by grassroots group Campaign Against Anti-Semitism after a backlash.

Jewish News

Western social media firms under fire over censorship in Iran

Western social media firms under fire over censorship in Iran

Several social media companies in the West have been criticised for a perceived lack of transparency over censoring content in Iran. In recent weeks local media has reported that Instagram, YouTube and Twitter are co-operating with the country's religious authorities to aid them in blocking or censoring "immoral" content.

Independent

US urges Sudan to protect religious minorities

US urges Sudan to protect religious minorities

The Trump administration's head of humanitarian aid urged Sudan's government to improve protections for religious minorities and human rights on Tuesday.

Washington Post

Religious young women less educated about HPV vaccine

Religious young women less educated about HPV vaccine

Religious young women are less knowledgeable about a vaccine that guards against several different types of cancer, suggests a new study from Utah.

Reuters

Tue, 29 Aug 2017

Council under fire for fostering ‘Christian girl’ with Muslims

Council under fire for fostering ‘Christian girl’ with Muslims

A council that placed a child from a Christian family with a Muslim foster family is to be forced by the children's commissioner to explain its decision. The five-year-old girl's foster carers allegedly removed her necklace, which had a cross, and refused to allow her to eat bacon.

The Times (£)

Paedophile ex-vicar was housed in luxury apartment paid for by the Church of England

Paedophile ex-vicar was housed in luxury apartment paid for by the Church of England

A paedophile ex-vicar was housed in a luxury Liverpool flat paid for by the Church of England. Former reverend Paul Battersby repeatedly downloaded photographs of young children being molested.

Liverpool Echo

Minister slams report which claims Prevent 'fosters fear and censorship at universities'

Minister slams report which claims Prevent 'fosters fear and censorship at universities'

A report from a charity in the north of England has called for the government's counter-radicalisation scheme to be closed immediately. Security minister Ben Wallace says the report "peddles falsehoods and creates myths".

The Guardian

Five hundred Muslims attend anti-terror training camp

Five hundred Muslims attend anti-terror training camp

More than 500 British Muslims, mainly university students and youth leaders, have taken part in an "anti-terrorism" training camp, learning to combat extremist literature and identify people in danger of becoming radicalised.

The Times (£)

‘Ideas were not enough’ to create religious freedom

‘Ideas were not enough’ to create religious freedom

Mark Koyama argues that the ideas of great philosophers were not enough on their own to make religious freedom in the West possible and appealing. He says political and institutional changes were also crucial.

Aeon

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