Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance

Abdul Hameed Bakier,, Islamic Front for Iraq Resistance Brigadier Refutes al-Qaeda’s Approach to Combating U.S. Occupation, Volume 5, Issue 28 (July 29, 2008) "A jihadi forum has posted an interview with a spokesman for the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance (al-Jabha al-Islamiya fi’l-Moqawama al-Iraqiya - JAMI), an Iraqi Sunni jihadi group (al-Boraq, July 4). The movement has a political wing and a military wing consisting of the Salah al-Din Ayyubi and Sayfullah al-Maslul Brigades ( In a video released last December, JAMI claimed its focus was fighting occupation troops, not terrorism or the killing of other Iraqis (al-Jazeera, December 27, 2007)."
SMS Divorce, New law to stop Muslim men divorcing by text, 29 Jul 08 "It seems the new trend for Muslim men is telling their wives by text they want a divorce, its reported in the gulf daily news. Bahrain Women’s Union are concerned that there needs to be a family law implemented as its wrong that Muslim men can legally divorce their wives with a text which is such an inhumane way to treat their wives."

Refers to Gulf Daily News, SMS divorces spur call for family law , 29 Jul 08 "Bahrain could soon follow a growing regional trend of Muslim men divorcing their wives by text message, if a family law is not implemented soon, women's rights groups warned yesterday.

"They say that it is wrong that men could legally divorce their wives in such a spontaneous and inhumane way."

Also refers to Malaysia.
Rushdie interview

BBC News, Rushdie 'may write book on fatwa', 29 Jul 08

"He also spoke of the importance of the internet as a way of narrowing the gap between cultures.

"He said: "The more aspects of Western culture people become aware of, in whatever tyrannical country - whether it's China or Iran - people want it.

""It may well be that what we think of as trivial and banal stuff like YouTube and MySpace, this may change the world.

""The internet is showing people what life can be like. And when people who live in repressive countries see that, it makes them want it."
Update - Bangalore and Ahmedabad bombings,, 29 Jul 08 "There are several puzzling features about the email sent to TV channels. The IP (internet protocol) address was traced to an apartment rented by American nationals in Navi Mumbai. But no one would be so naïve as to send a terror threat from his home computer with an IP address registered with a local ISP (internet service provider), VSNL in this case. Either his IP address was spoofed, which requires the terrorists to possess a certain degree of knowledge about the workings of the internet, or the computer was hacked into, as claimed by the American national."
Ignored Puzzle, update, Web jihadist employed by federal contractor - Communications worker says dead GIs 'bring great happiness to me', 27 Jul 08 "Until just last week, 22-year-old Samir Khan worked at the Charlotte, N.C., branch of Convergys Corp., which in March was awarded part of a $2.5 billion federal contract to set up emergency communications centers in the event of terrorist attacks and other national disasters." Refers to Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowledge blog
Quran recitation competition, Algeria launches Islamic version of Star Academy, 29 Jul 08, "Algerian TV will launch an Islamic-inspired adaptation with a twist of the infamous Arab talent show Star Academy following a ban on the Lebanese version. Instead of showcasing contestants' singing talents, the new show, a collaboration between Algerian TV and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, will be a Quran recitation competition."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Guardian, Middle East: 'Almost every prisoner is told to get money or weapons', 29 Jul 08 "Mahdi Khanfar, a 35-year-old graduate in urban development, still trembles at the memory of his arrest by the Palestinian Authority's mukhabarat (intelligence service) in May. "The mukhabarat asked me about Hamas and weapons. They put me in a zinzana [a small windowless cell] at mukhabarat headquarters in Jenin and started hanging me with my hands tied behind my back."
Hamas, Journalists pay price for Hamas' anti-porn crusade, 28 Jul 08 "Officially, Hamas is only trying to shield the population of Gaza from Internet porn. But the immediate effect of the filtering, which started in May, has been to deprive Gaza's journalists and public of unfettered access to the news"

AKI, Terrorism: Al-Qaeda video urges Saudi monarch's killing for dialogue with Pope, 28 Jul 08 "Al-Qaeda Number 3, Abu Yahya al-Libi has issued a new video urging the killing of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah for his moves towards inter-faith dialogue with Pope Benedict XVI."

AP, Senior al-Qaida figure reported killed in Pakistan, 29 Jul 08 "Pakistan's army said it had not confirmed that Monday's strike killed al-Qaida operative Abu Khabab al-Masri, described by Washington as an expert who trained terrorists in the use of poisons and explosives."
Egypt, Egypt: A Very Ironic type of Justice: Acquitting the Owner of the “Steamer of Death” While Insisting on Imprisoning the Youth of Facebook "The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information ANHRI stated that: "Yesterday was like a black comedy for those interested in justice and freedom of expression in Egypt.” While the owner of the “Steamer of Death” (Alsalam 98), Mamdou Ismail along with five others were acquitted after causing the death of more than 1,000 poor Egyptians in the Red Sea, the release of 14 young Facebook activists who are part of the the “6th of April” movement was challenged despite the fact that the youth had done nothing but sing nationalists songs and fly the Egyptian flag on the Alexandria seaside."
QueenRania's YouTube Channel

Telegraph, Queen Rania goes online to challenge stereotypes "Her YouTube channel, where videos featuring Arab comics, singers and the Queen herself are posted weekly, has drawn more than a million viewers since it was launched in the spring, surprising the Jordanian royal court with the reaction. "

