Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Washington Times, The Internet jihad, 28 Feb 06, "A troubling video of an insurgent sniper in Iraq known only as "Juba" is spreading across the Internet. As National Public Radio describes it, in the professional-quality video, "Juba" is quiet, efficient and ruthless as he trains his sights on American soldiers and pulls the trigger. Jihadist messages accompany the grisly footage -- in English. The video's colloquial American vernacular strongly suggests the video was either made in the United States or by people deeply familiar with this country -- and skilled in the use of the latest technologies." This has been discussed and linked-to on a number of discussion forums and sites.

CNN, Soccer balls, broomsticks aid Yemen jailbreak, Feb 28, 2006, ""The newly released report said the prisoners might have gotten the idea for the tunnel from a similar escape tunnel discovered last year at Camp Bucca, Iraq, where Iraqi detainees are being held by the U.S. military.

""There is a probability that the fugitives received the Camp Bucca tunnel plan through one of the prisoners who were in Iraq. Prisoners may have also been informed about the plan through a visitor who looked it up on the Internet or any other media outlets," the Yemeni report said."

A Meta Blog on Arab blogs, In the Arab world, a blog can mean prison, 22 Feb 06

washingtonpost.com, Toll in Iraq's Deadly Surge: 1,300, Morgue Count Eclipses Other Tallies Since Shrine Attack, 28 Feb 06

Popular culture, Muslims and the net: Another controversial issue in the making, this time the pop star Deeyah's approach to promoting her new release ... canada.com/National Post, Muslim pop star gets death threats over video: Deeyah promotes women's rights by appearing in bikini, halter top, 28 Feb 06 "A Muslim pop star has hired bodyguards for her upcoming tour in Britain after receiving death threats over her newest video, which features her stripping off a burka to reveal her bikini-clad body ...

" ... The 27-year-old Norwegian-born star has become the target of threats from religious extremists who are angry about the video for her song What Will It Be, which she argues is about Muslim women's rights and empowerment. The video features Irshad Manji, the Toronto-based feminist Muslim writer, ripping off a strip of tape that covers her mouth.

"On Ms. Manji's official Web site, she said she participated in the video because Deeyah represents "integrity and independence of thought." She added that since the release of the video, Deeyah has received a string of death threats and media outlets have "succumbed to the intimidation of angry Muslims, and are low-balling a great tune."

Deeyah's official website is one of several that contains links to various mixes of the song, and the related video. Muslim-Refusnik is Irshad Manji's website. As always, read this blog's disclaimer before proceeding if you are likely to be offended (in whatever way) by such material.

Monday, February 27, 2006

BBC NEWS | Technology | Go Digital: Your digital world podcast includes a feature on blogging in Iran
adkni.com, al-Zarqawi said to have new command structure, 27 Feb 06: "The crucial role of 'information minister', overseeing Internet statements and working to attract recuits via the Internet, has been given to Abu Maysira al-Iraqi. "
Khaleej Times/AP, Saudi forces kill 5 suspected militants, arrest a sixth in raids, 27 February 2006

washingtonpost.com, A Guide To the Hunt, By Peter Bergen, February 26, 2006 also refers to the internet, and links to Abdel Bari Atwan (see post below).

sf.indymedia, Total war: Inside the new Al-Qaeda, 26 Feb 06 "Last week’s desecration of a Shi’ite shrine moved Iraq towards civil war. Abdel Bari Atwan, who has had unique access to Osama Bin Laden, explains why Al-Qaeda wants to divide Islam."

The Australian, Osama 'didn't mind hugs', 27 Feb 06

Friday, February 24, 2006

Global Voices Online, Arabic Blogs Dreams, 22 Feb 06 Haitham Sabbah's round-up includes some fascinating opinions about the pros and cons of blogging.

A couple of Rumsfeld stories with tech>Islam links:

Guardian, Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post 9/11 orders, Feb 24, 2006, "The handwritten notes, with some parts blanked out, were declassified this month in response to a request by a law student and blogger, Thad Anderson, under the US Freedom of Information Act. Anderson has posted them on his blog at outragedmoderates.org."

INA Daily/The Daily Star Middle East, How to fight terrorism in the media, n.d., penned by one Donald H. Rumsfeld:

""More than half of this battle is taking place on the battlefield of the media, [for] we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of [Muslims]." The speaker was not some public relations executive, but Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"Terrorists have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but, for the most part, America and the governments of the other democracies have not. Consider that the violent extremists have their own "media relations committees" aimed at manipulating elite opinion. They plan and design headline-grabbing attacks using every means of communications to intimidate and break the collective will of free people.

"They know that communications transcend borders, and that a single news story, handled skillfully, can be as damaging to our cause - and as helpful to theirs - as any military attack. And they are able to act quickly with relatively few people, and with modest resources compared to the vast, expensive bureaucracies of democratic governments."

Coincidentally, here is Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, U. S. Central Command's deputy director for plans and strategy, speaking on a related issue at a State Department Foreign Press Center briefing, and reproduced on American Forces Press Service/Blackanthem Military News, U.S. Must Network to Defeat al Qaeda, Kimmitt Says, 21 Feb 06:

"This is a group (al Qaeda) that advertises on the Internet, finances on the Internet, proselytizes on the Internet," he said. "It also uses international criminal networks in many ways - smuggling, in some cases drug money to finance its efforts. "

"He added that al Qaeda also has command and control elements online.

""If you put this all together, you see a fairly sophisticated network," he said. "Now I don't want to mislead you, this enemy is not 10 feet tall . . . but he is networked in a way that we are not," he added."

IRNA/Payvand's Iran News, Detained Iranian journalist Elham Afroutan denounces hue and cry in foreign media, 24 February 2006. Jailed journalist speaks (there is a net thread to this story):

"On Saturday, a day before Eid-ul Qadir, since officials of our newspaper were all absent and we needed an article to fill a blank space in a page, I surfed the Internet and selected an article titled `Methods Which the Public Should Know in the Fight against AIDS' written by a person named M F Sokhan, and I sent this to the layout section without carefully reading its contents."

"Stressing that the article in question was not written by her, she said that "there was neither any ill intention nor any pre-conceived plot behind the publication of the article." "Frankly speaking, all that can be said is that the crime which I am accused of is the result of an unintentional mistake," she added.

"She went on to say that "a week after the publication and notwithstanding the fact that only 15 copies of the newspaper were published and sold as the rest were confiscated by Intelligence Ministry officials, I was arrested.""

Muslim Media Watch present their reaction to a 'promotional' video for 'Pokershow' (an online gambling concern) which is entitled 'Suicide Bomber'. Clearly this raises a number of issues for them. Their opinion (an extract of which is reproduced below) also links to the clip in question, and reproduces some of the lyrics from the clip:

Opinion from Bhaskar Dasgupta, HindustanTimes.com.uk, MEMRI and Islamic thought, February 24, 2006 on the Middle East Media & Research Institute and allegations of bias.

