Monday, October 30, 2006

Asians in Media, Could a women-led jihad change Islam in Britain? focused on Channel 4 UK documentary on tonight at 8.00. Also noted: "Next Monday on Channel 4, continuing Channel 4's Iraq: Legacy of Hate strand, Jihad TV shows how video footage of smiling suicide bombers, missile attacks and beheadings have become as important a weapon as plastic explosives and guns both in the war in Iraq and in al-Qaeda's global jihad against the West.

"Paul Eedle, an Arabic-speaking journalist who has reported Islamic movements since the 1980s and monitored al-Qaeda's internet sites since 9/11, investigates the jihadi propaganda machine and its impact on young Arabs, and young Muslims in the UK."

Information on Paul Eedle here

Al Jazeera, Al-Qaeda takes its fight to the internet, 29 Oct 06 "From the Middle East, Asia and Europe, extremists have built an extensive internet library of sophisticated texts on the ideology that underpins violence against the West and other enemies, Western analysts and intelligence officials said on Saturday."

Reuters, Thousands mourn Nigerian sultan killed in crash, 29 Oct 06 Wiki background details on Mohammadu Maccido.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Independent, Martyrs of the web, Amnesty launches a campaign to free the bloggers jailed for telling the truth about repressive regimes, 27 Oct 06 Includes links to information about imprisoned bloggers Kianoosh Sanjari (Iran) and Mohammed Abbou (Tunisia).

Click on the link to find details of Amnesty's campaign Irrepressible, including an online pledge, which can be signed if you wish.
Presently listening to Rachid Taha's new CD Diwan 2. It's one of his best. Produced by Steve Hillage. Features the Cairo String Ensemble. He was on Andy Kershaw a few weeks ago (Radio 3), and there were some brilliant live performances. Visit Taha's MySpace.

I became hungry whilst viewing this page, due to the beautiful pix of various dishes: payvand, Sofreh Nazr - An Iranian Shia Tradition, 27 Oct 06 "Sofreh is a Persian word which technically means spread but when used in conversation it means a cloth, simple or grand, usually spread on the floor on top of the carpet, on which food is served, and nazr means a wish or a vow which one makes with God."

TCS Daily, The Most Dangerous Game, 27 Oct 06 "There are hundreds of websites featuring dozens of professionally produced videos of violence against US forces in Iraq. Dubbed with loud monotonal music for an extra creepy effect, at the point of the attack, the filmers usually erupt into cries of "Allahu akbar!""

AP/MSNBC, Records of freed slaves to go online, 27 Oct 06 a proportion being of Muslim descent, Turkish Trains Now Internet-Ready, 27 Oct O6 "After months-long preparation, the TCDD managed to establish a continuous connection for 95 percent of the line. Now those traveling on trains will be able to use the Internet with their laptop computers during the course of the voyage." This is a free service - UK train operators take note!

Opinion piece:, YouTube, Google, and the Liberal Bias Virus, 25 Oct 06, "After closer examination, the tie between all the banished websites was the publishing of articles about radical Islam and its relation to international terrorism. Yet, sites that actually were more specifically involved in such activities – like Hezbollah’s propaganda arm in Lebanon, al Manar – were unaffected by Google’s “hate speech” policies, and continue to be a part of its news crawl."

AP/MSN, Dubai tours offer positive view of Islam, 24 Oct 06

GigaOM, Jawed Karim: How you Tube Took Off, 26 Oct 06

Non-Tech, but fatwa oriented: StarTribune (Minnesota), Airport taxi flap about alcohol has deeper significance, 25 Oct 06 brief web ref


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cover version: it caused some hilarity in my office, when the similarities between the cover of John Esposito's The Straight Path (revised 3rd edition, OUP, 2006) and my own Islam in the Digital Age (Pluto, 2003) were pointed out. I have used Esposito's book in teaching for several years, and it is a very good introductory work.

It's also got a nice 'new' photo on its cover. It is actually a stock shot from Getty Images, unlike the cover of Virtually Islamic - which I took myself. I may follow that latter route for my next book, as I have plenty of suitable shots on file.

Anyway, compare and contrast:

ISIM Review 18 is now out [links to PDF of the entire magazine, 2.3 MB]. As always, there are some useful articles. Particularly relevant to this blog are the following [links go to PDFs of specific sections]: John Esposito on 'Islamists & US Foreign Policy', Roel Meijer's article on Yusuf al-Ayiri entitled 'Re-Reading al-Qaeda', and Philipp Reichmuth & Stefan Werning's 'Pixel Pashas, Digital Djinns'. This latter article covers a neglected area of study, namely the depiction of Islam and Muslims in computer and video games, and ideas associated with orientalism.

