Feminism has risen to the forefront of many people's minds this year, in no small part thanks to Emma Watson's inspiring UN speech. But one of my favourite things to appear recently is Caitlin Stasey's new website, herself.com.
As such my only New Year's resolution is try to be nicer to people; a task that if undertaken by everyone all at once, might make this tumultuous lump of rock hurtling around an infinite, pointless expanse of space that we call home somewhat more bearable.
Terrorists carry out their heinous acts to gain publicity for their cause but what is far more sinister is their motive to create division and conflict in the country and it is this that we need to be aware of and not let them succeed...
Every person's life has an intrinsic value regardless of circumstance. Whatever they themselves or other people may think of their 'value' to society, and despite any apparent lack of productivity or usefulness, nothing can alter their essential significance as human beings. To agree that some of us are more valuable than others when it comes to being alive would be to cross an ethical Rubicon.
The statistical reality is that Britain remains one of the least antisemitic countries in the world... Indeed, Jewish life in Britain is thriving. British Jews have benefited enormously from multiculturalism, and compared to a generation ago, Britain has become a fabulous place to live a meaningful Jewish life. But perhaps that is what helps to fuel the anxiety.
Charlie Hebdo was categorically correct to publish the prophet on its front cover. To ask cartoonists not to draw Mohammed would be like cartoonists to ask Muslims to give up their prophet...
When Israelis look at these events in Europe, their view is inevitably coloured by the history of Jews there, and the fact that the idea of a modern Jewish state was created in Europe as an answer to anti-semitism.
The presumption of liability here implies that should a Muslim commit a crime, 1.6 billion other Muslims think it is okay unless they explicitly say otherwise. That is a bigoted and repulsive double standard to hold a whole host of peaceful people up to.
There have been countless acts of terrorisms around the world but we do not hear the mainstream media or anyone else ask normal Jews, Christians, Hindus or any other religion to take accountability for these acts and quite rightly so.
I don't doubt many people would have found the Charlie Hebdo cartoons extremely offensive, and I'm not here to tell you that's wrong, but the insinuation that insulting/offending people may have invited this horrific tragedy on any level is tantamount in my eyes to the old age adage that a rape victim "asked for it" by wearing a short skirt. It's victim blaming at its very worst, and especially against people who fought in many ways for the rights of those who attacked them. So long as offence remains within the bounds of what is legally acceptable, then it is just that - acceptable - whether you personally like it or not.
Let's be clear: I agree there is no justification whatsoever for gunning down journalists or cartoonists. I disagree with your seeming view that the right to offend comes with no corresponding responsibility; and I do not believe that a right to offend automatically translates into a duty to offend.
Plants and animals do not walk around tormented by guilt, drowning in a need for penance and a wracked conscience. This is a human failing, perhaps to not move onwards and away from the errors and mistakes we are destined to make.
When the attackers from the Paris massacre, claimed that they were 'avenging' the dignity of the Prophet Muhammad, I was both shocked and appalled. No, No, No! Not again! This couldn't be further from the truth.
They are about live fast, die young. They can spend 10 years as a pizza delivery boy or three days as the world's most wanted and get death-by-cop immortality via Sky News. A chance to play real life GTA while knowing it's the true path and, posthumously, you'll persuade the stupid world to agree. And, of course, if you'd given the Kouachi brothers a lottery jackpot, they wouldn't have donated it to orphans in Palestine, they'd have reverted to previous interests in five minutes and blown it on flash cars and bling.
Islam is a set of ideas. It is an ideology. It inherently deserves no more or less respect than any other ideology. That is to say, it inherently deserves no respect whatsoever. Just like any other idea or ideology, Islam also deserves no special protection from criticism or critique. Affording it any such privilege just because it has a supernatural origin story is not compatible with reason. Muslims, on the other hand, are people who have adopted Islam as dogma. It should really go without saying that just like any other person, Muslims inherently deserve to be respected as people, treated with dignity, and have their rights protected.
"I haven't seen my daughter since IS took her. I cried and shouted at them - what could they want with a three year old? She's just a child." The desperate mother told me her story as we sat on a cold, damp floor in Iraq in November. At Open Doors we estimate that there are over 100million Christians persecuted for their faith. And each one has a story. Our 2015 World Watch List report, released today, reveals a devastating picture of what is happening to Christians around the globe.