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‘Secularism means freedom to choose how to live your life’: over 500 join tonight’s event on secularism around the world

Secularism: A Very Short Introduction

Secularism: A Very Short Introduction, by Andrew Copson (2019)

Over 500 people tonight joined the first Humanists UK event of 2021, hearing from a panel of experts about secularism around the world and the challenges it faces.

Multi-award winning journalist Samira Ahmed chaired the expert panel, including Humanists UK Chief Executive and author of Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom Andrew Copson, Dr Nazila Ghanea, and Professor Tariq Modood.

The speakers evaluated the different forms and varieties of secularism around the world; from the US to France to India. They discussed the effects Joe Biden’s presidency might have on freedom of religion or belief around the world over the next four years, and challenges in nations of particular concern, such as China’s human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘Three years on from the publication of Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom, the world seems a more challenging place. The continued rise of intolerant states should give us all pause for thought about where we’re heading. It is only by fostering a global sense of equality and freedom – of religion, belief, to live our lives as we wish without impinging on the rights of others – that we can create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail.’


Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom, since republished as Secularism: A Very Short Introduction, is available on Amazon and in all good bookstores.

The Little Book of Humanism, authored by Andrew Copson and Alice Roberts, became a Sunday Times bestseller upon its launch in October 2020.

Samira Ahmed is a multi-award winning journalist and broadcaster with a special focus on culture, politics and social change. She won Audio Broadcaster of the Year at the 2020 British Press Guild Awards for her work as a presenter of Front Row on Radio 4 and her podcast How I Found My Voice.

Andrew Copson is Chief Executive of Humanists UK, President of Humanists International, author of Secularism: politics, religion, and freedom and, with Alice Roberts, The Little Book of Humanism.

Dr Nazila Ghanea is Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. She serves as a member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Professor Tariq Modood is founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, and is a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017. He is the co-founding editor of the international journal Ethnicities.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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