Wednesday, March 28, 2007

BBC, Iran TV shows seized UK navy crew, 28 March 2007
RAND, Rand Report Says Cold War Offers Lessons On Engaging With The Muslim World, March 26, 2007 The report is available as a PDF: Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell H. Schwartz, Peter Sickle, Building Moderate Muslim Networks (RAND) It's 217 pages in length, and I haven't read it yet.

USA Today/CIO Today, U.S. Military Beefs Up Internet Arsenal, 28 March 2007 "The U.S. military is quietly expanding capabilities to attack terrorists' computer networks, including Web sites that glorify insurgent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, military officials and experts say."

AP, Official Blames Al Qaeda in Iraq for Death of Key Sunni Insurgent Leader, 27 March 2007 "A military leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, a major Sunni Arab insurgent group, was killed Tuesday in an ambush west of Baghdad, the group said in an Internet statement."

Global Voices Online, Egypt: Free Kareem Rallies and What Kareem Wrote, 26 March 2007 "A call has gone out for a second round of worldwide rallies to pressure the Egyptian government to free detained blogger Abdulkareem Nabeel Sulaiman, a 22-year-old former Al Azhar University student, who has been sentenced to four years in prison for articles he wrote on the Internet." follow-up to recently blogged story

A couple of 'convert'/'revert' stories:

Yemen Observer, The rising popularity of Islam in the West, 25 March 2007 "Islam is becoming the most popular religion in the world, said Hashem al-Attas, a researcher at the Dar al-Mustafa for Traditional Islamic Education. “Many mass media show that it is spreading faster than all other religions,” he said. To address this issue, the al-Ibda Cultural Center for Studies and Heritage Services prepared in cooperation with Sana’a University and the al-Mustafa Center for Islamic Studies a cultural symposium on the spread of Islam in the West."

PRWeb, Muslimah Writers Alliance Director to Appear on Channel Islam Radio in Support of Islamic Initiative at Johannesburg's Rand Show, 23 March 2007, "Raised in Michigan as a Christian, Ms. Schwartz, after learning about Islam through the internet, made her Shahada at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. in April of 2002. Now fulfilling a commitment she made to God over 20-years ago at a Baptist University in Ohio, Ms. Schwartz is dedicated to serving the Muslim community as a civil and human rights activist focusing on women's issues through her writings.

"Her work is often published at Naseeb Vibes, the largest internet-based E-Zine, with over 320 thousand subscribers. A catalogue of Ms. Schwartz's intriguing Islamic journey series of articles can also be found at her personal website She is also a member of the Muslim American Journalists Association and the National Association of Women Writers."

And finally (strictly non-tech):

AP/WWRN, In anti-vice drive, female Islamic students abduct alleged brothel owner in Islamabad, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Religious Police Tackle Cyberspace, 27 Mar 07 "The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Saudi Arabia has presented training courses to familiarize 375 of its members with modern technology and the latest cyber culture to monitor any offences in this field.

"Sheikh Suleyman Tuwaijri, the director of the Medina branch of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice told Asharq Al Awsat that the Commission is in the process of preparing some of its members, through these courses, to deal with the new advances and the proliferation of cyber culture, with a particular focus on computer-related offences and how to detect and deal with them, as well as offering specialized training courses to obtain the ICDL [International Computer Driving License] ...

"... This week, Saudi Arabia announced that it will impose 1-year prison sentences and fines of 500,000 Saudi Riyals ($133,000) for Internet hacking and misuse of mobile telephone cameras, such as taking unauthorized pictures."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Just picked this up from IslamicTube:

Child Imam - Miracle And Blessed Child - A Must See
non-tech: BBC, UK sailors captured at gunpoint, 23 Mar 07 this story had yet to appear on IRNA, Don't look now, but jihad propaganda is getting on the Internet, 23 March 2007 just in case you hadn't noticed, Call for free Internet availability, 23 Mar 07 "A call has been made to have Internet available in Saudi Arabia’s schools and universities free of charge arguing that such a measure is essential in order to take the kingdom to a new era of scientific and technological progress."

