Thursday, August 31, 2006

SITE Institute, The Strategies for the Secret Jihad Cells, 30 August 2006, "Offering eight strategies for jihadi cells operating in secret to use for success in the field, a member of a password-protected al-Qaeda-affiliated forum, made this advice available in a posting on Monday, August 28, 2006." [requires subscription for full article]

Deutsche Presse-Agentur/, Terrorist radicalism nurtured in German student residences, 30 August 2006 "Something has been found on Hamad's computer that indicates a link to al-Qaeda, but there are many young Muslims active on internet forums, who nevertheless do not always make bombs with the aim of killing innocent civilians."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NYT, African Languages Grow as a Wikipedia Presence, 26 Aug 06 focuses on the Swahili wiki contributions.

Arab News, Road Warriors Take to the Web, 30 Aug 06 "Several Arabic-language websites have been set up for joyriding hobbyists to share their passion for leaving rubber on the pavement. These online forums often include YouTube-style video clips — sometimes even with an edited soundtrack using do-it-yourself software — where visitors to the site rate and discuss the moves portrayed ...

" ... On the other side of the joyriding divide are concerned families, who have set up their own web presence to lambaste the dangerous drivers and what they say is lackadaisical enforcement of road rules by the police. These sites post images of fatal accidents and passages from the Holy Qur’an."

Yahoo News, NYT move to block Web to Britons raises questions, 30 Aug 06 details can be found elsewhere on the web, however.

Daily Mail, Video chant of terror suspect: 'As you kill, you will be killed', 29 August 2006, Indonesia Intercepts Islamic Internet Terrorists, August 28, 2006, "Indonesia has used its computer crime laws to arrest two Islamic terrorist suspects. One man was accused of creating a web site that showed techniques for murdering infidels (non-Moslems). The other man was accused of using the Internet to raise money for terrorist attacks.", SimpleTech to Build Plant in Malaysia, 30 Aug 06, "SimpleTech Inc., a maker of memory products used in laptops and digital cameras, said Wednesday it plans to build a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Penang, Malaysia."

Newsweek, Silent Sistani - Is the country's most potent voice losing its influence?, 27 August 2006

Guardian, Patience, routine and humility, on the passing of Naguib Mahfouz (his Cairo Trilogy is one of my favorite series of books).

Washington Post, FBI Shows Off Counterterrorism Database, 30 Aug 06 "The FBI has built a database with more than 659 million records -- including terrorist watch lists, intelligence cables and financial transactions -- culled from more than 50 FBI and other government agency sources. The system is one of the most powerful data analysis tools available to law enforcement and counterterrorism agents, FBI officials said yesterday."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006, Deadline set for abducted Fox men, 23 August 2006, "A previously unknown group in Gaza has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Fox journalists and demanded the United States free "Muslim prisoners" within 72 hours.", IPod Gray Market Booms in India, 23 Aug 06
BBC, Lebanese residents answer your questions [live lap-top link up]
Global Terrorism Analysis, Volume 3, Issue 33, London Plot Draws Attention to Potential Female Suicide Bombers, August 22, 2006 "In short, women are increasingly being called on for jihad. No longer invisible, Muslim women are able to utilize modern technology, with support from a new generation of male terrorists, to proclaim their voices on the global jihadi landscape.", Informant says attacks on Canadians are legitimate in Afghanistan, 23 Aug 06 "Five weeks after he revealed himself, and despite being savaged by young Muslims in blogs and on Internet discussion sites since then, Mr. Shaikh said he is still convinced he did the right thing.", What exactly is a 'martyrdom video'?, August 22, 2006

NY Times/IHT, Jihadists defy U.K. speech law, 21 Aug 06 "Massari's Web site and his public remarks appear to violate the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, which makes it a crime to glorify or encourage political violence. Inciting violence has long been illegal here, but the new rules, drawn up after the London transit bombings of July 7, 2005, are designed to be much tougher." has been running for years, as has/had clearguidance (in its various incarnations) - discussed in the following article:, A grand existence among Muslims on-line, 19 August 2006 This is a particularly interesting article, providing a profile of the site's founder Sarfaraz Jamal., Death row Bali bomber 'planned attack', 23 Aug 06, "Imam Samudra used a laptop with a wireless connection smuggled to his prison cell in Bali to hook up to the internet and chat with co-conspirators, said the national police head of the cyber crime unit, Petrus Golose."

Monday, August 21, 2006

PA/Guardian, Eleven charged over 'bomb plot', 21 Aug 06

"For the first time, head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch Peter Clarke revealed details of the "immense" investigation and warned the terror threat was still "deadly and enduring".

