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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The insurmountable problems of parallel legal systems

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

The attempts to establish parallel legal systems can in fact be seen as a project to transfer legal rights away from people and to groups instead.

Certain groups, usually based on a culture or religion, are deemed by proponents of parallel legal systems as worthy of having their own separate legal rights, and so parallel legal systems are consequently proposed to make this a reality.

But this attempt to transfer legal rights to groups causes problems that the advocates of parallel legal systems can only fail to address. Below are some of these problems.

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“Islamophobia”: an absurd term

PhobiasBy LSS member Jay Marshall

Islam: A monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur’an and considered by many of its adherents to be the verbatim word of Allah; it is also comprised of prophetic traditions (or Hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE), considered by most Muslims to be the last prophet of God.

Phobia: An extremely irrational fear or dislike of something.

I lay out these definitions for my reader so that they may understand the surrounding context of what I will now attempt to articulate.

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The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal: an exercise in “Legalwash”

Legalwash

By LSS member Daniel Anderson *

I think we have all heard of the terms Whitewash and Greenwash.

Whitewash: A deliberate attempt to conceal unpleasant or incriminating facts about a person or organisation in order to protect their reputation.

Greenwash: Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.

(Source: Oxford Dictionary)

 I now wish to introduce to you a new term which I claim to have coined: Legalwash.

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