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Religion

Theocrats, plutocrats, bureaucrats and other enemies of human freedom

18 November 2012 14:32

This is a video of a speech to Oxford Brookes University on freedom and its enemies based on my book on censorship You Can’t Read This Book.

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Actors rehearsing a scene from Dante's 'Inferno'. Sharon Olds' fear of hell as a child continues inform so much of her poetry. Image: Getty.

Sharon Olds’ fear and self-loathing

9 November 2012 12:36

Since the publication of her debut collection, Satan Says in 1980, which was awarded the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award, Sharon Olds has become a prominent – and controversial… Continue reading

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New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Picture: PA

Why Old Etonian Justin Welby is good news for the CofE

8 November 2012 13:11

So, another Old Etonian at the apex of the British establishment: Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, will be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s sweet, in a way. All we need… Continue reading

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Prince Henry's death prompted an outpouring of public grief, similar to that of Winston Churchill. Image: Getty.

William Rowley and the death of Prince Henry – poetry

5 November 2012 10:26

‘To the Grave’ Unclasp thy womb, thou mortuary shrine, And take the worst part of the best we had. Thou hast no harbourage for things divine, That thou had’st any… Continue reading

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Way Of The Cross Led By Pope Benedict XVI

Thornton Wilder’s theatrics in The Cabala

29 October 2012 10:30

I was on a date once in Atlanta, Georgia. We decided on the theatre and there was only one show playing, The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder. After… Continue reading

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The Gospels have been translated into patois, the creole spoken as the primary language of most Jamaicans. Image: Getty.

Spreading the Word through patois

10 October 2012 12:35

The Jamaican High Commission in London held a party last night to launch a patois translation of the Gospels. The translation, published by the Bible Society, is the culmination of… Continue reading

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You'll never look at a pineapple in the same way again. Image: Getty.

The Pineapple of Hate

5 October 2012 10:48

We have had the dreaded cartoons, films, teddy-bear and more. But I bet that until now nobody imagined we would ever see a (cue dreaded music) ‘Pineapple of Hate’.  Yet… Continue reading

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'John Saturnall's Feast' would have been the ideal setting for Lawrence Norfolk's full descriptive talents. Image: Getty.

Review – John Saturnall’s Feast, by Lawrence Norfolk

25 September 2012 15:16

Lawrence Norfolk has always liked to centre his novels around a mixture of existing and constructed myth, and then let the action which happens centuries later be informed by or… Continue reading

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Demonstrators hold banners reading "Your

No surrender for Salman

20 September 2012 14:39

As the Middle East reels and Parisian satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo up their security, one man who knows more than most about the absurd over-reaction of vast swathes of the… Continue reading

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Hassan Nasrallah has called for a enforceable international law banning insults to Islam and other religions. Photo: Getty Images

Britain should call for reform of existing blasphemy laws

17 September 2012 18:49

Around the time that speculation was mounting about Tony Blair’s possible return to British politics last month, I went to a public discussion about faith and public life by the… Continue reading

83 Comments
This week's Discovering Poetry column examines Thomas Jordan's anti-Republican polemics, written soon after the Restoration. Image: Getty.

The poetic lies against Old Ironsides

17 September 2012 15:19

‘How the War Began’ by Thomas Jordan, 1663. ‘I’ll tell you how the war began: The holy ones assembled (For so they called their party then Whose consciences so trembled).… Continue reading

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Indian Muslims burn an effigy of Salman Rushdie. Image: Getty.

Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ revisited

17 September 2012 11:34

The publication of Joseph Anton (tomorrow), Salman Rushdie’s much anticipated memoir, has given newspapers cause to revisit The Satanic Verses. The commentary focuses on the bloodthirsty and backward response that the… Continue reading

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+Islam-+The+Untold+Story

Channel 4 cancels Tom Holland’s history of Islam, but the extremists will not win

11 September 2012 18:30

In what may prove to be the most depressingly predictable story of the year, we learn that Channel 4 has chosen to cancel a screening of Tom Holland’s programme ‘Islam:… Continue reading

152 Comments
Zadie Smith's 'NW' seems to be winning plaudits, and rightly so. Image: Getty.

A tale of two Smiths: Zadie Smith and The Smiths

10 September 2012 15:00

It is lit-fiction season: that time of the year of when the premier novelists of the age dominate the market. Ian McEwan, Pat Barker, Zadie Smith, Sebastian Faulks and Rose… Continue reading

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Former Relate counsellor Gary McFarlane is one of four Christians taking their cases to the European Court of Human Rights. Picture: Getty

Briefing: the Christians taking their fight to Europe

4 September 2012 19:18

Away from the drama of the reshuffle, the European Court of Human Rights is hearing the pleas of four British Christians, who are arguing that UK law inadequately protects their… Continue reading

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kl railway

The Visit – Shiva Naipaul Prize, 2007

28 August 2012 19:14

The 2007 Spectator/ Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize was won by Clarissa Tan. The prize, named after the late Trinidadian author, is for ‘the most acute and profound observation of a culture… Continue reading

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Mass Baptism on the Streets of Harlem

Entertaining Dr Murdock – Shiva Naipaul Prize, 2000

28 August 2012 16:29

The Spectator/ Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for the year 2000 was won by Mary Wakefield. The judges included Antony Beevor; Patrick Marhnam; Boris Johnson, then editor of the magazine; and Mark… Continue reading

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Pussy Riot protest

Our Pussy Riot outrage is monumental hypocrisy

18 August 2012 12:11

So, two years in prison for the members of Pussy Riot as a consequence of their foul and insulting behaviour inside a church. The western world is outraged and takes the… Continue reading

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PRAYING

Chariots of fire

12 August 2012 9:15

When the contestants were lining up for last night’s sensational 5,000 metre race, both of the American contestants waited until the cameras were on them, then crossed themselves and held… Continue reading

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Maajid Nawaz on Youth Radicalization Redefined At The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival

Memoir of an Islamist

9 August 2012 12:48

It was a surreal experience to meet Maajid Nawaz for the first time. I had known of him for years and admired his bombast. He was a hero — not just… Continue reading

8 Comments
Army Chief Of Staff Gen. Odierno Swears In Recruits In NYC's Times Square

All-American heroes

31 July 2012 13:21

Whatever Mitt might think, if there’s one thing that makes us proud to be British, it’s the fact we’re not American. Alright, it’s true we don’t have a black president… Continue reading

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Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, New York. Getty Images

Anti-Semitism, Islamism and Islam

26 July 2012 15:03

My blog on last week’s bombing in Bulgaria and convictions in Manchester provoked a response from my colleague Martin Bright which I should like to respond to in turn. In… Continue reading

24 Comments
A lecture against FGM in southern Egypt, Getty Images

The racism of the respectable

24 July 2012 19:33

To be a racist in Britain, you do not need to cover yourself in tattoos and join a neo-Nazi party. You can wear well-made shirts, open at the neck, appreciate… Continue reading

105 Comments
Royal Ascot, Getty Images

The delights of sin

23 July 2012 10:47

Epigram 7 from The letting of humours blood in the head-vaine ‘Speak gentlemen, what shall we do to day? Drink some brave health upon the Dutch carouse? Or shall we… Continue reading

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Orthodox Jews targeted, Getty Images

A shared hobby

22 July 2012 12:22

It’s always nice when a married couple are able to share a hobby – even if it is, in the case of Shasta and Mohammed Khan, trying to blow up… Continue reading

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