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  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    26/08/2019
    Summary: 

    All-party parliamentary groups do not have any power to change the law or government policy. But this report has been uncritically embraced in much of Westminster and by some local authorities and public bodies. The government has rightly rejected it, but it still seems set to have a significant influence on the rough parameters of acceptable public debate on Islam for years to come.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    15/08/2019
    Summary: 

    A public health body has removed a suggestion that people seek advice from "faith leaders" over whether to vaccinate their children after the National Secular Society questioned it. Public Health England (PHE) has altered a public facing  which said people "may wish to seek advice from your faith leaders or other community leaders" over whether

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    18/05/2019
    Summary: 

    A GP in the Midlands is being investigated by the General Medical Council after asking a Muslim mum to take off her niqab during an appointment. The 52-year-old claimed he politely asked her to take it off and that the woman allegedly "willingly agreed to the request" as the three of them sat alone in a consulting room. But half an hour later her husband arrived and she complained to NHS bosses about the incident.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    23/05/2019
    Summary: 

    As the campaign against relationships and sex education spreads and grows increasingly aggressive, Yasmin Rehman says politicians' pandering to intolerance will be a disaster for LGBT people, Muslims and wider society. 

    The protesters are not simply a group of misguided or misinformed parents. This is a coordinated effort to force our schools to accept an Islamist agenda.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    11/07/2019
    Summary: 

    A strange development has emerged from the ongoing discussion about LGBT-inclusive education. It seems that it's unacceptable for a school to refrain from talking about the existence of same-sex relationships, but it is acceptable for a school to teach that same-sex relationships are wicked.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    22/07/2019
    Summary: 

    The BBC has watered down some protections for religious ideas but retained a clause placing a premium on depictions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in new .

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    18/07/2019
    Summary: 

    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.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    In modern Britain equality is protected and one person's protected characteristics can't be used to subjugate another. The sooner people from all faiths and none realise this the better,  I'm turning 40 this year, having survived numerous suicide attempts in my teenage years, and fragile mental health as an ongoing battle. And I am frustrated and angered that schools across the country are being disrupted by protesters saying that their religious right trumps the teaching of LGBT+ equality. It doesn't, and the sooner people from all faiths and none realise this the better. The government's introduction of LGBT+ inclusive sex and relationship education in all schools regardless of faith is essential for all young people. The suggestion from Muslim activists that parents have the right to decide the curriculum for their school is inappropriate and unacceptable.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    29/05/2019
    Summary: 

    NSS  has revealed that a group called Islamic RSE is promoting anti-LGBT, anti-sex and anti-contraceptive messages and encouraging sympathetic parents to get involved in school governance. The group's founder has also toured the country giving talks on the issue. Islamic RSE says it "strives to engage with Muslim communities to help guide Muslim children unde

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    24/04/2019
    Summary: 

    The National Secular Society has welcomed the University of Aberdeen's  to revoke a degree awarded to the sultan of Brunei after his country introduced draconian new Islamic laws.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    15/04/2019
    Summary: 

    The charity regulator has said it will investigate three Islamic charities which have linked to extremist content, after concerns were raised by the National Secular Society. The NSS submitted a dossier of evidence to the Charity Commission that the charities were linking to content endorsing marital rape and execution for homosexuality and 'apostasy' on their websites.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    21/03/2019
    Summary: 

    The National Secular Society has questioned why an organisation that displayed literature calling for the killing of Ahmadi Muslims has obtained and retained registered charity status.A published by charity regulators on Tuesd

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Politicians who insist female genital cutting has nothing to do with religion set a dangerous precedent that undermines campaigns to combat it and other religious harms

  • Country: 
    European Union
    News Date: 
    26/02/2019
    Summary: 

    Meat from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning does not meet sufficiently high animal welfare standards to be labelled organic, the European Court of Justice has found. The EU's top court today  non-stun slaughter "fails to observe the highest animal welfare standards" and breaks regulations on organic food which require sufferin

  • Country: 
    Greece
    News Date: 
    19/12/2018
    Summary: 

    A Greek court was wrong to prioritise sharia 'law' provisions over those of the country's domestic legal code, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled. The ECHR  that the Greek Court of Cassation's decision to allocate a man's legacy according to the principles of sharia 'law' was incorrect. It ruled that the difference in treatment which the

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    23/11/2018
    Summary: 

    The National Secular Society has questioned why an Islamic preacher who has praised Osama Bin Laden and  all Muslims "should be terrorists" is a trustee of a registered charity.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    16/11/2018
    Summary: 

