Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Zarqawi group vows to avenge deadly US air strikes in Iraq -, 31 Aug 05: "The statement in the name of the Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Land of Two Rivers followed US military air strikes on suspected Al-Qaeda hideouts in the Al-Qaim area near the Syrian border on Tuesday, killing at least 56 people.", Egypt's growing blogger community pushes limit of dissent, 24 Aug 05 "Activists in Egypt rely on blogs like Fattah's to find out the time and place of future demonstrations, to learn who has been arrested and where they have been taken, and to debate the effectiveness of opposition strategies. In short order, Egypt's bloggers have become a political force, capable of more than merely commenting from the sidelines.", Hacker underground erupts in virtual turf wars, 22 Aug 05: "An unprotected computer running Windows XP experiences an average 'survival' time of 26 minutes on the Internet before hackers identify it as vulnerable, according to the SANS Institute, a cooperative Internet security organization.", If They Only Knew Islam's Simplicity, 31 Aug 05 interesting piece by Raid Qusti - which should be read in full - reacting to the article in al-Watan about the 'football fatwa' (blogged last week):

"Over the years, and since the Internet came to the Kingdom, fatwas by people who claim to be sheikhs have been published left and right, poisoning the minds of the younger generation and also taking people's intelligence for granted. Last year, a colleague in Arab News told me of a fatwa by a unpopular sheikh on the Internet who said that it was sinful in Islam for a woman to log on the Internet on her own without a male guardian. Such a fatwa, in my opinion, is sickening. That a person who claims to be a student of Islam doubts the intentions of all Muslim females who log on to the Internet and judges them for misdeeds, is pure prejudice. The Internet, as any other tool, can be used for good or bad. Males are just as responsible as females are when they log on the net. Why should females be doubted only? This fatwa coincides with other nonsense we hear from sheikhs, some of them on our national radio and television, who say that “women are the core of all evil in the world. They should be subdued and looked after carefully."
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | '600 dead' in Baghdad bridge disaster, 31 Aug 05 "Thousands of people had been making their way towards the Kadhimiya mosque - an important Shia shrine in the north of Baghdad - to celebrate the martyrdom of Mousa al-Kadim, a revered religious figure among Shia Muslims."

BBC, Lebanon's gays struggle with law, 29 Aug 05

"Helem is an Arabic acronym for Lebanese Protection for the LGBT community, but the Arabic word also means dream.

"George Azzi, the group's co-ordinator, says the idea first came to life in an internet chat room whose members decided to organise an association and work publicly with the institutions of civil society."

Further details from the Helem website
AFP/The Peninsula On-line, All-women separatist squads raid brothels in Kashmir, 31 Aug 05: "A hardline Islamic women's separatist group said yesterday it had begun raiding brothels in revolt-hit Kashmir to stamp out 'adultery and the flesh-trade.' ...

"Aasiya Andrabi, head of the separatist Dukhtaran-e-Milat, or Daughters of Faith, announced over the weekend the formation of all-women squads to raid brothels in the Muslim-majority state ...

" ... Andrabi said members had also swooped on restaurants and Internet cafes where they found teenage boys and girls. The group plans to talk to their parents."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - Zotob worm writer caught by FBI"> - Zotob worm writer caught by FBI, 29 Aug 05
: "Microsoft worked in conjunction with the Turkish and Moroccan authorities and the U.S. FBI, according to a release from the company. The software vendor, through a division it created two years ago to investigate cybercrime, provided the FBI with technical information and analytical support that was then shared with Turkish and Moroccan police."
BBC, Malaysia targets mobile phone sex, 29 Aug 05: "The Malaysian government has ordered police to randomly check mobile phones for pornographic images.

The move follows reports by a local newspaper that young people were swapping sex videos and images on their mobile phones."

Friday, August 26, 2005

BBC, Phone technology aids UAE dating, 29 July 2005 I missed this story, apprently from a month ago, which follows the application of Bluetooth and related tech to aid 'liaisons' in UAE.

