Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hossein Derakhshan's blog is going through a fascinating phase, with his visit to Israel. This has allowed him to explore a wide-range of issues, given the substantial population with links to Iran living in Israel. Particularly interesting was E:M | A new blog in Persian, this time from Israel, where he assists a Persian-speaking Israeli, Farhad Moradian, to set up his own blog, Cafe Ginsburg. Also see Jerusalem Post, Web relations: Iranian blogs his way to Israel, 31 Jan 06
AP/Boston Globe, Kidnapped journalist shown weeping on tape, 31 Jan 06, "The US journalist Jill Carroll, weeping and veiled, appeared on a new videotape aired yesterday by Al-Jazeera, and the Arab television station said she appealed for the release of all Iraqi women prisoners."

Islam-Online, European Muslims Page Sees Light on IOL, 30 Jan 06, "Within the context of meeting the needs of Muslims in the media field, IslamOnline.net has launched a new Web Page for European Muslims, highlighting the minorities life, challenges, hopes and aspirations." This is an interesting development - how will it play out in terms of content management? The site includes a questionnaire, which will assist in understanding reader profiles.

Reuters/Arab Times, Hamas victory stirs Palestinian humour, 31 Jan 06, "Jokes poking fun at Hamas and looking ahead to life under the Islamic militant group have been making the rounds via cellphone text messages Palestinians have been sending each other since it crushed the Fatah faction in a Jan. 25 election.

""Hamas stopped all suicide bomber operations ahead of the election, because they needed every vote they could get," read one popular joke."

Free Internet Press, Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri Warns Of Attack, Calls Bush 'Butcher', 31 Jan 06, "The video, broadcast on the al-Jazeera Arabic satellite television network, was evidently produced and delivered in a remarkably short time for an organization that President Bush has said repeatedly is "on the run" from a U.S. offensive against it. Besides the Jan. 13 airstrike, the video referred to a bin Laden audiotape that was aired on al-Jazeera on Jan. 19. That tape, the first from bin Laden in more than a year, warned that al-Qaeda was preparing new attacks in the United States. But citing U.S. public opinion against the war in Iraq, bin Laden also offered a vague "long-term truce based on just conditions" to permit the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan."

At a time when boycotts are being discussed, more on those infamous cartoons: Reuters/khaleejtimes.com, Iraqi group urges Danish attacks over cartoons, 31 Jan 06"An Iraqi radical group called yesterday for attacks against Danish and Norwegian targets over satirical cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), saying a boycott of goods was not enough, according to an Internet statement."

Middle East Times, Danish newspaper apologizes for offensive cartoons, Jan 30, 2006, "The Middle East Times has received a letter from Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, in which editor in chief Carsten Juste apologizes to Muslims for having offended them with the cartoons published by the paper last September."

Gulf Daily News, Al Qaeda's propaganda discs found, 31 Jan 06, "The spokeswoman said much of the footage on the discs, including older speeches by Al Qaeda leader Bin Laden, appeared to have been downloaded from the Internet and then copied onto VCDs, which are similar to DVDs. The discs, entitled "The Eid Message," were first discovered at mosques in Leeds and Dewsbury in November. But yesterday, police released closed-circuit television footage of a man seen leaving them in the foyer of the Leeds mosque."

Monday, January 30, 2006

PakTribune, Over 2.4m internet users in country, 30 Jan 06, "The cheapest way of interaction, the internet has attracted a large number of people globally but as per ballpark figure the number of its users in Pakistan has been recorded upto 2.4 million.

"As per the data available with Online, a local internet service showed a part from the people availing the facility in cyber cafes and offices, more than two million people keeping themselves in touch with the internet by dialup connection."

Islam Online, Muslims Seek UN Resolution Over Danish Cartoons, 30 Jan 06, "The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, the Muslim world's two main political bodies, are seeking a UN resolution, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions following the publication of cartoons depicting and ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)." This story continues - not sure how it might be satisfactorily resolved, however. The cartoons are widely circulated on the net.

Free Internet Press, Abbas To Resign If Hamas Won't Work With Foreign Powers, 30 Jan 06

Times, New clues support al-Qaeda theory for London Bombing, 30 Jan 06

Islam Online, Malaysia Favors Counseling Black Metal Followers, 28 Jan 06, "The Malaysian government favors counseling followers of a satanic black metal cult rather than banning the musical genre, the Star Online reported on Saturday, January 28." The second reference to 'Black Metal' in this blog over the past week. Don't expect related links to I-Tunes ...

AMEInfo, Emirates Computers and Gulfnet Security System showcase latest security products at Intersec 2006, 29 Jan 06 interesting advertorial

AMEInfo, Doubts over new UAE telco, 26 Jan 06, "UAE newspapers are expessing skepticism over the new Emirates Integrated Telecoms Company, established to end the Etisalat monopoly. Questions have been raised over the secrecy surrounding EITC, its lack of ability to compete on price, and what actual choice the telco will offer customers. UAE international call rates are currently among the highest in the world, with IP telephony banned."

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I interviewed Dr Badawi of the Muslim College some years ago, as part of my PhD research, and subsequently encountered him several times through my work. Here are some of the many obituaries that mark the passing of this remarkable person:

"I am naturally a rebel," explained scholar Dr. Sir Zaki Badawi, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. "Irreverence is part of my Islamic culture." alt.muslim, British Muslims Mourn Scholar & Leader Dr. Zaki Badawi

Islam Online, Renowned British Muslim scholar and Principal of the Muslim College in London, Dr. Zaki Badawi, passed away Tuesday, January 24.

The Star, RHB’s Dr Zaki Badawi was a prominent syariah adviser

AFP/Middle East Times, Zaki Badawi, one of Britain's leading Muslims, dead at 83
BBC News, Iran blocks BBC Persian website, 24 Jan 06, "The Iranian authorities have started to block the BBC's Persian language internet site, for the first time.

"The BBC says the level of traffic to the site from within Iran has dropped sharply over the last three days.

adnki.com, Iraq: six groups break with al-Qaeda's al-Zarqawi, 23 Jan 06: "The groups in a statement posted on the Internet said they had severed all links with the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi, who is suspected of masterminding some of the bloodiest attacks in Iraq."

American Daily, American-based Internet service provider helps spread bin Laden's speech and terrorist stick art, 24 Jan 06
, "A radical Islamic web site apparently housed on an American- based Internet Service Provider has been offering links to downloads of the recent speech made by Osama bin Laden and broadcast on Al- Jazeera television." Allegations drawing on several other sites and sources.

