Monday, March 31, 2008

aQ Mujahedeen Secrets 2 revisited

MSNBC, Cyber security, al-Qaida style, 28 Mar 08 Overview, which refers to 'Mujahedeen Secrets 2'. This usefully links to Jeff Bardin, Technical Mujahid - Mujahideen Secrets - Electronic Jihad 3.0, 17 Mar 08 Bardin also posted earlier on this topic: A Gift from the Islamic Faithful Network - Mujahedeen Secrets 2 Program, 3 Feb 08. Bardin provides a useful technical summary. There is plenty more to unpack in the program, given time. I refer to this in my forthcoming book.
Morocco Net Cafe Attacked

Reuters/, Morocco probes possible militant suicide attack, 31 Mar 08 ""Morocco said on Monday it was investigating whether an overnight blast was a militant suicide attack after a man with explosives under his clothes was blown up and three others were wounded at a Casablanca Internet cafe""
Turkey MSN

Hurriyet, Good morning - Turkey Press Scan on Mar 30 "When grandmothers who want to communicate with their grandchildren even turned to internet, Turkey has become the third in the world in use of MSN Messenger with its 25 million subscribers."
Australia, Talk of terror, 30 March 2008 "Under cross-examination, Samir Mohtadi agreed it was part of his duty as a Muslim to inform himself about the plight of fellow Muslims and that he regards the Government of Israel as a terrorist organisation.

"Young Muslims do access radical views of Islam on the internet, and some have come to him with a burning sense of injustice on which they would like to act, he agreed.

"Remy Van de Wiel, QC for Benbrika, asked if it was "common for people you would have seen as mainstream, moderate, law-abiding young Muslims — it is common for them to be accessing this kind of information?"


The trial continues
'Satanic Verses' On Stage

AFP, 'Satanic Verses' premiere passes off peacefully, 31 Mar 08
Nikah Online, Marriage solemnised after 16 months of Internet 'Nikah', 31 Mar 08

""The family had asked top Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband whether Internet marriage was acceptable.

"The Deoband had ruled in favour of marriage under Shariat law through the Internet. However, it had made it clear that such a 'nikah' should be performed in the presence of two witnesses and a 'Wakil' who would solemnise the wedding by announcing the acceptance of the bride and the groom."

Friday, March 28, 2008


BBC News, Terrorist releases prompt U-turn, 28 Mar 08 IT link to this story.
Wilders (again)

AKI, Ban Ki-moon condemns Internet posting of anti-Koran video, 28 Mar 08, "In a statement issued by his spokesperson after Thursday's posting by Wilders of the film, entitled Fitna, to a video-sharing website, Ban (photo) said: "There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here.""

Ya Libnan, Ignorance & censorship continue to shackle the Arab world, 28 Mar 08 "Perhaps the worst thing the Muslim world could to Geert Wilders and his anti-Islam movie, Fitna, is to simply ignore him and it.

"That seemed to be the main reaction to the early release of Fitna, the movie."

Reuters, Indonesian ministry Web site hacked over porn ban, 28 Mar 08 "Hackers have defaced the Web site of Indonesia's information ministry in response to a government move to restrict access to pornographic material on the Internet, an official said on Friday."

Also see Asia Times, Indecent exposure in Indonesia, 29 Mar 08 "Indonesia, with an estimated population of over 230 million, is the world's largest Muslim nation. As such, a morality debate has intensified in recent years regarding access to sexually explicit material, specifically as the Internet becomes widely available. Perceptions of so-called Western indulgence and moral decay have alarmed many Indonesians."

That one in turn linked to an interesting article by Maggie Tiojakin, The Jakarta Post, The Sexual Evolution, 10 Mar 08 "The end of the repressive New Order regime along with greater accessibility to information in the cyber-age has opened the floodgates of sexual experimentation in the past decade. While not everybody is doing it, at least they are talking about it."
Hosting, Unwittingly hosting terror, 28 Mar 08 "The phenomenon is so common, however, that the Department of Homeland Security and US intelligence agencies have determined that in most cases it's preferable to keep the sites operating as a way of tracking the spread of radical Islam, rather than try to quell them one by one. They also contend that most of the sites attract what one US counterterrorism official called confused individuals who are not believed to pose a significant threat."

