Friday, December 21, 2007 has latest updates and campaigns on the recently returned 'UK Guantanamo Three'. Also see, After Guantánamo imprisonment, U.K. residents are free - but for how long? and Guardian, Family reunions for Guantánamo three, but two could be deported to Spain, 21 Dec 07. Online campaigns have played a significant role in ensuring the media profile of the prisoners has been maintained.
BBC News, Italy imam guilty of terror links, 20 Dec 07 "An Islamic cleric who preaches at a mosque in Milan has been convicted on terror charges by an Italian court."

The original photo shown here by Stephanie Sinclair can be found at UNICEF, Images of Extremes, Eva Luise Köhler honors Stephanie Sinclair for her picture taken in Afghanistan. "The American photographer Stephanie Sinclair is the winner of the international photo competition "UNICEF Photo of the Year". Her photo shows a wedding couple in Afghanistan who could not be more opposite. The groom, Mohammed, looks much older than his 40 years. The bride, Ghulam, is still a child; she just turned 11. "The UNICEF Photo of the Year 2007 raises awareness about a worldwide problem. Millions of girls are married while they are still under age. Most of theses child brides are forever denied a self-determined life", says UNICEF Patroness Eva Luise Köhler at the award ceremony in Berlin. According to UNICEF, there are about 60 million young women worldwide who were married before they came of age, half of them in South Asia." [diolch: Ali Eteraz, Child Bride, Child Laborer, 20 Dec 07]

Thursday, December 20, 2007, Hannah Allam: Muslims speak out through Arab-themed T-shirts, 18 Dec 07 "The Christmas and Eid holidays run back-to-back this year, and it's hard to shop for people who straddle Western and Middle Eastern cultures. While surfing the Web in hopes of finding unique gifts, I was surprised to stumble across an array of Arab-themed T-shirts whose slogans illustrate how bold Muslims have become in speaking out about their post-9-11 experience." This article includes a URL listing of websites where these T-shirts are sold., Aptilo Managed Service Enables Metro Wi-Fi Network in the City of Mecca for Pilgrims to Islamic Hajj, Working with Tropos Networks, 19 Dec 07 belated advertorial, with interesting details. "The broadband Wi-Fi network will be in place throughout the week of Hajj. Internet access is free; visitors need only to register to utilize the service."
Moina Noor, alt.muslim, The art of the sacrifice, 19 Dec 07 "The impracticality of American Muslims performing the sacrifice themselves has spawned several creative solutions. Dozens of websites and charity organizations such as Islamic Relief and [] have services where for approximately $70 you can buy a sheep or goat for distribution to the needy. Most sites even allow you to pick the country where you’d like the meat distributed. My dad, still not a believer in the Internet, sends money to his sister in Chennai, India, where she oversees the slaughter and distribution."
AFP/Middle East Times, Egypt telecom magnate sparks debate, fatwa with veil comments, 18 Dec 07, "The businessman [Naguib Sawiris], who ranks among the world's 100 richest men, had criticised the growing influence of religion, such as the Islamic hijab, or veil, worn by women in the street.

""I have the impression of being in Iran. I feel like a foreigner," he said last month.

That sparked a torrent of reactions culminating in a fatwa on Monday by Sheikh Yussef al-Badri, famous for his fervent and furious religious edicts, urging all Muslims to boycott Sawiris' companies, which include Mobinil, the leading Egyptian mobile company."
New Straits Times, Aidiladha e-qurban service, 20 Dec 07, "More people are using the Internet to place their orders for sacrificial animals to feed the poor during Hari Raya Aidiladha."
UPI, Report: Terrorists cannot train online, 19 Dec 07 "The Austin, Texas-based private sector intelligence company Stratfor says in an analysis that some experts overstate the importance of the Internet.

""Although the Internet has been a great enabler for grassroots (terrorist) cells to spread their ideology and recruit new acolytes, some things are incredibly difficult to accomplish online -- namely, absorbing the technical information and tradecraft of terrorism and applying it to a real-world situation, particularly in a hostile environment," reads the analysis, published last week." See Stratfor for details (although it wasn't on the front page when I took a look). Also see Stratfor, Al Qaeda in 2008: The Struggle for Relevance, 19 Dec 07 which discusses Ayman al-Zawahiri's review of events.
WNBC, Al Qaeda Leader Offers To Take Questions Via Internet, 19 Dec 07, "Al-Qaida has invited journalists to send questions to its No. 2 figure Ayman al-Zawahri, the first time the terror network has offered an "interview" with one of its top leaders since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

"The invitation -- issued by Al-Sahab, the group's media arm on an Islamic militant Web site -- is the latest in al-Qaida's increasingly sophisticated efforts to get out its message. Al-Sahab has dramatically increased the number of messages it has issued this year, and its videos have shown more complex production.