Washington Post, Osama's unmistakable message, 25 Jan 06 "As of September, the jihadi chat rooms have asked if "we are we winning the war on the infidels?" The mentors of the rooms have tried to reassure the participants that all was going fine, referring to the letters between Ayman al Zawahiri and Abu Musab al Zarqawi. But 2005 left a lot of explaining for the jihadists in the region: elections in Afghanistan with millions of women voting and being elected; two elections and one referendum in Iraq: A Cedar Revolution in Beirut and debates about democracy raging on the Internet." Op/ed piece from Walid Phares.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Arab News, Collaboration to Create Arabic Portal on Development, n.d., "As part of fulfilling its mandate, Bibliotheca Alexandrina (www.bibalex.org) in cooperation with the Development Gateway Foundation (www.developmentgateway.org) have unveiled plans for a new Arabic language web portal on development. The portal, a preview of which was presented at the World Summit on the Information Society, aims to address the existing shortage of development information for the Arab world."

AP/The Star Malaysia, Black Metal 'haram', says Fatwa Council, 23 Jan 06 "The National Fatwa Council ruled Monday that Black Metal music is unacceptable for Muslims, saying it can cause listeners to rebel against religion, the Associated Press reports."

Khaleej Times, One neighbour is outsourcing terrorism to another, 23 Jan 06 "Leaflets and cassettes seized from radical Bangladeshi militant groups spew venom against America, Britain, India and Israel accusing them of forging a global anti-Muslim axis."

Channel 4, Gay Muslims, 23 Jan 06 This programme was shown last night on C4 - here's the associated web page, which includes related links to organisations and opinions. I have yet to see the whole programme.

Editor: Myself, Visiting Israel, breaking a major taboo, 23 Jan 06 Hossein Goes to Israel: "During my visit, I'm going to blog in both English and Persian, take a lot of pictures and record numerous video and audio reports and make a few podcasts." Interesting move (for which he is seeking financial assistance) - I'm wondering what might turn up on the blog, and whether he will be linking up with bloggers in the region?

StraitsTimes/AsiaMedia, Al-Qaeda deputy reads poetry in latest audio tape, 22 Jan 06

The Scotsman, Galloway facing ruin as court joins public in deciding his fate, 24 Jan 06, "It has also emerged a fatwa has been issued denouncing his appearance in the show. Supporters of Omar Bakri Mohammad, the banned Islamic cleric, described the Scots MP as "the lowest of the low"" Haven't been watching this programme myself (demonstrating a big gap in my knowledge of 'popular' culture) ...

BBC News, Osama 'plug' boosts book's sales, 22 Jan 06 "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower had reached number 21 on the Amazon list by Sunday, leaping from below the 200,000 mark."

BBC News, American owns up to hijacking PCs, 24 Jan 06, "A 20-year-old American has admitted hijacking thousands of computers and using them to send out spam."

NYT/Asian Age, Zap! Pow! Now, Islamic superheroes save the day, 23 Jan 06: "Mr Mutawa’s Teshkeel Media, based in Kuwait, says that in September it will begin publishing The 99, a series of comic books based on superhero characters that battle injustice and fight evil, with each character personifying one of the 99 qualities that Muslims believe God embodies.

"A burly, fast-talking Kuwaiti with a dry wit, Mr Mutawa, 34, said existing superheroes fall into two main genres: the Judeo-Christian archetype of individuals with enormous power who are often disguised, like Superman, and the Japanese archetype of small characters who rely on each other to become powerful, like Pokemon. His superhero characters will be based on an Islamic archetype: by combining individual virtues, everything from wisdom to generosity, they build collective power that is ultimately an expression of the divine."

Teshkeel also made a deal in 2005 to publish Marvel comics in Arabic. Here's a link counting down to the launch of the Ninety Nine. I am curious to know whether they are considering some reverse translation here, to present their new comic books in English?

alJazeera.net, Taysir Alluni: A reporter behind bars, 24 Jan 06

Arab News, Matchmaking Agencies Annoy Married Women, 24 Jan 06, "... At present, matchmaking is better organized and covers a much wider area with the use of the Internet. Matchmakers give the impression to men that they are the only link between them and their dream woman.

"Abdullah Ibrahim, owner of a matchmaking agency, said occasionally he receives phone calls from angry wives in which they swear at him, portraying him as an evil creature out to destroy their homes. Some women give him full information on their husbands and promise to pay him large sums of money if he supplies them with information about their husband if he tries to find another wife. Some women, however, simply offer to pay him a large sum of money for closing down his business."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Daily Times, 'The Girls of Riyadh' shocks the Saudi world, 21 Jan 06, "But many young people using popular Internet chat rooms have praised Sanie’s debut novel for its honesty. Prominent writers have lauded the work as part of a new trend which, through focusing on the psychology of the individual, suggests that human needs come above the demands of society and religion. “I never imagined the reactions will lead to a big stir,” said Sanie, who wears the Islamic headscarf." discusses Rajaa al-Sanie’s 'The Girls of Riyadh'.

AP/USA Today, Eavesdropping leaps into 21st century, 21 Jan 06, "This constant interchange of massive amounts of data, converging into speeding bitstreams on common pipes, is both a blessing and a curse for eavesdroppers."

NYT/IHT, Fishing in cyberspace, 23 Jan 06, "Enough is never enough, not when the U.S. government believes that it can invade Americans' privacy without repercussions. The Justice Department wants a federal judge to force Google to turn over millions of private Internet searches. Google is rightly fighting the demand, but the government says America Online, Yahoo and MSN, Microsoft's online service, have already complied with similar requests."

Village Soup, Googling Past the Graveyard, 23 Jan 06, Opinion piece: "Osama may not have graduated to DVD's, but he has stayed alive, despite W.'s threat way back in the era of dial-up connections to smoke him out and hunt him down."

ITP, Middle East PC penetration still low, 23 Jan 06"The Middle East needs to purchase six million more personal computers to keep up with global PC sales figures as the level of PC penetration is much below the world average. Consumers are collectively purchasing only one third the number of the PCs they ought to have bought, states a comparative study by the Dubai-based Madar Research Group."

ITP, Apple prepares launch of Arabic iPod in Middle East, 22 Jan 06, "Apple Computers is preparing to launch an Arabic version of its successful iPod music device this year, allowing users to navigate and store songs in Arabic for the first time, Arabian Business has learned." let's hope for some inter-operability here.

