Friday, November 30, 2007

BBC News, Bloggers condemn Sudan for arrest, 29 Nov 07 summary of opinions. Also see The Arabist, The teddy bear scandal, British Muslims join protests at Sudan 'teddy' conviction, 30 Nov 07 for example, see Muslim Council of Britain, Gross Overreaction from Sudanese Authorities, 29 Nov 07
International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)/, Egypt: Egyptian Bloggers Plan Festival of Torture Videos, 27 Nov 07"Egyptian bloggers, often at the forefront of exposing human rights abuses, are planning an online festival of torture videos to run alongside the 31st Cairo Film Festival, from 27 November to 7 December.", Bin Laden Calls on Afghanistan War Pullout in Message (Update2), 29 Nov 07
Gulf Daily News, UAE sacks 'pro-reform' teachers, 30 Nov 07 "More than 80 Islamist-leaning teachers in UAE have been "unfairly" moved from the education ministry to other departments because they support reform, one of them said yesterday.

A former school director Ahmad Al Nuaimi said the 83 were told in August not to report to work in the new academic year and were transferred to other ministries, such as health and labour, "which are outside the scope of their specialisation." ...


" ... Any claim they could have a negative influence on youth would reveal "a mindset of the Middle Ages. Nowadays, teaching has a limited influence compared to the Internet, for instance," he added."
UPI, Report: 'Islamofascism' blinds U.S., 28 Nov 07
Deutsche Presse-Agentur/, Terrorism accused explains Islamist internet code, 29 Nov 07 "Moroccan-born Redouane al-H said that when a member of an Islamist internet community was arrested, the others told one another he was 'sick.'

"The codeword for explosives was 'dough.' He added that a 'taxi driver' meant a suicide bomber and to 'marry' meant dying as a martyr."
LA Times, Islamists emerge in stifled Tunisia, 30 Nov 07 "The Nasri brothers and thousands of young Tunisians like them epitomize the intersection of ideological currents and technological wizardry fueling Islamic extremism across North Africa. Raised under the repression that has long defined their nation, and outraged by the Iraq war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the brothers turned to satellite television and the Internet, where they found provocative mullahs and subversive websites beyond the reach of government censors."
AFP, Iran cracks down on 'obscene' rap music, 29 Nov 07 hip-hop dropped: ""There is nothing wrong with this type of music in itself," the official for evaluation of music at the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, Mohammad Dashtgoli, was quoted as saying.

""But due to the use of obscene words by its singers this music has been categorised as illegal," he said."
Washington Post/CBS News, Obama Dogged By Muslim Rumors, 29 Nov 07 "Despite his denials, rumors and e-mails circulating on the Internet continue to allege that Obama (D-Ill.) is a Muslim, a "Muslim plant" in a conspiracy against America, and that if elected president he would take the oath of office using a Koran, rather than a Bible, as did Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the only Muslim in Congress, when he was sworn in earlier this year." Conspiracy theories.
Belfast Telegraph, Bin Laden urges Europeans to oppose Afghan war, 30 Nov 07
International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)/, Egypt: Journalist Arrested, Bloggers' E-Mail And Youtube Accounts Suspended, 30 Nov 07 "RSF strongly condemns the arrest of journalist Hossam el-Hendy at Helwan University, south of Cairo, as "an attempt to intimate all bloggers in Egypt" after officials there reported him to police for taking photos and sending messages about a demonstration on his mobile phone.

"El-Hendy, 22, who works for the daily paper "Al-Dustour" and the website Eshreen (, was covering a 28 November 2007 protest that erupted when a speaker at a university conference on information technology said it was important to regulate online activity in Egypt."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wired, Behind Enemy Lines With a Suburban Counterterrorist, 15.11, Nov 07 profile of Shannen Rossmiller
asharq alawsat, The Annapolis Summit Has Already Affected the Arab World, 26 Nov 07 opinion piece
BBC News, Sudan teddy insult teacher: Readers' views, 27 Nov 07 "BBC News website readers, as well as readers of, have been sending their reaction to this story."
AP/, Iraqi ministry staff killed on video, 26 Nov 07, "A video purportedly showing members of an Iraqi insurgent umbrella group killing nine interior ministry employees execution-style was posted on the internet today, a web monitoring group said."
Independent, Ayaan Hirsi Ali: My life under a fatwa, 27 Nov 07
Reuters, Islamist site says new Bin Laden message soon, 26 Nov 07 ""Let this message be posted by various Western Web sites so that we deliver to them the truth of their lost war and (confront) them with the purposely hidden fact," it said, adding that the message was produced by al Qaeda media arm As-Sahab."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Online campaign: Islamic Human Rights Commission, Alert: Saudi Gang Rape Victim Facing Miscarriage of Justice, 19 Nov 07

Brick Lane The Movie This is a slick website promoting the film, including trailers and background information.
Bangladesh Hurricane

IFRC, Bangladesh: devastation for man and nature, 19 Nov 07

IFRC Online donations

See Rezwan's coverage in Global Voices, Bangladesh: Hurricane Sidr and the aftermath, 16 Nov 07

Also see AP, Bangladesh cyclone victims await help, 18 Nov 07
Update on Abbeymills Mosque (previously blogged):, Islamic group praised for prompt action on You Tube death threat video, 19 Nov 07 "Cllr Alan Craig, leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance group on Newham Council, said today that the Tablighi Jamaat should be praised for its prompt action over a YouTube video which issued a death threat to the councillor.

