Tags: Freedom of Expression

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

Posted: Thu, 18 Aug 2016 by Benjamin Jones

The BBC and Demos have published an accidental case-study in why we should all stop using the meaningless and sinister word 'Islamophobia'.

The BBC has made much of a report from Demos warning that thousands of 'Islamophobic' tweets are sent in English every... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Freedom of Expression, Islam

Furore over Islamic bus adverts is nothing but disingenuous propaganda

Furore over Islamic bus adverts is nothing but disingenuous propaganda

Posted: Mon, 09 May 2016 by Stephen Evans

Christian groups are being disingenuous and divisive in claiming unfavourable treatment over the decision to allow Allah adverts on buses, argues Stephen Evans.

Christian groups have reacted with faux dismay to news that buses around England will soon be displaying... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression

Muddled-thinking on counter-extremism threatens free speech

Muddled-thinking on counter-extremism threatens free speech

Posted: Wed, 04 May 2016 by Benjamin Jones

Leaks ahead of the Government's latest counter-extremism drive show that they have failed to balance freedom of speech with the impossible objective set out to legally challenge Islamist ideas in the "pre-criminal space."

The latest offensive against 'extremism'... Read More »

Tags: EDOs, Extremism, Freedom of Expression

2015: A year of terror for Bangladesh’s secularist writers

2015: A year of terror for Bangladesh’s secularist writers

Posted: Tue, 05 Jan 2016 by Arif Rahman

Arif Rahman, a Bangladeshi blogger, reflects on the targeted attacks on secularist bloggers that took place in Bangladesh throughout 2015, claiming many lives, and considers the road ahead for secularism in the face of terror and state-sanctioned persecution.... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islamism

A timid defence of free speech is no match for Islamism. We must do better.

A timid defence of free speech is no match for Islamism. We must do better.

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2015 by Benjamin Jones

Society needs a much more vigorous defence of free speech than the one we are getting, with the 'elite' of society in academia, religion and politics offering a feeble and timorous defence, writes Benjamin Jones.

Speaking at a debate on "freedom of speech... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islamism

Some good news for free speech on campuses

Some good news for free speech on campuses

Posted: Wed, 21 Oct 2015 by Benjamin Jones

With too many instances of campus censorship to list, it's easy to be pessimistic about freedom of expression on campus, but there are a few promising signs of progress, led by students, writes Benjamin Jones.

I've spoken on two university campuses in the past... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Universities

Warwick Student Union have now done the right thing – but universities themselves must step up to defend free speech

Warwick Student Union have now done the right thing – but universities themselves must step up to defend free speech

Posted: Mon, 28 Sep 2015 by Benjamin Jones

After taking relentless criticism on Twitter and Facebook, Warwick Student Union has reversed its decision to block Maryam Namazie from speaking on campus. Though the right decision has been made in the end, universities themselves must step up to defend free... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Universities

Academics call for greater sensitivity about religion in universities, but students suggest it’s not an issue

Academics call for greater sensitivity about religion in universities, but students suggest it’s not an issue

Posted: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 by National Secular Society

Some academics are giving undue prominence to religion and religious students- when the evidence shows they are exaggerating the scale of the 'problem' they describe.

Tariq Modood, professor of sociology at the University of Bristol, and Professor Craig Calhoun,... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Education, Freedom of Expression, Religion & Belief, Statistics, Universities

Preacher James McConnell faces prosecution for calling Islam “Satanic"- the state again tramples over free expression

Preacher James McConnell faces prosecution for calling Islam “Satanic"- the state again tramples over free expression

Posted: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 by Benjamin Jones

Free speech for all is threatened once more by the senseless prosecution of another Christian preacher. His religious freedom is the same liberty that defends secularists, atheists, people of all religions and none.

"Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam... Read More »

Tags: Christianity, Freedom of Expression, Islam, Religion & Belief

Academic claims university atheists are “militant”

Academic claims university atheists are “militant”

Posted: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 by Benjamin Jones

A paper published by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education has claimed that atheists can be "militant" on university campuses, while describing religion as a "public good" and the exclusion of religion from the public sphere as "repressive."

Professor... Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Anti-Muslim bigotry and the problem, with ‘Islamophobia’

Anti-Muslim bigotry and the problem, with ‘Islamophobia’

Posted: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 by Benjamin Jones

Islamists are again using the victims of anti-Muslim bigotry to advance their agenda. Once again, a British university has aided this project in a conference on 'Islamophobia' which undermined and demonised ex-Muslims as "McCarthyites".

Many, many Muslims are... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Freedom of Expression, Islam, Sectarianism, Universities

‘Spiritual influence’, democracy and free expression

‘Spiritual influence’, democracy and free expression

Posted: Tue, 19 May 2015 by Alastair Lichten

Religious voting blocs and sectarian and divisive politics harm society and can undermine democracy. But are laws that potentially restrict free expression the answer? Alastair Lichten considers the charge of 'undue spiritual influence'.