UPI/sciencedaily.com, Report: al-Zarqawi sleeps in suicide belt, 22 Jan 06, ""He never takes it off," said Sheikh Abu Omar al-Ansari, leader of a Sunni resistance group called Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura -- Army of the Victorious Sect. "He told me: 'I would rather blow myself up and die as a martyr -- and kill a few Americans along the way -- than be arrested and humiliated by them.'""

Sunday Mirror, Snuff DVD of Allied Deaths, 22 Jan 06, "The "snuff" film - the name given to footage of real-life deaths - is clearly intended to inspire British Muslims to become suicide bomb "martyrs". It also raises funds for the insurgents in Iraq." Sounds like material that has already been widely available via the net.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Blog Safer: The Anoniblogging Wiki as discussed in Committee to Protect Bloggers, Anonymous Blogging Wiki Has Launched, 7 Jan 06

This story (previously blogged) continues to run-and-run: Arab News, Offensive Cartoons Draw People’s Ire, 20 Jan 06 "Saudis and non-Saudis in the Kingdom are urging consumers to boycott Danish products in response to cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) printed in September in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.

"The appeal was circulated recently in e-mails and mobile messages."

Chanad Bahraini, NYT on BahrainOnline, 15 Jan 06 just picked up this discussion regarding Bahrain Online, and a related article in NYT, In Tiny Arab State, Web Takes on Ruling Elite, January 15, 2006

AP/CBC, Israel blames Iran, Syria for Tel Aviv suicide bombing, 20 Jan 06, "Islamic Jihad identified the assailant as 22-year-old Sami Abdel Hafez Antar from the West Bank city Nablus.

"The militant group released a video made by the bomber before the attack. He said he was "offering himself to avenge the blood of martyrs."

"Brandishing a rifle and posing before a black Islamic Jihad flag, he said he carried out the bombing in response to Israeli attacks on civilians and militants."

Star-Gazette, Technology will spur changes in Iran, Howland says, 20 Jan 2006 "Technology will be the midwife of regime change," he said.

"People have access to information on the Internet. Everyone has a satellite television - even though they're banned - and anyone can go home and watch 'Sex and the City.' Change is inevitable. Let nature take its course." interview with former hostage in Iran Michael H. Howland.

Times, Abu Hamza: 'Special Branch said I had freedom of speech', Jan 19 2006

The Washington Post, Sunni Politician Pleads for Release of American Journalist, Jan 20, 2006 "Adnan Dulaimi's appeal was carried live on the al-Arabiya satellite television channel. Al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera satellite television aired repeated requests from Carroll's parents to her captors."

The Star, Playboy magazine set for Indonesia despite protests, 20 Jan 06, "Since word of the planned launch circulated a few weeks ago, some Islamic groups have urged the government to prevent publication of the men's magazine in the world's most populous Muslim nation, even if it was a less racy version."

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Khaleej Times,Majority of UAE youth addicted to the Internet, 14 Jan 06 "Hala Hessian, an engineer, said that unfortunately, cyber sex had made matters worse." Some 'scare stories' in this interesting article.

“Cybersex in online chat rooms is a disease,” she said, adding: "My divorce recently was due to the Internet. My husband had become addicted to the Internet and used to spend the whole night in chat rooms. Suddenly, I found that he was receiving sexual solicitations over the net and on several occasions, he asked women to meet him. He also called and sent them regular mail, money or gifts. Some times, I found pictures of naked women on the computer, so I filed for divorce in Dubai Court and they ordered him to divorce me. This was considered as new type of marital infidelity."

BBC, 'Bin Laden tape' warns of attacks, 19 Jan 06, ""We do not mind offering you a truce that is fair and long-term... so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan... there is no shame in this solution because it prevents wasting of billions of dollars ... to merchants of war," the speaker said."

BBC, Hamza denies encouraging murder, 19 January 2006, "Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has told the Old Bailey that he did not encourage followers to murder in his sermons between 1997 and 2000.

"He also denied inciting people to hate members of the Jewish community here or abroad and denounced racism."

Middle East Online, Concern grows over fate of abducted US journalist, 19 Jan 06, "Concern grew Wednesday over the fate of Jill Carroll, a US journalist abducted in Iraq, after her captors threatened to kill her unless the United States freed all female prisoners in Iraq within 72 hours." Also see: AP/Washington Post, Abducted Reporter's Family Makes Appeal, 18 Jan 06, CNN, Reporter's mother pleads for daughter's release, 19 Jan 06, "Mary Beth Carroll said the hostage-takers "picked the wrong person."

""If they're looking for somebody who is an enemy of Iraq, Jill is just the opposite," she said during a CNN interview. She added her daughter's "fairness in reporting and her genuine concern for the Iraqi people made her the invited and welcomed guest of many Iraq friends.""

Guardian, Seminal Questions, 17 Jan 06 "Over the last few years, hundreds of Islamic "fatwa" websites have also sprung up on which clerics - often with uncertain qualifications - answer all manner of questions that have been sent to them by email, including questions about sex. Some of their answers about what "good Muslims" should or shouldn't do in bed are very explicit, so readers under 18 should stop here. While some of the advice is sensible, a lot of it is completely daft, so remaining readers over the age of 18 may wish to get a second opinion before putting it into practice." Brian Whitaker discusses Qaradawi and others in the context on these issues.

Jamestown Foundation, Internet Mujahideen Intensify Research on U.S. Economic Targets, 18 Jan 06, "A series of documents recently (re)circulating on the internet continue to underline a pressing jihadist interest in targeting U.S. economic assets."

AP/CNN, Geocaching puts authorities on edge, 17 Jan 06 "In a game of global positioning called geocaching, the lowly treasure hunt has gone high-tech -- but it can also be a game of risk when terrorism-sensitive authorities find the goods first."

Stratfor, Beware of 'Kramer': Tradecraft and the New Jihadists, 18 Jan 06 "The Internet has proven a valuable tool to al Qaeda as well. Though in many ways jihadists spurn the corruption and sinfulness they perceive in the modern world, they have been quick to adopt new technologies and adapt them to their cause. This is not as surprising as it might seem when you consider that, by and large, the professional cadre of al Qaeda and its sister organizations, such as Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiyah, are educated men -- many of them with backgrounds in engineering, medicine and other scientific fields that are friendly to innovation and technology. As a result of this serendipity, Web sites such as Azzam.com sprang up to spread the jihadists' ideology and to recruit fighters and raise funds."

