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Newsline 24 November 2017

  

A reminder that tomorrow is our Annual General Meeting – open to members only. Terry Sanderson will be stepping down as president after 11 years, so why not come to the final AGM he will preside over?

Registration begins at 1:00pm and the AGM will begin at 1:30pm. You are welcome to join us for a drinks reception after the formal business is complete.

These are exciting times for the NSS. With our current executive director Keith Porteous Wood standing for president, Stephen Evans, who has spent 10 years with us campaigning for secularism, will take up his new role as chief executive.

Alastair Lichten will also be taking up the role of our dedicated education and schools campaigner. This reflects the importance we attach to getting rid of faith schools and creating a truly inclusive secular education system that's fair for all.

We want children and young people to be encouraged to develop their own beliefs, free from undue religious influence. Imposing religion in schools, either through acts of worship, confessional RE or religious dress is morally indefensible – and we're committed to putting a stop to it.

So make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights today by supporting our vision for a secular Britain.

  

News & Opinion

 

Exclusive: Most state Jewish schools enforce religious dress

Nearly 60% of state-funded Jewish schools in England compel pupils to wear religious clothing, NSS research has revealed.

 

Ofsted to crack down on schools which require girls to wear hijabs

Schools which force only girls to wear religious garments could be in breach of equality laws, Ofsted's chief inspector has said.

 

NSS working on numerous fronts to protect human rights post-Brexit

The NSS has warned that human rights in the UK - previously guaranteed under EU charters - are now under unprecedented threat.

 

Church of England 'misselling school admissions policies'

The C of E is misleading the public over the extent of religious discrimination in its schools' admissions policies, a report says.

 

State recognition of Islamic nikah marriages is no way to empower Muslim women

Most women in the UK who have Islamic weddings are missing out on their legal rights. The solution to this problem must not lie in the automatic registration of Islamic marriages, argues Sadikur Rahman.

 

Big ideas for religious education?

The latest report into the problems with religious education reiterates the need to start with a fundamental examination of the subject's purpose. But, Alastair Lichten wonders, do the proposals go far enough?

 

Joke leads to ad ban after Hindu fundamentalists complain

An advert has been taken off the air in Australia following complaints that it insulted the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha.

 

Our business was harassed by Christian fundamentalists – now it’s the best known in Lewis

The NSS recently reported on a shop owner in Stornoway who was harassed over her decision to open her shop on Sundays. Now Martin Flett, Leona Rawlinson's partner, says the business has been flooded with support.

 

Faith and health survey

The Royal Society for Public Health is undertaking research to better understand the role of faith and religion in health and wellbeing – and it's looking for your help.

  

Read elsewhere

 

Sharia ‘courts’: Why regulation is not the answer

Statement by Southall Black Sisters et al

A group of black and minority ethnic women demand adherence to one legal system grounded within universal human rights principles.

 

5PillarsUK: What are Islamists thinking?

By Sara Khan, for Inspire

A new video from 5PillarsUK exposes its anti-Western agenda and support for the Islamist worldview. But widespread ignorance around Islamist ideology and the active deflection by Islamists and their sympathisers mean the debate around Islamist radicalisation in our society is regressive.

  

Quote of the week

"It's not something we want to do — it's something we just need to do to be able to provide the sort of education we want to provide."
Mark Spencer, executive officer of Christian Schools Australia, convincingly explains why faith schools should retain the right to discriminate against LGBT+ teachers and students

"We must understand that in the Malaysian context, freedom of religion does not mean freedom from any religion."
Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs, says the Malaysian government respects religious freedom, if it's the religious freedom it likes

  

Essays of the week

School inspectors are right to question Muslim girls about the veil
By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, for iNews

Ofsted is protecting the liberties of girls from Muslim backgrounds. Sometimes the state needs to override parents, and progressive Muslims should be grateful when it realises that.

Fighting gay rights and abortion with the first amendment
By Jeremy Peters, for the New York Times

Anti-LGBT+ activists in the US and beyond have undertaken an intentional strategic shift. Gone are the fiery denunciations of gay men and lesbians as sinners and reprobates. Now they present those they champion as the victims of heavy-handed state bureaucracy.

  

NSS speaks out

Our research was widely mentioned in press coverage of OFSTED's stance on hijabs in primary schools, for example in The Independent, the Evening Standard and iNews. Our campaigns director Stephen Evans appeared on BBC Tees to discuss Advent Calendars.

  

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