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Newsline 1 July 2016

Welcome to this week's edition of Newsline.

The scene of Tuesday's Islamist atrocity in Turkey was particularly poignant for secularists, given that Istanbul's international airport is named after the first President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who transformed Turkey into a modern, democratic, secular state. The people of Turkey are very much in our thoughts.

But the savagery of Islamic State isn't the only threat to Turkey's secular tradition. President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, whilst ostensibly supporting secularism, is at the same time very much undermining it by attacks on the press and social freedoms, secular education and human rights. One Turkish politician engaged in the struggle to preserve Turkey's secular state is Safak Pavey. We're pleased to say that Safak will be addressing our 'Secularism 2016' conference later this year, and we urge as many Newsline readers as possible to attend to make sure her important message on the necessity of secularism in upholding international human rights standards is heard as loudly as possible. Tickets are available here.

The theme of the conference is 'living better together' – and never has finding a way of achieving this seemed so important. The political fallout following the referendum, including an apparent spike in hate crime, highlights serious divisions in British society. It goes without saying that the NSS unequivocally condemns all forms of bigotry – and wherever Britain's future lies, you can rest assured that we'll continue to campaign for freedom, fairness and human rights – and a secular UK in which all us, irrespective of our differences, can live together fairly and cohesively.

The NSS receives no funding from government or outside bodies – our campaigning is wholly supported by our members. This year we're celebrating our 150th birthday and the best possible gift you could give us is to sign up as a member. If you're already a member then thank you – and we hope you'll consider donating to our anniversary appeal to help commemorate our founder Charles Bradlaugh and put the NSS on a sound financial footing to meet the challenges of the future.

Pharmacists must put patient care before religious beliefs

Pharmacists must put patient care before religious beliefs

News | Wed, 29 Jun 2016

Secularists have urged the General Pharmaceutical Council to ensure that pharmacists set aside their personal religious beliefs if they conflict with a patient's medical needs.

Asylum and religious knowledge: Why religious persecution can be hard to test

Asylum and religious knowledge: Why religious persecution can be hard to test

When a newly arrived migrant seeks asylum on grounds that going home would mean facing religious persecution, how can the host country test the sincerity of that claim? That is a hard question, especially if the migrant has only recently converted to a different faith. It's also a very topical one, writes the Economist.

Most American Christians believe that they are victims of discrimination

Most American Christians believe that they are victims of discrimination

Many Christians believe they are subject to religious discrimination in the United States. A new report found that almost half of Americans say discrimination against Christians is as big of a problem as discrimination against other groups, including blacks and minorities, writes Emma Green in The Atlantic.

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