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The final programme in the latest series of Radio 4’s Beyond Belief, broadcast on 11 January 2016, involved Dr Kay Chadwick from Modern Languages and Cultures in discussion with fellow guests Professor Mona Siddiqui (Professor of Islamic and Inter-religious Studies, University of Edinburgh) and Natasha Lehrer (literary editor of the Jewish Quarterly) on the topic of religion in France. Host Ernie Rae chaired the panel’s discussion of the historical presence and impact of Catholicism, Judaism and Islam in France.

For me, secularism is not a religion, it is a principle, it’s the guiding principle of the Republic. Using religious terminology to explain it seems distinctly odd – Kay Chadwick

Beyond belife

This revolved around the development and importance of laïcité (broadly, secularism) as the guiding principle of the French Republic, and addressed the current situation of religion in France in the light of the terrorist attacks in Paris in January and November 2015.

The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer Radio here.