Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Asia Times -How the Taliban builds its army, 27 August 2003
Wanted: Spies who speak Arabic, 26 August 2003
The Australian: India pins blasts on Muslim group [August 27, 2003]
albawaba.com: Saudi chief cleric: Muslims should not kill non-Muslims, 23 August 2003 Grand Mufti Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik issued this fatwa surrounding the theme of 'jihad'.
albawaba.com: Al-Azhar: Iraq council illegitimate, 26 August 2003 Fatwa from al-Azhar should generate some controversy, although it could be regarded as an astute political move
albawaba.com: Security software in the Gulf experiencing high growth, but still a grudge purchase, 25 August 2003
New York Times, U.S. and Saudi Arabia to Track Terrorism Financing, 26 August 2003
New York Times, Shiite Clerics Clashing Over How to Reshape Iraq, 26 August 2003
Hutton Inquiry Web Site The investigation into the death of Dr Kelly contains transcripts and regularly updated information. The use of email and the net within events is a relevant footnote, pertinent to this blog.
Wired News: Saddam's Hometown Gets Open Web, 24 August 2003 Tikrit gets a net cafe, just in time for sobig
BBCi, Vicar's virtual congregation, 25 August 2003 I confess, not an Islam and the net story - but it links to my Good Web Guide to World Religions ...
InformationWeek > > Bahrain Takes Swipe Into The Future With New Smart ID Cards > August 26, 2003
Islam Online- News Section, Conference On Muslim Identity To Open In Britain refers to 1924.org and a recent conference. Haven't heard any feedback on this yet.
Contra Costa Times | 08/24/2003 | The finer points of dashes set heads spinning
This is an article about the new Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed). I have used previous editions in the past, and think it a great help in writing academic work. I was interested to see that there was a reference to Islam in the article, in terms of references to the Qur'an:

"Another reflection of social change is a bow toward the growth of Islam in the United States. The new manual includes information on how to cite the Quran, "because we have instructions on how you cite the Bible," Samen said. But, she added, "we could not find a definitive, authoritative way."

"The Chicago Press did its best, she said, recommending a style similar to citations from the Bible: "The Qur'an is set in roman, and citations to its sections use Arabic numerals and colons (e.g., Qur'an 19:17-21)." "If anybody wants to tell us how to do a better job, we would be grateful," Samen said."

Well, I would add the sura name and its translation - I'm going to email them and see what the response is...

Outlook: Arranged Marriage (washingtonpost.com) Online dicussion from a Southern California student.
NDTV - Columns, Baghdad Revisited, n.d.Ajai Shukla's column from Baghdad, written from an Internet cafe.
Islam Online - Services (Cyber Counselor), When a cybersex addict gets married, n.d. Islam Online offers a discussion on the problems associated with the availability of pornography online, answering the question of an Egyptian petitioner to their counselling section. Rather than trying to sweep this important issue under the carpet, a solution is offered.
allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Ignore Hausa Films - At Your Peril reference to Nigerian film industries, and related chat rooms.
Jihad Unspun/Almuhajiroun Via CDLR, Bush & Blair Choke On The Fallout From 911, 23 August 2003
ABS-CBNNEWS.COM, Internet posting claims U.N. bombing for al-Qaeda, 27 August 2003 claim on net regarding Baghdad bombing being linked to al-Qaeda

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Time Asia, Asia's Own Osama Feature on Hambali.
AM - David Oldfield sued over terrorism website New South Wales controversy regarding One Nation politician David Oldfield's site muslimterrorists.com (which I have yet to see). This is a transcript from a radio programme.

