Bradlaugh Lecture 2021: 'Blind spots', with Nazir Afzal

Bradlaugh Lecture 2021: 'Blind spots', with Nazir Afzal

In 2001, Nazir Afzal OBE became the youngest person, and first Muslim, to be appointed as assistant Chief Crown Prosecutor. Throughout his career with the Crown Prosecution Service, Afzal has succeeded in bringing justice to victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and violence against women – and has spoken out against cultural influences underpinning some of these cases.

Some of his highest profile cases have included the prosecution of the relatives responsible for the ‘honour killing’ of Samaira Nazir in 2005, and initiating prosecutions in the case of the Rochdale sex trafficking gang, overturning an earlier decision by the CPS. He has also supported schools that have taught about same-sex relationships despite protests from religious hardliners, and is now the chairman of the Catholic Church’s new safeguarding body.

For our 2021 Bradlaugh Lecture, Afzal talked about his life and career, including his work upholding the rights of women and girls by combatting forced marriage, honour-based violence and abuse. He explored how, and why, a reluctance to acknowledge harmful practices in some communities leads to injustice and a breakdown in social cohesion. And he addressed the question of how we promote tolerance, pluralism and understanding in an increasingly diverse society.

Read more about this talk:

The National Secular Society’s annual Bradlaugh Lecture provides a space for a distinguished speaker to explore a secularist topic in depth. Find out more:

Special thanks to podcaster Stephen Knight for filming and editing. Check him out:
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1 thought on “Bradlaugh Lecture 2021: 'Blind spots', with Nazir Afzal”

  1. Can't you put some "Chapters" in here, please? I'm looking into his work on Traveller Grooming gangs. I came across an incident of it a couple of years ago. The lady who discovered one such gang (Showman, as opposed to blood-Travellers, but often get mixed up, conflated and the terms are synonymous due to ignorance, my own included). That lady was a victim of the NHS and I have to presume dead at this point, but they're still at it from what I know. They're up to a lot of other crimes, that I'd found out myself, but these crimes only appear to happen in a stratified society, when once you are in one that's not generally well catered for anything can happen and the majority demographic aren't really in touch with it so it's like an invisible crime.

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