Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Edge Daily, Bank Islam introduces i-Access code for Internet banking, 20 Dec 06, Tunisian bloggers discuss holidays, internet censorship and Algeria, 20 Dec 06 cites Subzero Blue's comments on Eid ul-Adha: "The blogger didn't know what to make of internet sites that offered a solution.

""They can now buy an animal over the internet and even watch it being slaughtered, before its meat is given away … I don't know what to think about this really; I know a lot of people could end up using this, and it's somehow funny too, but on the other hand it just feels a bit weird and somewhat wrong.""

The inspiration of this discussion is an article from Reuters/CNet, Pakistani groups offer animal sacrifice via Net, 19 Dec 06:

"Buying a sacrificial animal over the Internet is also becoming popular in Pakistan, said Farukh Sheikh of the Sahara trust for life.

"It is a matter of convenience. People nowadays don't have time to go to the markets and haggle over prices," Sheikh said.

"We are offering a service at competitive rates. People trust us to distribute the meat according to religious obligations among the poor and needy," Sheikh said.

"The Alamgir welfare trust also offers the option of viewing the sacrifice on its Web site."

The story chain doesn't end there:

Times of India, Pakistan offers qurbani on the web, 18 Dec 06:

"Sahara, the life trust of singer Abrarul Haq, also sells animals online. US-based group Islamicity and Life for Relief and Development offer this service to Muslims around the world.

"And the Ulema have approved of the practice.

"I see no problem in it, even if the payment is through credit cards," said Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, head of Jamia Naeemia.

"But it is important the credit card user pay the qurbani amount instantly so he saves himself from interest," he added."

Sahara for Life can be found here, but I admit I haven't looked any harder for clips of qurbani sacrifice.

And now for something completely different:, A Man for All Seasons: Imam Daayiee Abdullah offers a gay Muslim's insights for the holidays, 21 Dec 06 This is an interesting interview with Daayiee Abdullah, including some references to Islam in China.

MEMRI, Islamist Sites in French – An Overview, Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 308, 21 Dec 06 Some familiar sites here.

News5Belize, Captured fugitive was Taliban, al Qaeda supporter, 19 Dec 06

zeenews, Saudi youth in grip of frustration, 21 Dec 06 "Saudi youth are chronically bored in a country that can't provide them with jobs and restricts their personal freedoms, one of Saudi Arabia's most well-known Internet bloggers says."

UPI, New Zawahiri video expected within 72 hrs, 18 Dec 06, "Al-Qaida's audio-visual distribution arm, the As-Sahab Media Institute announced the upcoming release of the new video Monday, saying it was titled "The Facts behind the Conflict between Islam and Non-Belief.""

Spiegel Online, The 9/11 Fact File, 20 Dec 06

"Conspiracy theories such as those popularized in the Internet documentary Loose Change are all the rage. Yet they are easy to refute, using new evidence from video and audiotape recordings, statements of captured al Qaeda members and the reports of commissions investigating the events.", Emirates Computers installs largest, fastest single image computer in Mid East, 21 Dec 06

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Information Week, Group Calls On 'Internet Enemy' To Release Blogger, 18 Dec 06 "Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, also known as Kareem Amer, is accused of inciting hatred of Islam and "circulating rumors threatening public order." He was held for 18 days in October 2005 and arrested again on November 6, 2006."

TechWhack, Intel to help digitize Islam’s holy book Quran, 19 Dec 06
I have a section in my new book entitled Islam Inside, which now seems even more appropriate: ... "Intel said that the E-Quran is a small computer with wireless Internet access that contains the text of the Islamic holy book, audio recitations in 40 different languages and interactive interpretations of the material."

New Straits Times, Of sex, snooping and open minds, 19 Dec 06 commentary on previously reported Google Trends stats analysis. It also notes "Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has given the green light for the setting up of discos in the state, and said he was not opposed to dancing in discos — but it must be between members of the same sex." Surely this raises some other significant issues, or am I missing something about sexuality, discos and club culture (it's been a long time since I dabbled with the wheels of steel ...)? Anyway, this is an interesting commentary from Syed Nadzri.

Daily India, American gal, Pak guy have a knotty affair on the Net!, 19 Dec 06 "Diana Marry Petite (30), an American girl who has now converted to Islam and re-christened herself as Rabia Khan, met Pakistan boy Amir Khan over the Internet, soon fell in love with his Islamic preaching, and finally married him." Hardly headline grabbing these days..., Teacher 'posed as al-Qaeda emailer', 20 Dec 06 "A Brisbane teacher charged with plotting terrorist attacks has been accused of sending police two threatening emails purporting to be from the operations chief of al-Qaeda in Australia."
PRISM (Israel), Moshe Terdman, "The ball is not always Round: The Attitude to Soccer between Jihadi-Radical and Moderate Muslims", Dec 06 The first in a series of Papers on Islamist Social Affairs. This one has just been announced - expect it on the PRISM site soon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

BBC News, Christian video game draws anger, 14 Dec 06, "The Global Islamic Media Front has released a game called Quest for Bush, in which players aim to kill the US president.

