Sunday, July 29, 2007

LA Times, Frank talk from Muslim sex therapist, 29 July 2007 "To add religious legitimacy to her show, Kotb invites young preachers to answer questions from viewers. Many are part of a movement that emerged in the 1990s that offers a less conventional interpretation of Islamic theology. On one program, Kotb and Sheik Khaled Abdullah discussed the misconception that sex is forbidden during the holy month of Ramadan."

Friday, July 27, 2007

BBC News, Eleven killed in Red Mosque blast, 27 July 2007
Daily Times, The Other Malaysia: Malaysia an Islamic state? - Farish A Noor "Notwithstanding the overt ban on media discussion of the Islamic state issue, Malaysia’s internet community has been active in keeping the question alive and well on dozens of websites and blogs all over the country."

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia: Online Marriage Website for the Handicapped Gaines Popularity, 25 July 2007, "The Afrah Sheikh Khalid website is headed by the following statement: ‘We do not offer the Misyar marriage’. It is a marriage website that caters to people with special needs and is the first and only of its kind in the world, however it rejects the Misyar marriage [whereby the husband does not have to fulfil his financial responsibilities towards his wife and the couple do not live together]." It will be interesting to see if this concept is utilised in other contexts.

Gulf News, SMS news updates for expat cell phone users, 27 July 2007, "Etisalat has launched several new SMS news services that cover different languages and nations.

"Cell phone users can get news updates from countries including Pakistan, India and the Philippines from the new 'Weyak' services."

Korea Times/, Korea: Police search for netizens irritating Taliban, 25 July 2007 "Police began a search for Internet users for the posting of malicious comments and pictures feared to irritate Taliban militants and hinder the safe return of 23 kidnapped Korean citizens in Afghanistan.

"They are considering taking legal action on the netizens, such as defamation charges."

Reuters/Asharq Alawsat, Old Tape Revives Speculation on Bin Laden's Fate, 26 July 2007 "Although some Taliban leaders have said the Saudi-born is alive and well, nothing has been heard from him since July 2006 when an audio message was posted on an Islamist Web site indicating that he was alive a few weeks before."

Here's an interesting report by Ian Black on Sayid Imam al-Sharif. Expect this subject to dominate online discourse over the next few months, especially if al-Sharif's book is published online and translated. The report notes Ayman al-Zawahiri's response to al-Sharif's work, and the competition between several newspapers for the book, entitled 'Advice Regarding the Conduct of Jihadist Action in Egypt and the World.': Guardian, Violence won't work: how author of 'jihadists' bible' stirred up a storm, 27 July 2007 "In a prison cell south of Cairo a repentant Egyptian terrorist leader is putting the finishing touches to a remarkable recantation that undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaida.

"Sayid Imam al-Sharif, 57, was the founder and first emir (commander) of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organisation, whose supporters assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and later teamed up with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet occupation."

More on the recent trial in the UK: PA/Independent, Students sentenced in terror case, 26 July 2007, "Raja was given two years youth detention, Zafar and Iqbal were given three years detention, Malik was sent to prison for three years and Butt was given 27 months detention." Also see Reuters/Gulf News, Students jailed over Al Qaida propaganda, 27 July 2007 "The five Muslim men linked up with sympathisers in Pakistan and the United States and held video conferences over the internet to discuss violent jihad. They were caught after the parents of one of the students contacted police."

Update on 'trackers':, West Point tracks terrorism battle to the Internet - West Point tracks battle to cyberspace, 27 July 2007 "Jarret Brachman and Brian Fishman are at the center of the cyberpatrol at West Point. From Lincoln Hall, not far from the training grounds where cadets study traditional warfare, computers bounce between al-Qaida Web sites. The mission is simple: scour terrorists' books, videos and teachings online, and use the information to exploit al-Qaida's weaknesses."

Guardian Comment is Free/Ali Eteraz, Islam's organic liberalism, 26 July 2007 "A ruling on apostasy by the Grand Mufti of Egypt is an important step towards separating religion and the state."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia: Official Translation of the Holy Quran into Hebrew to Take Over a Year, 25 July 2007 "The translation of the Holy Quran into Hebrew will take over one full year, according to Dr. Mohammed bin Salim al Awfi, the secretary general of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, the Saudi Arabian body authorized to issue and publish translations of the Holy Quran into various languages." I am curious to know whether this will emerge online as well.

