Thursday, May 28, 2015

More -- not less -- religion needed to fight extremism, imam director says

PBS, More -- not less -- religion needed to fight extremism, imam director says
 
This PBS report refers to the importance of internet training for imams (from Mali), and discusses the impact of onine religious authority.

Casablanca Calling

Emma Batha, Reuters/Huffington Post, How Morocco's Islamic Women Preachers Are Leading A Social Revolution "Hannane is one of a new generation of female religious leaders, known as morchidat -- part of a quiet social revolution in the North African country.


"Their groundbreaking work is the subject of a British film, "Casablanca Calling," which will be showcased on Tuesday night at an international conference on child marriage in Morocco's famous port city."




More information can be found on the 'Casablanca Calling' website. 

'Women, “Celebrity” Shaykhs, and Spiritual Abuse'

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, muslimmatters.org, Blurred Lines: Women, “Celebrity” Shaykhs, and Spiritual Abuse "I believe the celebrity Shaykh is a victim of his own success, a product of the techno-obsessed culture that dictates that every 'alim, school, and institution market its “authentic,” “classical” and “traditional” Islamic “products and services” or perish. Moreover, the celebrity Shaykh has become enthroned on a pedestal, the pedestal of unimpeachable piety and character, the pedestal of “see no wrong, do no wrong,” in which we, the adoring students, have cast this very fallible human being as larger than life." There are some interesting points regarding 'celebrity' and boundaries in this piece by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 Internet Trends Report

2015 Internet Trends Report Interesting to consider how it applies to my research.

Young Saudis, Bound by Conservative Strictures, Find Freedom on Their Phones

NY Times, Young Saudis, Bound by Conservative Strictures, Find Freedom on Their Phones "Being increasingly wired, however, will not necessarily bring Western-style liberalization. Religious conservatives use social media as adeptly as liberals, and many young Saudis remain committed to and proud of their culture. Even those who want change say it must come gradually."

Iranian Cartoon Contest Lampoons IS, Alleged Backers

RFE/RL, Iranian Cartoon Contest Lampoons IS, Alleged Backers "A man with a long dark beard sits immersed in blood in a bathtub shaped like the map of Iraq. A machine gun is propped against the wall behind him."

Jihadi threat requires move into 'private space' of UK Muslims, says police chief

Guardian, Jihadi threat requires move into 'private space' of UK Muslims, says police chief "Islamist propaganda is so potent it is influencing children as young as five and should be countered with intensified monitoring to detect the earliest signs of anti-western sentiment, Britain’s most senior Muslim police chief has warned."

Israel jails Palestinians for Facebook comments

aljazeera.com, Israel jails Palestinians for Facebook comments

Skyping with the enemy: I went undercover as a jihadi girlfriend

Guardian, Skyping with the enemy: I went undercover as a jihadi girlfriend "When a French journalist posed online as a young woman interested in Isis, she was soon contacted by a fighter in Syria. He proposed marriage – but could she maintain a double life?"

Inside Jordan's fight against home-grown extremism

Inside Jordan's fight against home-grown extremism - BBC News "Jordan is getting a lot of technical help behind the scenes from British counter-terrorism agencies.



"But it has also developed its own mobile phone app, called "Jordan Knights", so young Jordanians can report any suspicious sightings.



""We want to improve our tools to meet the language of the new generation," says Col Rashid from Jordan's Special Branch. "So this application... can be easily used to report any single information by text or by recording or by voice message or by taking a snapshot and sending it to us""

Friday, May 22, 2015

Saudi Girls Finally Get to Drive, but Only in a Videogame

wsj.com, Saudi Girls Finally Get to Drive, but Only in a Videogame "“Saudi Girls Revolution” is slated for release on the Apple Inc. and Google Inc. app stores sometime later this year. It will be free to download and paired with a digital comic book that tells the back stories of the eight heroines."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

'Any Hobbies?' Al Qaeda Application Form Asked

Sky News, 'Any Hobbies?' Al Qaeda Application Form Asked

Bin Ladin's Bookshelf

ODNI, Bin Ladin's Bookshelf  "On May 20, 2015, the ODNI released a sizeable tranche of documents recovered during the raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin. The release, which followed a rigorous interagency review, aligns with the President’s call for increased transparency–consistent with national security prerogatives–and the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act, which required the ODNI to conduct a review of the documents for release."

