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Church can sack workers who remarry: court
Published: 20 Nov 2014

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the Catholic Church has the right to dismiss employees who remarry after divorcing.

The State was obliged to remain neutral and respect the Church’s right to enforce its customs, Andreas Vosskuhle, the president of the Constitutional Court, said in Karlsruhe.

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Half Of Brits Say Religion Does More Harm Than Good, And Atheists Can Be Just As Moral
Posted: 04/11/2014 | Jessica Elgot

Britain is changing, becoming more multicultural and secular. Is religion changing too? Throughout November, The Huffington Post UK is running its Beyond Belief series, profiling remarkable Britons who’ve taken on their faith to create a force for change.

More than half of Britons believe that religion does more harm than good, with less than a quarter believing faith is a force for good, the Huffington Post UK can reveal today.

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British Kids Are Still Being Subjected to Violent ‘Exorcisms’
November 2, 2014 by Hussein Kesvani

​ “I was thrown into a cupboard and told to pray on my knees until the devil left,” says Aisha. “I remember it was completely dark, very cold and very cramped. I didn’t know what was going on, but I remember the door was locked. I kept banging on it to be let out, but no one listened. All I could hear was mum, telling me to keep praying.”

Aisha was nine years old when she underwent a forced exorcism. Taken to a flat in South London by her mother and uncle, she believed she was just on her way to another of her community’s Bible meetings. Upon entering the flat, however, she was snatched from her mum by her then-pastor – a man she called “Papa” – who told her she had a spirit inside her that needed to be removed before it could spread “evil things”.

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New data revealed on 2015 voting intentions of non-believers
Posted: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:45 by Ben Jones

The British Election Study has shed new light on the voting intentions of non-believers, and highlighted the power of religious minorities to shape elections in the future. Ben Jones explores how atheists, agnostics and the irreligious plan to vote in 2015, and considers some of the possible long term electoral consequences of religious politics.

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NUS rejects motion on Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity citing ‘Islamophobia’
Posted: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:56

NUS rejects motion on Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity citing ‘Islamophobia’
The National Union of Students’ National Executive Committee (NUS NEC) has rejected a motion condemning the Islamic State and endorsing solidarity with the Kurds and Iraqi people after opponents branded it “Islamophobic”.

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German Muslims invite all faiths to pray against ISIL
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 | By MWC News

More than 2,000 German mosques have invited Germans of all religions to join their Friday prayers to present a united front against ISIL to try to dissuade young Muslims from traveling to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Germany’s four main Muslim groups announced their plan on Tuesday in response to concerns that German Muslims are joining ISIL and returning home with radical ideas and combat experience, posing a domestic security threat.

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25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK
Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:52 by Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant DhaliwalI

An interview with Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant Dhaliwal, co-editors of the new book telling the story of Women Against Fundamentalism, an organisation set up in 1989 by women of many faiths and none to work at the interface of feminism and anti-racism. The book also features a chapter by NSS honorary associate Gita Sahgal.

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The British should speak out against UK witch hunts by African Pentecostalists
Sep 10, 2014 | By Leo Igwe

Nigeria’s notorious witch hunter, Helen Ukpabio, is suing for libel both the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network(WHRIN). In this she is, as in other matters, a repeat offender. All British campaigners for children’s rights, and especially humanists and secularists will not stand for the spread of African Pentacostalist witch hunts to the UK.

This lawsuit should serve as a wake up call for all rational people in Britain. It should provide a rallying point for those who subscribe to enlightened values and who must now take a proactive stance against the ‘witch hunting tourism’ of these African pastors.

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The phantom menace of militant atheism
Nick Cohen | The Observer, Sunday 7 September 2014

Non-believers never harmed anyone in the west. Which is more than you can say for cowardly ‘intellectuals’

My family went into central London last week. After they’d gone, I found myself checking the web for reports of bomb blasts. Absurd and paranoid of me, of course. Rationally, I know that a motorist is more likely to kill you than a terrorist. Ever since Iraq, I have also known that the intelligence services’ “threats” can be imaginary. But I know this, too, and so does everyone else: if a bomb explodes, no one will think that a “militant atheist” has attacked his or her country. No one will mutter: “I wonder if someone has taken this god delusion argument too far.” Or: “Atheists should have known that violent words lead to violent deeds.”