BBC News, Fifth man guilty in terror case, 25 July 2007, "The case concerned the exchange of internet material said to encourage Islamic terrorist martyrdom.", Government warns Malaysian bloggers "A prominent Malaysian blogger has been summoned by the police for questioning over allegedly seditious remarks about Islam and the king.

"The summons for Raja Petra Kamarudin, who runs the Malaysia Today website, comes amid warnings from a senior government minister that "irresponsible" bloggers could face imprisonment without trial." View Malaysia Today and decide for yourself! Also see related posts, such as The Star/Malaysia Today, Webmaster Raja Petra questioned for 8hrs, 25 July 2007

Prosecution for an online oath: AP/, Man accused of supporting al-Qaida, Iraq insurgents goes on trial in Germany, 25 July 2007 "Prosecutors said they also believe the suspect swore an oath of loyalty in August 2005 to Taliban leader Mullah Omar. The alleged oath, in which the suspect said he was prepared to provide fighters and financing, was delivered by Internet to an intermediary who prosecutors did not identify."

World Tribune, Mosque crackdown: Gulf states to install computers, monitor sermons by Internet, 23 July 2007 "In the United Arab Emirates, authorities plan to install computers and Internet in mosques. Officials said the first stage of the project would focus on the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

"Officials said virtually every one of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states has taken measures to monitor mosque activity and sermons. They said the goal was to prevent the mosque from being used as a place for insurgency recruitment."

VOA, Italian Police Say Moroccan Imam Had Bomb-Making Materials, 23 July 2007 "Authorities said police also seized photos of Rome's Fiumicino airport and films and Internet files believed to be used for combat training.

"El Moustapha and two associates were arrested Saturday outside Perugia and charged with running a terrorism school from the city's Ponte Felcino mosque. A fourth man is also wanted and has been identified but is on the run."

Ha'aretz, Harry Potter's Koran, 25 July 2007, "The site features links to forums for Arabic-speaking Harry Potter fans, advice on how to quickly obtain the book and an interactive trivia competition about the life and adventures of the boy wizard. Islamic religious decrees, or fatwas, on why it is forbidden to perform spells and the difference between regular magic and wizardry, are also included.

"This is not the only Web site where it is possible to download the books in Arabic, and given the traffic on other sites with similar services, it appears that many thousands, though not millions, have taken the opportunity." Very interesting article by Zvi Bar'el, which refers to - just started reading the new HP myself.

Yahoo, Reason for Hope in Turkey, 23 July 2007, "This is a very different country today," he [Erdogan] told us, in the elegant rooms of the landmark Istanbul Hilton. "It has become an open society. To use an Internet expression, it's a state on a 24-hour basis, an online country, an island of prosperity and stability. Our GNP has gone from $182 billion in 2002 to $400 billion by 2006, and the per capita income has risen in those four years from $2,600 to $5,500."

AFP, Al-Qaeda threatens to escalate attacks in North Africa, 23 July 2007

Asharq Alawsat, A Talk with MTV Vice Chairman Bill Roedy, 23 July 2007, "In partnership with the Arab Media Group, MTV Networks International will launch MTV Arabiya from Dubai later this year. Despite the large number of music channels within Arab media, the officials at MTV Arabiya have confidence in their ability to succeed amongst fierce competition."

Monday, July 23, 2007, Fake Jihad - A New Term Coined By The Grand Mufti Of Saudi Arabia, 22 July 07 article by Iqbal Latif "Two small words but a huge step forward emerging from the frozen barren intellectual landscape of Saudi Arabia. According to Orientalist Gilles Kepel, "fitna is sometimes translated by sedition, that is the fact that the Muslim community is fragmented because it has lost sense of proportions and realities, of maslaha, and that it is therefore delivered to the demons of extremism and is going towards its fall. It is the jihad which returns as a boomerang inside and weakens the community. The fitna is the ulemas' obsessive fear since Islam exist."

"With new prominence of 'Fake Jihad' or Fitna by the Saudi grand Mufti one can safely assume that the battle of terror has helped create fissures in the edifice of the entire terror structure."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

AP/IHT, Iran executes 12 criminals, 22 July 2007 , Iran hanged 12 criminals Sunday who had been convicted of various charges, including rape, kidnapping and drug trafficking, the Web site of the state broadcasting company reported."

AP/Forbes, Italy: Mosque Used As 'Terror School', 21 July 2007 "The cell held courses on hand-to-hand combat and used propaganda films and documents downloaded from the Internet to teach students how to prepare poisons and explosives, pilot a Boeing 747 and send encrypted messages, anti-terrorism police in Rome said in a statement."

Newsweek, Internet Imams: Inside the Cyber-Jihad, 30 July 2007 "Some American analysts worry that the United States isn't fighting back hard enough in this cyberwar of ideas. "We have failed to take the jihadists seriously, intellectually and culturally, and as a result their corrosive influence is progressing unopposed," warns Stephen Ulph, a research associate of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. But others believe the best defense lies in a core concept as old as the nation. For most Muslims, says Gistaro, "the American dream is real." As long as that's the case, Al Qaeda's Internet imams will find it hard, or impossible, to find new recruits here." Discuss..., Losing My Jihadism, 22 July 2007 no doubt with apologies to REM, in this commentary from Mansour al-Nogaidan

Friday, July 20, 2007

Recent review in Danish of Islam in the Digital Age: (Forum for Islamforskning), Tallat Shakoor, Gary R. Bunt: Islam in the Digital Age – E-Jihad, Online Fatwas and Cyber Islamic Environments [PDF] I gave it a quick machine translation via Translation Guide using the html link (requires some editing!).
Fascinating article in Saudi Aramco World: Saudi Aramco World, Keyboard Calligraphy, July/August 2007, "That reconstruction is at the heart of the new Tasmeem computer typesetting system, which makes it possible for the first time to set Arabic text in its full calligraphic glory. (Tasmeem means “design” in Arabic.) An example was in the Nieuwe Kerk exhibition, where a mock-up of a mosque interior is decorated with verses from the Qur’an in Milo and Somers’s Tasmeem, a perfect reproduction of the most beautiful Arabic calligraphy, coming not from the pen of a great Ottoman calligrapher but from a computer." A related search led me through to 29letters, Arabic calligraphy: Written by hand or type set on the computer, 15 January 2007. Full background can be found at Hiba, Talking about type... An interview with John Hudson. The Tasmeem: The Spirit of Arabic Writing product page is worth exploring, although the software may be outside of the budgets of everyday users! There are illustrations of the software in action, taken from Qur'anic verses, Al-Khansa' poetry, and Harawi's Guide to Pilgrimage., Gulf Arabs emerge most active internet users and online shoppers, 20 July 2007 "Among the findings in the study is that the internet currently ranks second to word-of-mouth (55 per cent) when it comes to influencing people's purchasing decisions, with 43 per cent saying they used websites as a source of information, compared to 55 per cent who relied on people they know. Newspapers came in third with 40 per cent."

MEMRI, The Enemy Within: Where Are the Islamist/Jihadist Websites Hosted, and What Can Be Done about It?, 19 July 2007 "The briefing was based on a study prepared by MEMRI which highlighted the fact that all Islamist/Jihadi websites are hosted by Western - primarily American - Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The study also discussed the question of what can be done about it, and stressed the fact that most - if not all - ISPs do not know what is the content of the websites they are hosting, due to the language gap, since most of these websites are in Arabic." Also see CQ, Institute Offering Free Translation of Arab-Language Web Sites, 19 July 2007, Ex-judge pursues terrorists on Web, 19 July 2007 Profile of Shannen Rossmillar: "Most of Rossmiller‘s work has focused on overseas suspects. By her count, she has handed over to the FBI more than 200 "packets" of information on terrorism trends and potential suspects, and at least eight people have been arrested, she said."

For the headline (non-tech): Telegraph, How I shared a curry with bin Laden, 20 July 2007 "Akhtar was not a formally trained cook, but the job required little skill beyond the ability to prepare bin Laden's favourite dish of mutton korma, for both lunch and supper. Breakfast would typically involve scrambled eggs."

New Statesman, Pink Planet, 19 July 2007 "When it comes to opposing gay rights, socially conservative Muslims and Christians seem happy to bury their theological differences. IslamOnline, one of the most popular Muslim websites, has a series of articles discussing homosexuality in "an Islamic and a scientific light", but the articles rely almost entirely on material from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a religious-based fringe psychiatric organisation in the US, which promotes "reparative therapy" for gay people." Article by Brian Whitaker.

CAIR/ Radio Host Neal Boortz Calls Islam a ‘cult’, Threatens to ‘Eradicate’ Muslims, 19 July 2007 "An audio clip of the program is circulating on anti-Muslim Internet hate sites. It is not known when the program aired.", What self-hating Jews can teach Muslims, 20 July 2007 "... there are signs that Muslims in growing numbers are questioning the sheikhs, mullahs and ayatollahs who preach Muslim superiority and Islamic entitlement. The same Internet and satellite television that drove jihadist terror forward are serving as platforms for Muslims who question, critique and counter the extremists."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

About time we had some humour in this blog, at least for one headline:, A Young Saudi's Online Gambit - Comedy Writer Launches Site for 20-Something Arabs Starved for Entertainment "In February, Sikhan, 27, launched the Arab Internet Channel with two comedy shows he wrote, directed and produced. Since then, more than 2 million people in Saudi Arabia and in neighboring Arab countries have watched episodes online, downloaded them to their iPods or viewed them on their cellphones." I look forward to seeing the shows in due course. More (deliberate rather than inadvertent) comedy in this blog would be great (contributions welcome!).

Jihadi Avatar: The Star, Insurgents' leader never existed: U.S., 19 July 2007 "Yesterday, the chief U.S. military spokesperson here, Brig.-Gen. Kevin Bergner, provided a new explanation for al-Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed.

"Bergner told reporters that a senior Iraqi insurgent captured this month said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose declarations on audiotape were read by a man named Abu Abdullah al-Naima"

"According to the report, it appears that the students were presently flexible in their views. However, it is likely that within a few years of remaining in the same system, this could change.

The News Pakistan, ‘Cult culture needs to be discouraged in seminaries’, 19 July 2007 Summary of recently authored psychologists' report: “Most of them denied having any interest in or affiliation with extremist elements. They were quite relaxed in their current situation due to the fact that the administration and security personnel had treated them with dignity and respect. Their needs were being well looked after. At the sports stadium, they had shown a keen interest in sports,” the report said.

"It said socio-economic deprivation was an important reason for them to be in this system. Another reason was furthering religious education. Listing the problem areas, the report said misinformation had been fed to the students that the government is un-Islamic, spreading vulgarity and involved in demolition of mosques; lack of information regarding outside world, as they had no access to media or Internet facilities; and lack of sense of civic responsibilities."

Reuters India, Young Turks battle on Internet for votes, 19 July 2007, "When you search for Erdogan or AK Party, what you get will be mostly hostile clips, including lots of insults," said Ahmet Sariduman, a 23-year-old student who is trying to improve the AK Party's image.

"Sariduman said the Internet video site YouTube, chat rooms and Web sites are awash with clips, messages and cartoons ridiculing Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his party." Negative political clips - surely not... I suppose this is not just an issue in Turkish political contexts.
Holy Land Foundation Trial - blog offering opinions and updates relating to the trial of the Foundation and its Directors, underway in Dallas at present.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007, Anarchy on the Bosporus? Punk rock lyrics draw Turkey's ire, 16 July 2007 "The song is several years old and may have gone unnoticed were this not the Internet age. It came to prosecutors' notice only after a teen lip-synched the song and posted it on last year."

Wired, There's No Such Thing as the Homeland, 17 July 2007 "An advanced class of 7th graders with access to the internet could have collectively written a more incisive report relying simply on open source documents." Discussion piece by Ryan Singel. Refers to a declassified version of the US National Intelligence Estimate. Also see AFP, US intelligence frets over Islamist cyber-threat, 17 July 2007 ""The spread of radical - especially Salafi - Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-US rhetoric and actions, and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West's Muslim population is expanding, including in the US," the report said." It seems to have take a long time for some agencies to work this out ... PBS, Iraqi Insurgents Spread Message Via Internet, 16 July 2007 just in case you hadn't noticed..., Net-savvy need enlightened Islamic teachers, 18 July 2007, "But choosing between the unregulated Web and Singapore asatizah (Islamic religious teachers) for advice may not be a simple thing. A divide appears to have emerged within the Muslim community on the role of religious teachers."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New(-ish) and noted: La société de l’information au Proche-Orient: Internet au Liban et en Syrie, Textes édités par Yves Gonzalez-Quijano et Christophe Varin (Cemam, 2006). Content is as follows:

