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Tag Archive: Britain

Apr 14 2014

A media that paints puritans and fanatics as mainstream forfeits its right to condemn them

Asif Quraishi, better known as drag queen Asifa Lahore, sits unassumingly in a TV studio. ‘One question I’d like to ask’, he says, ‘is when will it be all right to be Muslim and gay?’ The programme is Twitter-powered BBC Three debate series Free Speech, whose host Rick Edwards (of Tool Academy and, unexpectedly, Cambridge) …

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Apr 04 2014

No, Tom Daley didn’t just call himself a gay man

Five months after insisting he still fancied girls, Tom Daley, who came out as bisexual last December in an emotional YouTube video, has made a new announcement: last night, the 19-year-old admitted he only wants to be with men and says he is no longer attracted to women, confirming that he is actually gay. ‘I …

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Feb 23 2014

Making atheism less middle class: Alex Gabriel speaking in London, March 23

Doubts costs nothing; voicing them can cost a lot. A piece I wrote for AlterNet last month, on the need for an economically inclusive secular scene, was well received. Readers from half a dozen groups said they’d implement ideas there, the Sunday Assembly asked my advice on reaching poorer congregants, and Conway Hall Ethical Society asked …

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Jan 11 2014

99 ways I’ve personally been victimised by religion

How many of you have ever felt personally victimised by Regina George religion? Various articles have circulated recently attacking ‘new atheism’ and trotting out familiar ‘don’t be a dick’ arguments: Alom Shaha’s and Ariane Sherine’s at the Rationalist Association, Martin Robbins’ at Vice. Marianne Baker, on her own blog, has weighed in. I’ve already responded to Alom’s, …

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Dec 28 2013

Gender segregation on campus: a timeline of opposition in UK media

There’s been a lot of friction lately over who the main opponents were of segregated seats for men and women at Islamic campus talks, endorsed till recently by higher education group Universities UK. Priyamvada Gopal, in a December 16 post at the Rationalist Association originally entitled ‘The Right may have hijacked the issue of gender …

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Dec 24 2013

Class dismissed: how I went from homelessness to Oxford, and what Richard Dawkins has nightmares about

Say this city has ten million souls Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes * * * A letter in a too-large envelope came five years ago this week. The paper had shifted in the excess space so the plastic window meant for the address showed its initial lines of text instead. …

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Dec 17 2013

In support of Priyamvada Gopal

A new coinage of mine is ‘Rorschach text’ – a body of writing read necessarily according to prior sympathies. Scripture is, of course, the best example, but secular texts are just as liable to work this way, and we’re all as guilty of partial interpretation as each other. Yesterday, the Rationalist Association published a piece …

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Oct 11 2013

Updates on student union goings-on at LSE

Abishek Phadnis, one of the students castigated at LSE for donning Jesus and Mo t-shirts, gives his version of events in an account at Trending Central. Given the swamp of student union trouble waded through by atheists there in the past, he’s had no end of practice drafting succulently barbed rebukes; this latest doesn’t disappoint. The …

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Sep 19 2013

Stray thoughts on niqab-related tussles

I don’t care for ‘Islamophobia’: it names a multitude of sins, but more than the odd virtue too, and politics seldom gains from too-broad terms. That said, Daniel Trilling’s latest column at the Rationalist Association site (he’s New Humanist‘s new editor) says excellent things on the recent media storm over niqab-clad women. A defendant currently on …

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Aug 22 2013

Dear BBC News: please adjust your coverage of Chelsea Manning

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Dear BBC: I enjoy having you around. You make things like Sherlock and Doctor Who and In the Flesh, and I don’t even have to put up with ads. That licence fee’s a good idea. Most of the time, you make me happy. That’s why the coverage of Chelsea Manning’s recent announcement by BBC News disappointed me. When someone …

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