Friday, August 15, 2003

IPS, IRAQ: 'Why I Attacked US Troops', 15 August 2003 Profiling story on the situation in Iraq at grass-roots level, not really a tech story.
Reuters, Power Outage Not Internet Worm-Related, 14 August 2003 Well I was curious about this one, together with the possible 'terrorist' conspiracy theories. Of course,the two could be combined, and no doubt notes are being taken ...
Reuters, Asia Grapples with Variants of Blaster Worm, 15 August 2003
MSNBC, Iraqis's 10 tips to beat blackout heat, 15 August 2003 Not exactly hi-tech related, but a timely story.
The Register, Saudi firm accuses Lucent of bribery, 3 August 2003 allegedly ...
FrontPage magazine.com Stephen Schwartz discusses Saudi Arabia: "Contrary to bogus polls conducted on Saudi territory, the victims of Saudi rule do not love bin Laden. According to dissident Saudis I meet with every week, average Saudi citizens do not hate the West. They are also not obsessed with Israel and the Palestinians. They are ordinary people, many now in possession of the Internet and satellite dishes, who want to live in a normal country that would resemble Malaysia more than any other Islamic society."
Corriere della Sera - L'Islam nella Rete, tra trasgressione e tradizione Italian review of Islam in the Digital Age.
Guardian Unlimited | Online | Islam at the electronic frontier Review of Islam in the Digital Age.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

DEBKAfile - US troops and Iraqis Share Taste for Israeli Beer Well, this blog picks up some non-technological twists on its way, and this diversion is one worth reading about the trade in Macabbee beer in Iraq.
DEBKAfile - Tehran Plays Hide and Seek over al Qaeda Fugitives, 19 July 2003 Despite the age of this article, I still thought it worthy of inclusion, regarding 'leaks' on the presence (alleged) of al-Qaeda operatives in Iran.
Some Fear Pakistan Religious Right Is New Taliban Focuses on Raheel Qazi of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal: "Qazi, a 37-year-old mother of two, does not wear a burqa though she covers her head at all times and veils her face when she leaves home. At the same time, she carries a cell phone, paints her toenails and has an e-mail account.

"There should be few restrictions on women; this is a modern era of science and technology," Qazi says. "But a woman should know her first responsibility is to protect her family, her home. And going forth with modesty is paramount."

Oncerns regardign the rise of the 'religious right' in Pakistan including fears of the net being banned.
U.S. Muslim leader allegedly pushed jihad, celebrated shuttle tragedy, 8 August 2003
TheStar.com - Al Qaeda mutating like a virus, 8 August 2003 "Laws have been tightened in the West to allow more intrusive surveillance and more extensive searches. Financial rules have been changed to catch the funders of international terrorism and Internet users are being monitored as never before." One reason, perhaps, that some sites remain "live".
Brudirect.com, Hellfire for Internet Slander, Warns Mosques, 3 August 2003 "Hellfire awaits those who commit Fitna or slander. And many people in Brunei are misusing the Internet and other publications to harm others ...The Khutbah said today the tongue was not the sole weapon involving Fitna or slander. The Internet is now providing a more sophisticated way to disseminate information with almost no restriction." Warning from a Brunei religious leader on the use of the net. Starting to see some guides to 'appropriate' net usage recently.
Guardian Unlimited | World dispatch | Strings attached Watching the kites (the stringed variety) in Lahore has a spectacular effect: now some people want to ban it. For 'Islamic' reasons or safety factors??
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Special report: Saudi Arabia This is a round-up of the Guardian's reporting on Saudi Arabia during the past few months.

Friday, August 08, 2003

SITE Institute's 'Terrorism Headlines of the Week' SITE's monitoring of the web has been discussed elsewhere on these pages and in my publications. This week they raise the issue of "jihad.com", amongst other materials.
TECHNOLOGY-AFRICA: Poverty an Impediment to Internet Growth, July 18 2003 Just clocked this one, clearly still a relevant story, access to the net being a key issue when discussing cyber Islamic environments.
Inter Press, RELIGION-MALAYSIA: Debate Rages on 'E-divorce', 5 August 2003 More on the SMS controversy. "For all the furore 'e-divorce' has caused, Malaysia is not the first country where SMS 'talaq' has been accepted. Media reports say the first case of an SMS divorce took place in the United Arab Emirates.

"But Islamic authorities in neighbouring Singapore - where using SMS is an everyday habit -- have declared 'talaq' by SMS unacceptable due to "elements of doubt" over the sender's identity and sincerity."

Clearly this opens up a whole range of issues (technical, legal, ethical, gender relations). It is interesting that, in Singapore, emphasis was placed on a sender's identity. There are other issues: what if the intended recipient's phone is non-functional (signal failure, battery dead, phone off, number changed)??