Introduction Yves GONZALEZ-QUIJANO
Christophe VARIN
1 - Eléments quantitatifs
Mesurer la société de l'information Nada CHALHOUB
2 - Espace et socialisation politiques
Le "e-gouvernement au Liban, clé de voûte d'un state building durable Christophe VARIN
Les sites d'information en ligne dans l'espace public syrien Yves GONZALEZ-QUIJANO
3 - Expression du religieux et des religieux
Les oulémas Syriens à la recherche d'une audience virtuelle Ermete MARIANI
Les sites internet chrétiens et musulmans dans le monde arabe Jean-Pierre CHEMALY
4 - Pratiques du web: universités et logiciels libres
Les logiciels libres au Proche-Orient Armelle NEDELEC
Etude comparative de dix sites universitaires libanais Stéphane BAZAN
5 - Communautés d'intérêt(s)
Usages et rencontres des homosexuels beyrouthins sur internet Chirine ABOU CHAKRA
Arab literature on Internet John DONOHUE

All are available as PDFs via the above hyperlink. Haven't read any of this yet, but it looks interesting.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Virtually Islamic blog has been listed on the Times Online Faith Central '30 Most influential religion blogs'.
VOA, Undated Video of Osama Bin Laden Posted on Internet, 15 July 2007 widely available. See related comments here from Ali Eteraz, Breaking Al-Qaeda Code Islamically: New OBL Video Possibly Announcement Of His Death, 16 July 2007 "It is possible, therefore, that whoever edits the Al-Qaeda videos — presumably under Zawahiri’s direction — might be putting the idea of Osama Bin Laden’s love for martyrdom out in the mainstream in order to prepare the troops for the imminent(?) announcement of his death as a “martyr.””

Friday, July 13, 2007

BBC News, Translation tool may aid troops, 13 July 2007 "A wristwatch-based translation device, designed to help British soldiers overcome language barriers, could be in production by the end of the year." This refers to Ahky, developed by Amin Ismail. It'll be interesting learning which phrases will be integrated into this technology (English-Arabic). This is being developed in conjunction with CDS, who also make arrest and restraint products, riot equipment, incapacitant sprays, etc. I suppose they could be integrated with translation tools too ... Also see BBC News, Student designs translator device, 31 May 07

Reuters, Husband guilty but wife freed in terrorism trial, 13 Jul 07 "The charges related to files on the hard drive of Nassari's computer -- including plans for building a missile -- which were found when the couple were arrested at Luton airport in May 2006."

IPS, "Blood Was Everywhere, the Smell of Death, 13 Jul 07 "Almost a month ago, "Stop Stoning Forever", a social campaign formed by outspoken women activists, warned the public that Kiani and Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, a 43-year-old mother of three, would be stoned to death in Takistan, a city in Ghazvin province. They launched an internet campaign and contacted judiciary officials to stop the execution." As previously blogged. See the campaign at Meydaan, Stop Stoning Forever, Shariah scholar stresses need to form mega Islamic institution, 13 July 2007 "A renowned Shariah scholar has emphasised the need to establish a mega Islamic institution with the participation of all major players in the global market to address the most daunting challenges like liquidity and risk management being faced by the Islamic banking industry." Refers to Shaikh Nedham Yacouby
Economist, A world wide web of terror, 13 July 2007 Useful profile of 'Ihrabi007' a.k.a. Younis Tsouli of Shepherds Bush [previously blogged].

Al-Ahram Weekly, Hamas versus Al-Qaeda, To compare Hamas with Al-Qaeda is both illogical and baseless, writes Saleh Al-Naami from Gaza, 13 July 2007 "Islam Shahwan, police spokesman at the Foreign Ministry, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the attacks on music merchants and Internet cafés are now close to zero, down from about 35 attacks per month in the past. In the six months before Gaza fell into Hamas's hands, an Islamic extremist group calling itself the Islamic Swords of Justice -- a group believed to embrace some of Al-Qaeda's ideas -- was particularly active in Gaza. That group called for the closure of Internet cafés and music shops. It attacked some of the parties organised at various wedding halls in Gaza and torched some of the educational institutions run by Christians. The group once threatened to harm female presenters working for Palestine Television unless they covered their heads."

Daily Times, ‘Silent majority’ welcomes mosque raid, 13 July 2007 Also see Asharq Alawsat, Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami Spokesmen talks to Asharq Al-Awsat, 12 July 2007: "Abdul Ghaffar Aziz, spokesman and director of foreign affairs of Jamaat-e-Islami [Pakistan's Islamic Party], believes that President Pervez Musharraf's days in power are numbered as his popularity continues to wane, which, according to Aziz, will ultimately have a negative effect on him in the forthcoming October elections."

