Under the headline “Muslims more successful at enforcing their religion from generation to generation”, the National Secular Society offers its take on the recently published study of Religious nurture in Muslim families carried out by the School of Social Sciences and Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University.
The BBC report pointed out that the authors of the study “said research suggested religion helps minority communities”. They were quoted as stating that “for minority ethnic populations, religion can be an important resource in bolstering a sense of cultural distinctiveness” and that it “can have an especially important role for minority communities in keeping together the bonds between families from the same ethnic background”.
So, not a study whose conclusions would find favour with the National Secular Society, you might think. The response of the NSS, however, is to ignore the Cardiff researchers’ positive assessment of the impact of Islam on Muslim communities and dogmatically reassert their own uniformly negative view of the role of faith in society.
NSS president Terry Sanderson declares: “When one is raised to believe that a particular religion is your whole identity and this idea is heavily reinforced in childhood by constant indoctrination in mosques and madrassas as well as at home by parents who have been similarly brainwashed, then there is little wonder that most Muslims cannot think outside a religious box.”
Of course, this is what we have come to expect from the National Secular Society. The NSS is not an organisation which is secularist in the legitimate sense of campaigning for the separation of church and state. It is a cranky atheist sect whose main target is not the privileges of the established church but the beliefs and religious practices of minority communities of recent migrant origin.
Still, the NSS does have its admirers: