Friday, December 23, 2005, al-Qaeda cartoon too boring for kids, 22 Dec 05 more opinion (and column inches) on this cartoon : "Al-Qaeda's latest weapon in the ongoing media war over Iraq, in the form of an animation showing gunmen and suicide bombers attacking US troops and convoys, raises many questions over who they are trying to appeal to and why. The video game-style cartoon was posted on websites regularly used by senior al-Qaeda figures. London-based child psychologist Pat Spungin told Adnkronos International (AKI) she believes the animation is too boring and unsophisticated to interest most children, but 'If it is intended for children I think it's disgusting,' she said."
Dallas Morning News, Terrorists on the 'Net', 22 Dec 05 "If there's any area where we should have the supreme advantage fighting terrorism, it's the Internet - yet Islamic extremists sometimes run rings around us in cyberspace, using it to recruit and train terrorists and to communicate with each other in amazingly sophisticated ways." previously in NY Times, this piece is by Nicholas Kristof
Gulf Daily News, Terror Lessons on web, 23 Dec 05 "The three-minute cartoon depicts tanks clanking down a street and a cartoon American soldier speaking with a "Rambo"-like accent before he is shot. The intention behind the film was not clear, but one expert dismissed it as amateurish and said it would have little value as a training video for insurgents."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005, Women in Islam - veils of the mind, 7 Dec 05 just picked this blog up, and was interested in the content and the 100+ responses from readers. A central question of the article is "Oppression does not come from what you wear; it comes from social attitudes and norms. Isn’t it time we got out of these centuries old, long obsolete attitudes?" Discuss - but not here, please, go to
Telegraph, Man held over July 21 attempted bombings, 20 Dec 05. "Anti-terror police have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attempted London bomb attacks on July 21."
BBC News, Al-Qaeda terror suspect is jailed, 20 Dec 05, "An Algerian man with suspected al-Qaeda links has been jailed for six years for downloading information on how to blow up a passenger jet." Also see: CityBeat, Al Qaeda Suspect Jailed at Belfast Crown Court, 20 Dec 05
BBC, Serbs tried over Srebrenica video, 20 Dec 05
Spain Herald, Spanish police arrest 16 for recruiting terrorists for Iraq, 20 Dec 05, "The network was perfectlly structured and organized, with a "hard core" that made decisions, a subgroup for recruiting and finance, another for forging identification, and a third for ideology. The arrestees communicated through Internet and met at mosques and private homes, but they also have contacts in other countries. Abu Sufian has connections with the terrorist groups currently operating in Iraq, and controlled a group of individuals willing to travel to that country, probably as suicide bombers."

Gearing up for hajj? Here's a useful guide:

Islam Online, Hajj 1426

I heard this morning that BBC Radio 5 are also planning to provide reports from Mecca and Medina from a pilgrim, although I cannot pick up any specific link to this on the website at present.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Asharq Alawsat, The Recovery of New York's Muslim Community from 9/11, 17 Dec 05 non-tech (except for ref. to phone cards) but nevertheless informative.
Asharq Alawsat, Iraq group posts video of U.S. hostage's 'killing', 19 Dec 05, "An Iraqi militant group posted on the Internet on Monday a video it said showed the killing of a U.S. security consultant it had abducted earlier this month."
Hindustan Times, Internet beats ban on ‘new Quran’, 19 Dec 05. "The True Furqan — a book that claimed to be the Quran for the millennium had caused much furore in Islamic circles since it was trying to "evangelise Muslims" — is banned in India. Last week, the government tabled a customs notification in Parliament informing the MPs of the decision to ban the book due to security considerations. Today, you can read the book-on the Internet." Published by evangelists at Truth in Crisis International, and 'recommended' by the Billy Graham Center for Muslim Studies (amongst others), this has echoes of the 'Sura-Like-It' controversy I discuss in my book Virtually Islamic - although this is quite explicit (at least online) in terms of proclaiming its origins. The online version can be found at 'Islam Exposed' [clearly, my Disclaimer applies for this posting in particular].
Philadelphia Inquirer, Extremism a challenge for Muslims, 19 Dec 05 "The evidence against Abu Ali included wiretapped phone conversations between the student and his family, as well as e-mail messages recovered from an Internet service provider." Details of an ongoing case.

Friday, December 16, 2005

SITE Institute: SITE Publications - A Video of the Chechen Sister Martyrs Who Participated in the Moscow Theater Operation: "A 7:22 minute video depicting the female Chechen jihadists (mujahidat) was posted to the Internet today, December 15, 2005, by the Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaeda mouthpiece."
Pajamas Media - Highlights: Iraqi journalists & bloggers on the ground for Iraqi elections "Compiled in Los Angeles from reporters and bloggers for Pajamas Media including: I.S. in Karbala; W.Z. in Erbil; A.S. in Najaf; N.R. in Mosul; A.D. in Basra; A.T. in Babil; W.A., Omar and Mohammed in Baghdad. All bloggers and reporters worked anonymously due to security issues.", Making the World Safe for Theocracy, 16 Dec 05: "The much-ballyhooed elections in Iraq later this week are likely to dig the Iraqi hole a little deeper for the Bush administration. The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shi?ite Muslim cleric in Iraq, has indirectly ordered fellow Shi?a to cast their ballots for representatives of the Shi?ite religious parties that now control the interim Iraqi government. A permanent Shi?ite-Kurdish government may prove even more intransigent than the interim government in addressing Sunni concerns about being cut out of Iraq?s oil revenues?thus accelerating the incipient civil war in that nation." / Arts & weekend / Bookshop - Online, off message, 16 Dec 05 review by Kamin Mohammadi of Nasrin Alavi's "We Are Iran" (previously blogged here). I have yet to get hold of this, but am familiar with some of her material, and Mohammadi makes some good points:

"She relies on a select number of sites and has used those with the most hits. There are just three entries from the other side of the ideological divide, though again Alavi points out that they can use the conventional press to express their views, and hardline blogs are rare. On Hossein Derakhshan?s blog at the moment, Alavi?s book is being enthusiastically welcomed. But one blogger points out: ?We are not Iran. Iran is full of those who support Ahmadi-Nejad and voted for him.?"
Washington Post, Saudi Envoy Rejects Iranian's Comments on Holocaust, 16 Dec 05: "Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's new ambassador to the United States, took issue yesterday with the Iranian president's description of the Holocaust as a myth, saying the 'horrific genocide' is a 'historical fact' no longer in dispute."
A couple of separate quotes here worthy of further exploration and discussion [the sort of thing I might do in a seminar situation]: Arab Herald/Asharq Alawsat, Interview with Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, Mehdi Akef, 16 Dec 05 "We are Egyptians, and anyone who says that the number of Copts is this, and the number of Muslims is that is an ignorant person. I repeat, only an ignorant person utters such words, because we all are Egyptians living together ...

" ...There is no doubt that confronting Israel is the first cause for Muslims; therefore, how do we plan, and how do we fight them? Bear in mind that they are destroying themselves from within, "You would think that they were united, but their hearts are divided (Quranic verse)." This issue, which preoccupies the entire world, also preoccupies me, but in the way that I explained. Whether the Israelis and the Palestinians fight each other, or recognize each other, this is not my concern."
Dar Al Hayat, God Have Mercy on Iraq and Its People, 16 Dec 05 opinion piece from Jihad el Khazen: "The only scene remaining from American-style elections, which are truly democratic, is money. It's the most important, if not only means to communicate between candidates and voters, through election advertising, especially television.