"The statement, first posted Sunday, invites "individuals, agencies and all media" to submit written questions for al-Zawahri by sending them to the Islamic Web forums where Al-Sahab traditionally posts its messages."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Iran: Internet Cafes Shut Down In Drive Against Un-Islamic Behavior, 18 Dec 07"Police in Tehran have raided more than 430 Internet cafes and other shops during the first days of the latest campaign against what they say is inappropriate and un-Islamic conduct." Update on this trend.
AKI, Egypt: Women of the Muslim Brotherhood rebel, 18 Dec 07 "A group of women from the movement has appealed for the right to run for office as members of the movement's council, "to resolve the internal problems of the organisation, play a more important role and participate in political life so that they can be elected to the general leadership".

"This request has been written and published on the Internet site of the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Sunni movement considered one of the world's most influential Islamist groups."
AFP/, Press praise, blogger anger over Saudi rape girl pardon, 18 Dec 07 "A royal pardon granted to a Saudi gang rape victim in the face of US criticism of her prosecution drew lavish praise from the kingdom's loyal press on Tuesday but anger from its outspoken bloggers.", 'Not My Father's Hajj', n.d. "During the modern hajj, the emphasis on commerce and the abundance of modern technology can be distracting. New malls with Western stores are beginning to surround the Masjid al-Haram ("the Sacred Mosque"), contrasting with the nearby bazaars and street markets that echo historic experiences (commerce itself during hajj time has not traditionally been discouraged). Mobile phone and camera use, though prohibited around the Haram, is still widespread, even by pilgrims performing the tawaf and other religious rites (Internet access, on the other hand, is not accessible to pilgrims)." Comment from Shahed Amanullah.
Al-Arabiya, US monitors Arab cyberspace to improve image, 18 Dec 07 "Digital Outreach is a U.S. State Department online team. The 6-member team checks major Arabic websites, blogs, and chat rooms and post comments through which they explain American foreign policy.

"Founder of the program Walid Jawad told that his team does not spy on Arab surfers and is not working for the CIA as some claim, but tries to explain American foreign policy and communicate with its detractors.", How to find the Qibla using the web, 12 Dec 07 "Many of us are familiar with finding the qibla in a hotel when visiting Muslim countries. Even more of us are familiar with using a pocket compass to find the direction of prayer in our homes and offices. Now, with an internet connection, you can find the Qibla via" A potentially useful tool, although I couldn't get a precise location using my post-code (ended up in a field somewhere).
Guardian, Riazat Butt, Stoning the devil, 19 Dec 07, "To the untrained eye al-jamrah al-aqabah al-kubra is just a concrete wall about 30 metres long and 18 metres high. Closer inspection reveals that it is a very particular wall, surrounded by CCTV cameras and a carefully directed one-way human traffic system." Also see In the city of 1m tents and Riazat Butt at the Hajj (which includes film clips).

Riazat talks to Shelina Zahra Janmohamed, whose (coincidentally) Spirit21 won Best Blog and Best Female Blog at the Brass Crescent awards recently.
VOA, Swiss Police Block Internet Auction of Suspected Iraqi Treasure, 18 Dec 07 "Authorities say the sale on eBay, the global internet auction web site, was stopped last week, just moments before bidding closed on the artifact. It was not clear Tuesday whether any bids had been made."
A number of recent articles can be found on Euro-Islam, whichis drawing together news materials from various sources and agencies. The site doesn't have RSS at present.
Eid Mubarak

IslamicTube (through YouTube), Eid Mubarak
CDI, Policing Terrorism on the Internet, 18 Dec 07 opinion piece from Mark Burgess. "The internet is neutral. Rather than trying, King Canute-like, to hold back the virtual sea in which the terrorists swim, the EU and other like-minded bodies should learn how to better negotiate the currents themselves. Shutting down internet sites may be effective as a stop-gap measure or form of harassment but this cannot be the cornerstone of any online counter-terrorism campaign. Nor can policy based on tracking and locking up anyone who has ever looked at materials featured on such sites."
We live in an age where there are too many awards. However, there are some exceptions, one being the Brass Crescent Awards. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. Some excellent choices in this listing. Some are represented in the Islamic Blogosphere (left hand column).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BBC, Panorama, Basra: The Legacy, 17 Dec 07 This film was broadcast on Monday. Presented by Jane Corbin, it offers insight into the current situation in Basra. It can be viewed again through this page. Essential viewing.
Die Zeit, Allah im Netz, 17 Dec 07 originally in Falter magazine a few weeks ago, contains a few quotes from myself