Muslim Media Watch, Defaming Islam for Poker, 21 Feb 06.

"The site, Pokershow, employes four scantily dressed women as spokespeople or mascots for their site. These women appear in a music video entitled "Suicide Bomber", in which they attempt to stop a suicide bomber. The video is intercut with images of President Bush and the wanton destruction in Iraq. It callously reinforces every Muslim stereotype in the book, and links Islam to these poker harlots ... "

This is only a portion of Muslim Media Watch's posting.

Pokershow.com have now issued a press release in response to Muslim Media Watch's posting:

emediawire.com, Pokershow.com Viral 'Suicide Bomber' Under Fire From Muslim Media Watch [press release], 23 Feb 06 "In an effort to promote its new website, Pokershow.com released a viral video entitled 'Suicide Bomber'. The viral includes scantily clad Poker Show Girls and characters including Osama Bin Laden. It is set to music, written and performed by the British cult artist Cursor Minor. The viral was released by www.Pokershow.com over the internet last week. It was produced simply as a promotional video to attract viewers to Pokershow.com. There was no intention to insult anyone and Pokershow.com had no wish to make any political statement."

Well, it certainly has the potential to generate publicity (of one form or another). Watch this space for further developments. Muslim Media Watch appears to be a new blog, which I have added to my Islamic Blogosphere on this page's sidebar.

NYT, Violent Cycle of Revenge Stuns Iraqis, 24 Feb 06 [subscription required] - non tech, but gives 'street level' perception of current events in Iraq.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

CNET, Yahoo Mail reverses ban on 'allah' in usernames, 23 Feb 06, "Yahoo Mail will now let people register usernames that include the word "allah," after a ban designed to thwart prejudice went astray.

"The policy reversal, announced Wednesday, came too late for Linda Callahan of Ashfield, Mass., who set up a Google Gmail account after being rejected by Yahoo Mail because of the presence of "allah" in her name, said her son, Ed Callahan." See Callahan's own page on the subject: Yahoo! Relents!. Also a discussion on Slashdot, Yahoo! Bans "Allah" in Screen Names, 21 Feb 06.

Media Monitors Network, Wikipedia: A tool for expediting the clash of religions by Abid Ullah Jan, 22 Feb 06, op-ed, "Wikipedia needs to do away with its controversial, biased and hate-inciting material taken out of the work of hate-mongers. Otherwise, the only way left for those in search of truth and those working for peace among people of different faiths is to avoid Wikipedia, particularly its articles on social and religious matters."

It's one of those times when commentators start getting excited about 'cyber jihad'. Commentary on the issue which has been previously blogged here: UPI, Muslim hackers hit 3,000 Danish Web sites, Feb 22, 06, "Muslim hackers angered by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed have defaced nearly 3,000 Danish Web sites over the past month in the biggest politically motivated cyber attack long-time observers have ever seen.

"Experts say that the world-wide protests over a Danish newspaper's decision to publish the caricatures, an act offensive to Muslims who regard any depiction of the Prophet Mohammed as blasphemous, may prove to be something of a coming-of-age moment for the emerging movement of Internet mujahideen -- Islamic extremists committed to waging a cyber Jihad on the Web."

This article refers to Zone-H, presently the best source for information about the hacked pages. See Zone-H, Aftermath from the Prophet Mohammed digital protest: three weeks after, 16 Feb 06 and related articles. The article also refers to the work of Stephen Ulph, whose extensive publications are listed here. It would appear that the actual level of hacking on this issue is on the decline at present.

Jerusalem Post, Those Danish cartoons and me, 21 Feb 06, in which Daniel Pipes comments: "Did you know that I had a hand in the Danish cartoons of Muhammad? No? Well, neither did I until I found it out in early February on a conspiracist Web site."

Gulf Times, QIB set to roll out new products with e-banking, 22 Feb 06, "Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) will soon roll out Shariah-compliant retail and corporate products and back them with Internet banking.

"Qatar’s leading Islamic bank is in talks with prominent global IT firms for procurement of software that drives Internet banking. “We will get into Internet banking within two to three months,” QIB general manager Salah Mohamed al-Jaidah said."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dervish, Declaration of Fatwa by World Islamic Scholars about Danish Cartoons, 21 Feb 06 Umm Yasmin picked this up from The American Muslim.

She also reproduced a local [Australian] 'fatwa' supporting a comedy programme's skit. Haven't seen the programme, but thought the opinion was interesting. See the discussion by Umm Yasmin, What do you mean ‘fatwa’ doesn’t mean ‘death-threat’?, 22 Feb 2006.
Iraq the Model, Holy Shia shrine bombed in Samarra, As if we didn't have enough problems already!, 22 Feb 06 Omar comments on the destruction of the mosque in Samarra: "From where I'm sitting now I can hear both Sunni and Shia mosques are condemning the attack through their loudspeakers.

"I believe there are foreign terror groups behind this attack and I don't think local insurgent would do such a thing, simply because this particular shrine had been in Sunni territory for a thousand years and the residents of Samarra had always benefited from the movement of religious tourism and pilgrimage."
Reuters, Iraq's Sistani urges protests over shrine bombing, 22 Feb 2006 "Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on Wednesday for protests over the blast that destroyed a Shi'ite shrine in the town of Samarra.

"A statement from his office said Sistani also called for seven days of mourning over the destruction of the shrine, where two revered Shi'ite imams are buried. The attack, by gunmen who entered the shrine at dawn and planted bombs there, is likely to heighten already severe tension between Iraq's Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims."

Photos of the shrine can be found on many locations, including at The Encyclopaedia of the Orient: Samarra

Reuters, Yemen tries 17 Qaeda suspects for planning attacks, 22 Feb 2006 "Yemen on Wednesday put on trial 17 men, including five Saudis, charged with planning attacks against U.S. interests in the country on the orders of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."

LA Times, 3 Ohio Men Indicted in Plot to Attack U.S. Military, 21 Oct 06 "The three defendants are also accused of conspiring to provide material support, including money, training, communications equipment and computers to unnamed co-conspirators in the Middle East.

"According to the indictment, Amawi traveled to Jordan on Aug. 22, 2005 with five laptop computers for other terrorists. Those computers were never delivered."

uruknet.info, Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Tuesday, 21 February 2006 translations and opinions

AP/Seattlepi, Prosecutors: Egyptian looked at arms sites, 21 Feb 06, "Authorities refuse to talk about their ongoing investigation of Maawad, but in a court filing Feb. 16, prosecutors said a computer seized from his apartment showed he was "linking to web sites that are associated with Ansar Al-Islam, a radical Sunni Muslim organization in Iraq ..."

"... The court filing said Maawad's computer showed searches for information on how guns and bombs can be smuggled past airport security. Authorities also found DVDs on pilot training and charts on the layout of the Memphis airport. One of the DVDs was titled "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act.""

