Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MSN, Eight arrested in ‘major’ U.K. anti-terror raids, 31 Jan 07, "Sky TV, which said it knew the target’s identity, a man in his 20s, quoted sources as saying the intent was to mimic the abductions and beheadings of Westerners carried out by militants in Iraq and post a video of the killing on the Internet.", Analysis: Encryption tool aids terrorist cause, 31 Jan 07 "The software package, dubbed "Mujahedin Secrets" by its authors, is an executable file that can be installed on removable media, like a thumb drive, and used on computers in libraries other public places to encrypt e-mail or other files being sent over the Internet, according to iDefense, an Internet security consultancy which is analyzing the program." Also see the earlier piece on this from Mitch Radcliffe, Is Islamist cryptography evil?, 3 Jan 07, Studies reveal Tunisian youth’s aversion to politics and marriage "Surprisingly, only 13.7% said they have good knowledge of the Internet."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A couple of external links to reports, provided for information purposes only. Their content links to themes associated with this blog:

Policy Exchange, Living Apart Together "Policy Exchange has released Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism, a major new survey of the attitudes of Muslims in Britain and the reasons behind the rapid rise in Islamic fundamentalism amongst the younger generation." Available as a PDF.

Conservative Party, Uniting the Country: Interim Report on National Cohesion This was launched on 30 Jan. and is available as a PDF
AKI, Turkey: Dozens Of Al-Qaeda Suspects Rounded Up, 29 Jan 07 "Last week authorities announced the arrest of a lawyer - identified only with the initials M.T. - who they alleged is al-Qaeda's chief operator in Turkey. The man has been charged with heading a banned organisation, distributing propaganda for the organisataion via the Internet, producing and owning explosives and bombs. If convicted he faces up to 38 years in prison."

Reuters/CNN, Algerian militants now 'al Qaeda,' with bin Laden's OK, 26 Jan 07, PostGlobal, Sexual Repression in Syria brief net ref. in this interesting piece by Sami Moubayed.

JumpTV, JumpTV to Broadcast Live Egyptian Football Over the Internet (Press Release), Juan Cole, The danger of Bush's anti-Iran fatwa, 30 Jan 07

Monday, January 29, 2007

AP/,Egyptians warned against using Net to jeopardise national security, 28 Jan 07, "Egypt's interior minister on Friday accused those reporting cases of alleged police torture of being part of an 'unpatriotic campaign' to tarnish the country's police forces."

The Guardian, More young Muslims back sharia, says poll, 29 Jan 07, "In the survey of 1,003 Muslims by the polling company Populus through internet and telephone questionnaires, nearly 60% said they would prefer to live under British law, while 37% of 16 to 24-year-olds said they would prefer sharia law, against 17% of those over 55. Eighty-six per cent said their religion was the most important thing in their lives." Reaction in the Yorkshire Post: "Lord Ahmed of Rotherham admitted his fears as a survey reveals over one-third of young Muslims take a more hard-line approach than their parents and want to live under Sharia law in Britain." Also see ThisIsLondon, Cameron: Radical Islam is mirror image of neo-Nazis, 29 Jan 07

Sunday Times, Blair to launch spin battalion against Al-Qaeda propaganda, 28 Jan 07

The Times/Fox, Muslim Sexologist Spices Up Arab Television, 28 Jan 07

Friday, January 26, 2007

BBC, Bali bombings recreated on screen, 24 Jan 07 "For director Enison Sinaro, fleshing out the now-notorious figures was a key part of what the film wanted to do.

""These characters are important to the movie," he said, "and to the whole process. So we really wanted to get inside their heads and show their human side.

""That's why we showed the bombers not being able to drive, or playing with pornographic material on the internet."""

Daily Star Bangladesh, Another illegal VoIP firm busted, 2007"The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment worth around Tk 25 crore busting an unscrupulous phone service business at Azimpur in the capital yesterday.", Everybody has a different killer for Hrant Dink, 24 Jan 07 opinion piece

RTE, Internet superhighway on the Davos agenda, 26 Jan 07, "Brown pointed to estimates that there were more than 6,000 Al Qaeda-related websites 'peddling violence' on the Internet, and criticised governments for not taking on those sort of challenges." Gordon Brown speaks.

