Friday, June 29, 2007

New Publication: Religious Communities on the Internet: Proceedings from a conference, Edited by Göran Larsson, Studier av inter-religiösa relationer 29: Utgivare: Ingvar Svanberg och David Westerlund, (Stockholm, Swedish Science Press, 2006):

"Religions on the Internet are today an important and vital subject in the field of Religious Studies. The focus in this volume is on identity processes, globalisation, migration, minority affairs and religions critique of information and communication technologies. The chapters illustrate on the one hand how religious groups use the Internet for discussing and expressing religious feelings and belongings, and on the other hand how the technology is being utilised for questioning religious authority and power. All chapters in the book were read at a conference, The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Religions, Ethnic, and Cultural Diaspora Communities in the West, that was organized by LearnIT in October 2003 and funded by the Knowledge Foundation, Sweden."

This contains a contribution from myself, entitled 'CyberMuslimUK: Islam, UK Muslim Communities and Cyberspace'. There are also other chapters relating specifically to Islam, Muslims and cyberspace, from Göran Larsson, Dale F. Eickelman, Philip Hallden, Ermete Mariani and Garbi Schmidt. Also other chapters on religion and cyberspace, by Lorne Dawson, Kyra Landzelius, and Morten Thomsen Hojsgaard.
Interview with Akbar Ahmed, who has been very busy: Guardian, West 'must stop looking at Islam through the lens of terror', 28 June 2007 "He has just published a new book, Journeys into Islam; a 12-part lecture series for the internet; an audio series about Islam; and a new play." Details of Ahmed's book are here: Akbar Ahmed, Journey into Islam, The Crisis of Globalization, Brookings Institution Press 2007, and there's also a transcript of a related discussion. The radio series is here: Interfaith Radio, A Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, and there is also a podcast and MP3 download available. Not sure where the lecture series is, so watch this space for any updates, etc. Ahmed's "Living Islam" TV series remains one of the best introductory series on Islam and Muslim cultures, although much of it is out-of-date now.
ThisIsLondon, Al Qaeda suspected of massive bomb attack on nightclub, 29 June 2007 comprehensive overview of the current situation.

Thursday, June 28, 2007, Telephonic nikah rites not allowed, 28 June 2007 "The Fatwa Centre of the Islamic Network has declared that nikah rites (marriage agreement) through telephone is not permissible under Shariah law, local Arabic daily reported.

"The centre said such rites should be performed with the presence of the parties face to face, not through telephone." This refers to Qatar, but may have implications elsewhere. It would be interesting to see the full discussion, which took place in an Islamic Scholars Conference., Wi-Fi still a winner, 27 June 2007, "Al Muzakki cites a 2005 study from research company Pyramid Research that predicts the number of Wi-Fi users in the Middle East and Africa would grow from 1.1 million in 2006 to approximately 2.8 million in 2009."

Another from the same source:, ME incumbents face up to VoIP, 25 June 2007 "The VoIP conference's choice of location in Dubai was a little ironic given that the UAE regulator continues to outlaw the provision of third-party VoIP services in the country, limiting its operation to the country's two licensed operators, Etisalat and du." Interesting overview of VoIP in Middle Eastern contexts.

Asharq Alawsat, Iran: Globalization in Jomhouri Islami Street, 27 June 2007

VOA, Arab Youth Lead Change in Middle East, 26 June 2007, "[But] [Shafeeq] Ghabra says Arab young people are like people of their age anywhere else. They have hopes and dreams and they want express them. In this, he says, they have been aided by the increased freedom of expression that has resulted from transnational broadcasts and internet technology."

AP/, Google Fights Global Internet Censorship, 25 June 2007 "Google sees the dramatic increase in government Net censorship, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, as a potential threat to its advertising-driven business model, and wants government officials to consider the issue in economic, rather than just political, terms."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

RFE, Iraq: RFE/RL Report Reveals Weaknesses In Sunni-Insurgent Media War, 26 June 07, "The book-length report, "Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War Of Images And Ideas" by RFE/RL regional analysts Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo, provides an in-depth analysis of the media efforts of Sunni insurgents, who are responsible for the majority of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq." Can be downloaded as pdf Have yet to read this. There is a related review at Washington Post, Insurgents Muster Their Forces Online, 26 June 2007. I am dealing with some related issues in my next book (to be published late 07/early 08), which is currently in-press. Full details and title to follow.