This is Lonon, 7/7 bomb suspects 'flying to join militants', 23 Mar 07, "Two of the men arrested over the 7/7 bombings were believed to be heading to Pakistan to join Islamic extremists."

Guardian, Soldiers stoned and burned in Mogadishu, 22 Mar 07, "Images of the mutilation, which appeared on Somali websites, had echoes of American soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu during an ill-fated relief mission in the mid-1990s."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Global Voices, Pakistan: block on Blogger has been lifted! Until…?, 14 Mar 07 just picked up this useful article by Sami Ben Gharbia
Asharq Alawsat, Dubai: Fatwa Bans Reckless Driving, 21 Mar 07, "Dubai authorities have resorted to a religious decree (Fatwa) to remedy the large number of fatal traffic accidents that occur on a monthly basis among nationals and residents.

"Dubai's Grand Mufti Dr. Ahmad al Haddad issued a fatwa prohibiting the running red lights, violating traffic laws and speeding. In the fatwa, he stressed that authorities are entitled to jail or impose fines on violators when it deems it in the public interest."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

AFP/Yahoo!, Iran lifts ban on conservative website, 19 Mar 07 ""Following an order of the State Council the ban on 'Baztab' was lifted and this site was reopened," said a message on the restored website that had been shut down in February by the culture ministry."

Reuters/Yahoo!, Lucky find in Malaysia: one million pirated discs, 20 Mar 07 "A whiff of plastic led sniffer dogs in Malaysia to a cache of about one million pirated game and movie discs with a street value of roughly $3 million, film industry officials said on Tuesday."

Spiegel Online, Are Koran Schools Hotbeds of Terrorism?, 20 Mar 07 Non-tech, interesting report from Yemen, includes links to a photo gallery associated with Qur'anic studies in various locations.
BBC News, In pictures: Egypt's biggest moulid Great pix (non-tech): "About 3,000 moulids are held in Egypt every year. Part pilgrimage, part carnival, part mystical Islamic ceremony, they are a mass phenomenon that is increasingly attracting the attention of the Egyptian authorities.", Bali convict warns of more attacks, 20 Mar 07 "Small "terror groups" influenced by material on the internet are likely to launch more attacks against Western targets in Indonesia, a man convicted in connection with the 2002 Bali bombings has said."

AP/Jerusalem Post, Pearl's family questions terrorist's confession, 19 Mar 07, "The family of Daniel Pearl has expressed skepticism over a claim by the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, that he personally beheaded the American journalist five years ago."

MEMRI, Islamist Website Instructs Mujahideen in Using Popular U.S. Web Forums to Foster Anti-War Sentiment among Americans, Special Dispatch Series - No. 1508, 20 Mar 07 "As part of the campaign to foster anti-war sentiment among Westerners, and more specifically among Americans, a member of the Al-Mohajroon Islamist website with the username Al-Wathiq Billah instructed mujahideen in how to infiltrate popular American forums and to use them to distribute jihad films and spread disinformation about the war."

Friday, March 16, 2007

NYT, New Face of Jihad Vows Attacks, 16 Mar 07 "The men belong to a new militant Islamic organization called Fatah al Islam, whose leader, a fugitive Palestinian named Shakir al-Abssi, has set up operations in a refugee camp here where he trains fighters and spreads the ideology of Al Qaeda." [includes video interview with Shakir al-Abssi]

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yemen Times, New generation prefers boy-girl relationships, Issue: (1032), Volume 14 , From 12 March 2007 to 14 March 2007, "Some Yemeni youths who worry about social traditions turn to the internet seeking relationships outside of their families' knowledge. These are known as cyber-relations.

"It’s easy for both sexes to fall in love or form other types of relationships through chat programs. Thousands of youths do this in our society," Al-Hamami notes ...

" ... Actually, many Yemenis prefer to form relationships through the internet. Such relationships sometimes end in love, marriage or nothing at all. "I like to meet girls on chat programs because we can see and talk to each other without being worried and we can talk freely," comments 22-year-old Ali Mohammed, adding that he has several female friends.", Libya Emerges From Its Tech Time Warp, 5 Mar 07, "The lifting of sanctions has created an unusual opportunity for privately held Certiport, a Salt Lake City training firm working to get Libya up to speed as it emerges from its tech time warp.