SITE Institute, The Global Islamic Media Front Issues a Statement Responding to Donald Rumsfeld Speech Concerning America’s Situation in the Media War, Feb 21, 2006, "Ahmad al-Watheq Billah, the author of the document, mocks this “failing project of the American Army” and lauds the jihad media, which is “superior on the Internet network and other information sources” for striking the enemy early and effectively."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Register, Yahoo!Mail bans Allah and Dirty Harry handles, 20 Feb 06, "Yahoo! is banning the use of allah in email names - even if the letters are included within another name.

"This was uncovered by Reg reader Ed Callahan whose mother Linda Callahan was trying to sign up for a Verizon email address. She could not get it to accept her surname."

TMC.net [Tampa Tribune (FL) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge], Online Stores Are Caught In Jihad Web, 21 Feb 2006"When Stacey Turmel placed an order online with Davida, an English motorcycle accessory company, she was looking for protective gear with style and comfort.

"But after plunking down $255 for a two-tone Deluxe Jet helmet, she found herself dragged into the shadowy world of global jihad.

"Turmel, a St. Petersburg lawyer, has learned that she was among several Davida customers whose personal and credit information was placed on a public Web site -- 3asfh.net. The site, hosted temporarily by a Tampa-based Web-hosting company, has been used to exchange information on hacking by people waging war in the name of Islam."

Pajhwok Afghan News, In love with Afghan youth, German girl embraces Islam, 19 Feb 06, "Four months back, an American girl came to Kabul to marry an Afghan student, whom she had a crush on. After a long Internet-based relationship, she also embraced Islam before entering the nuptials with her Afghan lover."

Haaretz, Egypt, between Islam and the West, 20 Feb 06 "Now these are the required languages in Israeli intelligence for 2006: Farsi, Korean and Kurdish. At the end of December the Mossad started seeking, on its official Internet site, expert translators from these three languages into Hebrew and English. Iran is developing nuclear arms and missiles; North Korea is selling Iran and other countries deadly know-how and equipment; there are Kurds in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The Kurds, it appears from the Mossad's job proposals, also need translations from Hebrew."

AP/Chicago Tribune, Skype taps into encryption debate, 20 Feb 06 "Skype, the Internet calling service recently acquired by eBay Inc., provides free voice calls and instant messaging between users. Unlike other Internet voice services, Skype calls are encrypted--encoded using complex mathematical operations. That apparently makes them impossible to snoop on, though the company leaves the issue somewhat open to question."

CNN/News8 Austin, Cyber security exercise tests U.S. defense, 20 Feb 06, "In the largest cyber-exercise yet, more than 100 experts from seven cabinet-level agencies, foreign governments, and corporations like Microsoft and Symantec simulated the kind of cyber attack that experts believe hackers, anarchists, or terrorists might be planning."

Technology Review, Terrorists Increasingly Turn to the Internet, 21 Feb 06, "Dr. Gabriel Weimann, professor of communication at the University of Haifa, Israel, has done empirical research into the evolving nature of terrorist use of the medium, which he describes in a forthcoming book, Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges." Haven't seen this book yet.

Reuters, Saudi shuts paper for printing Prophet cartoons, 21 Feb 06, "The Ministry of Information indefinitely stopped the daily Shams from publication from Monday after it reprinted late last month several of 12 cartoons first published by a Danish newspaper last September, they said.

"To justify printing the cartoons -- a bold move in Saudi Arabia, the conservative birthplace of Islam -- the newspaper also published opinions from influential clerics saying information which is offensive to Muslims can still be printed if it helps acquaint them with an issue."

AP/USA Today, Intel to open technology center in Gaza, 20 Feb 06, "Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company, is planning to build the first information technology education center in the volatile Gaza Strip.

"The Intel Information Technology Center of Excellence is intended to provide IT training to Palestinians and stimulate development of high-tech industry in an area where half the labor force is unemployed. The center is being developed in conjunction with Washington, D.C.-based American Near East Refugee Aid and the Islamic University of Gaza."

Monday, February 20, 2006

bin Laden tape 'authenticity' discussion continues: CNN/IBN, Osama is alive: US Intelligence, 20 Feb 06, "In the latest tape that was released on the Internet in January, but has just been authenticated by the US Intelligence, Osama has vowed not to be captured alive."

AP/Newspress.com, Islamic militant Web site reposts bin Laden tape in which al-Qaida chief vows never to be caught, 20 Feb 06, "Islamic militant Web forums often repost messages from al-Qaida leaders to ensure sympathizers can see them. U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that last month's tape was of bin Laden - making it his first message in more than a year.

"''I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don't want to die humiliated or deceived,'' bin Laden said, in the 11-minute, 26-second tape."

Daily Times, French imam joins prayers led by woman, 20 Feb 06, "A leading French Muslim scholar was due to make history in Toronto on Sunday by offering congregational prayers led by a woman. Since no Toronto mosque was willing to let a woman do the honours, the zohr prayers were to be held in a local restaurant. The prayers were due to be led by Pamela Taylor, co-chair of the Progressive Muslim Union. The French Islamic scholar is the former Mufti of Marseilles, Soheib Bencheikh." non-tech, but significant

MEMRI, A. Dankowitz, Tariq Ramadan - Reformist or Islamist?, Inquiry & Analysis - Reform Project, February 17, 2006, No. 266, op-ed from Director of MEMRI's Reform Project, contains some web links to Ramadan's site: "Tariq Ramadan differentiates between modernity [hadatha] and modernism [tahdithiya], which he regards as "extremism." Instead of modernism, he proposes the concept of "Islamic modernity." French Islamic affairs expert Jacques Jormier summarized Ramadan's stance on modernism as follows: "There is no place for the modernization of Islam, but only for the Islamicization of modernity." Tariq Ramadan talks of "Islamic progressiveness," by which he means "exploiting technological advances in the service of Islam. That is, one can be an extremist and at the same time use the latest technology - especially if the technology is being used in order to strike at modernity."" Note: for opinion on MEMRI, see Source Watch, Middle East Media Research Institute. As with all materials in this blog, please check the disclaimer.

AMEInfo, iMac Intel launched in the Middle-East, 20 Feb 06, "Following the successful European and US release of iMac's new range of computers that feature the pioneering Core Duo processor, Apple IMC - Middle East officially announced the launch of the Intel based iMac technology in the Middle East." Want one.

washingtonpost.com, Pakistani Cleric Announces Bounty For Killing of Danish Cartoonists, 18 Feb 06 "In the conservative northwestern city of Peshawar, Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi announced after Friday prayers at the historic Mohabat Khan mosque that the mosque and an affiliated religious school would give $25,000 and a car to anyone who killed one of the artists responsible for the cartoons, news agencies reported from the city."

