Thursday, February 28, 2008


Asharq Alawsat, Modern Technology and Islamic Banking, 28 Feb 08
Abu Laith al-Libi

AFP/, Zawahiri vows to avenge Qaeda chief's death, 28 Feb 08 The chief being Abu Laith al-Libi:

""No chief of ours has died a natural death. Nor has our blood been spilled without a response," he [Ayman Al-Zawahiri] said in the 10-minute recording which had English subtitles and was posted on the Al-Ekhlaas website."
Microsoft Nigeria

Daily Champion (Lagos)/, Nigeria: Microsoft to Empower 2500 Youths, 27 Feb 08 "Operating Systems (OS) and productivity software giant, Microsoft Corporation,has concluded arrangement to empower 2500 Nigerian youths, as it warms up for the introduction of new products in the nation's market."
Virtual Desktop

BBC News, Web desktop targets 'cybernomads', 28 Feb 08 "A virtual desktop aimed at users who access the web via cybercafes is attracting interest from organisations set up to bridge the digital divide" Details:
Cyber Command

Wired, Air Force Launches Recruitment Campaign Touting Cyber Command, 27 Feb 08 "The Air Force is going large with a new tech-themed recruitment drive sporting the tagline: "A Changing World.""

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Imam Allegations Imam From Va. Mosque Now Thought to Have Aided Al-Qaeda, 27 Feb 08 "Aulaqi is "a huge inspiration to home-grown terror cells in the U.K. and Europe," said Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism researcher who testified as a government witness in a British bombing conspiracy trial. Kohlmann, an American whose work is funded by the Nine Eleven Finding Answers Foundation, a privately funded research group, said: "He is one of the very few respected extremist Salafi clerics who can write and speak in English.""
US Trial Update

AP, Navy prosecutors play jihad videos in spy trial, 27 Feb 08 "Prosecutors played videos promoting violent jihad Tuesday at the trial of a former sailor accused of communicating with suspected terrorists and leaking information that could have doomed his own Navy ship.

"Prosecutors allege that Hassan Abu-Jihaad ordered the videos. His attorneys have said in court papers that they don't dispute that he was in contact with the company that sold the videos, but that pictures and videos don't prove he passed classified information."
Tower Hamlets

Harry's Place, Tower Hamlets Funds Muslim Brotherhood Front Group ongoing opinion and discussion
No Tube Update

AFP, Pakistan lifts YouTube ban, says world outage accidental, 27 Feb 08 " Internet user Sajid Ali said the ban was unnecessary because Muslims in Pakistan would not want to access blasphemous material anyway.

""No Muslim would want to view the blasphemous content on any website. The government is really disturbed over its defeat in elections and afraid of critical videos and remarks on YouTube," Ali, a banker, told AFP."

The article refers to other theories regarding the blocking.

Press Association, UK and Iraq condemn hostage video, 27 Feb 08

Also see:, Al-Arabiya airs UK hostage video, 26 Feb 08
اعتبرت أنه "محزن ومؤلم لأسر الرهائن"
لندن تدين بث "العربية" تسجيل البريطاني المخطوف في العراق
(original Arabic report)

The story does not seem to feature on AlArabiya's English page today.
Moroccan Blogging

NYT, Moroccan Bloggers Protest Jailing for Facebook Prank, 26 Feb 08 "The week after Fouad Mourtada, a Moroccan engineer, was sentenced to three years in prison for creating a fake profile of the king’s brother on Facebook, Reporters Without Borders protested on the grounds that “this disproportionate sentence has shocked the Moroccan blogger community.""
aQ Yemen

AFP, Al-Qaeda claims attacks on Belgian, Spanish tourists: report, 26 Feb 08 "The "Jund Al-Yemen Brigades" said in an Internet statement that it was behind a strike in January which killed two Belgians and another in July which left seven Spaniards dead, the SITE Intelligence Group reported." Sustained delay in this information being published online.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

UAE, Hidden camera found in UAE ministry washroom, 26 Feb 08 "The man was charged by police and will appear in a Dubai court at a later date. The coin-size camera was connected to a receiver which was confiscated and all images have been demolished in the presence of police officials."
Gulf Media

Independent, The Media Bazaar, 25 Feb 08 useful article, but it would have been even better if they had included URLs for the various media outlets. Here's a few:

Emirates Business 24/7


MTV Arabia
Gates of Arabia

Arab News, Microsoft Deal to Open Gates of IT World for Saudis: KEC Chief, 26 Feb 08 "Young Saudis may soon be knocking at the gates of the IT world as a result of a strategic partnership agreement signed yesterday between the Knowledge Economic City in Madinah (KEC) and Microsoft Saudi Arabia.

"“Young Saudis will soon be knocking at the gates of the IT world as a result of this strategic partnership,” Tahir Bawazir, CEO of KEC, told reporters at a press conference following the signing of the agreement at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel."

Asharq Alawsat, Sharia Law in Britain: Alive and Well, 26 Feb 08 non tech, but refers to several platforms which had an online presence.
YouTube Unblocked

BBC News, Pakistan lifts the ban on YouTube, 26 Feb 08 "The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has told internet service providers (ISPs) to restore access to the site, according to a spokeswoman."
Taliban Telephone Tracking

AFP, Taliban threaten Afghan mobile phones companies, 25 Feb 08 "Zabihullah Mujahed, a rebel spokesman, said that several phone companies had been given three days to respond to militants' demands that they cut night time operations or face attacks, notably on antennas erected across the country.