"In other words, Iraqis are seeing today the elections of the rich, except that the Iraqi people are poor and the rich represent only themselves."
AP/ABC News: Purported al-Qaida Video Outlines Attack, 16 Dec 05: "A ticker along the bottom of the well-produced video streamed photos of abuse of detainees by U.S. soldiers at the facility, including a famed image of a naked prisoner being dragged on a leash by a female guard. The images of abuse and sexual humiliation at the prison have sparked outrage among Iraqis and across the Arab world since they first emerged in early 2004."
Free Internet Press - Iraq Forces Captured Zarqawi A Year Ago - Released Him?, 15 Dec 05: "Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday. Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head - was in custody at some point last year, but he wouldn't provide further details." oops [if verifiable], New Security Realities and al-Qaeda?s Changing Tactics: An Interview with Saad al-Faqih: "The Internet used to be awash with jihadi material but this is becoming less so for two reasons. Firstly, Western intelligence services are now aggressively targeting jihadi websites and are showing a greater determination to close them down completely. In the past they would allow some of the more interesting ones to remain in operation so that they could covertly gather intelligence on the webmasters and the contributors. Dozens of websites have been closed in recent months. Secondly, Western governments have provided software and other expertise to the Saudi regime to trace individual contributors to web forums. But the jihadis in Iraq feel safe and secure because they have satellite Internet connections and they can set up temporary websites and upload files very easily. The invasion of Iraq has boosted the fortunes of jihadis in many respects, and the Internet is no exception.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tunisie Blog Awards 2005 vote now for your favourites, in eight categories, including humour, personal blogs, thematic blogs, new blogs, and informative/provocative blogs: this looks like an interesting way of getting to know the Tunisian blogosphere on this well organised site.
Global Voices Online, Global Voices Summit: Emergence of a Conversation Community, 13 Dec 05 "Bloggers recognize they are early-adopting elites - and that the conversations happening on the blogs in most countries are not representative of the population as a whole. There was great interest expressed on Saturday in doing outreach to communities that currently have some internet access but are not currently blogging. People feel the need for better training materials and guidelines for outreach so that they can spread the blogging gospel more easily and efficiently." contains plethora of useful liks and information from last weekend's GV event. Couldn't make this one, hopefully there will be a similar event sometime in the future., Internet Opens New Paths for Journalism, 15 Dec 05: "Emerging technology is creating interactive channels for mass communication that is redefining media. It is creating a new breed of citizen journalists who can get news to the world without using the well-worn pathways of traditional print and broadcast outlets. It presents great opportunities for common people to report events independent of large media organizations, as well as to voice their views in a new global marketplace of ideas." - List of potential terror targets is late, 14 Dec 05: "The Homeland Security Department is more than a year behind in creating a list of chemical plants, bridges, skyscrapers and other vulnerable sites that could become terrorist targets if plans aren't made to protect them.", Al Qaeda's New Methods : "FOX News correspondent Greg Palkot takes a look at how Al Qaeda and Taliban elements in Afghanistan and Pakistan are adopting methods used by insurgents in Iraq" [video link - scroll to the Video Player]
Lebanese Political Journal: Gebran Tueni: The Symbol of Lebanese Activism has gone, 12 Dec 05, Bank Islam sees pick-up in its Internet banking, 15 Dec 05 : "Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd expects an increase in the usage of the bank's Internet banking facility, and its mobile banking facility, bankislam.sms after putting in tighter security precaution measures.

"It also expects higher usage for its Internet-based online payment through financial process exchange (FPX) and payment gateway via the Bank Islam Card.

"Bank Islam is the first bank in the country to be accorded the SIRIM QAS certification for its Information Security Management System (ISMS), according to a statement issued on Dec 15."
Reuters/The Star Malaysia, Iraqis vote amid sporadic violence, 15 Dec 05: "A steady stream of Iraqi voters walked to polling sites nationwide on Thursday to elect their first full-term parliament since Saddam Hussein's overthrow, ignoring sporadic violence such as a mortar attack in Baghdad. ", al-Zarqawi announces election even offensive, 14 Dec 05: "'The lions of monotheism of the organisation of al-Qaeda have launched a new blessed military offensive against the seats of apostates and infidels to force into crisis the blasphemous democratic marriage' reads a statement posted on Islamist websites."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Clarke rejects calls for July 7 inquiry, 14 Dec 05
Yahoo! Finance, Iraq's Largest Independent News Channel - AldiyarSat - Selects JumpTV as Internet Distribution Partner, 12 Dec 05: "AldiyarSat, Iraq's only independent cable station providing news and cultural coverage from across the entire country announced today that it has selected JumpTV ( as its Internet broadcast partner for the online distribution of its content."
Chicago Tribune/St. Paul Pioneer Press | 12/14/2005 | Insurgents reach out to U.S.: "Spurred by fears of the growing influence of Iran and encouraged by signals from Washington that the United States will start drawing down troops next year, insurgents who see themselves as fighting for an Iraqi nationalist cause are looking for ways to distance themselves from the religious radicals and the hard-core Baathists who have dominated the insurgency in the public eye, with a view to establishing a foothold in Iraq's political landscape, the Iraqis say."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Al-Ahram Weekly | Opinion | Brothers and others, 8-14 Dec 05 opinion piece on the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Copts in Egypt.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The News - Jang Group, Musharraf prays inside Holy Ka?aba, 8 Dec 05: "The leaders offered 'Nawafil' inside the Holy Ka'aba and prayed for the glory and salvation of the Muslims. The Holy Ka'aba was opened soon after the Asar prayers. King Abdullah was the first to enter the Holy Ka'aba, followed by President Musharraf and other leaders. King Abdullah received all leaders inside the Holy Ka'aba...

" ... The leaders were served with Aab-e-Zam Zam in silver cups inside the Holy Ka’aba. Since there is no lighting arrangement inside the Holy Ka’aba, a lamp lit with battery was brought inside the Holy Ka’aba."
Reuters/, Taliban issue decree urging death for Karzai, 12 Dec 05 : "The decree, or fatwa, came in a 12-page, Pashto-language booklet distributed in the Afghan south. It reiterated a call for jihad, or religious war, against infidels and their slaves.

'It should be remembered that there is no difference between infidels and their agents and jihad against them has become incumbent,' the fatwa said."
Asharq Alawsat Newspaper, Saudi TV: New weapon against extremism, 5 Dec 05 haven't seen the programmes yet, but hope to pick up copies in due course (any DVDs out there?). "Saudi state-run Channel One TV broadcasted the first episode of a new series aimed at dissuading young Saudis from following in the footsteps of many of their contemporaries to join the jihad (holy war) earlier this week. ?Jihad Experiences, the Deceit? is a five part series which will tell the stories of several young Saudis who left to Iraq to fight alongside Abu Musab al Zarqawi."
International Herald Tribune, Howard calls for tolerance after Australian beach riot, 12 Dec 05
New York Times, A Little Sleuthing Unmasks Writer of Wikipedia Prank, 12 Dec 05 [subscription site]: "Using information in Mr. Seigenthaler's article and some online tools, Mr. Brandt traced the computer used to make the Wikipedia entry to the delivery company in Nashville. Mr. Brandt called the company and told employees there about the Wikipedia problem but was not able to learn anything definitive."
Washington Post, 'Digital Dumps' Heap Hazards at Foreign Sites, 12 Dec 05 'recycling' adds to Nigeria's haz-waste problem: "... at least half of the used equipment that arrives in Lagos by the ton is unusable and ends up in landfills, a Seattle-based nonprofit discovered recently after sending a team to survey the situation. The Basel Action Network (BAN) found that much of the junked equipment is adding to the considerable hazardous waste problems of a country that lacks facilities to properly handle it."
Washington Post, Saudi Businessman Donates Millions to Georgetown and Harvard for Study of Islam, 12 Dec 05
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | French target 'Islamic network', 12 Dec 05
AP/Washington Post, Syria Eyed in Death of Lebanese Editor, 12 Dec 05: "Journalist and lawmaker Gibran Tueni, a relentless critic of Syria who spent months in France fearing assassination, was killed Monday in a car bombing _ only a day after returning to his homeland.", US rejects Qaeda claim that bin Laden still leading, 12 Dec 05 "Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Ryan Crocker [US Ambassador] contradicted comments in a video interview posted on an Islamist Web site last week in which al Qaeda's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, said bin Laden was still leading the group's war on the West.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bin Gregory Productions - Grub?s Ready there's a superb post with follow-up from bin Gregory on the permissiblity of eating a type of crab, which digresses into discussions on other creatures.
All Headline News - Internet Terrorist Attack On U.S. Unlikely - December 9, 2005: "The FBI's Cyber Division head, Assistant Director Louis Reigel says Al Qaeda and other militant groups do not have the capability to disable power plants, airports or other 'critical infrastructure' using the Internet.", Iraqi insurgents like the Net, 9 Dec 05: "Iraqi insurgents have boosted the number of web postings chiefly detailing bombings or attacks on Iraqi and US forces to 825 last month from 145 in January, says the U.S. military. "
also see p2p story above: Iraq insurgents escalate war of words on cyber-battlefield - USA Today/Yahoo! News, 8 Dec 05 "Insurgent messages often target Iraq and the Arab world, McNiece said. The messages are used as a recruiting tool for militants and as a way to raise money for the insurgency, he said.

