Wednesday, May 31, 2006

AKI, Germany: Women May Have Planned Suicide Mission To Iraq, 31 May 2006 "The women - one of whom is a Muslim convert - apparently have close contacts with Islamist organisations in Germany, the report said, adding that one of them announced on an Internet site that she intended to blow herself and her child up in Iraq."

tmcnet, British documentary on Lone Star Islam has new life on Web, 31 May 2006 interesting piece with links to TurnToIslam.com

Middle East Times, Terrorists continue Internet exchanges despite shutdown, 30 May 2006 "Since the Al Qaeda linked Website Al Ansar was shut down earlier this month, and its British-based operator imprisoned for his role in a bomb plot, terrorists have switched to a site called Al Hesbah, a US magazine has reported." Not exactly 'news', but refers to an article on Rita Katz in the New Yorker, Private Jihad, 21 May 2006. I can sympathise with Ms Katz's statement: ""It is completely addicting," [sic] she says. "You wake up thinking, I’ve been offline for seven hours, but the terrorists have been making plans.""

AP/canada.com, Iraqis turn to Internet blogs to share views on change in their country, 30 May 2006

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

This is an interesting case: AMEInfo, Laptop imam to be punished, 29 May 2006, "A number of Saudi Arabians have questioned a decision by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to take action against an imam who delivered his Friday sermon using his laptop, reported Arab News. The imam brought his laptop to the mosque in Sarat Abidah in Asir province, much to the consternation of the congregation. Some Saudis feel that punishing the imam is unfair as it implies a break with modern technology."

More info at Arab News, Many Saudis Question Action Against Imam for Laptop Sermon, 29 May 2006. This took place in Asir Province. Arab News notes:

"The congregation was reportedly stunned when the imam used his laptop to read out the sermon instead of the more traditional hand-written notes ...

" ... Dr. Abdullah Al-Humaid, director of the ministry’s social affairs department in Asir, said: "We are not punishing him for bringing new technology into the mosque but for the strange situation he has created in the process of doing so. His decision in favor of ijtihad (exploring a new solution to a situation in the light of Islamic teachings) was taken in his individual capacity and has nothing to do with the ministry.""

I'd be interested to read more on this 'ijtihad'.

playfuls.com, Malaysia Detains 12 Suspected Terrorists, Probe Al-Qaeda Links, 30 May 2006, "Police sources confirmed the report, which also said that authorities seized several firearms and documents, including bomb-making instructions downloaded from the internet."

Raise the Hammer, Will the Highways on the Internet Become More Few?, May. 26, 2006 "American telecommunications companies and their allies are now engaged in a vigorous battle against network neutrality. Net neutrality "centers on the idea that broadband [Internet] providers must not be permitted to favor some Web sites or Internet services over others". It is one of the Internet's basic principles: data is transmitted over the Internet without preference for one source over another."

AMEInfo, DubaiCityGuide.com is number one site in Google for Dubai related searches, May 28, 2006, "DubaiCityGuide.com, the dedicated portal on Dubai has crossed 1.35 million page views and over 17 million 'hits' in April 2006."

arabtimesonline.com/KUNA, Kuwait’s IT strategy detailed; Dr Wuhaib nominated chief of ITFC, 29 May 2006, "Kuwait’s Communications Minister Ibrahim Al-Shatti presented Monday a working paper outlining the national IT strategy in light of Knowledge Based Economy (KBE). During “Knowledge Economy Awareness Seminar” part of events preceding the 31st annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank to take place during May 30-31, Al-Shatti outlined Kuwait’s strategy to better utilize Information Technology (IT) and communications through allowing the private sector to provide some services, such as mobile carriers and Internet providers, as well as developing the overall communications infrastructure and establishing a clear set of guidelines that govern services provided by the private sector."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Opinion piece: StrategyPage, The Internet Trap, May 26, 2006 "Often, the small fry are allowed to keep emailing and using their cell phones, just to monitor their "chatter" for useful bits of information. Out of many tiny pieces of data, often comes a picture of what the leaders are up to, and where they are. The Internet gives many terrorists the illusion that they are in touch, without realizing that the people at the other end have arrest warrants, not tickets to paradise."