""The invading forces are using mobile phones for military purposes," Mujahed told AFP, referring to about 60,000 foreign personnel deployed in Afghanistan to hunt down Taliban militants who are waging a deadly insurgency."
Cable Cutting 101

CNNMoney, Internet Connections Can Be Broken, 26 Feb 08 "It's a riddle of the deep blue sea, says Abelardo Gonzalez, a product manager for Keynote Systems (NASDAQ:KEYN) KEYN, a mobile device and Internet performance tracking firm."
aQ Analysis, Analyst warns of third Islamic terrorist wave, enabled by Internet, 24 Feb 08 ""The third wave of terrorists comprises mostly "terrorist wannabes," said Marc Sageman, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, who was a CIA case officer in Afghanistan in the 1980s. They are a post-Iraq terrorist generation made up predominately of Muslims in Europe who feel shut out of the labor market, said Sageman, speaking in Washington on Feb. 20 at an event sponsored by the New America Foundation. They become increasingly radicalized by shared group discontent and join the terrorist jihad in a quest for glory and heroism, he added." Sageman has a recent book out, which I have yet to get hold of: Marc Sageman, Leaderless Jihad, Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007
Ongoing Trial, Navy Secrets In Closet, 26 Feb 08, "The sailor, ex-Navy Signalman Hassan Abu-jihaad, is accused of sending explicit information about the movements, armament, vulnerability and formation of a U.S. naval battle group to the British operators of a network of Internet sites that an Islamic terror expert later testified Monday was closely linked to al-Qaida."

Also see:, A Profile In Terror, Behind A Keyboard, 24 Feb 08

BBC News, Muslim scholars decry terrorism, 25 Feb 08 "Opening the conclave the head of the Deoband school, Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, described terrorism as a thoughtless act which is against the teachings of Islam."

BBC News, Top terror recruiter found guilty, 26 Feb 08 "A man said to be one of the most important recruiters for Islamist extremism in the UK has been convicted at the end of a major trial."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Moez Masoud

Telegraph, Muslim TV evangelist preaches Allah of love, 24 Feb 08 "Moez Masoud, a 29-year-old Egyptian party-goer-turned-preacher, is sweeping the Middle East with his moderate Islamic message to love not just Allah but also others - and to play a full part in the modern world." More at, including an Arabic/English video filmed in part in London. Masoud's operation has integrated the web as a key component.
Bluetooth Burqa?

I am not sure how entirely serious or feasible this is, on a number of levels, but it seems to have engaged the interest of some blogs and news services. I await the reaction of Al-Azhar et al., and potential 'users', with interest:

Spiegel Online, Lifting the Veil Using a 'Bluetooth Burqa', 25 Feb 08 "[Inventor Markus] Kison says the burqa has a "digital layer" that incorporates a Bluetooth antenna, which lets women "decide for themselves where they want to position themselves virtually." Nearby mobile phones that also use Bluetooth will light up with any small file a woman chooses to broadcast as her identity -- a photo, a cartoon, a text file or even a sound clip."

More information is available here: Universität der Künste Berlin, CharmingBurka "The Charming Burka deals with Freud's idea that all clothes can be positioned between appeal and shame. The Burka was chosen, because it is often perceived in the west as a symbol of repression. A digital layer was added so that women can decide for themselves where they want to position themselves virtually. The Burka sends an image, chosen by the wearer, via Bluetooth technology. Every person next to her can receive her picture via mobile phone and see the women's self-determined identity. In the artists interpretation the virtual appeals can not be gathered by the laws of the Koran and so the Charming Burka fulfills the desire of living a more western life, which some Muslim women have today." [Note: Charming Burka in garden photo by Markus Kison]

Also see, The CharmingBurka breaks no laws of the Koran, only taste, 7 Feb 08 for a variety of comments

", Web editor jailed in Iran, 25 Feb 08, "Iran on Monday jailed the editor of a website after it published an unprecedented personal attack on revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's grandson, the Fars news agency reported."
No Tube II

BBC News, YouTube outage blamed on Pakistan, 24 Feb 08 "Pakistan's attempts to block access to YouTube have been blamed for a near global blackout of the site on Sunday.

"Google, the owner of YouTube, blamed the outage on "erroneous internet protocols", sourced in Pakistan."
Army of Ansar al-Sunna 04 Video

Reuters India, Video of 12 Nepalese killed in Iraq from 2004, 25 Feb 08 "Two still images taken in 2004 of the victims matched footage from the video. It was unclear why the video, from an Islamist group called the Army of Ansar al-Sunna, had been posted again on the Internet."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

No Tube

sify, Pakistani authorities ban access to YouTube, 23 Feb 08

"Pakistani authorities on Friday banned access to the popular video-hosting website YouTube for allegedly featuring blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Mohammed."

BBC News, Jail for Facebook spoof Moroccan, 23 Feb 08 "A Moroccan computer engineer has been sentenced to three years in jail for setting up a Facebook profile in the name of a member of the royal family.

"Fouad Mourtada was arrested on 5 February on suspicion of stealing the identity of Prince Moulay Rachid, younger brother of King Mohammed VI."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Data Encyption

IHT, Researchers develop simple method to steal encrypted computer data, 22 Feb 08 first, chill your computer chip ...
Do not pass go

CNN, Nations dropped from Monopoly site after Jerusalem fuss, 22 Feb 08, "An Israeli lobbying group, One Jerusalem, is driving an Internet campaign that pushed the city to 5th place in the Monopoly vote -- guaranteeing Jerusalem a spot on the board -- before Hasbro made the leaderboard a secret to add mystery to the final days of voting." Not sure if there is any related Muslim campaigning on this issue.
SMS Matchmaking, Matchmaking, Via Satellite, 22 Feb 08 "The business of matchmaking — where potential brides and grooms use an intermediary to find a spouse — has gone high tech in recent years. For a fee of SR8, a spouse-seeker can send an SMS to a person registered through services offered through satellite television. Consider it a matchmaking version of Facebook or MySpace." This has, perhaps inadvertently, been seen as an opportunity for people to seek misyar partners, too.
Wireless Iran

Middle East Online, Seriously wireless Iran, 20 Feb 08 "Unlike SMS, Bluetooth is all about face-to-face, direct interaction between individuals. That makes it particularly suited to a place like Iran, which has a very strong oral culture. And so it could be about to take off in a big way.

