NSS Opinion

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

Posted: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 by Pragna Patel

The state's adoption of 'faith based' approaches to address minority issues are increasingly marginalising women from minority backgrounds and denying them the right to participate in the wider political community as equal citizens, argues Pragna Patel.

In... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Events, Gender Equality, Religiousity policing, Sharia

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force

Posted: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 by Terry Sanderson

The passion of feminist secular activists from around the world at a recent conference has inspired Terry Sanderson, who chaired a panel on religion's role in the state, law and politics.

Last weekend's conference organised in London by Maryam Namazie and her... Read More »

Tags: Ex-Muslim, Gender Equality, Secularism

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

Posted: Fri, 10 Oct 2014 by Alistair McBay

Alistair McBay argues that a growing political alliance between the leadership of the Catholic Church in Scotland and SNP has implications which stretch far beyond the Referendum campaign and threaten to revive religious identity politics.

"Most people still... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Church & State, Scotland

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

Posted: Thu, 09 Oct 2014 by Gita Sahgal

Ahead of this weekend's conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights, Gita Sahgal highlights the importance and bravery of secular activism in the Global South.

The issue of secularism is a controversial one in international human rights organisations.... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Events, Gender Equality

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to human rights

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to human rights

Posted: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 by Alastair Lichten

Iran's execution of Mohsen Amir-Aslani on apostasy charges illustrates the injustices caused by such laws in the Middle East and around the world, argues Alastair Lichten.

This week, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran... Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Equality & Human Rights, Iran, Ireland, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia

Secularism and religious intolerance - an Ex-Muslim perspective on Karen Armstrong's essay

Secularism and religious intolerance - an Ex-Muslim perspective on Karen Armstrong's essay

Posted: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 by Al-Razi

In an essay written to coincide with the publication of her new book, Karen Armstrong diagnoses the secular impulse as a cause of religious intolerance and extremism. Ex-Muslim al-Razi argues that the secular movement is in-fact responsible for the good things... Read More »

Tags: Ex-Muslim, Islam, Secularism

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Posted: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 by Stephen Evans

Sixth form pupils can excuse themselves from acts of worship – but it appears some schools aren't so keen on recognising their students' rights to religious freedom.

Sixth form pupils over the age of sixteen have, since 2006, enjoyed the right to withdrawal... Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, sixth form

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

Posted: Thu, 25 Sep 2014 by Maajid Nawaz

Maajid Nawaz argues that a London girls' school is right to ban the Niqab on educational grounds.

British Muslims are facing yet another controversy. Camden School for Girls in London has introduced a strict dress code for its pupils. Part of the code states... Read More »

Tags: Niqab

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

Posted: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 by Alastair Lichten

Reports of a Cabinet row over plans to require faith schools to teach more than one religion at GCSE level show that even baby steps towards greater objectivity in religious education will face fierce opposition, argues Alastair Lichten.

Secularists have had... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Religious education

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 by Stephen Evans

The degree to which we tolerate discrimination against teachers in state-funded faith schools would be totally unacceptable in almost all other areas of public life, argues Stephen Evans.

Parents with children at a primary school in East Sussex expressed outrage... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Faith Schools

Rowan Williams and his ilk are not the people to decide where religion sits in public life

Rowan Williams and his ilk are not the people to decide where religion sits in public life

Posted: Sat, 13 Sep 2014 by David Voas

The Woolf Institute has convened a commission to consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and to "make recommendations for public life and policy." David Voas questions whether this review can reach a conclusion that reflects... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 by Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant DhaliwalI

An interview with Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant Dhaliwal, co-editors of the new book telling the story of Women Against Fundamentalism, an organisation set up in 1989 by women of many faiths and none to work at the interface of feminism and anti-racism. The... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Equality & Human Rights, Gender Equality, History

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 by Alistair McBay

Both media commentators and politicians seem keen to claim religion as a cause for good deeds but determined not to acknowledge it as a contributing factor to bad ones, argues Alistair McBay.

An article in the Scotsman in May by Joyce McMillan ran with the... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Community Cohesion, Scotland

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 by Michael Hall

Michael Hall reflects on the importance of Lord Avebury's bill to abolish chancel repair liability and places it in the context of privilege and inequality.