""There were absolutely no computers," said Abdelmouniam Makhtari, Certiport's manager for Middle East and Africa business development, speaking from Libya's capital, Tripoli. The firm has been providing tech training and certification to the Libyan government since 2005."

AFP/Yahoo! News, Egypt court rejects blogger appeal, 12 Mar 07, "An Egyptian court on Monday upheld a four-year sentence against a blogger convicted of insulting religion and defaming the president, a verdict condemned by rights groups as a threat to free speech."

eitb24, Al Qaeda threatens Spain for presence in Afghanistan, 12 Mar 07

Washington Post/Hamilton Spectator, Experts perplexed by scope of terrorists, 13 Mar 07, "In London, eight male al-Qaeda suspects are currently on trial for an alleged plot to blow up unspecified targets in Britain with bombs made of ammonium nitrate, a common ingredient in fertilizers. According to testimony at the trial, which began in March 2006, the defendants persuaded a Canadian woman, whom they had met on the Internet, to wire money on their behalf because she was less likely to attract suspicion."

Reuters, Malaysia uses sniffer dogs to fight movie pirates, 13 Mar 07, "Trained by a handler in Northern Ireland who usually teaches dogs to find bombs, Lucky and Flo are aged three-and-a-half, and can find, but cannot distinguish between, CDs and DVDs, burned and replicated disks, or legitimate and pirate disks."

Monday, March 12, 2007

New York Times, Arbaeen in Karbala, 12 Mar 07 pilgrimage video diary "Millions of Shiites made a pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq, despite the threat of snipers and suicide bombers." [posted retrospectively]
Times Online, Al-Qaeda plot to bring down UK internet, 11 Mar 07 "The suspects, who were arrested, had targeted the headquarters of Telehouse Europe, which houses Europe’s biggest “web hotel”, containing dozens of 'servers', the boxes which contain the information that makes up the web.

"Security experts say the plot against Britain’s internet “hub” reflects the constantly changing threat from Al-Qaeda and related Islamic extremist groups." Not sure if this reflects the true picture, given the way the net functions. This action would have damaged aQ's own communication infrastructure too.

ahwarq alawsat, Al-Qaeda's Zawahri Rebukes Hamas Over Mecca Deal, 11 Mar 07 ""Hamas went to a picnic with the U.S. Satan and his Saudi agent," he said in an audio recording posted on the Internet on Sunday."

NY Sun, Jihadist Meltdown, 12 Mar 07

The Sun, 7/7 bomber in internet vid, 12 Mar 07 "The 11-minute film is called “They die to be Alive”. The image of Khan, who killed six people in the 7/7 Edgware Road Tube bombing, features in a section that celebrates al-Qaeda 'martyrs'.", Osama Turns 50; on the Internet!, 10 Mar 07

Friday, March 09, 2007

Here's a very interesting report from Iraq: LA Times/, In Iraq, 'Dating' Happens Online, 8 Mar 07 "Young Iraqis, trapped in their homes in the mean streets of this bloodstained capital, are increasingly turning to the Internet to chat with relatives, hang out with friends and search for love.

"Such virtual relationships offer a refuge of sorts from numbing isolation and fear during a time of staggering violence. But all too often they are mirages -- a seductive reminder of a life now tantalizingly out of reach for most." Essential reading.

AP/IHT, Pakistan Internet provider says it blocked part of Taliban Web site, 8 Mar 07 "A Pakistan Internet service provider said Thursday it had blocked part of a Taliban Web site after it showed images of slain U.S. Marines and burning American vehicles.

"Tehsin Ullah Jan, chief executive of Jan Technologies, said the Peshawar-based company removed the images this week from the site after a complaint from a U.S. Internet company."

Read in conjunction with:, Taliban begins to look and act like Al Qaeda, 8 Mar 07 "Firstly, the Taliban, which is based in the tribal belt of Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), is executing ‘collaborators’. Warning notes are pinned to the victims saying “American spies will face the same fate”.