"Not long ago, the official in charge of internet matters at the Tehran city prosecutor’s office announced that the government’s extensive filtering of internet sites has had the unintended consequence of increasing the traffic in SMS messages containing what he called “immoral and anti-religious” material."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

US Primary 2008

It seemed appropriate to drop this into the blog: American Muslim Alliance has a broad range of resources associated with the Primary, together with related external links.
Sepia Mutiny

Ali Eteraz, Is There an Anti-Pakistani Bias at Sepia-Mutiny?, 21 Feb 08 Opinion piece. Judge for yourself: visit Sepia Mutiny. I have visited the site several times, and have found many interesting posts.
Malaysian Monitoring

AFP, Malaysian bloggers warned being monitored: report, 21 Feb 08 "A Malaysian government minister has accused bloggers, who have been writing avidly on upcoming elections, of being cowards and warned they are being monitored, a report said Friday."
aQ Germany

Thomas Renard,, Terrorism Focus, German Intelligence Describes a “New Quality” in Jihadi Threats, 20 Feb 08 "An increasing number of messages on jihadi websites call for an attack on German soil. Simultaneously, there seems to be a “new quality” in the Islamic propaganda, in the words of Heinz Fromm, president of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, or BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency. Messages and videos, including specific instructions for the building of bombs, are now directly posted to websites in German and in Arabic with German subtitles." I have observed that this trend has been running for a while.

There's also a piece linking to this in Spiegel Online, Interior Ministry Warns of Radicalization of Muslims, 20 Dec 07 "A new study commissioned by Germany's Interior Ministry warns of a growing threat from the radicalization of Muslims in the country. Six percent of Muslims in Germany support violence in the name of Islam, the authors write."

Also see: BMI, Federal Minister of the Interior Dr Wolfgang Schäuble opens the first German Conference on Islam in Berlin "Muslims in Germany– German Muslims"

The report can be found here: Katrin Brettfeld & Peter Wetzels: Muslime in Deutschland - Integration, Integrationsbarrieren, Religion sowie Einstellungen zu Demokratie, Rechtsstat und politisch-religiös legitimierter Gewalt - Ergebnisse von Befragungen im Rahmen einer multizentrischen Studie in städtischen Lebensräumen, Bundesministerium des Innern, 2007 It's a PDF, 6MB, but seems to take a long time to download...

The Post, Suicide bombing is un-Islamic, 21 Feb 08 "Since our collective memory is always weak and we are too busy to make a critical appraisal of the facts and figures we watch on television screen, read in newspapers and come across through on the internet, we succumb to the popular myths and propaganda." Opinion piece.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

For the photo, Second snowfall dusts Jerusalem's golden dome, 19 Feb 08 "Thick snowflakes settled on the walls surrounding the Old City and covered the golden dome in the Al-Aqsa compound on Temple Mount."
Lebanon, Lebanon seeking death penalty for Absi over twin bus bombs, 19 Feb 08 ""This was only the beginning," said an audio recording posted Jan. 7 on an Internet site frequently used by Islamic militants. The recording was attributed to Absi, but not verified. The recording was referring to the camp battle

""By God, you will not live safely," it said. "The mill of war has started to grind . . . between the infidels and the believers." The recording continued . "
Censorship Issues: New Report

UPI, Analysis: Terrorist use of the Internet, 18 Feb 08 ""There is no censorship option," Greg Austin, vice president of the East West Institute, told United Press International. "Trying to suppress anything (on the Internet) except direct operational use by terrorists is a mistake."

"Austin said a careful distinction had to be drawn between extremist sites "advocating violent ideologies or asserting the right to use violence in general" and terrorist sites that "call for or support specific terrorist attacks.""

Here's a direct link to the report (which I have yet to read), in PDF format: EastWest Institute, Countering Violent Extremism: Videopower and Cyberspace. There is also a summary: EWI, Announcements, Countering Violent Extremism: Videopower and Cyberspace
Threats to Mosque

PRNewswire/FoxBusiness, Hate Site Comments Suggest Violence Against Missouri Mosque, 19 Feb 08 "The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today asked the St. Louis, Mo., office of the FBI to investigate apparent threats against a local mosque posted on an anti-Muslim Internet hate site."
Malaysian Elections

AFP, Malaysia's opposition mounts campaign in cyberspace, 20 Feb 08 "Malaysia goes to the polls next month and this time the campaign is going online, as opposition parties turn to blogs, SMS and YouTube to dodge a virtual blackout on mainstream media." Includes a reference to the PAS portal

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Illuminated Rug, Sajjadah 1426 - Illuminating Prayer Rug, 18 Feb 08 designed by Soner Özenç "The Britain-based designer uses light as an integral element in his imaginative creations. This modern piece that he calls Sajjadah 1426 (1426 is the year 2005 in the Islamic calendar), combines technology and the Muslim culture.

"Sajjadah 1426 is a piece of art and a great example of the electroluminescent phosphor printing technology. It is also quite practical. It assists the person who performs the divine service of prayers, called namaz, not just by creating an amazing atmosphere, but by actually finding the right direction to pray towards."

Özenç's webpage includes a slideshow of designs.

AP, Superpower Divide Over Kosovo Widens, 19 Feb 08

Portal Qeveritar links into the main governmental agencies in Kosovo.