Also see ABC News, Terror Files: What’s on Osama Bin Laden’s Private Bookshelf’ "The material includes think tank reports, software and technical manuals for computer programs, and Arabic-language letters to bin Laden’s apparent associates, including other suspected terrorists wanted by the U.S. In releasing the documents, the ODNI said they are only publishing those which “will not hurt ongoing operations against al-Qa‘ida [al Qaeda] or their affiliates.”"

Peter Bergen, CNN, Secrets of the bin Laden treasure-trove "Bin Laden was a meticulous editor, and some of the memos he wrote were revised as many as 50 times. Of the thousands of versions of documents recovered from computers and digital media that the SEALs retrieved at bin Laden's compound, the final tally numbers several hundred documents.


"The new documents show how bin Laden reacted to the events of the Arab Spring, which was roiling the Middle East in the months before his death. While bin Laden had nothing to say publicly about the momentous events in the Middle East, privately he wrote lengthy memos analyzing what was happening, pointing to the "new factor" of "the information technology revolution" that had helped spur the revolutions and characterizing them as "the most important events" in the Muslim world "in centuries."

ISIS Is Trying to Lure British Recruits with Cappuccinos

munchies.vice.com, ISIS Is Trying to Lure British Recruits with Cappuccinos "A Brief Guide to the Islamic State 2015 by Abu Rumaysah al Britani, the “Walthamstow jihadi” who escaped to Syria via a Paris-bound coach after being arrested on suspicion of terrorism last year, is being circulated on social media by ISIS sympathisers."

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Contextualizing Islam in Europe and North America"

brookings.edu, Contextualizing Islam in Europe and North America: Challenges and Opportunities "The Working Group “Muslim Communities in Europe & North America: A Transatlantic Dialogue on Contextualized Religion” convened scholars, civil society actors, and community leaders from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss the nature and significance of key challenges in achieving a contextualized understanding of their religion that is suited to the unique circumstances, challenges, and opportunities that face religious minorities in contemporary Western societies." I have yet to read the findings of this report, which is available in English and Arabic.

Profiling 'female foreign fighters'

SMH, Why many local Muslim women will never turn to terror "Audrey Alexander, a research associate at London's International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation​, monitors the online comments of dozens of women who have travelled overseas to support IS, or are planning to. She says there is no one profile for women who become 'female foreign fighters'." This article has a focus on Australia.

E-terrorism targeting 17 million in Saudi Arabia, says expert

ara.tv, E-terrorism targeting 17 million in Saudi Arabia, says expert "Hassan Al-Daajah was quoted by Al-Watan as saying that there are more than 46,000 websites supporting ISIS.



“When we find that about 17 million Saudi men and women are using the Internet, we will realize the magnitude of the electronic danger threatening our society,” he said. He warned that if the concerned authorities in the Kingdom do not move fast, the possibility of ISIS influencing society would become greater.

How Berlin Muslims are tackling jihad

themalaymailonline.com, How Berlin Muslims are tackling jihad " Security services say it’s crucial that imams and Muslim families help combat extremism in a way they can’t, even if that means they are blamed inside their communities for selling out — while at the same time confronted by growing animosity toward Islam in their adopted homelands.

Net radicalisation

Radio Australia, Queensland teenager who fled to join Al Qaeda affiliate became radicalised over the internet, an Islamic leader says

Losing their religion: The hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims

Guardian, Losing their religion: The hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims "As debate rages over the radicalisation of young British Muslims, are we overlooking a different crisis of faith? Ex-Muslims who dare to speak out are often cut off by their families and fear for their lives. A brave few tell us their stories." Internet sub-text within this.

Senior cleric denounces former Egyptian president's death sentence as 'nonsense'

Independent, Senior cleric denounces former Egyptian president's death sentence as 'nonsense' "Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is the spiritual leader of the brotherhood and based in Qatar, posted a video statement on his Twitter account claiming the sentences violated Islamic law."

War with Isis

Patrick Cockburn, Independent, War with Isis: The grim reality of life under the Islamist group in Iraq "In part two of this special series of dispatches, Patrick Cockburn explains how the group is tightening its grip on Fallujah and encouraging people to denounce their neighbours."