BBC NEWS | Technology | All over for blogs?, 8 August 2003
BBC NEWS | Technology | Smart mob storms London, 8 August 2003
BBC NEWS | Technology | E-mail shrinks the world, 7 August 2003
Gulf Daily News, Blind get entry into web world, 8 August 2003
Reuters AlertNet - ANALYSIS-Al Qaeda brand of terror wins Asian recruits, 8 August 2003

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Internet Haganah: Who is Taking Credit for Attacks on the U.S. Army in Western Iraq? Jonathan D. Halevi's overview (hosted on Internet Haganah, originally in Jerusalem Issue) on al-Jam'iya al-Salafiya al-Mujahida includes reference/screenshots of related websites: " ... in an Iraq that is currently in transition after the iron-fisted rule of the Baath party, al-Jam'iya al-Salafiya is likely to find a receptive audience for its ideological platform among a considerable number of Iraqi Sunnis who want to see the removal of the occupying American forces and greatly fear the rise in power of the Shiites, who constitutes a majority in Iraq and who until now had been ruled by force by the Sunni minority."

Daily Times, Saudi survey claims Osama has been rejected, 6 August 2003 "A new poll of citizens in Saudi Arabia reveals that they reject the international acts of terror claimed by Osama bin Laden as not being consistent with the values of the Saudi people, nor with the values of Islam."
New York Times, Treasury Dept. to Refuse Senate a List of Saudi Suspects, 5 August 2003
The Register, Pentagon pulls Kill-An-Arab futures trading website, 30 July 2003 Essentially this is a follow-up to stories posted below about the DARPA fiasco. One wonders how much money (if not thought) went into this project. The pages were pulled, but remain online thanks to Cryptome.
Wired News: Airports to Give Gadgets the Eye, August 5 2003
Wired News: Forums Point the Way to Jihad, 6 August 2003 discussed message boards and websites associated with al-Qaida. Refers to SITE Institute.
San Francisco Chronicle, Winds of change in Saudi Arabia, 4 August 2003: "... ordinary Saudis are airing their discontent in unheard-of ways. People who once risked jail for urging an end to political corruption are now discussing their views on television, the Internet and newspapers."
Christian Science Monitor, Tailor Muslim practices to fit life in America, 4 August 2003 "Over the Internet, progressive Muslim mailing lists and websites are becoming increasingly popular. Groups like the Progressive Muslim Network and the Network of Progressive Muslims engage in discussions - on everything from matters of ritual to social relationships - that would be unheard of in neighborhood mosques. The online magazine MuslimWakeUp.com which I cofounded, has featured articles that are openly critical of conservative interpretations of Islam - and according to the web-ranking company Alexa, it has become the highest-ranked website geared to Muslim Americans in just six months of operation." This article refers to Omid Safi's book "Progressive Muslims", which is well worth reading. There's an interview with Omid here: MuslimWakeUp, Washing our dirty laundry, 4 August 2003
ChronWatch, Author Reveals Radical Islamic Plan to Take Over America, 5 August 2003 Conspiracy theories are alive and well on ChronWatch, a 'Christian'-oriented site focusing on discussions about Islam. From the author of Islam-Exposed.org and . The latter site has been the subject of hacker/virus attacks - with an infected email going out under its name (created by so-called 'Muslim hackers').

Monday, August 04, 2003

Frontpage.com, White Terror, 4 August 2003 'Profile' of a German 'convert' accused on involvement with terrorism.
MEMRI: Latest News: "According to the newspaper Al-Shira',supporters of Saddam Hussein sent an email to Paul Bremer, 'copied to Saddam Hussein,' threatening to take revenge against the coalition forces and declared to Saddam that they were all his sons. The alleged revenge, they wrote, would continue for a week, reaching its peak on July 30, 'the Day of Revenge.'" One wonders whether Saddam Hussein is picking up his mail, if messages are being "c.c."-ed to him
IOL : SMS divorce law gets a big thumbs-down"Islam's guardians are being asked to interpret how new technology applies to the Shariah, or religious law, set out in the Qur’an as computers, cellphones and other gadgets become part of adherents' lives." This article has its interesting moments, but states that the Qur'an was "written" 2,500 years ago. Oops!