KosovaLive is an independent news agency.
Pakistan Election

IHT, Pakistanis deal severe defeat to Musharraf in election, 19 Feb 08 "Though official results would not be announced until Tuesday, early returns indicated that the vote would usher in a prime minister from one of the opposition parties, and opened the prospect of a parliament that would move to undo many of Musharraf's policies and that may even try to remove him."

Also see:

Dawn, Election Blog

The News, Election 2008

PPP Central Election Monitoring Cell

Pakistan Muslim League-N (PPL-N)

Pakistan Muslim League

Muttahida Quami Movement

Awami National Party
Never mind the Oscars ..., 4th edition of the Pan Arab Web Awards launched, 18 Feb 08 Visit the official Pan Arab Web Awards site for details. They note: "Due to internet downloading problem for more then 10 days in Egypt, that make delay for the Egypt web awards judging result, we extend the entry deadline till 25th of February 2008."
Cable Cutting Conspiracy

AFP, Saboteurs may have cut Mideast telecom cables: UN agency, 18 Feb 08 ""Some experts doubt the prevailing view that the cables were cut by accident, especially as the cables lie at great depths under the sea and are not passed over by ships," Murshed said on the sidelines of a conference on cyber-crime held in Gulf state of Qatar."
Nigerian Telecoms

Daily Trust/, Nigeria: 4 Bidders Jostle for Nitel, 19 Feb 08

"Four international communications firms, Messrs Telkom South Africa, Orascom of Egypt, Vodacom and France Telecomm have expressed their interest to take over the running of the crippled national carrier NITEL and its mobile telecoms arm M-TEL following weekend's revocation of their sale to Transnational Corporation (Transcorp)."
Education Online

Balancing Act/, Africa: Tomorrow's Internet Users Today - African Universities Play Catch-Up With Online Content, 10 Feb 08 "Africa needs universities that can generate original knowledge about the continent that both its own students and others globally will want to use. The first flush of African nationalism almost swept away the original generation of African universities. Now online tools offer the opportunity for them to create online libraries that will enable both their staff and students to mark out their own place in the fierce competition between global knowledge economies."
Croc Halal

AKI, Religious edict authorises crocodile meat consumption, 18 Feb 08
"Iranian Shia religious authorities have issued a fatwa, or religious edict allowing crocodile meat to be eaten by humans."
Life sentence

Guardian, Life sentence for the extremist who plotted to murder soldier, 19 Feb 08 "Khan was the leader of a Birmingham-based terror cell which, for three years, had shipped equipment to terrorists in Afghanistan. In 2006 he hatched a plan to kidnap a Muslim soldier serving in British forces, video his beheading and broadcast it over the internet."

Saturday, February 16, 2008


BBC News, Danes clash on web in Prophet row, 15 Feb 08 "[But now] young Danish student Anders Boetter says he has decided to start a Facebook site called Sorry Muhammad to apologise to Muslims on behalf of ordinary Danes and also give them a voice in the controversy over the row." You need a Facebook account to access Sorry Muhammad.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Facebook Jihadis

The Journal, Facebook: the darker side of social networking, 14 Feb 08 "It is important that we understand social networking sites are not benign by design, rather by practice."

This article, in the Edinburgh student newspaper The Journal, links through to a useful piece on Facebook: Miles Johnston, The Journal, British students being recruited to jihadist Facebook groups, 15 Feb 08
aQ Ringtone

Strategy Page [Dirty Little Secrets by James Dunnigan], A Christmas Gift From al-Qaeda, 14 Feb 08 "Western intelligence agencies could not believe their good fortune, when al Qaeda came through with an unbelievable Christmas present. Over the last month, the brains behind al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri (the number two guy), made several announcements encouraging terrorism fans to make greater use of the Internet. This includes downloading al Qaeda ringtones for their cell phones, as well as al Qaeda approved videos. This last bit involves files as large as 120 megabytes. Al Zawahiri also encouraged followers to regularly download new pronouncements and terrorism "how to" documents."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Prosecutions in Australia

The Australian, Guides lauded jihad, 9/11 hijackers, 15 Feb 08 "Children should be raised to embrace violent jihad and Muslim wives should not discourage their husbands from becoming martyrs in the name of Allah, according to documents seized from an alleged Melbourne terror cell and cited in court yesterday.
Global Incident Map

AFP, Online global terrorism map heads for the MOMA, 14 Feb 08, "An online map pinpointing possible terrorist acts in real time is on its way to a renowned New York City museum as a display of the wedding of technology and human behavior."

Here's the map: Global Incident Map

Reuters, Iraqi Qaeda group wants funds raised for fighters, 14 Feb 08 "We propose that every money-earning Muslim should save $2 a month, of which half would be allotted to our folk in Palestine while the rest goes to other fronts," Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, said in a recording posted on the Internet on Thursday."
Iranian website ban

Guardian Newsblog, Iran bans five websites, 14 Feb 08, "The sites have been deemed guilty of "disturbing public opinion" in the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections. While news sites have been closed before, this is the first time so many have been targeted at the same time.

"Four of the sites have so far not been identified but, strikingly, the one that has been named Nosazi (Reconstruction) is noted for its hardline sentiments and is believed to be closely allied to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Most of those closed in the past have been critical of Ahmadinejad."
Spanish arrests

CNN, Spain arrests suspected Islamic extremists, 14 Feb 08 "The three were not immediately identified but police said they were each around 30 years old and had prior police records for petty crimes. Police in this case suspect them of distributing CDs and MP3 files obtained from the Internet, with calls for an Islamic "jihad," the statement said."
Convictions Quashed

BBC News, 'No crime' in extremist reading, 14 Feb 08, "Nobody should be jailed for reading extremist literature, the government's terror laws watchdog has said.

