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The latest International Humanist & Ethical Union News email:

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One Law for All anti-Sharia news

An email from One Law for All:

Several hundred people joined One Law for All on 20 June at Downing Street to show their opposition to Sharia and religious-based laws in Britain and elsewhere and to demand universal rights and secularism.

A new report “Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights” was published on the day to coincide with the rally. Human rights activist Gita Sahgal said of the report: “I think it is highly significant that in Britain there has been silence where there should have been condemnation. There is active support for ‘Sharia laws’ precisely because it is limited to denying women rights in the family. No hands are being cut off, so there can’t be a problem. Unfortunately for us, senior law officers will find that human rights expert bodies often have a similar attitude. They have done little research on the impact of family laws and the denial of justice caused by parallel systems of justice. That is why the findings of this report are so important. It is such dedicated work that changes the thinking of the experts.”

Fish ‘n chips by the sea

An outing to the seaside, starting with fish ‘n chips at the Flora Tea Rooms on the beach at Dunwich, then a walk, then tea at the National Trust Centre nearby (if you’re thirsty). Family, friends and neighbouring group members welcome.

Please let us know if you’re coming by Monday 2nd August.

Cherry Tree Inn, Woodbridge

On the opposite side of the B1438 to Nottcutts Garden Centre, at 73 Cumberland Street, Woodbridge.

World Humanist Day

Ipswich library June 2010

A belated post on World Humanist Day, the beginning of Humanist Week, but some of us have been busy window-dressing. We’ve put together an exhibit in one of the display cases at the County Library in Ipswich (Northgate Street) to mark Humanist Day and Week, so if you’re in town, take a look.

While we were assembling it all (or while Andrew and John were assembling it – I supervised), a couple of people stopped to talk about it, expressing approval. We gave them leaflets.

My thanks to Andrew, John and Marion, and Sue, for all their help. Couldn’t have done it without you!

Educational confusion

SchoolchildrenI enjoy visiting schools and talking to students but I’m so glad I’m not a teacher any more. All the teachers I know have complained about frequent changes of government policy, masses of paperwork, and SATs testing (Standard Attainment Tests), which have reduced young children to gibbering wrecks with the stress.

I’m glad I’m not the parent of a school-age child either. There’s been a lot of talk about parental choice, but from what I’ve read, your choices have been limited. If you’re not religious, for example, and all the local schools have a religious ethos, you can either do what many parents do, and pretend to be religious to get your child into the best school, judged by its exam results and Ofsted reports, or what? Find the money to transport your child to a school that’s free from religion? It’s become so complicated that pushy parents are having to devote a lot of time to researching their options.

Leaving SACRE

After many years as a Humanist representative on Suffolk’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE), a full member* for the last two years, I resigned at today’s meeting and recommended Andrew Morrison, our group chairperson, as my replacement. I’ve enjoyed my involvement with SACRE, though there are so many changes in the offing that I’m happy for Andrew to deal with them. He’ll be fine!