Thursday, August 25, 2005, Vatican led into war on terror, warns website, 24 Aug 05: "Following the threats against the Vatican faxed to a Spanish TV station and newspaper this week, the Catholic Church remains the target of Islamic extremists, this time in a report posted on an Islamic Internet forum under the heading 'The Pope of the Vatican goes to War'. The message, signed under the name D. Abdouh, discusses the Vatican's entry in the war between al-Qaeda and the Western world, with a speech Pope Benedict XV! gave during his recent trip to Cologne in Germany."
ADNKI, Football fatwa led players to al-Qaeda, 25 Aug 05"The Islamic decree was signed by a group of fundamentalist ulema and issued over the Internet on 12 June 2002, months before the three went to Iraq. The edict said Muslims were not allowed to play football unless they abided by certain conditions, such as always being fully covered when they play, as shorts are considered Western clothing which does not cover enough of the body. They were also banned from using foreign words like 'corner' and 'out', as well as being forbidden from using the rules of the international football federations, such as those which govern the size of the pitch and the need to play with a team of 11. The fatwa also bans the use of a referee."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Islam-Online, Beyond Extremism and Security: Islam, Muslims and the Web, 24 Aug 05 Q&A session with myself.
CBN (Christian Broardcasting Network) News -Spreading Terror through the Internet, 24 Aug 05 cites a variety of investigators and analysts
Reuters AlertNet - Britain presents plans to ban hate preachers, Aug 24 05: "Britain on Wednesday unveiled the criteria it will use to bar foreigners it believes inspire terrorism as part of a broad crackdown on Islamist preachers after last month's bombings in London."
LA Times, FBI Eyeing Islamic Author, 24 Aug 05 "Iyad K. Hilal, an Islamic author and philosopher, has lived in Orange County for more than a decade with little attention to his writings or his role in the group." refers to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005, No Muslim Community in Intel’s Community Initiative, 23 Aug 05 allegations associated with Intel's Digital Communities initiative: "No community in a Muslim nation was selected for the Digital Communities initiative. This is not surprising. Intel began investing in Israel more than 30 years ago. ", Girl Rejects Marriage Proposal Over Porn, 23 Aug 05 "The girl said that she would accept the marriage on the condition that his mobile phone was free of indecent photos..."
Sofia News Agency, Police Unravels "Al-Qaeda" Terror Threats on Sofia, 21 Aug 05: "Two Bulgarian boys, aged 11 and 12, are behind an Internet 'Al-Qaeda' statement, which threatened to strike the capital Sofia and wipe it out, police said.", Al-Qaeda group to terrorise US, 19 Aug 05: "The group, calling itself the Brigade of Media Jihad', called on its militants to 'post terrifying pictures on the internet in order to terrorise the enemy', said a statement on an Islamist website whose authenticity could not be verified." - Al Qaeda's virtual sanctuary, 23 Aug 05 "Al Qaeda is winning the war in cyberspace. Since 9/11 it has established an extensive virtual sanctuary on the Net."
ipsnews, No Colonial Hangups as Malays Rush to Learn English, Aug 23 05: "English, once shunned as the language of colonialism, is now regarded as the passport to success in the modern world and is rapidly replacing Islamic studies and the sciences."
alt.muslim - How Progressive is the Progressive Muslim Movement?, 23 Aug 05: "The term 'Progressive Muslim' has been used by both supporters and detractors to forward individual agendas. The progressive Muslim movement is an umbrella term for believers trying to navigate an ever-changing socio-political landscape in North America along with the pressures of globalization. The progressive movement strips away cultural and emotional aspects of 21st century Islam to redefine it in a more sociologically relevant image. To some it is a humanization of the apparent unpleasant side of Islamic dogma and rhetoric including gender separation, anti-homosexual doctrines, intolerance of other faiths and the role of warfare and violence in Islamic history."
alt.muslim, Challenging Islamic Nationalism, 21 Aug 05 "Islamic nationalism needs to be challenged. This does not mean that we should stop feeling the pain and suffering for our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Chechnya. It means extending this empathy to include all of humanity. Someone asked me, on hearing about the famine in Niger, whether it was a 'Muslim country'. Does a Muslim child starve to death differently from the child of a Christian or an animist?"

