Tue, 06 Feb 2018
Andrew Copson examines the threats to secularism in this interview with Samira Shackle.
Newly-published research suggests that sticking with a religion you have doubts about is associated with depressive symptoms.
Led by millennials, Canada is increasingly moving towards a secular culture, with many describing themselves as "spiritual but not religious".
Mon, 05 Feb 2018
A victim of child sex abuse has written to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, ahead of next weekend's General Synod accusing him of "personally" blocking extra compensation payments.
The Sunday Times (£)
The sole surviving suspect from the 2015 Paris terror attacks has arrived at a Belgian court to face trial over the shootout that led to his arrest.
‘In British schools, the wearing of the hijab by young girls is an explosive issue’ – NSS research cited
The question whether young girls should be allowed to wear the hijab at school is emerging as one of the most bitterly divisive issues in debates over the limits of cultural freedom.
Ofsted's chief inspector has been the subject of anti-semitic abuse after publicly supporting a primary school in a row over banning the hijab and fasting for young children.
The Sunday Times (£)
This leading article says the Department for Education's response to Islamic fundamentalists' demands in schools has been "supine in the extreme".
The Sunday Times (£)
The United Kingdom has rejected proposals to regulate so-called sharia councils in the UK, following the publishing of a 2 year review into the matter. NSS CEO Stephen Evans welcomed the decision.
Terry Murray, Beatrice Louis and Khadija Khan Lodhi argue that the opposition to Sara Khan as the Counter-Extremism commissioner from many special interest groups shows she is the right person for the role.
A fringe evangelical candidate who vowed to stop equal marriage has topped the ballot in the first round of Costa Rica's presidential election.
Dan Barker, former minister and co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, speaks about the organisation and its work.
A women's rights activist in Pakistan has filed a lawsuit against a man who accused her of blasphemy, a charge that carries the death penalty.
The Times (£)
Fri, 02 Feb 2018
The Church of England's opposition to the inspection of Sunday schools has made it harder to tackle extremism, Ofsted's chief inspector has said.
A man who drove a van at people outside a London mosque after saying he wanted to "kill all Muslims" will be sentenced this morning. He was found guilty of murder and attempted murder yesterday.
Tech giants were told last night to do more to tackle far-right propaganda after a terrorist radicalised online in weeks was convicted of driving a van into Muslims outside a mosque.
The Times (£)
A high court judge has granted a Jewish burial society the right to a judicial review of a senior coroner's policy of treating people equally, regardless of religious sensitivity.
The Jewish Chronicle
NSS honorary associate Peter Tatchell is backing calls for opposite-sex civil partnerships to become legal, as MPs debate a private member's bill on the matter.
A review of sharia councils has said Muslims in the UK should undergo a civil marriage as well as a religious ceremony and a public body should be set up to regulate sharia councils. The Home Office immediately rejected the latter suggestion.
One of the country's biggest multi-academy trusts has predicted that nearly all of its schools will be in deficit by 2018-19. The latest financial accounts for Plymouth CAST, which operates 35 faith schools in the west country, state that 22 of its academies have set a deficit budget for the current academic year.
The Church of England waited six weeks to release an allegation of historic sexual abuse against Bishop George Bell.
High Court rules Home Office 'interfering' with people's right to observe Islam in detention centres
The Home Office is interfering with people's right to observe Islam by subjecting immigration detainees to a "lock-in" regime which forces them to pray in dirty conditions, the High Court has ruled.
Riding a tsunami of moral conservatism and anti-gay prejudice, Indonesia's Islamic political parties appear on the cusp of a major victory: outlawing all sex outside marriage.
Just over a year ago President Trump reinstated a law prohibiting the allocation of US funding to foreign non-governmental organizations that offer abortion services or information about the procedure. Health care workers say the policy has had disastrous effect.
Thu, 01 Feb 2018
Head teachers must stop religious extremists using schools to indoctrinate children, says Ofsted head
In a strongly-worded speech today Amanda Spielman will call on head teachers not to be afraid of causing offence or tackling religious extremists who use schools to indoctrinate children.