"Lord Carlile said there must be "a real intention" to plan or commit an act of terrorism for a prosecution to proceed."

Times Online, Terror law in tatters as extremists go free, 14 Feb 08

"The judgment said: “Literature may be stored in a book or on a bookshelf, or on a computer drive, without any intention on the part of the possessor to make any future use of it at all.”"

This is London, Terror law in turmoil as appeal judges free five British Muslims who became 'intoxicated' by propaganda, 14 Feb 08, "Malik's solicitor, Saghir Hussein, said it was a landmark judgment.

"This will have implications for other cases, such as those alleging the glorification of terrorism," he added."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cartoons (again)

BBC News, Danish Muhammad cartoon reprinted, 13 Feb 08 "Danish newspapers have reprinted one of several caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad which sparked violent protests across the Muslim world two years ago ...

" ... Jyllands-Posten and several other leading newspapers - including Politiken and Berlingske Tidende - reprinted the caricature in their Wednesday editions."
aQ Australia - ongoing prosecution

Herald Sun, 'Terror plot to kill 1000', 13 Feb 08 "Videos found in the possession of Mr Benbrika, Mr Kent, Mr Joud and Mr Merhi showed scenes of beheadings of victims in orange overalls like the ones worn by detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

"In the videos armed and hooded men would sever the head of a victim with a large knife and then hold it aloft.

"There were also videos of snipers shooting American soldiers in Iraq.

"Literature was found in Mr Joud's possession including 'The terrorist's handbook', 'The white resistance manual' and 'The car bomb recognition guide'."
Hizbullah: Imad Mughniyeh

Times Online, Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah terror leader, killed in car bomb, 13 Feb 08 "“With all due pride, we declare a great jihadist leader of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon joining the martyrs… The brother commander hajj Imad Mughniyeh became a martyr at the hands of the Zionist Israelis,” said a statement carried by Hezbollah’s Al Manar television channel. The station broke off normal programming to broadcast verses from the Koran."
aQI, Coming up: A ‘decisive battle’ against Al-Qaeda in Iraq " Within the virtual world of extremist Internet propaganda, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi is leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization for Al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgent groups fighting US and Iraqi forces.

"But for American commanders he’s a confidence trick, a straw man invented to put an Iraqi face on a terrorist group led by foreigners who infiltrated Iraq to sow chaos and undermine the US-backed government."
Bluetooth Valentines

Rajaa Alsanea, NYT, My Saudi Valentine, 13 Feb 08 "These days, Saudi relationships start on Facebook or through Bluetooth. We “date” over the phone or by instant messaging, and we enjoy exchanging gifts — through our chauffeurs or housemaids."
GIMF Canada, Innocuous video hid terror plot, 12 Feb 08 "RCMP Corporal Michael Hanigan testified that Mr. Namouh spent long hours at his computer in Trois-Rivieres, editing GIMF videos that threatened Western countries like Germany and Austria and sought to inspire terrorists around the world."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Archbishop Update

BBC News, Williams in synod Sharia address, 11 Feb 08 includes link to Dr Williams' speech.

BBC News, Williams to face Anglican leaders, 11 Feb 08 "The Archbishop of Canterbury is due to address the Church of England's General Synod amid criticism of his remarks on Muslim Sharia law." Also see Archbishop of Canterbury, What did the Archbishop actually say?, 8 Feb 08
Cyber Command

Wired, Welcome to Cyberwar Country, USA, 11 Feb 08 "Inside the Air Force Network Operations Center at Barksdale, a tan, windowless building in the northwest corner of the base, the cyberwar is in full pitch. But the internet jihadists and Chinese hacker troops the Cyber Command is expecting so far haven't materialized. Spammers are the enemy today."
Geert Wilders' film

Economist, Wild thing, 7 Feb 08
, "The one thing missing is the cause of the fuss: an anti-Islamic film neither made nor shown by a Dutch member of parliament, Geert Wilders. In November Mr Wilders revealed his plan to air on television an exposé of the wickedness of the Koran, which he calls an Islamic “Mein Kampf”. The film is said to include shots of him desecrating the Koran. Dutch state television appears reluctant to show it, so Mr Wilders now talks of a private broadcaster, or using the internet. But the mere talk of his film has been enough to ignite a renewed debate about Islam in Europe and the limits on free speech."
Wireless Mosque

The Star Online, Crystal Mosque offers wireless broadband, 9 Feb 08 "The Crystal Mosque at the Islamic Civilisation Park in Pulau Wan Man here is to have wireless broadband access.

"The mosque made of crystal shine glass and steel foundation is also equipped with the latest ICT facilities where sermons could be aired via the Internet."

Here's a photo of the mosque in Terengganu: Mynn's Photo Page, The Crystal Mosque, 30 Oct 07

I haven't been able to find an official page for the Crystal Mosque (yet).
Valentine's Day Lahore Style

The Post, Love birds eagerly awaiting Valentine's Day, 11 Feb 08

"Valentine's Day has become popular with Lahore's youth despite strong opposition by religious clerics who has been insisting that the occasion is un-Islamic.

"Local shopkeepers and even the internet clubs are expecting more business on this occasion. "Young people would use the internet cafes for sending love message and greeting to their fellows leading to surge in one day profit," said Mubeen, a net club owner at Shadman."
Downtime Theory (1 of a series...)

CNN, Firm: Ship's anchor cut Mideast Internet cable, 8 Feb 08
""Fundamentally, if somebody wants to cut a cable, they can do so -- all you need to do is go trawling with an anchor," said Stephan Beckert an analyst with TeleGeography, a research company that consults on global Internet issues. He scoffed at conspiracy theories posted online by what he calls "the tin-foil hat crowd.""
Muslim use of Facebook, Young Muslims put faith in Facebook, 10 Feb 08 "Facebook, the Internet's immensely popular social networking site, may have been invented by university students in the United States, but it has been taken up with particular fervor by inquiring young Muslims in Britain."

