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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege


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Newsline 16 February 2018


Asma Jahangir was a tireless and courageous activist for human rights. We were proud to have her as an honorary associate, and it was with great sadness that we learnt of her death last weekend. You can read our tribute to her below.

Last year Asma was shortlisted for the Secularist of the Year award, and yesterday we announced the nominees for this year's prize. Between them our six candidates are making a vital contribution to the promotion of equality, freedom and the rule of law. The awards ceremony and lunch takes place on 24 March and tickets are still available. We hope you'll join us.

And on Wednesday (21 February) we'll be holding a static protest outside Parliament against plans to increase religious discrimination in school admissions. The details are below – we hope we'll see you there.


News & Opinion


NSS pays tribute to Asma Jahangir

The NSS is saddened to learn that honorary associate and human rights activist Asma Jahangir has died at the age of 66.


NSS announces shortlist for Secularist of the Year 2018

The NSS has announced its six-candidate shortlist for the 2018 Secularist of the Year award.


NSS to protest plans to increase religious discrimination in admissions

The Government has revived a proposal to scrap the 50% cap on faith based admissions to new free schools. The NSS will be holding a static protest against the plans outside Parliament on Wednesday 21 February.


We can’t allow faith groups to hamper efforts to regulate supplementary schools

As a trial reveals the brainwashing of boys during evening classes at a mosque in Barking, Stephen Evans says the Government... Read More »


Majority of Britons see religious studies as unimportant

The British public considers religious studies one of the least important subjects which secondary schools teach, according to a poll.


NSS: Labour animal welfare plan will not end unnecessary suffering

The NSS says Labour's proposals to introduce mandatory method of slaughter labelling do not do enough to promote animal welfare.


Damning Ofsted report for school which teaches creation story as science

A small independent Christian primary school which teaches the Bible's creation story in science lessons has had a damning Ofsted report.


Read elsewhere


Some Christian groups still promote ‘gay conversion therapy’ – but their influence is waning

By Chris Greenough, for The Conversation

The idea that to be gay is to be sick and in need of a cure might seem archaic and bizarre, but it lives on today among a few fundamentalist Christian groups.


Quotes of the week

"No one can replace Asma. She was unmatched and unparalleled. We suffered a great loss today."
Zohra Yousuf, former chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

"It's somewhere between an atheist support group and watching a great stand-up comedian."
Thomas Moore, artistic director of the Chorlton Arts Festival, describes his stage adaptation of Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion


Essays of the week

Asma Jahangir: The street fighter
By Saroop Ijaz, for Herald (Pakistan)

A profile of Asma Jahangir: contrarian, avant-garde, advocate, activist and politician.

Bermuda LGBTs reel from same-sex marriage re-ban
By Samantha Allen, for The Daily Beast

If there was ever any doubt that hard-won LGBT+ rights can be rolled back, Bermuda offered proof this week by becoming the first country in the world to repeal the legalisation of same-sex marriage.


NSS speaks out

Our president Keith Porteous Wood appeared on LBC to discuss the RE Council's response to the fall in applications for RE teachers.


Protest plans to increase religious discrimination in school admissions

The Department for Education has revived plans to scrap the 50% cap on faith based admissions to new free-schools. As well as the immediate impact of increasing religious discrimination in admissions to new schools, this will send the message that the Government is so desperate for religious organisations to run state schools that they're not willing to support even modest restrictions.

As part of a series of activities, we will be organising a static protest outside of Parliament on Wednesday 21 February.

The protest will be scheduled for 12.00 at college green and we'll probably head to a local pub afterwards. We'll provide placards for up to 30 people, but if you'd like to bring your own then please feel free. Any placards should focus on the equality/discrimination aspect of faith based admissions.

Please let us know if you're planning on attending.


Secularist of the Year 2018

Tickets are now on sale for Secularist of the Year 2018. The awards ceremony and social reception will be held on Saturday 24 March in central London. Member tickets are £40. Join us to celebrate the outstanding groups and inspiring individuals advancing secularism and related human rights.

Find out more...


Conference on 21st Century RE for All

Thirty years after the introduction of a national curricular entitlement for all pupils, the religious education syllabus is still decided locally by committees of faith representatives, or worse, by religious bodies responsible for running faith schools.

This one day conference will explore the future of religion and belief education in schools, and how we can create a truly balanced and non-partisan approach.

Find out more...


Upcoming events

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