IHT/AP, Man accused of bomb plots says he was trying to 'entrap' al-Qaida, 13 July 2007 "Reynolds, who has pleaded not guilty, claims he was working as a private citizen trying to uncover nefarious plots while visiting Internet chat rooms frequented by Islamic extremists."

Ali Eteraz, Former Jihadi Lecturing People Who Weren’t Stupid Like Him Watch, 11 July 2007 commentary on Ed Husain, whose Newsweek article is here: Newsweek, Bin Laden's Army, 10 July 2007 "The rank-and-file of Islamist organizations, the precursors to terrorism, are filled with activists with a technical education. The instructor of my first secret cell in Hizb ut-Tahrir in London was a town planner; my second cell-leader was a medical doctor. Even today, medical doctors manage the British arm of Hizb ut-Tahrir-a global Islamist political party working for the re-establishment of an Islamic caliphate: doctors Nasim Ghani, Abdul Wahid, and Nazreen Nawaz. Globally, the central leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir is a Jordan-based engineer, Abu Rishta. The story of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is similar. When Islamists graduate to jihadist terrorism the profile is equally chilling."

Al-Ahram Weekly, Out with the old, in with the new, 13 July 2007 update on Yemen, with internet ref.

Press TV, Al-Qaeda admits Algeria bombing, 12 July 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

WSJ, The Blogosphere for Killers, Tech-savvy terrorists use the Web for propaganda and incitement, 12 Jul 07 Review of "Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas" by Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo (previously noted on this blog). This is an impressive looking document, in which substantial resources have been invested; I obtained a print version the other day, but it is also online. Have yet to read it fully.

Reuters India, Qaeda's Zawahri urges revenge over Pakistan mosque, Jul 12, 2007, "The recording, produced by al Qaeda's media arm al-Sahab, carried a still photograph of the Egyptian-born cleric wearing a white robe and white turban and English subtitles of his remarks in Arabic."

Guardian, Iran to defy west by executing sex offenders, 11 Jul 07 "The condemned include at least 15 detained in May during a so-called "public morals" crackdown in poorer neighbourhoods of Tehran and other cities. Iran drew international condemnation following the internet distribution of photos showing some of the arrested being publicly paraded with toilet hygiene implements hung around their necks and bearing signs of having suffered severe beatings."

AP/McClatchy Newspapers/Seattle Times, Report: Al-Qaida's power is back, 12 Jul 07, "The report is known as a National Intelligence Estimate, the highest-level analysis produced by the U.S. intelligence community for the president and Congress. It represents the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007, Iran plans Internet radio station, 11 Jul 2007, "An Internet radio station Iran Seda (Iran Sound) is scheduled to go on air by the end of summer."

And from the same site:, Iran ready to confront al-Qaeda attack, 11 Jul 2007 "Stressing that al-Qaeda threat against the Islamic Republic of Iran is not a new menace, Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-mohammadi said military and security organizations are fully prepared to protect the country.", Bin Laden's son weds grandmother from Cheshire, 11 July 2007 "The pair spend up to 15 hours a day speaking on the phone and staying in touch on the internet, where Mrs Felix-Browne refers to her husband as 'habibi' - Arabic for 'my love'."
Times of India, Nikah online? Acceptable, says Darul Uloom, 11 July 2007 "Internet nikahs, few and far between in Uttar Pradesh, have now received a stamp of approval from the Darul Uloom, Deoband.

"Last week, Darul-ifta, the fatwa department of the famous Islamic seminary, pronounced that "a marriage solemnised in the bodily absence of a party with the help of the Internet, is acceptable if the proceedings take place in presence of two witnesses"." Thanks to Mohamed Taher at the Multifaith Information Gateway for alerting me to this.

Gulf News, Computer users complain Orkut is still accessible, 10 July 2007, "The ban was imposed after Gulf News highlighted the concerns of some readers that the site contained explicit material and could be used to find sexual partners.

"Following the ban, internet surfers have contacted Gulf News to complain that there are still ways to access the site." Worth reading for some of the readers' comments.

Taliya, Hajjis' attentions focus on SIM cards, 8 July 2007, "Cost of talking on the cell phones, outside Iran, is one of the questions that most of the passengers ask, especially Hajjis, who keep asking about the amount of money they should pay, and the type of the SIM cards which are more profitable. It is very important at this juncture to know when their SIM cards are going to go dead, Isna has reported."