Helsingin Sanomat, A Muslim MySpace based in Espoo, 25 Oct 06 "In principle, MuslimSpace performs the same task as its larger social networking namesake MySpace, though it should be pointed out that the two are not actually physically related in anything but the similarity of their names." I have been writing about MuslimSpace and also MySpace for my next book.

Reuters, Saudi youth bored in model Islamic state - blogger, 25 Oct 06 being a brief profile of Ahmed al-Omran (Saudi Jeans)

Opinion piece by Asra Q. Nomani: StatesmanJournal, Wife-beating in Islam, chapter and verse, 25 Oct 06 non-tech, although you will find similar opinions in areas of the internet.

IRNA, Mulla Omar asks NATO to stop sacrificing soldiers, 25 Oct 06, "According to the Dawn newspaper, in a lengthy Eid-ul Fitr message targeting Afghans, Mullah Omar also urged NATO to withdraw its troops and stop sacrificing soldiers for the United States, claiming that the nation still stood with him."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

UPI, Commentary: Jihad in cyberspace, 24 Oct 2006, "Below the radar screen of Western intelligence and security services, there is a global re-education process on the Internet to proselytize on the true meaning of an Islamic state. This "cyberwar" is transforming the political landscape of the Middle East. It is a slow, stealthy but massive campaign."

NYT/IHT, In the land of the Taliban, 22 Oct 2006 ""The Taliban of the 90's were concerned with their district or province," says Waheed Muzhda, a senior aide at the Supreme Court in Kabul, who before the Taliban fell worked in their Foreign Ministry. "Now they have links with other networks. Before, only two Internet connections existed - one was with Mullah Omar's office and the other at the Foreign Ministry here in Kabul. Now they are connected to the world.""

MEMRI, Islamist Holiday Video Calls for Jihad and Slaughter of "Crusaders", 24 Oct 06

Middle East Online, Saudi cleric warns of Sunni conversion to Shiism, 24 Oct 06, "A top Saudi cleric Monday warned of waves of conversion to Shiism by Sunni Muslims, motivated by the strong showing by Shiite Hezbollah militants against Israel and the situation in Iraq."

The Scotsman, Scots Muslim charged for alleged 'terror' websites, 24 Oct 06, "Mohammed Atif Siddique, 20, who was arrested in an anti-terrorism dawn raid on 13 April at his family's home in Alva, Clackmannanshire, is charged with using websites to distribute publications that could encourage acts of terrorism, as well as other terrorism-related offences."

Monday, October 23, 2006

AFP, Iran launches first private mobile network, 21 Oct 06 "Iran has launched a new mobile phone network with SIM cards provided by the country's first private operator, the communication and IT ministry has told AFP."

Strategy Page, Vatican Geeks 1, Islamic Hackers 0, 23 Oct 06

Friday, October 20, 2006

Blogger speaks (albeit briefly): BBC World Service, Heart and Soul, Sunday 22nd October Listen Again by following the above link until next weekend. Contains contribution from myself and alt.muslim re. religious podcasting in Islamic contexts.

Guardian, Research councils halt Islamist project, 19 Oct, 2006 "The decision by the Economics and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council followed accusations by academics that they would be putting the lives of British researchers at risk in Muslim countries." [non-tech, but relevant]

International Middle East Media Centre, Palestine Today, 16 Oct 06 includes link to MP3 'broadcast'. "... in Bethlehem, unknown gunmen broke into and damaged the offices of the Joint Services Council of the Ministry of Local Government on Monday at dawn. The front door was damaged and the gunmen confiscated hard drives from several computers, and some of the furniture.", Internet links world's Muslims during Ramadan, 20 Oct 06

SITE Institute, The Ninth Issue of the Echo of Jihad – A Periodic Magazine Featuring General Mujahideen News, 18 Oct 06 "The Echo of Jihad [Sada al-Jihad], a periodic publication electronically distributed via the Internet and featuring articles concerning general Mujahideen news from several regions, was recently issued in its September/October 2006 release. This issue, the ninth edition, contains pieces regarding a purported American intent to invade Sudan, an evaluation of the Israeli war with Lebanon and Hezbollah, commentary on a “competent authority of our time,” Shamil Basayev, and an interview with a field commander of the Army of Islam [Jeish al-Islam] in Palestine, Abu Muhammad al-Ansari."

