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  • 14 January 2014 : A 23 year old Afghan man is believed to have become the first to be granted asylum in the UK on the basis of his non-religion.

The man, who was brought up as a Muslim, arrived in the England in 2007, and was given temporary leave to remain. Since then, he has become an atheist, and feared that if forcibly returned to his homeland he would face persecution for having renounced his faith. With help from a free law clinic for students, he submitted his claim to the Home Office under the UN’s 1951 refugee convention, arguing that if he returned to Afghanistan he would face persecution on the grounds of religion, or in his case, lack of religion. The Home Office’s decision to accept denial of the existence of God as grounds for protection could set a significant precedent in asylum and immigration cases.

Read more in the Guardian.

Ingrid Storm
  • March 2007 : non-religious services for funerals

The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) reported that more than 30,000 funerals in Britain in 2006 were non-religious. In 1996 this had been ’virtually unheard of’, but one in 20 families now rejects a church service in favour of a celebration of life.
Besides personal belief, part of the appeal may also be the increased cost of conventional funerals. Britons spent £1.3 billion on funerals in 2006, with the average cost having risen by 61 per cent from £2,048 in 2000 to £3,307 in 2006.
See C. McClatchey, ’Rise of the funerals that leave out God. Religion is sidelined in thousands of ’celebration of life’ ceremonies each year’, Sunday Telegraph (March 4, 2007).

Siobhan McAndrew

D 16 octobre 2018    AIngrid Storm ASiobhan McAndrew

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