Monday, August 22, 2005

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town, Close Reading Dept. O.B.L., 22 Aug 05 Discussesforthcoming translation of Osama bin Laden's output, edited by Bruce Lawrence and translated by James Howarth.

"Among the many difficulties inherent in editing a wanted man is access: some of the texts are as elusive as bin Laden himself. “One can't go to the Library of Congress and ask for the Osama bin Laden file,” Lawrence said. A speech from 2003, for instance, disappeared from the Internet a few days after a Verso employee tracked it down. Others have been heavily censored by translators or publishers."

Details of the book can be found here.
NY Times/, Sufis under attack as Sunni rifts widen, 21 Aug 05 non-tech piece on an under-reported issue:

"But in Iraq, no one is ever far removed from war. In a sign of the widening and increasingly complex rifts in Iraqi society, Sufis have suddenly found themselves the targets of attacks. Many Iraqis believe those responsible are probably fundamentalist Sunnis who view the Sufis as apostates, just one step removed from the Shiites."
The Washington Times, News magazine in secular Turkey honors al Qaeda, 22 Aug 05: "A new magazine titled Kaide -- Turkish for al Qaeda -- praises terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, glamorizes the July 7 bombings in London and vividly illustrates that extremism lurks in this secular nation where Islam is tightly regulated. "
The Observer | UK News | Muslim leaders accuse BBC of witch hunt, 21 Aug 05 (see below)
Washington Post/, British Webmaster fights extradition to United States: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 21 Aug 05: "Babar Ahmad, a 31-year-old computer whiz and mechanical engineer, was hailed as a big catch by U.S. law enforcement officials when he was arrested here one year ago on charges that he ran a network of Web sites that served as a propaganda and fund-raising front for Islamic extremists, including Chechen rebels, the Taliban militia and al-Qaida affiliates.

"Since then, Ahmad has been locked up inside British prisons as he fights extradition to the United States. But the imprisonment has done little to silence the British native of Pakistani descent. Rather, it has given him an even bigger megaphone as he continues to churn out anti-American manifestos and post them on the Web, turning him into a minor celebrity in Britain.", Koranic TV next step for radical sheik, 20 Aug 05: "An Islamic preacher who advocates the execution of homosexuals, adulterers and armed robbers plans to start broadcasting his message in Australia on radio, TV and through the internet."
There have been a number of online responses to the Panorama programme: MCB - The Muslim Council of Britain: Panorama programme ‘A Question Of Leadership’ response document [note: this is a Word file]:

"The MCB has issued a press release and also a full and detailed response on the programme broadcast by the BBC on 21st August. The press statement notes that "We believe John Ware’s team have made a deeply unfair programme using deliberately garbled quotes in an attempt to malign the Muslim Council of Britain and with the barely concealed goal of drawing British Muslims away from being inspired in their political beliefs and actions by the faith of Islam."

Also see: MABOnline, Muslims stand firm in face of Panorama assault, 22 Aug 05: "Sunday’s Panorama programme aimed to show a split in the Muslim community – if any, it is a split between the vast majority who have belief and confidence in Islam and a small number who have been weakened by the onslaught on our faith.

"The programme’s reporter John Ware set about trying to expose that Muslims supposedly secretly see themselves as superior to other faiths. The attack on the MCB is especially curious in this regard given all the excellent work they have done in the interfaith world. Actions do indeed speak louder than non-existent words."

