Tags: Freedom of Expression

Batley Grammar School protesters

The DfE must show leadership when religious hardliners turn on schools

Posted: Thu, 06 May 2021 by Stephen Evans

The start of an investigation into the Batley Grammar affair raises questions over the government's willingness to ensure assertive religious voices don't dictate what happens in classrooms, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Front page Christmas edition Freethinker 1882

There is nothing new about cartoons which mock religion

Posted: Thu, 08 Apr 2021 by Bob Forder

Religious leaders have long feared irreverent drawings that could challenge their authority. We should remember that amid the latest effort to prevent the use of Muhammad cartoons, says Bob Forder. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, History

Batley Grammar School protesters

Western liberals’ weakness on blasphemy is letting down Muslim dissenters

Posted: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The hand-wringing in the face of a vicious campaign against a teacher sends a demoralising message to those fighting for free speech on religion globally and in British Muslim communities, says Kunwar Khuldune Shahid. Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

Batley Grammar School

A lesson in blasphemy

Posted: Fri, 26 Mar 2021 by Stephen Evans

After a teacher was suspended for showing cartoons of Muhammad in class, NSS CEO Stephen Evans says we shouldn't accept a religious veto on critical enquiry in the classroom. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Tandav film

Religious censorship is about ownership

Posted: Tue, 02 Feb 2021 by Megan Manson

Theocratic demands for censorship in India and Pakistan reflect attempts to grab power which undermine everyone's religious freedom, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Hindu Nationalism, Islamism

Charlie Hebdo cartoon

"Being offended is the price we pay for living in a free society": NSS CEO talks to Charlie Hebdo

Posted: Thu, 14 Jan 2021 by Charlie Hebdo

NSS chief executive Stephen Evans was interviewed in a recent edition of Charlie Hebdo which marked six years since the attack on its staff. The interview is reproduced here in English. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

France flag burning

The onus should be on theocrats, not liberal democracies, to change

Posted: Wed, 04 Nov 2020 by Chris Sloggett

Liberal equivocation on whether to stand up to jihadist murder and Islamist intimidation is morally wrong, misguided and counter-productive, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam, Islamism, Terrorism

Samuel Paty

Brutally murdered for doing his job

Posted: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 by National Secular Society

The beheading of Samuel Paty, a teacher in France targeted for showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons to his students, was an appalling attack on critical enquiry. Read More »

Tags: Education, 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 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