Terrorism Focus, Forum Users Improve Electronic Jihad Technology, June 07, "The new electronic jihad website,, is not only operating continuously, but it is developing new techniques to enhance the technology and methods of promoting electronic jihad. With the spreading use of the internet in the Arab and Islamic world, the number of users engaged in some form of electronic jihad is likely to increase substantially."

Asia Sentinel/, Don’t Count Your Conspiracies Before They Are Hatched, 27 June 07

"The latest wave of arrests under Singapore’s Internal Security Act, which allows detention in secret and without trial, has attracted scant news coverage and even less comment.

"That alone shows how the mere mention of the words 'war on terror' and 'Islamic extremism' can bring the media, regional and western alike, rushing to judgment based on official assertions and a generalized fear of Islam rather than proven facts.", ICDL applauds Sultan Qaboos University for spreading digital literacy in Oman and complying with global standards

AP/yahoo, Baghdad dating game adapts to war, 27 June 07 IT thread to this

Ali Eteraz, Muslims For Progressive Values; Start New Org, 26 June 07 "The progressive Muslim movement in the United States took a significant step forward as a diverse collection of activists, organizers, and academics gathered at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, June 15-17, for the first conference of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV, website: Coming together in fellowship, they joined in communal devotion, shared the various personal, intellectual, and spiritual journeys that brought them there, discussed how to formulate their positions on political, social, and cultural issues and how to interact with other progressives and other Muslims. They also elected an Executive Board to lead them for the next two years."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007, Bin Laden No 2 backs Hamas as snatched journalist Johnston shown with bomb belt, 26 June 2007 Also see: Reuters AlertNet, Chronology: Kidnapping of the BBC's Alan Johnston, 25 June 2007

Terrorists Increasingly Turn To Internet, 24 June 2007, "Britain's Sunday Telegraph reported that Omar Bakri Mohammad -- who was banned last year from the United Kingdom and now lives in Lebanon -- recently held a Web cast lamenting Britain's decision to grant knighthood to controversial writer Salman Rushdie. Many Muslims have subsequently been urged by Britain to protect Rushdie's knighthood."

NY Times, Iran's iron fist comes down hard on dissent, 25 June 2007

EarthTimes, Hamas posts voice-recording of Israeli soldier in Gaza, 25 June 2007

PakTribune, Taleban radio station back on air, 25 June 2007, "A pirate Taleban radio station, Voice of Shariat, or Islamic law, has begun broadcasting again, reports from south-eastern Afghanistan say."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

AP/Sydney Morning Herald, Swiss trial convicts two Muslims accused of supporting terror on Internet, 22 June 2007 "The two were convicted of running websites that supported terrorists and gave details of how to make bombs and carry out attacks. They were detained in February 2005 during anti-terror raids in two Swiss cantons, or states, the Federal Criminal Court said. The suspects, who are now married to each other, were released on bail after their initial detention and had moved to Belgium." Linked to Islamic-Minbar (still online).

BNN, Storm Track Infiltration: Internet Jihadists Plan ‘Raid’ in Cyberspace, 20 June 2007 "The jihad continues to advance in cyberspace. Global Islamic Media Front Instructs Islamists to Infiltrate Popular Non-Islamic Forums to Spread Pro-Islamic State Propaganda. The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) has announced a new comprehensive media campaign titled “The Battar Media Raid to Defend the Islamic State [of Iraq]." Widely circulated on GIMF sites.

UPI, Iran starts global TV channel, 22 June 2007
, "Iran's take on international events and issues gets global reach next month with the launch of a 24-hour, English-language satellite television news channel."