International Business Times
Lord Soley says the tragic discovery in California of 13 children imprisoned and tortured in their own home is a salutary reminder of what can happen when the right to home-educate children is used as a cover for abuse. His home education bill "will not answer all the problems facing schools and parents, but it will help".
The Times (£)
A Church of England priest who worked at a private school in North Devon after torturing and abusing two boys in Sussex was first reported to the church 20 years ago, according to a BBC investigation.
A new allegation has been made against the late Bishop George Bell who was accused after his death of abusing a young girl, the BBC understands.
The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act looks set to be repealed in Scotland. Stuart Waiton says this is a good thing, as "the act is so broad that simply being offensive was made into a crime".
The Times (£)
An abuse survivor is suing a Catholic sect and a council after being beaten and assaulted by a notorious monk in East Lothian.
Anti-semitic hate incidents have reached a record level in the UK, figures indicate.
A new war memorial to commemorate the sacrifice of Sikh servicemen has been backed by the government.
Indonesia has proposed banning gay sex – and the law could pass in the next two weeks. The bill, which reportedly has support from all 10 of the country's main political parties, would make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison.
Poland's Senate has approved a bill that makes it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.
The high-profile Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan has been taken into custody by French police investigating allegations of rape and sexual assault.
Los Angeles Times
Authorities in the Indonesian province of Aceh have ordered Muslim flight attendants to wear headscarves when flying into the ultra-conservative Islamic region, officials confirmed on Wednesday.
Wed, 31 Jan 2018
The culture of secrecy in the Church of England, its hierarchy and its approach to sexuality are to be among the central lines of questioning in an upcoming public hearing into the handling of child sex abuse allegations in the diocese of Chichester.
‘We shouldn’t allow children to be labelled with the same religious identity as their parents’ – by NSS communications officer
Chris Sloggett says true religious freedom comes from having the ability to make your own decisions when you are old enough, and schools should enforce clear rules on religious clothing that are in children's best interests.
The new Education Secretary will push ahead with plans to require LGBT-inclusive sex and relationship education to be taught in schools, the Government has confirmed.
The Catholic Church in Scotland has renewed calls for Holyrood laws to protect "conscience rights" for health workers who do not wish to do anything to support abortion services.
A new abortion law would lift the threat of criminal sanctions for women who illegally terminate their pregnancies in Ireland.
The Times (£)
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) will protest against the mandatory hijab in Iran today in support of the White Wednesday campaign.
Indian families' traditional preference for sons over daughters has led to the existence of millions of "unwanted" girls in the country, a new government report estimates. The report suggests several possible reasons for India's preference for sons, including that male offspring perform important religious rituals for their parents.
The Huffington Post
Julia Belluz says the Trump administration has made some remarkable moves to curtail hard-fought access to reproductive health care and family planning services. Observers say this is evidence of the religious right's growing influence at the highest levels of government and Trump's desire to fulfill campaign promises to expand 'religious freedom'.
This editorial reflects on the creation of a "Conscience and Religious Freedom Division" in the US Government's Department of Health and Human Services. It says freedom of religion is essential, but so is access to healthcare.
The New York Times
An Iranian woman detained after defiantly taking off her headscarf and holding it on a stick in Tehran has been freed, a human rights lawyer says.
Pope Francis is sending a Vatican investigator to Chile to look into accusations that a bishop covered up for an abusive priest.
A web portal used by hundreds of secular state schools in Israel is integrating religious content into its science and technology lessons.
Tue, 30 Jan 2018
During his first appearance at education questions since he took the top job in education on January 8, Damian Hinds told MPs today that he still hasn't decided whether to get rid of the 50-per-cent cap on religious discrimination in admissions to new faith schools.
A letter writer says it is a myth to suggest the cultural heritage of Lewis and Harris is being undermined by an arts centre's decision to open as a trial on Sunday.
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