Monday, December 17, 2007

Yorkshire Post, Reality television lifts veil on life as a temporary Muslim, 15 Dec 07 "Under the watchful eye of a team of Muslim mentors, the diverse group were taught to abide by Sharia law while a camera crew followed them around." Details, Channel 4, Make Me a Muslim. Channel 4 does have a view-again service, but it is PC only, so I couldn't use it to check out this episode.
Independent, Iranians wait nearly 30 years to see a Western pop star - and then they get Chris de Burgh, 17 Dec 07 (great headline...) "Messages from Iranians were collecting on the star's website last night. One said he would not believe the number of fans he has in the country, while another from Tehran wrote: "Iranians will welcome you with open hearts and baskets of flowers, thanks to decades of nice memories with your lovely songs. Please come soon. Time is passing so slowly." Not sure it will go any quicker with this development. De Burgh is working with Arian
This is more like it: Middle East Online, Muslim mysticism projected in Led Zeppelin tunes, 15 Dec 07 "Today's Muslim rock and heavy metal artists, in turn, have been powerfully influenced by Led Zeppelin. The band's music echoes their own history and culture, helping them create new hybrids of rock, metal and Islam, and through it, some of the world's most lush, most innovative and most powerful rock 'n' roll."
Daily Mail, Why one Muslim girl became a born-again virgin for her wedding night, 17 Dec 07, ""On the internet, I found the clinic of Dr Magdy Hend, at the Regency Clinic on Harley Street.

""I went for an initial consultation, telling my family I was travelling to London on business, and was absolutely reassured." Read more in this detailed article.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

AlArabiya, Iraq's Muqtada Sadr studying to issue fatwas, 16 Dec 07 "Iraqi Shiite cleric and head of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr, is doing intensive study to earn the title of 'marjea' ('expert' or 'authority'), which will entitle him to issue fatwas (religious edicts) for his followers, in accordance with Shiite traditions.

"Al-Sadr is studying at the Al-Hawzah religious institution in Najaf, his official spokesman Sheikh Salah Al-Obeidi said in a press statement carried by Quds Press on Saturday."
The Hajj

An interesting initiative: FCO Bloggers, The Hajj includes RSS feeds, Hajj is a spiritual journey of The First Order, 14 Dec 07 "Making a physical pilgrimage to Mecca is the Fifth Pillar of Islam, a religious obligation that every financially and physically able adult Muslim must undertake at least once in a lifetime. Today, the two-week trip costs more than $7000, putting it beyond the reach of far too many Muslims.", Saudis tighten security for Hajj, 16 Dec 07

AFP, Saudi minister says utmost done for problem-free Hajj, 15 Dec 07, Mobily hands out 1m umbrellas, prayer mats in Hajj, 16 Dec 07, "The mobile operator has also announced that it has begun a program with the Ministry of Hajj to dispatch more than 1.5 million awareness SMS messages to pilgrims who subscribed to its network, both in the Kingdom and abroad. Dispatched in a number of languages, the messages carry advice such as "Keep to the grouping plan to be safe from stampedes." These messages are Mobily's contribution to minimize risks for pilgrims and keep them safe as they perform their rites."
Gulf News, Cyber criminals bring 'festive' fraud, 16 Dec 07, "Seasonal e-cards are now becoming more popular than traditional greeting cards and cyber fraudster may use this to their advantage.

"The malicious websites often show up on popular search engines by using phrases such as “Eid Muburak” or “Christmas gift shopping”.", Ali Shafeya, AIB Special Correspondent Killed at Home, 15 Dec 2007 "Ali lived in Habibya, it’s considered as a part of the Sadr city. On Friday the 14th at 11:30pm Baghdad time, Iraqi National Guard forces raided the street where Ali’s house is, one of the neighbors heard a gun firing after 15 minutes from the arrival of the Iraqi National Guard convoy to the street, the force left at 3:00am. His neighbors kept calling Ali’s phone and it was switched off all the time, so they called his cousin Amar because he lives one block away from where Ali lives.', Germany Admits Year-Long Surveillance Of Islamist Groups Online, 14 Dec 07, "German police and intelligence officers regularly surf the Internet to monitor Islamist activities on the web and to analyze contents of Islamist websites. The news comes after Federal Prosecutor General Monika Harms admitted surveillance of Islamists online activities is vital to Germany's war against terrorism."
Reuters, Chronology: Messages attributed to Zawahri, 14 Dec 07 "Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, has accused Arab leaders in a new tape of betraying the Palestinians by attending the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis and urged Muslims to keep fighting."
Reuters India, Iran shuts down 24 cafes in Internet crackdown, 16 Dec 07 "Iranian police have closed down 24 Internet cafes and other coffee shops in as many hours, detaining 23 people, as part of a broad crackdown on immoral behaviour in the Islamic state, official media said on Sunday."