Islamic Foundation , Islamic Foundation Promotes Responsible Civic Values, 22 Aug 05 "The BBC’s Panorama programme aired last night presented a highly slanted picture of our institution and its work. We reject absolutely the implication that our work and teachings have contributed to a sense of anti-West alienation among British Muslims. Furthermore, the accusation that our institution has a “double message” and is “schizophrenic” is totally unfounded, as anyone who has worked with the Foundation will testify."

BBC, Panorama: A Question of Leadership, 21 August 2005 This contains details of John Ware's programme about 'leadership' in British Muslim communities. There was a web thread to this, as several websites appeared as 'evidence' in the programme, which focused heavily on the Muslim Council of Britain, but also referred to other platforms and organisations (including the Islamic Foundation). There is a transcript of the programme available, if you missed the transmission. There are also (not surprisingly) some reactions from the MCB. Iqbal Sacranie of MCB stated: ""It is unfortunate that just when Britain's 1.6 million Muslims are beginning to make progress in terms of their political participation in the mainstream, there are those who are purposefully trying to sabotage that process." There is an associated series of debates and viewer responses linked into the pages.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Editor: Myself. Blogosphere attacked, Aug 13 05: "Shargh newspaper reports that Iran's Telecom company has ordered all ISPs to filter

"Blogrolling, owned by Canada-based Tucows, provides a popular free service for bloggers who want to track their favorites weblogs and automatically be informed when they get updated."
icSouthlondon - Sick online boasts of child gangsters, 18 Aug 05: "The site claims to feature members of the Man Dem Crew - a teenage feeder gang for the infamous Peel Dem Crew, known in some circles as the Muslim Boys.

"Its members purport to be Muslims but are disowned and feared by genuine worshippers.

"'I would be surprised if these guys have been to a mosque in their lives,' a police source told us.

"'They have nothing to do with Islam - they use the Muslim label because these feel it's trendy.'"
A subject previously referred to in my writing - this provides an update of jihadi 'games' on the market (not necessarily going to rival top games in the market place at present). Unfortunately, I haven't had time to test-drive any of these games: Independent Online Edition, Jihad: play the game, 17 Aug 05: "Grenades - check. Sniper rifle - check. Prayer mat - check. Gamers may be used to saving the day by taking on alien forces from another universe but a new wave of computer games are more concerned with saving the world from non-believers. With titles like Special Force and Under Siege, these games sound similar to military titles like Medal of Honour that regularly top the UK games chart for best-selling titles. Once people start playing though, it's obvious Special Force and Under Siege are very different both in quality and in content to their mainstream rivals."

Thursday, August 18, 2005, Young Muslims at mercy of the enemy within, 16 Aug 05

"A Muslim youth leader has expressed fears that vulnerable young people in Newham are at risk of becoming the suicide bombers of tomorrow ...

" ... Qadir told the Guardian: "I am very worried. There's a lot of anger among young people. I know one guy who said he was ready to die for his beliefs."

"We're working with him and his family and he was given psychiatric help. He got involved with HT and he got very fired up. "Information about dangerous groups is easy to find on the internet. Once the seeds have been sown, there's a lot of hard work to reach young people who could be easily pushed in the wrong direction.""
ITN - Calls to ban 'terror' radio station, 18 Aug 05: "Al-Tajdeed Radio, which is run by a prominent Saudi dissident, has close links with a website carrying films of terrorist bombings and beheadings." Refers to Muhammad al-Massari's broadcasts.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - MIT program bridges Mideast divide, 16 Aug 05: "Much has been said about the political, religious and historical rifts that divide Israelis from Palestinians, but two MIT students have found something young people from these groups have in common: an interest in technology ...

" ... Based on MIT curricula and taught by MIT students, the intensive two-year program, held in Jerusalem, focuses on providing Palestinian and Israeli high school students with computer science, entrepreneurship and leadership skills. The program encourages students to work together as professional partners in an environment of mutual understanding and respect."

