Thursday, November 30, 2006

BBC News, UK pair lose US extradition fight, 30 Nov 2006 "Babar Ahmad, 32, from Tooting, south-west London is accused of running websites inciting murder, urging holy war and raising money for the Taleban.

"Haroon Aswat, from Yorkshire, is accused of plotting to set up a terror camp to train fighters for Afghanistan."

See the Ahmad family's response to this verdict here
Reuters AlertNet, Qaeda says Pope wants to pull Turkey from Islam-Web, 29 Nov 06 "Iraq's al Qaeda wing on Wednesday condemned Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey as part of a crusade against Islam aimed at pulling Turkey away from the Muslim world."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ted Swedenburg discusses Fun-Da-Mental's "DIY Cookbook" Video, linking to a piece by John Hutnyk on his blog Trinketization entitled Pantomime Terrors - DIY Cookbook, 22 Nov 06. There is also a link to YouTube's copy of the video. I previously discussed this issue on this blog (see below for related links).

SITE Institute, First Issue of the Technical Mujahid, a New Periodic Magazine Related to Technology and Internet Security Published by al-Fajr Information Center, 28 Nov 06 "This edition, 64-pages in length, contains articles that primarily deal with computer and Internet security, in addition to other pieces explaining Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and video types, editing, and encoding into different formats." Seems like a collection of generic information. I've taken a look at the edition, and will be referring to it in my next book.
NY Times, British Terror Trial Traces a Path to Militant Islam, 25 Nov 06 "But prosecutors charge that Mr. Amin, who knew some of the other Crevice defendants from Britain, became a link between them and militants in Pakistan. They said he and others attended a two-day course in Pakistan to learn to make fertilizer-based explosives. In videotaped confessions to the British police after his arrest in 2005, he admitted being “mixed up with terrorists” and said he provided a formula for explosives to one of his co-defendants through an Internet chat room."

Jawa Report, Terrorists Launch Google Guide, 27 Nov 06, "An organization calling itself 'The Jihad Media Battalion' (alt, brigade), which is linked to al Qaeda in Iraq, has produced a 26 page guide for using the Google search engine to further the goals of the global jihad. The group was formed to promote the dissemination of al Qaeda and other Salafist jihadi propaganda."

VOA, Muslim Rap Group Uses Islam to Send Positive Messages, 24 Nov 06, "Critics of American rap music say it glamorizes "thug" life, and contains too many violent themes and profanity. But one Muslim rap trio, known as Native Deen, is aiming to do the exact opposite with its music. The American rappers incorporate the teachings of Islam to send positive messages to their fans." [includes a filmed report], Bridging the religious divide, 26 Nov 06, "Today, Sarah isn't the only Muslim in the family -- the day after she turned 18, while her dad was in Iraq, she married Mohammed Hannan, a Bangladeshi she'd met online.

"The entire family now lives in Lincoln, Calif., in a house full of military and Muslim worship gear and a constant barrage of one-liners. "Nobody get out unscathed," Rick says." Lively piece, with echoes of the film 'Meet the Parents'., The pen is funnier than the sword, says Algerian-American cartoonist, 24 Nov 06, Muslim cartoonist interviewed: "If it weren't for the Internet, I would be pessimistic. As news companies continue merging, there is less of a variety of opinions. The internet has been an important tool in democracy.", The Legacy of Londonistan opinion piece from Australian/Israel Review., Digital cops and robbers?, 26 Nov 06"To show the evolution, the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was initially established in the 1940s to collect and translate foreign open-source intelligence information (mostly newspapers and magazines). Now, the FBIS service regularly includes translations from many terrorist or terrorist-linked Web sites and chatrooms. The data provide an unprecedented inside look at how terrorist groups work. They also offer a series of dots which, if connected, could provide a trail to transnational terrorist operations or actors."

PrisonPlanet, Private Spies Stalk The Internet, Trying to entrap non-existent "Al-Qaeda cells" into incriminating themselves, 23 Nov 06 more on Vigil "An organization of highly trained, committed and ruthless individuals with links to global intelligence agencies are using the Internet to try to foment terrorism in order to advance their unified political agenda. No it's not Al-Qaeda, it's Vigil, the elite private spies who are stalking the web and telling the government about any e-speech they deem suspicious."

