Fri, 02 Feb 2018

Peter Tatchell backs call for opposite-sex civil partnerships

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.


Review suggests registering sharia marriages under UK law

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.

The Independent

Doubts over future of MAT which runs 35 faith schools

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.


Church waited weeks to reveal new claims of historic sex abuse

The Church of England waited six weeks to release an allegation of historic sexual abuse against Bishop George Bell.

The Argus

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.

The Independent

Indonesia’s parliament may criminalise sex outside marriage

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.


The impact of President Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ on women’s health is becoming clear

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

‘Home-schooled children need better protection’ – by NSS honorary associate

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 (£)

Priest jailed for abusing two boys was reported before being moved

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.

Devon Live

Bishop George Bell: Fresh allegation made to Church of England

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.


‘This war on “hate” is silencing more than football fans’

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 (£)

Victim abused and beaten by notorious monk set to sue Catholic sect and council

An abuse survivor is suing a Catholic sect and a council after being beaten and assaulted by a notorious monk in East Lothian.

Daily Record

Anti-semitic incidents in UK at all-time high, figures suggest

Anti-semitic hate incidents have reached a record level in the UK, figures indicate.

The Guardian

Government backs memorial to Sikh soldiers

A new war memorial to commemorate the sacrifice of Sikh servicemen has been backed by the government.

Forces Network

Indonesia is set to ban gay sex

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.

Pink News

Poland's Senate passes Holocaust bill

Poland's Senate has approved a bill that makes it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.


Prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan is held in France on rape allegations

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

Indonesia's Aceh province orders headscarves for Muslim flight attendants

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

Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse pores over 75,000 pages about Chichester diocese

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.

Church Times

‘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.


Government will push ahead with LGBT-inclusive sex education

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.

Pink News

Scottish Catholics demand new laws to permit workers to opt out of abortion work - NSS quoted

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.

The Herald

Ireland’s proposed abortion law would lift threat of prison

A new abortion law would lift the threat of criminal sanctions for women who illegally terminate their pregnancies in Ireland.

The Times (£)

CEMB to protest mandatory hijab in Iran

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) will protest against the mandatory hijab in Iran today in support of the White Wednesday campaign.

Conatus News

Religion partly why India has millions of ‘unwanted’ girls

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

‘How women’s reproductive rights stalled under Trump’

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'.


‘The White House puts the bible before the Hippocratic Oath’

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

Iran frees woman who took off headscarf – lawyer

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 to send envoy to investigate Chile sex abuse claims

Pope Francis is sending a Vatican investigator to Chile to look into accusations that a bishop covered up for an abusive priest.


Secular schools in Israel integrate religious content into science and tech lessons

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

Damian Hinds is ‘carefully considering’ lifting the faith-based admissions cap

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.

Schools Week

'The myth of Lewis’s cultural heritage'

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.

Hebrides News

Charity Commission report outlines failings at Islamic charity

A Charity Commission investigation has found a series of failings at the Islamic charity Peacetrail. The Commission says these include a failure to account for "at least £92,110" of the organisation's total expenditure. Lauren Booth, half-sister of Cherie Blair, set up the charity in 2013.

Sky News

‘Cowardice allows Muslim extremism to thrive’

Melanie Phillips says the treatment of Sara Khan shows that those who defend religious fanaticism are winning.

The Times (£)

Irish abortion referendum: Vote to be held in May

The Irish government has agreed to hold a referendum at the end of May on whether to reform the country's near-total ban on abortion.


'"Conscience clause" has no place in a civilised society'

An unnamed writer says a proposal to allow companies to decline wedding services to same-sex couples in Jersey's proposed same-sex marriage law is "a get out of jail free card for bigots".

Jersey Evening Post

US Senate rejects bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks

The Senate has not advanced a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and threaten providers who performed the procedure with up to five years in prison.

ABC News

'Why are Israel’s religious parties suddenly so influential?'

Michael Freedman says extreme factions in Israel's religious parties have been empowered, as the deaths of more moderate leaders have left a vacuum.

The Washington Post

'Long, uneasy love affair of Israel and US evangelicals may have peaked'

Loveday Morris, Michelle Boorstein and Ruth Eglash say polls suggest support for Israel is waning among young evangelicals in the US.

The Washington Post

Kenya’s High Court ends suspension of atheist group

The Kenyan High Court has ruled that an atheist group can keep its official recognition, with all the freedoms that come with it. The Attorney General had previously suspended the group.


Study suggests atheists are more intelligent than the religious

Religious people are, on average, less intelligent than atheists, researchers claim.

The Independent

Mon, 29 Jan 2018

Home Office tries to renew links with Islamic ‘hardliners’

The government has held secret talks with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) about re-establishing a relationship, nine years after it broke with the group over its alleged links with extremism.

The Sunday Times (£)

Labour discipline chief backed mayor thrown out for bullying Muslims

Labour's new head of party discipline previously defended Lutfur Rahman, a disgraced mayor who was ousted by the courts for bullying Muslims.

The Times (£)

Conscience rights bill for medics passes second reading in Lords

A bill seeking to protect the conscience rights of all medical professionals received its second reading on Friday in the House of Lords.

Independent Catholic News

Anti-terror lobbying group is created

Survivors of UK terrorist attacks and bereaved relatives have launched a group to lobby the government over its anti-terror policies.


Isle of Lewis cinema opens on Sunday for first time

The cinema on the Isle of Lewis has opened on a Sunday for the first time as part of a trial that has been opposed by Sabbatarian church leaders.


‘Island economics will eventually defeat the Sabbatarians’

Marianne Taylor says the hardline argument of Sabbatarians on Lewis will soon be brought down by two forces: reason and economics.

The Herald

Grandmother’s suffering prompts assisted dying appeal in Scotland

The "horrible" death of a retired teacher has led to a new campaign to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill in Scotland.

The Times (£)

Thousands of Uighur Muslims detained in Chinese 're-education' camps

More than 100,000 minority Uighur Muslims are reportedly being indefinitely detained in overcrowded 're-education' camps on China's western border.

The Telegraph

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