Religion & politics

Only 30% in UK think themselves religious

Author: 

Martin Thomas

A survey reported in the Guardian of 13 April has found that the UK is one of the world's least religious countries, as measured by people's opinions.

Only 30% of those surveyed in the UK said they were religious. 53% said they were not religious, 13% said flat-out that they were atheists, and the other 4% "didn't know".

Apart from China, where there would be government pressure against calling yourself religious, the only other countries to report smaller numbers of "religious" people were Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Japan.

The UK is one of the world's least religious countries, so a recent survey shows. So why do we have so many "faith schools", and an Established Church?

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Why did Tory think he could speak for Muslims?

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

Afzal Amin, the Tory party candidate for Dudley North, has this week resigned after it was exposed that he had plotted with the English Defence League to stage a “fake” march which he could then claim the credit for getting called off.

The Mail on Sunday reported that Amin discussed with the EDL a plan to call a march against a planned mosque in the constituency, a march that would then be called off.

Amin was recorded saying he would take credit for persuading the EDL to call off the march. He also said he would be the EDL’s “unshakeable ally” in parliament.

Afzal Amin, the Tory party candidate for Dudley North, has this week resigned after it was exposed that he had plotted with the English Defence League to stage a “fake” march which he could then claim the credit for getting called off.

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Understanding the Muslim far-right in Algeria, and beyond

Author: 

Marieme Helie-Lucas

Marieme Helie Lucas is an Algerian sociologist. She participated in the national liberation from French colonialism and was close to the then-underground PCA (Parti Communist Algerien, Algerian Communist Party). She worked as a senior civil servant during the first three years after independence, before leaving to teach at Algiers University for 12 years.

Algerian sociologist and socialist-feminist activist and writer Marieme Helie Lucas argues that the Muslim fundamentalism must be understood as a populist, far-right political movement.

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After the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket: thinking through the new and rethinking the old

Author: 

Pierre Rousset

Pierre Rousset is a long-standing member of the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA), and its predecessor organisation the Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, LCR) in France.

Veteran French Trotskyist Pierre Rousset discusses the political aftermath of the January 2015 Islamist attacks in Paris.

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Pragna Patel and Yemisi Ilesanmi speak on secularism, religious fundamentalism, feminism, and human rights

Pragna Patel, of Southall Black Sisters, and Yemisi Ilesanmi, Nigerian socialist and LGBT rights activist spoke at a Workers' Liberty London Forum on secularism and religious fundamentalism on Thursday 12 February.

Here are recordings of their speeches (unfortunately the recording of Yemisi's speech was cut short):

Speeches from the February 2014 Workers' Liberty London Forum.

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Charlie Hebdo and the politics of anti-imperialism

Author: 

Barry Finger

"Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction." (Bill Donohue, Catholic League)

"Now, I think there’s a critical difference between solidarity with the journalists who were attacked, refusing to concede anything to the idea that journalists are somehow “legitimate targets,” and solidarity with what is frankly a racist publication." (Richard Seymour, Lenin’s Tomb)

US socialist Barry Finger contributes to the debate around the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the left's attitude to political Islam.

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French demos were not like Pegida

Author: 

Olivier Delbeke

To see only a fascist threat in the demonstrations in France of Sunday 11 January would be to misunderstand the nature of the mass sentiments which they expressed.

Today in France, the far right is developing various targets for racist hatred. In the first instance, there is hatred against immigrants of French citizens of Arab-Muslim background, mainly those from the Maghreb. Then there is anti-black racism against black people. These two forms of racism come from the tradition of colonialism and slavery and are reproduced by current social conditions (precarity, mass unemployment, demolition of public services, the degrading living conditions of the suburbs, fear for the future in the context of globalisation), combined with the presence of millions of citizens from non-European backgrounds.

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Cameron versus the Pope

The Pope’s repsonse to the murderous attack on the journalists and workers at Charlie Hebdo was essentially “the wife beater’s defence”.

“If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal... You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

The Pope’s repsonse to the murderous attack on the journalists and workers at Charlie Hebdo was essentially “the wife beater’s defence”.

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