ABC, Taliban declares 'spring offensive' in Afghanistan, 28 Mar 08 "In a statement posted on Islamist Internet forums, the Taliban's deputy leader, Mullah Bradar Muhammad has vowed to bring down the government of President Hamid Karzai."

AFP, Dutch MP posts anti-Islam film on the Internet, 27 Mar 08 "Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders on Thursday made good his pledge to post a controversial film critical of Islam on the Internet, featuring violent imagery of terrorist attacks in New York and Madrid intertwined with Koranic texts."

BBC News, Cartoonist to sue over Islam film, 28 Mar 08

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mac-less in Damascus

Ya Libnan, Stolen Macbooks exchanged for new Facebook friend in Syria, 25 Mar 08 what happened to stolen macs in Damascus

Ya Libnan, Syria extends its police state to the Internet, 25 Mar 08 "Syria is cracking down more on Internet use, imposing tighter monitoring of citizens who link to the Web, as well as jailing bloggers who criticize the government and blocking YouTube and other Web sites deemed harmful to state security"

Monday, March 24, 2008


AFP, Techno-savvy Iraqis surf the cyber waves, 23 Mar 08 Useful article, with some examples of net use ... including related dangers for one Skype user

VOA, Deadline to Free Austrian Hostages in Mali Expires, Captors Silent, 24 Mar 08
aQ, Al-Qaeda Deputy Calls for Strikes on U.S. Interests, AFP Says, 24 Mar 08 ""Al-Qaeda deputy commander Ayman al- Zawahiri today called for strikes against U.S. and Jewish interests in an audio address released on the Internet, Agence France-Presse reported.

""Muslims, today is your day," the news agency cited him as saying. "Strike the interests of the Jews, the Americans and all of those who participated in the attack on the Muslims."" silenced

Telegraph, Internet site banned over 'anti-Islam film', 24 Mar 08 "Website host Network Solutions suspended www.fitna com, the online venue that Geert Wilders, an anti-immigrant Dutch MP, has planned to show a short film condemning the tents of the Mulism faith."
Honey, I'm on the plane ...

BBC News, Mobile calls on Emirates flights, 20 Mar 08 "Dubai-based airline Emirates has become the first commercial airline to allow passengers to make mobile phone calls during flights.

"Emirates said the first permitted mobile phone call was made on a flight between Dubai and Casablanca."

As if listening to other people's phone conversations on trains was not enough...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia: Details of Project to Retrain the Kingdom's Imams, 23 Mar 08

"Saudi Arabia announced earlier this week a new plan to retrain 40,000 mosque imams in all regions on communication skills and the culture of dialogue.

"The King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue will carry out the training in cooperation with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The National Dialogue, which is a project that was launched in 2003 by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, is considered the largest project designed to achieve ideological change toward centrism and moderation and away from extremism and excess. This, in addition to broadening the base of dialogue among the various groups in Saudi society."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

aQ v aJ

Arab Media & Society, Al Quds Al-Arabi: “Al-Qa’idah to boycott Al-Jazeera and Syria loses summit media battle”, 19 Mar 08
"On March 18, the Palestinian-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following opinion piece by Toufiq al-Rabahi: “Thank God we lived to see the day when Israel decided to boycott an Arab television channel and not the other way around. Now we are waiting to see the day when Al-Qa’idah will decide to boycott the unbalanced Arab media. Before this time came, the Israelis used to seek out Arab channels and beg for an appearance for only a few seconds, while the Arabs, with their television channels (despite their deplorable state), used to show arrogance toward the Israelis and place sanctions against those who allowed anything Israeli to appear on the screen, even if by mistake."
Facebook Pardon

AP/MSNBC, Facebook faker receives royal pardon: Moroccan king frees engineer convicted of usurping prince's identity, 20 Mar 08 "A Moroccan computer engineer who was imprisoned for creating a fake Facebook profile of King Mohammed VI's younger brother said Wednesday he only did it out of admiration for the prince."
Osama bin Laden Tape

Lots of coverage to consider (in no particular order): ABC News, OBL: Revenge for Republishing Offensive Cartoons Will Be Severe, 20 Mar 08 "In his five-minute audio message entitled, "The Response Is What You See, Not What You Hear," bin Laden accuses Europeans of abandoning the "etiquettes of disputes and morals of fighting."" Report includes audio translation (preceded by a weird advert for msn!). It is straightforward to locate through other channels without the ad.