I have been writing about this myself recently, for a forthcoming chapter on Muslims in the UK.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Azzam the American

MSNBC, American al-Qaida member missing?, 7 Feb 08 "Gadahn was last heard from on January 6,when a jihadist website posted several links to a 50-minute video featuring Gadahn, released by the media arm of Al-Qaida. Gadahn delivered most of the statement in English, but spoke in Arabic on several occasions to deliver Koranic recitations, religious rhetoric, and messages to Arabic speaking persons. One of these Arabic statements called on Muslims to greet President Bush during his January trip to the Middle East with "bombs and booby-traps.""
aQ Germany, Al-Qaeda Using Internet to Recruit in Germany, Government Says 8 Feb 08

Abu Hamza

The headlines generated by the comments of Dr Williams have driven other important stories to the margins. I covered the Qaradawi case yesterday. A separate issue is the Abu Hamza extradition, of note in this blog because of the use made of the web by Abu Hamza and his Supporters:

Telegraph, Cleric Abu Hamza to appeal against extradition, 9 Feb 08
"The Home Secretary signed the order on Thursday afternoon. If his lawyers do not lodge their appeal within 14 days he will be handed over to American authorities within 28 days."
Archbishop Checked

Dr Williams must have anticipated that his comments on shari'ah would generate a few headlines (let alone blog posts and forum debate). It seems to have made the front pages of many newspapers in the UK. Many assumptions and stereotypes seem to have emerged as to what shari'ah is (and isn't) from all sides, and there has been very little specificity as to what kind of system was being referred to. I don't plan to reproduce everything here, but some comments will suffice as an overview of the excitement this has generated:

Times Online, Church in a State, 8 Feb 08
"It is not clear how far the Archbishop is suggesting that Sharia should apply. He has certainly denounced its more extreme forms. It is also clear that Sharia differs widely in its application from country to country. But that is not really the point. In Britain, all citizens are equal before the law. Anything that might skew that balance ought to be wholly unacceptable."

Telegraph, Uproar over Archbishop's sharia law stance, 8 Feb 08 "The Archbishop's controversial stance has received widespread criticism from Christian and secular groups, the head of the equality watchdog, several high-profile Muslims and MPs from all parties."

Daily Mail, Sharia crime courts are ALREADY operating in Britain, 8 Feb 08
"An Islamic Council in Leyton also revealed that it had dealt with more than 7,000 divorces while Sharia courts in the capital have settled hundreds of financial disputes."

Guardian Unlimited, Laying down the law: ministers cool on archbishop's sharia suggestion, 8 Feb 08 "The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has a "good relationship" with Gordon Brown, Downing Street said last night, but the head of the Church of England's view that the introduction of some aspects of sharia law is unavoidable contradicts one of the prime minister's most cherished agendas."

The Sun, What a burka, 8 Feb 08
"Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood was outraged.

"He said: “This is the sort of woolly thinking that gets people into trouble. This sort of talk makes people think Muslims want to separate themselves from the rest of the community and be treated differently. The truth is most Muslims do not want Sharia law.”"

Further contributions from the press can be found at BBC News, Archbishop sparks Sharia furore, 8 Feb 08

Nothing on the MCB site yet. Other platforms have commented. See Ramadhan Foundation states: Archbishop Williams Support for Sharia Law, 8 Feb 08 "The Ramadhan Foundation welcomes the comments and support from the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for the introduction of Sharia law in the United Kingdom for civil matters. These comments from Archbishop Williams are testament to his attempts to understand Islam and promote tolerance and respect between our great faiths."

The news was reported by Islam Online, Canterbury Archbishop Supports Shari'ah, 7 Feb 08

It is helpful to take a look at the Archbishop's own statements: Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop - UK law needs to find accommodation with religious law codes, 8 Feb 08 which also links to a transcript of his original statements on Radio 4. Unfortunately, Dr Williams doesn't have a blog, so we await further responses with interest.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mosaad Abo Fagr, Renewal of imprisonment of Mosaad Abo Fagr for extra 15 days " Egyptian human rights organizations denounced today the continued imprisonment of political blogger and activist Mosaad Abo Fagr the head of the movement (we want to live) or "wedna naeesh" for extra 15 days though he has been detained for more than 40 days on several charges aiming to take revenge of him because of his supporting role to Sinai Bedouins."

أدانت المؤسسات الحقوقية المصرية اليوم استمرار حبس المدون والناشط السياسي مسعد أبو فجر رئيس حركة "ودنا نعيش" لمدة خمسة عشر يوما أخرى ، رغم مرور ما يزيد على أربعين يوما على اعتقاله ، على خلفية اتهامات الهدف منها هو الانتقام والثأر منه بسبب نشاطه الداعم لبدو سيناء .
al-Qaeda in Iraq (update)

Guardian, Captured videos show 'al-Qaida children' training to kidnap and assassinate, says US, 7 Feb 08 includes link to video content (lacks soundtrack).
Gambian Internet blocked

Freedom Newspaper/, Gambia: Govt Blocked Freedom Newspaper And IP Addresses in June- CPJ Report Reveals, 6 Feb 08 ""Domestic access to two U.S.-based, exile-run Web sites-Freedom Newspaper and All Gambian-was blocked for a month beginning in June, according to Internet site providers. Journalists for the Web sites, both of which are critical of the Jammeh administration, blamed the government. A government spokesman told CPJ that he was not aware that authorities had taken steps to block the sites." according to a statement issued by the New York based media watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists."
Al-Qaeda in Iraq

AKI, Iraq: Al-Qaeda video shows child terrorists in training, 6 Feb 08 "Al-Qaeda in Iraq is training children as young as 10 years old as fighters and bombers, footage contained in a jihadi training video has shown.