Friday, December 14, 2007

MEMRI, Major Jihadi Cleric and Author of Al-Qaeda's Shari'a Guide to Jihad: 9/11 Was a Sin; A Shari'a Court Should Be Set Up to Hold Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri Accountable; There Are Only Two Kinds of People in Al-Qaeda – The Ignorant and Those Who Seek Worldly Gain, Special Dispatch Series - No. 1785, 14 Dec 07 "Over the last few weeks, Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, one of the least public yet most important figures in the global jihad movement, has published a long-awaited new work, Wathiqat Tarshid Al-'Aml Al-Jihadi fi Misr w'Al-'Alam ("Document of Right Guidance for Jihad Activity in Egypt and the World"), in which he calls for a stop to jihad activities in the West and also to those against the ruling regimes in Muslim countries." Overview, with links to other sources. MEMRI plan to run further extracts from Al-Sharif's books on their pages. Details on MEMRI here
APP, Darul Uloom issues fatwa denouncing terrorism, 13 Dec 07 "Darul Uloom Deoband, a leading Islamic centre in India issued fatwa denouncing terrorism and said it was against Islamic principles. Media reports quoted Mufti-e-Azam Maulana Fazlurehman Hilal Usmani, a scholar of Darul Uloom as saying in Saharanpur “Jehad signifies a fight against evil while terrorism is aimed at killing of innocent people. The two are opposite each other." Haven't seen this on the Darul Uloom Deoband pages yet.
Globe & Mail, Muslim girls living in Canada can reject hijab, leaders say, 14 Dec 07 "Although women who wear hijabs occupy higher positions in Islam, according to religious teachings, the choice is ultimately up to the woman, said Sheik Alaa El-Sayyed, imam at Mississauga's Islamic Society of North America.

"He and other Muslim leaders appeared at a news conference at the Islamic Centre of Canada in Mississauga yesterday and said Ms. Parvez's death was not connected to their faith."
Discussion by Tom Heneghan, drawing on other sources: Reuters, A multiple-choice question about fatwas, 11 Dec 07 "Here’s a multiple-choice question about fatwas — in the information age, the Islamic practice of issuing fatwas has become…

1. enriched
2. chaotic
3. more open
4. less transparent
5. all of the above
6. none of the above."

Send your comments to Mr Heneghan ...
Asharq Alawsat, Has Al Qaeda Changed its Base?, 13 Dec 07 "An official who is a close observer of the Al Qaeda network believes that the organization has begun to shift its activities to Yemen, in addition to its strong presence in Iraq. The movement’s migration from Afghanistan is practically aiming to surround the Gulf region, which Al Qaeda considers its first and last goal." Discussion by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed.
ABC News, Al Qaeda claims Algiers attacks, 12 Dec 07 "The Islamist internet site published photographs of the two suicide bombers carrying assault rifles against the backdrop of a green flag of Islam.", Islamic Like Me: Is Western Culture More Sexually Oppressive Than The Burka? feedback on Danielle Crittenden's articles (previously posted), together with related links

A very useful article in MER: Marc Lynch, Young Brothers in Cyberspace, Middle East Report 245, "Not all Brothers’ blogs are part of a coordinated campaign, however. Over the last year, a growing number of youth have started the sort of individual online journals that would be familiar to youth anywhere. These Muslim Brothers often simply live online—whiling away the hours not just reading blogs, but participating in forums and posting to YouTube and the ubiquitous Facebook. While they engage in their share of political activism, many of their blogs are intensely personal. Like the youth of any country, they spend as much time writing about family and friends as about world affairs—as well as, of course, their religious faith."