"Adam Raisman, an analyst at the Search for International Terrorist Entities (Site) Institute who has played the game, calls the free download "propaganda", but stops short of labelling it recruitment."

Friday, December 15, 2006, Anger on Muslim web forum, 15 Dec 06, "Readers of a Sydney-based Muslim youth website have attacked the Daily Telegraph for its coverage of the Iktimal Hage-Ali incident and expressed anger that she is being mentioned as a representative of Islam in Australia."
zone-h, Pakistani cracker arrested in a "cracking-for-ransom" case, 15 Dec 06, "Abar is a 23 years old living in Islamabad where he was arrested in an Internet cafe.

"Police firmly believe that this is not his first experience as cyber criminal, indeed according to the FIA, he is suspected of installing spying software on systems in internet cafes in Islamabad and was planning to hack 20 more email accounts for similar ransom amounts, according to press reports." Also see SCMagazine, Pakistanis make arrest in ransom-hacking case, 11 Dec 06

Middle East Times, US losing info war to media-savvy jihadists, 15 Dec 06, "The US Army and Marine Corps December 15 will release a new counterinsurgency field manual that notes how insurgents use media "to magnify the effects of their actions" and which suggests ways to defeat those efforts. The manual may be too little and too late as experts say the US is being beaten on the propaganda front." Absolutely ..., Dawah on the Internet, 15 Dec 06 a listing of dawah websites, Fl Web Host Asked To Drop ‘Kill All Muslim Kids’ Site, 14 Dec 06"The Tampa, Fla., office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) is calling on an Internet web hosting company in that state to drop a hate site that supports calls to "kill all Muslim kids."" The site has been suspended., Rare Performance and Interview With Yusuf (Cat Stevens) Will Be Broadcast Exclusively on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, "SIRIUS Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) will broadcast a rare, exclusive performance and interview with British singer-songwriter Yusuf, formerly known as Cat Stevens."
anarchoakbar, The sacred and the Profane/Second Life Snapshots, 13/14 Dec 06 There is some intriguing developmental work going on in Second Life at present: "The new Second Life mosque - not quite finished yet, but soon, insha Allah. The old mosque included a recorded adhan, plus prayer mats with ‘coding balls’ so that anyone sitting on them could automatically make worship-like movements, but not in the form of salah."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

AINA, Spain Arrests 11 Islamic Terror Suspects, 13 Dec 06, "Spain's largest-circulation newspaper, El Pais, reported last month that Ceuta has become a target for Islamic radicals, via Web site postings visited by al Qaeda adherents. The Web site note called for attacks on what it termed the "occupied city of Ceuta" and also against the other Spanish enclave, Melilla (pron: May-lee-ya) farther east on Morocco's north coast." Here is the original article: El Pais, Detenidos 11 islamistas en Ceuta que ideaban atentar contra un polvorín y el recinto ferial, 13 Dec 06

USA Today/Detroit Free Press, Fear 'as bad as after 9/11', 13 Dec 06

AKI, Women Preachers answer a growing need, 13 Dec 06 non-tech, but relevant nevertheless: "The decision by Egypt's religious affairs ministry to train Murshidat (female preachers) via a four year course at the country's top Islamic university, al-Azhar university has been welcomed by a leading female spiritual guide. Swiss-educated Samira Rifat Abul Kheir, is a 'daaya', a role that already exists to help female Muslims."
Aharq Alawsat, Keeping an Eye on the Net, 11 Dec 06 "It was no surprise that the 2006 Innovations in Newspapers that was issued by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and INNOVATION, the international media-consulting group has suggested that modern newsroom should include a ‘radar’ unit. This task of this unit is to monitor radio stations, television channels and websites considering that news agencies are no longer the only sources for news.", Algerian group linked to Qaeda takes responsibility for attack on foreign workers, 12 Dec 06

Reuters Alertnet, Pakistan’s Tribal Areas: Appeasing the Militants, 11 Dec 06 includes references to International Crisis Group, Pakistan’s Tribal Areas: Appeasing the Militants, Asia Report No. 125 which is available as a PDF, Sleeper Cell: Season Two "With the threat to Darwyn’s personal domestic space thus trumped up, Sleep Cell goes on to double-underscore such drama with the introduction of Darwyn’s new FBI handler, Warren Russell (Jay R. Ferguson), whose vexing greenness is exacerbated by his apparent desire to feel smarter than everyone around him (and beat the 'curse' associated with being Darwyn’s case worker, given that, at the end of 'Al-Baqara,' his second handler, the seemingly very competent Special Agent Patrice Serxner (Sonya Walger), is assassinated on an internet video." Includes trailer. Haven't seen this programme myself yet, but know that in the UK the series is on FX ...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Washington Post, Seeking Iran Intelligence, U.S. Tries Google, 11 Dec 06
In today's red-top tabloid edition of the blog ... Daily Star, Most porn surfers from Kota Baru and Kuantan, 10 Dec 06 "Internet surfers in Kota Baru and Kuantan topped the list of local pornographic website visitors, according to Google Trends."