BBC News, US 'losing media war to al-Qaeda', 17 Feb 06, "The US is losing the propaganda war against al-Qaeda and other enemies, defence chief Donald Rumsfeld has said.

"It must modernise its methods to win the minds of Muslims in the "war on terror", as "enemies had skilfully adapted" to the media age, he said."

رمسفيلد يقدم خطة للحرب الإعلامية ويعترف بتفوق القاعدة, aljazeera.net, 18 Feb 06

Friday, February 17, 2006

SITE Institute: An Article Concerning the Aftermath of Rakan bin Williams’ Attack on the United States Presented by the Global Islamic Media Front, 15 Feb 06 "The Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaeda mouthpiece, recently distributed an article across several jihadist forums representing the last in the series concerning Rakan bin Williams, a “secret soldier of al-Qaeda,” and his alleged coming attack."
Jawa Report, Defeating al Qaeda Online, 16 Feb 06, opinion piece: "Denying the terrorist networks 'operational space' must include going after any and all websites that distribute terrorist propaganda for the purposes of building support for jihad. The task may be big, but contrary to the naysayers, it is not impossible." This also links to an article from the Combating Terrorism Center at Westpoint, Harmony and Disharmony: Exploiting Al-Qa'ida's Organizational Vulnerabilities, n.d. and related materials. These include the Harmony Database, with a collection of pdf and zip files on (and by) al-Qaeda in Arabic and English. These represent a starting point for academic researchers, along with other sources. Also see the related report in CNN - which includes a video clip (requires Windows Media) discussing aQ 'employee contracts', CNN, Studies: Al Qaeda both complex and dull, 16 Feb 06: "Al Qaeda and the like have similar weaknesses to other modern organizations, according to two West Point studies that portray the terror network as sophisticated but its daily operations as banal."

Some net related discussion in this review of The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader by Peter L. Bergen, and Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, edited and with an introduction by Bruce Lawrence, translated from the Arabic by James Howarth. NY Review of Books, Vol. 53, No. 4, ( March 2006. I haven't read either volume yet - but imagine that they now have to be seen in conjunction with the above West Point report.

Yesterday's Guardian carries coverage on the new laws which seek to ban various platforms and organisations in the UK. The 'glorification of terrorism' issues has an internet edge, but will be difficult to police online. The Guardian, Extremist Muslim groups to be banned, 16 Feb 06: "Two of the prominent groups likely to be banned are Hizb ut-Tahrir and Omar Bakri's al-Muhajiroun, groups already named by Tony Blair."

Jylands Posten Cartoons Cagle's Web Log! extensive archive of material and opinion relating to the "cartoon controversy". Also see The Moderate Voices, The Mohammed Cartoons Controversy: A View From Blogs From Bangladesh And Elsewhere

Inspirations and Creative Thoughts: Who is really disrespecting the Prophet?, 9 Feb 06 just picked this up

Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs: freedom and responsibility, 31 Jan 06 for the summary on the blogging sphere in relation to this issue.

Sunni Sister: Blahg Blahg Blahg, Power of the Purse Strings, 1 Feb 06: "... You see, my friends, it is free speech when they portray the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wa salaam) (peace be upon him) in such a manner, but a criminal act if someone in those same countries makes provocative (or outright false) statements about the Holocaust. So it’s not about “free speech,” it’s about asserting their dominance over the Muslim world and over the Muslims in their countries, who are already in positions of extreme difficulty. Us Mozzies have gotten a little too uppity for their tastes lately, I guess. Need to be reminded by our old European masters who has the upper hand."

Counterterrorism Blog, Leading Blog Attacked by Muslim Cyber-terrorists (updated), 15 Feb 06 on the hacking of Michelle Malkin's site after some comments she made on TV. Hackers appear to be of Turkish origin.

Something completely different: The Religious Policeman, A Student Exchange "I had at one time written to say that we don't have exchange visits of Saudi students to the USA. One reader wrote to correct me very gently (although, for an Arab male, being corrected, and by a woman at that, is still a "loss of face". ;-)) and wrote an account of one such visit that she had been involved in. I've reprinted her letter here, with minor editing for brevity. It's a wonderfully observant account of what happens when our two cultures meet." non-tech opinion etc but well worth reading

Thursday, February 16, 2006

MEMRI, Special Dispatch - Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project/ Saudi Arabia, Feb 16, 2006, No. 1095

freeinternetpress.com, U.S. Rep. Weldon: Intelligence Unit I.D.'d Atta 13 Times, Feb 15 2005 "Pre-Sept. 11 intelligence conducted by a secret military unit identified terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta 13 different times, a congressman said Tuesday."

digitalopportunity.org, Afghanistan: Central Statistics gets Digital Phone and internet facilities. Also see President Karzai's statement on the Ministry of Communication's site.

Jordan Times/MENAFN, Towards a positive media strategy, 15 Feb 06, "It's tempting to declare that the Prophet Mohammad cartoon travesty "exposed" the bias of the mainstream Western media, but only a naïve would doubt such a fact in the first place. Edward Said's "Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World" is sufficient testimony to that claim. However, what the cartoons truly exposed — among many other realisations — is the frightening extent of vulnerability among Arab and Muslim nations and the lack of any meaningful and effective Muslim and Arab media strategy that forcefully attempts to alter the misconstrued Western discourse that endlessly denigrates their culture, disparages their religion and positively questions their humanity."

NYT/IHT, U.S. fears Abu Ghraib is 'Jihad University', Feb 15 2006 ""Abu Ghraib is a graduate-level training ground for the insurgency," said a U.S. commander in Iraq."

Arab News/MENAFN, Saudi Firms to Invest in SR1bn Fiber Optic Network, 16 Feb 06, "Individuals and companies in Saudi Arabia are about to witness a new phase in information capacity expansion and data transmission after the announcement yesterday of three Saudi telecom companies that they were marshaling their technical expertise in order to build, deploy and operate the Kingdom's largest fiber optic network with a total value of SR1 billion ($266 million)."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

WeeklyStandard, The Cartoon Jihad, The Muslim Brotherhood's project for dominating the West, by Olivier Guitta, 20 Feb, 2006, Volume 011, Issue 22 "As first reported by the Italian terrorism expert Lorenzo Vidino on the Counterterrorism Blog, one of Denmark's leading Islamists, Imam Ahmed Abu-Laban, led a delegation late last year to visit influential figures in the Muslim world. He took with him a dossier of cartoons, both those that had been published and others, much more offensive, of dubious provenance. One place he took his road show was Qatar, where he briefed Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and a star of Al Jazeera." Article also contains assorted opinions on this issue.

Not exactly related, but from the same source: Weekly Standard, It's Not Academic, We can sort through the mountain of pre-war electronic Iraqi data--if we want to, 8 Feb 06 "Without a more thorough examination of all data available to us--audio tapes, digital media, and interviews with people with new information--we cannot honestly say that we've exhausted all options available in addressing what was or was not going on in Iraq prior to the war. It simply boils down to how interested we are in the truth."

palestine-info.co.uk, Israeli foreign ministry launches campaign to close Palestinian resistance websites, Feb 15, 2006 "Hebrew press sources said that the ministry's international law department had drafted a detailed report explaining the means of attacking anti-Israel internet sites.