There are several other good pieces in this edition of MER, in particular Ted Swedenburg's Imagined Youths, in which he notes: "Westernization is regarded across the board as one of the greatest sources of danger to susceptible youth. Western culture and its immoral values (related forces include Zionism and globalization) threaten youth with the evils of HIV/AIDS, premarital sex, drugs, suicide, Satanism and so on. A related threat is the media, held as responsible for relaying corrupting influences to young people, and therefore film, music, radio and satellite TV broadcasts, and the Internet are all foci of great concern. In Egypt such dangers are usually summed up as the “cultural invasion” (ghazw thaqafi), which foists bad morals and “vulgar” culture—the macarena, Madonna and Michael Jackson—upon youth, leaving them without viable national role models, only alien and decadent ones."

I picked up on MER from Ted Swedenburg's blog , which is a consistently interesting read (also listed in the blogosphere on the left hand side of this page). He gets to write about new music releases too, which are an interest of mine.

Thursday, December 13, 2007, Muslim commerce is ages old, 13 Dec 07, "It has become ever so fashionable to talk about Islam and commerce of late. Yet a cursory look at the references to Islam and economics, business, banking, finance and made-for Muslims products and services on offer on the internet would point to the fact that Muslim commerce is booming, and what's more, has been doing so for the past two decades with scarcely anyone noticing." Op-ed by Farish A. Noor, What does it mean to be Muslim in Morocco?, 13 Dec 07 refers to Younes Tsouli (Irhabi 007)
AFP, Father charged with murdering daughter allegedly for not wearing hijab, 12 Dec 07 "Across Canada, the killing has taken on larger proportions, with many using it to more broadly indict fundamentalist Islam, and one Internet blogger going as far as suggesting a boycott of all taxicabs driven by Muslims."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, '50pc drugs marketed via Internet are fake', 9 Dec 07 ""We could safely say that 50 per cent of the drug products sold on the Internet are fake. Moreover, they could cause serious health complications and might even lead to death in some cases,” cautioned Dr Mohammed Abuelkhair, Head of Drugs and Medical Products Department at the Health Authority, Abu Dhabi (HAAD)."
al-Arabiya, Emiratis get 15 yrs for raping French-Swiss boy, 12 Dec 07, "[Veronique] Robert publicized her son's case through a website she launched in October to muster support for her demand that the UAE recognize homosexual rape in its legal system and set up adequate bodies to treat AIDS victims." The website is entitled BoycottDubai. More on this widely publicized case at Global Voices, UAE: Justice for Alex.
BBC News, Ask rolls out search privacy tool, 11 Dec 07 Useful research tool.
BBC News, New media dodge Mid-East censors, 12 Dec 07 "The Cairo Free to Speak debate will be broadcast on BBC World Service on Tuesday 18 December at 1306 GMT and 1806 GMT.", Al-Qaeda Group Says It Carried Out Algeria Bombings (Update3), 12 Dec 07 "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has killed more than 100 people in bombings across Algeria this year, said two of its "martyrs" used vehicles containing more than 800 kilograms of explosives, the U.S.-based group SITE, which monitors extremist Web sites, said by e-mail. The group, a spin-off of Islamic militias that fought the secular government in a civil war that lasted from 1992 to 1999, wants to turn North Africa into an Islamic state."
Edinburgh Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, Iranian Sufi Scholar to Address Middle East Peace at Festival 08

"Edinburgh will host world-renowned Islamic scholar Dr Seyyed Hossain Nasr to address the opportunities and challenges of Middle East Peace from a spiritual, educational and cultural perspective as part of Edinburgh’s Fifth Annual International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace.

"Dr Nasr will give the 2008 Festival Lecture on “Spiritual Approaches to Peace and Ecology in the Islamic World,” on Tuesday, March 11 at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, beginning at 730 pm. The previous day he will give a workhshop on “Sufism: Doctrines, Practices and Historic Manifestations” at the Quaker Meeting House, beginning at 10 am).

"The festival, which runs from March 1 through 11, features lectures, performances and workshops by peacemakers, scholars, artists, musicians, poets and religious figures from the Middle East, Africa, the USA and the UK."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New and noted: John Chesworth, 'A Study of Selected Islamic Internet Sites in East Africa', in the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. Vol. 1, No. 2, 2007. ISSN 1802-5943 pages 253-262. This doesn't appear to be online (yet).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Daily Mail, Revealed: First picture of British-linked Bin Laden son with his 'gentle and kind' father, 9 Dec 07, Saudi plans monorail for Muslim pilgrims, 10 Dec 07, "Saudi Arabia is planning a 5 bln usd monorail network to transport millions of pilgrims around the Muslim holy sites during the annual hajj pilgrimage, a Saudi daily reported."
CBSNews, Preaching Islam On TV, 10 Dec 07 "Muslim televangelist Amr Khaled is spreading his message of personal responsibility through Islam to more than 20 million homes throughout the Middle East and the West. Mark Phillips reports." [video report]
Update on Shakeel Ahmad Bhat:, Rage boy not to sue companies using his image, 9 Dec 07 "Since most of the blog posts about Bhat are in same unchanging, demeaning, hostile tone, Bhat says that he is yet to take decision about suing the persons who constantly resort to damaging his image.