Guardian, Four July 21 plotters jailed for life, 11 July 2007

SITE Institute, “Malicious Britain and its Indian Slaves” – An Audio Speech by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri Produced by as-Sahab Media, 10 July 2007 The original recording is widely available through the usual channels. "Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two leader in al-Qaeda, speaks in regard to Britain’s conferring knighthood upon Salman Rushdie, and fighting in Lebanon and Palestine in a 20:44 minute audio speech produced by as-Sahab, the multimedia wing of al-Qaeda, and titled, 'Malicious Britain and its Indian Slaves'."

BBC News, Pakistan press on mosque assault, 11 July 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

BBC News, Three guilty over 21/7 bomb plot, 8 July 2007 Also see BBC News, Profile: Muktar Ibrahim, 9 July 2007, "Ibrahim claimed he learnt how to build the devices from a video downloaded to a CD from a well-known Islamist website run out of London." BBC News, Profile: Ramzi Mohammed, 9 July 2007, "When police raided the property, they found extremist literature, including a book about fighting in Kashmir, well-known in jihadi circles. The book's author was Dhiren Barot, jailed for life in 2006 for planning multiple plots in the US and UK." BBC News, Profile: Yassin Omar, 9 July 2007, "During the trial, he claimed the 21 July attacks were only ever intended as a stunt. He claimed he got the idea from the Fathers4Justice campaigners, who threw purple flour at the prime minister in the House of Commons in May 2004."
CyberOrient, the interdisciplinary online journal of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association, is back online. Do take a look, as there is much that also relates to this blog, including el-Sayed el-Aswad's piece Ethnography of Cyberspace: Globalism, Localism and 'Cyber-grassroots' in Bahrain CyberOrient is currently seeking content contributions (see Guidelines for Authors). Note that I am on the Editorial Board.
AFP, Syria intensifying Internet crackdown: watchdog, 7 July 2007, "Syria has stepped up its muzzling of the Internet, blocking access to a string of websites critical of the regime, including some run by leading dailies, a human rights group said on Saturday."

Story refers to Rajaa Alsanea's Girls of Riyadh novel, thankfully, rather than Cyndi Lauper's song:, Saudi girls just wanna have fun, 9 July 2007, "'We're living in the 21st century and there are still traditions from the 19th century and that's just insane,'' she said. ''You have the Internet ... and freedom of speech. You have modern schools and modern hospitals. And everything around you is digital. And yet you have to go through all this pain when you want to get married.''", Finally: Islamic Rage Boy speaks!, 5 July 2007
PTI/ (India), Investigators seize jehadi CDs from homes of suspects, 8 July 2007 "Sleuths probing the alleged involvement of three cities residents in a terror plot in Britain have seized CDs with ‘jehadi’ material from the home of suspects Kafeel and Sabeel Ahmed, a top police official said on Sunday."

The Observer, Terror suspect's jet bomb plot link, 8 July 2007 "Security and sources within Ireland's Islamic community allege both men may have belonged to the same al-Qaeda unit which viewed Ireland as a 'quiet base'."

The Observer, The making of a new terror, 8 July 2007, "Several of the suspects crossed the security services' radar after making mobile phone calls abroad or accessing jihadi websites; there have been claims that one was facing disciplinary action for the amount of time he was spending in front of computers at work. Security sources said this did not mean that any one of them was under surveillance." This article lost its sensationalistic headline (in the print edition). It contains several net references.

Washington Post, Three Worked the Web to Help Terrorists: British Case Reveals How Stolen Credit Card Data Bought Supplies for Operatives, 5 July 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

EuroNews,Al Qaeda leader posts new internet warning, 5 July 2007 "In a new video posted on the internet, Ayman al-Zawahri, urges unity in jihad."

Canada Free Press, "Cyber Jihadists" operating freely from Canada's Eastern Seaboard, 6 July 2007, Operating from pastoral Yarmouth, N.S., the Global Islamic Media Website is touted as an "al Qaeda media website"." Refers to a GIMF page (one of several)
Telegraph, Cyber-terrorists who incited murder are jailed, 6 July 2007, "Mr Justice Openshaw described the men as engaging in "cyber jihad", adding: "Much of the material was directed at young men who are more likely to be impressionable and are, of course, of military age." Telegraph, 45 Muslim doctors planned US terror raids , 6 July 2007, Guardian, Three jailed for engaging in 'cyber jihad' for al-Qaida, 5 July 2007 'Irhabi007', or Younis Tsouli, was prolific for a time - operating out of Shepherds Bush. He received a 10 year sentence, and will be deported to Morocco. Also see Bruce Sterling's take in Wired, Yes, He's an Actual, Real-World, Hacker Cyberterrorist, 6 July 2007 and Wiki, Irhabi 007. I refer to all this in my next book.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Spiegel Online, Bin Laden's Deputy Calls for Muslims to Unite in Jihad, 5 July 2007 Detailed report: "In a new al-Qaida video, the terror network's No. 2 calls for Muslims to unite in jihad and talks of plans to set up new camps in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Meanwhile, Islamists in Germany say that al-Qaida are no longer radical enough and call them "non-believers.""