Daily Times, Indian hackers duel Pakistanis, 4 August 2003 This links into an issue discussed in Islam in the Digital Age, being the competitive element of hacking and defacement: "So far this year, 114 Pakistani sites have been hacked by pro-India operators while Pakistani groups have hacked or defaced as many as 766 Indian sites — 208 in June alone. Last year, 288 Indian sites were hacked. “For every Pakistani site defaced by Indian hackers, the Pakistanis hack into 10 Indian sites. There is a constant game of upmanship happening online,” said Anubhab Kalia of New Delhi’s flawfinder.com, a service monitoring attacks on Indian sites."
AP Wire | 08/03/2003 | Saudi Arabia's Reformers Feel Under Fire refers to the use of fatwas posted on Internet sites by "extremist clergy" (their term) and the persecution of an individual for making an "offensive" statement to an Internet magazine.
Wired News: Helping Find African Roots, August 4, 2003

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Wired News: Chilly Forecast for Smart Fridge OK, so no Islam and the Net link here, but it is something I referred to in Virtually Islamic once. And there will be an international market for it.
ABCNEWS.com : Gadhafi: Terror War Has Helped al-Qaida "Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said the U.S.-led war on terror has strengthened al-Qaida because Muslims have perceived the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as aggression against Islam and attempts to spread American influence." Not exactly news, but interesting to read 'Gadhafi'.
New Zealand News - NZ - Trapped by flawed files The story behind Ahmed Zaoui, FIS 'activist', presently imprisoned in New Zealand. Brief reference to the net.
MSNBC/Newsweek, Online Mail Call Feedback to the Qur'an article. This story will run and run. Shame we don't know who the academic is, as it might have added some 'credibility' to the assertions, although detemining the identity would be possible through a process of deduction.
MSNBC/Newsweek, Challenging the Qur'an 'Christoph Luxenberg' is a pseudonym for a German academic, who is challenging some conventional understandings relating to the Qur'an, discussed in this Newsweek pice: "Luxenberg’s chief hypothesis is that the original language of the Qur’an was not Arabic but something closer to Aramaic. He says the copy of the Qur’an used today is a mistranscription of the original text from Muhammad’s time, which according to Islamic tradition was destroyed by the third caliph, Osman, in the seventh century. But Arabic did not turn up as a written language until 150 years after Muhammad’s death, and most learned Arabs at that time spoke a version of Aramaic. Rereading the Paradise passage in Aramaic, the mysterious houris turn into raisins and fruit—much more common components of the Paradise myth." Please send your response to this to Herr Dr. 'Luxenberg', and not to myself ...
Gulf Daily News, Terror groups 'forged links', 1 August 2003 Links between Jemaah Islamiah Indonesia and al-Qaeda discussed in the Bali trial.
Gulf Daily News, Inernet Chatting comes of age in Bangladesh, 3 August 2003"Several hundred Bangladeshis have come out of the anonymous world of Internet chatting in a first-of-its-kind meet-and-greet for the country's increasing number of online enthusiasts."
Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | A window on the worldEdward Said discusses 'orientalism', and makes the following comment in passing: "Instead of reading in the real sense of the word, our students today are often distracted by the fragmented knowledge available on the internet and in the mass media." Students need to be trained to interpret these 'fragmentary' elements of knowledge, perhaps.
CNN.com - Ridge downplays alleged al Qaeda tape - Aug. 3, 2003 Al-Zawahiri (allegedly) tape appears on al-Arabiya channel.
PCWorld.com - New Security Flaws Found in Windows more subtle than other intrusive activity, this one, with the placing of Trojan programs on systems.