Sky News, Revolt Over Muslim Spoof, 19 Oct 2006, "A tabloid newspaper has dropped "offensive" plans to feature a spoof page entitled the 'Daily Fatwa' after a revolt by staff.", Cash for Fatwa: Murdoch's Star TV Conspiracy 'Benaqaab', 20 Oct 06, "In a sting-operation that bites at the very foundation of an already aggrieved and at times persecuted Indian Muslim community, secret footage of 10 Muftis (Muslim Jurists) mainly from Uttar Pradesh, was shown on Rupert Murdoch-owned Star news channel on 16 September "allegedly" taking bribes to issue fatwas in accordance with people's wishes." File under: Allegations and Conspiracies.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New York Sun, How Qaeda Warned Its Operatives on Using Cell Phones, 18 Oct 06, "When an aspiring Al Qaeda terrorist is buying a cell phone, it's best that he purchase the chip inside the device under a phony name or from a black market vendor that does not sell the accompanying documentation. If he has any reason to believe his phone has been tapped, he should sell it immediately to a stranger.

"This is the kind of advice contained in "Myth of Delusion," a 151-page manuscript making the rounds on password-protected jihadi Web sites. The book recently caught the attention of American intelligence analysts, who estimate that it was released sometime this summer."

Jamestown Foundation, Jihadis Provide Internet Training for Female Mujahideen, , Terrorism Focus, Volume 3, Issue 40, October 17, 2006

Wired, Chertoff's 'Web of Terror', 17 Oct 06, "Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday."

ITN/, Chatroom warning after 'web-rage' attack, 19 Oct 06, "Mr Adebayo said the two men met while using an Internet chatroom called Yahoo Islam 10 as they were both interested in the Islamic faith and had Muslim friends."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fayrouz mentions several books by bloggers/derived from blogs which have been published, or are somewhere in the pipeline. See Fayrouz in Beaumont, From Iraqi Blogs To Books By The Bloggers, 12 Oct 06 Attention should be drawn to Elen Ghulam's book Don't Shoot! ... I have another story to tell you. Details from her website. Looks interesting.

Monday, October 16, 2006

alt.muslim podcast 020 now available, and well worth listening to
Arab News, Project Launched to Extend Arabic Linguistic Research, 13 Oct 06 "The one-year pilot research project will examine the feasibility of developing an Arabic search engine capable of scanning text pages and the Internet to locate names, a resource which has not as yet been established in the Middle East." This sounds very useful. It is a collaboration between the British University in Dubai (BUiD) and Fast Search and Transfer (FAST).

Western Mail, Religious rows unveil racial tensions, 16 Oct 06 essentially a non-tech story, although a hot topic in chat rooms and elsewhere. Also see: The Scotsman, MPs condemned for 'scoring points' in veils controversy, 16 Oct 06, The Times, Muslim MP backs sacking of school assistant who wore veil, 16 Oct 06 and various comments on the Muslim Council of Britain's website. Plenty of online comment from varying perspectives to wade through on this subject, if you have the time ...

The Guardian, Universities urged to spy on Muslims, 16 Oct 06, "The Department for Education has drawn up a series of proposals which are to be sent to universities and other centres of higher education before the end of the year. The 18-page document acknowledges that universities will be anxious about passing information to special branch, for fear it amounts to "collaborating with the 'secret police'". It says there will be "concerns about police targeting certain sections of the student population (eg Muslims)"." Non-tech story essentially, although presumably this will start to acquire a net edge.

AFP, British Library to store 'blog' of lives of Britons: report, 15 Oct 06 "Students and teachers at 29,000 schools have also been invited to join in the project, along with pupils at the Dubai British School, who will blog about expatriate life in the Middle East." Visit the History Matters website tomorrow (Tuesday) to make a contribution.

AP/, Al-Qaida in Iraq: 'Insurgent Tape' Fake, 14 Oct 06, "Al-Qaida in Iraq said Saturday that a recent video tape made by a man claiming to be an insurgent who called for the replacement of the head of the terrorist group was fabricated."

Frontpage, Jihad Incorporated, October 16, 2006 interview with Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and author of Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US, which I have yet to see.

alt.muslim, Muslim Website Says Muslims Aren't Offended By Apple Store, 11 Oct 06 MEMRI are accused of stirring trouble: "It's not the first time the controversial organisation has selectively framed an issue to show Muslims in a less than positive light, nor is it the only instance of pre-emptive outrage attributed to Muslims in recent months."