""They don't kill anybody," McNiece said of the messages. "But they certainly help the terrorists shape perception in the Arab world. It's a problem.""
AP/Los Angeles Times, Iran's Leader Wants Israel Put in Europe, 9 Dec 05: "Iran's hard-line president, who recently called for Israel to be 'wiped off the map,' sparked another barrage of international criticism Thursday when he said the Jewish state should be moved to Europe and questioned whether the Holocaust took place." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's latest statements.
Sacramento Bee/SouthCoast Today, General confirms al Qaeda data hunt: 8 Dec 05: "Retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, who was the military's top commander during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, confirmed that four years before the tragedy he authorized a secret computer data-mining initiative to track down Osama bin Laden and operatives in the fugitive terrorist's al Qaeda network.

"In his first public comments on the initiative, which some former intelligence officers now say was code-named Able Danger, Shelton also confirmed that he received two briefings on the clandestine mission -- both well before the Sept. 11 attacks. "", al-Qaeda's 'How to use a Kalashnikov' video guide, 8 Dec 05: "Global Islamic Media Front, the group behind the al-Qaeda TV news bulletins, has distributed a new video guide over the Internet, showing viewers how to use, assemble and take apart a Kalashnikov. The film, which is around six minutes long, begins with computer generated images which show the mechanical functioning of the AK47, the Russian machine gun used by many armed forces. " I think this one has been around for a while., U.S. Hostage's family stay hopeful despite death claim, 9 Dec 05: "The family of kidnapped US security consultant Ronald Schulz say they are trying to stay hopeful, despite an Internet posting on Thursday claiming he had been killed. A video showing the 40-year-old electrician from Alaska with his hands tied behind his back was broadcast by the satellite TV network Al Jazeera on Tuesday. "
Daily Times - Site Edition, How Al Qaeda uses the Internet, 8 Dec 05: "According to an analysis produced for Stratfor, the US-based online news and analysis site, by Kamran Bokhari, text-based, audio taped and video-recorded jihadi statements posted on numerous websites have become part of the daily diet of news. " Haven't seen this report yet from Stratfor (which requires subscription, etc.)
Arabic blogging, after a slow start, is becoming an increasingly competitive sector:, Saudi Tech Tracker, 9 Dec 05 " has launched its weblog (or blogs) section. The new development, called Maktoob Blogs is the latest in the web community?s initiatives to encompass as many useful features on its website as possible, in order to appeal to all types of users. The Blogs sections will allow Internet users to communicate with other people in the Arab world and share their experiences through online journals that they can use to comment, debate, publish and educate.", Model Malaysian Plan a Hit, 9 Dec 05: "[Abdullah] Badawi said Islam Hadhari, a more moderate vision of Islam that focuses on economic and technological development, social justice, and religious tolerance, is being aggressively promoted in Malaysia as a remedy to Islamic extremism." I've been writing about this recently for a module I am developing on Muslim politics - it'll be intriguing to follow any responses.
I was fascinated by this piece from the New York Times about games outsourcing: NYT, Ogre to Slay? Outsource It to Chinese - New York Times: "'What we're seeing here is the emergence of virtual currencies and virtual economies,' says Peter Ludlow, a longtime gamer and a professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 'People are making real money here, so these games are becoming like real economies.'"
On the kidnapping of journalist Hayatullah Khan in Mir Li, North Waziristan: Pakistani journalist has been kidnapped, his family says - The Boston Globe, 9 Dec 05: "In Khan's pictures, the fragments are also marked ''AGM-114,' the US military's designator for the laser-guided Hellfire missile, which is carried on the remote-controlled Predator aircraft. The initials ''US' also appeared on the shrapnel in photos filed by Khan, who also works for Pakistan's Urdu-language daily newspaper Ausaf and the English-language daily The Nation."
The Boston Globe, Security workers eyed in shooting video probe, 9 Dec 05 "Details about the origin of the video clip and the location shown in it are unknown. It was originally posted last month on a website maintained by former employees of Aegis Specialist Risk Management, a British company that has a $293 million US government contract to provide security services in Iraq. The video has since been removed from the site." The video recently cropped up on ITN News too.
ABC News: Spanish Police Arrest 7 in Terrorism Sting, 9 Dec 05: "The detainees were suspected of raising money for an Algerian-based Islamic extremist organization, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, the news agencies reported."
The Register, Bush administration control will cause net to split, 5 Dec 05: "CEO of the Multi-lingual Internet Names Consortium (MINC) and member of the recently created international advisory committee for internationalised domain names, Khaled Fattal, made the warning in a letter to the heads of internet overseeing organisation ICANN ...

" ... Four billion out of the six billion people on the planet use a non-Western (ASCII) alphabet, Fattal stressed. Everyone recognises the need to make the internet more of a global medium, especially with efforts in China and elsewhere starting to step outside the existing internet infrastructures to provide the services they want. At the Vancouver ICANN meeting, the subject of IDNs popped up in every supporting organisation."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Editor: Myself, Over 700,000: New estimated number of blogs in Iran, Dec 1, 2005, "The newest estimate is done by Blog Herald with the help of Iran-based blogging services such as PersianBlog, BlogFa, etc. It suggests there are over 700,000 blogs in Persian out there which doesn't include those hosted on international servers such as Google's blogspot etc."

This leads onto some other interesting data from Blog Herald, in their quarterly 'Blog Herald Blog Count October 2005'. There are always inherent problems with stats of this nature, of course, but it still makes for a discussion point (especially as I am writing about blogs at present for my next book).
Guardian, Hour of Need, 7 Dec 05 "What does it mean to be a second-generation Muslim in Britain today? From terrorism to chat-up lines, health worker Faiza Chaudri is using her community radio programme to tease out answers." All FM is a Manchester community station. There is a net thread to this, as the station can be listened to online. According to the article, 'Islamic Hour' is on December 16 (7.30-9.30pm).
Arab News, FBI Trained Saudi Intelligence: Mueller, 6 Dec 05 "The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller has acknowledged the existence of a small FBI bureau in the Kingdom, without elaborating on the number of its staff or location."
BP News, 1 missionary & 4 friends, linked in prayer via computer, see faith sprout in Sierra Leone, 7 Dec 05 I've included this item from the Baptist Press, to show how Christian missionaries (from International Mission Board) are applying the net in West Africa to acquire converts.
Morocco Times, Communication - Moroccan mosques to be connected to internet, 6 Dec 05

"Moroccan Minister of Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Toufiq, announced Saturday that thousands of mosques will be connected to internet in Morocco, reported MAP news agency.

"During the second session of Higher Council of Clerics, the Minister said that the connection of mosques to internet will allow Moroccan scholars to communicate with each other from different mosques in the country.

"The Minister also announced that over 50 female preachers will be sent to five provinces for four months to teach women Islam and its practice."
ISN, Egyptian Islamists real election victors, 8 Dec 05 "The Brotherhood candidates, running as independents, now have more than five times more parliamentary representatives than prior to the election. The NDP fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for constitutional changes. However, some new members of parliament with no definite party affiliation might still join the NDP, assuring the ruling party the 302 seats it requires."

Asharq Alawsat,Kuwait says stepped up security at vital oil sites, 8 Dec 05 "In an Internet video posted on Wednesday, al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged militants to strike oil targets in Muslim countries. The comments were said by Arabic television station Al Jazeera to be previously unaired parts of an interview it broadcast in September."

BBC, Terror suspect's Iraq kidnap plea, 7 Dec 05 "Radical cleric Abu Qatada, detained since 2002, urged the kidnappers to free the men "in line with the principle of mercy of our religion".

"Abu Qatada, who is being held at Full Sutton jail, near York, had volunteered to be filmed, the Foreign Office said." includes link to video by Abu Qatada.

BBC, Film examines Muslim 'identity', 8 December 2005 film by Nasfim Haque: "The place of Islam in Wales is investigated in a special programme to be shown on BBC 2W on Thursday.

"'A Muslim in Wales: Quran and Country' explores attitudes towards Islam in Wales following the terrorist attacks in London in July."

BBC, Go Digital, includes item on podcasting pop music in Persian.