"The report claimed that big sections of Hamas and Islamic Jihad affiliated websites were benefiting from services provided by international companies, which violated contract terms between them." [I tried to locate the 'Hebrew source' for this article, but couldn't find anything appropriate (at the time of writing)]

kavkaz center, Islamic State Declared In Waziristan, 15 Feb 06, "Martyrdom seekers are joining the Taliban by the dozens with the hopes of becoming bombers so that they may avenge the publication of blasphemous cartoons according to a Taliban spokesman amid reports that Waziristan has been declared an Islamic state.

"According to a statement from Taliban Commander Mullah Dadullah, speaking to the media via telephone, “More than 100 Mujahideen have enlisted to carry out attacks”. The group has previously offered a reward of 100 kg of gold to anyone who killed those responsible for the drawings."

UPI, Jihad and the Internet, 14 Feb 06, interview with Thomas Hegghammer, a senior analyst with The Norwegian Defense Research Establishment

Reuters AlertNet, Hamas Web site says group received Hizbollah money, 14 Feb 06, "A Hamas Web site disclosed on Wednesday that fighters from the Palestinian militant group had received funding and training from the Iranian-backed Hizbollah movement in Lebanon, a link long denied by Hamas leaders.

"A Hamas spokesman in Gaza declined to comment on the information on the Web site, www.info@alqassam.ws, run by the group's armed wing, Izz el-Deen al-Qassam."

ABC News, Iraqi Insurgents Increasingly Using Internet as Propaganda Machine, 14 Feb 06, "The ICG will release a report on Wednesday called "In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency." It is, the group believes, the first comprehensive look at the way the insurgency uses the Internet and information the group says we ignore at our own peril." A PDF of the report can be found here. Further details at the International Crisis Group

Copenhagen Post, Moderate Muslims meet PM, 14 Feb 06

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tech + sniping: Strategy Page, Sunni Arab Sniper Makes The Most Wanted List, 14 Feb 06, "Some of these shooters are captured alive, along with the videos they have an assistant shoot, to confirm their kills. And some of these shooters are very good." (in some cases, this material also appears - eventually - on the internet).

Reuters, Al Qaeda leaders elusive post-Sept 11, 14 Feb 06, "Several officials said Zawahri's use of a relative high quality video while bin Laden only made a mediocre-quality audio tape supported a belief that the two men had unequal access to hi-tech recording devices. Some experts have wondered whether bin Laden was ill and did not want a video to highlight any apparent weakness.

""The fact that bin Laden did an audio tape would suggest he's in a more isolated remote environment and Zawahri's video would suggest that he's in closer contact with al Qaeda's propaganda apparatus," said a U.S. counterterrorism official, who declined to say whether this meant Zawahri was probably near or in an urban environment."

Compare the above story with this opinion-piece: Capital Times, Kevin Barrett: Bin Laden tapes are as phony as Sept. 11's connection to Islam, 14 Feb 06, opinion piece "The real bin Laden, who insisted that he had nothing to do with 9/11, has been dead since late 2001 or early 2002. The fake messages have been fabricated by "al-CIA-duh" to support the Bush regime and its phony "war on terror." It is time for Americans to rise up in revolt against the fake terror masters who are looting U.S. taxpayers, torching our Constitution, destroying our economy, and threatening nuclear Armageddon." Barrett's website Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth [mujca-net] contains further opinion. He is presently writing a book on this subject.

Arab News, What This Market Wants, 14 Feb 06, "How do Saudis cope up with the local ICT market mess? A glance inside the suitcases of vacationers and businessmen returning to the Kingdom tells the tale. Online purchasing is also catching on fast. Saudis are familiar with the global marketplace, perhaps too familiar." Issues and problems associated with the ICT market in Saudi Arabia.

I have been writing about Saudi bloggers for my next book, so was interested to see this: Reuters AltertNet, Saudi bloggers attack Saudi over cartoon row, 14 Feb 2006, "In the anonymous world of the Internet, Saudi bloggers are attacking the government for its perceived role in stirring up Muslims around the world over cartoons satirising the Prophet Mohammad."

Stratfor, The Case of the Internet Plot: Turning the Tables on Amateurs, Feb 13, 2006 more on Shannen Rossmiller (blogged yesterday):

"The FBI released court transcripts Feb. 10 in a case against a U.S. citizen who thought he was part of an Internet-hatched plot with al Qaeda to attack economic targets in the United States. Although at first glance the case seems to point out the Internet's potential use in subversive activities, in reality it highlights how law enforcement authorities can use cyberspace to turn the tables on amateurs."

Dar al-Hayat, Ayoon Wa Azan (A Black Lie), 14 Feb 06, op-ed. "We have been calling for the freedom of the press in our countries, and after insulting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, Islam and Muslims appeared, we are calling for the freedom from the press in their countries."

The Peninsular/Arab Herald, Abuse video fuels Arab fury at West, 14 Feb 06, "Qatari political analyst Abdulaziz Mahmoud said the violence portrayed in the video was similar to the "beatings that go on in police stations in the region all the time".

"The video itself is not a big deal, but it just adds fuel to the fire. Arabs are angry at the cartoons, the war on Iraq, the treatment of Palestinians and this is another incident."

big changes and net focus for VOA - Washington Post, Voice of America to Concentrate on Mideast, 14 Feb 06

meanwhile, at the BBC website: Gulf TImes, BBC Persian Web site blocked, 14 Feb 06, "Iran said yesterday it would continue to block the BBC’s Persian-language Web site until Britain’s public service broadcaster changed its “anti-Iranian tendency” and treatment of Islamic issues."

'Public relations': Strategy Page, Taliban Reshuffles Their Brass, 14 Feb 06. Re. Taliban operational meeting in Pakistan: "The Internet buzz among Islamic terrorists has become very concerned about why so many Iraqis and Afghans hate Islamic terrorists. The consensus seems to be that attacks on civilians has a lot to do with this bad image."

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Age, Taking jihad to the web, 14 Feb 06:

"Abu Abdullah outlines their late inclusion in the burgeoning global propaganda drive: "Our leader used to object to taking the digicam on operations because he saw it as a security risk.

""But now we record everything because the media are captives of foreign governments … The camera lets us tell the world what we are doing.""

There is also a version of this story (with photos) at smh.com.au, On the net: an open university for jihad, 14 Feb 06.

