Charlie Klendjian leaves the LSS over security fears

Charlie Klendjian has today (19 August 2015) resigned as Secretary and a member of the Lawyers’ Secular Society. His resignation takes immediate effect.

Klendjian’s main reason for leaving is that the security consequences of being one of only three people in this country publicly associated with the Sharia Watch UK / Vive Charlie Mohammed cartoon exhibition have been far too severe for my own personal threshold”, describing it as a “thoroughly unpleasant and scary experience, and one I hope I can forget in the shortest possible timeframe by leaving the LSS immediately.”

Klendjian has written an open farewell letter to LSS members, which also sets out his highlights of his tenure as LSS Secretary. You can read it here (PDF).

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The LSS is right to share a platform with Geert Wilders and Paul Weston

By LSS Secretary Charlie Klendjian *

[Important update, 2 August 2015: Charlie Klendjian has unfortunately had to cancel his planned speaking engagement at this event, for personal reasons. The LSS is still happy to fully support the event and to be publicly associated with it though. In fact, the LSS is currently making every effort to send a replacement speaker.]

Isn’t it incredible how a few cartoons can generate so many words? In case you’ve not read enough words already about cartoons, here are over three thousand more.

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How does the presence of the Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords further complicate the debate surrounding the legal status of assisted dying in the English legal system?

By LSS member Harriet Baylis

In modern Britain, two recent Bills – The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, and the Assisted Dying Bill – have provoked much debate as to the role of religion in legislating on such morally contentious subjects. More specifically, there are currently twenty six Church of England Bishops sitting in the House of Lords as of right, and these particular Bills, due to their nature, bring about the question as to how the Bishops’ presence both informs and complicates the legislative process within this context.

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A rejoinder: Sharia marriage in the UK is toxic

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

A recent piece in The Telegraph advocates for the State recognition of Sharia as the only way of assisting vulnerable Muslim women. The piece has so many flaws in it that it is difficult to know exactly where to begin.

The piece is the combined efforts of journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah and self-described ‘Islamic lawyer’ Aina Khan. We have met Ms Khan before.

But for those of you who don’t know who Myriam Francois-Cerrah is, well she is a white female convert to Islam who spends much of her time deriding those from different ethnic backgrounds who support secularism – and its concept of equal legal rights for all – as “native informants”.

Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that this piece in The Telegraph is a dog’s breakfast. Nevertheless, in this rejoinder I wish to take you through what Myriam Francois-Cerrah, with Aina Khan as her apparent legal guide, claim.

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The full face veil in court: Lord Neuberger and the confusion between equality and exceptionalism

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, recently made a speech to the Criminal Justice Alliance on the topic of “Fairness in the courts”. Putting it mildly, this speech attracted widespread media attention: see herehere and here. And such attention resulted in the Supreme Court’s Press Office going into overdrive.

What caused the widespread media attention was that Lord Neuberger appeared to suggest that Muslim women should, in the interests of ‘fairness’, be allowed to wear a full face veil when giving evidence in court.

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Is there really any difference between Islam and “Islamism”?

Islam and IslamismBy LSS Secretary Charlie Klendjian *

I recently spoke to the London Atheist Activist Group and the Central London Humanists, and I devoted large chunks of both talks to questioning the term “Islamism”. My points were in the main well-received.

I’m finding this term Islamism increasingly problematic. I’m setting out here some of the points I made in my talks, plus a few more.

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