• The independent thinktank, British Future, has called for the '50% rule,' which requires new religious schools to keep at least half their places open to any
local child, irrespective of religion, to be extended to all religiously selective faith schools. Former
education secretary, Charles Clarke, has also called
for the "values of inclusivity" on the basis of religion or belief to be "extended far more widely" within our education system.
• We're saddened to report the death of Bangladeshi blogger, Shahzahan Bachchu, who was killed by on Monday evening by unidentified assailants in his village of
Kakaldi. Bachchu was an atheist writer, poet and activist for secularism who owned a publishing house named Bishaka Prokoshani. His murder is the latest in a
series of killings of secular activists and bloggers in the country. Read more.
• NSS honorary associate and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested in Russia for holding a one-man protest against the
torture of LGBT people in Chechnya. Peter is doing brave work standing with LGBT+ Russians against their government's homophobic policies. He has since been
• Meanwhile, concerns are growing for the Egyptian atheist and blogger Sherif Gaber who was arrested at Cairo airport whilst trying to leave Egypt on 2 May for
"wanting to overthrow the Egyptian regime". Gaber is a longtime activist who has been harassed and imprisoned for blasphemy and defending the LGBT community and
promoting freethought over many years. Our CEO has joined calls for his conditional release. Sign the petition.
• Back here in the UK, Mitchells and Butlers has regrettably joined Greene King in instructing its pubs to remove the
flag of Saudi Arabia, which features an inscription of the Islamic creed, from World Cup bunting, claiming it is 'inappropriate' to display this where alcohol is
being sold. Read NSS Communication Officer Chris Sloggett's blog on the issue here.
• Finally, we're pleased to say Ireland's cabinet has agreed that a referendum should be held later this year on
removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution.
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