NYT, Becoming bin Laden, 12 Feb 06, review of 'Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden', includes reference to the internet [note: (free) subscription required for NYT archive]

Islamicity, What is the Cartoon controversy?, 12 Feb 06, op-ed by Chandra Muzaffar, the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST): "After all, when the Prophet was hurled with abuse and taunted with insults --- even when he was physically attacked --- he displayed tremendous restraint. Surely, the least that those who are protesting in his name can do is to try to emulate his example."

Islam Online, "Muhammad" Becomes Household Name in France, 12 Feb 06, "The anti-prophet publication proved to be a blessing in disguise," Al-Arabi Keshat, the imam of Al-Dawa mosque in Paris, told IslamOnline.net on Saturday, February 11.

""Now the prophet's name has become a household name in France and the publication has whipped up Muslim enthusiasm for defending the Prophet.""

The Peninsular, A coming Islamic reformation, 12 Feb 06, "Osama bin Laden’s latest taped message caused US pundits to comment on his evolution from an in-the-trenches jihadist leader to elder statesman – sidelined, but providing a soundtrack for terror."

The Media Line, The Forward Base of Jihad in Europe, 12 Feb 06 (op-ed - previously published by the Jamestown Foundation), "Italy has evolved from a logistics base for Islamic militants to a de facto base of operations for Algeria's Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) targeting Italy, other European countries and the United States. While the GSPC continues to engage in and support terrorist operations in Algeria, the group's emphasis on "out-of-Algeria" terrorist operations has made it the largest, most cohesive and dangerous terrorist organization in the al-Qaeda orbit."

Ya Libnan, Al-Qaeda: Can its expansion to Lebanon be stopped?, 12 Feb 06, "According to Ahmad Fattfat, Lebanon's acting Interior Minister, Al-Qaeda has been trying for several months to "establish itself" in Lebanon." Incidentally, Ya Libnan has evolved into a useful site on matters Lebanese, and I have dropped it into my ever-expanding Islamic Blogosphere (left hand column).

The Peninsular, Qtel Board willing to give up monopoly, 13 Feb 06, "According to industry sources, the move by Qtel, pending a government decision, would allow foreign telecommunications companies to enter the local market as Internet Service Providers, mobile phone networks and cable TV providers, to begin with.

"Qtel, they said, had already allowed private companies to take over the provision of several services including SMS text messages and news alerts provided by the Al Jazeera Channel."

Bloggers News Network, Hacktivists and Censorship, Feb 12 2006, "Lost in all the hand-wringing over Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google's capitulation to Chinese demands, it seems inevitable that the great censorship debates will fall by the wayside. The internet's distributed architecture, combined with the ingenuity of expatriate Chinese and their sympathizers, will allow so-called "hacktivists" to devise ways to circumvent China's censorship efforts."

The Forward, Arab Media's Cartoons Draw Scrutiny, 10 Feb 2006, "According to Ken Jacobson, associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League, the recent Arab cartoons echo the virulently antisemitic images that routinely appear in state-controlled newspapers in Arab and Muslim countries. Jacobson said that the Muslim media often rely on stereotypically negative images of an essentialized "Jew": hook-nosed, dressed in religious garb and blatantly controlling the world or the United States. Many of the images prominently feature blood, recalling the medieval "blood libel" — the claim that Jews use the blood of non-Jews for the baking of Passover matzo — which helped foment European antisemitism for centuries."

Reuters, Pakistani once linked to al Qaeda killed in Lahore, 13 Feb 2006, "A Pakistani doctor once detained on suspicion of links to al Qaeda was shot dead on Monday, sparking a protest by hundreds of Islamists, police said."

KRT Wire, Judge goes online to ensnare alleged terrorists, 12 Feb 06, "Posing as an al-Qaida operative with cash and a desire to destroy America, a former cheerleader who grew up on a Montana wheat farm helped orchestrate a sting that nabbed an alleged terrorist.

"Shannen Rossmiller, a 36-year-old municipal judge from Conrad, Mont., manipulated Michael Curtis Reynolds of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., into thinking she was a radical Islamist eager to underwrite his plan to blow up American oil and gas pipelines."

AP/Forbes.com, Update 11: Saudi Cleric Demands Trial Over Drawings, 15 Feb 06 [via The Religious Policeman "Speaking to hundreds of faithful at his Friday sermon, Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Seedes, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called on the international community to enact laws that condemn insults against the prophet and holy sites.

""Where is the world with all its agencies and organizations? Is there only freedom of expression when it involves insults to Muslims? With one voice...we will reject the apology and demand a trial," Al Riyad, a Saudi daily newspaper, quoted al-Seedes as saying.

"Al-Seedes said the cartoons "made a mockery" of the Islam and the Prophet and called them "slanderous.""

Thursday, February 09, 2006

There is still plenty of general coverage on news feeds and sites regarding the "cartoon crisis"; I haven't included all of that coverage within this blog, although it is easy to locate via Google News and other services. This blog has included selected links specific to the IT dimension of the issues, from the past couple of weeks, as part of its general coverage of IT/Islam issues. There will be some discussion of this issue in my next book (which is rapidly assuming the dimensions of an encyclopedia). This is presently in preparation for '07 release.

Washington Post, E-Mail, Blogs, Text Messages Propel Anger Over Images, 9 Feb 06, "Mohammad Fouad Barazi, a prominent Muslim cleric here, received a text message on his cell phone last week. It was a mass mailing from an anonymous sender, he said, warning that Danish people were planning to burn the Koran that Saturday in Copenhagen's City Hall Square out of anger over Muslim demonstrations against Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad."

Toward Freedom - We Are Iran: the Persian Blogs interesting review of Nasrin Alavi’s book, "We Are Iran: the Persian Blogs"

""This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet." – Iranian Born Poet, Rumi

"Nine centuries after Rumi penned these words, young Iranians post blogs to express themselves in a nation where drinking liquor and wearing lipstick warrants public flogging. The modern day "secret sky" is the world wide web, the veils have not fallen and though Rumi was speaking of love, it is, in today’s Iran, interchangeable with freedom."

CNN, Blast rocks Turkish City, 9 Feb 06, "The blast took place at an Internet cafe frequented by police officers from the nearby local headquarters of Istanbul's riot police, according to The Associated Press."

arabnews.com, Rapid Spread of 3G Anticipated, 9 Feb 06, "Interest is growing in the 3G mobile phone services across the Middle East, after the successful introduction in Bahrain of such services."

arabnews.com, Grass Roots Efforts Aim to Bridge the Tech Gap, 9 Feb 06, "The Arab Science & Technology Foundation (ASTF) was formed in 2000 as an initiative by 400 Arab scientists with the support of Sharjah ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qassimi. ASTF’s mission is to promote science and technology in the Arab world. Today it boasts a network of more than 3,000 scientists residing in Middle East, Europe and the United States, working in a wide spectrum of disciplines. As a result of its dedicated efforts, ASTF (www.astf.net) has been acknowledged by international and regional development organizations as a driving force in bridging the technology inequality gap in the GCC and Middle East."