""I am personally hurt with the people who had distorted my image by some times presenting me as a pig and sometimes a naked blonde. I am thinking in terms of dealing with them as per law," Bhat told Kashmir Newz.

"Legal experts believe that the American websites that have reproduced Shakeel's image may be breaching his image rights under US intellectual property law and for that Bhat has a strong case against them."
Asharq Alawsat, The Internet: Who Will Stop The Flood?, 9 Dec 07, "If media is described as the fourth estate, perhaps the internet may be dubbed the fifth estate upon the consideration that it surpasses the famous role of the press by virtue of the fact that any surfer that visits a site and registers as a member becomes a mobile journalist. And even if they do not register, they could simply use the website to post comments, read and browse information online.

"The ‘online’ reality has transcended all regulations and controls, even if hundreds of websites are blocked every day by internet censors, such as what the King Abdulaziz City for Science ad Technology does in Riyadh." Op-ed by Mshari Al-Zaydi
Reuters Life!, 'Fatwas' on rise but believers don't always listen, 10 Dec 2007 "The government's desire to challenge radical Islam on the Internet, where radical fatwas are disseminated across the world, is seen as one reason why the Mufti and the committee of scholars he heads took so long to get into cyberspace.

""People around them have said you need to get your message out to a wider range of people," said a diplomat who monitors religious affairs. "It's a generational thing, they have been disinterested in technology."
AlJazeera, Clinton staff fired for Obama email, 10 Dec 07, "A second campaign worker for Hillary Clinton has been told to resign for forwarding an email alleging that Barack Obama, a Democratic rival presidential candidate, was a Muslim intent on destroying the United States."

Friday, December 07, 2007

YouTube, 'I Am A Muslim' [and related feedback]

The Register, Lebanese lottery scam suspect cuffed in Cyprus, 7 Dec 07 "Ali Mohamed Kdoud allegedly raked in more than $10m after duping gullible marks into believing they'd won a lottery. The email scam relies on tricking surfers into forking out up-front "processing fees" for non-existent winnings."
AP/Yahoo, Syria blocks Facebook, 7 Dec 07, "Syrian authorities have blocked Facebook, the popular Internet hangout, over what seems to be fears of Israeli "infiltration" of Syrian social networks on the Net, according to residents and media reports.

"Residents of Damascus said that they have not been able to enter Facebook for more than two weeks. An Associated Press reporter got a blank page when he tried to open Facebook's home page Friday from the Syrian capital."
The Peninsular, Sheikha Mozah’s call aims to rescue youth, 7 Dec 07 "Sheikha Al Jefairi, the lone woman member of the Central Municipal Council (CMC), hailed Sheikha Mozah's concern and said her call for action against these channels would prevent the youth from losing sense and direction.

"Educating people about the ill-impact of these networks through the media and stricter control over the Internet were some other measures that could be taken to combat the phenomenon, she said."
Jerusalem Post, 2 Arab Israelis held on terror charges, 6 Dec 07, "Jurin told interrogators that he was influenced by al-Qaida philosophy and used to spend hours surfing global jihad Web sites and listening to speeches of radical Islamic preachers."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Qur'an and Bible together on one website, 6 Dec 07 The website is (English version). Dutch and Arabic and English versions are available. It's an interesting project, but of course the translation issue is significant. They have chosen Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an, in an edition published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an. I guess issues also apply to the choice of biblical text. The searchable area works well, although there are a few font issues in other areas of the text. It will be interesting to see the response to this initiative.
AlAraiyba, US Army gives Islamic lessons to Iraqi prisoners, 6 Dec 07 "Preachers hired by American troops teach detainees about the "sacredness of life" and "love of humanity," a Pentagon statement said, adding that moderate education creates a balanced mentality and prevents Detainees from falling prey to extremism." Non-tech
Report on Information Technology and National Security conference held in Riyadh:, Experts Recommend Special Laws to Combat Terror, 5 Dec 07, "At yesterday’s final sessions, Khaled Al-Firm, an IT specialist, called for the establishment of an international media forum to combat radicalism and terror. Al-Firm quoted Prince Abdul Aziz as saying that there were 17,000 websites on the Internet which fuel Al-Qaeda ideology, with an annual increase of 9,000 websites per year that seek to find new recruits by brainwashing people."
Time, The Teddy Bear Tumult's Legacy, 3 Dec 07, "The reaction by most Sudanese to Gibbons' lenient sentence was mostly benign; still, the government's fears of a larger backlash bordered on paranoia. Riot police were deployed, and Internet access to some stories was denied."
This relates to lawyer Abdul Rahman al-Lahem: CNN, Saudi rape lawyer hearing delayed, 5 Dec 07, "Though traditionalist judges and conservative lawyers accuse him of harming the kingdom's image by talking to the media, young people and reformists have offered their support, especially over the Internet, "where people are free to express their views," al-Lahem said.