Also see AP/USA Today, Bin Laden accuses pope, slams EU over cartoons, 20 Mar 08 "The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said bin Laden's accusation that Pope Benedict XVI has played a role in a worldwide campaign against Islam is "baseless." Lombardi said the pope on several occasions has criticized the cartoons, first published in several European papers in 2006 then republished in Danish papers in February."

AlJazeera, Bin Laden attacks EU over cartoons, 20 Mar 08

AFP, US intelligence believes voice is Bin Laden: White House, 20 Mar 08 ""I know that the intelligence community has analyzed the tape and they do believe that it is the voice of Osama bin Laden," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino."

Washington Post/MSNBC, Why the West can't infiltrate al-Qaida, 20 Mar 08

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


AFP, Austria seeks Libyan help to free kidnapped tourists, 17 Mar 08
"An Internet statement posted late Monday in the name of Al-Qaeda said the group had extended its ultimatum for the release of prisoners in exchange for two tourists until next weekend."
Facebook Face-off

Reuters, Facebook gets entangled in Middle East conflict, 17 Mar 08 " Palestinian users have set up their own Facebook group whose members threatened to cancel their accounts if Palestine was removed from the site. Called "If Palestine is removed from Facebook, I am closing my account," the group has over 4,700 members.

""We created this group to let our voices be heard not only among Facebook's management but all the users, and to tell everyone that Palestine is and will always be a country," Saif Qadoumi, the group's 20-year-old founder, told Reuters."

Also see The Register, Facebook says occupied territories are Israel, 18 Mar 08 "There are networks for both Israel and Palestine on Facebook with 400,220 and 34,419 members respectively."

Link TV: Mosaic World News from the Middle East includes this week's Intelligence Report from Jamal Dajani. Also available via YouTube. You can subscribe via various feeds (I'm testing out Miro, which works well).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Arab bloggers

Trend News, From the internet to prison: Arab bloggers face high risks, 15 Mar 08 updates on imprisoned bloggers

AP/MSNBC, Iraq war is fought on the Internet: Soldiers blog to vent frustrations, Al-Qaida militants encourage recruits, 16 Mar 08 "Al-Qaida militants, conservative bloggers, peace activists, Iraqi civilians and the U.S. military all use the Internet to distribute their versions of the truth. They often engage in e-mail debates, but more often sink to slurs and threats when challenging an opposing point of view."

Reuters/MSNBC, Syria expands ‘iron censorship’ over Internet, 13 Mar 08 "Syrian authorities have ordered Internet cafe users to reveal their identity, the latest measure in their "iron censorship" of cyberspace, a Syrian monitoring group said on Thursday."
Hussein al-Ahmad, Retired Kuwaiti pop star joins al-Qaeda, 15 Mar 08, "The retired singer will soon appear in his new military outfit in Afghanistan, in a video expected soon on a website known to be affiliated with al-Qaeda extremists, according to the paper." There's a related video montage: "From superstar to Quran reciting"
'Sensitive' report, Pentagon Report Too Sensitive for Internet: Shows No Link of Saddam and Al-Qaida, 14 Mar 08, "A controversial Pentagon report, titled Iraqi Perspectives Project, showing no link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida will NOT be released online, by email, or in mass distribution to the public, as originally planned. If you want a copy of the Pentagon report, you have to ask for it and the United States Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, will mail the report on a CD, according to Navy Captain Dennis Moynihan." I'm sure that it will appear online in other forms.
Iran Censorship, Iran's firewalls tightened ahead of election, 14 Mar 08 "According to the OpenNet Initiative, an international organization that investigates internet filtering and surveillance, Iran employs the greatest degree of filtering of any country it monitors.

"While there was not a massive jump in the number of blocked sites in the days preceding the election, the type of sites filtered has taken a more political turn, says Mahmood Enayat, who is studying Iran's filtering at Oxford University's Internet Institute in the UK."