"Secondly, the Taliban have embarked on a media blitz to communicate with friends and enemies alike. They have been recording videos of the executions and posting them on the Internet."

Diplomatic Traffic, Threats unlikely to silence bloggers as Egypt jails youth for 'insults', n.d., "Bloggers in Egypt have for months now irritated Mubarak’s regime with the audacity of those who know they have not simply youth on their side but the ability to shame a regime that has plenty to hide. Some of those bloggers combine their online activism with good old fashioned street protests which last year got many of them thrown in jail for weeks on that chestnut of a charge – insulting the president. But that just boosted their legitimacy as the young ones who took on the aging ruler and made many of them household names in Egypt." Article/opinion by Mona Eltahawy, originally posted in

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reuters, Million Muslim pilgrims flock to Senegal's "Mecca", 8 Mar 07 "More than a million Muslim pilgrims packed Senegal's remote northeastern city of Touba on Thursday as members of the powerful Mouride brotherhood flocked to "Africa's Mecca" from across the world.

"Huge crowds moved shoulder to shoulder in the sweltering heat around the marble Great Mosque as devotees from Senegal joined with Mourides returning from overseas to pay homage to the Sufi Islam movement's founder, Cheikh Amadou Bamba."

Interesting article, not exactly tech-based, but then there is always the Wiki on Cheikh Amadou Bamba [image: right], and the closest one gets to an 'official' site at Youssou N'dour's last album 'Egypt', which I recommend, contains songs about Bamba - check Youssou's MySpace for info. There are some nice pix from Toube at Benn loxu du taccu, and another 'official site' at Bamba Islam al-Muridiyyah

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

BBC News, Turkish court bans YouTube access, 7 Mar 07 "Access to the popular video-sharing website YouTube has been suspended in Turkey following a court order."

Asharq Alawsat, Al Sakina’s Mission to Deter Extremist Ideology, 7 Mar 07, "The female department of the Al Sakina campaign states that "40% of fundamentalist forums and websites that discuss Saudi affairs are run by women." However, this department did not state whether this figure represents native Saudi women or residents, or whether they are inside or outside of the kingdom.

"The female department of the Al Sakina campaign is made up of seven full-time members, two of whom are assigned to scientific and legal debates and interviews whilst the other five are responsible for expansion, establishing ties and arranging subjects. The campaign also has 11 part-time members, most of whom take part in interviews to train as many male and female interviewers as possible to be able to respond those who have adopted deviated ideologies."

AP/, Palestinian Internet cafes being attacked, 7 Mar 07 "In deeply conservative Gaza, devout Muslims would consider Internet cafes to be dens of vice because young men are known to view pornography there. Music shops could be a target because some believers fear pop music distracts from prayers. The targeting of pharmacies remains a mystery, though, officials say."

BBC News, Iranian bloggers' nuclear gloom, 7 Mar 07 "Iranian bloggers have been watching developments in the nuclear dispute with the West over the past few weeks with much foreboding, but also a fair measure of irreverence."

Reuters/, Egypt's bloggers test state media control, 5 Mar 07 "Egyptian bloggers have come into the spotlight, on the one hand as an important forum for political debate, on the other as the target of government attempts to limit their freedom of expression."

ABC Australia, Indonesia plans island terrorist jail, 6 Mar 07, "Indonesia is constructing a special high security island prison specifically designed for convicted terrorists.

"The new facility is designed to prevent terrorists from accessing computers and telephones while in jail.", Muslims against Jihad, 7 Mar 07, Opinion/discussion on the 'Secular Islam Summit': "In keeping with this history, before the Secular Islam Summit even took place, internet-based attacks were unleashed against the conference and its participants by pro-Wahabi, Salafi and Khomeinist web sites and bloggers. Al-Jazeera sent a crew to interview the participants and also to air "opposing views" from leaders of the local community in the area. In its afternoon shows, the network sought comment from a local representative of the Islamist advocacy group the Council on American Islamic Relations." There is further coverage of this event at the Secular Islam Summit blog, and of course there is plenty of dialogue on it in various areas of the web.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not exactly a headline for regular readers of this blog:, Jihadists Use Internet As Recruiting, Networking Tool, Intel Official Says, 6 Mar 07 "Army Brig. Gen. John Custer and other experts described the effects of terrorists' online recruiting and networking methods during a 60 Minutes interview with correspondent Scott Pelley.

