Tags: Freedom of Expression

Public debate

The Scottish hate crime bill is a threat to free and open debate

Posted: Mon, 21 Sep 2020 by Stephen Evans

As ministers reportedly consider changing Scotland's hate crime bill to address free expression concerns, Stephen Evans says their insistence to date that the bill won't undermine legitimate debate has been unconvincing. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

Charlie Hebdo front page 2020

The continued effort to silence Charlie Hebdo is shameful

Posted: Fri, 18 Sep 2020 by Chris Sloggett

It is outrageous to try to force this small magazine to give the 2015 killers what they wanted, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Humza Yousaf

Does Scotland’s justice minister realise the reach of his own hate crime bill?

Posted: Tue, 16 Jun 2020 by Chris Sloggett

Humza Yousaf has claimed a bill he's proposing isn't a threat to free speech because it sets a high threshold for criminality. But his careless words suggest he isn't taking concerns seriously, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

Scottish parliament

Scotland’s new hate speech law will be too censorious

Posted: Thu, 07 May 2020 by Chris Sloggett

A new offence of 'stirring up hatred' on religious grounds is too restrictive of free speech, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips’s suspension is another blow to robust public debate

Posted: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 by Chris Sloggett

You don't need to agree with everything Trevor Phillips has said about Muslims or Islam to be concerned at the attempt to render his ideas beyond the pale, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

BBC Big Questions debate on Islamophobia

Don’t let religious advocates define the boundaries of acceptable thought

Posted: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 by Chris Sloggett

A BBC debate on defining 'Islamophobia' was a reminder of the risks of giving too much ground to religious identity politics and empowering 'community groups' to police public discussion, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Charlie Hebdo cover

Five years after the Charlie Hebdo murders, free expression on religion still needs promoting

Posted: Tue, 07 Jan 2020 by Chris Sloggett

Half a decade after the Islamist attack on cartoonists in France, Chris Sloggett says we owe it to the victims and those left behind to reject blasphemy taboos. Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

Party logos

Election 2019: Secularism and the parties of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Posted: Wed, 04 Dec 2019 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson continues our election analysis of parties' policies on secularist issues. This time she examines the policies of the major parties of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Read More »

Tags: Democracy, Election, Equality & Human Rights, Freedom of Expression, House of Lords, Reproductive Rights

Party logos

Election 2019: Where do the major parties stand on secularist issues?

Posted: Thu, 28 Nov 2019 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson studies the main UK-wide parties' election manifestos – and says religion will continue to be a dividing force in UK politics during the next parliament. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Democracy, Education, Election, Equality & Human Rights, Extremism, FGM, Forced marriage, Freedom of Expression, House of Lords, Marriage, Public Services, RSE, Religious Freedom, Religious Slaughter, Reproductive Rights

Parliament

Don’t let religious sectarianism tear our democracy apart

Posted: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Chris Sloggett says the major parties in the current election campaign are indulging Britain's division into religious tribes – and we should urgently ask how we can move past this. Read More »

Tags: Democracy, Election, Freedom of Expression

Ballot box

Election 2019: pledges that should be in the parties’ manifestos

Posted: Tue, 05 Nov 2019 by Stephen Evans

As the UK's political parties consider their manifestos for the upcoming election, Stephen Evans outlines a series of secularist pledges they should include to advance freedom, fairness and equal citizenship. Read More »

Tags: Assisted Dying, Caste, Charity, Church & State, Circumcision, Collective worship, Election, Faith Schools, Freedom of Expression, Public services, Religious slaughter, admissions

Ephraim Mirvis

The chief rabbi has made an anti-democratic attempt to shut down criticism

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 by Chris Sloggett

The chief rabbi has asked secularists to stop campaigning against practices such as faith schools and infant circumcision. His apparently polite request should be firmly rejected, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Faith Schools, Freedom of Expression

Defend free speech

Islam, like any other religion, must be fair game for criticism

Posted: Thu, 22 Aug 2019 by Stephen Evans

The disqualification of a GCSE student who criticised halal meat is a reminder of the need to resist censorious offence-taking on Islam and the normalisation of the idea of 'Islamophobia', says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Islamophobia defined

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

Posted: Thu, 22 Aug 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Adopting a proposed definition of 'Islamophobia' would restrict legitimate speech on Islam and embed a failing approach to anti-Muslim hate. This is the NSS's submission to a series of essays criticising the definition. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Repeal blasphemy laws

Why won’t the government condemn the existence of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws?