Asharq Alawasat, Bin laden Still Alive, Says US Counterterrorism Official, 18 Jan 06

Free Internet Press, Pakistan's Aziz: Missile Attack Unacceptable, 17 Jan 06

sptimes.com, Are bloggers against hate, or feeding it?, 16 Jan 06 with related responses and discussion on westernresistance.com, US: Anti-Muslim Bloggers Against Hate? A Response, 17 Jan 06 and Jihad Watch, 16 Jan 06

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mahmood's Den, A tragic week in Bahrain, 16 Jan 06

Jihad el Khazen has written another article on blogs: Dar al-Hayat, Ayoon Wa Azan (Arab Blogs), 17 Jan 06 Jihad's own blog Khazen & Co now seems to be functioning, although Dar al-Hayat is presently the home for his related articles (linked below).

AP/chron.com, Officials Concerned About Muslim Converts, Jan. 16, 2006 "But one Islamic Internet site where al-Qaida has posted claims recently carried a chilling portrait of "the future al-Qaida soldier" _ a secretly converted Muslim "born in Europe of European and Christian parents. They studied in your schools, they prayed in your churches" and now swear "to take up arms after their brothers.""

Press Association/24dash.com, Perils of the Internet revealed to Muslim parents in new guide, 16 Jan 06 "Author Dr Mohammed Begg, of De Montfort University, said: "This is the first published guide of its kind.

""It became apparent during my PhD research that there was a particular need for this kind of help for parents in the Muslim community where so many adults have no knowledge or experience of computers."

I look forward to reading this guide [I am presently trying to track one down - and will report back in due course].

Free Internet Press, Reports: Iran Changes Mind On CNN Ban, 16 Jan 06, "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has asked that a ban on CNN journalists in Iran be lifted and that the network be allowed to continue working in the country, according to a report by the official Iranian news agency IRNA early Tuesday."

Stratfor, Iran's Hezbollah Connection, 16 Jan 06 non-tech, one net reference, updates/opinion on Hezbollah

AP/chron.com, Another U.S. helicopter apparently shot down, 16 Jan 06 "One of the claims of responsibility was made in a wobbly video posted on the Internet by a group calling itself the Mujahedeen Army. The video showed a militant firing a shoulder-launched missile toward what appeared to be a helicopter. The aircraft in the video was hit, burst into flames and crashed to the ground.

"The other group that claimed it shot down the helicopter was the Salahudin al-Ayoubi Brigade. Both groups have carried out previous attacks."

Direland/ZNet, Kidnapped: Another Gay Iranian Torture Victim Speaks, 15 Jan 06 "The latest escapee to testify to this anti-gay reign of terror is a 28-year-old man caught up in the government's extensive Internet entrapment campaign targeting gay men."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Friends of Ethiopia/newkerala.com, Ethiopia First Beneficiary of India's Pan-Africa Network, 15 Jan 06, "Ethiopia is set to become the first beneficiary of India's dream project in Africa - the Pan-African e-Network Project - that aims at dispensing benefits of tele-education and tele-medicine to 53 countries of the African Union.

"To make this dream real, India's Telecommunications Consultants (India) Limited (TCIL) - the executing agency of the project - Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ethiopian Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (EICTDA) to implement the pilot project for tele-education and tele-medicine."
Wired, Anonymity on a Disk, "Titled Anonym.OS, the system is a type of disk called a "live CD" -- meaning it's a complete solution for using a computer without touching the hard drive. Developers say Anonym.OS is likely the first live CD based on the security-heavy OpenBSD operating system." Want one [would be a good research tool].

Wired, Anonymity Won't Kill the Internet comment from Bruce Schneier: "We live in a world where the police and the government are made up of less-than-perfect individuals who can use personal information about people, together with their enormous power, for imperfect purposes. Anonymity protects all of us from the powerful by the simple measure of not letting them get our personal information in the first place."

The Peninsular, Six Islamist groups create council, 16 Jan 06, "The council aims also to “unify the ranks of the mujahideen (holy warriors),” said the statement posted on the website of Al Qaeda in Iraq. In addition to Al Qaeda’s Iraq branch headed by Jordanian Islamist Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the groups include the Al Qaeda-linked Army of the Victorious Community, the lesser known Ansar Al Tawheed Squadrons, the Islamic Jihad Squadrons, Al Ghoraba (Foreigners) Squadrons and Al Ahwal (Fear) Brigades. The Islamic Army of Iraq, which is known for the kidnapping and killing of foreigners, does not figure among the signatories."

BBC News, Hajj deaths dismay Arab press, 15 Jan 06

SITE Institute, The Global Islamic Media Front Announces the Initiation of Infiltrating Western Internet Forums, and Issues a Call to Able Muslims to Join Information Jihad, 12 Jan 06, "The message, written by Ahmad al-Hatheq Bi Allah, argues that the Internet serves as the best alternative to broadcast television for Muslims to execute a “kind of jihad” involving preaching and information disbursement."

National Post, Where Muslims meet their match, 'Marriage intros', Jan 14, 2006, "Elise Aymer, 31, the founder and director of the Muslim Marriage Intros brought the idea of speed matching to Toronto from the United States after noting the lack of such services in Toronto. As a convert to Islam, Ms. Aymer faced her own challenges when looking for a husband, whom she eventually met through an Islamic marriage Web site. "I felt like there was definitely a need in the [Islamic] community and since I had kind of been there and done that, I felt like it was something I could help with.""

AlterNet, Iran, Blogging Against the Regime, 15 Jan 06, More information on Nasrin Alavi's 'We Are Iran' (Soft Skull Press), which has previously been blogged on this site. [have yet to read this]

SFGate.com, Waging war through the Internet: America is far more vulnerable to terrorists who hack systems than missions to blow things up, Jan 15, 2006 article by John Arquilla, professor of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.

LA Times, Pakistanis Condemn U.S. Attack, 15 Jan 06 "Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed called the attack "highly condemnable," and demonstrations erupted in the border region near the scene of the Friday morning attack. A crowd that gathered at a market shouted "God is great!" and "Down with America!" Protesters ransacked foreign and government aid organizations, damaging computers and setting furniture and motorcycles on fire."