Extensive coverage on 'Sonic Jihad': The Scotsman, Militant video game film just a bit of fun, says creator, 25 May 2006, "The 11-minute video shows a man in Arab head-dress carrying an automatic weapon into combat with US invaders. It was shown to a US congressional committee as evidence of a militant campaign to recruit Muslim youth on the internet." There is also coverage on this at NPR, Jihad Video May Be Just a Game, 25 May 2006

YouTube has the original clip, with the note: " A gimmick Battlefield 2 video made with jihad in mind that fooled a few real journalists" YouTube, Sonic Jihad - Battlefield 2 - Team America HQ:



Also see digg.com, Fan-made Battlefield 2 video mistaken for terrorist propaganda for related commentary and timeline.

I am writing about online marketing in relation to al-Qaeda, so was interested to see this opinion piece by Kenneth Musante: adotas, Al Qaeda and Online Marketing, 25 May 2006, "Terrorist actions are detestable. But it’s also clear that Al Qaeda uses many of the same tactics used by benign online marketers. If you’re an online marketer, while you shouldn’t be applauding the terrorist group, you might at least be able to learn from them. Like it or not, their methods are your methods. But they are in a war, and you are not. They are forced by the law of survival to push creative online marketing strategies to the edge."

arabherald.com, Bahrain tops in mobile penetration, 26 May 2006, "Bahrain recorded the highest cellular penetration rate in the Arab world last year, according to a report released by the Arab Advisors Group yesterday.

"Bahrain's penetrate rate stood at 105.8 per cent followed by the UAE at 99pc.

UAE and Bahrain also had the highest fixed line penetration rates in 2005, which stood at 27pc and 26.6pc respectively."

arabnews.com, Mobily Unveils Expansion Plan, 26 May 2006 "Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second mobile service provider, said yesterday that it planned to cover many more populated areas of the Kingdom."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

AP/Boston Globe, Bin Laden allegedly says Moussaoui had no 9/11 role, May 24, 2006, ""He had no connection at all with Sept. 11," the speaker, claiming to be bin Laden, said in the tape posted on the Internet." Also see: ogrish.com, Bin Laden Admits to 9/11 Role in New Statement, May 23, 2006

Middle East Online, Egypt new-look movies making waves at Cannes, 24 May 2006, "Emad Adeeb believes the cinema is "an ideal vehicle" to stimulate discussion about taboo subjects such as political corruption, alcohol, homosexuality and sexual promiscuity. "We are starting to open minds on a lot of taboos," he said.

"In a very young country where the average age is around 30 and Internet penetration is low, "movies can make huge changes," pointed out Emad Adeeb."

dailytimes.com.pk, Acer gives 4,500 laptops to students, 23 May 2006"Personal computer vendor and electronics giant Acer-Middle East, announced that it will provide 4,500 notebook computers to Bahria University."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Allegations re. Google: WorldNetDaily, Google dumps news sites that criticize radical Islam - Search giant axes another news page, calls terrorism discussion 'hate content', May 23, 2006 It'll be interesting to follow how this story evolves.

Arab Times, Kuwait’s software piracy rate remains high despite 2pc fall; UAE posts lowest figures, 23 May 2006, "The UAE has posted the lowest piracy rate in the region for the 10th consecutive year, and is the only Middle East entry to the list of 20 nations with the lowest piracy rates."

Washington Times, Book review of Gabriel Weimann's Terror on the Internet (which I have yet to get hold of).