""The world is now a small village," he said. "What is happening in a small room can be known within seconds to the whole world.""
OpEd News, Obama the Terrorist: The Vote-Baiting Smear Begins, 5 Dec 07 "Yet no sooner was the “rumor” (itself a word that confers a certain legitimacy on the matter; why “rumor” and not slander?) put to rest than it began rooting weeds through the Internet’s loamy blogs, waiting for its next chance to snap up mainstream time."
Threats Watch, The Fiction of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, 5 Dec 07 "According to the Pentagon and confirmed to ThreatsWatch by a military intelligence source, “Abu Omar al-Baghdadi” is a notional character developed by al-Qaeda to put an Iraqi face on the Islamic State of Iraq, which is itself equally notional. A purely fictitious character, the physical role of “Abu Omar al-Baghdadi” is in fact performed by an Iraqi actor known as Abdullah al-Naima. Khalid Abdul Fatah Da’ud Mahmud al-Mashadani, the former 'Information Minister' of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was captured on July 4, 2007 and revealed as much during his interrogation. The captured ISI “Information Minister” - in a distinct position to know - explained that al-Baghdadi’s statements and the overall direction and strategy of the Islamic State of Iraq is, in fact, controlled by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the Egyptian born head of al-Qaeda in Iraq." Opinion and comment.
The Samina Malik case concludes: Guardian, 'Lyrical terrorist' sentenced over extremist poetry, 6 Dec 07 "A 23-year-old former Heathrow shop assistant who called herself the "lyrical terrorist" and scrawled her extremist thoughts on till receipts has been handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence."

Times, Muslims 'criminalised for silly thoughts', 6 Dec 07, "Muhammad Abdul Bari said police and prosecutors were criminalising youths for harbouring “silly thoughts” and were undermining Gordon Brown’s £400 million drive to win Muslim hearts and minds."

The case had an internet element to it.
National Post, A cloak of my own, 6 Dec 07 " ... one day I found myself sitting down to my computer and entering the search words, "Islamic clothing retail." I decided I would buy the "full Saudi": an abaya, or cloak, plus a niqab, or face cover. I'd wear it for one week here in Washington, D.C., where I am otherwise a journalist and mother of three. I'd do everything I usually do, except I'd do it completely veiled.

"One of my first surprises was how many choices came up on my search (about 1.2 million hits, according to Google). There was everything from "Islamic Haute Couture" to "Plus Size Islamic Clothing online store." There were multiple styles of niqab as well: Did I want a mask that just covered the lower half of my face -- sort of like a lobster napkin over the nose--or did I want more "full coverage"?" Read more on this interesting report by Danielle Crittenden, which is going to run for a few days. There is also a video, entitled the Abaya Monologues. Not sure why she was typing her report at home with it on.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wired 15.12, How Technology Almost Lost the War: In Iraq, the Critical Networks Are Social — Not Electronic, 27 Nov 07, "The Army has set aside $41 million to build what it calls Human Terrain Teams: 150 social scientists, software geeks, and experts on local culture, split up and embedded with 26 different military units in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year. The first six HTTs are already on the ground. The idea, basically, is to give each commander a set of cultural counselors, the way he has soldiers giving him combat advice."
Highway Africa News Agency, Africa: Rural Connectivity Project for Continent, 5 Dec 07 "The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)is to embark on a project for African rural inclusion known as Commonwealth African Rural Connectivity Initiative (COMARCI).", Iraq: The Upcoming Jihadist Exodus, 4 Dec 07 "In a 42-minute audio message, Iraq's top jihadist leader called Dec. 4 for a fresh bombing campaign against Iraqi security forces. The jihadists are getting quite desperate over seeing their sphere of operations shrink in Iraq.", AIDS victims are martyrs: Egypt Muslim authority, 5 Dec 07, "The head of the Religious Guidance Department at Egypt's Ministry of Religious Endowments ruled that death by AIDS is considered martyrdom, press reports said.", Concerns grow over phone sex: SMS marriage service sees light in Saudi, 4 Dec 07 "Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence and member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Academy Dr. Mohamed Al-Najimi ruled that men who seek phone sex via marriage websites are "committing a grave sin."