I've covered this story before, but this brings in some new angles:
Asharq Alawsat, Bluetooth Increases Interaction of the Sexes in Saudi Arabia, 1 Dec 05 "Bluetooth has disgruntled many Saudis such as Layla Al-Majid who believes, "that modern technology will cause a transgression in social norms and traditions as it has facilitated the establishing of friendly ties between members of the opposite sex." Similarly dissatisfied with this technology, Fadwa Al-Jahni expresses her frustration with "ridiculous messages and scandalous pictures" that she receives causing her to turn her mobile phone off."

Friday, December 02, 2005

Chippla's Weblog, Abuja goes wireless, 28 Nov 05 makes good points about the availability of wireless networks as a necessity rather than a luxury. I am all too aware of that point too, as I write this piece in a location with no hotspots!
Two useful contributions from Global VoicesGlobal Voices, Egyptian bloggers and parliamentary elections, 2 Dec 05

Global Voices, Pakistan: Blog-O-Manic
Guardian Unlimited Technology | Technology | Toy soldiers, 2 Dec 05: "As the situation in Iraq gets bloodier and more uncontrollable, who would take on the task of promoting the idea of enlistment to America's youth? Step forward Colonel Casey Wardynski, who is deploying perhaps the most cost-effective recruitment method presently available to the US army - a war game."
BBC NEWS | UK | Mosque closure 'the worst policy', 1 Dec 05
BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | 'Telephone ladies' connect Bangladesh, 2 Dec 05 "The Commonwealth Heads of Government are meeting this weekend in Malta.

"One of the issues they will be discussing is how to bridge the so-called digital divide - the gap between those in the industrialised world who have access to information technology, and those in the developing world who do not."
The Register, Saddam's uniform pops up on net, 28 Nov 05, Iraq: Military launches Ramadi Counter-Attack, 2 December 2005: "In a statement put out over the Internet, al-Zarqawi confirmed that he had dispatched most of his men to carry out the Ramadi operation."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

South Asian Media Net, Cyber law likely by January 2006, November 29, 2005: "Law minister Moudud Ahmed said Monday an Information Communication Technology Act has been drafted and awaits enactment in January 2006.

"... this law should cover e-transactions, e-payment, different forms of cyber crime, data protection, and intellectual property like copyrights, trademarks and patents, public key infrastructure and switched network for banks."
Asian Tribune, The Diversity of Cham Muslims: Where Indian, Chinese, Arabic, and Malaysian cultures meet article about Cham Muslims in Ratanakirir Province; they don't have internet access, it seems (a relatively minor point in the context of their relative poverty), but do have an amazing combination of cultural-religious-linguistic influences.
AP/ABC News: German Woman Believed Kidnapped in Iraq, 29 Nov 05
MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series - No. 1034, Al-Qaeda Presents Footage of Preparations for Triple Baghdad Hotel Suicide Bombings
BBC NEWS | UK | UK suicide bomber family cleared, 28 Nov 05 "The case had been built around a series of e-mails.

"Prior to the attack, Sharif [Omar Sharif, Tel Aviv 'bomber', 2003] wrote an e-mail to his brother in which he said: "Difficult times may lay ahead for you and the family.

""Plan now and get rid of any material you may consider problematic."

"In the same e-mail he sent a message to his wife: "We didn't spend a long time together in this world, but I hope through Allah's mercy...we can spend an eternity together."
BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iraq shooting claims third Briton, 29 November 2005 victims were affiliated to the Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat of London
About Islam, Hajj Manuals useful top 6 of Hajj Manuals (linking to publishers' sites)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Rafah Pundits, Rafah Crossing Reopens Officially Today, 25 Nov 05: "Rafah Border Crossing in the south of the Gaza Strip will officially reopen today. For the first time in about forty years and since the Israeli Forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip, Rafah Crossing will be run by Palestinian and Egyptian Authorities under direct supervision of International observers and less Israeli interference."
Islamicly Locked extremely interesting blog on dreadlocks and Islam, including scholarly opinions reproduced on the subject.
Indonesia Journal Blogger Indonesia: Who's the Moderate Muslim? just picked this up from A. Fatih Syuhud's Indonesia Journal (one of several blogs he produces). It makes some interesting points about identity issues.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Editor : Myself | Goodbye to America Hoder's blog (indirectly) gets him barred (temporarily) at the border between US and Canada. This is the 'problem' if your name is googled at the border ... also see Committee to Protect Bloggers, Hoder Barred from U.S. for Six Months, 24 Nov 05.
Asharq Alawsat, The New Generation of Terror: The Female Suicide Bomber, 25 November 2005: "Numan Ibn Uthman, a Libyan expert of Islamist affairs said that Al-Zarqawi sought to send a direct message to his supporters that women are also practicing Jihad. The Syrian Islamist and leader of Al-Muhajiroun, Sheikh Omar Bakri, who has not been allowed to return to his residence in Britain, told Asharq al-Awsat that Al-Zarqawi's aim was to inform the Muslims and Arabs that if men are reluctant in carrying out suicide operations, then women would replace them. According to Bakri, Al-Zarqawi also wanted to stress that Jihad is a religious duty for every Muslim whether male or female. However, he stated that Al-Qaeda must 'issue a statement confirming whether Sajida is part of the organization or not.' He added, 'This suspicious silence on Al-Qaeda's part about this woman is unaccepted.'"
Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | A different kind of fraternity, 24 Nov 05
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Four Westerners 'seized in Iraq', 27 Nov 05
This is London, Man in court on terror charges, 25 Nov 05: "Rauf Abdullah Mohammed, from London, is accused of making 'a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'.", al-Qaeda talk show broadcast on the internet, 25 Nov 05a: "A prototype of television talk show, purportedly run by the al-Qaeda network, has appeared on the Internet. The seven-minute long programme, entitled 'The Argument Continues', was compiled by the Global Islamic Information Network, responsible for the al-Qaeda 'news bulletins', the first of which appeared in September."
Ulster TV, Al Qaeda suspect guilty of terror charges, 24 Nov 05: "Abbas Boutrab, 27, was found guilty of possessing articles for purposes connected with terrorism.

They included 25 computer disks of Islamic detail of instruction on how to blow up an aircraft."

Friday, November 25, 2005

MEMRI: Reformist Saudi Author: Religious Cassettes Advocate Jihad by Emphasizing Martyr's Sexual Rewards, 23 Nov 05 "In a November 15, 2005 article in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiyya, Sa'ad Al-Sowayan, a reformist Saudi researcher and columnist, argued that religious cassettes, which are widely available in Saudi Arabia, advocate Jihad by emphasizing the sexual reward awaiting the martyr in Paradise. This is aimed at tempting teenagers who can find no sexual release in conservative Arab society. An English translation of the article was published in the Saudi Gazette on November 17."
Turkish Torque, The Owner of the Orchard is silent, 21 Nov 05 "Muslims are blowing up Muslims to smithereens in the name of... I?m not quite sure what."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Open Bethlehem / Become a citizen of Bethlehem campaign website (obtain a Bethlehem Passport)
Sabbah?s Blog, Flickr Blocked in UAE, Again!, 23 Nov 05
Free-the-P hip-hop compilation - includes DAM
Global Voices Online ? Blog Archive ? Iranian Blogs: WSIS & Human Rights
Global Voices Online ? Blog Archive ? Don?t Bomb Us - A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers, 21 Nov 05
Mental mayhem notes music video for Ya Amman
MoorishGirl has a novel out, entitled Hope & Other Dangerous Pursuits. Look forward to reading it in due course (Moorish Girl has good blog).
Hostsearch/Arab Herald, Arab Web Hosting Community Launches Free Blog Service, 24 Nov 05 "Jeeran (, the first web hosting community geared towards Arabs, has launched a free ?Blog Service?. The service allows users to easily set up websites which act as online journals and allow comments and contributions to be posted by visitors. ?Jeeran Blogs? can incorporate images, videos and a variety of other media alongside normal text."
This story has run and run, so let's hope it is finally resolved: The Boston Globe, At last, Iraq finds a Web designation, 24 Nov 05 "It was a tiny electronic victory after years of frustration and defeat. Yesterday, Iraqi officials announced the launch of .iq, Iraq's identity on the World Wide Web.