This is a very interesting programme - hope I can find out more in due course.
Libya: Web Writer's Arrest Stifles Debate (Human Rights Watch, 17-8-2005): "'Internet use has recently exploded in Libya, in the absence of a free domestic media,' said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division. 'Internet sites based outside of Libya provide an important forum for political debate, so al-Mansuri's arrest is a setback for Internet freedom and the important debate on Libyan reform.' "
Linux in Government: Building Bridges and Managing Water | Linux Journal, 17 Aug 05 interview with Ammar Ibrahim, CTO of al-Bawaba: We handle two million visits daily. It's a significant site for the area and on the Internet in general. If you visit the site, you will see that it's what we might call a portal for the area. We've consolidated news there, have forums and offer e-mail. Although it is only a start, we're in the top 250 Web sites in the world. It's also 100% open source."
TCS: Tech Central Station - Terror on the Internet, Terror on the Internet, 17 Aug 05 analysis of an anti-Shia site by Stephen Schwartz, the author of "The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism".

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

BBC NEWS | Technology | Go Digital "Tracking terror suspects by mobile phone, Malaysia tackles hoax texts..." podcast of Go Digital (als see story immediately below).
BBC NEWS | Technology | Malaysians get tough on mobiles, 15 Aug 05: "The Malaysian government is to put a stop to the anonymous use of mobiles in response to security fears."
NewsHour Extra Top Story: Muslim-American Leaders Intensify Youth Outreach Initiatives -- August 15, 2005: "'We need Americans who were born here, who watched MTV and understand American culture to be Imams,' Bray said. 'We need the authentic American Islamic voice. It's unique.'"

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Religious Policeman comments on the Bluetooth story (and the Khamis Mushayt Girl) - see below., 'Khamis Mushayt Girl' Faces Execution, 12 Aug 05: "A website was constructed to gather public support for the condemned woman on the Internet. So far the number of people visiting the website has been impressive.
'Some 300,000 people from more than 75 countries have visited the website, even though it has only been constructed in the past three weeks,' said Dr. Waleed Abu Milhahe, webmaster of the site. People in Asir are circulating messages in their bid to save the woman. "
Egypt Election - U.S.: Al Qaida is Planning Attacks on Petrol Stations in UK, 14 Aug 05: "Abu Khadeejah, a prominent Muslim scholar in Birmingham, accused militants in Britain of trying to 'shroud' the murder of innocent people by wrongly using verses from the Koran.

"Speaking at a two-day conference in Birmingham, called Orthodox Islam's War on Terror, he said it was vital to educate young Muslims that suicide bombing was not a glorious death but a theological perversion."
Egypt Election - The Fight on Terrorism: The Web, Silencing Jihadi Websites, Aug 14 2005
The Counterterrorism Blog: The Muslim Brotherhood: What Do They Really Want To Teach American Muslim Youth?, 10 Aug 05 Opinion piece: "Taking their press releases at face value, journalists have helped effectively to cover up the larger, serious issue of the growing secret network of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US.", Bakri's close associate don't think "he will stop his activities", 12 Aug 05: "Bakri's close associate, Anjem Choudary, told The Associated Press that Bakri would not appeal _ but neither would the cleric be silenced.

"With the Internet and other means, we can still hear from him wherever he is preaching,'' Choudary said. ``I don't think he will stop his activities.''"
American Daily, Terror from Hartford, 12 Aug 05 Jeremy Reynalds' account of his recent activities, checking a Yahoo message board entitled Islamic Resistance.
Significant to this blog, in Deedat (and his followers) application of various media: Ahmed Deedat: A Relentless Caller to Islam With Wisdom By Hassan El-Najjar, August 14, 2005: "The famous caller to Islam, Shaikh Ahmed Deedat passed away at 87, at his home in the KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, on August 8, 2005. He left behind a legacy of encouragement and enthusiasm to the callers of Islam everywhere to be persistent in their efforts to explain Islam and educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about it all over the world.", The Evildoers Do Super Mario Bros. - The War on Terror's least-frightening video games, Aug. 12, 2005 "Tom Friedman is right: We're in a war of ideas. In that war, it's a bad idea for a prominent American columnist to panic over innocent games with an Islamic theme. Video games do matter. Just not the ones from IslamGames. As Ummah Defense I would put it, "Subhanallah, Try Again!""