The Observer, 'We try to filter out the propaganda': The man bringing al-Jazeera to the West tells James Robinson accusations it is al-Qaeda's mouthpiece are wide of the mark, 26 Nov 06 "How can he be sure coded messages are not being passed on to al-Qaeda operatives? 'We have developed an excellent understanding of the speeches of al-Qaeda. We have experts in our newsroom. Out of a 40-minute tape we will only broadcast two minutes. Most of the tapes nowadays are available in full on the internet.'"

SITE Institute, Jihad Media Battalion Video of Enemy Losses in Iraq for October 2006, 17 Nov 06

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Times, The law that lets women be raped changes... a little, 26 Nov 06 Discusses the case of Mukhtaran Mai: "Mukhtaran was given a passport and used the money from her award to set up a school. She now produces a weekly blog on the problems of women in her village. As she cannot read or write, she tells her stories to a local journalist and they are printed on the website of the BBC Urdu Service."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Polskie Radio, Arabia dot pl, n.d. "Meet Marek Kubicki, the man behind – an internet site raising awareness about Arabic and Islamic issues." Hear the broadcast here [MP3] Also see Some time back they reviewed Virtually Islamic and Islam in the Digital Age

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

asharq alawsat, Lebanese Fearful after Leader's Murder, 22 Nov 06 Also see Daily Star Lebanon, Assassins claim Pierre Gemayel in broad daylight, 22 Nov 06, The Lebanese Bloggers, and reactions in the Lebanese Blogger Forum

Qur'an-ic ring tones (again): The Register, Muslim clerics slam Koranic ringtones, 22 Nov 06 "Mohammed Asumin Qazmi, an official at the Dar-ul Uloom seminary in the northern Indian town of Deoband, said the verses were "not meant for entertainment", and declared that "anyone who persists in using these should be ostracized from society"."

AFP/Yahoo, Malaysian IT heist likely had international links, say experts, 22 Nov 06, "Malaysia's largest heist has left US semiconductor giant Intel shocked at poor cargo security, and industry players hinting an international syndicate was behind the crime."

alarab online, article on 'creationism' related publications [no title], 22 Nov 06:

"The driving force behind these books is a reclusive Islamic teacher named Adnan Oktar who over the past decade has published a flood of books under the pseudonym Harun Yahya.

""Harun Yahya has managed to create a media-based and popular form of creationism," said Taner Edis, a Turkish-born physicist at Truman State University in Missouri.

"Harun Yahya, which is probably a pool of writers, has turned out over 200 books in Turkish and translated many of them into 51 other languages.

"Oktar, 50, appears on the group's Web site sporting a clipped beard and dapper suits.

"His works can be found in Islamic bookshops around the world and downloaded for free over the Internet.

"Nobody seems to know how all this is funded."

Harun Yahya's main site can be found here, although there are plenty of related URLs.

Here's a headline I didn't pick up first time around: The People, Kill the Queen Kids!, 19 Nov 06: "People investigators listened as a British-born follower of exiled Bakri spouted a shocking online sermon branding Her Majesty "a vile woman and enemy of Islam.""

BBC News, Hamza probe leads to bomb manual, 21 Nov 06 Discusses aspects of a manual: "On page 58, I found the answer to the Abu Hamza question. In a section called "Special mixtures" there are instructions on how to make an acid-based explosive, which again I will not name.

"At the end of the recipe the author writes: "This liquid is very dangerous. It will explode with a detonator. It exploded in the hands of Abu Hamza causing him to lose both of his hands. Nobody tries this one anymore as it is too powerful and dangerous.""

Further discussion on the emergence of al-Jazeera International. Spiegel Online, War of Cultures Hits the Airwaves, 20 Nov 06 I've watched a few hours of al-Jazeera International, including Frost, and various editions of 'Witness'. Very slick, lots of long promos, which are paradoxically a bit of a turn-off. Still, at least it is available on Sky in the UK. The Arabic al-Jazeera channel seems to have disappeared from Sky.

Press Release: AMEInfo, Satellite leader opens new Dubai office in Internet City, 22 Nov 06 "Dubai Internet City has emerged as one of the world's leading commercial hubs with state of the art infrastructure and business environment hosting a range of multi-national giant companies and enterprises."