"''Iraq has officially planted its flag on the Internet," the deputy assistant of the Iraqi National Communication and Media Commission said by telephone interview from Baghdad, before a news conference to announce the step. The deputy, who asked that her name be withheld because of frequent attacks on government workers, said e-mail addresses and websites ending in .iq would be up and running in a matter of days."
Asia Times Online, Faith on trial in Malaysia, 24 Nov 05: "Since September 11, 2001, the struggle between militantly radical and progressive or democratic tendencies - 'ungentle' and 'gentle' Islam - has become a matter of urgent importance not only among Muslims but to others beyond their faith community." article by Clive S Kessler (University of New South Wales, Sydney)
Asia Times Online, Myths and madrassas, 24 Nov 05article by William Dalrymple, which originally appeared in NY Review of Books. "Across Pakistan, the tenor of religious belief has been correspondingly radicalized: the tolerant Sufi-minded Barelvi form of Islam is now deeply out of fashion in Pakistan, overtaken by the sudden rise of the more hardline and politicized reformist Deobandi, Wahhabi and Salafi strains of the faith."
I hope there is an extensive consultation exercise for this project:, Google Donates $3 Million To Help Scan More Rare Documents, 23 Nov 05: "Although nothing has been finalized, Billington initially envisions devoting large sections of the World Digital Library to material from China, India, and Islam.

"'Much of this will be one-of-a-kind material that you won't be able to find anywhere else,' Billington said during a Monday interview. 'Getting the material out there (online) is really important. 'We have already preserved a lot of material that might have perished in other hands.'", Iraq Qaeda denies Zarqawi killed, 23 Nov 05: "Al Qaeda in Iraq said reports that U.S. forces had killed its leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi were a lie, according to an Internet statement posted on Wednesday.", Iraq car blast kills at least 30, 24 Nov 05: "A car bomb blew up outside a hospital where Iraqi police were gathered in a town south of Baghdad on Thursday, killing 31 people and wounding more than 20 others, doctors, police and witnesses said."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

...Or Does It Explode?: American Blogger Provokes Yemen's State Media, 21 Nov 05 refers to Jane Novak's Armies of Liberation
Pickled Politics - The Guardian (and me) on British Muslims after 7/7 discussion on the Guardian's focus group (below)
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Special report: Islam, race and British identity, 21 Nov 05 second forum + feedback
early days for a Yemeni blog from the Ambassador to India (via Global Voices) Mustapha
the olive ream: mad-rassa curriculum 2006 a much-needed satirical intervention from the Olive Ream [read disclaimer, etc.]
Kuna site, Kuwait-organized seminar on terrorism ends 20 Nov 2005: "Today's discussions have focussed on the ponetials to fight extremism and role of mass media and the internet in the instigation of terrorism. Participants stressed necessity to fight world media encouraging extremism.

"In remarks during the seminar, Bsairi warned against extremists and terrorists who exploit the internet in spreading fatal ideas. He stressed necessity to deliver the moderate message of Islam.", Bin Laden fascinates, repels scholars at VU - Monday, 21 Nov 05 refers to studies undertaken at Vanderbilt University.
Daily Mirror, Exclusive: Bush Plot To Bomb His Arab Ally - Madness Of War Memo, 22 Nov 05 report by Kevin Maguire And Andy Lines

also see: al-Jazeera, Memo: Bush wanted Aljazeera bombed, 22 Nov 05: "Speaking to Aljazeera from London on Monday, Abd al-Bari Atwan, chief editor of the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, said: "The issue of Bush's plan to bomb Aljazeera's headquarters in Doha will be widely discussed in Washington and London.

"Reporters in the US and Britain are enraged by reported US plans to use force against media organs."

Islam Online, Bush Planned to Bomb Al-Jazeera HQ: Mirror, 22 Nov 05 "US President George W. Bush planned to bomb pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera but he was talked out of the idea by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to a British daily report Tuesday, November 22, citing a Downing Street memo marked "Top Secret"."
United Press International - Intl. Intelligence - Al-Jazeera in fight for Web site name, 22 Nov 05: " is the official site of the Qatar-based television company: But there is also, operated by the AJ Publishing of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and London. In March, the Qatar channel filed a complaint at the World Intellectual Property Arbitration and Mediation Center in Geneva requesting that the Dubai/London-based site stop using the same domain name, and charging the other company with breach of copyright and 'bad faith.' "
Clandestine Radio Watch #194 Extra A, November 22, 2005 "A stream of leaks to the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post about covert allied counterterror operations is now playing a strategic role in al Qaeda's propaganda campaign. Following the November 9 triple bombings in Amman, the chief of al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, cited a Los Angeles Times report that disclosed covert relations between U.S. and Jordanian intelligence as justification for the attacks in an audio file posted on Jihadi Web forums on Friday."

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Religious Policeman comments on Muhammad Al Harbi's case (see post below).
Sunday Times - Times Online: Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden, November 20, 2005
more on Message to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden
Guardian/Taipei Times, Bin Laden in his own words, 20 Nov 05: "The problem, as Lawrence says, is that bin Laden has no vision of the society he would wish to create, apart from a few thin riffs on Mullah Omar's Afghanistan.

""He merely wants to blow the house down or up. His is a 'narrow, limited creed.' The lads who flock to his banner would soon grow restless if they had to live in Osamaland on 'scriptural dictates, poetic transports and binary prescriptions.'"
Telegraph | News | The world of bin Laden: no drinks, no gambling, no pictures of women, 17 Nov 05
Media Monitors Network, Zarqawi's message hitting home in Arab World, 21 Nov 05
Sunday Times - Times Online, Blair's ban fails to silence Muslim preachers of hate, November 20, 2005 update on online activities from al-Massari, al-Fagih et al
MEMRI, Now Online: Swear Loyalty to Al-Qaeda Leaders, MEMRI Special Dispatch Series - No. 1027: "Recently, an announcement of the beginning of a month-long campaign appeared on the Islamic Internet forums. During this campaign, an online opportunity is being offered to Muslims to sign a b'ayah, a Muslim's oath of loyalty to Muslim leaders. Until December 13, 2005, supporters can sign an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Mullah Muhammad Omar, and Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi online."
Middle East Online, Al-Qaeda, music videos vie for young Arab minds, 18 Nov 05 "An Iraqi female would-be suicide bomber is paraded on television showing her explosives-laden belt. New Lebanese pop sensation Dominique flaunts her bikini-clad body under a waterfall in her latest video.

"Two totally different images that have planted themselves in the minds of millions of Arabs after tumultuous weeks that saw the November 9 attacks in Jordan shatter the calm of one of the region's most stable states.

"For many reformists, the existence of such gaping cultural extremes in one region is an unhealthy sign that the Arab world's young and sometimes disaffected population has yet to find a moderate means of expression.", Iraq: White House Dismisses Reports Of Al-Zarqawi's Death, 21 Nov 05: "The White House has played down reports that the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, may have been killed in a US military raid on a house in the northern city of Mosul over the weekend. The raid was carried out on Saturday following a tip-off that top al-Qaeda operatives, possibly including al-Zarqawi, were in the house. But a spokesman for the US president said reports of the terror leader's death were 'highly unlikely and not credible'. "
Campaigning website for Muhammad al-Harbi, in support of the campaign for his release. It contains details of accusations made against him, and his 'trial', alongside related links. The case has galvanised sectors of the Saudi media. High School Teacher Muhammad al-Harbi's Case: "After the Saudi authorities captured the terrorists who perpetrated the May 11, 2003 tragic terror bombing in a residential area in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Muhammad al-Harbi made a public announcement to his school's students praising the Saudi police and supporting anti terrorism actions waged by the Saudi government. He explained that that terror acts are against Islam and do not represent the faith nor its followers. This announcement was not received well by some of the other teachers in the school who adopted some extremist views and conservative ideologies that did not agree with Mohammed's thoughts. They started plotting against Mohammed for his sincere efforts in spreading the message of tolerance and support for anti terror acts."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

World, Egypt cracks down on Islamists in elections, 20 Nov 05: "Police arrested 400 Muslim Brotherhood activists in a crackdown on the Islamist group which poses the strongest challenge to the ruling party in Egyptian legislative elections on Sunday.", Riyadh online for digital city status, 20 Nov 05: "The governor of the CITC, Dr Mohammed Al Suwaiyel, announced last week that the Saudi capital will become one of ten ?Digital Cities? that Intel is wor-king with globally to promote the usage of WiMax technology."
StrategyPage, Information Warfare, Journalism Versus Reality in Iraq, November 20, 2005: "American troops are developing a hate-hate relation with journalists. The basic problem is that soldiers and marines in Iraq have access, usually via the Internet, to what the mass media is saying about what they think is happening in Iraq.", AIM Worm Virus Linked To Middle East Malware, 19 Nov 05: "FaceTime Security Labs has announced that the recently discovered worm that spreads through AOL's Instant Messenger is linked to a unidentified group in the Middle East. The AIM worm virus is known as Sdbot.add which includes a Lockx.exe rootkit.