The Star Malaysia, Built on faith and friendship, 24 June 2007, ""I don’t like war. Nobody likes it,” said the clean-shaven, smart-looking imam who often surfs the Internet like any youth his age to keep abreast of the latest developments around the world." Profile of Sarajevo's Malaysia Mosque and its imam.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Sun, The plotters uncovered, 15 June 07, "Jalil was regularly spotted in Barot's company, driving him around and acting as his "minder" when the ringleader met others.

"He used coded messages in internet cafes and his laptop was used to open files discussing the attacks on the US and the UK."

NY Times, Arrests in Egypt Point Toward a Crackdown, 14 June 2007 "The raid occurred about two weeks ago in a tidy, two-bedroom apartment that also served as an office for a family business that promoted an unconventional view of Islam over the Internet."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jawa Report, Wordpress Hosted Terrorists Announce Media Campaign to 'Infiltrate' Infidel Websites, Support al Qaeda in Iraq, 13 June 2007 Centres on allegations associated with Wordpress. I have been tracking these GIMF sites recently on Wordpress for some time, although do not link through to them on this site. It will be interesting to see if Jawa's campaign has any impact (the list of sites could be much longer), given that it is straightforward to switch to another service., The Internet: Midwife of Global Radicalism? profile of US based analysts and their activities

Reuters Alertnet, Iraq Qaeda group kills 14 abducted officers-Web, 14 June 2007 "The Islamic State in Iraq posted a video on the Internet showing a militant shooting the blindfolded men in the head in an open field. Their hands were tied behind their backs."

More on the Zahra Amir Ebrahimi case: gambling911, Iran Wants to Execute Porn Stars Following Zahra Amir Ebrahimi Sex Tape, 14 June 2007, " The videotape was leaked to the Internet and released on a black market DVD, becoming a full-blown Iranian sex tape scandal. Ebrahimi later came under an official investigation, which is still ongoing. She faces fines, whip lashing or worse for her violation of Iran's morality laws."

ABC/, Toddler With Problematic Name Faces Immigration Limbo, 13 June 2007, "Abdeloihab Boujrad has fought unsuccessfully for more than two years to have his son join him, and the U.S. government has never explained why it hasn't taken action on the immigration application. He's only spoken to his son on the phone and through an Internet video hookup."

Daily Star Lebanon, Fatah al-Islam planned to assassinate Siniora, Jumblatt, 14 June 2007, ""The Internet is the most successful means to enlist great numbers of youths from different Arab and Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco and Syria," Abu Musaab said. "My job consists of enlisting new members under the pretext of training them to fight in Iraq."

"Abu Musaab said Fatah al-Islam had exploited religious slogans to mobilize new fighters." [Interview originally in Asharq al-Awsat]
Perspectives on events in Gaza and the West Bank: Palestinian Information Center, 14 June 07 ; (Fatah), al-Jazeera, Hamas tightens control on Gaza, 14 June 07, Gulf News, Hamas bombards Fatah compound, 14 June 07

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

alt.muslim, Baba Ali: "I'm not a scholar, I just try to tell people simple things", 13 June 2007 "An unlikely internet celebrity, Baba Ali is on a mission to provide thought provoking, lighthearted entertainment to young Muslims around the world. We find out what makes him tick." Also see Baba Ali's YouTube and other material, via Ummah Films (also in Blogosphere - see sidebar). There's a sample below, in case you haven't seen Baba Ali in action before:

The Point, Imam Fatty, Dr Omar Jah Call for Discipline in Schools, 12 June 2007 "According to the Imam, the phenomenon of the multiplicity of video clubs, the uncaring sanctioning of Sunday beaches and the habit of children to view pornography in the Internet, are all detrimental to the life of the children." Alhagie Abdoulie Fatty is the Imam of State House Mosque, The Gambia., Khatami flayed for shaking hands with women, 12 June 07, "A hardline Iranian daily yesterday launched an attack on former reformist president Mohammad Khatami who it said had publicly shaken hands with women while on a visit to Italy last month.