    The NSS said non-stunned meat is reaching at least 140 schools, the significant majority of which are not Islamic faith schools. It said too many councils had bowed to a hardline interpretation of Islam, adding that the government should repeal the religious exemption to the UK's animal welfare laws.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    13/11/2018
    Summary: 

    The National Secular Society has urged the BBC to treat free expression "as a positive value" as it raised concerns that new guidelines defer excessively to religious sensitivities. In response to a consultation on the  the NSS warned that

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    18/10/2018
    Summary: 

    An Islamic school that breached the Equality Act by treating boys and girls unequally was among 10 failing independent faith schools recently issued warning notices by the government. The Department for Education (DfE) published 25  to independent schools last Friday.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    10/10/2018
    Summary: 

    The  'How to regulate faith schools', which will be 

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    18/10/2018
    Summary: 

    At least 18 councils across the UK are supplying non-stunned halal meat to dozens of schools, NSS research has revealed. The NSS has found that around one in 10 councils provide non-stunned meat to schools, reaching thousands of children across Britain.

  • Summary: 

    "Exactly what choice does an 11-year-old girl have when her designated school uniform is a magician's black cloth that conceals her from the world and never brings her back?"

    This was the question posed by Allison Pearson in her article '' in the Telegraph last year. She was referring to an East Midlands school in which, from the age of 11, young girls are obliged to cover themselves entirely – including their face – with the Islamic niqab.

  • Summary: 

    Prior to the Olympics however, you may recall that Saudi Arabia got itself into bother by attempting to send an all-male team. The International Olympic Committee (which governs such things) said they weren't having that, and demanded that Saudi Arabia send some women. So it did. Sarah Attar — an American of Saudi descent — came for track-and-field, and 16 year old Wojdan Shaherkan was sent to represent the country in Judo. And all was well with the world again. Except, the women representing Saudi Arabia would do so covered from head to toe and Wojdan Shaherkan was close to being sent home in a row over whether or not she could wear the hijab while competing. Having initially said no, the Olympic bosses gave in and allowed her to cover her head. And all was well with the world again. Everywhere from the Guardian to the Daily Mail this was lauded as a huge success – a giant step forward for women. Progress had been made, they said. But had it? Or had we just normalised and accepted the separation and covering of women, and can we now expect more of the same in the future? Will Egypt's women, or Algeria's women, or Turkey's women now be required to cover from head to foot and if so, will we accept that as duly as we have done on this occasion? My question is – how much further to the edge will we allow women to be pushed?

    ...

    As part of a defence to the backlash against multiculturalism that allows young women and girls in the UK to live a life of misery, Barbara Ellen asked the following question in the Guardian: "" Do you see what she did there? Not only did she declare that race is something to be tolerated (why? There's nothing to tolerate in a person's skin colour), she used race and culture interchangeably. Therefore, if you criticise a culture, you are criticising a skin colour, and hence you are a racist – which is not only a morally contemptible position, but also one which can ruin a career, a reputation, or even involve you in criminal charges. And they wonder why people are reluctant to criticise cultural practices.

    We need to get this clear – race is not culture. Race is a skin colour or national or ethnic grouping and it gives no indication whatsoever of who a person is or what they stand for. Culture, on the other hand, is a series of actions which are routinely carried out within any defined community and are usually based on tradition or religion or both. If we define culture as a set of actions, and some of those actions amount to the forced enslavement and rape of young girls, then that can and should be condemned – culture or not. Cultural practices have always been condemned, fought against, and changed. It has happened all across history; it is called progress.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    An academic study by Cardiff University shows that the proportion of adult Muslims actively practising the faith they were brought up in as children was 77%. That compares with 29% of Christians and 65% of other religions. The study also found that 98% of Muslim children surveyed said they had the religion their parents were brought up in, compared with 62% of Christians and 89% of other religions. The team analysed data from the Home Office's 2003 Citizenship Survey data, using 13,988 replies from adults and 1,278 from young people aged 11 to 15.

    This higher passing on of religion from generation to generation is, the researchers say, because of a higher involvement in religious organisations. The researchers write: "It is well known that there is considerable supplementary education for Muslim children such as the formal learning of the Qur'an in Arabic. The apparently much higher rates of intergenerational transmission in Muslims and members of other non-Christian non-Muslim religions are certainly worthy of further exploration and may in fact pose a challenge to blanket judgements about the decline of British religion. "These higher rates might suggest support for the theory that for minority ethnic populations, religion can be an important resource in bolstering a sense of cultural distinctiveness." Children are sent to madrassas and mosques to be heavily indoctrinated into Islam.