Pak Tribune, Al-Libi urges followers to attack White House, 12 Oct 06, "Abu Yahya al-Libi, believed to be a top al Qaeda militant, urged followers in Afghanistan to attack the White House in a videotape broadcast by Dubai-based Al Arabiya television Oct. 10."

Friday, October 13, 2006

asharq alawsat, Speak No Evil: Muslim Experts Sound Off Over the Ongoing ‘Tash’ Controversy, 10 Oct 06 "Regarding the role of mosques, and the various preachers who participated in rekindling the recent controversy, Muhammad al-Mahmud believes the mosque is controlled through the exploitation of its symbolic holiness and that the power of religious reformation or progressiveness has disappeared. He believes that the mosque has become restricted to the traditional reserved religious discourse, or the provocative one, which exploits the month of Ramadan and other religious occasions by using internet websites and some satellite television channels." Discuss
MTV, Al Qaeda Videos Earn American First Treason Charge In More Than 50 Years, 12 Oct 06 refers to Adam Yahiye Gadahn and his pronouncements.

MEMRI, Saudi Arabia Ministry of Islamic Affairs Launches Arabic-English Website to Fight Extremism, October 13, 2006 "The site is to be operated by the Al-Sakinah Campaign, an independent Saudi initiative supported by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The campaign initiates dialogue with extremists on the Internet with the aim of preventing the spread of extremist views." No URL yet.

CSM/Middle East Times, In new TV characters, Palestinians see their own, 13 Oct 06 "Fast is out. Television is on. All the members of the Abu Tarboush family, Hanan and Ahmed and six of their seven children, gather around to watch "Shufi Mafi" - Palestinian slang that roughly translates to "What's Up?"

"Tonight's episode: "Love in the Internet age." Two characters who can't stand each other "meet" anonymously on an online chat site, fall in love, and agree to marry without having met - yet." I hope I get to see this episode sometime.

Eteraz, Muslim Hip-Hop: Lupe Fiasco’s "Muhammad Walks", 13 Oct 2006 contains links to MP3 of this track + links to other music.

Online paper on an interesting issue: Šisler, V.: Representation and Self-Representation: Arabs and Muslims in Digital Games. In: Gaming Realities: A Challenge for Digital Culture, Proceedings of the International Medi@Terra 2006 Conference, Fournos, Athens, 2006, p. 85 – 92 [note: this links directly to a PDF]. On the same theme, The Washington Post, Way radical, dude: Video games with an Islamist twist, Oct. 13, 2006 I'm not much of a games player myself, as I already spend enough time gazing into computer screens, although I have been inducted into the mysteries of FIFA Soccer.

Newsline, It's Not Easy Being Molly, October 2006 (includes net ref)
I heard this programme on Radio Four yesterday. It offers a perspective on the aftermath of Jack Straw's comments on veiling, using interviews from Blackburn. The programme was presented by Fareena Alam, editor of Q News: Radio 4, Unveiled, 7/12 oCTOBER 2006. Unfortunately, no podcast is available, but you can use the Listen Again feature.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

BBC News, Libyan pupils 'to have laptops', 11 Oct 06 "The government of Libya is reported to have agreed to provide its 1.2m school children with a cheap durable laptop computer by June 2008."

Islam Online, IOL's Fatwa Service Thriving During Ramadan, 11 Oct 06 "It received up to 500,000 page views per day in 2005 from 216 countries. Its average daily production is 182 items in both English and Arabic."

WSJ, An Arab Therapist Seeks to Lift the Veil On a Touchy Subject, 11 Oct 06 (subscription required, alas)

CSM, New Danish Muhammad cartoons draw criticism, spark protest, 11 Oct 06

Monday, October 09, 2006

KUNA,Insurgents attack internet cafe in Gaza, tear it down entirely -- Police, 8 Oct 06 "A new Islamic group claimed responsibility for the attack. "The ten-kilogram bomb destroyed the cafe that was center for corruption and immoral deeds that disgrace Islam" the group said in a statement."

sfgate, Daniel Pearl, Omar Sheikh -- 2 lives forever intertwined, 8 Oct 06 review of tv doc - has yet to hit UK screens, contains some net references.

Business Today Egypt, Start Your Engines, 8 Oct 06, "The linguists, academics and Arab nationalists who for years have bemoaned the lack of Arabic content on the internet may soon be able to call it a day: Google, the global search-technology giant, has arrived in Egypt, signaling that Arabic could yet prove profitable on a regional and, indeed, global scale." About time. Great article.