It's only rock'n'roll (well, closer to metal) - albeit in Saudi Arabia in this article on Metallica-influenced Saudis: Washington Post/chron.com, Heavy metal needs no translation, 22 May 2006 "Shata said he thought the sound system was bad. The bigger problem, though, was when Islamic conservatives posted his picture, his T-shirt emblazoned with a skull, on the Internet. The conservatives' take: It was a satanic ritual.

""I was afraid my family would see the picture," he said. "I would be kicked out of the house. Really.""

Alas, probably the first (and last) time Metallica get mentioned in this blog...

Some intriguing insights in this feature on Mustafa Setmariam Nasar: Washington Post, Architect of New War on the West, Writings Lay Out Post-9/11 Strategy of Isolated Cells Joined in Jihad, 22 May 2006, "From secret hideouts in South Asia, the Spanish-Syrian al-Qaeda strategist published thousands of pages of Internet tracts on how small teams of Islamic extremists could wage a decentralized global war against the United States and its allies."

UPI/Political Gateway, Old phone data help NSA terror-tracking, 23 May 2006, "Telephone calling records from before the U.S. terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, helped the National Security Agency develop a template to highlight terrorists."

Madeline Albright plugs her book: Al-Jazeera, Albright: Bush is alienating Muslims, 22 May 2006, "George Bush's religious absolutism is alienating Muslims worldwide and making US foreign policy difficult for many countries to accept, according to a former secretary of state." (non-tech, but relevant)

FT.com/sal@am, Banks seek Islamic scholars versed in finance, 19 May 2006 " ... there are very few Islamic scholars who command enough religious respect to issue fatwas, understand the complexities of global structured financial products – and speak good enough English to read the necessary market documentation."
Combating Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy, Visual Motifs in Jihadi Internet Propaganda. The Islamic Imagery Project has collected together a number of 'jihadi' images and provides a summary of their symbolic significance. Their findings are available as a PDF. I have only just been alerted to this (diolch MI), but anticipate that I will be referring to it in my next book. There is scope for plenty of research in this area - I have been writing on related themes.

The latest output from the Project for the Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM), Israel, is an interesting newsletter on Islam in Africa, written by Moshe Terdman, which is to appear on a monthly basis. Coverage on Somalia, Comoro Islands, Nigeria, and Sudan (no web focused content).

Announcement/Call for Papers: Muslim Media and the ‘War on Terror’, 6-7 July 2006, University of Bristol, Department of Politics

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

MEMRI, Al-Tajdeed Versus Al-Hesbah: Islamist Websites & the Conflict Between Rival Arab & Muslim Political Forces, 17 May 2006 "With the development of the Internet in the Middle East, websites have become yet another tool in the struggle between rival Arab forces. One prominent example of Internet use as part of this struggle is the campaign by www.tajdeed.org.uk - which belongs to the Saudi Islamist opposition operating in London and is directed by Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mas'ari, who also heads the Al-Tajdeed Al-Islami organization - against www.alhesbah.org, a leading Islamist site that is a conduit for messages from Al-Qaeda and other jihad organizations."

Global Voices Online, Egypt: Blogging Behind Bars, 10 May 2006, "On May 10, Alaa Ahmed Seif al-Islam, the award-winning blogger detained three days earlier for participating in peaceful protests in Cairo, became one of the first people to blog from prison."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

a report from the Muslim Council of Britain entitled Voices from the Minaret is available as a PDF. It seeks to discuss the roles of mosques and imams in the UK. I haven't read it yet, although an initial glance suggests that there is much to comment upon.
Reuters Alertnet, Iraq group says downed 4 "crusader" helicopters-Web, 15 May 2006 "An Iraqi militant group affiliated to al Qaeda said on Monday it had downed four "crusader" helicopters south of the capital Baghdad, according to an Internet statement."

Cellular News, Shia Ringtone Starts Fight in Iraqi Parliament, n.d. "A ringtone started a fight at the Iraqi Parliament last week. A phone belonging to Ms al-Saidi, but being held by one of her bodyguards rang out with a Shia prayer - presumably a RealTone as opposed to a polyphonic tune. At this, the Sunni speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani sent security guards over to ask that the phone be switched off in the Parliament building."