""In Memory of Councillor Alan Craig", an obituary-style video posting, has since been taken down and the man behind it arrested following widespread publicity of the incident in the national and international media.", Counterjihad Brussels 2007: Country Report - Czech Republic, 19 Nov 07 includes references to internet activities, and various opinions., Divisions in Muslim Brotherhood, 17 Nov 07

"Under Mr [Mohamed Mahdi] Akef's leadership, the Muslim Brotherhood, considered the world's largest, oldest and most influential Islamist organisation, is in crisis in its home country. Analysts in Egypt say it is struggling to define its political goals amid divisions at the top and a lack of fresh, charismatic leadership.

"At the same time, a new generation of brothers and sisters are gaining prominence through Egypt's ubiquitous political tool, internet blogging, and are starting, sometimes gently, to criticise their leaders."
Yemen Times, Chat rooms…lawful or unlawful?, Issue: (1103), Volume 15 , From 19 November 2007 to 21 November 2007 "According to Ahmed Al-Hadad, a Dubai mufti (a jurist who interprets Muslim law) and lawgiver, internet chat rooms are prohibited because they lead to immoral deeds. Speaking to, he said chat rooms are similar to prohibited places of privacy where people go to do that which is prohibited. Added to that, he says, it wastes time.

"Islam protects the soul and body, prohibiting anything that may corrupt them; however, Muslims living in this "bad nest" are wasting their time, money and youth, Al-Hadad asserts.

"However, Abdulaziz Atiq, assistant director of the Cultural Center for Foreigners’ Call, notes, "We use chat rooms at the center to introduce Islam and many people get to know about it this way.""
Comedy (again). Omid Djalili's new programme was on at the weekend. Details: BBC, The Omid Djalili Show Plenty of clips on YouTube from his performances.
Reuters, Governments struggle as militants refine Web tactics, 16 Nov 07 "Islamist militants are becoming more skilled at tailoring their message to specific audiences, including women and children, and Western societies are struggling to find a response." This issue of nuanced application of the web features in my next book... Also see The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe AP also covered it: AP, Experts urge cooperation to target terrorist misuse of Web, 15 Nov 07

Friday, November 16, 2007

AP/IHT, Web site: Top leader of Somali Islamic forces urges fighters to turn guns on AU peacekeepers, 16 Nov 07 "The recording posted on a Web site was of a speaker identified as Aden Hashi Ayro, who's believed to have received al-Qaida training in Afghanistan and is on the U.S. State Department's list of suspected terrorists, saying hundreds of Ugandan troops sent to Somalia to help foster peace should be treated the same as Ethiopian troops sent in to bolster the Somali government. Late last year, the Ethiopians helped the government oust Ayro's Islamic movement, which had controlled the Somali capital."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

BBC News, Egypt's mufti rejects criticism, 14 Nov 07 "With tears in his eyes, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa told reporters his religious edicts were never influenced by pressure from the authorities.

"Fierce criticism followed his recent ruling that speeding drivers cannot be condemned for killing people who deliberately stand in their way." See Dar al-Ifta for more fatwas, although the more controversial ones don't appear on the English database (yet).
Wired, Sensitive Guantánamo Bay Manual Leaked Through Wiki Site, 14 Nov 07, "A never-before-seen military manual detailing the day-to-day operations of the U.S. military's Guantánamo Bay detention facility has been leaked to the web, affording a rare inside glimpse into the institution where the United States has imprisoned hundreds of suspected terrorists since 2002."
All Things Pakistan, Imran Khan Mistreated and Arrested, 15 Nov 07 "In an uncivilized turn of events, the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Khan was manhandled at the Punjab University Campus today. He was later arrested by the police. A group of students kept him detained on the campus and later turned him over to the police." Summary with reference to other reports
Some interesting aspects to this article: Wildcat Online, Bricks in the 'Great Firewall', 15 Nov 07 "Few are more attuned to the power of the Internet than the world's most repressive authoritarian regimes. When civil unrest in Myanmar reached a tipping point in September, the military cut off all Internet access in an attempt to quell dissent. Just this week, Internet censorship was strengthened in Pakistan, denying access to media and opposition Web sites in the wake of Pervez Musharraf's emergency declaration. And the extensive "Golden Shield" censorship and surveillance project in the People's Republic of China is more popularly known as the "Great Firewall of China.""
Out this week: the much anticipated Brick Lane's trailer can be viewed at Yahoo.
A couple you may of missed from the LA Times:

LA Times, 'Kite Runner': If they loved the book..., 15 Nov 07 "Author Khaled Hosseini's novel "The Kite Runner" became a runaway bestseller in 2003 based largely on positive word-of-mouth among readers throughout the world. But can Hollywood deliver a hit movie by persuading fans of the book to see the film?"

There is a movie website: Kite Runner Movie Club
LA Times, Radical goes west to learn about Islam: Tunisian Fadhel Jaibi's play traces the making of an extremist. The censor wanted 286 cuts, but Jaibi fought back, 12 Nov 07, ""In 34 years, I was never censored," Jaibi said. "We started petitions. Opposition members backed us. Word went out through [text messages] and the Internet. It spread around the world. The official press accused me of being a bad citizen. It was debated in parliament and went to the Senate. It took eight months, but I won.""
AP, PM: British Sites Need More Security, 15 Nov 07, "Brown said Internet and technology companies will be asked to help stop online terrorist propaganda, and he announced that a meeting would be convened with leading British Internet service providers to find ways of doing that.

"Along with possibly removing customers' sites, service providers also might be pressured to block ones hosted abroad. The government also could create a list of banned sites or try to persuade search engines like Google Inc. or Yahoo Inc. to filter out prohibited content from their search results." Easier said than done, even with sustained investment.
Jerusalem Post, Hamas police found 'boy band' in Gaza, 14 Nov 07 "A Hamas official told Sky News on Wednesday that The Protectors of the Homeland, made up of members of Hamas's police force in Gaza, is meant to "raise [the public's] spirit through entertainment and encourage the troops.""
Press Association/Yorkshire Evening Post, Hamza can be extradited, 15 Nov 07, "Radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza can be extradited to the US on terror charges, a court has ruled.

