The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights was updated towards the end of last year – thus, demonstrating that its universality was not that universally accepted. This is a statement guaranteeing equal treatment, non-discrimination, and the right to life regardless of colour, race or language. In November 2010 the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee on Social, Cultural and Humanitarian issues removed the phrase “sexual orientation” from a resolution addressing extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Gay and lesbian groups claim that the removed “sexual orientation” from the resolution gives the green light for gays to be murdered by governments, death squads and vigilantes without cause.

Al-Azhar's Grand Imam declares support for a constitutional, democratic state

In a document that read more as a short constitutional declaration, Al-Azhar defends universal human rights and rejects 'the theocratic state' as un-Islamic and autocratic by nature

In a statement titled “Al-Azhar Document” and read on national television, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayeb, the country’s highest religious authority, outlined his institution’s vision on key political, social and economic issues that have been subject to raging debates across the country for months.

[Turkey] Election Time

It's election time. Probably the most important elections of your life and you're not invited.

Turkey goes to the polls on Sunday 12 June 2010 and if the governing party gets a big enough mandate, they could be unleashed to provide the country with a new constitution that helps the country jump a good distance.

Or the power could get into the heads of the government and they may become authoritarian and/or a part of the problem (that is always a risk).

This will shape the future of Turkey and also have repercussions on the wider region.

Time to keep watching what happens.

A problem with the Alternative Vote

I read the other day that the yes campaign for the alternative vote in the upcoming referendum had falled behind the No campaign.

I am not sure which is better, but I have a few issues with the Alternative Vote (AV).

A Major one is that the voters of the least popular opponents will be "double counted" first.

An Example:

Party A: 40%
Party B: 30%
Party C: 20%
Fringe Party: 10%

Since neither party has reached the required vote, the BNP candiate will be knocked off the list and his voters second choices used. The voters who voted for the Fringe Party will in essence have two votes.

(in the above scenario, the voters for Party C will also have 2 votes as with the redistribution of the Fringe Party vote, it will still be unlikely for anyone to have reached 50%.)

Oldham East and saddleworth, Take 2.

I mentioned before how I was not too fussed about who won in Oldham East.

But now I think there are two potential candidates to vote for:

1. Kashif Ali as the token Muslim Tory who almost turned it into a three horse race last time around.
2. Elwyn Watkins, the Lib Dem guy who should have won last time around.

and those are in no particular order. Why the sudden change?

Labour just don't get privacy/liberty.

In recent days I have heard of two different incidents which tell me that Labour just does not get the idea of the right to privacy and liberty.

First, there was the suggestion that speed cameras should be "reversed" to also "reward good drivers". Ofcourse this would mean tracking each and every journey to decide who the good drivers are etc, instead of only keeping on record those that speed.

and now after the Jo Yeates murder, another Labour MP has suggested that all men in Bristol should submit their DNA for testing in order to find the killer.

Maybe its what being in power for 143 years does, but Labour seriously need to sort out their views on civil liberties and right to privacy.

Oldham East and Saddleworth By-Election

The By-Election to choose the replacement for Phil Woolas will be on Thursday 13 January 2011.

He is out, which is a good result. as for the people running in it, there is no compelling option.

The Lib Dems have proven themselves to be a bit Weasely.

Labour while it has a new leader, still needs to remember its past.

The Tories have no chance in hell, not that they are even trying.

So voter advice: stay at home. All options are the same, even though it would be good to see the Lib Dems get a kicking.

The civil war among Muslims in Britain

The previous government’s controversial programme for preventing violent extremism is currently being reviewed by the Home Office. How did it happen that programmes which were introduced with the aim of promoting “community cohesion” and preventing the influence of violent extremists ended up achieving the opposite of what they set out to achieve? Since the introduction of such programmes British Muslim communities have been engaged in what is effectively a ‘civil war’ which has left young Muslims (the intended beneficiaries of the programmes) further marginalised and more vulnerable to extremist ideas.