Reuters, Iraq's Qaeda claims U.S. helicopter downing - Web, 14 Jan 06, ""Our lions in Mosul ... succeeded to shoot down a U.S. helicopter on Friday by targeting it with medium-sized weapons," said an Internet statement attributed to al Qaeda."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Load-Islam.com Just logged this site, which contains a broad choice of AV materials - including nasheeds and lectures. Some Flash Presentations too. Other sections of Load-Islam are worth exploring too, especially the forum's counselling section.
CNN.com - Hajj: Saudis, pilgrims trade blame - Jan 13, 2006 clearly, this issue will be exercising chat rooms and pundits in the weeks to come. Edinburgh's Yasir Suleiman makes some interesting comments here:

""More Muslims than ever before are fulfilling the fifth pillar of Islam and making the pilgrimage to Mecca because they are wealthier and transport is easier.

""So the authorities would never be able to restrict the numbers going to the Hajj. They're damned if they do and damned if they don't."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sabbah’s Blog, Anon Bloggers and Credibility There are several useful posts on this subject here, as well as an effective 'lead' post, on this issue of anonymity. Some cross posting, but worth the effort to see how this one plays out.
Blogger ID Dilemmas: Abu Sinan, 6 Jan 06 draws together an interesting discussion on the 'authenticity' of The Religious Policeman - which was noted in the previously blogged article by Jihad El-Khazen (below) in Dar al-Hayat. He comments on Mahmood's Den's defence of The Religious Policeman. An earlier discussion on this featured on LFG. So, the jury is out ...
Updates on the hajj disaster: BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Hundreds killed in Hajj stampede, 12 Jan 06 some multimedia coverage here. BBC have a reporter on site, who has been providing eyewitness coverage on News24 today (using al-Arabiyya as a feed). Also see CNN, Hajj stampede kills hundreds, 12 Jan 06
csmonitor.com, Flap over young Jews' visits to Holy Land, 12 Jan 06 some web references to organisations promoting various agendas in relation to Israel/Palestine here.
NYT/International Herald Tribune, Iraq rebels tell of battling Qaeda, 12 Jan 06
AP/International Herald Tribune, Hundreds of muslim pilgrims killed in crush, 12 Jan 06 "Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday, causing a crush in which at least 345 people were killed, the Interior Ministry said."
More 4, Why the Arabs hate the West this programme was broadcast last night - this page links to some of the interviewees. Afraid I missed the programme, but anticipate it will be repeated.
adkni.com, al-Qaeda vs Muslim brotherhood - an online feud, 10 Jan 06: "This year's Eid al-Adha, Islam's festival of sacrifice, will be celebrated amid a escalating war of words fought on the Internet between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. On the eve of what is considered one of Islam's holiest days, which coincides with the end of the annual Haj pilgrimage, two prominent al-Qaeda leaders have both assailed the Brotherhood for what they say is it's betrayal of Islamist principles. "
Middle East Times, Saudi king receives Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, 11 Jan 06 : "Saudi King Abdullah has held talks with radical Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr at his palace in Mina near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, while the annual Hajj pilgrimage wound down on Wednesday.

"'The meeting was to strengthen relations between the two countries,' the firebrand cleric said on Wednesday, declining to give details."
FT.com / World / UK - Abu Hamza had manual for terrorism, jury told, 12 Jan 06: "In one of the most high-profile trials to reach the English courts recently, prosecutors alleged that Mr Hamza had been in possession of 10 volumes of an encyclopedia of 'Afghani jihad' when he was arrested in May 2004.

"That, said David Perry, prosecuting, had been 'a manual for terrorism', explaining how to make explosives, assassination methods and how a terrorist or military unit could operate effectively."
The Star Malaysia, Thais seek Malaysia's help to stop mobile phone bomb detonations, Jan 12 06: "Thailand's assistant minister of information and communications technology, Kanawat Wasinsangwon, said on Wednesday he would soon talk with his Malaysian counterparts on the matter.

"Thai officials have tried to crack down on phone-triggered bombings by making all mobile phone users in Thailand register their SIM cards - but it is difficult to block phone transmissions from outside the country."

Kanawat said a bomb that exploded in a restaurant in Narathiwat early this month, slightly injuring three people, was triggered by a phone with a Malaysian SIM card. "
Khaleej Times Online, UAE records lowest piracy rate in Mena, 12 Jan 06 "The recent campaign launched by the UAE Ministry of Information and Culture, along with the Arabian Anti-piracy Alliance and Dubai Police, called 'Stop Street Vendor Piracy', paid off by helping to curb the problem of hawkers selling pirated CDs and DVDs. Authorities have conducted numerous raids and seized thousands of pirated CDs and DVDs."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

AFP/News24.com, 'No nudity for sex', 9 Jan 06, "An Egyptian cleric's controversial fatwa claiming that nudity during sexual intercourse invalidates a marriage has uncovered a rift among Islamic scholars ...

" ... The religious decree sparked a hot debate on the private satellite network Dream's popular religious talk show and on the front page of Sunday's Al-Masri Al-Yom, Egypt's leading independent daily newspaper."

Global Terrorism Analysis, Internal Jihadist Criticisms of the War in Iraq, Jan 9 2006, "Not only the hosting of the debate on the jihadi forum, but also the course it has taken, indicates the growing dilemma facing the Islamist mujahideen in Iraq, whose inchoate political thinking is impeding a coherent strategy with markable goals."

"An Internet site known for publishing statements from the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, carried a claim of responsibility for the suicide attack, saying it was in revenge for the torture of Sunni Arab prisoners at two detention facilities run by the Shiite-led Interior Ministry."

SFGate, Militants revive cycle of violence, 10 Jan 06

Sun.Star, Innove connects 396 schools to the Internet, 10 Jan 06, "Early this year, Innove and the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) signed a memo of understanding to improve the quality of education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) and neighboring conflict-oriented areas in Mindanao (Caam) through various education improvement programs."

Report that pilgrims could not hear Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh's sermon at Masjid al-Nimrah, which asks whether a tech solution to this could be found: arabnews.com, Haj Reflections: Day Two, 10 Jan 06, "Sadly, many of the assembled pilgrims had no idea what was meant by the words they heard. Except for references to various Qur’anic verses, most pilgrims from outside the Arab world could not follow the sheikh’s train of thought.

"Many technological means could be used to bring greater understanding of the sermon to the pilgrims. Women make up roughly 40 percent of the pilgrims but due to the crush they are unable to approach Masjid Al-Nimrah. Many women remain in their tents and have no access to the sermon."

Siraj Wahab's report (which is full of interesting detail) also notes: "Working in Arafat and Mina is extremely difficult due to the problems with facilities such as Internet connectivity. Print news organizations here are not equipped with the latest satellite equipment and must depend on regular landlines and mobile phones."