"Senior District Judge Timothy Workman, sitting at London's City of Westminster Magistrates Court, ruled that Hamza, 48, had lost his legal arguments against his long-running extradition battle."
There seems to be proportionally more (deliberate) comedy and general entertainment on this blog recently, which can't be a bad thing. Here's some more, this time about Axis of Evil. alt.muslim, I hope we inspire more Muslims to get involved in entertainment, 14 Nov 07 "Terrorism. Racial Profiling. Religious Intolerance. The War on Terror. Perfect material for a hilarious night at a comedy show, right? Absolutely, according to fans, international audiences, the internet blogs, and now the big shot Hollywood executives fawning over the "Axis of Evil" comedy tour. Unlike most authoritative works on Arabs and the Middle East, this ensemble actually features four authentic, home grown, real life Middle Eastern American comedians. They use their experiences and comedy to play on society's misconceptions, paranoia, and fear to not only break stereotypes but also emerge as new voices representing a diverse and dynamic Arab/Iranian-American experience."

Check out Axis of Evil's website, with details of their tour [how about some UK dates?]

And here's a YouTube clip from Axis of Evil's Max Jobrani

You'll find some links on the YouTube page to others from Axis of Evil. There is also a DVD, etc. etc.
Brass Crescent Awards "The Brass Crescent Awards, a joint project of altmuslim and City of Brass, is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners."
I found this via FaithTube: YouTube, Yusuf Islam - The Beloved

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AFP, Bangladesh launches Internet sabotage probe, 13 Nov 07 "Bangladesh on Tuesday launched an investigation after the country's Internet link was sabotaged, disrupting communications nationwide for most of the day"
AP/, Terror ripples under calm waters of Maldives, 13 Nov 07, "The global outburst of Islamic anger after the US invasion of Iraq and the spread of Internet access to this country’s remote islands played a major role in the growing fundamentalism, said Hassan Saeed, the Maldives’ former attorney general.

""Suddenly, an island nation cut off from the rest of the world became part of the global village," he said. ", University's banning of Muslim comedy attacked, 14 Nov 07 "Preacher Moss and Azhar Usman will still perform the show at Dundee University on 27 November with the full backing of its Islamic Society. Yesterday, Fozia Ali, the campaign executive with Oceanic, said that she and the comics were disappointed with Glasgow Caledonian University's decision." Check out the Allah Made Me Funny website. Also see:

YouTube, Allah Made Me Funny! The Movie Trailer Teaser!

CBC, Hacking wars, heightened encryption latest threats from Islamic extremists: analyst, 14 Nov 07 "Online Islamist extremists pose an increasing threat to public safety, a U.S.-based intelligence analyst warns, as evidence grows that they are beefing up their internet presence to find and nurture new members and wage hacking wars against opponents." Refers to work undertaken at the Terrorism Research Center.
Asia Times, Internet myth mauls Turkish clothing firm, 14 Nov 07 "For about two weeks the Internet has been awash with unfounded rumors that LCW has been sold to Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish woman to take a seat in the Turkish Parliament. The result of the cyber-gossip has been a fourfold increase in visits to the LCW website; the number of visitors spiraled from 60,000 a month to 280,000 in five days. On the face of it that sounds like good news, but not if it is coupled with a 15% drop in sales revenue."
AKI, Muslims campaign against 'Koranic' toilet seat, 14 Nov 07 "A campaign launched by an imam in central Italy and other local Muslims against a toilet seat featuring verses of the Koran has made it to the frontpage of London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds al-Arabi."
Mayor’s Press Office, Muslim attitudes - The Real Story, 12 Nov 07 "A new survey released today by the Greater London Authority confirms that London's Muslim communities shares common values and concerns with the wider community, repudiating the image of conflicting values portrayed by certain sections of the media. This shows the importance of working with the Muslim community and its leadership in the struggle against criminality – including terrorism." The poll is here [pdf]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New research:, Imam's influence on Muslims overestimated, 13 Nov 07 "Boender's research shows that not only the imam in the mosque defines appropriate standards and values and behaviour for the faithful, but television sheiks, internet imams, friends and family members and (translated) books also play a role. This is increasingly the case for many young people who never attend the mosque." Also see previously blogged research on mosques in the Netherlands.
Janes, Taliban communications, old and new, 12 Nov 07 "The Taliban use a variety of ways to communicate and influence the people of Afghanistan and supporters in other Muslim countries. While their 'night letters' reflect traditional Afghan practice and are aimed at a domestic audience, the adoption of the internet and multimedia formats is a more controversial development for the movement and seems largely intended for an international audience.", Holy war, on message, 12 Nov 07 "In Krekar's first interview for Australian television, he cuts a lonely figure, hounded by America and the United Nations and linked to his followers only by the internet."
Jerusalem Post, Digital World: An Iran-Israel-Yahoo connection?, 13 Nov 07 "Now of course, Israel and Iran have different IP address ranges; but in several cases, at least the first and in some cases the first two segments of several IP address sets allocated both to Israel and Iran are identical. Could a tech at Yahoo have decided to ban whole ranges because he thought that number was specific to Iran? Could the tech have accidentally added some similar-looking Israeli IP addresses to the Iran list? It's an open question, but stranger things have happened." Interesting questions in this article by David Shamah.
profile of Kareem Salama [previously blogged]: NYT, Muslim Singer With a Country Twang, 13 Nov 07 "He is conscious that people might parse his songs looking for underlying political messages, though. So a song about two opposing soldiers dying stresses their shared humanity while avoiding anything that might be deemed criticism of the Iraq war. Still, bile about how a Muslim can never truly be an American sometimes spills across Internet message boards when he is seen by a wider audience, as when he appeared on a “Your World” segment on FoxNews presented by Neil Cavuto in May."
AP, Bomb kills 1 at Internet cafe in northwestern Pakistan, 13 Nov 07 "A bomb exploded inside an Internet cafe in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing a 12-year-old boy, police said."