Asharq Alawsat, The E-Government and an E-Nation, 15 May 2006"The Saudi government has allocated a sum of 1 billion dollars to a new project to improve the country's technology services. The project aims at linking different institutions in the country and such a huge investment is expected to change government performance within five years."

Monday, May 15, 2006

Reuters/The Peninsular Online, Pair wanted by Saudi killed in Iraq, 15 May 2006 Also see SITE Institute, A Video Interview with Two Mujahideen Wanted by Saudi Intelligence Who Escaped to Iraq, Issued by the Mujahideen Shura Council, 13 May 2006
BBC News, Muslim hardship under spotlight, 14 May 2006 "Many Muslims in England face bleak employment prospects and endure poor standards of housing, a government-backed study has found." I have yet to see this report appear online.

Boston Globe, Cyber attacks could be devastating, expert says, 15 May 2006, "Attacks on US computer networks could escalate from mere inconveniences to disasters that ruin companies or even kill people, according to the head of a cyber-security unit working with the government."

UK Gay News, Sistani Removes ‘Death to Gays’ Fatwa from Website. But anti-lesbian fatwa remains, 15 May 2006, "The removal on May 10 follows protests to Sistani by the London office of the Iraqi gay rights organisation, Iraqi LGBT, which represents a clandestine network of lesbian and gay activists inside Iraq’s major cities, including Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Hilla, Duhok and Basra."

Sunday Mirror, Exclusive: MI5 infiltrated by al-Qaeda, 15 May 2006, "Bosses at M15 believe they unwittingly recruited the Muslim extremists after the July 7 suicide bombings in London last year which killed 52 people.

"They were signed up as part of a drive to find more Muslims and Arabic speakers to work as spies to help prevent future attacks by Osama bin Laden fantatics."

CSM, Mining data to nab terrorists: fair?, May 15, 2006 "What can the United States government really glean from the phone-call histories - records of who called whom, when, and for how long - of millions of Americans?"

Friday, May 12, 2006

Borneo Bulletin, E-Islam kiosk promotion at UBD, 12 May 2006, "The roadshow, among others, aims to enhance and disseminate information on the daily lifestyles among the Muslim community in the Sultanate including activities related to mosque affairs, Islamic propagation, Haj and many others using the easy and innovative ICT format.

"Apart from being able disseminate information on Islam quickly and effectively, the kiosks also aim to enhance the Islamic knowledge of the users as well as to expose them to the ICT usage in the dissemination of Islamic knowledge."

BBC News, Gangsta rap, Afghan style, 10 May 2006 DJ Besho raps in Dari. You can see his 2005 video at YouTube, on the streets of Afghanistan, where he namechecks various locations.

Reuters, "Qaeda escapee" urges Europe strikes over cartoons, 12 May 2006 "A Web site often used by militants posted a video from a man identified as Abu Yahya al-Libi in which he called for Muslims to "send rivers of blood" down the streets of Denmark, Norway and France for publishing the cartoons that caused a global furore earlier this year."

CNS, Al Qaeda Uses Web as 'Virtual Sanctuary,' Experts Say, 12 May 2006 "Experts agree that the al Qaeda terrorist network is using cyberspace as a "virtual sanctuary" in order to distribute propaganda, train attackers and gather intelligence on targets. However, those analysts sharply disagree on what -- if anything -- should be done to stop that from happening." not exactly headline news ...