PRNewsWire, Osama's Recruiting Video Surfaces on the Internet at

"New Video Parody of Osama Bin Laden Training His Suicidal Army Launched Today After President Bush's State of the Union Address to Highlight That Bin Laden and Hundreds of Suitcase Nukes Still Remain at Large"

Gulf Times, Group posts Algeria attack video, 22 Jan 07

Daily Times Pakistan, Negroponte and Pakistan —Dr Haider K Nizamani, 20 Jan 07, "Globalisation is a pliable term. Opposition to its some aspects and embracing of others is not the sole purview of ‘Islamic extremists.’ If information revolution is part of globalisation then ‘Islamic extremists’ have embraced cellular phone, internet blogs and emails"

7Days, Capitalism in cyberspace, 26 Jan 07 discusses, Dubai eGovernment to offer customized eLearning, 24 Jan 07

Reuters, Somali-born Dutch Islam critic makes film on gays, 26 Jan 07 "While her first film focused on the abuse of Muslim women, the sequel would feature Muslim men, one of whom is gay, Hirsi Ali said. She refused to say when or where the film would be released, adding it was a bigger project than the first work."

Guardian, From Aladdin to Lost Ark, Muslims get angry at 'bad guy' film images, 25 Jan 07 "There was widespread agreement among more than 1,100 Muslims questioned by researchers that media reports involving Muslims in Britain are "selective, biased, stereotypical and inaccurate", with Muslims generally considered as "others" and outsiders."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New(-ish) and noted: Religious Studies Review, October 2006 - Vol. 32 Issue 4 Page 215-290 contains a couple of pages relating to Islam and web resources. I haven't seen this issue yet. You can download the introduction on the site for free.

AP/, Egyptian Blogger, Accused of Sectarian Strife and Insulting Islam, Stands Trial, 20 Jan 07

Reuters, Al Qaeda leader taunts Bush over Iraq troops plan, 20 Jan 07 al-Zawahiri's latest statement: ""Why send 20,000 only? Why not send 50 or 100,000? Aren't you aware that the dogs of Iraq are pining for your troops' dead bodies?" he said." Just in case you missed it elsewhere, SITE has the video/transcript, which was picked up with their logo on and re-broadcast on al-Jazeera today.

The Australian, Police seize Muslim 'kill enemies' videos, 20 Jan 07, "Firebrand cleric Sheik Feiz Mohamed's defence of his comments on a DVD calling children to jihad has been undermined by revelations, the video also urges Muslims to kill the enemies of Islam and praises martyrs with a violent interpretation of jihad."

AP/, Muslim convert to Judaism faces terror charge, 20 Jan 07 "According to the charge sheet, Ben-David surreptitiously had contact with his brother over a period of months, replacing the SIM card in his cellphone several times to avoid being tracked, and tried to help him obtain a large amount of nitric acid, used to prepare bombs."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ha'aretz, King of the Iranian bloggers, 18 January 2007 being a profile of Hossein Derakhshan: "Based on all we think we know about Iran, Canada-based Derakhshan ought to be totally out of the ordinary, an endangered species. He's a journalist who never misses an opportunity to say that his president is stupid, a well-known blogger who preaches to a cyberspace that is free of censorship and oversight. But these two qualities, explains Derakhshan, are not unusual in Iran. The Iranian press slaughters Ahmadinejad on a daily basis, and blogs are a big hit. Some 700,000 bloggers are active in Iran today, he estimates, from radicals who curse spiritual leader Ali Khamenei to madrasa students in the holy city of Qum. Even Ahmadinejad himself started his own blog a little while ago."
Ha'aretz, King of the Iranian bloggers, 18 January 2007 being a profile of Hossein Derakhshan: "Based on all we think we know about Iran, Canada-based Derakhshan ought to be totally out of the ordinary, an endangered species. He's a journalist who never misses an opportunity to say that his president is stupid, a well-known blogger who preaches to a cyberspace that is free of censorship and oversight. But these two qualities, explains Derakhshan, are not unusual in Iran. The Iranian press slaughters Ahmadinejad on a daily basis, and blogs are a big hit. Some 700,000 bloggers are active in Iran today, he estimates, from radicals who curse spiritual leader Ali Khamenei to madrasa students in the holy city of Qum. Even Ahmadinejad himself started his own blog a little while ago."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Arab News, How Safe Is Saudi Arabia From Cyber Crime?, 18 Jan 2007
Zone-H, Can you keep "Mujahideen Secrets"?, 15 Jan 07 refers to SITE and MEMRI reports re. GIMF, Police probe sheik's DVDs, 18 Jan 07 "Sheik Feiz Mohammed's comments in the DVDs called Death Series have brought widespread condemnation from politicians and community groups."

