Secularism

Catholicism and women's rights

During the current Labour leadership election, Rebecca Long-Bailey (RLB) admitted to holding religious objections to abortion rights based on her Catholicism. Whilst this has not seemed to affect her voting record on this issue, it is concerning that many on the left were so quick to jump to the defence of RLB and Catholicism in general, with some even painting those that voiced concern about the influence of Catholic belief in politics as anti-Irish. Anti-Catholic sentiment in the UK remains a live issue in the North of Ireland as well as in parts of Scotland, and this is certainly rooted, in...

250 million strike in India

The Hindu-chauvinist BJP Indian government is meeting serious resistance. Trade unions have been taking action. The Modi government was forced to back off a series of economic reforms including privatisation and attacks on workers’ rights after strikes in 2015, 2016 and 2019. Those issues have not gone away. Ten India trade union federations called a one-day general strike on 8 January against the government’s economic policies (the eleventh federation is affiliated with the Hindu chauvinist movement and did not strike). The workers were joined by farmers in their action. It brought out...

Other motions not passed - AWL conference 2019

Motions on left antisemitism, the Hijab in schools, and social security and Labour's policy, were all submitted to AWL conference 2019. The conference decided that the first of these motions - on left antisemitism - should not be voted on, after a debate; the second, on the Hijab in schools, fell; the third - on social security - were not voted on, as decided before any debate.

Oppose Modi's anti-Muslim drive!

Since winning power India in 2014, Nahendra Modi and the BJP have pursued a Hindu-chauvinist agenda. On 12 December the Modi regime passed its Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), building on the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in attempting to remove the rights of many Muslim Indians. Since the CAA passed last month there have been protests across India, not only from Muslims but also from the left and other defenders of India’s secular constitution. Following a ban on all protests in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh (ruled by the BJP but with a 40% Muslim minority), continued...

The hijab: “preventing common impositions”

Maryam Namazie is an activist with the Council of Ex-Muslims and other secularist groups . See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools . On the issue of child veiling, a state ban on conspicuous religious symbols for children is an important defence of children’s rights. Children are not parental property Children are not the property of their parents. They are individuals with rights and bodily integrity. And just because their parents believe in child veiling or FGM and male circumcision doesn’t mean they should be automatically entitled to impose their views...

2019 debate on hijabs in schools

Photo: CC BY 2.0 DFID In the AWL in the run up to our 2019 conference, we are having a debate on the hijab in schools, after one member brought a motion on it. Please see the editorial note below, and below that, the articles that have been written in Solidarity to date on this. We have internal discussion documents on it, but most of the debate we have had publicly. Third on this page is the policy we passed in 2004, and fourth is some articles from the debate at the time. Editorial note Our existing policy decided in relation to the French ban on the hijab/veil in schools is printed at the...

Self-determination for Kashmir!

Taken from The Clarion By revoking Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution that provide special autonomous status and residency rules for Jammu and Kashmir, and preparing to break up the state, Narenda Modi’s far-right, Hindu-supremacist government has effectively declared war on the Kashmiri people. It has virtually declared a literal war too, with tens of thousands of troops invading the state, mainstream political leaders under house arrest, a total communications blackout, and reports of widespread human rights abuses. An already bad situation has got much worse, fast. This attack...

“Islamophobia”? It’s anti-Muslim racism

Pragna Patel from Southall Black Sisters spoke to Martin Thomas from Solidarity about the controversy over the Government’s rejection of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) definition of “Islamophobia” . We were against the idea of having a specific definition of “Islamophobia”. Racism against Muslims exists. It is pervasive and needs to be resolutely challenged. “Islamophobia” conflates legitimate criticism of religion, which groups like Southall Black Sisters have always engaged, with racism towards people of a particular minority. The use of the term “Islamophobia” makes it very easy...

Gardiner and the Hindu pogromists

The Parliamentary Labour Party is full of unscrupulous and unprincipled politicians willing to exploit communal divisions and promote reactionary “community leaders” for electoral gain. However, the efforts of shadow trade minister Barry Gardiner go well beyond a few public appearances with the local vicar or imam. On 23 May, Gardiner tweeted to give a lavish welcome to right-winger Narendra Modi’s victory in India’s election. In 2001, in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake, Gardiner visited India and handed a £1 million cheque to Modi, who was then Gujarat’s Chief Minister. The money was...

How not to criticise religion

Tory politician Boris Johnson has provoked a scandal by writing, in a Daily Telegraph article opposing Denmark's ban on Islamic face veils, that women who wear them “look like bank robbers” and “letter boxes” . There have been calls from within his own party for disciplinary action to be taken against him, with many arguing ( fairly, on the evidence ) that his comments are expressive of a deep seam of anti-Muslim bigotry in the Tory party. Others have defended Johnson with claims that he was simply defending “liberal values”, and that the right to criticise religion and religious practise must...

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