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With Germany Changing How It Collects the Church Tax, Many Are Leaving Their Churches Altogether
September 1, 2014 by Hemant Mehta

If you live in Germany, then you’re aware of something called a Church Tax.
As far as I can understand it — forgive me if I screw this up — here’s how this works: When you pay your income taxes, a portion of it (8 or 9%, depending on where you live) is set aside by the government for your place of worship if you’re Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. (If you’re a theist, you almost certainly fall into one of those categories.) This amounts to several billion Euros for the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant (Lutheran) churches.

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Real or imagined: Racism ‘fear’ over Rotherham child abuse
By Katie Hall | BBC News Online | 27 August 2014

A “taboo” subject, “ignoring a politically inconvenient truth”, threatening “community cohesion”, “fear of being thought racist”.

The report which revealed the abuse of more than 1,400 children in Rotherham – mainly by men of Pakistani heritage – found many reasons why the shocking scale of child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town remained hidden.

Councillors and council staff in particular were criticised for “avoiding public discussion”; some through fear of being thought racist, and some through “wholesale denial” of the problem.

But Zahoor Farid, a Muslim youth worker in Rotherham, described the abuse in the town as “shocking”.

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Labour Party amends equality statement to include non-religious people
Posted: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:05

The Labour Party has revised its recently-adopted equality statement to cover non-religious people, having previously only referred to ‘religion’.

Last month the National Secular Society reported that Labour’s policy making body – the National Policy Forum – had adopted an equality statement that included ‘religion’ but failed to include ‘or belief’.

Both the Equality Act 2010 and human rights law use the term ‘religion or belief’ to cover both religious and non-religious people.

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Equality & Human Rights Commission calls for evidence on religion or belief issues
Posted: Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:50

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a major call for evidence from individuals and organisations about how their religion or belief (including non-belief), or that of other people, may have affected their experiences in the workplace and in using the services and facilities they need in everyday life.

The Commission wants to hear about the issues people face, including issues stemming from the provision of faith schools, religious selection of pupils and collective worship in schools.

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NSS calls for Nigerian ‘witch hunter’ to be denied entry to the UK
Posted: Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:23

The National Secular Society has called on the Home Secretary to deny a controversial Pentecostal Nigerian ‘witch hunter’ pastor entry into the UK.

David Oyedepo Jnr is due to address a Winners Chapel International convention in Dartford on 13-16 August. In a letter to the Home Secretary the National Secular Society argued that preventing Mr Oyedepo from entering the country is a necessary step to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief.

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Christian group threatens DfE with legal action over school equality standards
Posted: Tue, 12 Aug 2014 09:51

A Christian lobby group is threatening the Government with a judicial review over its plans to introduce new standards for independent schools aimed at reinforcing principles of equality and fundamental values.

The new standards will require independent schools not to undermine ‘fundamental British values’ of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.

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Equality and Human Rights Commission: gender segregation at campus events “unlawful”
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 | National Secular Society (UK)

Equality and Human Rights Commission: gender segregation at campus events “unlawful”

The National Secular Society has welcomed new legal guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) clarifying that – outside of religious worship and practice – gender segregation of university and campus events is unlawful and should not be permitted.

The EHRC intervention comes after Universities UK (UUK) published guidance relating to external speakers in universities which provoked controversy by suggesting that audiences might be segregated to accommodate the demands of religious speakers.

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Life under the French veil ban is nothing like ‘living together’
15 July 2014 | Marie-Bénédicte Dembour | Professor of Law and Anthropology at University of Brighton

On 1 July, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the French legislation banning the face veil in public space. As Frederick Cowell has observed, this will keep the French government from criticising the Strasbourg court at a time when its judicial authority is under serious pressure.

But this institutional gain should not obscure the social costs of the verdict. Muslim women who want to wear the face veil are going to have a harder time in Europe. This can only have a detrimental effect on social “cohesion”; it is bad news for everyone in Europe.

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Christian Britain has always been imaginary – it’s time to teach children that
8 July 2014 | Stephen G. Parker | Professor of the History of Religion and Education at University of Worcester

When prime minister David Cameron said recently that Britain was a “Christian country” and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so, his words sparked a furore. While the idea of “Christian Britain” is largely imaginary for many, it remains entangled with the history of religious education. Such debates are now resurfacing amid a call from within the Church of England itself – by the Bishop of Oxford – to abandon the law requiring Christian worship in state schools.