Independent, What we now know about the four men who brought terror to London, 12 May 2006

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Technology has entered another area of Islamic ritual: arabnews.com, Automatic Pre-Prayer Washing System, 11 May 2006, "Auto Wudu Washers (AWW) is the world’s first automatic pre-prayer personal washing system introduced to enable an individual to perform 'wudu' (ablution) efficiently and in conformance to Qur’anic teachings. This is achieved by the use of a purpose-built ear, mouth and facial washer unit, a forearm and elbow washing unit and a foot-and-ankle washing unit all of which are incorporated into a single system." I thought I'd better carefully check into this further before posting the information, and it seems that this has been developed by a Malaysian, and approved by scholars in UAE and Australia. See: gulfnews.com, Now, a device for pre-prayer wash, 22 April 2006 which includes an illustration of this contraption. "Shaikh Ahmad Zu Al Nourain, member of the Iftaa Committee, said the device can be used provided it completely washes the body parts. Shaikh Mohammad Al Hakami, a religious scholar, said any technology that helps Muslims perform their religious duties properly is welcome."

Reports on 7/7 (which had an internet linkage) include The Scotsman, Lack of intelligence resources 'paved way for July 7 attacks', 11 May 2006 and Evening Standard, Government rules out July 7 inquiry, 11 May 2006.

AME Info, Apple further expands its Middle Eastern horizons, 11 May 2006

Human Rights Watch/allafrica.com, Egypt: Award-Winning Blogger Among New Arrests, 10 May 2006, "Egyptian security officials arrested 11 more political reform activists, including an award-winning blogger, Alaa Ahmed Seif al-Islam, Human Rights Watch said today. This brings to more than 100 the number of people detained over the past two weeks for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

csmonitor.com, The Caliphate: One nation, under Allah, with 1.5 billion Muslims, 10 May 2006 "Hizb ut-Tahrir's modern leader is a Jordanian known as Emir Atta Abu Rashta. He lives in a secret location in the Middle East and communicates mainly through the Internet. The party is illegal in all Arab countries as well as Germany. Britain mooted banning the group after last year's London bombings were carried out by members of a Hizb ut-Tahrir splinter group." Profile by James Brandon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

alarab online, The Hard Truth About Suicide Bombers by Nichole Argo, n.d., "In sum, until 2004 and despite their hate-mongering, religious institutions did not contribute significantly to the rise in global terror. Instead, the empirical data parallel neuroscientific inquiries into how people acquire beliefs: First, emotion and social ties precede acquisition of ideology; second, joining the jihad does not appear to be an explicit decision, but a social and emotional process that happens over time."

Reuters Alertnet, US says captured Qaeda document shows weakness, 9 May 2006, "The U.S. military published on Monday what it said was a captured al Qaeda document showing the Sunni Islamist guerrillas recognised they were weak and unpopular in Baghdad."

Committee to Protect Journalists, Princes, Clerics and Censors - Saudi Arabia loosens press shackles, but religion and politics are still perilous topics, May 9, 2006 interesting profile of Shams

Abu Qatada update: BBC News, Islamic cleric 'risk to security', 9 May 2006

Australian IT, Games hacked for militants' jihad, 5 May 2006, "Tech-savvy militants from al Qaeda and other groups have modified video war games so that US troops play the role of bad guys in running gunfights against heavily armed Islamic radical heroes, US Defence Department official and contractors told the US Congress."

George W Bush: ""Sometimes my own messages send signals that I don't mean to send, but stirs up anxieties in the Muslim world."" quoted in Middle East Online, Bush: I unwittingly stir up anxiety in Muslim world, 9 May 2006 [original interview in Bild]

Daily Pioneer, Emerging coalition of jihad, 10 May 2006 "No longer are these groups solely dependent on madarsas for recruitment and ideological support. In fact, various studies have shown that a significant number of the cadre today comes not from religious seminaries but normal "English medium public schools". The cadre is well versed in communication technology, can effectively use sophisticated equipment like satellite phone, hi-fi wireless radio besides internet and email."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday Times, Part of me died when I saw this cruel killing, May 07, 2006 "Even by the stupefying standards of Iraq’s unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country’s top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty." More on this issue at Wikipedia: Atwar Bahjat
Washington Post/indystar, Saudi Arabia using clerics, Internet to fight al-Qaida - Religious re-education program targets youths viewed as potential recruits for terror group, 7 May 2006, "The Internet has become the main battleground against al-Qaida ideology, according to three members of the counseling committee that the Interior Ministry set up to run the re-education program. The body has 22 full-time members, who get help from 100 Islamic clerics and 30 psychiatrists.