Distinctly non-tech, although can be linked to various online campaigns, this was a powerful piece by Johann Hari: Independent, Inside the slave trade, 21 Mar 08 In particular, this article linked to the Sport Relief campaign

Friday, March 14, 2008

aQ Iraq

AP, US commanders: Al-Qaida in Iraq to stay, 14 Mar 08
Austrian Hostages

AP/USA Today, Al-Qaeda branch gives 3 days for Austrian hostages, 14 Mar 08 "In the statement — which included six photographs purportedly showing Austrians Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber — al-Qaeda in Islamic North Africa said it would set the two free if some of the group's members were released from jails in Tunisia and Algeria."

AKI, Tunisia: Al-Qaeda posts photo of Austrian hostages and issues ultimatum 14 Mar 08, "The face of the woman, who wore a blue headscarf was digitally blurred in the photo, apparently to abide with an austere interpretation of Islam which says women should cover their faces."
Malaysian Election, Tectonic shift in Malaysia, 15 Mar 08 The net was central in the campaigning of some parties (previously blogged)
Geert Wilders

Reuters Africa, Dutch draw on past crises to deal with Islam film, 14 Mar 08 "The Dutch government has used tactical means to reduce the fanfare surrounding the film, telling Wilders he will have to pay the security costs himself if he wants to promote it with a news conference. As no broadcaster has agreed to show it, it is expected to be released on the Internet on March 28."
Iranian Election

Telegraph, Young bloggers hold key as Iran goes to polls, 14 Mar 08 "When Iranians vote in the parliamentary election, millions will have been influenced by lively debate in the only domain their regime struggles to control: the internet and blogosphere."
Abu Yahya Al-Libi

MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series - No. 1871, Abu Yahya Al-Libi Rejects Sayyed Imam's 'Document of Right Guidance,' Urges Mujahideen to Continue Jihad, 14 Mar 08

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ikhwanweb, Ikhwanonline website editor-in-chef is being hounded, and declares a sit-in in syndicate of journalists, 13 Mar 08 " The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information denounced today the continuation of the police campaign launched against media professionals who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood as it included the union journalist Abdul-Galil Al-Sharnouby, the editor-in-chef of Ikhwanonline website as a police force broke into his yesterday at dawn, yet by coincidence, he was out of house at that time. After knowing about his arrest order, he rushed to the syndicate of journalists in which he still keeping up a sit-in so far.

"Meanwhile, Khaled Hamza, the managing editor of Ikhwanweb (the English website of Muslim Brotherhood) is still detained since last February 20th. In this way, one of the two directors of Muslim Brotherhood websites became detained and the other is now wanted!"

Also see:
Islamic State of Iraq

Reuters, Three U.S. soldiers killed in southeastern Iraq: military, 12 Mar 08 "An al-Qaeda-linked group in Iraq claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in central Baghdad that killed five U.S. soldiers on Monday, according to the SITE Institute, a U.S.-based terrorism monitoring service."
Taliban Bloggers

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Afghanistan: Al-Qaeda Bloggers' Sparring With Taliban Could Signal Key Differences, 12 Mar 08 Article by Ron Synovitz, updating previously blogged story. "Islamic extremists who regularly post messages to a pro-Al-Qaeda website in Egypt are accusing Afghanistan's Taliban of straying from the path of global jihad. Prominent Taliban have responded by lashing back with criticism of their own.

"The development suggests a rift is emerging between the Taliban leadership and religious extremists in the Arab world -- including the Al-Qaeda network that the Taliban had hosted in Afghanistan while it planned the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States."

Reuters Africa, Austrian Muslims jailed in threat video case, 12 Mar 08 "An Austrian Muslim couple accused of involvement in a video threatening attacks and posted on the Internet were jailed on charges of membership of a terrorist organisation, the Austrian news agency APA said.

"The man was sentenced late on Wednesday to four years and his wife to 22 months."

Also see: AFP, Islamists jailed for threatening Austria, Germany, 13 Mar 08 "Mona S. had translated the video, which was signed "Global Islamic Media Front", into German. It contained threats to target the European Football Championships, which Austria is hosting with Switzerland in June, as well as Austrian and foreign politicians.