"The AIM worm hides itself on a computer where hackers can also use the rootkit to cloak their own malware.", Inside the Muslim mind and the Qur'an, 13 Nov 05 hidden under the unfortunate headline is an interview with Michael Sells (Approaching the Qur'an author/translator), who has a new book on jihad on the horizon.
The Age, US hopes al-Zarqawi died in gunfight, 21 Nov 05"US forces have sealed off a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaeda members died in a gunfight - some by their own hand to avoid capture.

"A US official said that efforts were under way to determine if terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead."
The Register, WSIS: Secret police, hunger and booze, 20 Nov 05
Islam Online, Waiting for Pilots to Land in Tunis, 20 Nov 05 commentary on Tunis: "The Tunis Kram Centre, venue of WSIS, must have had the highest concentration of laptops and mobile phones in Africa for the week. It was also drowning in everything e- (electronic) from e-readiness studies to e-development plans, and from e-commerce strategies to e-waste management plans, there was a downpour of it everywhere.

"?Forever pilots? were lurking among all this, looking for landing pads. They would happily settle for a few sympathetic listeners, or some more funding to keep them going for as long as they can."
BBC NEWS | Technology | Controversy blights UN net summit, 18 Nov 05
BBC NEWS | Technology | CDs and comics offer digital aid, 18 Nov 05

Friday, November 18, 2005

Aljazeera.Net - 'Amman bombs did not target Muslims', 18 Nov 05, Zarqawi: Muslim wedding not bombing target, 18 Nov 05: "An audiotape attributed to al-Qaida in Iraq on Friday said that the group did not intend to target Muslim wedding parties in deadly bomb attacks in Jordan last week.

" ... The speaker, identified as Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, also threatened to chop off King Abdullah II's head and vowed to bomb more hotels and tourist sites.

""Your star is fading. You will not escape your fate, you descendant of traitors. We will be able to reach your head and chop it off," al-Zarqawi said, referring to the king."
Cuba, Iran lash out at Internet freedom | CNET, 18 Nov 05 "Too often, the Internet is used for the "propagation of falsehoods," said Mohammad Soleymani, Iran's minister of communication and information technology.

"Soleymani called for the elimination of the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)--which approves new top-level domain names--in favor of United Nations control."
Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Jordan and Iraq Explosions and Islam's Fate
: "Blowing oneself up in the lobby of a hotel or in the middle of a restaurant with no preservations because of the presence of just ordinary people is not considered a military operation and is not either a sign of power of any group."
BBC NEWS | Technology | Senegal calls for digital funds, 18 Nov 05: "Senegalese leader Abdoulaye Wade has called on the richer nations to do more to help developing countries buy technology hardware. "
BBC NEWS | Technology | Pocket answer to digital divide, 18 Nov 05 "Mobile technology has, for some time, been making a difference in remote, underdeveloped areas of the world where it is difficult and costly to build fixed-line infrastructure and net access."
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | The new commentariat, 17 Nov 05: "A new wave of political bloggers is challenging Britain's old media pundits. But who are they, and which ones matter? " - AP World News - Bombers Kill 65 At Two Mosques In Iraq, 18 Nov 05
Islam Online, Danish Muslims "Internationalize" Anti-Prophet Cartoons, 18 Nov 05
Los Angeles Times, Family Relies on Values Even as Traditions Fade, 18 Nov 05 profile of a Muslim family in Leeds
ZNet |Mainstream Media | Chomsky Answers Guardian Noam Chomsky discusses The Guardian's interview with him of 31 October (now off line - at least on the main Guardian site). It's interesting to read his response and associated links.
opinion piece: Kavkaz Center, The Chechen Resistance became a nucleus of general struggle , 18 Nov 05: "We bring to an attention of readers the interview of president of CHRI Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev given to the Chechen Radio edition Freedom which was held in November, 14 this year. Interview is published in translation from Chechen into Russian."
The Jakarta Post - Working to discount the growing theology of terror, 18 Nov 05: "The khawarij-like-terrorists have used particular religious teachings for self-legitimatization, have read world events and legitimized their actions in such a way that they believe only they are genuine religious and only they go to paradise. Their interpretations of jihad, amar ma'ruf nahi munkar, and kufr are highly selective, literal and partial." Interesting opinion piece from Muhamad Ali of the State Islamic University, Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta/University of Hawaii.
Independent, Documentary reveals London bomber's westernised youth, 18 Nov 05 one for the profilers: I listened to part of this one last night, and it is still available online: Biography of a Bomber, Thursday 17 November 2005 20:00-20:30 (Radio 4 FM). This is part of the Koran and Country series. Good programme, lots of local detail from Leeds. There is another one in this series on tonight (UK time) on Radio Ramadan, Friday 18 November 2005 11:00-11:30 (Radio 4 FM). This charts the phenomena of Ramadan radio stations.

Independent, Site of most wanted criminals crashes on launch day
, 18 Nov 05
:discusses Crimestoppers Most Wanted website., Early Warning by William M. Arkin: Al Qaeda Transforms there's some interesting feedback to this article too (scroll down to see it). For example, this is what 'Pete the Sceptic' had to say:

"Listen, I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but there's quite a few of us out in the blogosphere who are a little skeptical of the big bad strawman who moves as mysteriously as a quantum particle, posts on websites, obligingly produces "chatter" for the NSA at opportune moments, and yet can never ever be caught, despite being seriously wounded (missing a leg) or mortally ill (on dialysis). Legendary bad man Zarqawi was reported killed in 2003 by numerous sources and no one has seen him since."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Q&A: White phosphorus, 16 Nov 05
BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Eyewitness: Quake victims still cut off
BBC NEWS | Technology | UN net summit diary, 17 Nov 05
The Register, Tunisian Internet control lambasted at opening of World Summit more from Kieren McCarthy in Tunis.

BBC NEWS | Technology | UN debut for $100 laptop for poor, 17 Nov 05 includes photo of Annan and Negroponte at the keyboard.

MIT, $100 Laptop more on the 'green machine'. Will it have an Arabic version? This is an exciting project, that Nicholas Negroponte has been working on for several years, so I am keen to see it 'in action'. It has some implications with regards to cyber Islamic environments too.
ABC News Online, Hand-cranked laptop launched for schoolkids. 17/11/2005. : "Researchers in Tunis have unveiled a $A137 hand-cranked laptop computer, saying they hoped to place them in the hands of millions of schoolchildren around the globe." Expect it to roll out next year., Iran Anti-Zionist website Hosted in the United States, 17 Nov 05 article from Jeremy Reynalds: "An Iranian administered anti-Zionist website formerly hosted in the United States is now off line."
Radio Free Europe/, Rights Group Lists 'Enemies Of Internet' At UN Summit, 17 Nov 05: "One NGO -- the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders -- has created a list of countries it considers 'enemies of the Internet.' Heading that list are China and Iran. Regimes in Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan also are singled out as repressive governments who are trying to control the Internet in order to silence the political opposition."
ABC News Online, Howard unmoved by militant's threat. 17/11/2005. : "Prime Minister John Howard says he will not be swayed by a videotaped warning that Australia faces more terrorism attacks unless it withdraws its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Indonesian police say the militant in the video is Bali bombings suspect Noordin Top." Links to the tape can be found (in various formats) through this ABC page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Navhind Times on the Web: India, The new breed of terrorists is suave, urbane, 15 Nov 05: "As multinational company executive Tariq Ahmad Dar is interrogated over his alleged links with the New Delhi bomb blasts, intelligence agencies are drawing a frightening picture of the modern terror dispenser.

"Dar?s family and friends still cannot believe that this Net-savvy, science graduate from Srinagar is what the police say he is: a closet high-ranking Laskhar-e-Taiba operative.

""It is not unusual these days. The present-day militant is well educated. If he is adept at computers it only gives him that veneer of respectability," Mr Arun Bhagat, a former director of the Intelligence Bureau, told IANS."
PenLog English"We, the members of the Association of Iranian Blogwriters (Penlog), have started a serious movement towards securing the freedom of speech and free flow of information on the Internet. Our goal is to protect freedom of thought, speech and publishing in all aspects of personal and social life, without any exception. In this aspect, we defend the freedom of speech in the Internet and in particular the ?blogs?.