AP/, Norwegian court upholds expulsion order of Ansar al-Islam founder Mullah Krekar, 22 Nov 06 "A court Wednesday rejected an appeal by the founder of Ansar al-Islam, a suspected Islamic terror group in Iraq, and upheld a government order to expel him from Norway as a threat to national security."

AP/IHT, Hundreds of Pakistani women protest Islamic rape law amendments, 20 Nov 06

Tuesday, November 21, 2006, Fears of dissent as Saudi bourse tumbles, 21 Nov 06, "Newspapers have reported day traders losing up to 80 percent of their holdings and Internet chatrooms have reflected much anger in a country where millions have played the market with official encouragement in the hope of making a quick buck."

YNet, Al-Qaeda ups anti-Iranian rhetoric, 20 Nov 06 "Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah has been branded a "worshipper of idols, an agent of the anti-Christ," and "charlatan" by Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir in a statement made earlier this month, the full text of which has now become available."

The Guardian, Study rejects claim that Muslim areas harbour terrorists, 20 Nov 06 "The study by Manchester University says that "terrorist hotbeds" are a fantasy and concludes that Islamist terrorists are as likely to come from towns and cities with small Muslim populations as from so-called "self-segregating" Muslim areas.", Somalia Islamists join terror networks, 20 Nov 06 "The Mogadishu-based Islamic Court Union and its Islamist militias are getting stronger present in the Internet, using a two-faced strategy. Official statements from court leaders, also available from the Union's website, demonstrate moderate viewpoints. The "unofficial" web campaign, however, is much wider and links the Islamists closely to the world's most radical jihadist groups.", Abizaid: U.S. Must Shape Middle East to Avoid Larger War, 20 Nov 06, Comments from General Abizaid: "Most Middle Easterners don’t want bin Laden to win, but there are also many people in the region who support him, Abizaid said. The terrorists use the internet to recruit, communicate and to spread propaganda, the general said, and they seek ungoverned areas of the world to train for future attacks.", Working on the internet from an anonymous city office, the shadowy figures exposing Islamic extremism, 19 Nov 06 Rather a dramatic headline, I think. "Vigil is non-profit making and does not charge for its services. It operates from a discreet office in London, but the address is kept secret in case it is, in turn, targeted by Muslim extremists." This was commented on in last week's blog (ref: File on Four). For perspectives on VIGIL, see Global Politician, The VIGIL Anti-Terror Network (interview), Voidstar, UK Political Feeds: Journalistic Groundhog Day, 19 Nov 06 and, finally, a statement from IC-HUMINT/The VIGIL Group.

Observer, Muslim leader sent funds to Irving, 19 Nov 06 "Asghar Bukhari, a founder member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), which describes itself as Britain's largest Muslim civil rights group, sent money to Irving and urged Islamic websites to ask visitors to make donations to his fighting fund." MPAC's website is here

Monday, November 20, 2006

BBC News, Adjusting will be hard for death row man, 18 Nov 06 On the return to the UK of Mirza Tahir Hussain, with a brief link to technology: "He is returning to a city where things we take for granted - like internet cafes and take-away cappuccinos - will seem completely alien.", Speech recognition comes of age in the Middle East, 19 Nov 06 "Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN), the world's leading supplier of speech and imaging solutions, today shared plans to tap into the fast - maturing speech recognition market in the Middle East." Press release, with some interesting details on how dialectical issues are going to be approached in the Arabic market(s).

Middle East Times, Egyptian bloggers weary of authorities' iron fist, 19 Nov 06 "Bloggers have become the latest thorn in the side of the Egyptian government, which has recently responded to a growing number of outspoken bloggers by arresting Abdel Karim Suliman Amer on charges that included "spreading information and malicious rumors that disrupt public security and defame the president," as well as "incitement to hate Islam and to breach public peace standards.""

Friday, November 17, 2006

Reuters, Briton jailed for first "web-rage" attack, 17 Nov 06 "Paul Gibbons, 47, from south London, admitted he had attacked John Jones in December 2005 after months of exchanging abuse with him via an Internet chatroom dedicated to discussing Islam."