"Austrian detectives hunting the authors of the file traced the computers that were used by the accused. The computers were used to access the Ministry of Defence homepage, from which they allegedly downloaded the photos that were found on the video."

TheStar, Alleged terror plot shakes up Chinese, 12 Mar 08
Bluetooth Relationships

Marketplace Public Radio, Saudi boy meets girl -- via Bluetooth, 12 Mar 08 This includes a link to a radio broadcast (available to download as MP3) and a transcript. Note: you have to scroll through the MP3, the section is about a third of the way through. It features an interview with Salman Al-Oadah:

"Al-Oadah once was a spiritual mentor to Osama bin Laden. Now he runs a hugely popular website, Islam Today. He says to keep conversations from getting romantic, young men and women should police themselves. Both conservatives and liberals here agree it's impossible for the government to regulate behavior online and on the phone. In fact, people here say it's technologies like chatting and Bluetooth that eventually will lead to the opening of this traditional society, but the ride won't be totally smooth."

Iran Press Service, The Police General Likes Women Praying Nude, 11 Mar 08, Allegations associated with the arrest of Revolutionary Guard General Reza Zare’i, the Commander of the Police for Greater Tehran.

"What is making wave is that the General, in charge of implementing Islamic and social moral codes and fighting against hooligans and violence, had been arrested on orders from Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the Head of the Judiciary, after receiving tips from people about the opening of a “house of corruption” in their neighborhood, according to several internet websites inside and outside Iran, including Peyknet and Asre No."
Kidnapped Tourists, Al-Qaeda threatens kidnapping other tourists, 13 Mar 08 "The French expert in Islamic groups Mathew Guidère said the kidnapping came to confirm that Al-Qaeda is adopting a double target strategy aiming first to hitting main economic activities in the Maghreb region, mostly tourism which constitutes the backbone of the Tunisian economy.

"As far as the second target, Mr. Guidère said: “it is manifested in Al-Qaeda efforts extending its activities in the region as to confirm that it is able to reach any part of the Maghreb.”"

Also see AFP/, Missing Austrians now in Mali, 13 Mar 08

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

aQ Manual

BBC News, Man jailed over al-Qaeda manual, 11 Mar 08 "A man who knew some of the 7 July bombers has been jailed for possessing an al-Qaeda training manual.

"Khalid Khaliq, 34, of Beeston, Leeds, admitted owning a CD containing the manual, which was found in a raid at his home in July 2005."
Campaigning on YouTube

Wajeha Al-Huwaider For Women's Day 2008:

See BBC News, Saudi women make video protest, 11 Mar 08 "Saudi women's rights activists have posted on the web a video of a woman at the wheel of her car, in protest at the ban on female drivers in the kingdom.

"Wajeha Huwaider talks of the injustice of the ban and calls for its abolition as she drives calmly along a highway."

Also (among many others) CNN, Saudi woman seeks driving acceptance on YouTube, 11 Mar 08 "Wajeha Al-Huwaider has a driver's license, but she is only allowed to drive in rural areas of Saudi Arabia. She said that restriction "paralyzes half the population." She wants authorities to let women drive in Saudi cities."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008, Jordan: New restrictions on Internet cafés and violating privacy of users, 11 Mar 08 Some interesting opinion and info, which I have chosen to reproduce in full:

"The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information denounced today decisions released by the Jordanian ministry of interior increasing restrictions on internet cafés in Jordan, on pretext of maintaining security, through installing cameras to monitor users of these cafés. The Network also emphasized that these procedures are considered as a real retreat from freedom of internet and the right to exchange information.

"The Jordanian ministry of interior has recently issued new instructions for monitoring internet cafés widespread all over the Jordanian cities, as it enforced internet cafés owners to install cameras to the front of their cafés in order to identify the users of these cafés.

"In addition to the cameras, we find that security decisions are also enforcing internet cafés owners to register the users' personal data such as their names, phone numbers and time of use, as well as the IP number of the café and data of websites explored by the users.

"'The newly-issued decisions of "organizing the work of internet cafés" also included enforcing internet cafés owners to install censorship programs to prevent access to websites containing pornographic material, or an affront to religious beliefs, or promoting the use of drugs, tobacco.