"The video has not been distributed on the web or sent to the Arab satellite TV network, al-Jazeera, but instead sent to its rival network, al-Arabiya."
It's not cricket

BBC News, Pakistan captain in 'love scam', 6 Feb 08 "Pakistani cricket captain Shoaib Malik has threatened to sue an Indian family for alleging he married their daughter over the telephone five years ago.

"He has accused the Muslim family from the city of Hyderabad of committing an internet marriage fraud against him."
Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh

AP, Afghan Gov't Urged to Support Sentence, 6 Feb 08
"Conservative clerics and elders demanded Thursday that the Afghan government not interfere with a controversial death sentence handed down to a young journalist convicted of insulting Islam for distributing a report questioning polygamy."
Downtime Conspiracy Theories

Somewhat inevitably, there are numerous theories around the cable cuts (although some people may not be able to effectively post their theories at present):, Conspiracy Theories Behind Those Cut Undersea Cables, 6 Feb 08 "Reports that a fifth undersea communications cable in the Middle East has been damaged in less than a week — further compromising Internet access in countries there, and knocking Iran off the grid entirely – are triggering wild conspiracy theories about who’s at fault, from Islamic extremists to the CIA. But BizTech readers can proceed with global business as planned: the reports aren’t true."

And of course, people have got withdrawal symptoms (and are now wondering what to do with all this free time):

Shamael Al-Sharikh, Kuwait Times, I gots the internet blues, 7 Feb 08 "Now, it has become hard to check some news sites, read email letters from readers, download large attachments, etc. It has also become quite obvious how addicted we are to the internet. It is the major means of communication now, equal to phone lines. I would not be surprised if some sicko in the future figures out a way to permanently destroy internet access as part of a terrorist attack, God forbid."
Cinema: "Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?"

AFP/, 'Super Size Me' director trails Osama bin Laden from Morocco to Pakistan for new film, 7 Feb 08 "After undergoing training to help school him in the art of avoiding snipers and kidnappers, the film follows [Morgan] Spurlock as he travels to Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and finally Pakistan to try to find the fugitive who continues to elude the CIA, FBI and the US military." See IMDb, Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?, 2008, and a video clip:, Video Clip From Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden, 21 Jan 08

Ongoing case of Parviz Khan, Zahoor Iqbal, and Amjad Mahmood: Birmingham Post, Clubber who smoked and drank 'turned into islamist fanatic', 6 Feb 08
"[Zahoor] Iqbal is also charged with being in possession of a record or document that would be useful to a terrorist, namely a CD called Encyclopaedia Jihad."

Fox News, Muslims Protest Wikipedia Images of Muhammad, 6 Feb 08 Further details on previously blogged story. "Nearly 100,000 people worldwide have signed a Web-based petition asking Wikipedia to remove all depictions of the Prophet from its English-language entry, viewable here."
Iran, Iran Sex Changes Get Mullahs' Money as Regime Persecutes Gays, 6 Feb 08 " An article in a local magazine prompted Hasti to learn more about transsexuals. Then, like many Iranians seeking answers about issues not discussed at home, she turned to the Internet.

""Before that I thought I'm a homosexual, but fortunately I got more information and realized it wasn't the case," she says.
Cinema: Ma Salama Jamil, A Sunni-Shiite Gangster Film, 6 Feb 08 "Omar Shargawi took a long time to fashion the script for his feature-length debut Ma Salama Jamil (Go with Peace Jamil), so much so that when he first started working on it, the latestgo-round of Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq had not yet erupted." The film's synopsis (from Trust Film, Go with Peace Jamil) describes the film as: "An Arabic tale, which takes place in Scandinavia. About ancient religious hatred, about love, punishment, guilt and redemption, about being responsible for one's own actions and refusing a path of violence. Jamil stands in the middle. He is fighting the war of his life; a war within himself." Let's hope the film gets a wide screening. Unusually for a European film, the dialogue is in Arabic (and Danish).
E-mail Rumours in North Carolina, False rumor puts Triangle Muslims on edge "It apparently began with a Raleigh couple's decision to catch a matinee showing of the film "Atonement" last month.

"It became an e-mail warning of a possible terrorist attack, forwarded among friends and friends of friends. Even after Raleigh police investigated and ruled out the tale of cloaked Muslim women mysteriously fanning out across a multiplex with briefcases and text-message phones, it continues to multiply."
Qaradawi denied visa

Sky News, Yusuf Al Qaradawi Denied UK Entry Visa, 7 Feb 08 "The MCB's Muhammed Abdul Bari said: "I am afraid this decision will send the wrong message to Muslims everywhere about the state of British society and culture."

A digression into televison, but I think the programme (previously blogged) is an interesting one, so this is a useful update: Jam! Showbiz, 'Little Mosque' hits the 'Road', n.d.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

New and noted

Madrasa Reforms in India "This blog aims at broadening the scope of debates on madrasasa in India by focussing, in particular, on the voices of those Indian ulema who see reforms (various defined) as essential to enable madrasas to more effectively serve their purpose as centres of Islamic learning and instruction."
Halal Phone?