I am delighted that Lord Eric Avebury has moved the first reading in the House of Lords of the Chancel... Read More »

Tags: Chancel Repair Liability

Secularism, today, now

Secularism, today, now

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 by Marieme Helie Lucas

Ahead of an historic conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London this October, Algerian secularist, Marieme Helie Lucas calls on secularists everywhere to mobilise to counter the rise of the Religious-Right – and to urge... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Events

Grievous nonsense

Grievous nonsense

Posted: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 by Terry Sanderson

The narrative that Christians are somehow persecuted in the UK – which the Daily Telegraph and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve were happy to promote this week – is a dishonest appeal for privilege, argues NSS president Terry Sanderson.

To... Read More »

Tags: 'Militant' secularism, Council Prayers

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Posted: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 by Stephen Evans

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evans.

Those seeking to preserve or carve out additional privileges for Christianity in the UK appear buoyed by news that the Equality and Human Rights Commission... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Equality & Human Rights

No such thing as a ‘faith child’

No such thing as a ‘faith child’

Posted: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 by John Sargeant

The state and society undermine children's rights, when they treat them as an extension of their parents' religious identity, argues John Sargeant.

Adults are extolled in the Christian tradition to be childlike in their acceptance of the faith. Jesus says:... Read More »

Tags: Childrens rights & welfare

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Posted: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 by Achieng Maureen Akena

Political religion, particularly that exported from the US, is impeding the struggle for universal human rights in Africa and the two must be kept separate, argues Achieng Maureen Akena.

Earlier on open Global Rights, Indian journalist Parsa Rao argued that... Read More »

Tags: Africa, Equality & Human Rights

What chance do Yazidis have against group too brutal for al Qaeda?

What chance do Yazidis have against group too brutal for al Qaeda?

Posted: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 by Maajid Nawaz

Quilliam Co-Founder and Chairman and National Secular Society honorary associate Maajid Nawaz gives his thoughts on the crisis in North-West Iraq.

The terror group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) which has shortened its name to "Islamic State" or "IS",... Read More »

Tags: Islamism

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Posted: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 by Stephen Evans

As Eric Pickles takes over Baroness Warsi's ministerial responsibilities for promoting faith, Stephen Evans argues that the job should have gone, not just the minister.

In one of the more popular moves of her political career to date, Baroness Warsi this week... Read More »

Tags: secularism

Talking to God: the corporate religious challenge to a pluralist, progressive Europe

Talking to God: the corporate religious challenge to a pluralist, progressive Europe

Posted: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 by Kenneth Houston

EU and UN 'dialogue' with civil society gives disproportionate weight to conservative religious voices at the expense of moderate and secular opinion, argues Kenneth Houston.

Corporate religion needs to hear the word 'no' more often from our politicians.

An... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Europe, Gender Equality

Kerry County Council crucifix a challenge to religious diversity

Kerry County Council crucifix a challenge to religious diversity

Posted: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 by Dr Ronan McCrea

Following the erection of a crucifix in the newly renovated Kerry County Council chambers, Dr Ronan McCrea argues that the values of a particular faith should not be given predominance in State institutions.

The decision to erect a crucifix in Kerry County... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Council Prayers, Equality & Human Rights

A parent’s perspective: a review of the ‘collective worship’ requirement is long overdue

A parent’s perspective: a review of the ‘collective worship’ requirement is long overdue

Posted: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 by Alison Fenwick

As a parent of a 6 year old daughter, Alison Fenwick argues that the obligation on schools to 'worship' impinges on her parental right to raise her child in accordance with her own beliefs.

I first became concerned about the status of the Christian religion... Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, Parents Perspective

The world must respond to the cry of Iraq’s Christians

The world must respond to the cry of Iraq’s Christians

Posted: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 by Lord Alton

Religious cleansing in Iraq is making a "hateful mockery" of international law which should protect people and uphold their freedom to follow our own beliefs, argues Lord Alton

The last Christian has now been expelled from Mosul. The light of religious freedom,... Read More »

Tags: Christianity, Iraq, Islamism, Religious Freedom

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