"It is worthy to mention that Jordan is one of the most Arab countries that internet cafés are widespread on a large scale. Even Shafiq Rashidat Street (Unversity Street) in Irbid City, has been registered in Guinness Book of Records in terms of the highest number of Internet cafés in one street. This street contains more than 130 cafés although the street length is not exceeding 2000 meters."

So take care in Jordanian cafes (I imagine people already did). BTW I had no idea that the street was in the World Records book. Not a lot of people know that.
BBC Arabic

BBC News, BBC launches Arabic TV channel, 11 Mar 08 The official site is here. Live streaming via the net is available - useful for viewers outside the Middle East region (not sure if it is on cable or Sky here in the UK). I'm watching now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Online Campaign, Arabs campaign for women to "Take off the Veil", 10 Mar 08 "A group of Arabic websites and blogs have launched an international campaign against the Muslim headscarf (hijab), arguing the move is a response to what they see as “intellectual terrorism” practiced by strict Islamic groups and individuals."

Daily Mail, Islamic extremist taunts British servicemen with web video of U.S. soldier's death, 9 Mar 08
aQ Therapy

The Observer, Saudis offer pioneering therapy for ex-jihadists, 9 Mar 08 "The aim is to stop them reacting in such an immediate way to images they see on the television or internet by giving them different visual languages,' said Awad Alyami, who runs the art therapy course.

"According to Otayan al-Turki, a Swansea-educated psychologist working at the centre, many of the prisoners have very poor reasoning capacity and poor communication skills. 'Most are young, many come from large families,' he said. 'Many come from a non-Islamic background. Some have led sinful lives and were looking for a shortcut to paradise.'"

AP/USA Today, Al-Qaeda taps tech-savvy militants, 8 Mar 08 "In an Internet age, al-Qaeda prizes geek jihadis as much as would-be suicide bombers and gunmen. The terror network is recruiting computer-savvy technicians to produce sophisticated Web documentaries and multimedia products aimed at Muslim audiences in the United States, Britain and other Western countries."
al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb

Jihad Unspun, Al-Qaeda In Islamic Maghreb Reports 50 Algerian Soldiers Killed And Injured, 9 Mar 08
aQ Allegations, al-Qaida: Egypt Faked Islamic `revision', 10 Mar 08 "An Al-Qaida spokesman alleged Monday that Egypt's security service fabricated a document in which a former militant leader purportedly renounces violence and rejects armed struggle as a way to establish an Islamic state.

"Abu Yahia Al-Libi, who rose to prominence in the terrorist network after escaping from Afghanistan's Bagram prison in 2005, claimed in a video posted on the Internet that the jailed Egyptian militant Sayed Imam was not the author of the document issued last year."
Kidnapped Tourists

AP, al-Qaida: 2 Austrian Tourists Kidnapped, 10 Mar 08
"Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for kidnapping two Austrian tourists last month in Tunisia in an audio recording aired Monday on Al-Jazeera television."
Taliban v. al-Qaeda online

AP/IHT, Al-Qaida online supporters lash out at Taliban for not remaining true to the global jihad, 10 Mar 08 "Al-Qaida supporters on the Web have unleashed an unprecedented flood of criticism of Afghanistan's Taliban, once seen by extremists as the model of an Islamic state.

"Now extremists accuse the Taliban of straying from the path of global jihad after its leader Mullah Omar issued a statement saying he seeks good relations with the world and even sympathizes with Shiite Iran."

Reuters/, Malaysia opposition win down to cyberspace, 10 Mar 08 "Malaysia's weak opposition was up against a hostile mainstream media and restrictive campaign rules, but it can chalk up much of its stunning success in Saturday's election to the power of cyberspace."
The Messiah

CNN/IBN, New Jesus film through the eyes of a Muslim director, 8 Mar 08 "Nader Talebzadeh wrote, produced and directed the film The Messiah hoping the shared story of Jesus can forge common ground between Muslims and Christians as much of the film depicts scenes described in both the Bible and the Koran." No news on any streaming of this yet.
Profile: Sheikh Ali Gomaa

USA Today, Egypt's Grand Mufti Counters the Tide of Islamic Extremism, 6 Mar 08 "Part scholar and theologian, part jurist and administrator, he is a completely busy man—not least because his office issues some 5,000 fatwas a week, including both the official ones that he himself crafts on important issues and the more routine ones handled via phone and Internet by a dozen or so subordinate muftis."