Friday, August 01, 2003

New York Times, A Behavioral Experiment and United Faiths, 31 July 2003: "A new site called Word (atomicsoftware.com/word), combines major Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Hindu texts - the Koran, the Tanakh, the New Testament, and 11 of the Upanishads - in a single database. " Well, I went and took a look. The format borrows from Google. It's an interesting concept. I was wondering which versions of the translated text of the Qur'an they were drawing from. There's scope for other religious texts to be added too. I'll return to this in the future, and anticipate it being used by students of comparative religion...
Tech News - CNET.com,
A high-tech bridge to Middle East peace?, July 31, 2003
Interview with Shimon Peres re the potential for high-tech as a 'bridge to peace'. "Israel will be happy to put at the disposal of its neighbors its know-how in the field of high-tech and develop ties of cooperation in this and other fields." Peres does not use a computer himself.
Middle East Online,
CNBC Arabiya broadcasts from Dubai, 29 July 2003
Middle East Online,
Koran to be translated into Irish
ISIM Newsletter is now out. There are some useful articles here, in relation to this blog: for example, Peter Mandaville's discussion on 'Progressive Islam', Rizwan Marwani's detailed exploration of Nizari Ismailis and the net, Miryam Aouragh's piece on the 'Cyber Intifada', David Waines on 'Religion and Modernity', a couple of articles on medical ethics (another interest of mine) associated with cloning and HIV/AIDS, and a piece of religious authority in 'minority' contexts. The ISIM Newsletter has adjusted its format, and now is available as a PDF only. This makes navigation a bit more awkward for us web afficianados, as I can't direct you to the immediate pages. Best thing is to subscribe to the paper copy, as it is a consistently important read.
Wired News: Artistic Robots Augment Human Art 9-11+technology reference.
Wired News: Kabul Goes Postal for Web Access, July 31, 2003 Net access is slowly improving in Kabul, although it will take some time for other areas of Afghanistan to be 'connected, given the lack of basic infrastructures in the region: "In the developed world, 1,000 people checking their e-mail may not seem like a big deal. But for people in this war-torn nation who, until the ousting of the militant Taliban government in late 2001, were forbidden from owning a computer, it is understandable why the program is generating excitement." The article has two photos, which are worth viewing.
BBC, Saudi Arabia begins to engage in the war against terror, 31 July 2003 This is Frank Gardner's Newsnight report from Saudi Arabia, showing Saudi security forces in action. Gardner also reported from northern Saudi Arabia, where he discussed with al-Qaida supporters the use of pay-as-you-go phone SIM cards to facilitate communication.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Bang goes the phone porn concerns over the 'safety' of phone content.
BBC NEWS | Business | Firms banned from Iraq mobile bids, 31 July 2003
BBC NEWS | Technology | UK bans iPod gadget just as I was going to get my iPod
IPS, Voice of Peace to Rise Again, 1 August 2003. Previously based on the Peace Ship "somewhere in the Mediterranean" (outside of territorial waters of Israel), and inactive for 10 years, now the name of the 'Voice of Peace' has been reactivated: the new radio station (for Arab and Jewish listeners) will be landbased with a transmitter in Ramallah and studio in Jerusalem.
Inter Press Service News Agency, 88,000 Mosques, One Sermon, 21 July 2003 'old news', relating to Egypt and the production of 'official' sermons written by government officials. The article raises some interesting issues: "... some critics say that confining the space for religious freedom could backfire as it may drive people into the arms of non-official religious groups. Critics say also that the government needs to take the deteriorating economic situation into account in order to fight extremism. Young men turn to violence not because they go to mosques but due to official atrocities and the poor economy"
Internet Haganah have produced a listing of several "terrorist" sites hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (see end of this linked page). These include sites I discussed in Islam in the Digital Age, such as Hamas (ezzedeen.net), Qoqaz.com, and al-ansar.biz. I note that al-Ansar.biz have (according to their site stats) clocked up one and a half million visits. Their al-ansar.net domain is also functional.
silicon.com - 'Divorce by text message' up for a re-think, 31 July 2003 - previously discussed on this blog: "...the government is planning to put the brakes on the SMS divorce system, according to Malaysian daily newspaper The Star". GB: Would the lack of a phone signal invalidate the SMS divorce?
New York Post Online Edition: Islam's Image Problem discusses the controversy surrounding CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) - and refers to the online linkage between CAIR and the US State Department.
Independent, "Bridging the gap: Muslims converge on the countryside", 31 July 2003 discusses a Muslim Council of Britain event in Lincolnshire. Some important issues here. No direct web reference.
ARABIA.pl have published the first review of my new book Islam in the Digital Age. The book is officially out today. I like the Arabia.pl site, which has opportunities for reader feedback. Unfortunately (for myself), most of the site is in Polish, which I don't speak. I have tried using the Poltran software in the past to get a sense of other materials they've published (including a review of Virtually Islamic), but the software's webpage is down today.