"He disclosed that police had seized bomb-making equipment since the arrests on August 10 including chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, electrical components and documents.

"There was "highly significant" video and audio surveillance of the alleged plotters, he said. Officers had also recovered a number of martyrdom videos, 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 computer media items such as DVDs and memory sticks."
Western Mail, Cleric's address hailed a success, 21 Aug 06 - here is the follow up to last week's posts on Dr Naik (see below); seems he achieved an audience of one thousand, despite the cricket...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

DNA India, The new face of jehadis, 19 August 2006"The young engineer was dispatched to Afghanistan in 1998 to train in guerrilla warfare. Upon returning home, Naeem set up Al-Qaeda’s communication base in Lahore, from where he relayed coded messages on the internet from Al-Qaeda leadership hiding in the tribal areas, to operatives abroad." This is a profile of alleged al-Qaeda jihadi/computer 'expert' Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested recently.

CSM/USA Today, The Jill Carroll Story — Part 5 : Mujahideen movies, 19 August 2006 the whole series is worth reading: this part contains references to jihadi movies.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rather unusually, this is the second story relating to Islam, the internet and Wales in the past couple of days. It relates to the appearance of Dr Zakir Naik (pictured below), scheduled for an event called 'Educating the Educators', in Cardiff on Saturday: Western Mail, Storm over Islamic preacher's visit, 16 August 2006.

According to the Mail "Dr Zakir Naik's publicly-expressed views include calling for the execution of Muslims who reject their faith and portraying Americans as people who eat and behave like pigs." In a related article, " ... Zakir Naik was headlining the event because he was a controversial figure who could "put bums on seats"." [Western Mail, Controversial figure was invited in order to get 'bums on seats' at event, 16 August 2006].

There are references in this article to Naik's organization and its website, the Islamic Research Foundation, which is based in Mumbai. This contains publications by Dr Naik, transcripts of speeches, and also some of the work of Ahmed Deedat.

In his article, FAQ on Religion, Naik states: "I personally prefer asking the non-Muslim upfront, what he feels is wrong in Islam. I prefer asking directly, what they feel is wrong in Islam with their limited knowledge, whether right or wrong and from whichever source it may be. I encourage them to be very frank and open and convince them that I can take criticism about Islam." I haven't had a chance to explore this site fully - the materials I have seen relate in detail to the Indian sub-continent context, in particular comparing Muslim practices to Sikh and Hindu practices. The site also has some video materials of discussions between Naik and Dr William Campbell (amongst others) - but these require log-in (and several hours free time!).

All very interesting, but unfortunately I cannot attend the event in Cardiff. Details can be found, however, at Educating the Educators Tour 2006: the poster (taken from the Al Khair School website) is here:

In other news:

The Register, Open source guru advocates ideological shift, 17th August 2006 The guru in question being Eric Raymond: "Raymond is concerned the window of opportunity is closing for Linux on the desktop. He calculates the end of the transition to 64-bit computing by the close of 2008. According to his studies, the best opportunity to displace the dominant operating system (in this case Windows on the desktop) takes place with a major architectural shift like this." Clearly this has implications for those contexts seeking to enhance accessibility to the net.

Scotsman, Every airport traveller 'will be fingerprinted', 17 August 2006, "Other measures agreed include a commitment to stamping out radicalism by stricter policing of the internet, replacing extremism with a "European" model of Islam, a 250 million research project into liquid explosives and a meeting of security services across Europe this month." Curious about the methodology for some of these elements on the EU wish list. Also see The Guardian, Europe-wide security net to counter terrorism, 17 August 2006 which states: "John Reid, the home secretary, said yesterday they wanted to make the internet a hostile environment for terrorists and those who seek to radicalise young people. A new legal framework is to be developed by June next year to ensure that illegal material such as manuals or instructions for homemade explosives or bombs are removed from the internet. Websites that incite others to commit terrorist actions will be blocked." I am curious as to what resources will be utilized (or are available) in order to do this. Many sites in these categories are out of the the EU's range of influence, and shift URLs on the daily basis.

Back to Ahmadinejad and his blog. Commentary in The Slate c&p from various sources: The Slate, Mahmoud's MySpace, 16 August 2006

Profile of one of the arrested alleged conspirators in the air bombing plot: The Guardian, My friend: the football fan who dreamed of being a doctor, 15 August 2006 "After 9/11 and 7/7 Waheed was sceptical about whether Muslims could have been responsible. He watched conspiracy videos on the internet. He believed them and thought they made sense. Like most people in the world, he was anti-war. But his solution was: fight the enemies of Islam by showing them the real Islam, a religion of peace."