""Recently a video has been circulating on the Internet showing a former top official visiting Italy, shaking the hands with several women and young girls," said the Siasate Rouz daily, one of Iran's most ultra-conservative papers.

""We do not want to publish the address of the Internet site where this film can be seen, in order to avoid propagating corruption in society," it added."

Reuters Alertnet, Iraq Qaeda-led group says holding 14 officers, 11 June 2007 ""The Islamic State in Iraq gives the government of (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki 72 hours to respond to its demands otherwise God's ruling will be implemented against them," the group said in a statement posted on the Internet." Widely posted online.

BBC News, In pictures: Samarra shrine blasts, 13 June 2007
Asharq Alawsat, Strange Fatwas: Who's Responsible?, 13 June 2007 "People question how today’s Muslims can benefit from a religious ruling that concerns the urine or the sweat of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)? What about the fatwa that examines breastfeeding adults? Who is responsible for these religious rulings? Is it the responsibility of religious scholars or media figures in light of the absence of constraints that govern their work on these satellite channels?" Useful discussion piece from Ayman Hamed. Some helpful points are made, such as this one: "The head of the mass communication department of the American University in Cairo (AUC), Dr. Hussein Amin, stated that such fatwas are not controlled or legalized, nor do they fall under any certain codification of religious media. Accordingly, this creates confusion and distortion in the Islamic world."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (banner above) highlights the case of Banaz Mahmod (amongst others). The website contains helpline contact numbers for Farsi, Kurdish and Arabic speakers in the UK. There are also links to campaigns, and a wide range of documentation. Also see Guardian, Murder victim told police four times she feared her family: each time in vain, 12 June 2007 and Reuters, Religious radicalism fuels "honour" crimes, 12 June 2007 No doubt there will be further online discussion and opinion on this issue in due course.
Three useful pieces about Egypt: Asharq Alawsat, For the Preservation of Cyber Freedom, 11 June 2007, "Despite various crackdowns on bloggers in which they were subjected to bans, physical assault, detention  and a four-year sentence in the case of blogger Abdel Karim Suleiman  bloggers can pride themselves in knowing that their efforts have begun to bear fruit. Still, the road up ahead is a long one that is full of challenging obstacles." article by Diana Mukkaled., Unleashing the Internet genie in Egypt, 11 June 07 "For better or for worse, it seems that it will be difficult to return the genie of the Internet into the bottle, in Egypt as well as in other countries. "The world has changed," wrote Mohammed Guzlan, a Muslim Brotherhood activist. "There are so many ways to get organized - blogs, emails and various other means that enable us to establish a connection with people. There is no way back.""

Related to the above article, also see Guardian, Blogging against Mubarak, 11 June 2007 "The rise of the Egyptian blogosphere is just one of the ways in which dissidents in the US-backed dictatorship are struggling for rights on their own. Not reliant on foreign handouts - in fact, I was constantly told while there that receiving US financial assistance was unthinkable - this disparate group of neo-con, liberal and radical political bloggers are united around one issue above all others: campaigning against police brutality and torture."

In Iraq:, Qaeda-led group warns to kill Iraq soldiers, 12 June 07 "The so called Islamic State of Iraq threatened to kill 14 soldiers and a police officer seized yesterday, within three days unless the Iraqi government releases all women prisoners and hands over officers involved in the rape of Sabreen Janabi along with the killers of “their people” in Tal Afar."

Spiegel Online, Insurgents in Iraq Turn on Each Other, 12 June 07 "Now the two sides are locked in a bitter battle in the cities and villages of Iraq's so-called Sunni Triangle west of Baghdad. Instead of offering mutual congratulations, they use the Internet as a platform to condemn each other over the battle for the Maluki mosque.

