Week commencing 22nd March 2021

The Independent runs an opinion piece on why ticking ‘no religion’ in the census is important. Whilst atheists have had fun with their presence by being subversive (using Jedi as a religious choice), there is a voice at stake for those who hold no religious views nor subscribe to a religious group. 

The Guardian reports that academics are predicting less than half of Britons will tick ‘Christian’ in the census. Abby Day, professor of race, faith and culture at Goldsmiths, University of London, expects this year’s census to show a further erosion in Christian identity, mainly because post-war generations regard the church as irrelevant and immoral, the paper says. 

Al Jazeera carries the story of Pakistan’s first transgender-only madrasa, which is breaking down barriers and is an important milestone for the LGBTQ+ community in the Muslim majority country. Whilst there is no official religious restrictions placed on trans people, many face ostracism. It is hoped the madrasa will help them find work and a community as well as allowing space to learn the Quran. 

NBC News in the US reports on the departure from the Southern Baptist Convention of celebrity evangelist, Beth Moore. This follows a string of high profile people leaving the denomination because of tensions over gender, racial and political divisions. 

The BBC reports that after demonstrations outside a school in Batley, West Yorkshire, a teacher has been suspended for showing pupils cartoon images of the Prophet Muhammad. The school has a majority of Muslim pupils and local leader, Mohammad Sajad Hussain, from the Batley-based Purpose of Life charity, said he had been “deeply hurt” by the use of “insulting caricatures” at the school. There are calls to have the teacher permanently removed.