    ...

    Terry Sanderson, President of theNational Secular Society, said: "When one is raised to believe that a particular religion is your whole identity and this idea is heavily reinforced in childhood by constant indoctrination in mosques and madrassas as well as at home by parents who have been similarly brainwashed, then there is little wonder that most Muslims cannot think outside a religious box."

    Original . Note: It requires purchase or membership.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Sadikur Rahman says implementing official recommendations on sharia 'courts' would entangle civil and religious law and undermine vulnerable women's rights. The Government should instead secularise the marriage laws. Ten years ago today Rowan Williams suggested the UK should "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system and said the adoption of certain aspects of sharia 'law' in the UK seemed "unavoidable". Now we're hearing similar noises again, after last week's publication of the Government's long-awaited  on sharia councils. When the review came out the Home Office thankfully said it would not regulate the councils, which would have conferred effective legitimacy on them and further eroded the wall between civil and religious law. But it added that it would consider its other recommendations. It is therefore worth reflecting on some of the implications these could have.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Children are not predestined to follow in their parents' religious footsteps – we should restrict religious clothing from schools until children are intellectually mature enough to decide for themselves, writes one former teacher

    Picture the scene. Let’s say it was becoming common for  supporters to dress their children in Jeremy Corbyn T-shirts and pressure them to go without food or water for long periods of time as a political ritual. Growing numbers of those children then began wearing the T-shirts and taking part in the ritual at school.

    The leaders of a school grew concerned that they were indoctrinating the children and marking them out as different. The ritual, they thought, was undermining their health and academic performance. They found no leadership from the government, so they banned the T-shirts for children younger than 8 and discouraged them from taking part in the ritual.

    Then let’s imagine a vocal section of hardline Labour supporters reacted by setting up a petition against the decision, generating almost 20,000 signatures. The school received up to 500 emails per day, many of them threatening or abusive. Labour supporters who supported the restrictions faced abuse. The ban was lifted and the chair of governors resigned.

    It wouldn’t be hard to see right and wrong. A school would have resisted the political labeling of children in an attempt to set an ethos of relative neutrality. It would not even have gone far enough because its restriction only applied to very young children. And the bullies would have won.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    There are many reasons why this needs to be said, starting with a personal trigger. I was recently interviewed by Channel 4's  which was broadcast two weeks ago about my opinions on 'What does Sharia Law have to offer Britain'. I realised that I was the only one out of seven people interviewed that was clearly against Sharia and for a secular state. Activist and gay Muslim  who was also interviewed regarding the same topic, agreed that 'Sharia' discriminates against homosexuals and would threaten his safety and civil rights.

    My interview has triggered a debate in the Sudanese media, both at home and in the diaspora, from which campaigns have emerged inciting people against me calling me a 'Kafira' (infidel) and 'Murtadda' (left Islam) . I guess Sudanese government officials have time to watch Channel 4 because the  posted my picture declaring me an infidel and apostate. Who knew that my private beliefs could denigrate a country's government, religion, and armed forces?!

    Focusing on Islam and Sharia as such here is mainly because of my experience living under an Islamic regime. However, I strongly oppose Sharia law as well as any other religious based laws because I deeply believe in secular, humanist values which put each human being on an equal basis with every other individual. International human rights are a testament to that principle and stand directly opposed to the discriminatory practices enshrined in and justified by Sharia law.

     

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    The Manchester bombing will not be the last Islamist atrocity in this country, to say nothing of the rest of the world. The struggle against the warped ideology which sustains extremism will likely consume generations of effort. There are, therefore, no easy answers. At the very least we offer our thoughts and solidarity to the victims and their families, and those who woke up in hospitals on Tuesday morning with life-altering injuries or to the news that their children or parents were dead.

    Many have said that the attack, and the decision to target young children, was 'incomprehensible'. But it was not. There is no excuse for thinking that. Anybody who has been paying attention to Islamic extremism should know exactly why they do this. They are motivated by the worst possible interpretation of Islam, but it is Islamic.