"Al-Qaida now calls the members of the Islamic Army "dogs," while they in return warn the al-Qaida leadership to prepare for Qiyamah -- the Last Judgment -- and the wrath of Allah."
Guardian, 'I had a dream vision', 11 June 2007, "John Tavener tells Charlotte Higgins how his life-changing encounter with an Apache medicine man led him to write a piece praising Allah for the Prince of Wales." Details of Tavener's international premier of this piece, which takes place in Istanbul (following the premiere at Westminster), can be found here:, The Beautiful Names by Sir John Tavener, Hagia Eirene, Istanbul, Friday 22nd June 2007: "The piece has been commissioned by HRH Prince Of Wales. 'Inspiration for the piece came to me as a vision,' says Tavener, 'I contemplated the meaning of each of the 99 names, as well as the sacred sound of the Arabic, and the music appeared to me spontaneously'. The composer has worked closely with the Arabist Michael Macdonald to ensure correct pronunciation and stress." I am assuming it will be recorded for broadcast. It will be interesting to monitor reaction to this piece.
BBC News, Fantasy meets reality in Church row, 10 June 07 "The Church says to base the Sony PlayStation 3 game Resistance: Fall of Man in a virtual cathedral - identical to Manchester Cathedral - is grossly insensitive ...

" ... One Church source told me: "If this computer game had been set in a mosque, you can be sure there would have been more of a public outcry."

I haven't played this game, so cannot really comment. My research budget does not stretch to a PS3. Official site is here: Resistance: Fall of Man

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tunisia Online/, Tunisia: Launch of a Web Site Empowering the Disabled, 6 June 2007 "People with specific needs in Tunisia will henceforth be able to access a new website allowing them better integration in society." Unfortunately, the sites discussed are presently 404/under construction
LA Times, Iran tightens screws on internal dissent, 10 June 07, "Iranian leaders cite Washington's backing for opposition groups as a justification. "Currently, some factions in the government view all dissidents and critics as parts of America's secret plan for a nonviolent 'velvet revolution,' " Ahmad Zeidabadi, a leading Iranian dissident, wrote in a May 30 article that appeared in Roozonline, an Internet journal. "Unfortunately, a significant part of the security and intelligence apparatus shares this view."", Muslims look online for spiritual guidance, 9 June 07 "Islamicity now has two Islamic scholars answering questions: one in California and one in India. The site started with just one imam, but the number of daily questions has ballooned during the last decade. Aleem said that the imams were chosen in part to connect with Muslims who do not live in an Islamic country.", Iraqi group claims journalist's murder, 10 June 07

New Straits Times, What’s that flickering red light? : Students’ hidden camera nightmare, 11 June 07 "The girl, a student of the International Islamic University Malaysia, was preparing to take a shower at her home in Sentul about 2.45pm on Saturday when she noticed a red flickering light coming from a black oval object near the overhead fluorescent light."

Electric New Paper Singapore, Is he driven by GUILT OR LOSER complex?, 10 June 07 relates to the high profile case of Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader:

"Ustaz Mohamed said: 'Religion can never be understood over the Internet. You need a guide.'

"Some in Singapore, like his fellow research analyst, Ustaz Mohammed Haniff Hassan, 38, started their own counter-terrorist blogs and website ( to rebut these extremist ideologies.

"Muis, or the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, has also set up a website ( for this."

For background on this case, see, one abdul basheer is one too many, 11 June 2007 "Abdul Basheer was self-radicalised. Many in the community are still grappling with the new phenomenon of "self" in this episode. Abdul Basheer was not part of a larger terrorist group or cell. He acted in isolation."

AKI, Al-Qaeda on Mediterranean Beach, 8 June 07, "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - the new name for the old Salafite Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) - has launched its first website since the new terror alliance was formed several months ago. The organisation, which claimed responsibility for the 11 April bomb attacks that killed 30 people in Algiers, is taking an increasingly high profile both in its jihadi activities and in its use of the internet for propaganda. Much prominence is given to photos of mujahadeen on what the site says is a Mediterranean beach, giving the impression that the terror formation is seeking to widen its range of action."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Times, The Wise Mufti, 5 June 2007 More from the Cambridge conference: "The contribution that deserved to be singled out for its courage and clarity came, instead, from Dr Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt. His subject was Islamic law and governance, in which he is one of the world’s foremost experts, and his message was simple: ill-trained Islamic 'scholars' who take it upon themselves to issue fatwas, or religious edicts, with little understanding of the contemporary world have no authority to do so. And extremists declaiming in mosques and via the internet that the only legitimate Islamic form of government is a restored 'Caliphate', such as that which stretched from Fez to Samarkand 500 years ago, are simply wrong." Interesting to see Gomaa's reference to the net in this regard. Also see a related discussion: Telegraph, Blair and Cameron's inter-faith dialogue, 3 June 07