Dar al-Hayat, Ayoon Wa Azan (The Blogosphere - Blogs 4), 10 Jan 05, "There was tremendous growth last year in blogs in Saudi Arabia, with a pronounced female presence. The Saudi Internet Unit in the King Abdel-Aziz City for Science and Technology that monitors the blogs and censors objectionable material. However, this didn't prevent a huge increase in registered Saudi blogs last year; they are in contact with one another and protest anytime content is banned.

"The publication of a novel (Banat al-Riyadh, or Girls of Riyadh) by Rajaa al-Sanie, a young Saudi woman, will certainly increase the popularity of blogs. The novel is written in the form of emails by the narrator to an internet discussion group. It was the biggest seller at the Beirut Book Fair late last year." [part four of this overview on blogs - check earlier postings for related articles] I am presently writing on this issue for my next book.

The Times, Gay, Muslim and trying to come out of the closet, 7 Jan 06, "... it was the finer details of "Muslim Man’s" offer, recently posted in an internet chatroom, that might concern his future in-laws and lead them to see their own daughter in a new light. 'I am looking for a bi- Muslim woman,' he wrote. 'Someone who aspires to stability whether that is as husband and wife, or as husband, wife and same-sex partners.' The web has become a critical part of this process of assertion of identity (for some). This article includes discussion on civil partnerships, and support websites Imaan and the Safra Project..

Spain Herald, Hamas demands return of Seville in internet children's magazine, 4 Jan 06 "The children's website Al Fateh, property of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, demands in its most recent issue the return of the Spanish city of Seville to the "lost paradise" of Al Andalus, as the Muslim part of Spain was called during its existence between 711 and 1492. The web magazine, whose name means "conqueror," says it is for "the young builders of the future."

CNN, Race hate charges cleric in court, 9 Jan 06 Abu Hamza al-Masri appears in court.

Monday, January 09, 2006

applefritter.com, Data Mining 101: Finding Subversives with Amazon Wishlists, Jan 4 06 This is a fascinating article by Tom Owad, which shows how much information can be accessed through public channels (with a little time and ingenuity). People may think twice before putting things onto a 'Wishlist'. Note: there are references to the Koran and other religious materials in this article. Also see the opinion piece: phillyburbs.com, Bush's snooping a sinister threat?, 8 Jan 06 Don't send me your answers, however ...

Arab News, World Media Converge on Mina, 9 Jan 06, "Over 100 media organizations representing 56 countries have converged on Mina to provide live coverage of the annual Haj pilgrimage." Also see: Arab News, All Set for Haj Climax, 9 Jan 06 rain reported in Mecca; CNN, Gorani: Masks and business at Hajj, 8 Jan 06 Hala Gorani's diary of the hajj experience(s).

aljazeera.net, 'Bin Laden ordered rocket attacks', 9 Jan 06, "The tape was found on Sunday on the website normally used by his group, the Organisation of al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, which had claimed responsibility for the rockets in an online statement on 29 December.

""This commendable feat came in application by the mujahidin of the oath by fighter Shaikh Osama bin Laden, emir of the al-Qaida network, may God preserve him," al-Zarqawi said, referring to repeated statements by bin Laden that the Israelis should not enjoy security as long as Muslims were not safe."

Guardian, US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist, 9 Jan 06 "American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

"Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later."

Dar al Hayat, Ayoon Wa Azan (The Internet Has Destroyed Constraints - Blogs 3), 7 Jan 06, "The internet has destroyed constraints and given the younger generation of Arabs an opportunity to link up to the outside world, and give their opinions on local and international issues. Blogs have now appeared to add an important new dimension. They have created a generation of "citizen journalists" who are in contact with each other, conduct impromptu dialogue, and see that their opinions reach anywhere in the world where those interested in such opinions can be found." Opinion piece by Jihad el Khazen, including discussion on the (alleged) identities of prominent bloggers. This one will run and run ...

Also see - from the same writer - Dar al Hayat, Ayoon Wa Azan (Pursued . . . And Sometimes Punished - Blogs 2), 6 Jan 006 and Dar al Hayat, Ayoon Wa Azan (Blogs-1), 1 Jan 06. Unfortunately, Jihad el Khazen's own blog appears to be down at present (based on the URL provided in the articles).

al-Ahram Weekly, Complicated tales, 5-11 Jan 06, Interview with Major-General Ahmed Omar, the assistant to the interior minister in Egypt: "Egypt is currently conducting talks on an international level to incriminate and ban the dissemination of information on the Internet that facilitates or explains the manufacturing of explosives. The role played by government institutions in spreading awareness among youth, as a way of preventing them from being brainwashed by deviant ideologies and extremism, is also worth noting."

Daily Star Lebanon, From London, a plea to acknowledge what radicals say, Jan 06, "Given that the British prime minister was himself ill-equipped to engage in a detailed discussion of the tenets of the Muslim faith, he placed the onus on those whom the press dubbed "the leaders of the British Muslim community" to engage the wayward youth in their midst and steer them toward moderation. The effect was to open up a debate about the place of British Muslims in the wider community. But it soon emerged that there is no such thing as a British Muslim community, or a group of elders who command the respect of British Muslim youth." Commentary from Rosemary Hollis at Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs).

The Peninsular, Plastic surgery not against Islam, says leading scholar, 9 Jan 06, "Dr Abdul Hameed Al Ansari, Professor of Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Law, Qatar University told a local Arabic daily that plastic or cosmetic surgery was acceptable since it helps some physically disadvantaged persons to enhance their looks and remain attractive, despite some deformity or age."

This also caught my eye (non-tech, but an interesting development): The Peninsular, Leeds university to open Doha campus, 8 Jan 06, "The University of Leeds will open a campus in Doha in 2007, offering courses in business management and accounting, Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, Administration Director, Doha Academy, revealed."

Wired, A Big Turn-On for the Turks , Issue 14.01 - January 2006 "Özgen, a door-to-door satellite TV salesman, is part of a new crop of entrepreneurs taking advantage of the repopu­lation of the Turkish countryside. In the process, he has become an unlikely ambassador of culture; the 35-year-old sees his work as more of a humanitarian effort than a capitalist venture."