Counter Terrorism Blog, The LeT/Jamaat-ud-Dawa Presence in the United Kingdom, 16 August 2006 being a profile by Evan Kohlmann of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a.k.a. Lashkar-e-Taiba). He suggests: "While it remains to be seen exactly how Jamaat-ud-Dawa funds played into the latest UK terror plot, there is ample and undeniable evidence that the group has been actively raising funds and recruiting in Western Europe and North America." It refers to the Global Jihad Fund's website (now offline).

Father Jonathan Morris presents his interview with an imam in Walthamstow, in Fox News, My Conversation with Imam Shoeb. It includes video clips (Father Jonathan interview in the barber shop + on the streets of Walthamstow] and associated photos. I know this area of east London well, and the clips make for interesting viewing..

Wednesday, August 16, 2006, Hezbollah holds 'banner of victory, 16 August 2006', ""Both Syria and Iran have achieved a political victory," said Dawood al-Shirian, a Saudi hosts a talk show on Dubai TV. "Lebanon once again has paid a heavy price and Syria and Iran have once again taken credit."" Non-tech, but obviously a subject that has blogs and message boards buzzing. I haven't been able to log all the chatter here, but - as with the airline 'bomb plot' - will be discussing it in a future project., Dawa Exhibition Reaches Out to 80,000 People, 16 August 2006, "While opening the exhibition, Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Sheikh urged Muslims to utilize modern dawa resources, such as computer programs and Internet sites, to propagate the message of Islam." [refers to a dawa conference in Taif]

Guardian, Brother says detainee went to camp run by Islamic sect, 16 August 2006 "Mr Sarwar spoke as anti-terrorist officers prepared today to ask a judge for more time to question the 23 suspects after working intensively to gather exhibits from the suspects' homes, internet cafes and woodland."

The New Nation, From Foreign Press: Once again, Britain looks at reasons why, 15 Aug 2006 "The power of the Internet to inflame emotions is a major factor in recruiting suicide bombers, who now no longer need Al Qaeda or fiery imams to motivate them. The danger is that young Europeans are beginning to see Islam as the defender of the downtrodden, and Osama bin Laden as the new Che Guevara."

icWales, Welsh muslims say aircraft bomb plot 'a fake', 13 August 2006 "... there are theories that anti-West propaganda videos for sale in the UK, on the street and over the internet, fill the gap left by 'out-of-touch' mosques. Indeed, on-line Muslim messageboards in Wales show youngsters accusing mosques of being "depressing and backward".

"The videos are said to capitalise on the British and American Governments, who play down the effect of military force on foreign soil, and breed a sense of injustice and frustration among the young."

Der Spiegel, Terror Returns to London, 14 August 2006

PakTribune, Afghanistan, a crackdown on imported pleasures, 9 August 2006 "Today, Afghan officials are eager to please their foreign benefactors and guests, yet also face pressure from local religious leaders to stem the accompanying flow of imported pleasures -- from French wines to Internet pornography -- that can now easily reach young Afghans. "Some of the foreign aid groups help us, but others have another agenda to influence us in the wrong direction. They are unwanted guests," said Enayatullah Balegh, a Muslim cleric who teaches Islamic law at Kabul University ...

" ... Indian movies featuring sensual dancing women are usually sold out, and online pornography sites are constantly perused at local Internet cafes."

Toronto Star (+AP), Suspects led 'fish and chip' lives, 12 August 2006 " ... for the better part of a year, police here have been shadowing the suspects as they went about their seemingly normal "fish and chip" lives, tracking their cellphone conversations, email and Internet access, bank accounts and even using GPS tracking devices on at least 12 cars belonging to suspects.", Britain Looks for Links to Transit Blasts, 15 August 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

asharq alawsat, Dr. Najih Ibrahim of the Egyptian Islamic Group Talks to Asharq Al-Awsat, 14 August 2006 "Dr. Najih Ibrahim, the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah (Egyptian Islamic Group, EIG) chief theorist has stressed that there is a wide disagreement between the Al-Qaeda Organization and the EIG in both the ideology and the methods."

AP, asharq alawsat, Iranian Censors Clamp Down on Bloggers except for this one, perhaps: ctv, Iran's president tells of humble origins in weblog The blog can be found at Alas, ctv's article shows Ahmadinejad writing rather than typing. I have yet to blogroll this page.