Out Now

There is now a Turkish version of Islam in the Digital Age: Gary R. Bunt Dijital Çağda İslam, (trans. Nil Erdoğan), (Istanbul: Babil Yayınları, 2007) Details at

Monday, November 12, 2007

There have been some comments on Annemarie Schimmel in the Islamaar listing, and that included a reference to this clip, which I thought was worthy of inclusion on this blog. YouTube, Prof. Dr. Annemarie Schimmel on Allama Muhammad Iqbal

I'd welcome links to related clips. Schimmel's work is well worth checking out.
AP, Project seeks to track terror Web posts, 12 Nov 07, "Researchers at the University of Arizona are developing a tool that uses these clues to automate the analysis of online jihadism. The Dark Web project aims to scour Web sites, forums and chat rooms to find the Internet's most prolific and influential jihadists and learn how they reel in adherents." I am writing about their work in my next book, so am interested (but not surprised) to see this injection of funding.
Global Politician, The Dark Web Of Cyber Terror – An Inescapable Reality, 11 Nov 07 overview by Sammy Elrom, with more parts to follow: "The use of the Internet as part of the terrorism tools is actually the big story, much more than the new horizontal structure adopted by terror organizations. It has a much stronger impact on the war on terror than previously believed, because the West was not prepared to deal with neither the new flat structure of the reorganized terror groups, nor with the creative way of using the WWW as a tool that compensates for the lose of central command."
AP/IHT, Sudan sentences 10 to death for murder of local newspaper editor, 12 Nov 07 internet thread to this story: the victim Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed, editor of the Al-Wifaqhad, published an article on the internet that was condemned by some parties in Sudan: "Ahmed was a controversial figure in Sudan's Muslim community, having angered Islamists in 2005 when his newspaper republished an article from the Internet that questioned the lineage of the Prophet Muhammad.

"The article upset Muslims of different sects, and some gathered in protest demanding Ahmed's execution. The editor eventually apologized in a letter to the press, saying he did not intend to insult the prophet."
Infocus, Pornography: Shameful, silent disease spreads in Muslim community, interesting discussion on the impact of this on Muslims, including internet 'addiction'. "On the religious front, Sadiq believes that in order to prevent falling into the evil cobweb of pornography, a Muslim should read Qu’ran on a daily basis, go the mosque very often, keep good company, avoid surfing the net unnecessarily and when doing so, do it in a public place or around family so the temptation to view illicit material does not come up."
Telegraph, Dr Bari: Government stoking Muslim tension, updated 12 Nov 07. This interview predictably obtained a great deal of media coverage over the weekend.
AME Info, 'Islamic' car planned, 12 Nov 07, "The firm is to link up with companies in Turkey and Iran in order to develop the vehicle which would feature a compass indicating the direction of the Qiblah as well as spaces to store a headscarf and a copy of the Quran. It is claimed the idea originated in Iran." This would be a Proton. Also see Islam Online, Malaysia Co. Favors Islamic Car Project, 10 Nov 07 I imagine a great deal of CIT products could also be integrated, hence inclusion on this blog.
Independent, Westerners 'should stop making films about Islam', 12 Nov 07 Rather a generalisation, this one, which would put a great deal of sympathetic and informed coverage underground. Comment from Parvez Sharma, whose film Jihad for Love is being shown in the UK. [previously blogged]
Daily Mail, The surprising truth about Rage Boy, America's hated poster-boy of Islamic radicalism, 11 Nov 07 is rather a sympathetic portrayal of Shakeel Ahmad Bhat by Patrick French: "Shakeel Ahmad Bhat is the product of poverty, lack of opportunity and state brutality. Islam is to him a way of life. He is illiterate and his only source of news is the street.", Cyber Jihad? Fake Alert, Pal! - November 11th not as dangerous as we expected it to be, 12 Nov 07

Friday, November 09, 2007

Phone Tone Fatwa

Arab News, Qur’anic Ringtones Haram, 9 Nov 07 "The Islamic Jurisprudence Council banned the use of the verses of the Holy Qur’an as ringtones for mobile phones because it impinges on the sacred character of the Muslim Holy Book, the Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday.

""It is demeaning and degrading to the verses of the Holy Book to stop abruptly at the middle of a recitation or neglecting the recitation, as happens when they are used as ringtones in mobile phones. On the other hand, recording the verses from the Holy Qur’an in phone sets with the intention of recitation and listening is a virtuous act," the scholars attending the council said in a statement."

Update: Islam Online, Scholars Ban Qur'an Ringtones, 9 Nov 07 " The Saudi-owned Al-Hayat daily reported that the controversial issue of Qur'an ringtones was at the heart of "a turbulent debate" during the six-day meeting.

"It said the scholars were divided on the use of verses from the Qur'an as mobile ringtones.

"During the lively discussion, some scholars denounced Qur'an ringtones as a "frivolity".

"They have also hit out at adverts which promote the downloading of Qur'anic verses.

"The fatwa did not mention the use of Qur'an as text logos or audio recordings on cell phones."

Someone got there first: Gulf Times, New Fatwa Forbids Qur’an Verses as Ring Tones, 7 Feb 07, "Dubai’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Dr Ahmad Abdul Aziz al- Haddad issued a fatwa yesterday prohibiting the use of verses from the Holy Qur’an as mobile phone ring tones.

"Al-Haddad said that using the Qur’an on mobile phones was "a violation to its glory and sacredness." The verses should be reflected as "the words of God."""

This reflects a long-standing debate, which goes back several years: AFP, Muslim clerics ban Koranic ringtones, 8 Nov 07 "In recent years many clerics, especially from Egypt, have denounced the use of Koranic verses in mobile telephony, believing it to be a frivolity that impinges on the sacred character of the Muslim holy book."

See my discussion on this subject in "'Rip.Burn.Pray.' Islamic Expression Online", chap. in Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet, Douglas E. Cowan & Lorne Dawson (editors),(New York & London: Routledge, 2004). The subject is also to feature in my next book.
Reuters/Vancouver Sun, Fatwa issued against camel beauty contests, 9 Nov 07 ""Everyone must repent of these acts from which no good can come because of its evils, and they should beg forgiveness from God," said a fatwa, or religious ruling, issued this week by Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak and a lesser-known sheikh." Haven't seen this one online yet.
Mail & Guardian Online, Fight against female circumcision goes to mosque, 7 Nov 07, "n certain parts of Africa, female genital mutilation (FGM) has been linked to religion, with Muslim communities mistakenly believing that the practice is a religious requirement. But in Côte d'Ivoire, religion is also being put at the service of fighting FGM.

"El Hadj Kassoum Traoré, an imam at a small mosque in Belleville -- one of the poorer areas in the commercial hub of Abidjan -- sets aside time during the Friday prayer for explaining the dangers of FGM to worshippers. The weekly prayer is an obligation for able Muslim men." This is non-tech, although the subject crops up online; it's one of those interesting stories which deserves a wider readership.

Thursday, November 08, 2007,Muslims to get online trading portal on Diwali, 6 Nov 07 "Why did a brokerage firm, which caters to a Muslim client base, choose the Hindu festival of lights for its formal launch?" Find out in this article.
Lyrical Terrorist

The case of Samina Malik: BBC News, 'Lyrical Terrorist led double life', 8 Nov 07 "Calling herself the Lyrical Terrorist, they said she wrote and posted poems praising Osama Bin Laden, supporting martyrdom and describing gruesome subjects like beheading.

"Police also told the Old Bailey they found a "library" of extreme literature in her bedroom including The Al-Qaeda Manual and The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook."

Also see BBC News, 'Lyrical Terrorist' found guilty, 8 Nov 07

Update: Channel 4, 'Lyrical terrorist' guilty, 8 Nov 07 video, including reference to Islamic Awakening et al.

The defence claimed that Malik's poems were in the same league as Wilfred Owen (see this analysis in the Standard: Sebastian Shakespeare, War is hell - and that's just reading the poetry, 30 Oct 07), Al Qaida bombs hit Gaza cell phone stores, beauty salons, 6 Nov 07 " After a lull of several months, Palestinian sources said, Al Qaida has resumed bombings of Internet cafes and cellular phone stores. They said the campaign was being conducted with the help of the opposition Fatah movement.

""The aim is to destabilize the Hamas regime," a security source said.", U.S. reports decimating Al Qaida propaganda network, 7 Nov 07 " Officials said Al Qaida has lost most of its ability to generate propaganda, recruit and receive financing for its operations. They said many of these activities were conducted on the Internet.

""We've taken out a significant part of their leadership," U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, said. "We also have gone after, very heavily, their propaganda network."" Still plenty of material out there, though... Saudi King slams extremist muftis, 7 Nov 07
Scare Stories?, Program automating online jihad found in the wild, 8 Nov 07 "The "Electronic Program of Jihad," as its creators have dubbed it, asks for a username and password once it's installed, according to this entry on the McAfee Avert Labs Blog. The program, quoted as version 3.0, then tries to join a cyber jihadist website that coordinates the attack. Loyal users can even score bonus points by referring newcomers." As yet, I am not convinced by this one, but guess we will have to wait and see on this previously blogged story. The article points to this release by McFee Avert Labs Blog, Cyber Jihad - I’ll say good and quiet November 11 to you, 7 Nov 07 which has some tech details. That in turn points to Internet Anthropologist. There is plenty of other data out there to follow through if required. Putting it all in perspective is Robert X. Cringely, InfoWorld, The e-Jihadists are coming, the e-Jihadists are coming!, 7 Nov 07 "Despite the software's silly name, I was curious whether this might be something worth worrying about. So I did a little more digging. The software is real -- in fact, I downloaded a copy of it yesterday off an archived copy of But if this is a serious terror threat, I'm Arnold Schwarzennegger." This in turn refers to Terrorism Focus, Forum Users Improve Electronic Jihad Technology, 26 June 2007
Times, First Sunni-Shia 'fatwa against violence' to be signed in Iraq, 8 Nov 07 "Senior religious leaders in Iraq are preparing to sign an unprecedented “fatwa against violence” that will help reconcile the rival Sunni and Shia branches of Islam and herald new hopes for peace in the war-torn country."
VOA, Experts: Terrorists Exploit Internet to Recruit, Spread Ideology, 8 Nov 07 includes audio report. "Several experts testified this week before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security about how the Internet has become the weapon of choice for terrorists and other radicals. Their testimony comes in the wake of the passage in the House of the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. The centerpiece of that legislation is the creation of a National Commission to study violent radicalization and to determine the best way to combat it." Here is the text of the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 brought to you by Congress found "(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The new issue of ISIM Review is out (20, Autumn 2007) [full issue: PDF]. As always, there is material relevant to this blog, in particular Islamophonic: New Styles in Reporting by Nandagopal R. Menon [section PDF]. I happen to have been writing something about Islamophonic for my next book, and have blogged about it in the past, so this was interesting to read.
Times, I know creator of threatening video says imam, 7 Nov 07 "Moynel Islam, imam of Stevenage Central Mosque said that Mohammad Abdullah, 24, was behind the YouTube profile showing the video ‘obituary’ of Councillor Alan Craig that is currently being investigated by the police."
Muslim Observer/New America Media, Pres. Bush Must Apologize to Holy Land Foundation, 7 Nov 07 "The United States, in essence, has just lost its largest and most expensive case against an organization accused of financing terrorism. The mistrial does not prohibit the U.S. government from retrying the Holy Land Foundation. What is apparent, however, is that the HLF had long been under U.S. government scrutiny, years before Pres. Bush announced the organization's shutdown only a few months after Sept. 11, 2001. The recent verdict received relatively muted media coverage."
AFP, Blacked out Pakistani TV channels turn to Internet, 6 Nov 07 " "News is a contraband item in Pakistan now and it is being sold on the black market," Imran Aslam, the president of Geo Television, the country's most widely watched cable news channel, told AFP.

"Geo sent an SMS to cellphone users on Sunday telling them to log onto its website ( to get live transmission. Another channel, ARY One, sent out a similar email (" The report also mentions Dawn TV, which can be accessed in various ways via the Dawn newspaper's front page.
Medill Reports, Extremist Migration West: Iraq and the Internet, 1 Nov 07 Just picked this one up: "A new study of almost a dozen terrorist-related cases by the New York City Police Department analyzed the radicalization process of young Muslims and found four stages, starting with pre-radicalization and ending in jihadization. It also acknowledged that the extreme (jihadi-Salafi) view of solving global political grievances through violence is a very small minority of Muslim youth worldwide." This would link to NYT, New York City Police Report Explores Homegrown Terrorism, 16 Aug 07. A link to the report is here [pdf] via Seth Godin's blog
Newsbusters, MSM Doesn’t Care About Google’s Pro-Jihadi Censorship, Nov 6, 2007 Opinion piece/allegations: "As Islamic scholar Robert Spencer can tell you, the mainstream media has barely noticed that Google, the Internet search engine giant, is now deciding for its users which ideas are acceptable and which are not. It’s never been a secret that Google leans left and won’t tolerate ideas it doesn’t agree with." This sounds like it might run for some time.
Telegraph, YouTube 'obituary' for anti-mosque councillor, 7 Nov 07 "Until yesterday there was a web link from the Abbey Mills mosque website to abdullah1425's YouTube mini website, where he identifies himself as Muhammad, 23, from Stevenage, Herts. Yesterday Mr Craig said he refused to be intimidated by the clip, which he described as "an open invitation to take me out"." Also see Waltham Forest Guardian, Anti mega-mosque councillor slams internet "death threat", 6 Nov 07 "Newham councillor and Christian People's Alliance (CPA) leader Alan Craig has repeatedly called for a public inquiry into Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic group that wants to build a £100m mosque at Abbey Mills, Stratford, following alleged terror links."

I have posted on plans for Abbeymills Mosque before. The Mosque's website presents their perspectives on this current controversy. Here is Abdullah1425's video "The Mosque will be built" [there are plenty of responses from various perspectives on YouTube too, which can be accessed via this link]:
Telegraph, YouTube asked to curb terror videos, 7 Nov 07 "The YouTube website is facing calls to crack down on extremist videos promoting violence after it emerged it was being used to post footage of Islamic fighters with guns and rocket launchers."

Also see: Telegraph, Internet spreads terror in Britain, 7 Nov 07 "Mohammed Irfan Raja, an otherwise ordinary Essex lad who was convicted of terrorism offences earlier this year, typifies current fears within the Government about the type of recruit al-Qa’eda is now aiming for – and the methods they’re willing to use."
Times, ‘Terror kids’ inspired by net are West’s big threat, 7 Nov 07 "The new terror threat facing the West is coming from “self-radicalising kids” who are not members of al-Qaeda but are inspired by images on the internet to carry out their own attacks, a senior security official said yesterday." Also see Frank Furedi's article on, Are 'terrorist groomers' warping our kids?, 6 Nov 2007
VOA, Prison Term for Egyptian Police in Widely-Published Torture Case, 6 Nov 07 more on this previously blogged story, includes audio report.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007, Internet next target in 'anti-terror battle', 6 Nov 07 "Using the internet to promote acts of terrorism will become a criminal offence under plans to be unveiled by the European Commission today.

"The plan is designed to step up the anti-terrorism fight by criminalising anything on the web which amounts to training for terrorism or incitement to commit terrorist acts – including guides to assembling bombs and weapons.", 'Fatwa Chaos' Bewilders Muslims on Sex and Suicide (Update1), 6 Nov 07 "A century ago, the fatwa department at Cairo's Al-Azhar University issued fewer than 200 edicts a day. Now it turns out about 1,000.

"The university, a center of Islamic learning for more than a millennium, isn't alone. Around the world, an explosion in the number of fatwas -- pronouncements by religious leaders intended to shape the actions of the faithful on everything from sex to politics -- is sparking efforts by prominent Muslims to rein in the practice. That's proving a nearly impossible task, given Islam's decentralized nature and the growing number of outlets for the edicts.", IT experts converge on Dubai for Innovations, 5 Nov 07 "Conference 'Innovations '07' will be held from November 18 to 20 at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel, said Dr Hadef Bin Jouan Al Daheri, Vice-Chancellor of the UAE University, at a press conference." Sounds fun.
New and noted II:, Gulf News radios 1 and 2 make waves on the web, 5 Nov 07 "The new internet service went live early on Friday morning and comes just weeks after podcasts were made available on for the first time." Schedules are here
New and noted: [via Ali Eteraz] I shall be watching this one with interest. It certainly fills a gap in the market...
This Day, Nigeria: Intel, ETF Invest $10.1 million On Digital Content, 4 Nov 07 "Intel, one of the world's leading information communication technology (ICT) firms has, in collaboration with the Education Trust Fund (ETF), invested $10.1million towards the development of a digital curriculum content for Nigerian secondary schools under the e-school initiative."
Independent, MI5 chief: children are being taught to become terrorists, 6 Nov 07
AP, Italian police go after suspected Islamic extremists recruiting bombers for attacks in Iraq, 6 Nov 07 "Police have discovered al-Qaida manuals on how to produce explosives, detonation devices and poisons as well as instructions on guerrilla techniques, the agencies reported."

Monday, November 05, 2007, Qaeda's Maghreb propaganda man surrenders - paper, 5 Nov 07 "Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's "propaganda" man in charge of supplying Al Jazeera with videos and online documentation has surrendered, saying he regreted what he had been doing, Algerian daily Liberte said on Monday.

"The daily, quoting unnamed security sources, said Abu Abderahmane had used the Internet to communicate with the Qatar-based channel, as well as sending it videos, and CDs either directly to Doha or its Morocco branch."

The original article is here, although the connection is very slow: Liberte, Le responsable audiovisuel du groupe terroriste arrêté, Les secrets du pacte entre Al-jazeera et le GSPC "Le concepteur, producteur et fournisseur d’images vidéo du GSPC, destinées à la chaîne qatarie Al-Jazeera pour faire la propagande du terrorisme en Algérie, vient de se rendre aux services de sécurité. Un nouveau coup dur pour Al-Qaïda."
Reuters Canada, Zawahri says Libyan group joins al Qaeda, 3 Nov 07 " "Honorable members of the Fighting Islamic Group in Libya announce that they are joining the al Qaeda group to continue the march of their brothers," Zawahri said in a recording posted on the Internet on Saturday.

"The Libyan group would be the second militant organization to join al Qaeda this year after Algeria's armed GSPC said in January it had won approval from Osama bin Laden to rename itself Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb.", Asia in Crisis, 5 Nov 07 updates/comments on Pakistan situation. Also see LA Times/Seattle Times, Mass arrests in Pakistan, 5 Nov 07 "But despite such authoritarian measures, Pakistanis gave free vent to their feelings — in Internet chat rooms, in sharply worded editorials in independent newspapers and in quiet but impassioned talk in bazaars, aboard overcrowded buses and in restaurants." Check out All Things Pakistan, Pakistan: Chronology of a Political Meltdown, 5 Nov 07 and Dawn, Countrywide crackdown : Hundreds of lawyers, rights activists and politicians detained, 4 Nov 07 as well. A useful feed can be found at News Now, Pakistan. Kamla Bhatt has a summary of blogger comments: Global Voices Online, State of Emergency in Pakistan, 3 Nov 07, Kashmiri youth rediscover religion, 4 Nov 07, "It has become a trend of sorts as more and more youth are turning to religion. And there are plenty of new Islamic schools that are acting as catalysts of this change. ‘School of Orthoepy, Quran and Theology Education’ is one such school in Kashmir which is using technology for religious teachings. Computers, big projectors, internet and other technological innovations have made religious teachings easy to fathom.

""We have technology at hand and we should use it. There is no harm in using technology in religious teachings," says Tanveer Ahmad, a computer professional, who runs School of Orthoepy, Quran and Theology Education." Their site is here: BTW Orthoepy = Tajweed. Image on the left is taken from the front page of the site
NYT, God and Man on YouTube, 4 Nov 07 "'The Truth About Islam From an Ex-Muslim Lady,' YouTube’s most-discussed video ever, shows a woman on a TV-news program delivering a fearsome disquisition in Arabic on Samuel P. Huntington’s clash-of-civilizations idea — the concept that global politics are now determined by potentially apocalyptic cultural collisions. The woman, identified as an Arab-American psychologist, celebrates the “civilization” of the West and denigrates the 'backwardness' of Islam, according to the English subtitles. Since 'The Truth About Islam' first appeared in the spring of last year, something about this video clip has inspired viewers to lay bare their ideological ids. It has prompted 200,000 comments." The famous clip, translated by MEMRI TV, gets another airing here. You can find excerpts of it on YouTube, together with attendant discussion. YouTube, Truth about islam from an ex-muslim lady [BTW my Disclaimer is here]
Discussion piece by Yaniv Ofek, research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel:, The Islamic "Muqawama", 5 Nov 07 "The notion of Islamic resistance draws from the fundamentalists’ perception that Islam and its values are under severe attack by the West. The West's ill-mannered culture; its sexual liberalism, including its twisted outlook on the status of women; its blasphemy; and above all its coarse marketing of the liberal and democratic values through movies and the internet -- all this creates a 'threat' that Islamists see as a tremendous peril to the Islamic youngsters who can easily be tempted by the pleasures the Western culture has to offer. In short, Western culture challenges Islam's most basic conception, namely that it is a ruling religion that will prevail across the world. Resistance against the West, then, becomes the Islamists’ way of attaining the hegemony they believe is rightly theirs."
Here's an interesting article on gaming, written by Gwen Ackerman: Bloomberg, Arab Bombers, Israeli Soldiers Take Middle East Conflict Online , 5 Nov 07 "Don an Israeli army uniform, wield an M-16 rifle and face a mob of angry Palestinian demonstrators. Or, arm yourself with a Kalashnikov and aim to shoot former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the forehead. Or detonate a suicide bomber on a busy city street and kill as many as possible.