"We are writing this statement to inform you of the largest campaign of persecution, arrest, censorship and filtering of the Internet in the world, which is carried on in Iran right now." opinion piece
Friends of Democracy, The Internet, The Greatest Threat, 12 Oct 05 opinion piece from NDP blog/Diwaniya:

"The online activity in the Arab region is far more dangerous than Zarqawi's activities in Iraq or Bin Laden's activities worldwide. The threat of the latter can be contained as long as terrorist groups are restricted to one angle of society, but the former has an audience of hundreds of thousands of
our youth clearly divided into Sunnis or Shia, believers or infidels, right or wrong; how will they be saved? And most importantly, how will society be saved from their actions tomorrow?"
Protect Omid Sheikhan "Omid Sheikhan, an Iranian student, spent three months in jail last year - including a month of solitary confinement and torture."
IT 'expert' and alleged supporter of websites supporting terrorism, Babar Ahmad has been held for several months awaiting a decision on his extradition to the USA. BBC NEWS | UK | Clarke to extradite Ahmad to US, 16 Nov 05 "The Muslim Council of Britain said it was "very disappointed" in the extradition ruling.

"It questioned the fairness of the Extradition Treaty 2003 under which the US government does not have to prove to the UK that there is a prima facie case to answer.

""If our government has any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Babar Ahmad then he should be charged in this country and put on trial here," spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said."

Babar Ahmad's family and suppoters have been maintaining a website campaign for several months, and have issued a press release.

It provides the following statement from Babar Ahmad:

"Babar, speaking from Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes, said today: "This decision should only come as a surprise to those who thought that there was still justice for Muslims in Britain. I entrust my affairs to Allah and His Words from the Quran, "And when the two armies saw one another, the companions of Moses said, "Indeed we are finished." Moses said: "No! Indeed, with me is my Lord and He will guide me."' ... O Allah, You have seen what they have done to me. O Allah, avenge my injustice. In Allah we put our trust.""

An appeal is now in progress.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mer’s Bites of Bytes � Portraying technology and ‘us’ - Groups decry Tunisia hosting U.N. summit, 14 Nov 05 - Internet use spreading throughout Iraq, 14 Nov 05: "Three months after the fall of Saddam, al-Rubei Internet Cafe became one of Baghdad's first private companies, and ever since business has been doing well, said manager Jarir Majid.

"'The idea came when we thought that we wanted to do something with this shop, something that people needed,' said Majid, speaking as most of the 50 computers in his shop were occupied. 'The Internet is great. It is sad that Iraqis were deprived of this technology.'"
U.N. control of Internet? An idea for the 'delete' file - USA TODAY/Yahoo! News, 15 Nov 05: "Now, though, governments are waking up to the reality that the Internet is a powerful tool that can change society and commerce in profound ways. They want to assert more control - and are set to try at a U.N.-run conference in the Northern African nation of Tunisia this week.", Terrorism Is Not Jihad, Perak Mufti Says, 15 Nov 05: "The Mufti of Perak Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria Tuesday said acts of terror like setting off bombs to destroy innocent people out of hatred is not jihad (holy war).", Gaza Islamic University Gets Intel’s IT Center of Excellence Award, 15 Nov 05: "Last Wednesday, American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) and the Intel Corporation announced an agreement to build the Intel Information Technology Center of Excellence at the Islamic University of Gaza in the Gaza Strip. "
Le : Pourquoi une fatwa en France ?, par Alexandre Caeiro, 11 Nov 05"L'union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF) a edicte, dimanche 6 novembre, une "fatwa concernant les troubles qui touchent la France". Comment comprendre ce texte et la visibilite accrue de la fatwa dans un pays non musulman?"
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | The ideas interview: Joe Trippi discusses the book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything by Joe Trippi. Soem interesting points made. Wonder if Trippi is citing Gil Scott-Heron on his front page (one of my favourite tracks)?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Jordan Times, Would-be female suicide bomber arrested, 14 Nov 05: "On Sunday, the King told police chiefs of the Arab world convening in Amman for a security conference that tactics used by terrorist groups and their extremist ideologies must be scrutinised in order to abort criminal plots.

"King Abdullah also urged the Arab law enforcement officers to work to prevent the cultivation and brainwashing of youth by terrorists.

"He said extremist ideologies must be confronted and exposed for the falsehood their followers promote. He stressed that it is imperative that countries build a culture that renounces terrorism and fanaticism. "
BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Film explores suicide bomb motives contains a photo montage by Seamus Murphy from the film 'Paradise Now'. Also see Seamus Murphy's website at Ashley Woods Promotion, Iraq: Seven Armed Groups Willing To Negotiate With U.S., 14 Nov 05: "Seven armed Iraqi groups, coming together under the name 'the United Islamic Front for the Liberation of Iraq' have announced that they are willing to start talks with the US command in the country, but only on certain conditions.", Jordan: Legitimacy Of Amman Attacks Questioned, 14 Nov 05: "Following an initial outpouring of support for the bombings from the members of several Jihadist forums, one well-known fundamentalist Sheikh, Abu Basir al-Tartousi, has issued an unexpected fatwa, condemning the operation. In the religious edict, the Salafist sheikh, who is of Syrian origin but has lived in exile in London for years, states that the attacks were a mistake. 'This operation contains more negative than positive elements. For this reason it is not allowed to attribute it to Islam, or even to the Jihad [holy war],' he said." It will be interesting to watch the responses to al-Tartousi's statements here.
I'm pleased to note that The Register has columnist Kieren McCarthy's commentary on the World Summit in Tunis: The Register, World Summit blog: Heat, taxis and cous-cous, 14 Nov 05; The Register, World Summit blog: internet, freedom of speech and the UN 14th November 2005. These stories also appear (with others) on Kieren McCarthy's own site
Asharq Alawsat, Extremist Bakri Plans to Return to Britain, 14 Nov 05: "In a telephone conversation with Asharq al Awsat on Saturday, the firebrand cleric indicated that his return depended on renewing his Lebanese passport and affording a plane ticket, which he expected to pay for by students' donations"
Sunday Times - Times Online, MI5 wants 800 more spies to take on Islamic threat, 13 Nov 05: "Hundreds of spies, surveillance and desk officers will be recruited. They will include many candidates from ethnic minorities. The agency wants to hire 'streetwise' young Muslim men who are capable of infiltrating groups of Islamic hardliners. "
BBC NEWS | Technology | Tunisia under fire over UN summit, 14 Nov 05: "This week, the North African nation of Tunisia hosts a UN summit on the internet. One big item on the agenda will be how to ensure freedom of expression online. But Tunisia's own record of censorship has led some critics to question its suitability to host such an event. "
opinion piece: Yemen Times, 'They are the enemy', 14 Nov 05 : "The horrific attack in Amman was carried by these kind of hooligans, which Islam is totally unattached to and which in fact regards them as the real 'enemy', as the Qur'an has rightfully labeled them."
The Times & The Sunday Times, Malta, 'Plot' to attack Queen, 14 Nov 05: "The British secret service had information that a Sudanese man now in Italy was plotting an attempt on Queen Elizabeth's life while in Malta for the Commonwealth heads of Government Meeting later this month, Italia Uno reported yesterday.", Police tipped off by informer, 14 Nov 05: "ASIO decryption experts are examining computers confiscated in this week's raids.

"They are trying to decipher codes that will reveal the identity of foreign terrorists who may have visited Australia to meet the raid suspects."
Sunday Times - Times Online, Al-Qaeda calls Queen an 'enemy of Islam', 13 Nov 05: "The warning has been passed by MI5 to the Queen's protection team after it obtained the unexpurgated version of a video issued by Al-Qaeda after the 7/7 attacks. Parts of it were broadcast on Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite channel.

"In the video, Ayman al- Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama Bin Laden, targets the Queen as ultimately responsible for Britain's 'crusader laws' and denounces her as an enemy of Muslims. " News - Failed suicide bomber admits Jordan plot, 14 Nov 05: "The authorities said they were tipped off that Rishawi was involved after al-Qaeda in Iraq posted an internet notice saying four Iraqi bombers - including a husband-and-wife team - carried out the attacks.