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Register, Bloggers have killed Official Secrets Act, claims Murray, 5 Jan 06 opinion(s) piece/update containing links to related sites associated with Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, and his online publications/blog.
USATODAY.com - Iraqis making connection to the outside world online, 5 Jan 06 useful article by Zaid Sabah: "Because many of Iraq's phone lines are in poor condition and connections slow, Internet cafes are often easier than logging on from home. Monim Ibrahim, 33, the Center MBC Internet Cafe owner, says people in his neighborhood in east Baghdad barely knew what the Internet was three years ago."
TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA, Threats force Muslims to move youth retreat from Presbyterian camp, 6 Jan 06: "A weekend retreat for young Muslims was moved from a Presbyterian campground to a secret location after Internet bloggers alleged a scheduled speaker had terrorist ties, prompting death threats.

"The retreat for teaching Muslims about religion and youth leadership skills was scheduled at the Presbyterian Cedarkirk Camp and Conference Center. Then Web logs reported that one speaker, Mazen Mokhtar of North Brunswick, N.J., had ties to al-Qaida."
Times Online, Al-Qaeda suspect fears torture after extradition order, 6 Jan 06 discusses allegations associated with Haroon Rashid Aswat, and his ongoing appeal: "US officials told earlier hearings in London that on his trip to Oregon in 1999 Mr Aswat brought CD-Roms with him containing instructions for using explosives and poisons"
Khaleej Times Online, Pictorial tribute to Shaikh Maktoum, 6 Jan 06
Reuters, Galloway joins "Big Brother", 6 Jan 06: "George Galloway, whom U.S. congressional investigators accuse of profiting from the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq, has joined a celebrity version of TV reality show 'Big Brother'." This can be followed in excruciating detail via the web as well as TV. See Channel 4 Big Brother. There may be some references to recent events from Mr Galloway.
Guardian Unlimited, Hotel collapse in Mecca leaves at least 18 pilgrims dead, 6 Jan 06
Chicago Tribune, 130 killed in Iraq bombings, 6 Jan 06: "Suicide bombings outside a shrine and a police recruiting center and a roadside blast south of Karbala killed at least 125 Iraqis and five Americans on Thursday, one of the deadliest days since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003."
TCS Daily - Technology Is Amoral; People Are Another Story Opinion piece: "It has been reported that al Qaeda has been using data mining to select potential targets, using the same methods that companies use to find customers. By collecting intelligence on possible targets, especially critical economic nodes, and entering that information into a database, terrorist groups can identify structural weaknesses in facilities as well as predict the larger overall effects of an attack." I am discussing this issue in my next book.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Note to regular readers: a 'round-up' of significant stories from the past few weeks follows. I have had hard-drive meltdown. This blog will resume its usual 'pattern' in the next week.
Dar al-Hayat, Al-Zirqawi in Lebanon?, 3 Jan 06, "Is al-Zirqawi in Lebanon now? Statements on the Internet websites can take him anywhere. Yet, announcing that his organization is responsible for launching missiles from South Lebanon toward Israeli settlements is a clear message to the Americans rather than the Israelis."
The Media Line, Hamas Appeals to Kids Online, 26 Dec 05 Opinion piece: "Hamas has become famous for its 'Da'awa' (proselytizing) activities, which include such areas as social welfare, medical care, education, kindergartens, and soup kitchens. Another method, also used by other terror organizations such as Al-Qa'ida, is the Internet. Hamas has several websites, including monthly (Filastin Al-Muslima), weekly (A-Risala), and daily (Palestine Info) updated sites. In September 2002 the movement began publishing an online children's magazine, Al-Fateh (The Conqueror). This website invariably portrays various methods of fighting the "Zionist enemy," using cute cartoons alongside graphic photos of bleeding corpses.

"In its current issue, The Conqueror explains more ways – some old, some new – to fight the enemy. It also expresses the wish that Islam will once again rule over the region of Andalusia, better known today as Spain."
IRNA, University official: Most Iranian Internet sites under US supervision, 22 Dec 05, "Head of Universities Jihad Movement said here Wednesday, "Presently, most Iranian Internet sites are under supervision and power levers of the United States."
According to IRNA Culture Desk, Ali Montazeri made the remark at a nationwide conference titled 'Network Marketing' held by Universities Jihad Complex, adding, "During the past few months alone some four thousand Iranian Internet sites have been blocked." Montazeri meanwhile informed, "The Internet site of Universities Jihad Movement that included merely the latest academic, educational, and research articles, too, is among the sites that have been blocked by the US government, on the pretext of campaign against terror organizations.""

Human Events Online, Iranian Women Provide Catalyst for Change, 20 Dec 05, Opinion piece: "Today with the publication of her book, Ghazal Omid has become an important spokesperson for the Iranian Islamic and non Islamic expatriates working for regime change in Iran,. And like her sisters in arms, Pari and Roya, she is a target and cannot be adequately protected. Her excellent website, www.livinginhell.com, she established to promote not just her book but her cause—the liberation of Iran. Shortly after the publication of her book, she decided to shut down her website for two months due to the high volume of death threats she was receiving. I asked her if she contacted the Canadian police and if she could give me an idea of what a typical death threat might say.

"Yes, we could trace them [the death threats]. Most of them came from Turkey, Pakistan and Iran,” Ghazal said in an almost upbeat fashion. "Many said things such as—you’ll roast in hell." The implication being when they killed her, God will send her to the devil."
adkni.com, 'al-Qaeda militant resurfaces in video, 19 Dec 05, "Six months after his escape from the US detention centre on the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, the suspected Islamic terrorist, Abu Yahya al-Libbi has resurfaced in a new video that has been broadcast on various Islamic forums on the Internet. In the video, al-Libbi is seen marching together with a group of militants in Afghanistan. The escaped prisoner was presented in the film as a leading representative of the al-Qaeda terrorist network who is involved in preaching."
NYT, Dutch Struggle to Prevent Terror and Protect Rights, 25 Dec 05 subscription piece
IHT, Cartoons ignite cultural combat in Denmark, 1 Jan 06
Scientific American, Virtual Jihad, Dec 26, 2005 "According to Gabriel Weimann, a professor of communications at the University of Haifa in Israel, the number of all terrorist Web sites--those advocating or inciting terrorism or political violence--has grown from a dozen in 1997 to almost 4,700 today, a nearly 400-fold increase. (By comparison, the total number of Web sites has risen about 50- to 100-fold.) The enumeration includes various Marxist, Nazi and racist groups, but by far the dominant type, according to Weimann, is the Islamist-jihadist variety, which accounts for about 70 percent."
Haaretz.com, Sex and the sharia, 1 Jan 06. Interesting article by Zvi Bar'el, whom I recall has published before on relted themes. It draws on a number of significant sources: "Sheikh Wael al-Zered, one of the most popular preachers in Gaza and a member of an association of sharia scholars, admits that sex and the handling thereof suffers from neglect, since "if the young people do not learn from us about sex, they will learn it from others," in other words from pornography and from Western newspapers. However, he explains that the problem is that the preachers themselves suffer from a lack of knowledge as to how to explain the subject, and are embarrassed to talk about sex in public."
AP/CNN, Gunman kills five Saudi policemen, 27 Dec 05 "With the capture of al-Suwailmi, police have also now killed or captured eight of the 15 suspected militants believed to still be in the country who were on a list of most wanted terrorists issued in June. Some 21 others on the list are believed to be outside Saudi Arabia.