MEMRI, Information for Mujahideen Seeking to Join the Jihad in Somalia, 17 Jan 07

Birmingham Mail, Muslim preacher defends TV comments, 18 Jan 07 "The hardline preacher at the centre of an explosive TV documentary into extremist lectures delivered at a Birmingham Mosque today insisted: "I have nothing to hide." ...

" ... The cleric said he welcomed the police investigation and would provide them with all the DVDs of his lectures.

"I totally embrace and encourage a police investigation because I do not believe that the security forces will have any hidden agenda in which they will allow themselves to be swayed by Channel Four's sensationalist journalism.""

Ireland Online, Egyptian blogger on trial for insulting Islam, 18 Jan 07 "Abdel Kareem Nabil, who has been in detention since his arrest in early November, could face up to seven years in prison if convicted on the charges, court officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of court rules.", Cell phone cams expose torture, 16 Jan 07

CSO, Internet Surveillance Program Approved by U.S. Court, 18 Jan 07 "A judge with the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) on Jan. 10 authorized the U.S. government to wiretap phone or Internet communications involving suspected members of al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, the DoJ said. The FISA-approved surveillance would replace the Terrorist Surveillance Program at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), authorized by U.S. President George Bush in 2002 to create wiretaps without court-issued warrants."

MEMRI, Islamist Websites Monitor Project No. 44-47: New Book Describes the Virgins of Paradise, 12 Jan 07, "On January 11, 2007, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) posted on Islamist websites a 20-page book titled "The Desire of the Souls for the Women of Paradise.""

Saturday, January 13, 2007

BBC News, 'Torture' victim jailed in Egypt, 10 Jan 07 "The case was taken up by Egyptian bloggers and members of the international human rights community." For example, see 3arabawy, El-Adly Video-Gate: Updates from Nasser Amin and associated thread.

Post Chronicle, TV Investigation Finds Hate DVDs At Mosque, 13 Jan 07
, "Channel 4 will report that the London Central Mosque sells DVDs showing speeches by two extremist clerics, Sheikh Feiz and Sheikh Khalid Yasin."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Middle East Times, Assault blog allows Egypt's feminists to let rip, 11 Jan 07 "Leading the charge is a young Egyptian female - preferring to remain anonymous due to the nature of the campaign - who has started an Arab-language feminist blog called Atralnada (morning dew). In a country where Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise, and the status of women a subject of much debate, this young activist has made her struggle public, and her blog is empowering Egyptian women to speak out in turn." Atralnada can also be found in this site's Islamic Blogosphere (left-hand column).

AP/, Algerian terrorists in Web threat, 11 Jan 07 "The leader of Algeria's main Islamic insurgency movement threatened to target US and French backers of the Algerian government in a video posted on an Islamic Web site."

UPI/Middle East Times, Imminent release of new jihadi software, 10 Jan 07, "The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) has announced the imminent release of new computer software, Mujahideen Secret, to further jihadist outreach to the world." Also mentioned elsewhere. Expect the Beta version soon of this "Islamic' encryption tool.

Lawrence Pintak, Daily Star Lebanon, Al-Zawraa and Egypt's on-air ambiguity, 8 Jan 07 "Al-Zawraa, a television version of the now-infamous jihadist Web sites, is being broadcast across the Arab world by Nilesat, a satellite provider answerable to the Egyptian government. The Iraqi station features non-stop scenes of US troops being picked off by snipers, blown up by roadside bombs and targeted by missiles."

