Opinion

O Hitchens, where art thou?

Bill Maher’s lazy comparison between Milo Yiannopoulos and Christopher Hitchens shows just how much we need ‘the Hitch’. Donald Trump performs the astonishing feat of “covering 90% of his head with 30% of his hair”, and Hillary Clinton is “hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security.” These are the […]

Common humanity should be at the core of our politics

I was born in Iran; I am a migrant, a refugee. But I am not the “authentic other” that xenophobes love to hate nor am I the “authentic Muslim” promoted by the Islamists. To me, they are two sides of the same coin. In this day and age, migrant or “Muslim” very often automatically equals […]

A Clash of the Uncivilised

Trump, Muslim Profiling and the Far-Right’s Assault Donald Trump’s suspension of new refugee admissions for 120 days and the barring of nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days (likely to be extended) is fundamentally about a far-right restructuring of US society under the guise of ‘stopping terrorism’ and defending […]

‘Keep your mouth shut!’

On Wednesday The New York Times talked to Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, above, formerly executive chair of the far-right website Breitbart News. What Bannon had to say is startling. “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Mr. Bannon said during […]

Playing the part

I heard someone on National Public Radio yesterday remark that we’re all obsessing over politics these days. Hmm … not exactly, I thought. We’re all obsessing over Trump, much as one might obsess over an approaching train if one were nailed to the tracks, but that’s not necessarily politics, at least not as commonly understood. […]

Sharia courts pose a growing threat to women’s rights

This week more than 300 women who have faced abuse issued a warning of the growing threat to their rights by Sharia courts and parallel legal systems. Also this week, One Law for All submitted devastating new evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Sharia Councils on how violence and gender inequality lie […]

Expelled from Boston Atheists for Thought Crime

I have written for the atheist/secular humanist press since 1974, when my first article appeared in the venerable British monthly, The Freethinker (established 1881).  I remember that, from time to time, we would debate the best names to apply to ourselves: atheist, agnostic, freethinker, or secular humanist.  I myself have always liked freethinker — someone […]

Discrimination and violence lie at the heart of Sharia courts

I gave oral evidence at the Home Affairs Select Committee evidence session on Sharia Councils on November 1 on why Sharia courts in Britain are an Islamist project to control women, are discriminatory and should be dismantled. (This was preceded by a written statement.) When questioned by MP Naz Shah, above, though, one would have […]

The war on thinking

It’s hard to decide what I hate most about Donald Trump, pictured above with UKIP’s Nigel Farage. The lying? The corruption? The bullying and insults? The ignorance coupled with grandiosity? The emptiness? The stupidity? I don’t know; I can never decide. I hate most whichever item I’m currently contemplating. There’s so much to hate about […]

History’s actors

Let’s take a moment to think about free thought, and what sense of ‘free’ is in play. The obligatory first stop is Wikipedia, which says: Freethought or free thought is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma. […]