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Newsline 19 August 2016

The debate about integration and religion this week in Europe has centred on the 'burkini'. Several French towns have instituted bans on the garment, women have reportedly been fined for wearing it, and opinion has been split around the world – with the French Prime Minister supporting towns who do want to institute bans, but many comparing it to the policing of women's clothing in Islamic countries.

Debates about Islam, social cohesion and what role religion should have in wider society aren't going away. We'll be tackling all of these issues head-on at our conference next month, on Saturday 3rd September. We have a panel of distinguished guest speakers, and some tickets are still available, so make sure you buy your ticket today. Tickets to the gala dinner can be purchased separately.

We look forward to seeing you there and celebrating our 150th anniversary. You can help us continue our vital work by joining the National Secular Society today – and benefit from our discounted conference ticket price.

There will be no issue of Newsline next week. The next edition of Newsline will be on Friday 2nd September.

Last chance to buy tickets for Secularism 2016 conference

Last chance to buy tickets for Secularism 2016 conference

News | Fri, 19 Aug 2016

Our conference – 'Secularism 2016: Living better together' – is fast approaching, and it's your last chance to buy tickets for the day and for the evening gala dinner.

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

Opinion | Thu, 18 Aug 2016

The BBC and Demos have published an accidental case-study in why we should all stop using the meaningless and sinister word 'Islamophobia'.

Governor’s perspective: beware an increasingly assertive religious ethos in ‘Church schools’

Governor’s perspective: beware an increasingly assertive religious ethos in ‘Church schools’

Opinion | Tue, 16 Aug 2016

The NSS is regularly contacted by governors and staff at Church of England schools who are pressured to promote a more rigorous 'Christian ethos'. Here's one governor's account of increasing religiosity at their local school.

Britain is unusually irreligious, and becoming more so. That calls for a national debate

Britain is unusually irreligious, and becoming more so. That calls for a national debate

The monarch is the head of the Church of England. Bishops sit in the House of Lords to provide "an independent voice and spiritual insight". Church figures enjoy media pulpits for their views on ethical matters. Should these conventions be upheld for the sake of tradition and continuity? Britain is farther down the road to a post-religious society than most. It must lead the way.

Britain blasted over tour by Pakistani hate preachers

Britain blasted over tour by Pakistani hate preachers

Shahbaz Taseer, son of the murdered Pakistani Governor Salman Taseer, has angrily responded to reports that two Muslim clerics who praised his father's assassination are currently on a lecture tour of the UK.

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