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French burqa ban upheld: a victory for democracy and a setback for human rights
4 July 2014 | Frederick Cowell | Lecturer in Law, researcher in international law at Birkbeck, University of London

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld a French ban on the wearing of face veils in public. The French Senate voted on the ban in 2010 and people who wear the burqa or niqab in public risk being fined. The anonymous woman who appealed the ban argued she was making a free choice to wear the burqa, and that the law banning it infringed her right to privacy and her right to freedom of religion, under Articles 8 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Court’s judgement held that whilst there had been an interference with her rights under Articles 8 and 9, this limitation of rights was necessary to protect the “rights and freedoms of others”.

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What isn’t wrong with Islamic and faith Schools?
Published on 1 Jul 2014 | Nano GoleSorkh

What isn’t wrong with Islamic and faith Schools? Bread and Roses, 1 July 2014, With Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya and Bahram Soroush. Interview with Aliyah Saleem who attended an Islamic school for 6 years in Britain and 1 year in Pakistan, One Law for All activist. Director: Reza Moradi. Programme Consultant: Poone Ravi.

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France’s burqa ban upheld by human rights court
Kim Willsher in Paris | | Tuesday 1 July 2014

European judges declare that preservation of a certain idea of ‘living together’ was legitimate aim of French authorities.

Judges at the European court of human rights (ECHR) have upheld France’s burqa ban, accepting Paris’s argument that it encouraged citizens to “live together”.

The law, introduced in 2010, makes it illegal for anyone to cover their face in a public place. While it also covers balaclavas and hoods, the ban has been criticised as targeting Muslim women.

The case was brought by an unnamed 24-year-old French citizen of Pakistani origin, who wears both the burqa, covering her entire head and body, and the niqab, leaving only her eyes uncovered.

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Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor | 22 Mar 2014

Solicitors told how to draw up Sharia-style wills penalising widows and non-believers

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.

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European Parliament Member Michael Cashman Cuts His Visa Card To Protest Sochi
By David Kashi | February 07 2014

A member of the European Parliament and well-known gay rights activist cut his Visa credit card during a session of parliament in protest of the corporation’s sponsorship of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

“The discrimination, violence and human rights attack by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin are entirely unacceptable. Attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are equally unacceptable,” Michael Cashman, a British Labour MEP representing the English region of the West Midlands, said. “I trust the athletes to speak out in Sochi, but I condemn sponsors like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Visa for their continued support of the Games. I will boycott the sponsors, starting now, with Visa. Madame President, not in my name!” He then proceeded to pull out of his pocket a Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) card and a pair of scissors, cutting it in half.

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Gay marriage in Scotland unleashes torrents of grief. ‘Persecution’ of The Faithful is predicted.

That’s the view of the Evangelical Alliance, the largest and oldest body representing more than 750 Christian organisations and two million evangelical Christians across 79 denominations and 3,500 churches in the UK.

Fred Drummond, Director of the EA Scotland, gnashed his teeth and wailed:

“Marriage and the family are the bedrock of society and we should be celebrating and encouraging them, but this legislation does neither. It has redefined marriage into a fluid, gender-neutral institution defined by consumer demands and political expediency, and destroys the God-ordained nucleus for a well functioning society.”

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Should a Sick Child Be Allowed to Choose Death? Belgians Think So
By Elisabeth Braw / December 05 2013

Jutte van den Werff Ten Bosch has already had the talk with her 10-year-old son. Several times, in fact. No, not the sex talk. The euthanasia talk.

“Even if he said, ‘I want to die’, I’d support him,” she explained. “I didn’t put my children in the world for me. It’s their life and their death. The best parents are the ones who let their children go.”

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Blasphemy laws unreasonably infringe freedom of speech
By Ralph Seccombe – posted Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Netherlands parliament has approved a motion to scrap law that makes insulting God a crime. The ultimate success of this move is in doubt but it should inspire Australia to follow suit and abolish the crime of blasphemy.

Some light was thrown on this topic by a recent IQ2 debate in Sydney, on the proposition that “God and his prophets should be protected from insult”. The speakers for the motion were Uthman Badar, spokesman for Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a radical organisation which seeks to restore the caliphate, and Julian Burnside, barrister and a hero of the miniseries Bastard Boys. Speakers for the negative were Yassmin Abdel-Magied, founder of Youth without Borders and former Young Australian Muslim of the Year, and the author Tom Keneally.