AP/CNN, Lawmaker quits over pop star romp, 8 Dec 06, "An Indonesian member of parliament at the centre of an Internet sex scandal has quit the assembly in the latest morality-related incident to shake the world's most populous Muslim nation ..."

Refers to MP Yahya Zaini:

" ... Zaini became headline news after a shaky, one-minute video that appears to show him frolicking naked with Indonesian pop singer Maria Eva made it onto the Internet."

Back to more serious matters:

CNSNews, Egyptian Blogger Arrested for Criticizing Islamic Clerics, 8 Dec 06 Also see TCSDaily, Jailed for a Blogpost, 11 Dec 06 "In a cramped jail cell in Alexandria, Egypt, sits a soft-spoken 22-year-old student. Kareem Amer was remanded to over a month in prison for allegedly "defaming the President of Egypt" and "highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt." Where did Amer commit these supposed felonies? On his weblog."

New Straits Times, Sunday Interview: Countering the scary view of Islam, 11 Dec 06, "Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, 35, is not only the youngest mufti in Malaysia, he is also among religious scholars who are calling for a more modern and compassionate face to Islam."

The Scotsman, No smoking - but killing teachers is fine, says new Taleban rulebook, 11 Dec 06 "The rules were agreed by the 33 members of the Taleban shura, or council, and were posted on the internet." Not sure how posting on the net is useful to a local Afghan audience, given the very low levels of internet access.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A little bit of reading for the weekend: Iraq Study Group Report [via U.S. Institute of Peace] - PDF
al-Ahram Weekly, Noha Othman El-Zeiny: The whistleblower, 7-13 Dec 06, ""The third force are the youthful activists -- the bloggers of the Internet, organisations such as Youth for Change, and other such groups. They are forward-looking. They have fresh ideas. First and foremost, they want freedom. I am very hopeful and optimistic about their cause. I am convinced that they will effect political change eventually.""

Reuters/Washington Post, Clerics should combat militant ideology, Saudi says, 5 Dec 06, "A member of the committee has said young people were attracted to radical Islamist ideology through preachers' sermons and lectures, as well as religious edicts on the Internet and in books." Not exactly a headline-grabber.

Gulf Daily News, Espionage alert to Bahrain firms, 5 Dec 06 "Industrial espionage and organised crime are the biggest threats facing companies in Bahrain and the Middle East, a former counter-terrorism chief said yesterday."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Tide Online, Sokoto: Sultan’s palace gets wireless Internet, 7 Dec 06

""The new Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Salad Abubakar III, has said his palace will be hooked to wireless Internet this week.

"The Sultan who hosted newsmen to a dinner on Friday in Sokoto, said: "I already have somebody who came and surveyed the place for a VSAT."

"All the officers in the palace will have wireless internal network. There will also be a web site for the caliphate," he said.

"According to him, all information on the caliphate, including its history will be uploaded in site for use globally."

No sign of the caliphate's site yet, but I await it with interest.

AINA, Terrorist Tentacles in India, 6 Dec 06 "Investigations into the recent terrorist attacks and the subsequent chain of arrests and seizures in different parts of India, particularly rural Maharashtra, have revealed a growing alliance between jihadi groups operating from Pakistan and Bangladesh with ideologically extreme groups in India."

Reuters/Gulf Times, Muslim police analyst sues city over e-mails, 7 Dec 06 "A Muslim police anti-terror analyst is suing New York City, claiming a former CIA official sent hundreds of racist e-mails, including one that said 'burning the hate-filled Qur'an'should be seen as 'a public service'." Law & Disorder...

The Herald, CIA fears Bin Laden is alive in safe haven, 7 Dec 06 "Several special task forces which include British and Australian SAS troopers, the CIA, MI6, and even Norwegian mountain warfare specialists, have been on continuous patrol along the 1200-mile border since al Qaeda was driven from its White Mountains redoubt at Tora Bora in Afghanistan in 2001."

The Sun, Ding dong merrily Dubai, 7 Dec 06 "As Britain’s manic PC brigade try to take the fun out of Christmas . . . MUSLIM Dubai shows how to celebrate properly.

"Shoppers at the posh Wafi mall in the Arab state are greeted by a massive Christmas tree, covered with dazzling lights and decorations." opinion piece

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

UPI/Middle East Times, Gaza group warns women to cover heads, 5 Dec 06 "Just Swords of Islam said that it would show "no mercy on any woman who violates the traditions of Islam and who also hangs out in Internet cafes.""