Jyllands-Posten, Egyptian newspaper printed drawings in October, 9 Feb 06"The widely read independent opposition newspaper Al-Fagr printed the caricatures just a few weeks after they originally appeared in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten, but no protests were reported, noted the blog-writer, an Egyptian businessman who goes under the name 'Sandmonkey'."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Zone-H, Prophet Mohammed protest spreads on the digital ground. Hundreds of cyber attacks against Danish and western webservers spreading rage in the name of Allah, 7 Feb 06 includes listing of "active Islamic hackers". It will be interesting to discover whether any of the sites still containing images of the cartoons are on this extensive listing.

There are also some examples of screenshots showing hacked pages at F-Secure, Cyber attacks against Danish sites, 7 Feb 06

Also see: PC Advisor, Cartoons prompt spike in Danish web hacks - Jyllands-Posten site remains untouched, Feb 8 2006, "Approximately 800 Danish websites have been hacked since the end of January, when reaction to the cartoons began to receive widespread media attention, said Roberto Preatoni, founder of the Zone-h.org website.

"On yesterday, about 200 Danish sites were reported as hacked with many of them being defaced with messages "in support of this Islamic war on the internet," Preatoni said. Typically between five and 10 Danish sites are reported hacked each day, he said."

Also see EWeek, Muslim Cartoon Protests Hit the Internet, 7 Feb 06

In relation to this issue: Islam Online, Danish Cartoons Fuel Cyber War, 7 Feb 06, "In our cyber age of the 21st century, terms like "hackers" and "crackers", appear side by side with big-time political events around the world: 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, Iraq occupation in March 2003, Israel's assassination of Palestinian symbol Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and currently the raging war of the Danish cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that caused an uproar around the Muslim world and has also fueled a full-scale cyber war." Overview of hacking, with an Islamic perspective. Also see my chapter in Islam in the Digital Age.

Le Monde Diplomatique, Saudi Arabia: reality check, February Edition, opinion from Alain Gresh: "There are thousands of listless youths with nowhere to go, in the absence of theatres, cinemas or anywhere to meet females. They are obviously bored, all the more since the internet and satellite television have opened their eyes to international culture."

Washington Post, Top Counterterrorism Officer Removed Amid Turmoil at CIA, 7 Feb 06, "The CIA's top counterterrorism officer was relieved of his position yesterday after months of turmoil atop the agency's clandestine service, according to three knowledgeable officials."

Independent/Information Clearing House, Don't be fooled, this isn't an issue of Islam versus secularism, 4 Feb 2006 op-ed by Robert Fisk.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

BBC News, Abu Hamza jailed for seven years, 7 Feb 06 internet materials were also linked into this case

Arab Times, Kuwait eyes Singapore help to establish e-govt; Info-Connect 2006 opens, 7 Feb 06 "Kuwait will be tying up with Singapore to establish e-governance in Kuwait, Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, Kuwait’s Minister of Communi-cations and Health told the media Monday on the sidelines of Info-Connect 2006 exhibition (Feb 6 to 12) at Kuwait International Fair Grounds in Mishref."

Arab News, Ali Farzat Drawings Still Light the Way, 4 Feb 06 Profile of cartoonist Ali Farzat, who also has a website promoting his recent book.

BBC News, Man apologises for bomber protest, 6 Feb 06

News24.com, Cartoons: 'Cut them to pieces', 5 Feb 06, "The Islamic Army in Iraq, a key group in the insurgency fighting US-led and Iraqi forces, posted an internet statement on Sunday calling for gruesome violence against citizens of countries where caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad have been published."

Jamestown Foundation, Internet Mujahideen Refine Electronic Warfare Tactics, 7 Feb 06, "Since the explosive growth of the virtual jihad community after the loss of Afghanistan, which has seen the number of radical websites mushroom from less than 100 to several thousand today, the mujahideen have demonstrated their sophistication in the medium. Much discussion space is given not only to protecting themselves from penetration, but for taking the hacker warfare to their enemies. Most radical jihadi forums devote an entire section to the technique."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Indigo Jo Blogs, Extremists crash the party again eye-witness account of the demos, and associated opinions.

Announcement: "The Iranian Quran News Agency (IQNA), Quran TV and the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry’s Deputy for Press and Publicity Affairs with the Persianblog, cooperation of the National Youths Organization, Culture and Islamic Relations Organization, the Organization of Overseas Schools and Seminaries, , University of Tehran’s Dormitory and Azad University are to hold "the First International Quranic Blogging Festival."

"in English and Persian

"The Festival will have two sections:


-instruction courses

The competition will be held in the following categories:




-Short Stories



-Template Designing

-Travel Accounts

- and Memory Writing

"All the blogs related to Quranic themes, updated at least once from March 20th, 2005 to March 20th, 2006 are invited to attend the festival."

There is an interesting website to accompany this venture, which discusses the rationale for blogging, and offers tools to assist potential bloggers. I shall be following the event's progress. Details on the Qur'an and the net can be found in my books, and particularly in my chapter "'Rip.Burn.Pray.' Islamic Expression Online", in Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet, Douglas E. Cowan & Lorne Dawson (editors), (New York & London: Routledge, 2004

Focus English News, Arab-European League Publishes Anti-Jewish Cartoons on The Internet, 6 Feb 06 "Based in Belgium and The Netherlands Islamic political organization Arab-European League /AEL/ published on their Internet site a series of anti-Jewish cartoons in response to the cartoons of the prophet Mohammad, published in some Western newspapers, European media announced."

Arab News, A Freedom Gone Too Far, 6 Feb 06 op-ed: Not since Salman Rushdie penned the blasphemous 'Satanic Verses' has the Islamic world faced such an act of religious provocation."

Islamic Republic News Agency, Minorities condemn Danish daily for offensive drawings, 6 Feb 06
"Representatives of religious minorities in Isfahan province on Sunday strongly condemned a Danish daily's insulting cartoon on holy prophet of Islam Hazrat Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him)."

Friday, February 03, 2006

CSMonitor.com, Internet jihad: tackling terror on the Web, 3 Feb 06 includes a few words from this blogger.

Muhammad Cartoon Controversy: BBC News, Viewpoints: Cartoon row, 3 Feb 05 This article brings some welcome perspectives on the Prophet Muhammad cartoon/freedom of speech.

There's plenty of other coverage, of course. Yahoo has a slideshow of the demonstrations.

In relation to this blog, particularly useful is AFP/Middle East Times, Jihad call spreads on Internet amid Prophet cartoon row, Feb 3, 2006:

"Muslim extremists are using the furor over the Prophet Mohammed cartoons published in European newspapers to rally the faithful to a jihad (holy war), in several Internet postings.

""Brothers, it's war against Islam ..., grab your swords," says hardline Saudi cleric Sheikh Badr Bin Nader Al Mashari in a voice recording posted on an Islamist Website."