Guardian, Jihad videos posted on YouTube website, 7 Oct 06

Friday, October 06, 2006

Jamestown Foundation, New Website Incites Electronic Jihad, Terrorism Focus Volume 3, Issue 38 (October 3, 2006) refers to Electronic Jihad. Not exactly a new concept, although these pages are slick and well-organised. Also see Zone-H, Electronic Jihad, 6 Oct 06

NYT, Anti-U.S. Attack Videos Spread on Web, 6 Oct 06 includes info on YouTube clips. Also see Free Market News, Al Qaeda Tape shown to be a fake, 6 Oct 06.

Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite Network, Abu Ayoub Al-Masri still alive, 6 Oct 06, "Conflicting reports had said that Abu Ayoub Al-Masri, al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq had been killed in a military operation."

AHN, Al-Qaeda In Palestine Threatens Palestinian "Traitors", 5 Oct 06 Also see: Fox News, Is Al Qaeda in Palestine?, 5 Oct 06

Iran Press Service, Voices From Iran, 2 Oct 06, "A vast number of people being denied access to free information and free expression through the conventional media are using the electronic means of communication. While only 1 in 60 people in the world speak Persian, the language is reported to be the fourth used in weblogs in the internet. The army of young educated Iranians frustrated by the official media and the severe censorship applied to all sorts of communications has taken to the cyberspace in the exercise of their right to free speech."

SperoNews, Converts from Islam: unseen and unheard, 3 Oct 06

Guardian, Take off the veil, says Straw - to immediate anger from Muslims, 6 Oct 06 also see Islam Online, Straw Asks Muslim Women Show Face, 5 Oct 06

TechCentral, TM Net does Ramadan site, 6 Oct 06 "In conjunction with the holy month of Ramadhan and the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri, TM Net has set up a special microsite, Aidilfitri 2006, dedicated to the fasting month." The link is here

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I have been listening to a range of Ramadan radio stations recently. Some of them are offering downloadable programming, and also online streaming. Here is my selection:

Radio Ramadhan Glasgow broadcasts in Arabic, English, Punjabi and Urdu in a variety of formats. This is an enterprising site with some lively programming. They offer a download of their marriage programme, but unfortunately it is not of broadcast quality [24MB Real Player].

Radio Ramadan Luton is working well at present: it includes a Children's programme and 'Sista's Zone'.

There's a list of Ramadan stations here, but unfortunately it is not hyperlinked.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Today, I added the Virtually Islamic Podosphere to the left-hand side bar. This is a working title! Anyway, it assembles some of the podcasts I have encountered and found. Suggestions for other podcasts welcome.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Sun, Inmates can buy terror books, 2 October 2006 links to The Sun, Execution vids on lags' laptops, 23 Sep 06 "Video images of hostages being beheaded had been downloaded off the internet on to computers being used inside a maximum security nick."
Sunday Times, Chilling videos of 9/11 pilots revealed, 2 Oct 2006 The link to the five video clips is here. None of them have sound.

IHT, French critic of Islam flees threats, 2 Oct 06, Concerns the reaction to statements made in Le Figaro by philosophy teacher Robert Redeker:

"Among the threats was one by a contributor to Al Hesbah, an Internet forum that is said to be a conduit for messages from Al Qaeda and other jihad organizations.

""It is impossible that this day pass without the lions of France punishing him," the Hesbah contributor wrote. The contributor called on Muslims in France to follow the lead of Muhammad Bouyeri, who murdered the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh after he made a film denouncing the plight of abused Muslim women."

AP/CBS, FBI Worries About An Osama-Sopranos Link, 1 Oct 06, Comment from Joseph Billy Jr., "the FBI's top counterterrorism official": "The Internet has become the new Afghanistan, allowing terrorist sympathizers to promote their radical ideas and to recruit and train followers right their home computers. That makes it far more difficult for investigators to identify them."

Washington Post, Why I'm Banned in the USA, 1 Oct 06 Tariq Ramadan explains all.

Ramadan tech gifts: AMEInfo, Nokia offers Islamic applications, "The applications include Emsakya, which features prayer times, and the Islamic Organiser, an independent calendar that works on both Hijri and Gregorian systems."

AMEInfo, XPress launches new Ramadan SMS channel, "By paying a fee for each received SMS, subscribers may get the prayer times, the Holy Quran, Hadeth, historical anecdotes about Islam, prayer wishes, information about Muslims, and lots more delivered straight to them on their handsets."