Daily Record, The Liquidators: Bombers plot to mix deadly cocktail on board jet, 11 August 2006 discusses the ease of finding bomb-making information on the internet., Notebooks, iPods banned on UK flights, 11 August 2006

Profile of the War of Freedom game, which has a Kashmiri emphasis, A virtual War of Freedom in Kashmir, 5 August 2006 "While Afaaq Ahmad Shah the first Kashmiri Fidayeen embraced death, warriors of War of Freedom can emerge victorious without getting hurt.

""It gives me a rush in the adrenalin and everything ends over there. No injuries no risks. " says Mohammad Rafiq, a youth who has spends hours together playing War of Freedom since he bought it in june."

Reuters/Yahoo, Lebanese use blogs to vent frustration at war, 10 August 2006 "Postings on Web logs or online journals range from daily rants at Israeli aggression against Lebanon to reminiscent memories about Beirut's once vibrant night life or to personal poems documenting the horror felt during Israeli air strikes."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

LA Times/, Love In The Time of Holy War: More Than Distance And Prison Separate A Muslim Extremist And His Jewish Girlfriend, 9 August 2006 "Myriam Cherif is a petite woman with flowing dark hair who has struggled with illness as well as her son's ordeal. She did not raise Cherif as a practicing Muslim, and he did not speak Arabic as a child. His interests were typical: sports, MP3s, the Internet. He grew up in a household that cherished French values of democracy, secularism and tolerance, his mother said."

DNAIndia, Move over MySpace, MuslimSpace is here, August 5, 2006, "At 15,000 subscribers, is sub-atomic in size compared with MySpace, but its strict adherence to Islamic values and tradition has made it the de facto social networking website for several devout Muslims since its inception in February this year." I am writing about this in my next book, which is getting closer to completion.

AFP/asharq alawsat, Homes Turned to Dust, but Faith in Hezbollah Untouched, 8 August 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

txt 0=: New Straits Times, Warning on using Net, SMS to spread rumours, 2 August 2006 "Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said such activities could affect peace and harmony in the country.

"The Prime Minister said they could also make the people, including investors, lose faith in the economy and development programmes."

Ah, yes, but don't forget this from the same newspaper: New Straits Times, Text messaging still cash cow, n.d. "According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, revenues from messaging contributed as much as 81 per cent or RM1.84 billion to the total mobile data revenue market in 2005 which stood at RM2.27 billion.

"Its industry manager Janice Chong said messaging revenue in Malaysia is driven by the simplicity of the short message service (SMS)-based applications, which do not require a lot of browsing over the Internet portal or incur very high data traffic charges.", Lebanon Is the New Damascus, 1 Aug 06 op-ed, "Military analysts interviewed by the New York Times credit Hezbollah’s surprising success against one of the most disciplined and well-equipped armies in the world to its practice of 'net war'— "small, agile, units... operating with flattened command structures that are ... computer literate, propaganda and Internet savvy, and capable of firing complicated weapons to great effect."

In Australia, the trial of alleged Melbourne 'terror cell' members continues, with an internet element:, Group 'had explosives information', August 2, 2006, "One of the accused, Abdullah Merhi, was detected by a police listening device directing the group's alleged spiritual leader, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, to a bomb-making chapter of the Vortex Cookbook on the internet, said Security Intelligence Group Senior Constable Paul Madden.

"During the conversation on December 2, 2004, Merhi was heard telling Benbrika to open chapter 53 — Explosive Tutorial One — which he said might help." The trial continues.

Weekly Standard/Yahoo, Bin Laden's "Brothers", 1 Aug 06, "... Bernard Haykel, an associate professor of Islamic Studies at New York University, summarized the academic view in the New York Times. "Al Qaeda's Sunni ideology regards Shiites as heretics and profoundly distrusts Shiite groups like Hezbollah," the author of Revival and Reform in Islam tells us. He goes on to argue that jihadist internet chat rooms frequented by al Qaeda are fretting over Hezbollah's success and wondering how to respond. "For al Qaeda," he writes, "it is a time of panic." The group is "unlikely to take a loss of status," caused by Hezbollah's stealing of the headlines, "lying down.""

The above should be read in conjunction with: AKI, Saudi al-Qaeda not inclined to support Hezbollah, 31 July 2006 "Al-Qaeda representatives in Saudi Arabia are refusing to toe the line with the group's leadership in supporting the Lebanese Shiite group, Hezbollah, judging by the views expressed by an on-line publication purportedly expressing the views of Saudi Sunni jihadists. "Support for Hezbollah, and its eventual victory would cause enormous problems for our relationship with the people," according to the latest issue of "The Voice of Jihad"."