""Ears fornicate, too. And the girl becomes an accomplice in the sin if she knows his intentions and still responds, and I doubt she would be serious about marriage."

"In principle, Najimi does not see a problem in looking for a spouse through the Internet: "As long as those websites are secure, and placed under strict supervision, so they do not turn into brothels."", GodTube offers wildly popular alternative to YouTube, 4 Dec 07
AFP, 40 Qaeda leaders killed or captured in Iraq: US, 4 Dec 07 "The US military on Tuesday said it had killed or captured 40 senior Al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders last month, as a shadowy head of the jihadi group announced a new bombing campaign in the war-torn country."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Guardian, Video released of five Britons held hostage in Iraq, 4 Dec 07 "A video of five British citizens kidnapped in Iraq and held since May has been aired on Al Arabiya television today." Also see BBC News, Kidnapped Britons tape condemned, 4 Dec 07 "They are being held by a Shia militia group calling itself the Islamic Shi'ite Resistance."
Wired, BBC: Iranian Police Closing Rap Studios, Calling Out Rappers, 3 Dec 07 "Police will shut down rap studios and confront rappers, and anyone wanting to record an album or play a show needs to get it approved beforehand by officials, according to the BBC." Also see BBC News, Iran targets 'obscene' rap music, 29 Nov 07
Times of India, Militants blow up CD, barber shops in Pakistan, 4 Dec 07 "Suspected pro-Taliban militants blew up a CD shop and a barber salon in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) after warning the owners to close down their establishments, saying they were against Islam and should be banned.", Yamli - Search the Arabic web using English text, 4 Dec 07, "A new web 2.0 search engine has been released that allows you to search the Arabic web using English text. Yamli follows the well-known Google model of having a mimimalist site: a simple search field and and a few links with Yamli’s other service. Actually, the search field (powered by Google) is not ’simple’. You type in a word and a list of Arabic equivalents is provided in a dropdown menu." Plenty of useful information (again) from IslamCrunch. And here is the link to Yamil. It has a clean interface, and plenty of potential.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Islam Online, Christian Scholars Apologize for Crusades, 27 Nov 07 "Reciprocating a goodwill gesture by 138 Muslim scholars, more than 300 Christian scholars and clergymen from across the globe have signed a letter apologizing to Muslims for the Crusades and the repercussions of America's so-called war on terror." Details: Yale Center of Faith & Culture, A Common Word Between Us and You Also see: A Common Word Between Us and You
Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)/, Egypt: Political Fatwas Draw Fire, 1 Dec 07, "Egypt's ruling party often accuses its Islamist opponents of exploiting religion to achieve political ends. But in the wake of several controversial fatwas -- religious edicts -- issued by the grand imam of the influential Al-Azhar Islamic establishment, critics are now accusing the state of playing the religion card."
Asharq Alawsat, Is London Tora Bora?, 2 Dec 07, "One should never disregard the internet and the level of intellectual misguidance and the spread of terrorism that is taking place through it. It is enough to refer to the recent announcement made by Saudi intelligence authorities in which it stated that there are nearly 17,000 websites that adhere to the Takfir ideology. Fundamentalist websites in Europe have rushed to translate the Al Qaeda leader’s recent speech into English, French, German and other languages." op-ed by Tariq Alhomayed
Yemen Times, Sexual abuse spreading in Sana’a primary schools, December 03, 2007 - Issue: (1108), Volume 15 , From 3 December 2007 to 5 December 2007 "Al-Shami [Jamal Al-Shami, chairman of the Democracy School, a local NGO] considers sexual abuse of children a widespread phenomenon. He believes that one major reason for it is that Yemeni youth are suffering psychological suppression due to misusing such technologies as television, mobile phones and the internet."
Times Online, British teacher pardoned by Sudan president, 2 Dec 07 "Sudan has granted a full pardon to the British teacher jailed for blasphemy after two British Muslim peers met the Sudanese President this morning to plea for the release of Gillian Gibbons."