On the killer of a Catholic priest in Trabzon, Turkey: National Catholic Reigste, The Martyr of Trabzon, 11 Jan 07 "We do know, however, that he spent a lot of time surfing the Internet and that he had a fascination with the Gray Wolves, the group that spawned Mehmet Ali Agca, the would-be assassin of Pope John Paul II. In other words, this young man who had become detached from his own relatively well-off family and religious institutions in a remote region of Turkey gravitated towards radical Islamic websites for no real reason other than his immaturity and emotional problems." has links to the short mobile phone clip showing the body of Saddam Hussein.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Globe and Mail, Gaza's cyber cafés and music stores now sit on front line, 9 Jan 07 "Mr. Otlah figures it's far too risky to reopen his Internet café. Most of his customers were students who dropped by after class. The morning after the bombing, a letter signed by 'Swords' landed on his front doorstep claiming responsibility for the attack and warning of another strike if he went back into business.

""They said they bombed my shop in the name of Islam. They said it was a message from God," said Mr. Otlah, 37, holding the letter in his trembling hand.

"All of his computers were equipped with filters preventing anybody from surfing online porn, he said. "I am a devout Muslim. I go to mosque. Now I have no way to feed my family," he said."

Monday Morning (Lebanon), The execution of Saddam Hussein Victor’s justice?, n.d.

A couple of interesting articles written by Andrew Bossone at BT Egypt:

Business Today (Egypt), Year of the Technophiles: If ever you had a doubt, Egyptian consumers have proven it once and for all: They are, like almost everyone else across the globe, tech junkies, Jan 07 ""If you look at the structure of the internet, Egypt is at center of one of the most important highways,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at a recent gathering in Cairo. “By the way, so everybody knows, it’s the Suez Canal. You thought the Suez Canal was important for boats? It’s important for fiber [cables] because the fiber goes right through it. And so the fact that [Egypt] is so central to the structure of the internet, it’s very helpful in terms of having broadband and bandwidth for the kind of technology we’re doing here.""

Business Today (Egypt), Virtual House Calls, A new pilot telemedicine program in a remote village is just the beginning of a bid by global tech giants to transform societies worldwide, Intel’s CEO tells Business Today Egypt in an exclusive interview, 9 Jan 07 "It is the e-gov kiosk that really highlights the project’s benefits. Here, the length of time it takes to get any of 400 basic government services has been significantly reduced. One employee at the kiosk, Mahmoud Nedda, estimates he will be able to serve about 300 citizens a day with the new system, compared to 100 with the old." This sounds like a good model for other contexts., UAE companies increase Information Security spend, 8 Jan 07 "As organisations in the UAE grow regionally and globally, it is important that they start considering aligning their security and continuity programs with internationally recognized security and business continuity standards."

AP, Iran's Ayatollah Appears in Good Health, 8 Jan 07, "Video broadcast last month of Khamenei, 67, who has the final word on all matters in Iran, suggested he had lost weight and raised concerns about his health. The pictures provoked speculation on foreign Web sites, but there was nothing solid in Tehran to back up the Internet rumors."

Save Nazanin, "This website was created to spread information about the 19-year old Iranian girl Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, who was sentenced to death by hanging for killing a man who ambushed and tried to rape her. At the end of May, the Iranian head of Judiciary overturned her death sentence, and sent the case back to a lower court. Nazanin's new trial has started, but the next day in court won't be before January 10, 2007." (sourced via Western Resistance, 8 Jan 07 which contains more on this case.

National Post (Canada), Allah be praised!: Little Mosque on the Prairie shows promise by sticking to sitcom fundamentals, 9 Jan 07 See the show's website for clips.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Observer, Revealed: preachers' messages of hate, 6 Jan 07 refers to Channel 4's 'Undercover Mosques', part of the Dispatches' series, which goes out at 8pm (GMT) on Monday, 15 January. Nothing on their website yet, but there is a programme about the Taliban going out tonight.