    We are not afraid of naming and confronting Islamist ideology, and we have no sympathy for those who obfuscate or deny the roots of jihadist terror. Our allies in this are many, and they include Muslim reformers and secularists. But there can be no denying the scale of the challenge. Terrorism is far from being the only problem Islamist ideology poses to our way of life and our values. Surveys of Muslim opinion both around the world, and here at home, bring disturbing results, on everything from women's rights to suicide bombing. It is this entire spectrum of belief and behaviour that the secularist movement must confront.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has warned the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) against pushing once more for a global blasphemy law. Ahead of a conference on combatting religious intolerance, the FIDH has sent out a strong warning against any attempt to ban "defamation of religion". The OIC is to host the conference from 3-4 June 2015, on the 2011 UN resolution about combatting "intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization" of people based on religion and belief. The resolution was aimed at challenging discrimination and "incitement to violence and violence against … persons based on religion or belief".

    However, there are concerns among human rights and secularist groups that the OIC will use the conference to make  for a global blasphemy law, or for other similar restrictions on criticising and discussing religion.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    A woman has spoken of her secret marriage to a holy man and said the actions of some of these men are being swept under the carpet within the British Asian community. The woman has said she was the fourth wife of the man who used the Islamic marriage only to satiate his physical appetite. She has made allegations that she would meet him in a car park and when she looked to expose his actions she was threatened by some of his followers. He later divorced her via a WhatsApp message after a ten-month Islamic marriage.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Sharia law fundamentally undermines the rule of law in this country and represents a division of rights among racial and religious lines. Muslim women and the children of Muslim parents are particularly vulnerable under this system and our society has a responsibility to protect them.

    In sharia law, a woman's word is worth half of that of a man. Child custody is awarded to fathers regardless of the circumstances of the case. A man can obtain a divorce by repudiation whereas it is extremely difficult for women to show grounds for divorce, even if abuse or violence has been proved.

    The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has stated: "The Court concurs in the Chamber's view that sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy, as set forth in the Convention".

    We regard it a national scandal that the UK government tolerates, respects, or in any way accommodates a legal system which discriminates so openly against women and children, and we believe it to be a threat to community cohesion and the legal and political equality of all women. As recent legal rulings have shown, religious freedom does not – and should not – include the freedom to overrule the fundamental human rights of others.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Shaista Gohir of the Muslim Women's Network has criticised Muslim parents who make their young daughters wear hijabs. Her comments came after controversy over a Catholic faith school which said that a four-year old pupil could not wear a hijab to school because it breached the school's uniform policy. Under the policy hats, scarves and large headbands are clearly prohibited, along with certain hair styles.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    She discussed the shameful treatment of Charlie Hebdo following the massacre by some UK media outlets: after the attack, Sky News cut her off in the middle of an interview when she tried to show a cartoon of Mohammed. Those who defy Islamic blasphemy laws don't just face violence and threats, she said, but demonisation from the regressive left.

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom (UK)
    News Date: 
    09/01/2015
    Summary: 

    The National Secular Society is calling on the Government to compel the BBC to remove a on any depiction of the prophet Mohammed. The BBC's editorial guidance that forbid any representation of the prophet Mohammed came under fire on Thursday's Question Time on BBC1.

  • Summary: 

    Policy Exchange survey, described as the largest study of Muslim opinion in the UK ever undertaken, has found widespread belief in conspiracy theories and significant support for sharia law.

    The Policy Exchange study found that unsurprisingly "British Muslims as a whole represent an unquestionably more religious section of the wider UK community" and that "Faith clearly plays a more central role in the lives of British Muslims".

  • Summary: 

    Last week's Policy Exchange survey had some hopeful signs, Muslims do overwhelmingly identify with Britain. But given how segregated the country and some Muslim communities are, how can we be sure which 'Britain' they identify with?

    Despite decades of failures, it is worth noting that problems integrating Muslim minorities are hardly rare around the world, and this is not a problem unique to the United Kingdom. That brings us to the final unsayable thing – well known to most British people but unmentionable to officials and politicians: Islam is a special case.

    Casey said on the BBC's Daily Politics that Islam "is a peaceful religion" (to furious agreement from the politicians present), and the report says that sharia law is being "abused". The review does a very good job of exposing government complacency and official ineptitude, but there are clearly some subjects that are still off limits

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who lives under constant protection, has told AFP that Islamic fundamentalism has destroyed Bangladeshi society. Nasreen said that in the 1980s she "wrote about Islamic fundamentalists. I said that they should not go unopposed or they will destroy our society, that's exactly what's happened now. "Islamisation started in Bangladesh in the 1980s and in the 80s I was very worried." Several fatwas were issued calling for her death for secular writing, and Nasreen has not returned to Bangladesh in over twenty years.