Global Politician, Online Terrorists Prey on the Vulnerable, 9 Mar 08 article by Gabriel Weimann: "As the internet matures so has the terrorist use of this ideal instrument of communication. Following the path of modern Western advertising techniques, terrorist organizations have begun “narrowcasting,” or making targeted pitches for recruitment and support among specific demographics like women and children."

I discuss similar issues in my next book.

MPR: wavLength, SXSWi Dispatch: Muslims seek to counter online extremism "One of the more interesting panels from SXSWi on Saturday dealt with the question of how the Internet can be used as a tool to battle Islamic terrorists who use technology to advance their aims."

Shahed Amanullah of interview (Audio + video)
Tablighi Jamaat

Reuters, Muslim group to campaign for London "mega mosque", 6 Mar 08
"A media-shy Islamic movement that wants to build a 12,000-capacity "mega mosque" in east London will launch a campaign next week to try to overcome heated opposition to its plan."

I wouldn't describe them as 'media shy' personally, as their Abbeymills Mosque site has been quite vocal for a while.
aQ Handbook

Reuters, London bomb probe man admits to al Qaeda handbook, 10 Mar 08 "Khaliq, a native of Beeston in Leeds, the town that was home to several of the bombers, pleaded guilty to possessing "a document or record, namely the al Qaeda training manual, containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism"."

Reuters/MSNBC, Pentagon bans Google teams from bases, 6 Mar 08 "Google Inc has complied with a request by the Pentagon to remove some online images from its street-level map service because they pose a security threat to U.S. military bases, military and company officials said on Thursday."
On the road

I've been in Atlanta, participating in a conference at Emory University entitled 'The Wrathful God' (hit the link for a full listing of papers). I gave a short paper/AV on 'Jihadi Networks of Cyber Authority', which drew on some of the material for my next book, but also introduced some other recent sites and concepts. As always, I had more material than time to present. There were some good papers, the conference itself was well-organised and conceived, and the out-of-conference discussions were also interesting. A book of the conference papers is now in the planning stage.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

World of Warcraft?

BBC News, US seeks terrorists in web worlds, 3 Mar 08 "The US government has begun a project to develop ways to spot terrorists who are using virtual worlds.

"Codenamed Reynard it aims to recognise "normal" behaviour in online worlds and home in on anomalous activity."

Nothing to do with 'crusader' knights then, even with a name like that?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Gaza video

Sabbah's Blog, YouTube WIPE “Gaza Massacre” video from records!, 3 Mar 08 "YouTube is another example of the “Zionist occupied territories”. They are ready to do anything to destroy any successful work that expose their war crimes and holocaust against Palestinian people. But you know what, this is just another victory for us and it shows how fragile is our enemy." This is the opinion of Haitham, who has now uploaded the video to another location. His blog also has related post on news coverage (or rather the perceived lack of it) relating to recent events in Gaza.

Reuters India, Saudi says arrests Qaeda suspects planning attacks, 3 Mar 08 " The suspects were using a recording from al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri to help raise money from ordinary Saudis, SPA said, citing a source in the ministry of interior.

""The bearer of this message is one of our trusted brothers, therefore please give him your donations for hundreds of the families of captives and martyrs in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Zawahri said in the audio recording aired by state television.

"SPA said the recording was brought into the kingdom via the mobile telephone of a "person who had visited Mecca"."

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Police Arrest 28 Militants Tasked by al-Qaeda with Rebuilding Network, 3 Mar 08 "The statement said the militants' preparations had "reached an advanced stage," and they included attempts to find hideouts for their cells, forging travel documents and launching a media campaign through the Internet to spread their "deviant ideology.""