Middle East Online, Britain’s Multiculturalism Falters, 17 Nov 06. Comprehensive article by Wendy Kristianasen, citing Tarique Ghaffur, assistant commissioner to the Metropolitan Police: ""For among young Muslims there is anger and a feeling of injustice but there are also elements of denial: They have their own myths, and through the internet it leads to a huge industry of conspiracy theories."".

Daily Star, Al-Jazeera at 10: an Arab media island unto itself, 17 Nov 06, Opinion piece by Daoud Kuttab, director of the Institute of Modern Media, Al-Quds University. : "As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, Al-Jazeera is no longer new, but it remains a trendsetter. It has broken new ground in politics and culture, but its impact on social and economic life has been minimal. So, as Al-Jazeera moves into media adolescence, it must begin to think about how it can become a social pioneer in the Arab and Islamic world. God knows, change is still needed on that front."

A few al-Qaeda related stories:

CBS Evening News, An Insider's View Of Al Qaeda, Exclusive: Richard Roth Talks With A Former Terrorist Operative Who Also Spied For The West, 17 Nov 06, "Nasiri says his training was more sophisticated than propaganda videos suggest, including a real laboratory. He was taught how liquid explosives could be used to blow up airplanes — 10 years ago. Everything he learned then is now being taught — on the Internet.

""You don't need to fly 7,000 kilometers to make the training," he says. "You just open your door, open your laptop or your computer." The world is now a virtual training camp, he says, and "you have no way to stop it.""

And, on the same subject:, US: Terrorists telecommuting to work, 17 Nov 06, "Michael Chertoff, head of US Homeland Security, warned that people don't need to travel to a country with "-stan" in its name to become radicalized and commit acts of violence. Instead, they can now turn to the Internet."

And also this:, Jihad's femmes fatales, 17 Nov 06 "Peter Patton, an NYPD intelligence specialist, drew from an "Encyclopedia of Jihad" found at an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, saying that 80% of jihadists' information is drawn from public sources.

"They read newspapers and scour the Internet for maps and shareholder reports, he said. The other 20% of their information comes from taking panoramic photos of potential targets, casually interviewing security staff, examining surveillance equipment and traffic patterns onsite and observing product delivery schedules."

Sun Star Cagayan de Oro (Philippines), al-Qaeda intensifies recruitment online, 13 Nov 06 "A student group voiced apprehensions on reports and observations that the al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist cells are increasing their use of the Internet, thus further "touching base and bridging the gap" with more terrorist organizations from other foreign soils."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Some interesting and controversial comments from Aki Nawaz about 'moderate' Islam can be found in the latest edition of Q-News. He has a new album out too, co-incidentally, entitled All is War: The Benefits of G-Had. I haven't heard this one yet, although I am familiar with much of his other work. Details from Fun-Da-Mental's website. Read about the background to the group, and the controversy surrounding this CD, on Wiki. Preview/download tracks via 7-digital

Radical Middle Way are publicising a lecture by Amr Khaled in London. It is promoted by Young Muslim Organisation UK, Q-News, Mahabba Unlimited and FOSIS. The event takes place on 18th November. Hopefully there will be a podcast of highlights, or a transcript.
BBC Radio 4, File on Four: Countering radical Islam contains a discussion on the webcast activities of Omar Bakri Mohammed. This is not the headline grabbing event that the report would like to suggest, as it has been an ongoing activity for some months (and has been reported elsewhere in the media and on this blog). Leaving that aside, this is an interesting broadcast. Alas, the download doesn't work, although you can Listen Again and also subscribe by podcast.

UPI/Middle East Times, Jihadis slam first Muslim US congressman, Nov 15, "Contributors to Jihadi Internet forums have been attacking the first ever Muslim elected to the US Congress, according to media reports."

NYT/IHT, Jihad ideology is spreading online, 14 Nov 06, "In a study billed as the "first systematic mapping" of jihadist ideology, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has found that bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, have had only a minor influence on the movement's intellectual foundation. Among the network's ideologists, they are seen more as propagandists than strategic thinkers."

This discusses The Militant Ideology Atlas (cover left) which can be found on the Combating Terrorism Center's website, available for download. The Compendium document runs to 360 pages, so - needless to say - I have yet to read this. The Executive Summary is a necessary adjunct, which contains plenty of useful information, including an Ideological Influence Map (presented in a graphic format). Many resources have been directed into this project, so it will be interesting to observe any outcomes.