  • Summary: 

    If sharia councils operated fully within UK law, they would still pose a profound cultural challenge, and even if they made no pretence at legal power, non-Muslims would still have every right to object to their malign influence. Even if every single participant in a sharia council was there voluntarily without coercion or social pressure, and even if every ruling and process complied with equality and human rights standards, non-Muslims would still have every right to protest the fragmentation of our legal system. How can there be integration if our secular legal system is openly rejected? Putting aside, for a moment, the many implications of sharia for Muslim women, the spread of these councils reeks of separatism – and an Islamist desire to state Islam's power in the physical and political realm.

  • Summary: 

    Too often those who carry out forced cutting of young boys' genitals escape with gentle admonishment, rather than punishment commensurate with the severity of their actions, writes Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum.

    Admin: This applies equally to FGM on girls/women.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    The book rejects a Huntingtonian clash of civilizations, and describes the real ideological dispute of the modern world as a "furious" intra-Islamic struggle to "claim or reclaim what Islam stands for in the twenty-first century". But the battle within British (and global) Islam between the 'moderates' and the Islamists is a competition fought on losing ground. As long as scripture and, importantly, the sayings of Mohammed, are the deciding factor that overrides everything else, the moderates will lose. Admin: No such thing as 'British' Islam.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    "Without a definition of 'non-violent extremism' any new measures seriously risk infringing upon freedom of expression."
    A broad coalition including the National Secular Society and the Christian Institute are opposed to the controversial proposals.
    The JCHR also commented on Government plans to regulate out of school educational settings providing "intensive tuition, training or instruction to children" – a move welcomed by the NSS.
    The Government said that currently "the safeguards which protect children in schools and childcare settings are not mandatory in out of school settings, and children are more vulnerable to harm."
    "Our proposals to regulate them are therefore aimed at ensuring that action can be taken where there are genuine concerns that they are failing to ensure the safety and welfare of children."
    The Committee warned that there were "grave concerns around Government proposals for a regime of compulsory registration" but the Government argued that it was considering how to ensure its proposals were "targeted" and "proportionate".

    Admin: This legislation is caused by concerns regarding Islamic doctrines and should specifically target those doctrines by name (Sharia, Jihad) and any underlying Islamic textual references that are used to justify things such as slavery, hudud punishments and jihad.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    The public castigation of a British gymnast for 'mocking Islam' is illustrative of a troubling return of blasphemy, argues Stephen Evans. If you've been following the hounding of British Olympic gymnast Louis Smith this week, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that blasphemy laws were abolished in England back in 2008. The very public castigation of the British gymnast is illustrative of the troubling return of blasphemy. As the former Strictly Come Dancing winner has discovered – and to his immense cost – Britain's bourgeoning 'culture of offence' is ensuring that any action deemed likely to offend religious sensibilities, but particularly Muslim sensibilities, is strictly taboo

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    The International Humanist and Ethical Union – of which the NSS is an affiliate – has warned that Islamic governments are trying to use the United Nations to shut down free speech. The warning comes as a bloc of Islamic states held a summit to discuss how supposed widespread “Islamophobia” can be legally challenged in Western countries.

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    While 4% are willing to admit to having some sympathy with suicide bombers (more than 100,000 people if the poll is perfectly representative) and only 34% would report a friend who supported terrorism overseas, the real, existential threat to any kind of cohesive society is not from violent extremism. Terrorism poses no existential threat to the Western nation state, whereas a splintered society undermines the legitimacy of the state. Unless struggled with now this situation will be insoluble

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned that leaders in some independent Islamic schools are continuing to undermine British values, after inspectors found more evidence of gender segregation.

    In a letter to Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Equalities Minister, the Ofsted chief wrote that inspectors "continue to find that staff are being segregated because of their gender in Muslim independent schools."

  • Summary: 

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

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    Campaign groups and human rights activists have signed an open letter to Theresa May warning that the Home Secretary's sharia review will "do nothing" to address sharia councils' discrimination against women. The Home Office review has been criticised for neglecting human rights and constituting a panel "more suited to a discussion in theology than one which serves the needs of victims whose human rights are violated."

  • Author(s):

    Summary: 

    An investigation shows that the concerns of campaigners such as myself were well-founded. The Home Office has established a panel which is fit for the purpose of a theological exercise rather than a human rights investigation. The appointment of a theologian to chair it and imams as advisors to the Review Panel, was a thoroughly bad sign as far as feminists were concerned. It is a basic tenet of human rights that procedures should ensure impartiality, and that those involved in an institution should not be investigating themselves – that is, assuming that the panel actually intends to conduct a thorough investigation.

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