"Al-Suwailmi, 23, is an expert on the Internet and was involved in recruitment and propaganda for Islamic militant groups in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya reported." Refers to the capture of Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Mohammed al-Suwailmi in Buraydah, SA

followed by: Ireland On-line, Wounded terror suspect dies in Saudi custody, 28 Dec 05 " ... One of Saudi Arabia’s most wanted militants has died in custody after being wounded in a running gun battle in which he killed five policemen, the Interior Ministry said today ...

"The Saudi authorities initially reported his death in September, giving al-Suwailmi the pleasure of releasing an audiotape on the internet in which he said he was alive and well. The authorities then said they had mistaken him for his brother, Ahmed, who had just been killed in a shootout with security forces."

Iran Press Serive, "They Are Closing God’s Space To Us", Lamented Former Speaker, 28 Dec 05 "Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi, a “pillar” of the Islamic Revolution has decided to sue Mr. Ali Larijani, the new Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council of National Security (SCNS) for having banned the 'Saba Television' from activities in Iran, opening a new challenge to the new islamo-populist President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad."

Sydney Morning Herald, Wanted: home-grown imams to give Islam an Australian voice, 29 Dec 05 "With few imams able to speak English, and with mosques unable to provide a culturally relevant version of Islam, it is little wonder many young people flock to the more radical sheiks. One of these, Feiz Mohamed, was brought up in Australia and speaks fluent English. He heads the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool.

"Many will remember Feiz for his remarks attributing sexual assault to the manner in which some women dress. But for thousands of young Muslims, Feiz is the only person who stands between them and jail or drugs.

"Feiz might have some unusual views on theology, but his ability to relate to young people has enabled him to attract a large following. His centre is welcoming to young people; its prayer hall doubles as an indoor sports arena, it has internet facilities, a gym, a cafeteria, and a multimedia and book store. All classes are conducted in English. Women are welcome."
Charleston.net, Extremism a challenge for many Muslims, 1 Jan 06 "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." Retread on the Ahmed Omar Abu Ali case.

AP/myrtlebeachonline.com, Moderate Muslims take new tactic in fatwa war, 1 Jan 06, "It's becoming known as the war of the fatwas: the dizzying exchange of proclamations between Islamic moderates and militants on what it means to be Muslim. The duels have been waged in pamphlets and on the Internet."

AP/NewsTribune.com, Technology to unveil Islamic history to the world, 31 Dec 05, Exciting news from Princeton: "In a marriage of new technology and old documents, a vast treasure trove of information about life in the early Islamic world is about to go online, enabling Muslims, scholars and the merely curious to peer into a window on the faith’s rich history.

"Numbering more than 10,000 texts, Princeton University’s collection of handwritten Islamic documents, books and letters is the largest in North America. They date from the eighth century – soon after the faith was founded – to the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s; most have gone unseen outside New Jersey for nearly a century."
In These Times, Iran's Anti-Gay Pogrom, American gay rights groups are ignoring systematic persecution in the Islamic Republic, 4 Jan 06 includes associated internet references

Strategy Page, Young, Clueless and Dead, 4 Jan 06 Opinion piece: "The new generation, inspired by terrorist propaganda on the Internet, or in the Arab media, are being killed off so rapidly that their fate is having an adverse effect on recruiting. Young Islamic radicals are no longer running off to join the war in Iraq with any prospects of coming back alive. Those that do come back in one piece, are often not much help for recruiting. They tell of deadly American troops, and a hostile Iraqi population."

Independent, Amr Khaled: Islam's Billy Graham, 4 Jan 06, "It is a powerful metaphor for the work of a religious and marketing phenomenon called Amr Khaled, who is trying to pump oxygen into the arid lives of Muslim youth. Amr (rhymes with "charmer") Khaled is the Arab world's first Islamic tele-evangelist, a digital age Billy Graham who has fashioned himself into the anti-Bin Laden, using the barrier-breaking power of satellite TV and the internet to turn around a generation of lost Muslim youth."

Asia Times, Islam becomes hot topic in Malaysia, 3 Jan 06 well, it has always been a 'hot topic' - this discussion refers to prominent subjects in chat rooms at present: "Two dissimilar events coming one after the other in late December have put religion on notice. One was passage of an Islamic family law, opposed by feminists and moderate Muslims. The other was the forced burial, according to Muslim rites, of a Hindu soldier by Islamic authorities who insisted he had converted to Islam."

Arab Times, Ex-Mujahed Talks About Extremist Groups, 3 Jan 06. Interview with Saad Ali Al-Shehri. "Shehri added that the Internet has made it easier to target susceptible youth, but also expressed optimism in the current backlash against the so-called global jihad.

"I am very optimistic that many men who went astray are coming back. Even some sheikhs are regretting their issuing violent fatwa’s and have since corrected their position," said Shehri. “Many of them came to the right path after the royal pardon was issued."

"The Mujahedeen veteran ended his interview by re-emphasizing the need for parents to play an increasingly active role in controlling their children’s exposure to deviant propaganda."

Zone-H, The financing of terrorism through capital from a legitimate source (money-dirtying), 2 Jan 06, Opinion piece: "Money is an effective tool for all serious criminal organizations, including terrorist networks. Money-laundering and money-dirtying (i.e.: the financing of terrorism through capital from a legitimate source) are issues that affect countries at all stages of development. Tracking terrorists' financial transactions and funds can be more difficult than following the money-laundering trail of organised criminal groups because most terrorism financing channels are legitimate and their involvement in illegal activities may remain unsuspected."
Reuters, Multiple attacks on Iraq's bloodiest day in weeks, 4 Jan 06 "A group called the Islamic Army in Iraq claimed responsibility for the assault in an Internet statement, saying the convoy belonged "to the enemy occupier", a reference to the 150,000 U.S. troops stationed in the country."