"Islamic counselors selected by the committee have succeeded in infiltrating a number of extremist Web sites and chat rooms.

"Islamic Affairs Minister Saleh al-Asheikh told reporters in February that the government had established dialogue with 800 al-Qaida sympathizers this way and succeeded in changing the thinking of 250."

computerworld.com.au, Report: Growing use of Internet to spread terror, hate, 8 May 2006, "Terrorists and extremists more and more are turning to the Internet to spread their views and incite readers to take action, according to a report issued this week by a Jewish human rights group.

"Called "Digital Terrorism and Hate 2006," the report was issued by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and is available as an interactive CD, according to the group's officials. The report focuses on more than 6,000 Web sites that raise money for terrorist groups and teach related skills, such as bomb building."

Friday, May 05, 2006

WatchingAmerica.com present a translation of Liberation.fr, En une semaine, Ben Laden, Zarqaoui et Zawahiri sont apparus sur le Net, 3 mai 2006 as 'The al-Qaeda Brain Trust Mounts Invasion of Media'. "Last week, its main leaders, Osama bin Laden RealVideo, Ayman Zawahiri RealVideo and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi RealVideo simultaneously hustled themselves onto the Web to encourage Jihad. Terrorism experts agree on one thing: this media offensive is unprecedented. Is this simultaneous offensive, which brings to mind a simultaneous attack - another typical signature of al-Qaeda - a well thought out action or a coincidence tied to the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion? For security reasons, the taping of the broadcasts, audio for bin Laden and video for the two others, were several days or even several weeks prior to airing." (note: the original article can be found here.

The Globe and Mail, How one tech-savvy music lover taught the iPod to speak Hebrew, 5 May 2006, [this has implications in relation to other languages too, such as Persian, Urdu and Arabic, hence its inclusion here]: "Up next for the young designer, who is now working for a start-up company in the posh Tel Aviv suburb of Herziliya, is a similar iPod patch for Arabic speakers. The technology to reverse the lettering from right to left is the same, Mr. Yamin says, but the flowing script is somewhat more challenging to work with."
MSNBC, Pentagon surfing 5,000 jihadist Web sites, Sites use propaganda, video games aimed at recruits as young as 7, 4 May 2006, "A Pentagon research team monitors more than 5,000 jihadist Web sites, focusing daily on the 25 to 100 most hostile and active, defense officials said Thursday. And the makers of combat video games have unwittingly become part of a global propaganda campaign by Islamic militants to exhort Muslim youths to take up arms against the United States, officials added."

AP/forbes.com, Update 6: Video Shows Al-Zarqawi Fumbling With Rifle, 5 May 2006, "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is shown wearing American tennis shoes and unable to operate his automatic rifle in video released Thursday by the U.S. military as part of a propaganda war aimed at undercutting the image of the terror leader." The clip of General Lynch's briefing has been posted at ABC and elsewhere.

Analysis of the Zarqawi video: jamestown.org, al-Zarqawi Releases Unprecedented New Video, Modeling Himself After Bin Laden, 2 May 2006

Summary of a new issue of Sada al-Jihad: SITE Publications, The Echo of Jihad – A Period Magazine Featuring General Mujahideen News, 4 May 2006, "Sada al-Jihad, 'The Echo of Jihad,' a periodic publication electronically distributed via the Internet and featuring articles concerning general mujahideen news from several regions, was recently issued in its April 2006 release."

businesstodayegypt.com, Apple Branches Out: Apple Computer’s strongest marketing tool — its hip retail boutique — lands in Cairo, May 2006 new 'Apple store' (of a type) in Cairo.