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Islamic fundamentalism is widely spread
WZB, Press release: 09 12 2013

WZB study shows significantly high numbers amongst Europe’s Muslims
Religious fundamentalism is not a marginal phenomenon in Western Europe. This conclusion is drawn in a study published by Ruud Koopmans from the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. The author analyzed data from a representative survey among immigrants and natives in six European countries. Two thirds of the Muslims interviewed say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live. Three quarters of the respondents hold the opinion that there is only one legitimate interpretation of the Koran.

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Universities ‘can segregate men and women for debates’
By Hayley Dixon, 22 Nov 2013, The Telegraph

A group of university leaders issued guidance saying that it may be acceptable to separate genders, as long as they are segregated side by side.

Lawrence Krauss - The Telegraph

Hamza Tzortzis and Professor Laurence Krauss debated in front of a segregated audience at University College London in March

Universities can segregate students during debates as long as the women are not forced to sit behind the men, university leaders have said.

Segregation at the behest of a controversial speaker is an issue which arises “all the time” and banning men and women from sitting next to each during debates is a “big issue” facing universities, Universities UK has said.

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Croatia rejects gay marriage in referendum
By Lajla Veselica, 1st December 2013

Zagreb (AFP) – A strong majority in staunchly Catholic Croatia voted Sunday to outlaw same-sex marriage in a referendum sought by a Church-backed group but strongly opposed by rights groups, nearly complete official results showed.

A total of 65.76 percent of voters said they wanted to amend the constitution to include a definition of marriage as a “union between a woman and a man”, according to results from almost 99 percent of polling stations released by the electoral commission.

Croatia’s current constitution does not define marriage.

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Dublin Declaration on Secularism Empowering Women 2013
By Atheist Ireland | Published: 21 September, 2013

On 30 June 2013, Atheist Ireland’s international conference in Dublin on Empowering Women Through Secularism discussed and adopted the following declaration. We are launching it today at the Atheist Ireland AGM in the Harbour Hotel in Galway.

1. Secular Values in Society

  • The secular values that will empower women are science-based reason, equality and empathy in alliance with the principles of feminism.
  • Priorities in democratic states: secular values will protect and advance already-established freedoms. Cultural and religious beliefs must not be used to deny or limit these freedoms.
  • Priorities in nondemocratic states: where secular values are not recognized or protected by laws, such laws should be established and applied, and address the issues that deny women full participation in society and government.

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The murder that may change history
May 25, 2013, Llewellyn King, The Sydney Morning Herald

The murder this week of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, a working-class district of London, may be one of those incidents that move history.

The repercussions will echo down through the years, affecting British politics, immigration, attitudes to Europe, possibly the survival of Britain as now constituted, and the social progress of Asian and African minorities there where immigrants now comprise 11.9 per cent of the population.

These things, which were in flux, may now transit to turmoil. And Prime Minister David Cameron’s differences with his own Conservative Party could lead to his ousting, unless he can use the murder as a kind of call to order in his rebellious ranks.

Article no longer available

Gagging for God
– by Frederik Stjernfelt – WEDNESDAY, 24TH APRIL 2013

The capitulation of the Danish left drew Frederik Stjernfelt into the battle to defend free speech. A string of recent attacks have convinced him that it’s a battle that is far from won.

On 5 February, the Danish polemicist and virulent critic of Islam Lars Hedegaard was attacked by a lone gunman on his doorstep in Copenhagen. A young man dressed in a mailman’s red coat had rung his doorbell claiming he had a delivery. Hedegaard went down to open the door, only to be the target of a shot which barely missed his right ear. In the ensuing scuffle, the hapless attacker fired again, lost his gun and picked it up again to aim a third shot which, again, missed. After that the gunman took off. According to sources he had “a dark complexion”, with long, black curly hair, maybe a wig.

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Disabled Irish woman loses assisted suicide court case
May 1, 2013, Douglas Dalby, The Sydney Morning Herald

A woman in the final stages of multiple sclerosis does not have the right to an assisted death, the Irish Supreme Court has ruled.

Marie Fleming, 59, said she wanted to die when she chose, but would need help to go through with it. Her partner, Tom Curran, had said he would assist her, which would be illegal.

Ms Fleming was contesting the ban on assisted suicide on the basis that the law discriminates against the severely disabled. Suicide was decriminalised in Ireland in 1993. The court rejected the argument that the decriminalisation necessarily conferred a right to die.

