The UK has some of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in the world. Britain is rightly regarded globally as a tolerant nation; one where everyone, within reasonable limits, can enjoy freedom of religion or belief and is legally protected from discrimination on the grounds of their religion or belief...
Speaker after speaker last Saturday warned of an Islamist agenda of stealthy, creeping, subtle Sharification. This involves sustained attempts by Islamists to pressure public institutions, in the name of religious freedom and multiculturalism, to make special allowances for their reactionary sectarian clerical values.
Everyone has freedom of (and from) religion and belief, and the right to practice however they like, but it should never impact upon the freedom of others to live their lives how they wish. That the government is choosing to uphold this basic but vital principle is a fantastic victory for secularism, humanism and feminism, and another step towards a more equal and fair society.
Students have rights, their beliefs don't. If there is one message universities need to hear at the end of this academic year, it's this. For non-religious students on campuses across the UK, 2013-14 has been the most challenging year to date, with criticism of religion censored and religious rules enforced in lecture theatres. It has also seen the start of a significant fight-back.
It is this debate that secularists, both religious and otherwise, are fighting for. The movement doesn't aim to destroy or dismantle religion, but to create a society where no one group is granted special privilege or power. A society which ensures that all beliefs are protected and welcomed equally. But this debate can only be had once you stop using "secularism" as a slur.