Posted: Thu, 18 Jul 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Ministers keep condemning the "misuse" of Pakistan's blasphemy laws in response to parliamentary questions. But the 'misuse' of indefensible laws isn't the issue – the existence of them is, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

Newspapers

Blasphemy culture mustn’t undermine freedom of the press

Posted: Thu, 11 Jul 2019 by Chris Sloggett

The press regulator is consulting on guidelines which will inform the way stories about Islam and Muslims are reported. It must not endorse taboos which shut down debate and harm social cohesion, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Media

Advertising Standards Authority logo

The advertising regulator is pandering to religious offence-taking

Posted: Thu, 04 Apr 2019 by Chris Sloggett

As a regulator issues patronising advice to advertisers in the run-up to Easter, Chris Sloggett takes a look at its guidance on religious offence – and finds a deep and damaging aversion to freedom of expression. Read More »

Tags: Easter, Freedom of Expression

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

Posted: Wed, 28 Nov 2018 by Chris Sloggett

A parliamentary group's proposal that the government define 'Islamophobia' is a misguided power grab, says Chris Sloggett. If we want to end anti-Muslim bigotry, we should stop telling people what to think about Islam. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

How secularism protects people who have religious faith

How secularism protects people who have religious faith

Posted: Wed, 14 Nov 2018 by Megan Manson

For Interfaith Week 2018, campaigns officer Megan Manson explains how the National Secular Society's work protects those who are religious as well as those who are not.

One of the most common misconceptions about the National Secular Society is that we are... Read More »

Tags: Caste, Child Abuse, Circumcision, Conversion therapy, FGM, Freedom of Expression, One law for all, Secularism

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

Posted: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

Just as Irish citizens strike a blow for the right to freedom of expression, the European Court has fundamentally undermined it, argues Stephen Evans.

Irish voters decided this week to remove the 'crime' of blasphemy from its constitution. The majority of citizens,... Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression, Islam

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

Posted: Thu, 18 Oct 2018 by Alastair Lichten

After a sharp rise in reported crimes in which religious hatred was a factor, Alastair Lichten says liberal democracies should challenge hatred and bigotry while resisting attempts to silence ideas.

According to new figures from the Home Office there were 94,098... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim bigotry, Anti-Semitism, Ex-Muslim, Freedom of Expression, Hate crime

Why we must reclaim religious freedom

Why we must reclaim religious freedom

Posted: Wed, 12 Sep 2018 by National Secular Society

There is an urgent case for resisting those who claim the mantle of 'religious freedom' without regard for others' rights and freedoms. Here's why our Secularism 2019 conference will be held under the tagline 'reclaiming religious freedom'.

"Everyone has the... Read More »

Tags: Freedom from Religion, Freedom of Expression, Healthcare, LGBTQ rights, Religious freedom, Secularism 2019

Universities must commit to free expression – and they should stop hiring religious chaplains

Universities must commit to free expression – and they should stop hiring religious chaplains

Posted: Thu, 02 Aug 2018 by Chris Sloggett

A chaplain should not have been sacked for criticising Pride off campus, says Chris Sloggett. But universities can strike a blow for free speech and critical enquiry if they stop appointing religious representatives.

It is both impossible and undesirable to... Read More »

Tags: Chaplaincy, Freedom of Expression, Universities

Ten years on from the abolition of blasphemy, free speech still needs defending

Ten years on from the abolition of blasphemy, free speech still needs defending

Posted: Wed, 11 Jul 2018 by Stephen Evans

Marking ten years since the criminal offence of blasphemy was abolished in England and Wales, Stephen Evans argues that the freedom to speak critically about beliefs others hold sacred is far from assured.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the abolition... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam