Tuesday, February 27, 2007

MEMRI, Cyberspace as a Combat Zone: The Phenomenon of Electronic Jihad, 27 Feb, 2007 illustrated overview and commentary, with reference to Muslim Hackerz, Ansar Al-Jihad Lil-Jihad Al-Electroni, etc. Note: this subject is also discussed in my book Islam in the Digital Age.

itnews.com.au, Imprisoned blogger's supporters say Egypt no place for UN Internet Talks, 26 Feb 07 "Human Rights Watch said the laws that authorities accused Suleiman of violating contradict the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Egypt ratified 25 years ago. The agreement guarantees free expression through art and media. Egyptian laws, however, prohibit the dissemination of information, including news, which could disrupt security, spread horror, or harm the public interest. They also allow imprisonment for offending the president and for discrimination based on race, origin, or belief, if the "instigation is likely to disturb public order," according to excerpts published by Human Rights Watch."

TradeArabia.com, Bayt.com highlights Net potential, 26 Feb 07, "Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site, has said that the Internet is growing in profile as an important medium for recruiters and jobseekers in the Arab world." Advertorial.

emediawire.com, Scholar David Hulme Launches Blog on the Middle East Conflict, 21 Feb 07 press release: links to Hulme's Causes of Conflict, which I have yet to read fully.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Gulf Times, Blogger sent to jail for insulting Islam, 23 Feb 07 "Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student who has been in custody since November, was the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt for his Internet writings. He was convicted in connection with eight articles he wrote since 2004."

BBC News, Web 2.0's 'digital mobs' attacked, 22 Feb 07, "The latest phase of internet - web 2.0 - has been attacked by a leading author and digital pioneer for its "mob" mentality, describing it as "digital Maoism"."

Jawa Report, Chilling Audio Sermon, 21 Feb 07 allegations regarding Shaykh Mohammad Adly, drawn from other sites.

6d, Islam illustrated
profile of Q-News cartoonist Shirley Anjum: "While surfing the Internet for new work opportunities she discovered the London based Q-news, a leading monthly Muslim magazine, and has been drawing for them since January 2005."

focus-fen.net, Bulgaria busts two radical Islamic Internet sites, 20 Feb 07, "Bulgarian police said Tuesday they had arrested four people for publishing two Internet sites used to preach radical, violent Islam and call for the overthrow of the state, AFP reports."

globalvoicesonline.org, Pakistan: Online freedom of speech as collateral damage?, 23 Feb 07 "The complex questions that enter the mind of anyone facing similar situations in other countries are obvious. What can you do, as a defender of online free speech, when your country, your fellow citizens–and maybe you –are insulted by those exercising freedom of speech? What kind of balance do you need to find in order to defend freedom of speech for everybody–even for those who published, republished or made the cartoons–while understanding the sentiments of anger surrounding you? Figuring out where one ends and the other begins is not an easy task in an environment where religious fervor is the norm.

"And yet, that was the tricky path that the 'Don’t Block The Blog' (DBTB) campaign found and has succeeded in navigating over the last year: defending the freedom of speech and campaigning for the right of everyone to express themselves, while containing the overwhelming pressure coming from many who supported, openly, the ban of the deemed blasphemous blogs and websites." This includes links to a related PowerPoint presentation by Awab Alvi of Teeth Maestro (another dentist/blogger - they're becoming a sub-genre). Also see freeexpressionasia, Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace: A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media, April 2006

The Sun, Virtual 'war zone' is the cure, 20 Feb 07 "Pentagon chiefs believe their war veterans are helped by reliving their experiences in a computer-generated combat zone." Also see Institute for Creative Technologies, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Assessment and Treatment (PTSD) "The project uses a VR environment as the basis of treatment, whereby a veteran with PTSD can experience a combat-relevant scenario in a low-threat context to therapeutically process emotions and decondition the effects of the disorder." Unlikely to appear on PS3.

kioskmarketplace.com, Photo kiosks gain popularity in Middle East Market, 19 Feb 07

AP/technewsworld.com, Israel Installs Webcams to Ease Tensions at Dig Site, 16 Feb 07, "The Israeli government began operating live Internet cameras Thursday at a construction project next to a hotly disputed Jerusalem holy site. Israel hoped the live pictures would put fears to rest, demonstrating that the excavations are well outside the wall in front of the Al Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site." Also see The Israel Antiquities Authority Excavation at the Mughrabi Ramp video. It's not clear to me how the present pix will help, without a commentary. There are more scientific explanations/opinions on the website, including 'Why must excavations be conducted next to the Temple Mount right now, of all times?'

Guardian, Iran cracks down on web critics, Feb 20 2007 "An Iranian website fiercely critical of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been shut down in an apparent fresh crackdown on anti-government dissent on the internet."

NYT, Baghdad Day to Day: Librarian’s Journal, 7 Feb 07 "Saad Eskander, the director of Iraq’s National Library and Archive in Baghdad, finally had some time to catch up on his diary after a couple of very busy weeks. As he wrote in his latest entry, he was having trouble repairing the Internet system; the Restoration Laboratory "was hit by 5 bullets"; and "another librarian, who works at the Periodical Department, received a death threat. He has to leave his house and look for another one, as soon as he can; otherwise, he will be murdered."" Refers to The British Library, Diary of Saad Eskander, Director of the Iraq National Library and Archive

Friday, February 09, 2007

AKI, Al-Qaeda Web Monthly back after year's break, 8 Feb 07, "After more than a year's absence, the jihadi propaganda monthly "Voice of Jihad" (Sawt-al-Jihad), edited by the Saudi cell of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, has reappeared on the Internet. The new issue - the 30th - opens with an editorial threatening the Saudi regime and welcoming the birth of "an Islamic emirate" in Iraq by local al-Qaeda cells. "Voice of Jihad" was launched in 2003 covering mainly ideological and doctrinal issues concerning the mujahadeen in the Arabian Peninsula."

Sapa-AP/Mail & Guardian, Terror groups turn to YouTube for exposure, 9 Feb 07 useful article: "With just one click, anyone with an internet connection can watch videos of bombings and sniper attacks against United States-led forces in Iraq -- shot, edited and broadcast by Islamic militants on YouTube, the world's largest video-sharing portal."

AFP/Yahoo! News, Al-Qaeda posts video of downed US chopper in Iraq, 9 Feb 07 "The Iraqi branch of Al-Qaeda broadcast has an Internet video purporting to show the shooting down of a US army chopper which fell in the Sunni rebel province of Al-Anbar."

Daily Sun Nigeria, Digital Sultan, New Sultan, Abubakar III vows to put Sokoto Caliphate on internet, 9 Feb 07 "And talking about modernising the caliphate, the spiritual leader of Muslims in the country said: "We intend to put the caliphate on the internet. We already have a V-sat being installed. We’ll upload on the internet historical books written by Usman Dan Fodio and his lieutenants so that anybody anywhere can access the web and get information on the caliphate."

dnaindia.com, Now, Shariat law on the net, 9 Feb 07, "The Islamic world would soon have a new star in the East to look up to for guidance. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is in the process of updating its website ‘aimplboard.org’ at a cost of Rs50 lakh.

"Post-update, the website would serve as a beacon to the 56 Islamic nations and over 120 crore Muslims throughout the world on issues related to the Holy Quran, Islam and the Shariat or Islamic law."

Stanford Review, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s E-ministration, 9 Feb 07, "Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s 11th president and a man well-known in the Asian subcontinent for his scientific mind, has started to apply new technology to the democratic process. For several months, Kalam has featured a “Children’s Corner” on his official website where he painstakingly responds to hundreds of questions sent in via email every day. The answers, which he guarantees within 48 hours, are not all necessarily revelations and rarely do they offer even wholly unique insight, but the international community is starting to take notice of the President’s humble efforts."

The Peninsular, Muslims urged to unite on Al Aqsa mosque issue, 8 Feb 07, "It was announced during a symposium titled 'Muslim and current challenges' organised by Al-Balgh cultural society to serve Islam on the internet, popularly known as 'Islam on line' at its premises in collaboration with the ISU."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


washingtonpost.com, Hackers Attack Key Net Traffic Computers, 6 Feb 07 (general update)

More specific to this blog: Juan Cole, Internet Wars in the Middle East and Iraq, 3 Feb 07 This refers in part to asharqalawsat.com, العراق: الطائفية تشعل حرب قرصنة على الإنترنت: Translation follows: "The London Pan-Arab daily, Al-Sharq al-Awsat ["The Middle East"] reports in Arabic that sectarian guerrilla groups and militias in Iraq have enlisted hackers to take their struggle into the internet. These jihadi hackers attempt to break into the sites of their rivals and deface them or steal the data stored on their servers ...


" ... Such attacks are launched every hour on Iraqi internet sites, according to a number of bloggers, who helped put al-Sharq al-Awsat in touch with some hackers. Among them is Bibu (Ibrahim) Arab, who trains a group of young persons in hacking, describing them as independent hackers. He explained that hacking sites is a relatively new phenomenon in Iraq and its impetus was the rise of sectarian conflict. He said that there are no effective sanctions against hacking in Iraq. Therefore, groups sought out hackers and paid them handsomely to attack rival sites, the ideas of which the groups disagreed."

I recommend reading the full article. Cole's piece also contains an article translated by the US Government Open Source Center, although I cannot presently source the original link, entitled "Turkey: Online Rally Being Organized To Protest US Middle East, Iraq Policy"

Online education:

arabnews.com, Imam Muhammad University Launches Mass Communications Program, 5 Feb 07 "Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University has launched an ambitious program for mass communications that will include a redesigned curriculum, e-publishing, web page designing, state-of-the-art TV and broadcasting facilities as part of its plan to project a new look." The university's website is here, in Arabic only at present (with some script problems). It looks like a significant programme.

Headlines, commentary and opinions:

Western Resistance, Islamist Preacher Called For Beheadings, 5 Feb 07 commentary on ITV News clips relating to Abu Izzadeen.

Daily Mail, We do use books that call Jews 'apes' admits head of Islamic school, 7 Feb 07 This controversy rumbles on in the Mail and elsewhere. You can view a related clip on BBC Newsnight's pages, and also read a related feature on BBC News, Row over Saudi school textbooks, 7 Feb 07

To be read in conjunction with the above: the following letter in yesterday's Guardian has generated some interest. The Guardian, Tariq Modood & Ziauddin Sardar, Questions remain over what British Muslims think, 6 Feb 07

And finally (completely unrelated):

Reuters/National Post, Malaysian Muslim switched at birth seeks to swap religions, change his name, 7 Feb 07. This should generate some lively scholarly discussions. I am not sure what the precedents are (any suggestions?).
YNet, Al-Qaeda site posts Israeli book: Jihad website refers to book written by Haifa University professor discussing role net plays in terrorism, 5 February 2007, "Professor Gabriel Weimann of Haifa University's Communications Department was surprised to find a picture of the cover of his book, 'Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges,' and links to its summaries, on a global Jihad organization's website."

Monday, February 05, 2007

New-ish and noted: Islamophonic, Jan 24 2006 The Guardian's Islam-related podcast, which I have also added to the Podcast listing in the left-hand column of this blog. The podcast marks an interesting development, although I haven't heard it myself yet. You can reach it via the following channels:

Friday, February 02, 2007

rsf.org, Reporters Without Borders issues its 2007 annual press freedom survey (available as a PDF): "The survey, published on 1 February, reports on press freedom in 98 countries and includes the main violations of journalists’ rights in 2006 and regional aspects of media and Internet freedom."

Also see مراسلون بلا حدود تنشر تقريرها السنوي للعام 2007

في الأول من شباط/فبراير، تنشر مراسلون بلا حدود تقريرها السنوي للعام 2007 الذي تعرض فيه واقع حرية الصحافة في 98 دولة متوقفةً عند أبرز الانتهاكات لحقوق الصحافيين في العام 2006 ومقدّمةً آفاقاً موضوعية وإقليمية حول وضع حرية وسائل الإعلام والإنترنت عبر العالم
gulf-times.com, Mufti forbids Qur’an verses as ring tones, 2 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."

thenation.com, Negar Azimi, Bloggers against Torture

Taliya News, Security researchers and hackers gather in the Middle East, 25 Jan 07 ""Hack In The Box (M) Sdn Bhd has announced that for the second time, it will be bringing some of the worlds’ leading network security researchers to the Middle East. HITBSecConf2007 – Dubai will take place at The Sheraton Creek from the 2nd till the 5th of April 2007.

"This hacking and network security conference will feature over 20 of the world’s leading network security specialists who will be conducting 4 tracks of technical training sessions on the 2nd and 3rd of April. Topics for the training sessions include Advance Web Application Security, Tactical VoIP: Applied VoIPhreaking, Structured Network Threat Analysis and Forensics and Packetmastering the Monkey Way."