Many student unions... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Freedom of Expression, Politics

You can never kill ideas: an anonymous blogger on the deaths of secularists in Bangladesh

You can never kill ideas: an anonymous blogger on the deaths of secularists in Bangladesh

Posted: Thu, 14 May 2015 by Anonymous

Following the recent wave of assassinations targeting atheist and secular writers in Bangladesh, we publish the thoughts of a British secularist of Bangladeshi origin – and his message to their murderers.

Ananda Bijoy Das was killed just two days ago... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

It should be politically impossible for universities to enforce blasphemy laws

It should be politically impossible for universities to enforce blasphemy laws

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 by Benjamin Jones

It should be politically toxic, publicly excruciating, there should be protests, and mass disruption to campuses when universities censor blasphemy. Where is the outrage?

The censors and reactionaries are at it again. The most recent case came from Bath. A... Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Education, Freedom of Expression

Why we should stop saying ‘Islamophobia’

Why we should stop saying ‘Islamophobia’

Posted: Thu, 02 Apr 2015 by Benjamin Jones

The bigoted views of Islamists and anti-Muslim demagogues must be challenged, but the term 'Islamophobia' only serves to confuse the issues and shut down debate, argues Benjamin Jones.

The NUS Women's Conference made headlines recently after the organisers... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Freedom of Expression, Islam

Je suis Michael Overd: this obnoxious street preacher is a canary in the coal mine for free speech

Je suis Michael Overd: this obnoxious street preacher is a canary in the coal mine for free speech

Posted: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 by Benjamin Jones

An offensive street preacher has been charged for giving a "religiously aggravated" sermon, and was told by a police officer that he is not allowed to offend anyone. Benjamin Jones warns of the danger posed to our civil liberties if the state continues to... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Religious Freedom

Charlie Hebdo: a perspective one month on

Charlie Hebdo: a perspective one month on

Posted: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 by Sadikur Rahman

25 years after the Rushdie Affair, one month after the atrocities in Paris and days after the attack on a free speech seminar in Copenhagen, Sadikur Rahman looks at what lessons free expression activists and opponents have taken.

Another European city, this... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

A duty to mock

A duty to mock

Posted: Mon, 16 Feb 2015 by Manfredi La Manna

Manfredi La Manna argues that the response to the Charlie Hebdo murders has exposed unpalatable truths in both the conservative and progressive camps.

The latest cack-handed intervention by the Pope, exempting religions from the list of acceptable targets for... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism

Posted: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 by Gita Sahgal

Gita Sahgal argues that opposing religious fundamentalism is not a distraction from 'real' politics - the demands of social justice and civil liberties - but a pre-condition for achieving them.

The conference on Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism on February... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Secularism

BBC Panorama, “the battle for British Islam” and the nonsense of “peaceful” or “violent” Muslims

BBC Panorama, “the battle for British Islam” and the nonsense of “peaceful” or “violent” Muslims

Posted: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 by Benjamin Jones

NSS communications officer Benjamin Jones argues that the problem of Islamism is obscured by politicians and others simplistically categorising Muslims as either 'peaceful' or 'violent'.

On 12 January, BBC Panorama featured British Muslims campaigning for a... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam, Secularism

Charlie Hebdo Editorial: Je Suis Charlie Means Je Suis Secularism

Charlie Hebdo Editorial: Je Suis Charlie Means Je Suis Secularism

Posted: Thu, 15 Jan 2015 by Admin

This is a translation of the editorial from the first Charlie Hebdo published since the Paris attacks. It is reproduced here in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.

For a week now, Charlie, an atheist magazine, has accomplished more miracles than all the saints and... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam, Secularism

British media fails the free speech test

British media fails the free speech test

Posted: Fri, 09 Jan 2015 by Sadikur Rahman

The British print and media press's response to the Charlie Hebdo attack has involved victim blaming, obfuscation and self-censorship, argues Sadikur Rahman.

If there was ever a time when the British print and media press should have shown courage and strength... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

NSS statement following Charlie Hebdo attack

NSS statement following Charlie Hebdo attack

Posted: Wed, 07 Jan 2015 by Terry Sanderson

Restrictions on criticising or satirising religion, especially Islam, have hugely increased since Salman Rushdie was burned in effigy and driven into hiding over The Satanic Verses in 1988. That he was reviled and those attempting his murder not even charged... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Posted: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

On 21 June 2014, NSS President Terry Sanderson spoke at the Chatham Unitarian Church, about the importance of equalities protections and secularism to religious freedom. This is a transcript of his speech.

The first problem I have is with a definition of "religious... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Equality & Human Rights, Freedom of Expression

Publish and be damned

Publish and be damned

Posted: Sat, 08 Feb 2014 by Abhishek Phandis

The media's refusal to show the Jesus & Mo cartoon emboldens professional offense takers at the expense of inoffensive satirists –and seriously undermines the principle of free expression, argues Abhishek Phadnis.

The Danish scholar Jytte Klausen's... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression