Tag Archives: human rights

Ep 26: Hindutva with Gita Sahgal



In this episode, Emma Park speaks to Gita Sahgal, a human rights activist and Honorary Associate of the NSS, about secularism in India, and the threats it is facing from the Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) movement endorsed by Modi’s government. Modern India has been a secularist state since its foundation in 1947. But since the first election of Modi’s government in 2014, as Gita explains, Indian supporters of secularism, pluralism, and the rule of law have been targeted, silenced, and in some cases imprisoned or killed; and the coronavirus pandemic has been used as an opportunity to clamp down on them further.

Gita and Emma also consider how the ideology of Hindutva is bringing its version of Hinduism closer to a monotheistic religion, and how this reinforces its intolerant stance towards Indians who are not Hindus, in particular, the large Muslim minority. Finally, Gita discusses her current work with One Law For All, which is campaigning against Sharia law and other religious laws in the UK.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWXaP6g8QgA&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

The Constitution of India

https://www.india.gov.in/sites/upload_files/npi/files/coi_part_full.pdf

How Hindu supremacists are tearing India apart – The Guardian, 20 February 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/20/hindu-supremacists-nationalism-tearing-india-apart-modi-bjp-rss-jnu-attacks

Gita Sahgal’s lecture highlights rise of Hindutva in India and Britain

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2018/09/nss-lecture-highlights-rise-of-hindutva-in-india-and-britain

One Law For All

https://onelawforall.org.uk/

 

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Bonus Ep 2: Leo Igwe #FreeMubarakBala



This podcast gives an emergency update on the plight of Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria (HAN). Bala was arrested in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, by the police on the 28th April, effectively for blasphemy against Islam. Although he has not yet been formally charged, he remains in custody, probably in Kano state, which is under Sharia law. He appears to be without access to a lawyer or contact with friends or family. Leo Igwe, founder of the HAN, speaks to Emma Park about what has happened to Bala, why his situation is so dangerous, and what the international community can do to support him. As this emergency podcast has been done at short notice, we apologise for any dip in quality.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEttRS-h2Vo&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

Fears for safety of Nigerian Humanist leader after blasphemy arrest – 29th April 2020

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2020/04/fears-for-safety-of-nigerian-humanist-leader-after-blasphemy-arrest

How you can support Mubarak Bala

https://humanists.international/2020/04/action-alert-what-you-can-do-to-save-mubarak/

Mubarak Bala: Speak Out Against Religious Tyranny In Kano By Leo Igwe – Sahara Reporters, 5th May 2020

http://saharareporters.com/2020/05/05/mubarak-bala-speak-out-against-religious-tyranny-kano-leo-igwe

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Ep 23: The NSS at the UN: interview with Josephine Macintosh



In this week’s episode, Emma Park speaks to Josephine Macintosh, a solicitor and vice president of the National Secular Society, about her work representing the NSS at the United Nations.

Earlier this year, Josephine attended the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council at Geneva. She made submissions on behalf of the NSS on its objections to male circumcision, proposed reforms to Italian law to counter child abuse in the Catholic Church, and the need for the UK to legislate explicitly against caste discrimination.

She discusses the content of these submissions, the process of presenting them at the UN and lobbying for support, and why it’s vital for the NSS to be represented at international level. She also talks about the constraints that the coronavirus is likely to place on the UN’s human rights work.

Follow Emma on Twitter: @DrEmmaPark

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/zdfQeKP8Tj8

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session43/Pages/43RegularSession.aspx

Protect all children from ritual genital cutting, NSS tells UN

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2020/03/protect-all-children-from-ritual-genital-cutting-nss-tells-un

NSS raises Italy’s response to child abuse in Catholic Church at UN

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2020/03/nss-raises-italys-response-to-child-abuse-in-catholic-church-at-un

The Vatican Is Talking About Clerical Abuse, but Italy Isn’t – New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/22/world/europe/italy-catholic-church-pope-francis-abuse.html

Outlaw caste discrimination

https://www.secularism.org.uk/outlaw-caste-discrimination/

NSS urges UN to push government to pass law on caste discrimination

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2020/03/nss-urges-un-to-push-government-to-pass-law-on-caste-discrimination

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today

https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

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Secularist Manifesto election graphic

Ep 19: General election special



This week, Emma Park is joined by Stephen Evans and Chris Sloggett for a general election special. During the campaign the NSS is calling on parties to adopt 11 secularist pledges on subjects such as education and free speech. But which of these are on the parties’ agendas? Will any of them make it onto the statute book any time soon? And is religion stifling political debate? Join Stephen, Chris and Emma for comment and analysis.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7mwTBwyy6Xo

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

Election 2019: a secularist manifesto

https://www.secularism.org.uk/election-2019.html

Don’t let religious sectarianism tear our democracy apart

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/11/dont-let-religious-sectarianism-tear-our-democracy-apart

The definition of ‘Islamophobia’ and its criticisms

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/05/islamophobia-definition-unfit-for-purpose-say-campaigners/

Angela Rayner on Twitter: “I’ve never put our faith schools at risk and never will.”

https://twitter.com/AngelaRayner/status/1196856260186066944

Labour’s ‘race and faith manifesto’

https://action.labour.org.uk/page/-/party-documents/Race%20&%20Faith%20Manifesto%202017.pdf

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

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Red microphone

Ep 15: ‘Islamophobia’ definition | Criticising infant circumcision



Emma Park speaks to Stephen Evans, CEO of the NSS and Chris Sloggett, communications officer, about the NSS’s opposition to a definition of ‘Islamophobia’ which was proposed by a parliamentary group in November 2018.

Chris and NSS campaigns officer Megan Manson also join Emma to discuss two recent rows relating to infant circumcision.

Megan highlights a court case in which a Nigerian Christian woman, Martina Obi-Uzom, was given a suspended sentence for having an infant boy circumcised without his mother’s consent. And Chris discusses a speech by the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, in which he asked secularists and Humanists to stop campaigning against faith schools and infant circumcision.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U28virLevfM&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

The NSS’s criticism of the APPG’s definition of Islamophobia

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/05/islamophobia-definition-unfit-for-purpose-say-campaigners

Concerns that the definition of Islamophobia would have a chilling effect on free speech

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/islamophobia-definition-curtails-free-speech-campaigners-warn

The NSS’s position on anti-Muslim bigotry

https://www.secularism.org.uk/hate-speech/position-statement-on-anti-musli.html/

Islamophobia Defined – the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/599c3d2febbd1a90cffdd8a9/t/5bfd1ea3352f531a6170ceee/1543315109493/Islamophobia+Defined.pdf

Islamophobia: An Anthology of Concerns – essays critical of the APPG’s definition collected by Civitas, including one by the NSS

https://www.civitas.org.uk/publications/islamophobia/

The NSS’s concerns over the lenient sentencing of Martina Obi-Uzom in the forced circumcision case

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/09/a-woman-is-convicted-over-circumcision-what-happens-next

The NSS’s response to Chief Rabbi Mirvis’s request that secularists stop campaigning against religious privileges

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/09/the-chief-rabbi-has-made-an-anti-democratic-attempt-to-shut-down-criticism

The speech by Chief Rabbi Mirvis

https://www.facebook.com/ChiefRabbiMirvis/posts/2303906899738431

Forthcoming NSS events

https://www.secularism.org.uk/events.html

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

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Red microphone

Ep 13: Religious appointees | Campaigning roundup



Chris Sloggett spoke to NSS head of education Alastair Lichten about our new report Religious Reps: Unrepresentative, Unnecessary and Unjustified. The report makes the case for ending the requirement on all Scottish local authorities to include religious appointees on their education committees. They discussed the report’s findings and recommendations and next steps for the campaign.

Campaigns officer Megan Manson also joined to discuss work the NSS has been doing on vaccinations, blasphemy laws and Jewish schools which severely restrict their families’ private lives.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlAIuFqIeF8&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

End religious appointees on Scottish education committees, NSS says https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/end-religious-appointees-on-scottish-education-committees-nss-says

Public Health England changes vaccination advice after NSS lobbying https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/public-health-england-changes-vaccination-advice-after-nss-lobbying

Jewish school may severely restrict families’ IT use, says DfE https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/jewish-school-may-severely-restrict-families-it-use-says-dfe

NSS urges government to review its language on blasphemy laws https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/nss-urges-government-to-review-its-language-on-blasphemy-laws

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

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Red microphone

Ep 12: Circumcision | No Outsiders



Chris Sloggett spoke to NSS chief executive Stephen Evans and campaigns officer Megan Manson about the recent BBC documentary ‘A cut too far?’ and the ethics of ritual infant male circumcision. Did the documentary go far enough and is the tide turning against this abusive practice? Also in this episode our head of education Alastair Lichten spoke with Andrew Moffat, creator of the inclusive education resource ‘No Outsiders’ and speaker at our upcoming Bradlaugh Lecture.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jKa0ED12Y8&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

Bradlaugh Lecture 2019 | No Outsiders: Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools https://www.secularism.org.uk/no-outsiders.html

End non-consensual religious surgery https://www.secularism.org.uk/religious-surgery/

A Cut Too Far? Male Circumcision https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006wj8

Male circumcision needs to be seen as barbaric and unnecessary – just like female genital mutilation https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/male-circumcision-fgm-baby-child-abuse-body-rights-medical-hygiene-a9011896.html

Let’s face facts: FGM has something to do with religion https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/03/lets-face-facts-genital-cutting-has-something-to-do-with-religion/

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

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Red microphone

Ep 10: Secularism 2019 | Conference review



In episode 10, Helen Nicholls, Megan Manson and Alastair Lichten joined Chris Sloggett for a review of our recent conference (Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom). They discuss some of the speakers, key takeaways and how these will continue to influence our work going forward.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tlyczsqLx9I

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

 Links

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

Find out more about the conference and speakers: https://www.secularism.org.uk/2019


Ep 09: Simon Barrow | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Simon Barrow. Simon is the director of Ekklesia – a Christian think tank focusing on politics, social justice and belief. Simon is a commentator, journalist, publisher, NGO consultant, adult educator/trainer and theologian.

This is part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference in May, Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom: https://www.secularism.org.uk/2019

Watch this episode on YouTube:  https://youtu.be/Q9XDrdnBS0s

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Links from Simon

The Jesus Candidate: Political religion in a secular age, by Paul Lusk (NSS review): https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2017/10/book-review-the-jesus-candidate-political-religion-in-a-secular-age

Faith and Politics after Christendom: by Jonathan Bartley: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Faith-Politics-after-Christendom-Movement/dp/1842273485/?ie=UTF8&tag=natisecusoci-21&linkCode=shr&camp=3194&creative=21334

Words Out of Silence, by Jill Segger: https://www.bookdepository.com/Words-Out-Silence-Jill-Segger/9780993294280

Links from the NSS

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join


Ep 08: Izzy Posen | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Izzy Posen. Izzy grew up in the Chasidic community and attended an illegal, unregistered school where corporal punishment was routinely used, particularly to silence children who asked questions. He is now president of Bristol University’s Free Speech Society

This is part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference in May, Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom: https://www.secularism.org.uk/2019

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nspDkjqhgHo&feature=youtu.be

Transcript: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Links from Izzy

All Who Go Do Not Return Paperback, by Shulem Deen: https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Who-Go-Not-Return/dp/1555977057/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

Shtisel | Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81004164

One of Us | Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80118101

The charity helping Orthodox Jews who want to break away from their faith: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p04n1x7p

‘Why I had to leave my ultra-Orthodox family’ – BBC News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=-5Tz6pLH7ig

Autobiographical Talk at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London – 20th of March 2019: https://journeyerblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/23/autobiographical-talk-at-the-liberal-jewish-synagogue-london-20th-of-march-2019/

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join