Further info from hackinthebox.org

bizcommunity.com, Internet impacts on print media health Important point here: "Nevertheless, unlike the US and other developed nations, most print media jobs in Africa are safe, for now, partly because the continent just does not have the resources to upgrade its technological capacities now and then. Also, due to poverty, lack of computers and energy and technological illiteracy in many African villages and townships, many people only rely on newspapers and radio to get news."

The Independent, The Jewish school where half the pupils are Muslim, 2 February 2007 "The Muslim parents, mostly devout and many of the women wearing the hijab, say they love the ethos of the school, and even the kosher school lunches, which are suitable because halal and kosher dietary rules are virtually identical. The school is also respectful to Islam, setting aside a prayer room for the children and supplying Muslim teachers during Ramadan. At Eid, the Muslim children are wished Eid Mubarak in assembly, and all year round, if they wish, can wear a kufi (hat). Amazingly, dozens of the Muslim children choose instead to wear the Jewish kipah." Non-tech, interesting article.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

UPI/metimes.com, Kenyan police 'hack Al Qaeda laptop', 31 Jan 07 "A report by the Kenyan newspaper, The Daily Nation, on its Web site Monday quoted anonymous "senior police sources" as saying that the computer "contained vital information on terrorism training and intelligence collection, including spying."

"The report gave no further details, but said the computer was seized from the wife of Faisal Abdullah Mohammed - indicted by federal prosecutors for his role in the Al Qaeda truck bombings of two US embassies in East Africa in August, 1998."

I'm curious to know exactly what they found...

Overview/discussion on e-zines:Stanfor, Sawt Al Jihad: Signs of a Saudi al Qaeda Resurgence?, 31 Jan 07

In the courts:

AKI, Terrorism: Two charged in Britain, 30 Jan 07, "Two men, Rizan Ditta, 29, and Mohammad Dilal, 25, have been charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and were due on Tuesday to appear before the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Ditta faces 13 charges relating to the possession of computer files for a purpose connected with terrorism or likely to be useful in the preparation of a terrorist act. Dilal is accused of two offences relating to possessing a disc, a computer file and CDs likely to be useful to a person preparing a terrorist act."

Hendon Times, Bin Laden tapes found at ‘bomb factory’, 1 Feb 07 "The jury was told that during a ten-day search of the flat, from July 25 to August 3, police found images of beheadings of Western hostages; newspaper and television reports about the July 7 bombings in London in which 52 people died; and videos of Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed last June."

In the UK headlines:

Daily Express, Plot to behead soldier in Britain, 1 Feb 07 "The suspected plan was to kidnap a Muslim soldier and film him against the backdrop of a Jihad banner as he pleaded for his life and appealed to Tony Blair to withdraw British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. In a final act of barbarism, a hooded executioner would behead the soldier before broadcasting the horrific scenes on a website."

Times Online, Online footage can do more damage than bomb attacks, 1 Feb 07 "Professor Paul Wilkinson, the chairman of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews, said: "That execution was deeply felt in Britain, as geography doesn’t count with such violence. Terror tactics that have worked in one place can easily be tried elsewhere. This is a classic method of spreading terrorist intimidation, using such tactics as hostage-taking as a theatre for intimidating a very large audience.""

The Independent, Birmingham's Muslims fear reprisals after anti-terror raids, 1 Feb 07 "Shabir Hussain, chairman of the Ludlow Road mosque, said: "People don't trust their own children any more. It's causing difficulties inside families. You feel like you should challenge your son or daughter: 'Where are you going at night? What are you watching on TV? What are you doing on the internet?' After this kind of thing, 100 per cent of families are worried.""

The Sun, Muslim heroes fight for UK, 31 Jan 07

Times Online, Islamist bookshop was known to sell 'incendiary works', 30 Jan 07 Allegations about Maktabah bookshop in Sparkhill, Birmingham: "The store was also revealed to sell a DVD, 21st Century CrUSAders, which shows injured and dead children in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, describes Britain as a "police state" and distorts Tony Blair’s face into that of Satan."

On the PC (not sure if it will make it to PS/DS/Mac):

Computer games for mature persons are a lucrative business, 1 Feb 07, I have noted Global Conflicts: Palestine before, but here is an update: "The company has recently launched a game, which is not only entertaining, but also intended for educational use. The game 'Global Conflicts: Palestine' is an interactive game. It informs about the Middle East conflict and at the same it is exciting to play with its magnificent graphic sceneries." Here is the official site of Global Conflicts: Palestine. The game is not released yet.

Alas... zeenews.com, Floppy disks may soon be history, 31 Jan 07