VOA, Majority of Muslims Worldwide Say Terrorism Not Justified, 3 Mar 08 "The Gallup World Poll recently released details of a massive survey of more than 50,000 Muslims, reflecting the views of more than one billion Muslims in more than 35 countries. It is said to be the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind." Couldn't locate this online today, but there is a report available here.
Veil Trial Ban

BBC News, Court bans veiled terror suspect, 3 Mar 08 "The couple, both Austrian citizens of Arab descent, were arrested in September 2007 after a video was posted on the internet threatening attacks in Austria and Germany if military personnel were not withdrawn from Afghanistan."
Prince Harry

Daily Jang, Al-Qaeda sympathisers call on Taliban to hunt down Prince Harry, 3 Mar 08 "Self-proclaimed al-Qaeda supporters urged the Taliban in the Internet postings on Friday to hunt down and kill Britain's Prince Harry after hearing that he had been sent to Afghanistan for his army service."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Prison Break

AFP/, Singaporeans question escape of alleged militant leader, 2 Mar 08
"Letters to the editor and Internet blogs by Singaporeans took officials to task for the escape on Wednesday of Mas Selamat bin Kastari, alleged leader of the Singapore wing of the militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah."
Sayed Imam El-Sherif, Old jihad, new jihad, 2 Mar 08 This is a useful analysis by Amr Elshoubaki, which originally appeared in Al-Ahram Weekly: "The recent ideological retractions of Sayed Imam El-Sherif, founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, mark the beginning of a major departure from the theological underpinnings that governed the militant Islamist organisation's actions in the 1980s and 1990s. The ideological shift -- probably more than practical realities -- will make it extremely difficult for the organisation and those inspired by it to revert to violence and terrorism."
Cartoons for sale

WSJ, Price of Notoriety, 29 Feb 08 "Some Muslims here want the bomb-in-a-turban drawing destroyed. Salah Suleiman, an activist in a mosque that helped whip up the fury over it in early 2006, delights in the artist's troubles and says no amount of money can save him from God's wrath: "He is living like a rat.... He is living in hell already.""

France24, Has al Qaeda blown a deadline?, 2 Mar 08 "On Dec. 16, 2007, for the first time in al Qaeda’s history, a message appeared on militant Islamist sites, inviting “individuals, institutions and media organizations” to submit queries to Zawahiri via the Web. The deadline for submissions was within the next 30 days, the message said, after which, al Qaeda’s top strategist himself would reply “as soon as possible.”"

Also see: France24, Al Qaeda: ‘Kicking butt’ online, 29 Feb 08 "There are now so many jihadist sites online that al Qaeda’s media bosses, experts say, are facing the same sort of headaches plaguing media chiefs across the world: how to stand out in a crowded market and retain audiences."

My next book (currently in press) will be looking at this in detail.

Guardian, It's no slur to be called a Muslim, 1 Mar 08 piece by Naomi Klein: "The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear". It includes everything from exaggerated enunciations of Obama's middle name (Hussein) to the online whisper campaign that Obama attended a fundamentalist madrasa in Indonesia (a lie), was sworn in on a Qur'an (another lie), and if elected would attach speakers to the White House to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (I made that one up)."
Prince Harry

Daily News NY, Army service could make Prince Harry target of Islamic terrorism at home, 29 Feb 08
IT Spending

Gulf News, IT spending in Middle East and Africa to exceed $40b this year, 1 Mar 08 "IT spending in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will cross $40 billion (Dh146.8 billion) in 2008 and the six Gulf countries will account for nearly 23 per cent of that total, an industry research firm said."
Feeling vulnerable?

Gulf News, Middle East websites are more vulnerable, 2 Mar 08 "Middle Eastern countries are becoming more vulnerable to web virus threats as the number of internet users grows, a web security expert said.

"Botnets are responsible for more than 80 per cent of the world's spam and generate click fraud in excess of $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) a year, said David Perry, global director of education at Trend Micro."
Moez Masoud

Toronto Globe & Mail, Young Muslim televangelist preaches tolerance, 1 Mar 08 Another article about Moez Masoud (previously blogged), in which the role of his online activities are emphasised, especially the Facebook page, which is well worth taking a look at (you need a Facebook account): "It's a message that's reaching millions of people via television shows broadcast on satellite channels across the Middle East, and many more through Masoud's slick Web site and a Facebook Internet group that has more than 10,000 members." There's a number of YouTube clips as well. A good example is here