Last Night's TV: Faith Schools Menace?/More 4

Religious prejudice may be the only form of discrimination now funded by government. We spend money – and quite a lot of it – on discouraging racial bigotry and age intolerance. We also pay to ensure that gender bias and homophobia keep their ugly heads down. But, through the agency of faith schools, the belief that one form of religious conviction is superior to others (and that pretty much any form of religion is superior to atheism) is actively encouraged by the state. That's a partisan way of putting it, of course. The proponents of faith schools don't like to think of themselves as intolerant, even as they discriminate against those who don't share their beliefs. They prefer to talk of cultural continuity and moral instruction and strong communities. Above all, they prefer to talk of parental choice.

The stolen brides turned into Stepford wives

Lucy Ash reports from the Chechen medical centre claiming to 'cure' depressed women

Life sentences for arson murders 'honour killing' gang

Four men who murdered a couple in a bungled honour killing attempt were jailed for life today.

Voices from the Old Bailey, Radio 4<br/>Beyond Belief, Radio 4

How we love a dandy highwaymen

Champion of UK burka ban declares war on veil-wearing constituents

A Conservative MP says he will refuse to hold meetings with Muslim women wearing full Islamic dress at his constituency surgery unless they lift their face veil.

New Iraqi parliament session cut short

Iraq's new parliament convened for just under 20 minutes yesterday in what was little more than a symbolic inaugural session because of unresolved differences over key government positions.

Term starts for new-look House of Commons

The new-look House of Commons will today take to the green benches for the first time since the General Election.

Sheikh Mohamed Sayyid Tantawi: Controversial Imam who preached tolerance

Grand Imam Sheikh Mohamed Sayyid Tantawi, Rector of Al Azhar University in Cairo and the leading cleric in Sunni Islam worldwide, often courted controversy. His most notable characteristics in office were his liberal reforming pronouncements, compared to many Sunni clerics, his great Islamic scholarship and his loyalty to the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who appointed him Grand Mufti of Egypt in 1986 and then Head of Al Azhar in 1996. This loyalty was seen in Tantawi's backing for some highly controversial stances of the President: his building a security fence to prevent smuggling of weapons into Gaza, his condemnations of the 9/11 attack and of al-Qaeda, and of his maintaining Sadat's Peace with Israel.

The House of Wisdom, By Jonathan Lyons

Jonathan Lyons dedicates his book – an account of "How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization" – to his father, who introduced him "to the power of ideas". In its pages, key ideas which shape our world are passionately explored – how they originated and their influence and legacy.

Life Is More Beautiful Than Paradise By Khaled al-Berry trans Humphrey Davies

How martyrdom seduced an ordinary boy

Gaddafi's night in with '500 attractive girls' - and the Koran

Mini-skirts and plunging necklines forbidden as Libyan leader tries to convert Roman 'hostesses' to Islam

Renouncing Islamism: To the brink and back again

Ever since I started meeting jihadis, I have been struck by one thing – their Britishness. I am from the East End of London, and at some point in the past decade I became used to hearing a hoarse and angry whisper of jihadism on the streets where I live. Bearded young men stand outside the library calling for "The Rule of God" and "Death to Democracy".

Tutor 'abused girl at Koran lessons'

A Muslim tutor fondled a young girl as she read the Koran to him, a court heard today.

Wilders hails his arrival in UK as victory for free speech

A Dutch far-right MP who has called for the Koran to be banned has described his arrival in Britain as a "victory for free speech".

UK protests confront Dutch far-right MP

Tension was high today as angry protests greeted a visit to the UK by a Dutch far-right MP.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there