Thu, 07 Jun 2018

Bermuda legalises same-sex marriage — again

Bermuda's Supreme Court on Wednesday legalised same-sex marriage in the British island territory again — overturning a ban that was signed into law just four months ago.

NBC News

‘The desperation to keep Turkey different’

Donna Abu-Nasr and Cagan Koc say secularists are on the defensive in Turkey as an election looms.


‘More than a gag rule’

An interview with the head of a family-planning organisation in Texas on how President Trump's change to a federal birth-control programme will affect women.

The Atlantic

Wed, 06 Jun 2018

Ministers indicate Westminster may act on NI abortion reform if Stormont doesn’t

The equalities minister has urged Northern Ireland's politicians to take action to liberalise abortion law or risk Westminster stepping in. Her words came after an impassioned Commons debate on the subject. During the debate the Northern Ireland secretary cautioned against Westminster taking the matter into its own hands but added it would be subject to a free vote if it returned to parliament.

The Guardian

‘Abortion: After passionate speeches in Commons, what happens next?’

Suzanne Breen says the abortion debate still rages fiercely in Northern Ireland – but in terms of some change, the writing's on the wall for all who want to read it.

Belfast Telegraph

Report says 50% cap on faith-based admissions should apply to all faith schools

A report from the group British Future has called for the 50 per cent faith cap on new free schools – which allows them to select up to half their intake on the basis of families' religion – to be applied to all state schools. The report's other recommendations include forcing faith schools to twin with those from other faiths.


Home Office study says most programmes to stop radicalisation are failing

A Home Office study has found significant failures in the approach to deradicalisation in schools, youth centres, sports clubs and English-language classes. The problems it identifies include that teachers are afraid to bring up religious issues with their students without appearing discriminatory.

The Times (£)

Holyrood to pass gay pardons law

The Scottish parliament will pass a law that will automatically pardon gay and bisexual men who were convicted of sexual offences that are no longer illegal.


‘Three strikes’ for watching terror videos

Ministers are to introduce a "three strikes" law for people caught streaming terrorist content in a counterterrorism bill to be published within days.

The Times (£)

Pubs take down Saudi flag after complaints over display of Islamic symbol

A major brewery is removing the Saudi Arabia flag from World Cup bunting from hundreds of its pubs after complaints about displaying the Muslim profession of faith where alcohol is sold.


Conservatives accused of failing to deal with anti-Muslim bigotry

The chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum has accused his party of a failure to take action on bigotry against Muslims and joined calls for an independent inquiry.


Leeds mosque and gurdwara arsons treated as hate crimes

Arson attacks on two places of worship in Leeds are being treated as associated hate crimes by police.


‘One Iranian woman’s courageous struggle against being forced to wear the hijab’

An interview with Masih Alinejad of the My Stealthy Freedom campaign. She says all she wants is to give women the choice to wear the hijab or not.

The Guardian

‘Europe and America part ways when it comes to “religious freedom”’

The Erasmus blog says events in America are making it harder to agree about persecution and whom it afflicts.

The Economist

Tue, 05 Jun 2018

MPs granted emergency debate on Northern Ireland abortion ban

Theresa May is under mounting pressure to lift Northern Ireland's abortion ban after MPs were granted an emergency debate on the issue.

The Independent

May resists Tory calls to act on Northern Ireland abortion

The prime minister is unwilling to act to change restrictive abortion rules in Northern Ireland. She's understood to have told a private meeting of Conservative MPs that the political climate makes change impossible.

The Guardian

London teen guilty of museum terror plot

A teenager has been found guilty of plotting a terror attack on the British Museum in London with Britain's first all-woman cell.


Christian leaders moan as NHS bosses decide not to put Bibles beside beds in new hospital

NHS bosses have halted plans to place Bibles beside every bed in a new hospital after they ruled that Christianity should not be given preferential treatment.

Daily Express

Nicola Sturgeon announces cash boost for Catholic teaching programme

Scotland's first minister has announced a cash injection of almost £100,000 for a teaching programme for Catholic schools.

The Scotsman

US Supreme Court rules in favour of anti-gay baker in wedding cake case

The US Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 in favour of a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. Its narrow ruling leaves open the larger question of whether a business can discriminate against gay men and lesbians based on rights protected by the First Amendment.

The New York Times

‘The US “gay wedding cake” ruling won’t resolve religious freedom issues’

David Mislin says the narrow scope of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision ensures America's divisive debate over religious freedom, which has raged for nearly two centuries, will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Conversation (US)

School in Oxfordshire criticised for only serving halal meat

Some parents have criticised a school in the Oxfordshire town of Didcot where all the meat served in the canteen is halal and packed lunches are not allowed.

Daily Mirror

Plans for Muslim faith school in Derby rejected due to flood risk

Planning councillors in Derby have rejected plans to build a new Muslim faith school in an area at risk of flooding.

Derby Telegraph

New Spanish PM first to avoid using religious symbols during swearing-in

On Saturday, Pedro Sánchez became the seventh head of government in modern Spanish democracy to take the oath of office, and the first one to do so with no religious symbols present.

El Pais (in English)

‘More radical change is needed to tackle religious control of Ireland’s schools’

This editorial says Ireland has a 19th-century-schools system which is radically out of step with the needs of a 21st-century society, and no child should feel isolated because of their religion or non-religion.

