Every week in Newsline we have a couple of quotes of the week on topics related to secularism. Please feel free to share these images.

Fri, 15 Apr 2016

While arguing about [religion] and state matters one must know that secularism is not the antithesis of religion, it does not defy religious doctrines practiced in a state. It only frees people from following the religion of the majority and rejects the monopoly of the favoured religion.

Ayesha Khalid,  Muslim Times

Muslims want to be part of Britain, but many do not accept the values and behaviours that make Britain what it is; they believe that Islam offers a better future. And a small number feel that these sincerely held beliefs justify attempts to destroy our democracy. Britain's liberal Muslims are crying out for this challenge to be confronted. The complacency we've displayed so far is leaving them to fight alone, and putting our society in danger. We cannot continue to sit on the fence in the hope that the problem will go away.

Trevor Phillips, Daily Mail

Fri, 08 Apr 2016

If you go around saying some Muslims aren't real Muslims, don't be surprised when it bites you on the bum and someone says you aren't either.

Sarah Ager, Curator of Inter Faith Ramadan, on the policing of religious identity

Now I can see how my childhood was stolen from me – both by these illegal schools and by authorities who have no grasp on or interest in protecting children like me.

Anonymous, former student of an unregistered Orthodox Jewish faith school

Fri, 25 Mar 2016

This is the defining feature of the Isis era: the West has the military might to fight Isis, but not the moral conviction. It has the machinery, the men, but it lacks the thing every warrior needs: a deep belief in what he's fighting for, in this case the idea that our enlightenment values, our free, open societies, are superior to their backward way of life. We in the West agree that we hate Isis, but we don't agree that the Western way of life is something worth defending, or even something we should be especially favourable about anymore.

Brendan O'Neill, On moral relativism and the battle of ideas against Islamism

Fri, 18 Mar 2016

The politicians, bureaucrats, chief police officers and corporate leaders of tomorrow are at universities which teach that free debate and persuasion by argument are ideas so dangerous they must be banned as a threat to health and safety. Unless we challenge them in the most robust manner imaginable, whatever kind of country they grow up to preside over is unlikely to be a free one.

Nick Cohen, Spectator

Fri, 11 Mar 2016

Are Saudi women really that oppressed?

BBC, headline to mark International Women's Day.

The Catholic community in England and Wales has a role to play in ensuring that the government, continues to speak out when people are imprisoned, tortured or killed on account of their atheism. Doing so will not only be a practical expression of solidarity with those suffering the most appalling persecution, but will also promote freedom of religion or belief as a universal right to the benefit of all.

Bishop Declan Lang

Fri, 04 Mar 2016

Thoughtful people like the Irish Evangelical Alliance's Nick Park, who says he thanks God for secularism, know that privileging religion is a bad thing. No, Christians shouldn't abuse their positions to evangelise, and if they do they should be brought to account.

Reverend Mark Woods, Christian Today

Thu, 25 Feb 2016

FGM is as antiquated as a chastity belt or the ducking stool discarded in the Middle Ages. Yet where once most in Britain would speak out against obviously outdated and cruel practices such as foot binding and forced marriage, increasingly the West is nervous of condemning antiquated customs we dislike, in case it causes offence.

Alice Thomson,  Times (£)

Fri, 19 Feb 2016

Free speech and enlightenment values are under attack in our universities. In the worthy name of defending the weak and marginalised, many student activists are now adopting the unworthy tactic of seeking to close down open debate. They want to censor people they disagree with. I am their latest victim.

Peter Tatchell,  Telegraph

Fri, 12 Feb 2016

The Department for Education has claimed for much of the past five years to be the scourge of segregated schooling that might undermine British values. Yet the more mono-faith and mono-cultural schools become, the harder it will be to promote these principles.

Fiona Millar, Guardian

Fri, 05 Feb 2016

Muslims need secularism to be able to practice their religion as they see fit. I would add that Muslims also need secularism to save religion from serving as handmaiden to unholy wars of domination.

Mustafa Akyol,  New York Times columnist and the author of "Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty"

Fri, 29 Jan 2016

Imagine if thousands of ordinary state schools in England could refuse to admit children because their parents were practising Christians, or Muslims, or members of any other recognised religion ... There would be uproar, and rightly so.

Annie Powell,  Left Foot Forward

Fri, 22 Jan 2016

We have come a long way in our society to ensure that we have equality for women and that they are treated fairly. We mustn't go backwards.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Head of Ofsted, expressing his support for restrictions on face veils in schools

Fri, 15 Jan 2016

It is too easy for us to become complacent that we are safe in an enlightened secular environment where religious fervour can only incur so much damage, but it is naïve to think like that.

Professor Mona Siddiqui, Speaking on Thought for the Day

Fri, 08 Jan 2016

Against the flaming backdrop of torched Christian churches, bloody executions and massacres of faith minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere, it is ... a matter of utmost concern that, in this country, we discharge our common duty steadfastly to defend the freedom of citizens to discuss, debate and critique religious ideas and beliefs – restricting only speech which incites to physical violence against others. Moreover, in a free and democratic society we enter into severe peril when we start to confuse what we perhaps ought or ought not to say, with what in law we are allowed to, or not allowed to say.

Muhammed al-Hussaini,  An imam, speaking after Pastor James McConnell was found not guilty for an anti-Islamic sermon

Fri, 18 Dec 2015

We are against theocracies, sexism and misogyny… and we are for peace, secular governance and human rights, in which women receive equal rights to men and all people enjoy freedom of movement, thought and faith and, importantly, non-faith, with apostasy and blasphemy not a crime.

Asra Q. Nomani, Women's rights activist and founding member of the Muslim Reform Movement

Fri, 11 Dec 2015

Compulsory religious assembly has nothing in common with the rights of conscience, belief and worship … It is an anachronism that disregards the pluralist character of society and institutionalises division at a young age.

Times, editorial on collective worship in schools

The truth is disestablishment is coming at some point in the future of this country. 

Giles Fraser, Speaking on BBC Two's Daily Politics

Fri, 04 Dec 2015

To exclude the option of a systematic study of non-religious worldviews from RE is to discriminate against and devalue the people who subscribe to them.

Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Politics.co.uk

Fri, 27 Nov 2015

If we don't want religion forced on adults in cinemas, then it's about time we stopped forcing it on children in schools as well.

Julia Hartley-Brewer, Telegraph

The cottage industry of people claiming the church is some poor victimised minority group, persecuted by an intolerant secular mainstream, is in for another good quarter of growth. Except of course that it is the most unthinkable rubbish. The establishment church is not some silenced minority. 

Ian Dunt, Politics.co.uk

Fri, 20 Nov 2015

The best thing, for a secular Europe, is to make a very clear distinction between church and state. Faith should be encouraged and allowed in the private space.

Afzal Ashraf, Consultant fellow at the Royal United Services Institute

The existence of British schools (whether private or within the state system) where the ethos is that of ultra-conservative Islam can seem astonishing to observers from France, or from other European states.

Economist