This article also notes the existence of no4denmark.com. This is a well-organised website which is promoting a boycott of Danish goods. It includes lists of goods, and a number of articles discussing aspects of the ongoing dispute. There a photos of protests, emptied supermarket shelves, and images of a variety of Danish products. As with all links to external site content, please note the Virtually Islamic Disclaimer]

Here is a detailed and very interesting article on Hamas by Ian Fisher [note: this is via IHT and is the print version, much easier to access on every score and no password required :)]: NYT/IHT, Hamas's new weapon unveiled: Its women, 3 Feb 06 "Yet Hamas encourages, and in some cases pays for, the education of these women. Sabrin al-Barawi, 21, a chemistry student, said she had been reared with Hamas programs for women: social groups, leadership courses, Koran classes.

""It's not only religious," said Ahlan Shameli, 21, who is studying computers. "It's the Internet, computers."

""Before Hamas, women were not aware of the political situation," she said. "But Hamas showed and clarified what was going on. Women have become much more aware."

Hindustan Times, AIMWPLB to seek Parliament nod for ‘nikahnama’, Feb 2, 2006, "The All-India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) plans to get its draft ‘nikahnama’, which rejects the practice of divorce via SMS, e-mail or telephone, legally registered and also passed by Parliament.

CJR Daily, Western, Arab Journalists Miles Apart in Cartoon Rift, Feb. 03, 2006, "Google's news manager, Nathan Stoll, faced a different problem: Computerized algorithms, not human editors, choose what stories appear on Google News, and the offensive images kept popping up on the site, producing a torrent of protest from offended Muslims around the world."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

HindustanTimes.com, Fatwa against Sania meaningless, 2 Feb 06"Rubbishing the reported fatwa against Sania Mirza's on-court attire, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Wednesday said it does not come under the purview of Muslim personal law."

BBC News, Anger grows over Muhammad cartoon, 2 Feb 06, "Jordanian independent tabloid al-Shihan reprinted three of the cartoons on Thursday, saying people should know what they were protesting about, AFP news agency reports.

""Muslims of the world be reasonable," wrote editor Jihad Momani.

"What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?""

Wikipedia has a timeline of this controversy, the neutrality of which is disputed.

BBC News, Nasty Nyxem virus set to strike, 2 Feb 06, "Security firm Lurhq has analysed the data sent to the website counting victims and found that most are in Peru, Turkey and India. Many other nations are reporting infected machines too."

al-Qaida Audio Video Shop, a cartoon from aljazeera.net by Shujaat.

on the subject of (different) cartoons, somewhat predictably: EUobserver, European media show solidarity in Mohammed cartoon row, 2 Feb 06, " ... reports of internet sites selling mugs, t-shirts, key ring holders or other goods with the caricatures came from around the continent, and in Sweden an extreme right wing party announced that it would print the caricatures in support of neighbouring country Denmark."

Also: Islam-Online, "France Soir Editor Sacked Over Cartoons, 2 Feb 06, The managing editor of the daily France Soir has been sacked for republishing blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)."

This following story clearly has implications relating to cyber Islamic environments (read the paragraph and replace the word 'China' with a Muslim majority country of your choice). silicon.com, Tech giants attacked for web censorship stance 2 Feb 06 "Politicians on Wednesday attacked Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! for declining to appear at a briefing about China's internet censorship and called for a new law to outlaw compliance with such requirements."

Reuters AlertNet, Saudi Arabia takes first steps on path to reform, 2 Feb 06, "Mobile phones with cameras were banned at first because they could be used to distribute pictures of unveiled women at schools and weddings. The Internet is strictly policed but many young people manage to get round the state's proxy server." Detailed article, this one, with some interview material.

LA Times/Salt Lake Tribune, A coming Islamic reformation, 2 Feb 06 "Reformation, as we know from Christian history, can be a long, bloody affair, and the Islamic reformation has some distance to go before it resolves itself. Exactly what kind of Islam will emerge is unknown. But we can be sure that bin Laden's brand of radical individualism will leave an indelible mark on the faith." op-ed

CSMonitor.com, What's driving the kidnappings in Iraq?, 2 Feb 06 includes references to the internet and kidnapping videos: ""It's a way to demonstrate not just their power and capabilities ... but a way of bolstering their reputation as the meanest, baddest fighters out there," says Bruce Hoffman, an expert on terrorism at the RAND Corp. in Washington.

"With the Internet, the risks of obtaining publicity in this manner have fallen, notes Mr. Hoffman. No longer must terror groups run the risk of delivering tapes by hand, or posting by mail. They can simply download them."

CSMonitor.com, Bin Laden reading group digs for insights, 2 Feb 06, "Richard McGregor, assistant professor of Islamic studies, found some Arabic and English texts on the Internet, but he says he had to comb through much that was poorly edited or not well verified. This semester, they'll be using "Messages to the World," a new collection of bin Laden's statements."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

BBC News, Iranian blogs debate nuclear row, 31 Jan 06, "Iranian bloggers are commenting extensively on the nuclear row between Iran and the West.

"A significant number of bloggers seem to blame President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular for the crisis and suggest that he has taken Iran to the brink of war."

AP/IHT, Arabs join in pressuring Hamas over Israel, 1 Feb 06, "In a swirl of Arab diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and Jordan pressed the militant Palestinian organization Hamas on Tuesday to moderate its stance on Israel and to entice the defeated Fatah party into a deal to share power." Non tech, although I shall be commenting on this in my next book in relation to cyber Islamic environments ... any readers who have seen interesting posts or articles on Hamas and its representation in cyberspace, please let me know.

IOL, Islamist group says leader died in Algeria, 1 Feb 06, "The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat said in a statement on its Internet page that Sheikh Ahmed Abu al-Baraa was killed in a confrontation with the Algerian army on January 17.

""The GSPC announces the death of Sheikh Ahmed Abu al-Baraa as a martyr on 17 Zhu al-Hijja (January 17) during violent clashes between the mujahedeen (fighters) and the Algerian army in the mountains near the city of Tudja," east of Algiers, it said."

aljazeerah.info, It's hard work to be a Muslim: Why demonizing Islam is NOT a good idea, Jan 29, 2006

Knight Ridder Newspapers/MENAFN, Many say cyberspace needs rethinking, repair, Feb 1 2006, "Reforming the Internet to fence off thieves and to shore up performance could make cyberspace safer and possibly faster. In the transition, however, much of what is appealing about the Internet - the abandon with which information is traded; the ability to sound off anonymously; the wealth of links built over the brief, rich history of the World Wide Web - could be lost."

Reuters/French paper reprints controversial Danish cartoons, 1 Feb 06 "The France Soir daily said it had published the cartoons in the name of freedom of expression and to fight religious intolerance, saying a secular country like France could not be bound by the precepts of any religion." Nothing to do with newspaper sales, then ... The cartoons retain their currency on the internet.