NY Times, Prisoners of Sex, 3 Dec 06 several internet references in this article by Negar Azimi.

Washington Post, Look Me Up Under 'Missing Link': On Wikipedia, Oblivion Looms for the Non-Notable, 3 Dec 06 general tech article

Information Week, Growth In IT Spending Expected To Slow In 2007, 5 Dec 06 "Western Europe is expected to see a 4% increase in IT purchases, while Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are predicted to spend 15% more."

Globe & Mail, Alliance goes interactive with launch of BlogTV, 6 Dec 06, "The strategy was unveiled yesterday when Alliance announced a partnership with GS New Media to create, a Canadian website patterned after a popular Middle East site that lets people broadcast live through webcams to computers and cellphones."

The Virginian-Pilot, Lou Gehrig's disease hurts his body; technology helps his brain, 3 Dec 06 This is rather on the periphery of this blog's main theme, but this article about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis really captured my attention, in terms of Mr Gehrig's application of technology.

NYT, Open Source Spying, 3 Dec 06 "Adding to the information glut, there’s an increasingly large amount of data to read outside of Intelink. Intelligence analysts are finding it more important to keep up with 'open source' information — nonclassified material published in full public view, like newspapers, jihadist blogs and discussion boards in foreign countries. This adds ever more calories to the daily info diet. The W.M.D. analyst I spoke to regularly reads the blog of Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor known for omnivorous linking to, and acerbic analysis of, news from the Middle East. "He’s not someone spies would normally pay attention to, but now he’s out there — and he’s a subject-matter expert, right?" the analyst said."

CSO, Financial Cyberthreat From Jihadists Deemed Unsuccessful, 2 Dec 06

Jawa Report, Jihad Media Battalion Report: Fighting Zionist Robots!, 4 Dec 06

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Guardian, Censorship fears rise as Iran blocks access to top websites, 4 Dec 06 "Iran yesterday shut down access to some of the world's most popular websites. Users were unable to open popular sites including and YouTube following instructions to service providers to filter them." Useful article, which should be read alongside Reporters Without Borders, Government wants all news sites dealing with Iran to be registered, 30 Nov 06 ", a conservative website that supports Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and often criticises President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies, has protested against the decision." Those seeking to get around such censorship will be interested in Slashdot, Psiphon Now Available For Download, 1 Dec 06, which is also mentioned in, Tool to circumvent internet censorship set to launch "Its creators plan to launch the software at the Protect The Net conference at the university's Munk Centre for International Studies, where psiphon emerged as a project of Citizenlab. Researchers at the facility examine the relationship between digital media and politics around the world." You can download Psiphon from CitizenLab's website. Is there an Arabic or Farsi version?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Islam Online, World AIDS Day 2006, 1 Dec 06 A selection of articles and commentaries to mark World AIDS Day.

Reuters, Pope hailed for praying towards Mecca like Muslims, 1 Dec 06 ""The Pope's dreaded visit was concluded with a wonderful surprise," wrote daily Aksam on its front page.

""In Sultan Ahmet Mosque, he turned towards Mecca and prayed like Muslims," popular daily Hurriyet said, using the building's official name."

Amongst the megabytes of other coverage, also see Globe & Mail, Pontiff prays at Turkish mosque, 1 Dec 06 "So it was time, at yesterday's apex of his closely watched trip to Turkey, to make an unprecedented gesture of togetherness. During his visit to Istanbul's 17th-century Blue Mosque, he marvelled repeatedly at the similarities between Roman Catholic and Muslim worship, then made a gesture of considerable historic significance: He turned toward Mecca, clasped his hands and joined the chief Muslim cleric of Istanbul in a minute of silent prayer."

Hurriyet noted the following: "Pope: Leaving part of my heart in Istanbul" Also see Hurriyet, Dış basın: Papa tarihi jest yaptı, 1 Dec 06, Turkey holds 18 in al-Qaeda swoop during pope visit, 1 Dec 06

People's Daily Online, Gaza fanatic group attacks internet cafes, audio cassettes shops, 30 Nov 06 "An extremist Islamic group in Gaza calling itself "the swords of Islam" claimed responsibility on Thursday for attacking and destroying internet cafes and shops that sell cassette tapes.", Tunisian bloggers talk about censorship, religion and women in Islam, 30 Nov 06 "The Tunisian blogosphere hot topics this week were Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey, censorship and women in Islam."

AFP/Middle East Times, Demonstrators protest against Dutch veil ban plan, 1 Dec 06"Bayrak handed parliamentary officials a petition posted on the Internet for which she had gathered 1,000 signatures.

"According to the protestors, only around 100 women in the Netherlands regularly wear a face-covering veil."