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Turkish Pianist Fazil Say’s Conviction Canceled, Retrial Ordered
By Selcan Hacaoglu – Apr 27, 2013, Bloomberg

A Turkish court canceled the conviction of Fazil Say, the classical pianist and composer, on charges of inciting hatred and insulting Islam, ordering a retrial, state-run Anatolia news agency says today. * The court ruled that Say, who was given a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison on April 15 by a lower court, was not fully informed of his rights regarding the verdict and there were procedural errors, Anatolia says * Today’s decision was taken in response to an appeal by Say’s lawyer Meltem Akyol, Anatolia says * NOTE: Say was convicted on April 15 of insulting holy values “such as hell and paradise” of Islam, Christianity and Judaism; story: NSN MLAOEK1A74E9 <GO> * NOTE: The case against Say, who has played with the New York Philharmonic and Berlin Symphony orchestras, was based on about half a dozen postings on Twitter


The ‘taboo’ of atheism in black communities – Leo Igwe at Hackney Attic
Adam Barnett, Hackney Citizen, Friday 26 April 2013

Nigerian human rights campaigner tackles belief in witchcraft and speaks in favour of atheism during Hackney Attic talk

Clive James once wrote: “Those who lack humour are without judgement and should be trusted with nothing.” If this is true, then Leo Igwe should be put in charge of something very important right away.

Meeting this funny and generous man, you could nearly forget the incredibly serious nature of his work. Leo Igwe rescues woman and children accused of witchcraft in Nigeria, where belief in spells and demons is the norm.

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France divided by vicious gay marriage debate
Nick Miller, Europe Correspondent, DailyLife, 23 April 2013

It’s the home of the City of Love, the land of l’amour.

But France has walked a dark, divisive road on the way to becoming the 14th country to legislate marriage equality for homosexual couples.

Mr Hollande blamed homophobic attacks on the parliamentary right ‘justifying violence’.
New Zealand’s parliament famously sang with joy. In France’s last week, MPs threw punches at each other at the end of a long and acrimonious debate on the “marriage for all” bill.

One MP was left holding his broken glasses, saying he had been in parliament 30 years and never seen anything like it. The justice minister compared it to a saloon in a spaghetti western.

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Turkish pianist sentenced for Twitter posts
April 16, 2013, Sebnem Arsu, The Age

ISTANBUL: A court here handed down a suspended 10-month jail term Monday for Fazil Say, an internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist and composer convicted of insulting Islam and offending Muslims in postings on Twitter.

Mr Say, 42, who has performed with major orchestras around the world in places including New York, Berlin and Tokyo, said during earlier hearings that the accusations against him went “against universal human rights and laws.” The sentence was suspended for five years, meaning that the pianist will not be sent to prison unless he is convicted of re-offending within that period.

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Secularist of the Year prize fund donated to girls’ education in honour of Malala Yousafzai
23 Mar 2013, National Secular Society (UK)

The National Secular Society has donated its Secularist of the Year prize fund to a global charity campaigning to ensure girls everywhere have equal access to education.

The prize fund of £7,000 was awarded to Plan UK in honour of Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban in October for campaigning in support of female education. Her story sparked outrage around the world after the Taliban said they shot Malala for “promoting secularism”.

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Justin Welby speaks of same-sex challenges for Church
BBC NEWS UK, 21 March 2013

Some gay couples have loving, stable and monogamous relationships of “stunning” quality, the Archbishop of Canterbury has acknowledged.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby told the BBC he had “particular friends where I recognise that and am deeply challenged by it”.

But he said he still supported the Church of England’s formal opposition to active homosexuality.

He spoke ahead of his enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral, due at 15:00 GMT.

More than 50 protesters opposed to cuts to public services and changes to housing benefits, labelled the “bedroom tax” by Labour, have gathered outside the cathedral.

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An Open Letter to Justin Welby
Peter Tatchell Foundation, 21 March 2013

On the occasion of his enthronement as Archbishop of Canterbury
From Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
London SE1

20 March 2013

Dear Archbishop Justin Welby,

Your enthronement as Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion will be an occasion for rejoicing by your faithful.

Like them, I wish you well.

I hope you will use your new authority to guide the church to accept equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

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14 March 2013: International Day to Defend Apostates and Blasphemers
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, press release, 12th March 2013

Countless individuals accused of apostasy and blasphemy face threats, imprisonment, and execution. Blasphemy laws in over 30 countries and apostasy laws in over 20 aim primarily to restrict thought, expression and the rights of Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

On 14 March 2013, we, the undersigned, call for an international day of action to defend apostates and blasphemers worldwide by highlighting ten cases though there are countless more.