"These are only a few of the Internet war games readily accessible on the Web for anyone who wants to fight in the Middle East's conflicts from the comfort of a keyboard. The body count is growing as the games perpetuate the views of Israelis, Palestinians, U.S. citizens and al-Qaeda members."
AP, Egypt: 2 Cops Sentenced for Torture, 5 Nov 07 "Though el-Kabir's trial is not the first against police officers accused of torture, it is the first in Egypt involving a video that was circulated on the Internet. Other videos of alleged police torture in Egypt have since appeared on blogs, and human rights groups and activists believe the verdict in el-Kabir's case could set a precedent."

Friday, November 02, 2007

BBC, Bridging Africa's digital divide, 1 Nov 2007, "Intel's chairman Craig Barrett is in Africa to talk about initiatives designed to end the digital divide. He tells BBC News of the challenges the continent faces as it attempts to reap the benefits of the technological revolution."
Guardian, What role did al-Qaida play?, 31 Oct 07 article by Jason Burke, with net refs.

Economist, The brains behind the bombs, 1 Nov 07 "IF THE internet is jihad's open university, used for spreading ideological and military knowledge, then one of its most formidable professors is Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Setmariam Nasar, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Musab al-Suri. The Syrian-born militant was arrested in Pakistan in October 2005 and is now believed to be detained by the United States in an unknown location. Yet his lectures remain available as audio files in cyberspace." Profile. I'm referring to al-Suri as part of my next book. This article refers to Brynjar Lia's book Architect of Global Jihad on al-Suri (published by Hurst), which I have previously blogged about and am looking forward to reading (it comes out this month).
National Post, The "Blogfather" worried about the demonization of Iran, 1 Nov 07 "These are trying times for the so-called "Blogfather of Iran". Beset by legal troubles, abandoned by former allies and angered by the West's hostile characterization of his native land, Hossein Derakhshan could be forgiven if the topic he is to address in Ottawa on Friday -- the role of the media in democratic development -- isn't top of mind." Hossein Derakhshan is presently being sued for comments made on his blog about Mehdi Khalaji, a visiting Iranian scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. See Editor Myself, Mehdi Khalaji's $2 million lawsuit against me over my blog posts, 30 Oct 07, which contains details of the claim. For a profile of Mehdi Khalaji, see his page at the Washington Institute., Kyrgyz authorities accuse Islamic extremists in the death of the journalist, 31 Oct 07 "After the death of Alisher Saipov, a famous journalist from Osh, Kyrgyzstan, almost all internet sites of Central Asia, especially the ones about Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, had been hotly discussing the assassination."
It's in the mix

I have just caught up with this fascinating article from Open Net Initiative about a remixed video clip available on YouTube, based on a popular song by Nancy Ajram. The original song is basic pop, but the remix is something else entirely.

First, read the article:

Open Net Initiative Blog, Political satire, Internet surveillance, and user empowerment: A story of a remix clip from the Middle East, 19 October 2007:

"The remix, which has been widely circulated in online forums and video haring Web sites, depicts a group of Arab leaders as obedient students in the U.S. administration school. The clip shows U.S. officials, mainly U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as instructors in the classroom and uses a hit children’s song by the glamorous Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram. While it is unclear who produced the clip it is obvious that it was released to coincide with Secretary Rice’s visit to the Middle East to prepare for a peace conference between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Here's the original song by Nancy Ajram, entitled 'Shatter shatter':

And here's the remix clip, as presented on Al-Jazeera's "Listening Post":, Tunisia Web Surfers Learn Criticism of Leader `Cannot Be Found', 2 Nov 07 "Tunisia aggressively promotes Internet use as part of its pro-Western, pro-everything-that's- modern self-image. The North African country's online population has grown almost 10-fold in the past seven years, according to Internet World Stats, a collector of Web use data.

"For all that, a carefully selected realm of subjects is off limits. More than likely, the country's 1.6 million users -- the number provided by the Tunisian Internet Agency, the government's Internet oversight department -- won't be able to read news Web site Tunisnews. Nor can they find an article critical of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the president for 20 years, or peruse blogs that oppose the ban on Islamic headscarves in Tunisia. Attempts to log on to such sites are met with the message: "The page cannot be found."" Refers to research undertaken by the Open Net Initiative, Fatwas will be made available on Internet, 2 Nov 07 more on the slick Dar Al Ifta site (previously blogged)
MEMRI, Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-'Arifi Explains Wife Beating in Islam to Young Muslims in a Ramadhan Show, 9 Sept 07 subtitled + transcript [via lgf] includes video clip from LBC TV of Muhammad Al-’Arifi's discussion., Electronic Jihad: Winds of Cyber War or False Alarm?, 2 Nov 07 "Some security experts have dismissed the report, calling talk of an impending "electronic jihad" little more than static. Others, however, said improving tools could make such an assault a distinct possibility." More on this story from earlier in the week. Also see eNews 2.0, The Cyber Jihad Reports Sound Just like Fake, 1 Nov 07

Thursday, November 01, 2007, 'The 99' Muslim comic superheroes land in U.S., 31 Oct 07 Details at Teshkeel Comics. I have previously blogged on this, but haven't got hold of a copy yet... however, electronic copies are available via Qmags, including the Origins issue.
IDG News Service/, Report: Cyber Jihad Set for Nov. 11: Security experts say that a reported al-Qaeda cyber jihad attack planned against Western institutions should be treated with skepticism, 31 Oct 07, "Such an attack could be launched with a known software kit, called Electronic Jihad Version 2.0, said Paul Henry, vice president of technology evangelism with Secure Computing. This software, which has been in circulation for about three years, has recently become more easily configurable so that it could be more effective in a distributed denial of service attack, such as the one suggested by the DEBKAfile report.

"Attackers would download Jihad 2.0 to their own desktops and specify the amount of bandwidth they would like to consume, not unlike the SETI@home software package used to scan for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence." This report by Robert McMillan refers to the DEBKAfile story posted yesterday.