""I see 16-, 17-year-olds who have been indoctrinated on the Internet turn up on the battlefield," Custer said. "We capture them; we kill them every day in Iraq, in Afghanistan.""

Here's the link to the programme, which I have yet to see, so cannot really comment upon: 60 Minutes, Terrorists Take Recruitment Efforts Online, 4 Mar 07 including the video

Should be read/viewed in relation to: Middle East Online, Al-Qaeda fights online, 20 Feb 07 which I have just picked up. Plenty of other recent articles on associated themes, some of which have picked up some lively feedback, such as, The ‘Net as terrorist tool, 27 Feb 07

Other topics and issues:

Bernama, M'sia Wants Stereotyping Of Terrorism With Islam To Stop, 5 Mar 07

VoIP News, VoIP Licences For All In Bangladesh, "After spending the last few months hauling illegal VoIP operators out into the open and into the courts, Bangladeshi bureaucrats could be on the verge of granting wholesale approval for the technology.

"According to this report a committee of senior government representatives has recommended that licences for Voice over IP be granted to all the country's operators including mobile and fixed line phone providers and Internet Service Providers.", Job lured alleged al-Qaida trainee to Houston, 4 Mar 07 "Under the user name Daniel Aljughaifi, Maldonado was a paid message board moderator for Islamic Network. Before his capture in January while fleeing Somalia, he was one of many members to discuss attempts to establish Islamic law in that African nation."

Traditional Islam for the hip-hop generation, "Abdul-Latif and others at LICC have recently put their musical and rhetorical talents to use online by hosting "Discourse," an internet radio show on Earthbound radio (, which airs every Sunday afternoon from 12-2pm. It is a mixture of clean hip hop and conscious discussion." Sounds interesting, so I'll have to listen in. Relates to content within the Muslim Networks book edited by Bruce Lawrence and miriam cooke, which I have a chapter in (my chapter is not about hip-hop ...)., Rethinking Islam from Pakistan to Texas, 4 Mar 07 " ... Asani has created a set of educational modules intended to provoke new and innovative understandings of the religion. Starting with lessons on the life of Muhammad and leading into Islamic Modernism and its struggle to adapt to growing Western and international influences, Asani provides teachers with readings, contextual sketches, and discussion questions to lead groups throughout the process. While Asani communicates with the teachers via Internet message boards and visits each of the four international sites to give lectures and elucidate readings through cultural and artistic artifacts, the bulk of the study is done through independent discussion groups moderated by the teachers themselves in a program that typically lasts six months.", Execution of 18 Iraqi police posted on Internet, 4 Mar 07 "The three-minute video shows the 18 men kneeling on the ground near a citrus groove. As they are shot one by one in the back of the head they fall to the ground face first.

"Male voices in the background repeatedly chant “At your service sister,” fuelling speculation that the killings are in retaliation for the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by members of the Iraqi police force, which is Shiite dominated.", al-Qaeda threat to Price Harry in Iraq, 6 Mra 07 "Terrorists have vowed to kidnap or kill Prince Harry when he fights in Iraq, the Sun reported on Monday March 5.", Brave New World - Your Child, Jihad, and the Internet by Susan MacAllen, 5 Mar 07 opinion and commentary

Friday, March 02, 2007

Global Voices, Interview with Farsi Tube Co-Founder Sherwin Noorian, 1 Mar 07 "Farsi Tube or Iranian You Tube, launched in the US at the end of last year, attracts 3,000 visitors daily, says its co-founder Sherwin Noorian. On a busy day, the figure could leap to 7,000 visitors who are there to catch the latest videos Persian-speakers are posting on the site."