PRISM Islam in Africa Newsletter no. 6/1 (November 2006)

Welcome to al-Jazeera International. Its broadcasts can be found online, although there seems to be a subscription. There is also the free trial, which didn't work when I tried it via Real.

TCS Daily, Is Apple Computer Insulting Islam?, 14 Nov 06 commentary from Prof. Kemal Silay of Indiana University

International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)/All, Egypt: Blogger Dismissed From University, Detained And Interrogated, Faces Possible Imprisonment for Expressing Secular Views, 13 Nov 06 "On 8 November 2006, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Alexandria extended the detention of Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim Suliman Amer, also known as Kareem Amer, for an additional 15 days."

Daily Trust (Ajuba)/, Egypt: Egyptian Court Acquits Cleric Again, 13 Nov 06, "The Muslim Brotherhood said on its Web site that the presidency, acting as the office of the military ruler, had rejected the acquittal and asked for a retrial."

Yusuf Islam's new album An Other Cup is out now. Details on his official site. Yusuf has a page on MySpace. I haven't heard the complete album yet.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

AKI, Islamist Hackers to target airline site, 13 Nov 06 "Islamic hackers are targeting the internet website of Morocco's aircarrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM), after it reportedly prohibited workers from praying within the company's premises during working hours and banned the veil for its female employees."

Times of India/AsiaMedia, Al Qaida threatens to blow up White House, 12 Nov 06

The Register, Iran throws wobbly at Google Video, 13 Nov 06

Sunday Times, Islamic hip-hop artists are accused of indoctrinating young against the West, Nov 11 2006 "Madeleine Gruen, an American intelligence analyst, highlighted the lyrics of a British group called Blakstone as a possible gateway to extremist politics.

"Ms Gruen has studied how music, internet forums, boardgames and fashion have been used to radicalise youths."

Gruen's publications include: The Khalifate is Way Cool, (Hudson Institute, 2006) [PDF] Gruen is an intelligence analyst with the New York Police Dept.

Islamic Awareness/Kavkaz Center, Islam’s Invisible Frontier: The Muslims of Chinese-Occupied East Turkestan, 12 Nov 06 includes internet ref

YNet, Egypt gets tangled in the net, 11 Nov 06

CWNews, Islamic hackers again fail to disrupt Vatican web site, 10 Nov 06

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just seen a useful report on the Taliban's use of computers, which featured on Sky News. It showed a clip of Taliban operatives downloading material from a captured laptop, taken from a US Navy SEAL. Will update shortly.

Ilford Recorder, Impressions of a cooler Islam, 2 Nov 06 "Islamic Impressions, Ilford Lane, Ilford, opened last month after trading for more than 18 months on the internet in the UK."

Press Gazette, Ex-Reuters editor studies effect of jihadi propaganda, 2 Nov 06 more on Paul Eedle's programme.

Metro, Paras make 'Eminem' battle film, 2 Nov 06

Wednesday, November 01, 2006, Iran to establish Internet network, Oct 31, 2006 " Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Soleimani said that the ministry will establish scientific internet network to link the provinces and cities nationwide. Speaking at the Internet and Women Seminar in the Third Millennium, Soleimani promised that the ministry will formulate a pilot plan for the network in two weeks."

Wall Street Journal/, Egypt televisions's veil uproar, 31 Oct 06, "The debate has played out in newspapers and magazines and on TV talk shows and the Internet, at times pitting one artist against another in heated exchanges. The topic of the veiled actresses has become a staple of celebrity interviews, with one side defending the actresses' personal freedom and the other objecting to their visibility."

Brand Republic, Al Jazeera finalises date for English-language launch, 1 Nov 06 links to launch reel

Scotsman (via Kavkaz), Hunt for 'super-snipers' who uses US tactics, 29 Oct 06 "Snipers attacking US troops in Baghdad are using an American shooting textbook to assist in their operations, an insurgent group has claimed.

"The assertion has prompted the US military to try to alter its tactics. The change reflects concern over an insurgent video-CD that appears to show a series of shooting attacks on US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad by a purported sniper brigade from the Sunni militant Islamic Army."