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Freed: BBC News, BBC's Alan Johnston is released, 4 July 2007 "BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released by kidnappers in the Gaza Strip after 114 days in captivity."
CMP/, 'Electronic Jihad' app offers cyberterrorism for the masses, 3 July 2007, "The "Electronic Jihad Program" is part of the long-term vision jihadi Web site has to use the Internet as a weapon, something that affects any organization that relies on the Web. Electronic Jihad allows users to target specific IP addresses for attack in order to take any servers running at those IP addresses offline." Previously discussed/blogged

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Guardian, Muslim Council of Britain declares 'condemnation is not enough', 3 July 2007 Also see MCB, Statement from the Muslim Council of Britain on Recent Terrorism, 3 July 2007
Globe & Mail, Britain faces evolving threat, 2 July 2007, "But there is a fear that members of this gang could be so-called "clean skins," people who developed an affinity with al-Qaeda through Internet connections or personal beliefs, without making any actual contact."

Guardian, The amateurishness of the attacks is scant consolation, 3 July 2007, "The threat remains potential or, given the role the internet now plays in interaction between militants, virtual." Commentary by Jason Burke.

YNet, Al-Qaeda's car bomb guide, 3 July 2007, "The bombing manual, available in Arabic on a jihadi website, contains a number of key pieces of advice for car bombers. It instructs terrorists not to park their vehicles illegally, and advises the car bomber to leave the scene quietly, if he plans to detonate the vehicle from a distance, in what al-Qaeda terms "non-martyrdom operations." One of a number of manuals on this subject, although it seems in this case that the manual was not followed 'properly', given the outcomes.

AP/Seattle Times, Foreign-born doctors held in U.K. plot, 3 July 2007, "The Muslim News also said the Indian doctor had used the car, cellphone and Internet account of a fellow physician who had moved from England to Australia around a year ago.

"This case could be the final proof that an idea those involved in these type of attacks are all young, angry and poorly educated is a mistake," said Paul Cornish, a former British army officer and director of defense studies at London's Chatham House think tank."

Guardian, Hamas captures spokesman for Johnston kidnappers, 2 July 2007

Examiner, Lack of fluency in Islamic languages impedes U.S., 2 July 2007 "The National Security Agency, which intercepts telephone and Internet communications, needs more language experts to listen to phone calls, identify the speakers and do translations."

Yemen Observer, At least 9 people killed in Mareb car bombing, 3 July 2007 "Only last week, a man identifying himself as Abu Basir Nasir al-Wahishi - one of 28 terrorist suspects who in February 2006 fled a high security prison in Sana’a - has claimed in an audio message posted on Islamist internet forums that he is the leader of al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen."

Monday, July 02, 2007

BBC, Car bombings suspect 'on the run', 2 July 2007

AP/IHT, British Muslims worried of backlash after failed terrorist attacks, 1 July 2007

AFP/IOL, London shall be bombed - online posting, 30 June 2007. "Hours before British police averted a car bomb attack in London, a message appeared in an Internet chat room sometimes used by al-Qaeda, warning "London shall be bombed," CBS News reported on Friday.

Muslim Council of Britain, MCB Thanks Police and Appeals for Help to Catch Bomb Plotters, 29 June 2007, Vigilantes target Iraq porn surfers, 29 June 2007 "The Iraqi Aid Association (IAA), a Baghdad-based non-governmental organisation working with displacement, children and youth issues, says dozens of Iraqis have been killed after using the internet to access erotic sites."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Observer, My plea to fellow Muslims: you must renounce terror, 1 July 2007 "As the bombers return to Britain, Hassan Butt, who was once a member of radical group Al-Muhajiroun, raising funds for extremists and calling for attacks on British citizens, explains why he was wrong." Scope for another book (following on the heels of Ed Hussein's 'The Islamist')? An earlier interview can be found here: Prospect Magazine, A British jihadist, August 2005, 113