Manifesto for Secularism – Against the Religious Right

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Secularism is vital for the defence of democracy, equality & human rights

“The launch of the Manifesto for Secularism is a challenge to the global rise of the Religious Right and its menacing values, which threaten women, LGBTs, atheists, minority faiths, apostates and many others,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Secularism – the separation of religion and the state – is a vital precondition for democracy, equality and human rights. It protects people of all faiths and none; creating a level playing field where no religion has legal privilege and no faith can abuse its influence to victimise people of different beliefs.

“Wherever religion has political power, human rights are attacked and restricted – as in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Even when religion has little or no formal political power, such as in the UK and US, the Religious Right has often sabotaged women’s reproductive rights and equality for LGBT people.

“Last weekend, 250 delegates gathered in London for the international secularism conference. Many of them were from developing countries and some of them were Muslims or ex-Muslims. Most delegates and speakers were women. Some had suffered state persecution or violent abuse in the name of religion. Examples of people murdered by theocratic states and religious fanatics were read out; followed by a minute’s silence.

“The conference went ahead despite threats made to the organisers and the conference hotel; as well as despite sustained cyber attacks which took down the conference website

“Delegates expressed strong support for the Kurdish people’s democratic, secular struggle against the clerical fascism of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, with many urging international aid to help the Kurds defend Kobane,” said Mr Tatchell, who attended and spoke at the conference and conveyed a message of support to the Kurdish solidarity rally in London on 11 October.

The Manifesto and signatories can be accessed online: http://goo.gl/TkdFSY

www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

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