arabnews.com KAAL Commissions Study on Knowledge Economy, 2 May 2006, "The study, which will be released in September 2006, combines secondary research data with new primary information on the current and future development and usage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) within the Kingdom’s government, business and social communities."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I've been running my page Islamic Studies Pathways - an Academic Guide to Islamic Studies Resources on the Internet for about ten years now. It's gone through numerous editions and changes. You can check the latest, updated listing here

The Daily Reveille, Site attracts Islamic students, 4 May 2006, "Mohamed El-Fatatry, a Muslim who studied computer science at the American University of Sharjah, created MuslimSpace.com, a social network for Muslims that is similar to MySpace."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Research is growing in the field(s) associated with Islam in cyberspace. There are four papers from Vít Šisler of Charles University in Prague, available for download. I haven't read them thoroughly yet, but they look useful. The topic of video games is particularly interesting (I've referred to it several times, but never had the chance to research into it in detail):

Islamic Jurisprudence in Cyberspace: Construction of Interpretative Authority in Muslim Diaspora (2006)

Digital Intifada (2006)

In Videogames You Shoot Arabs or Aliens (2006)

Videogames and Politics
(2005)

Full details and links to download can be found here
Reuters/Yahoo, Outspoken Saudi bloggers wary of "official" group, 3 May 2006. The announcement of the Official Community of the Saudi bloggers (OCSAB) has predictably met with resistance: ""You cannot regulate the Saudi blogosphere. You cannot 'refine' it nor 'filter' it or whatever else I read that you wish to do to it. Now get your filthy hands off blogging," wrote Farooha, a female student who has one of the most popular sites in Arabic and English." OCSAB's hub can be found here, although it is early days for the site at present.

AFP/Yahoo, Asian governments among the worst enemies of Internet freedom, 3 May 2006, "Of a list of 15 "Enemies of the Internet" named by Paris-based rights group Reporters Without Borders in a report late last year, seven are in Asia ..." This listing from Reporters Without Borders included Malaysia.

More on al Misyar marriages (see below - April 27, 2006), this time in a story with a web angle: Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia: "No Strings Attached" Islamic Marriage Websites Experiencing Boom, 2 May 2006, "The number of websites specializing in arranging al Misyar marriages is on the rise, especially in Saudi Arabia . An al Misyar marriage is one where the couple does not live together and the husband is not financially responsible for his wife. The phenomenon has also spread to western countries where internet sites usually run by Arab individuals have been recently set up to help with, Misyar and regular marriages. With names such as Zawaji, Zwajokum, Tazawuj, Al Moyasser, Al Hob, Al Habib and Inta Omri, these sites help users find a partner."

Report from Mohammed Omer of RafahToday.org: Washington Report, Armed With a Mouse, Boycott-Savvy Cyber-Activists Make Their Presence Felt, April 2006, "... There in cyberspace, instead of noisy street demonstrations, burning flags, and stones hurled through embassy windows, the weapon of choice is the keyboard, the mouse and the economic boycott for 'the Islamic world's' new activists."

Middle East Times, Somali teen executes father's killer under Islamic law, May 3, 2006, "Tuesday's spectacle, photographs of which were quickly posted to Somali Internet sites, came amid rising fears of all out war between militia loyal to the courts and an alliance of warlords devoted to curbing their influence."

Indo Asian News Service/DailyIndia.com, Al Qaeda sends third message in a week, 3 May 2006, "In a video posted on the Internet, Zawahiri Friday called on Pakistanis to topple their president and praised insurgents in Iraq, according to CNN."

Christian Science Monitor/EgyptElection.com, The new Muslim TV: media-savvy, modern, and moderate, 02 May 2006, "The Egyptian actress Sabreen was at the peak of her fame when, in 2001, she underwent a religious "awakening," retired from acting, and donned the veil.

"Now she's back on television, hosting a talk show on a new Islamic satellite channel called Al Risala ("The Message")."