Friday, January 05, 2007

AKI, al-Qaeda No. 2 Urges Jihad in Somalia, 5 Jan 07, "An alleged audio tape released by al-Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri on the Internet on Friday calls on Muslims from around the world to participate in a jihad or holy war in Somalia. In the tape al-Zawahiri urges Somalia's Islamists to remain steadfast in their fight against "invaders" and "crusaders". Earlier this week, Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) rebels were defeated by pro-government and Ethiopian troops and pushed away from the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Reports say that al-Zawahiri's tape was posted on a website used by Islamist militants and al-Qaeda linked groups."

Saddam Hussein Execution

The Saddam Hussein execution and its aftermath have specific implications for discussions on the application of the net in general, especially the emergence of cell phone footage (widely available through YouTube (subtitled in English) and Google Video should you feel compelled to view it). Sanitized 'official' versions are also available. I first saw (with the sound turned down) extracts of the 'official' version in a public space (a London gym), repeated constantly on Sky News (in full view of children); not much choice or discretion available there. No great surprise, really, that a mobile phone or two would be smuggled in. The clip originally surfaced on As one would expect from a mobile phone, the 'quality' is poor. A YouTube search also comes up with other clips, not all directly related (South Park meets Saddam). There was an adjacent advert for something to do with Paris Hilton, and Akon ringtones, on the search page. Leaving that aside, numerous issues arise over the execution footage. I plan to write about aspects of this shortly, but in the meantime, here are some key issues, which are covered in the articles below in relation to the themes of this blog., Guards Identified in Saddam Hussein Execution Video, 5 Jan 07

Telegraph, Execution 'turned Saddam into martyr', 5 Jan 07

Reuters, Saddam hanging could have been "more dignified", 5 Jan 07 "President Bush said Saddam Hussein could have been hanged in a "more dignified way" and one his closest Arab allies said on Friday a video of Shi'ite officials taunting him on the gallows was "barbaric.""

SITE Institute, Statement from the Egyptian Islamic Group Regarding the Execution of Saddam Hussein and Alleging Double Standards, 4 Jan 07 "A statement from the Egyptian Islamic Group [al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya] issued to the group’s official website following the execution of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on December 30, 2006, castigates the United States in particular and the West in general for claiming this punishment as the result of Saddam’s crimes against humanity."

MediaCorp/TodayOnline, A stain on many shirts, 3 Jan 07 Opinion piece by Ghada Karmi of Exeter University: "The spectacle of Saddam Hussein's execution, shown in pornographic detail to the whole world, was deeply shocking to those of us who respect propriety and human dignity."

Roy Greenslade/Guardian Unlimited, Saddam's execution: the media debate, 2 Jan 07

AP/, Iraq PM orders probe of Saddam execution, 2 Jan 07 "The unofficial video, on which at least one person is heard shouting "To hell!" at the deposed president and Saddam is heard exchanging insults with his executioners, dealt a blow to Iraq's efforts to prove it was a neutral enforcer of the law. Instead, the emotional, politicized spectacle raised tensions between the Shiite majority and Sunni Arabs who ran the country until their benefactor, Saddam, was ousted in the U.S.-led invasion of 2003."

ABC/AM, Saddam death video raises impartiality questions, 1 Jan 07

The Guardian, The power of the mobile phone with its shaky, hand-held video footage, 9 Jan 07 "Like so much footage shot on the ubiquitous mobile phone, from acts of police brutality to misbehaving politicians, the raw information had circumvented the traditional instruments of control.

"First on and subsequently shown on Arabic television channels, the video soon spread to file-sharing websites such as Google Video, YouTube and Revver."

Washington Post, Saddam bids farewell on the Internet, 28 Dec 06 "A farewell letter posted on the Internet Wednesday in the name of Saddam Hussein declared the former president to be victimized by foreign armies but ready to die and "be with the merciful God." The letter urged Iraqis not to hate the foreign peoples whose armies invaded the country, just their leaders."

There are many obituaries. David Hirst's is one of the best: Guardian Unlimited, Saddam Hussein, 30 Dec 06