The Irish Times

EU court defends doctor who worked in Catholic hospital’s right to divorce

A Catholic hospital in Germany was not entitled to fire a surgeon because he divorced and remarried in a civil ceremony, the European Court of Justice has been advised.

The Irish Times

Mon, 04 Jun 2018

MPs step up pressure for Northern Ireland abortion reform

MPs are being canvassed to back a plan to force through measures liberalising abortion in Northern Ireland, it has emerged. The group believes they can force all parts of the UK to reconsider their abortion laws by repealing sections of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act.

The Observer

Thousands march in Belfast to demand marriage equality in NI

Thousands of people took to the streets of Northern Ireland on Saturday to demand marriage equality.

Belfast Telegraph

NI same-sex couples marry in Ireland and Great Britain

Dozens of same-sex couples have side-stepped NI's strict marriage laws by getting married elsewhere in the UK or Ireland, BBC News NI has learnt.


Inside Britain's secretive sharia courts

Reporter David Jones spends a day inside the sharia court at Birmingham Central Mosque as he investigates the workings of Britain's sharia courts.

Daily Mail

Sajid Javid says Muslim Council of Britain is unrepresentative amid Tory anti-Muslim claims

The home secretary has said the government does not deal with the Muslim Council of Britain because "too many of their members have had favourable comments on extremists". The comments come as the MCB calls for an independent inquiry into 'Islamophobia' in the Conservative party.

Sky News

Minute's silence for London Bridge terror attack victims

A minute's silence has been honoured and a church service held in memory of those murdered in the London Bridge terror attack a year ago. The prime minister and members of the emergency services attended a service at Southwark Cathedral.


Police facing surge in extremists released from jail, analysis finds

Police and security services face a surge in the number of convicted terrorists released from prison, Guardian analysis has shown.

The Guardian

Jonathan Aitken plans to become a prison chaplain

The former Conservative cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, who served seven months in prison for perjury, is to become a Church of England minister later this month. He plans to become a prison chaplain.

The Telegraph

Danish parliament to consider ban on cutting boys’ genitals

The Danish parliament is to consider whether to become the first country to ban boys being circumcised after a petition forced lawmakers to debate the issue. The measure is unlikely to pass owing to opposition among the major parties.

The Independent

New rule will allow doctors and care-givers to speak out about FGM in Belgium

A new rule to make it possible for doctors and other care-givers to speak out in cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been unanimously agreed by MPs in Brussels.

The Brussels Times

‘Denmark’s ban on face coverings isn’t the mark of a secular society’

Sunny Hundal says a secular society should give people the freedom to leave their religion, the freedom to criticise and satirise religion and the freedom to practice their religion.

The Independent

Six rules on laicité from new French manual for schools

An outline of six of the main rules from the French government's new guidance on laicité in shools.

The Local (France)

Fri, 01 Jun 2018

Thousands to call on prime minister for marriage equality in Northern Ireland

Thousands of people are expected to descend on the streets of Belfast tomorrow to call on Theresa May to legislate for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

Abortion pills handed over to police at Belfast pro-choice rally

Organisers of a pro-choice rally in Belfast have handed over abortion pills to the police.


Portugal's parliament rejects euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide

A proposal to make Portugal one of only a handful of countries allowing euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide has narrowly been rejected by lawmakers.

NBC News

School 'baptism barrier' gone for 2019 entry in Ireland

Radical changes to admission rules, approved this week, mean schools in Ireland will no longer be able to use religion as a criterion for prioritising entry.

The Independent (Ireland)

EU’s top court rules Flanders had right to limit ritual slaughter to approved slaughterhouses

The European Court of Justice has upheld a policy of the Flemish regional government to restrict ritual slaughter to pre-approved abattoirs.


Arkansas abortion pill restriction seen as major rights setback

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging an Arkansas law that effectively prohibits medical abortions in the state.

The Washington Post

Fears Trump's anti-choice picks could set back US abortion fight for a generation

The Trump administration's push for judges opposed to choice has already emboldened campaigners who have helped pass restrictive laws at state level.

The Guardian

‘What happens when abortion is banned?’

Michelle Oberman, the author of a new book, says criminalising abortion merely creates new ways in which the state can intensify the misery of the poorest.

The New York Times

‘The Catholic centre moves south’

This editorial says the Catholic Church looks tired and jaded in Europe after Ireland's vote on abortion – but elsewhere it is in rude health.

The Irish Times

Abortion does not cause depression, new study finds

Abortions don't cause depression, although women who have depression and anxiety may be more likely to have abortions, researchers have said. The study is the latest to show no evidence that abortion causes depression.

NBC News

‘The Islamic State attacks Indonesia – and its “middle way”’

Ilan Berman and James Clad say Indonesia is a working model of political Islam capable of coexisting with the West. That makes it a target for the terrorist group.

Weekly Standard

Danish parliament bans the wearing of face veils in public

Denmark has banned the wearing of face veils in public.


Disclaimer: Links are provided to external websites for information and in the interests of free exchange. We do not accept any responsibility for the content of those sites, nor does a link indicate approval or imply endorsement of those sites.