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IERA event at UCL on 9 March
11 March 2013, UCL News

An organisation known as the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) booked a room at UCL for a debate on Saturday evening (9 March). UCL was notified during Friday by some individuals planning to attend the event that the organisers intended to segregate the audience by gender.

This was directly contrary to UCL policy. We do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds at meetings held on campus. We immediately made clear to the organisers that the event would be cancelled if there were any attempt to enforce such segregation. We also required the organisers to make it explicit to attendees that seating arrangements were optional, and guests were welcome to sit wherever they felt comfortable. We also arranged for additional security staff to be present to ensure that people were not seated against their wishes.

It now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting. We are still investigating what actually happened at the meeting but, given IERA’s original intentions for a segregated audience we have concluded that their interests are contrary to UCL’s ethos and that we should not allow any further events involving them to take place on UCL premises.

See website

David Mercer, AAP for 7 NEWS, March 10, 2013, 2:13 pm

The Queen is set to sign a new charter backing equal rights for women and gay people after it received the support of every Commonwealth nation.

The monarch will sign the new Commonwealth Charter in an event which includes the core values – from human rights to the rule of law – that leaders have committed to upholding.

According to The Mail on Sunday, the document declares: “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”

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Queen Supports Gay Rights in the Commonwealth?
10th March 2013, Peter Tatchell , Huff Post, UK Politics News

By signing the new Commonwealth Charter, with its rejection of all discrimination, the Queen has been seen by some people as implicitly endorsing gay human rights. They argue that although the charter does not include an explicit commitment to gay equality, the clause rejecting discrimination based on “other grounds” implicitly includes a rejection of homophobic discrimination. Maybe.

It is, however, a bit of a stretch for the Daily Mail and Stonewall to suggest that the Queen has come out as a champion of gay rights and expressed her support for gay equality.

She’s made no such explicit commitment and not used any such words.

Indeed, in her 61 years on the throne, the Queen has never publicly uttered the words lesbian or gay. She is a patron of hundreds of charities but none of them are gay ones. Not once has she visited or supported a gay charity.

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NSS highlight threat to homeowners from archaic ‘church tax’
National Secular Society (UK), Spring 2013

People could soon find their homes and property worthless if it becomes subject to an ancient liability requiring the owner to contribute to the upkeep of the local church.

Chancel repair liability arose from the dissolution of the monasteries and is still enforceable, despite not being mentioned in deeds and not having been collected for centuries. The liability (to the Church of England and the (Anglican) Church in Wales) potentially affects the landowners of 3.5 million acres of land in England and Wales.

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UN: Vatican, Iran Resist UN Effort Fighting Violence On Women
AWID, source: AFP News 06/03/2013

The Vatican, Iran and other religious states are resisting efforts by a UN conference, which started Monday, to demand tougher global standards to prevent violence against women and children.

More than 6,000 non-government groups are registered at the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women, one of the biggest events held at the UN headquarters which regularly turns into a diplomatic battle.

This year’s meeting has been made more emotive after an attack several months ago by the Taliban on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for her attempts to promote girls’ education in Pakistan and because of widely publicized gang rapes in India and South Africa.

Diplomats said the Holy See, Iran and Russia are leading attempts wipe out language in a draft final statement that says religion, custom or tradition must not be used as an excuse to avoid a government’s obligation to eliminate violence.

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Lars Hedegaard interview: ‘I may be killed if I write this’
The Spectator, Douglas Murray, 16 February 2013

Lars Hedegaard, founder of Denmark’s Free Press Society, speaks from a secret location after an attempt on his life.

The assassin came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like a typical Muslim immigrant’ in his mid-twenties — fired straight at his head. Though Hedegaard was a yard away, the bullet narrowly missed. The mild-mannered scholar (70 years old) then punched his assailant in the head. The man dropped the gun, picked it up and fired again. The gun jammed and the man ran off. More than a week later, he has yet to be found.

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Here is why Sharia Law has no place in Britain or elsewhere
National Secular Society (UK), Wed, 06 Feb 2013, by Nahla Mahmoud

There are many reasons why this needs to be said, starting with a personal trigger. I was recently interviewed by Channel 4’s programme 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 Omar Kuddus who was also interviewed regarding the same topic, agreed that ‘Sharia’ discriminates against homosexuals and would threaten his safety and civil rights.

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