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Video: My testimony to Bright Blue's Conservatism and Human Rights Commission

51 minute video of evidence gathering session on human rights in the UK focusing on race and religion. Evidence given from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular perspectives.

Summary

Posted 23 March 2017. Video recorded 15 November 2016.

In early 2016, the think tank Bright Blue launched its Conservatism and Human Rights project with an eminent set of commissioners.

My first contribution to Bright Blue's thinking on human rights was writing my piece Tackling Extremism Amongst Muslims While Respecting Freedom of Religion.

Late last year I was invited to give oral testimony to Bright Blue's commission, specifically focused on the human rights aspects of race and religion.

The evidence session took place on 15 November 2016 and was recorded. Bright Blue published the recording on YouTube in February 2017 and I have now embedded it below.

Who was present?

The commissioners hearing the evidence were, from left to right on the video below:

The people giving the evidence were, from left to right on the video:

The video recording

The video below is 51 minutes long. I recommend watching it in full as it covers some important ground. I have not attempted to summarise the other contributions, but have itemised below the times where I speak.

  1. At 1:57 I introduce myself and explain what I do.
  2. At 12:39 I discuss the reasons for the widespread criticism of the Government's Prevent programme, and suggest what the Government should be doing to increase confidence in Prevent.
  3. At 21:20 I explain why I believe the UK should remain a member of the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly because the UK does not have a written constitution. I also point out that some of the worst human rights abuses involve people having their freedom restricted by others within their own community.
  4. At 24:42 I explain that my human rights as a Muslim are not infringed if a Protestant pastor chooses to "slag off" Islam, and that there is no right to not be offended.
  5. At 37:35 I mention the Northern Ireland Ashers Bakery case which is expected to go to the UK Supreme Court. My view was that the Equality Act 2010 is defective when it comes to protecting freedom of religious belief.
  6. At 45:45 I recommend that, assuming such a provision does not already exist, UK law should borrow from the USA and introduce the requirement for employers to "make reasonable accommodation" for the religious beliefs of their employees.

The full video can be watched below.

 

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