Opinion

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. […]

Islam’s Non-Believers

A new film by Deeyah Khan, above – Islam’s Non-Believers –  follows the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, which supports ex-Muslims, often referred to as apostates or unbelievers, both in the UK and abroad. The documentary – which can be seen here – provides an important insight into the hidden plight of young people in […]

The Disappeared: The veil and the erasure of the female body

When I was 12 years old, soon after the Islamists took power in Iran, their thugs came to my school to keep boys and girls separate in the playground. Even at 12, we girls were seen to be the source of chaos and fitnah in society. This Islamist obsession with sexualising the girl child and […]

Small car, big heart?

People still talk sentimental drivel about what a nice man the Pope is. It may be that he is a nice man in a personal sense – he may be the kindest, warmest, sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet. We’ve heard that he’s a simple-lifer, preferring a humble little guest house to the gilt […]

We need to stop conflating ‘Muslims’ with Islamists

It’s insidious how the Islamist narrative has become mainstream everywhere – in the media, in social policies, in discussions around minority communities and human rights, in ‘progressive’ politics … it’s also very much part and parcel of how some freethinkers view ‘Muslims’ – homogenised masses whose default is always the Islamist no matter how many […]