Observer, Belief isn't everything, 14 Aug 05 Nick Cohen sits in on a 'Women and Entrepreneurial London' conference at the London Muslim Centre (internet connection to story)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Observer | UK News | Radical links of UK's 'moderate' Muslim group, 14 Aug 05 discusses alleged links between MCB and Islamic Foundation with Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Mawdudi. See my book Virtually Islamic for a discussion on this issue - which is more complex than the sensational headlines make out.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 middle east news information::Only in America: Palestinian fired because of song!!, 13 Aug 05: ""We decided to fire Bassam after it became clear to us that he has a website on the Internet in which he posts anti-U.S. provocative songs,” a US official has said. “Before Bassam was accepted as an employee, we checked his background and found nothing to prevent taking him on. But six months later we discovered that Bassam’s hobby, which is provocative rap songs, does not conform to our security demands. Therefore we fired him"." Internet rap storm.

Friday, August 12, 2005 - Bluetooth helps Saudis break taboos - Aug 12, 2005:

"On a recent warm night, Abdullah Muhammad sat in front of his laptop at a sidewalk cafe waiting for his computer's Bluetooth to pick up nearby users.

"'I use Bluetooth to meet girls,' said the 24-year-old businessman. 'The religious police cannot catch me.'

"His long, dark hair combed back, Muhammad said when he sees a woman walking past, he presses the search button in the hope her phone's Bluetooth is on."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Stranger - Books - Feature - Our Secret Sharers includes references to 'jihadi' activities on the net
Reporters sans frontieres - Internet - Saudi Arabia: "Saudi Arabia has created one of the world's biggest Internet filtering systems. The authorities have officially announced that they block access to nearly 400,000 webpages, with the aim of 'protecting citizens from offensive content and content the violates the principles of Islam and the social norms.'" News - Top Stories - Public pays for luxury life of cleric who preaches hatred, 11 Aug 2005: "The extremist Islamic cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed will undergo heart surgery costing thousands of pounds in an NHS hospital when he returns to Britain, it has emerged."
Asharq Alawsat Newspaper, Asharq Al-awsat Interviews Frank Gardner, 10 August 2005 incudes reference to 'cyber terrorism' - Feds recruiting hackers at Defcon - Aug 11, 2005: "As scam artists, organized-crime rings and other miscreants find a home on the Internet, top federal officials are trolling hacker conferences to scout talent and talk up the glories of a career on the front lines of the information wars."
BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Pakistan's mystical Islam thrives, 11 Aug 05: "The mystical form of Islam espoused by Sufi saints for hundreds of years continues to thrive in Pakistan despite opposition from religious hardliners and the authorities.", Abu Mus'ab al-Suri and the Third Generation of Salafi-Jihadists, 11 Aug 05

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Inquirer, Iraq gets Internet domain name, 8 Aug 05: "The Interweb governing outfit ICANN has given the Iraqi people their .iq domain name back."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Muslim American Society, Fourteen U.S. Marines Killed in Iraq, 3 August 2005, "Ansar al-Sunna, an extremist group linked with the al-Qaeda network, said in an Internet statement it had killed eight U.S. Marines and captured a ninth in western Iraq. The U.S. military denied capture of any of its Marines."
In the Red Zone Steven Vincent's blog (see Times Online story below)
Times Online, Basra blogger is abducted and murdered, 3 August 2005 refers to Steven Vincent, whose columns have featured in this blogger's reading in the past (and have been linked here).