The Register, Israel gets kosher phone service, 6 Feb 08 I posted this on my Surfing the Divine blog, but thought that the concept is transferable within an Islamic context. "Bezeq's new service is aimed at the ultra-Orthodox customer. It's been endorsed by leading rabbis, but they are expecting to be able to sell it to a much broader audience including concerned parents. The service is far from unique in Israel, though as the dominant operator Bezeq's move into the market is significant. It is interesting to see the use of religious endorsement to sell the service to secular parents - it's hard to imagine the Church of England (or Scotland) being trusted to endorse a pornography-free communications service."
aQ Speculation

AP, US intel: Al-Qaida may move outside Iraq, 5 Feb 08 "Al-Qaida, increasingly tamped down in Iraq, is establishing cells in other countries as Osama bin Laden's organization uses Pakistan's tribal region to train for attacks in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Africa and the United States, the U.S. intelligence chief said Tuesday."
Google Africa

Business Daily (Nairobi)/, Africa: Google Starts Recruitment Plan to Up Clout, 5 Feb 08
"The move comes amid increasing finding that emerging markets such as Africa are poised to become the next frontier of growth for global Internet companies.

"Less than five per cent of the African population is currently hooked on the Internet."

Daily Mail, Mr and Mrs Bin Laden: Rockers in Rome hoping for peace and a meeting with the Pope, 6 Feb 08 Non-tech ...
Downtime Update

BBC News, Work begins to repair severed net, 5 Feb 08 "Work has begun to repair two damaged internet cables in the Mediterranean Sea that were severed last week.

"Flag Telecom, one of the firms responsible for the cables, says it will take about a week to be fixed."

I'm curious to know what the effects has been on net users? What are they doing with their downtime? ... There is scope for a study here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pakistan on Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, Uncovering Pakistan, Sunday 3 February to Sunday 17 February 2008.

"When Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at the end of 2007, Pakistan became the focus of intense global news coverage. Now, in the run-up to one of the most uncertain elections of the decade, BBC Radio 4 explores the country behind the headlines. Uncovering Pakistan will examine the country's turbulent history since Partition over 60 years ago, and consider where it goes from here. We will be looking at a country and a people - both in Pakistan and in the UK – full of surprises: rich in culture and tradition, but divided by class and tribalism."

This series looks promising. Much of it can be heard online, via Listen Again. There are Audio Snapshots of Pakistani life, and some programmes can be downloaded as podcasts. It''s a great shame that not all the programmes are available as podcasts. However, the series is recommended (and time consuming).
Divorce Sharia Style

Channel 4, Divorce Sharia Style, 3 Feb 08 I missed this programme, alas, but no doubt it will be repeated at some time. There's some interesting information here. I couldn't help noticing that GoogleAds for the page include 'Muslim Girls Dating' and 'Muslim Marriage Service'... The micro-site includes a case study with a net issue reference:

"The problems in Yasmine’s marriage bring the Sharia Council into the 21st century. She shows Sheikh Hassan pornographic emails that her husband has received at the house and which her children find lying around. Now, she says, bailiffs are arriving to recover debts her husband has incurred. ‘Please,’ she cries. ‘I beg you, give me back my sanity.’

"Confronted with such strong evidence, Sheikh Hassan thinks this is a clear-cut case for immediate divorce. In extreme cases, the sheikhs have the power to dissolve the marriage immediately."

Windows users may be able to download the programme via 4oD. I'm using a Mac, and 4oD doesn't work for Macs or Linux.
Babar Ahmad

BBC News, Bug row officer fears for safety, 4 Feb 08 "Mark Kearney, a former police intelligence officer at Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes, says he did not think it was right to bug MP Sadiq Khan."
Wiki Islam

NYT, Wikipedia Islam Entry Is Criticized, 5 Jan 08
"An article about the Prophet Muhammad in the English-language Wikipedia has become the subject of an online protest in the last few weeks because of its representations of Muhammad, taken from medieval manuscripts."

Downtime Jordan

BBC Monitoring/Arab Media & Society, Jordan's Internet services affected by undersea cable damage, 3 Feb 08

Monday, February 04, 2008

Abu Laith al Libi

LA Times, Libyans advance in Al Qaeda network, 4 Feb 08 "The death of Abu Laith al Libi, a Libyan Al Qaeda chief, has cast a spotlight on the rise of Libyan militants in a network dominated by Egyptians and Saudis, Western anti-terrorism investigators say.

"Al Libi was killed last week in an American missile strike on a hide-out in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, officials say. In addition to overseeing a paramilitary campaign in Afghanistan, Al Libi had become a top figure in a propaganda barrage on the Internet, according to experts."

Strategy Page, Coup Collapses, Terrorists Stumble, 3 Feb 08, "While some officials believe al Qaeda is behind the Moslem rebels in the south (with money and technical advice), most believe that the rebels down south are simply inspired, via TV and the Internet, by Islamic radicals elsewhere. "
Downtime Update

AFP/, Ships did not cause Internet cable damage, 3 Feb 08 "Damage to undersea Internet cables in the Mediterranean that hit business across the Middle East and South Asia was not caused by ships, Egypt’s communications ministry said on Sunday, ruling out earlier reports."

News of the World, UK terror fund cell live on handouts, 3 Feb 08 "Gloating extremist Mohammed Nawaz Raja ... runs a network of door-to-door money-raisers collecting thousands for his fake ‘charity'.

"But householders who stump up thinking they are supporting a religious school are being duped into buying weapons for the Taliban." Reading beyond the sensationalistic headlines, there is some interesting material/allegations here in this undercover investigation.
Babar Ahmad

Guardian, Straw to make statement on 'bugging' of MP, 4 Feb 08

"The government yesterday announced that an inquiry would begin following weekend reports that police listened in to private conversations between Sadiq Khan, a Labour whip, and Babar Ahmad, who is facing extradition to the US for trial over allegedly running a website to raise funds for Chechen separatists and Afghanistan's Taliban."
Phoenix-aQ Connection

AZ Central, Al-Qaida Web site was hosted in Phoenix, 1 Feb 07 "The Web site,, facilitates discussions on weapons, explosives and propaganda and often serves as a question-and-answer center for terrorists, a review of the Web site shows."