Sabah, Qaeda-led group says it killed missing U.S. soldiers, 5 June 07 "A video from the Islamic State in Iraq group posted on the Internet carried images of the U.S. army identification cards of Byron Fouty and Alex Jimenez. The video showed credit cards and what the group said were belongings of the two soldiers."

AFP/, Saudis arrest three Qaeda suspects, 5 June 07
Links to net output: "That man was named as Abu Ussaid Al Falluji, a Saudi, who occupied a "top position in their deviant organisation," the interior ministry said in statement carried by the state news agency SPA.

"Through his information role over the Internet ... he advanced to become the link between the followers of the deviant group and its sympathisers outside and inside the homeland," it added.", Al-Qaeda threat to Kurdish converts, 5 June 07, ""We are hunting those who have converted to Christianity or Zoroastrianism as we consider them renegades and God’s punishment must be implemented by killing them," the Islamist terrorist group said in a statement released on the internet on April 22."
The Guardian, Poll: government had role in July 7 bombings, 5 June 07 "The extent of scepticism among Muslims of the official version of events emerged in a Channel 4 News survey of 500 British Muslims, carried out by GFK NOP. The results are bound to be disconcerting for the government as it seeks to isolate Islamist extremists in Britain." The original C4 report is here: Channel 4, Survey: 'government hasn't told truth about 7/7', which includes a video clip and a link to the poll's findings.
Islam at Universities in England: Meeting the Needs and Investing in the Future
(published 4 June 2007) "Dr Ataullah Siddiqui has reported to Bill Rammell MP on Islam at Universities in England." PDF report, currently in the headlines alongside the Cambridge conference (see below).
AP/, Muslim assassin relates journey of radicalization, 4 June 07 "Thai authorities said jihad videos from the Middle East, captured from rebel training camps, may be inspiring young men like Waekaji. One clip said to have come from Iraq shows a woman lying on her side on a patch of grass as a man slowly cuts her throat with a long knife. Blood spurts from the wound, the screaming finally stops and her head is completely severed."

alt.muslim, Ed Husain: "My qualm is with Islamism and not with Islam", 3 Jun 07 interview with the author of The Islamist, which I have yet to read.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Islam and Muslims in the World Today - Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme conference details and various downloads
AP/USA Today, Islamic website says it will show video of U.S. GIs, 4 June 07, "An Islamic militant website said Monday it would soon release video clips showing the capture of three American soldiers, who went missing in Iraq in mid-May. The body of one soldier was later found, but the other two remain missing."

Fox News, "New Hamas TV Footage Shows Kindergartners Touting Life of Jihad, 4 June 07, [based on MEMRI transcript, also contains video clip]. Palestinian children as young as 5 are being indoctrinated into a life of jihad, according to a report on a Hamas television station."

Reuters, Somali group says behind attack on premier - Web, 4 June 07

Ynet, Gaza's internet war, 4 June 07 "At 3 am, in the shadow of the ongoing fighting, a giant blast shook Allah al-Shawa's Internet cafe in Gaza. The owner, who rushed to his business in order to examine the damage, found one computer in working order in the rubble and decided to check his e-mail.

"A surprise awaited him: An e-mail message from a group calling itself "Islamic Swords of Justice" explained that the cafe was blown up because it and those of its type "divert the attention of an entire generation to other issues that are not Jihad or worship." In other words, the e-mail charged that his Internet cafe was used for distributing abomination and pornography."