"The terrorist network appears to have believed she had been killed.

" ... A Jordanian official said the al-Qaeda internet message had played a crucial part in revealing her role."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

BBC NEWS | Technology | Malaysia gamers face night curfew, 10 Nov 05: "The authorities in Subang Jaya, near the capital Kuala Lumpur, say that from next year they will close down net cafes which allow patrons to play games late at night.

more on this previously blogged story of 'Rakan ben Williams':, al-Qaeda mouthpiece warns of new jihadi weapon, 10 Nov 05: "As Jordan suffers the consequences of its friendship with the US and stance on Israel, intelligence experts have been dissecting a message from the al-Qaeda mouthpiece the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), unveiling its new secret weapon in the holy war. The warning comes in the form of a sarcastic and arrogant analysis of al-Qaeda's strategy, penned by an imaginary author calling himself Rakan ben Williams - or bin Wilyamz, as it is written in Arabic - published recently on Jihadi websites. "

Friday, November 11, 2005

24 Steps to Liberty, In Between!, 10 Nov 05: "What?s with this damned terrorism? We?ve been dealing with it for almost three years now. What is the point? Nothing. Why would they kill people having breakfast?" Commentary on current events in Iraq.
Guardian Unlimited Technology | Technology | Growing up with the wired generation, 10 Ov 05: "Being sent to your bedroom used to be a punishment: now it's a teen dream. Through personal computers, mobile phones and gaming consoles, teenagers are spurning antisocial angst for a culture of 'connected cocooning'." refers to MTV's Generations report

According to, MTV Networks International and Jamster! to Jointly Invest in Mobile Entertainment Research Internationally, 14 Sept 05:
"MTV initiates more local, pan-regional and global youth research than any other media company worldwide. Studies in the past have included: Sources of Cool, a global initiative that identified trend developments among youth; Collections of Cool, a pan-European research report addressing key youth behaviors; MTV Generations, a nine-country European study defining the key mindsets of Generation X and Generation Y; and Switched On, an on-going youth trends monitor."
Guardian Unlimited | Arts special reports | Click your mouse, say yeah!, 11 Nov 05: " may well be the hottest website on the internet: its parent company, Intermix Media, was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for a staggering $580m. It started out as an 'online community' where members could share their likes and dislikes by setting up homepages and linking them to those of 'friends' with similar interests.", Bali bombers made video before attacks, 11 Nov 05: "Three suicide bombers who killed 20 people in restaurants on Indonesia's Bali last month made videos in which they condemned the United States and said they were ready to die, the national police chief said on Friday.

"The videos were seized this week as part of raids in which one of Asia's top Islamic militants, Azahari Husin, was killed. It is the first time police have said Indonesian bombers have appeared on tapes ahead of blasts, a practice more common among suicide attackers in the Middle East." - Prewar CIA report questioned al Qaeda-Iraq ties - Nov 10, 2005: "A January 2003 CIA report raised doubts about claims that al Qaeda sent operatives to Iraq to acquire chemical and biological weapons -- dramatic assertions that were repeated weeks later by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations in making the case for the invasion of Iraq.", Al Qaeda claims 4 Iraqis behind Amman attacks, 11 Nov 05

"Four Iraqis -- including a husband and wife -- carried out the hotel bombings in Amman that killed 57 people, al Qaeda in Iraq claimed Friday on a Web site.

""A group of martyrdom-seekers carried out the planning and implementation. They comprised three men and a woman who decided to accompany her husband on the path to martyrdom," the statement said."
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Producer dies after Jordan blast, 11 Nov 05 Moustapha Akkad, director of The Message, was killed in the Jordan hotel bombings. This was a significant film, made in 1976, charting the early development of Islam (it is a film I have used frequently in lecturing on the subject)., UK Muslims to fight extremism on the road and Web, 11 Nov 05: "After years of watching radical Muslim groups teach violence in town meetings and on the Internet, British Muslim leaders announced plans on Thursday to fight back by taking the message of mainstream Islam onto the road and out into cyberspace."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

An Average Iraqi: Iraqi Bloggers: From Pax to Sanyora here's a history of Iraqi blogging that really should be in Wiki. I have been writing about this issue recently, so found it interesting to see An Average Iraqi's chronicle and estimates of current Iraqi bloggers. [located via Iraqi Bloggers Central, diolch]
Iraqi Bloggers Central, New Voices in the Iraqi Blogosphere:

"As many of you have already noticed, the Iraqi Blogosphere has started to hum again with new voices. Baghdad Treasure and 24 Steps to Liberty have joined the conversation and come to the debates as working journalists inside Iraq ...

" ... These two new Iraqi blogger/journalists have also attempted something that only Salam Pax himself has done in the past, offering detailed criticism of Riverbend's views on the situation in Iraq. Like many others, they respect Riverbend's ideas, but just the same they are willing to debate those areas where they think she is less than truthful."
WSIC: World Summit on the Information Society, "Digital Reach" - The Official WSIS Commemorative Publication for Tunis" "The book will focus on the key elements of building an inclusive, development-oriented Information Society, on implementation of the WSIS Plan of Action and follow-up beyond Tunis. Contributing authors will be invited from among all stakeholders of WSIS."

This book is priced at $125, although apparently it will be given away to select 'stakeholders' and delegates; one hopes the findings can be made more affordable to its target audience too, given one of the key issues is the 'digital divide'. BTW I am not attending the conference, unfortunately, but hope to catch some streaming content and blog commentaries.
BBC NEWS | Technology | UN slates online costs for poor: "The cost of fast net access and linking up to the net's global infrastructure hits poorer nations much harder than developed countries, says a UN body. " Prelude to the World Summit on the Information Society conference in Tunisia
BBC NEWS | Middle East | 'I walked into complete carnage', 10 Nov 05
Aljazeera.Net - Bali blasts mastermind believed dead, 10 Nov 05: "Indonesian police are certain that top terror suspect Azahari Husin is dead after he blew himself up when cornered, the country's president has said."
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Jihad videos left in mosques in tube bomber's town, November 10, 2005 "Detectives from the West Yorkshire force are examining a videotape handed in by worshippers in Dewsbury, who were concerned that young people were being targeted by the anonymous drop at two mosques in the Savile Town area.

"The tape is understood to show scenes of violence against Muslims, including footage of funeral processions and burials from Iraq overlaid by verses from the Qur'an. Along with others, it was left with genuine religious material at the mosque's reception area in sleeves allegedly disguised to suggest that the contents were celebratory sermons and texts." DVDs + tapes were left in a Dewsbury mosque (it would be interesting to see the proportion of net derived material on them).

Report: Saudi Arabia does not offer religious freedom, 9 Nov 05 "The US government just released a report on religious freedom, released by released by the US Department Of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The report singled some countries among which is Saudi Arabia for lack of religious freedom."
Yemen Times, Religious tolerance, n.d.: "Along my surfing I came across a web log that started with the phrase 'I certainly hope you haven't come here with your mind already made up.' And it was striking that it is actually a fact that most people, Muslims and non-Muslims, even as they attempt to listen, they are listening with their ears and not their hearts and minds." editorial
Islam Needs Radicals -- In These Times: "In the last two decades, a 'moderate' school of Islamist jurisprudence has in fact emerged (known as the wasatiya movement in Arabic). But its leaders have been variously co-opted or censored by their governments, or tend to be quite immoderate when it comes to Jews, homosexuality or full equality for women. The ones that are truly moderate strongly oppose U.S. foreign policy and much of our materialist, consumer culture. For doing so they are labeled 'radicals' by their governments, and ours." commentary by Mark LeVine, professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic studies, UC Irvine
Aljazeera.Net - Iraq's al-Qaida claims Jordan blasts, 10 Nov 05: "'A group of our best lions launched a new attack on some dens ... After casing the targets, some hotels were chosen which the Jordanian despot turned into a backyard for the enemies of the faith, the Jews and crusaders,' the statement on a website usually used by the group, said on Thursday.

"'Let the tyrant of Amman know that his protection...for the Jews has become a target for the mujahideen and their attacks, and let him expect the worst,' it added."
Times Online, Palestinian leaders among 56 dead in Jordan hotel bombs, 10 Nov 05: "Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the terror group led by Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, posted a statement on a website claiming responsibility for the three synchronised blasts which ripped through the Grand Hyatt, Radisson SAS and Days Inn in Amman, the capital of Jordan. "