National Post/, Internet cafes expose Afghans to sexual world, 4 June 07 "Muslims do not all observe their faith in the same way, and web users do not all have the same standards, says Sharia Popal, of Zamrot Internet Cafe, which gives clients free rein."

Daily Express, Gordon's terror battle on two fronts, 4 June 07, "The Prime Minister-in-waiting revealed the Number 10 official website will be translated into Arabic, Farsi and other Middle East tongues later this month. And he also backed a university project to place published historical books about British democracy on the worldwide web to counter Islamic extremism."

The Age, 'No al-Qaeda link' to JFK Airport plot, June 4, 2007

Taliya, Internet Bank accounts for students in Iran, 3 June 07

BBC, Teaching of Islam is 'out-dated', 4 June 07 non-tech

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Report from Timbuktu on the preservation of manuscripts: Guardian, In fabled city at the end of the earth, a treasury of ancient manuscripts, 2 July 2007, "Across the courtyard, researchers sit in front of computers documenting the contents of each manuscript. Then, with the help of computer scanners, ancient knowledge is uploaded into the 21st century. "We are creating a virtual library," said Muhammad Diagayete, 37, a researcher who was busy documenting a 1670 text on astronomy written in blue, red and black ink. "We want people all over the world to be able to access these manuscripts online."" Also see the superb pictures in Audio slideshow: Timbuktu's ancient manuscripts, "Xan Rice talks to historians and scholars in Timbuktu about their efforts to preserve hundreds of thousands of manuscripts dating back to the 11th century." I have previously blogged on this issue. Aramco Magazine also ran pieces on this subject. For example, see Saudi Aramco Magazine, The Islamic Legacy of Timbuktu

Friday, June 01, 2007

BBC News, Video released of BBC's Johnston, 1 June 2707 links to the video of Alan Johnston, originally posted on al-Ekhlaas. There is a transcript and a related commentary, as well as links to the campaign to free Alan (also accessible if you click on the link on the left-hand column of this blog). Unfortunately, the video has been edited, so is incomplete. It is conceivable that another version will appear in due course. Note that it has been fully subtitled.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Sudais is presently touring Pakistan (left, with PM Shaukat Aziz):, Muslim world is proud of nuclear Pakistan: Imam-e-Ka`aba, 1 June 07. The same report notes that a new Quran Complex and Seerat Academy in Lahore is being established. According to Chief Minister Punjab Ch. Perviaz Elahi: "He [Elahi]said that in order to cope with the contemporary challenges it is necessary to harmonize our education with the demands of the modern age. He announced free computer education for the students of all seminaries and said that besides services of expert teachers of computer most modern and expensive books for computer education will also be provided to the students of religious institutions."

NYT, A Secular Turkish City Feels Islam’s Pulse Beating Stronger, Causing Divisions, 1 June 07 non-tech, but important article, Sunni Insurgents Battle in Baghdad, 1 June 07 comprehensive update by John Ward Anderson., Militants Claim Execution of US Embassy Staff:"Islamic State of Iraq" Says Two Were Killed on Monday, 1 June 2007, "Internet forums carried a statement in Arabic attributed to the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq,” claiming that the group had “implemented God’s judgment” on the two, along with having obtained money from them."

Reuters/, Taliban Says It Downed NATO Helicopter, 31 May 07 Afghanistan's Taliban said in a statement on the Internet on Thursday its fighters had downed a NATO military helicopter which crashed late on Wednesday.

A couple of Malaysian stories:

AP/IHT, Malaysian Muslim woman pleads for government help to convert to Hinduism, 1 June 07 complex, but interesting case (non-tech, but the sort of story that would filter into the online fatwa sites).

AFP/, Malaysian Islamic party at crossroads, 1 June 07 "The fight for the influential deputy leader's position at the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party's (PAS) general assembly pits the "traditionalist and modernist" wings against each other, its secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar told AFP in an interview." The latest from Kota Bharu. The PAS website is here.