YouTube, QueenRania's Channel

This was on the front page:

Don't call me that! "Comedians Dean Obeidallah, Negin Farsad and friends Break it Down"


Press Association, Kuwait gets tough on web offenders, 28 Jul 08, "Hamed al-Othman says in an interview with Al-Qabas daily published on Sunday he has prepared a Bill that criminalises promoting vice, incitement against the country's leadership, divulging state secrets, or insulting Islam on the web."
Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, the new terror hub, 29 Jul 08

Naseem Javed,, The Islamic branding boom, 28 Jul 08

"Historically, successful mega revolutions always rely on the incubation of very simple ideas, creating mass appeal and hassle free propagation of the master concepts leading to worldwide acceptance. But today, with global image shifts, even the best of ideas become trapped. It's a chess game out there, and only the smart players who know all the precise moves will win, as most players are simply moving the pieces without knowing the rules. Welcome to the complex world of image positioning of Halal products and Islamic concepts."
Saudi TV

Saudi Gazette, Unified efforts urged to crack down on illegal TV channel decryption , 29 Jul 08 "The rising incidence of illegal TV signal decoding indeed has far-reaching economic and social consequences for Islamic countries. This practice exposes the public to immoral content and, worse, negatively influences the values of unsuspecting young viewers. From a legal perspective, watching immoral shows via illegal decoding constitutes a grave violation of Islamic religious laws, which highly prohibit indecency. Buyers of illegal decoders are also criminally liable for viewing “stolen” broadcasts. They also ironically end up paying more for the use of these devices since they need frequent updates and maintenance and do not come with any guarantee or technical support."
Centre For Social Cohesion report: Islam on Campus

Press Association, Anger over campus extremism survey, 28 Jul 08 "Politicians and student leaders condemned a report which claimed almost a third of Muslim students believed it was justifiable to kill in the name of their religion."

The report is here:

The Centre For Social Cohesion, John Thorne and Hannah Stuart, Islam on Campus: A survey of UK student opinions [PDF] "Islam on Campus is the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of Muslim student opinion in the UK, based on a specially commissioned YouGov poll of 1400 students, fieldwork and interviews. The report examines students' attitudes on key issues including killing in the name of religion, establishing a worldwide Caliphate, introducing Sharia law to the UK, setting up an Islamic political party in the UK, gender equality, the treatment of apostates and homosexuals and the compatibility of Islam with secularism and democracy."

I haven't read this report yet.

JISC, Requirements for digitised resources in Islamic Studies

"Following the designation of Islamic Studies as a strategically important subject by the UK Government in June 2007, JISC commissioned a review of user requirements for digitised resources for researchers and teachers within higher education working in the field of Islamic Studies.

"The University of Exeter carried out the study and in their final report made a range of recommendations:

• The creation of a authoritative gateway to Islamic Resources
• Develop digitised catalogues of Islamic manuscripts and related research material such as recent theses;
• The commissioning of a feasibility study into the creation of a corpus of interactive online education materials, which could also be hosted by the national gateway
• Continuation, and increase, of the subsidies for major online reference works in Islamic Studies.
• The archiving of the websites of UK Islamic organisations
• Subsidising the acquisition of an online collection of research monographs in Islamic Studies, should such a collection be developed by a commercial organisation."

I have only just received notice of this, so haven't had a chance to read it fully yet. There is some reference to Islamic Studies Pathways.

The report is available as a PDFand Word document.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ongoing trial

The Sun, Jet bomb plot jury retires, 28 Jul 08

"Giving evidence in their defence during the trial, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, and Assad Sarwar, 28, said they planned to record a documentary highlighting injustices against Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon.

"Ali said he considered exploding a device at the Houses of Parliament or Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3 as a publicity stunt protesting against British foreign policy.

"He claimed martyrdom videos recorded by six of the defendants were a hoax to be used as part of an internet documentary."

dpa/, Video calls for attacks during Olympics, 26 Jul 08 "A video calling for attacks in China during the Olympics games was placed in the Internet on Saturday by a purported Uighur separatist group."

Daily Star, Egypt, Iran's Digital War, 27 Jul 08 "The Islamic Republic has been vigilant of the role of the internet and has taken measures to keep it under control. Iran is one of a small group of states with the most complex state-mandated filtering system in the world. The extensive filtering is enforced at a time of astonishing growth in internet usage with an extraordinary increase in Persian weblogs. It is ironic that the regime’s censorship mechanism relies heavily on sophisticated software packages developed in the US and then exported to Iran."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Islamic Army in Iraq, Special Interview: Islamic Army in Iraq, 23 Jul 08 "In an interview with The Media Line, The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI), a prominent Sunni insurgency group, revealed its motivations, ideology and aims regarding the war in Iraq ...

" ... The movement takes the media war seriously and uses the Internet to promulgate its ideology. It produces a monthly magazine and airs a daily updated website. Each month the organization publishes what it calls the "harvest" of its operations. During last month, the IAI managed, according to its website, to kill at least 28 American soldiers, using guns and bombs."
Heavy Metal Net, It’s All World Music Now: How technology is turning the tables on the Westernization of pop, 24 Jul 08 "Vice Films’ recent documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad follows the travails of Acrassicauda, allegedly the only metal band in Iraq. They speak to the way acts like Metallica and Slipknot offer a release from the pressures of living in a war zone; they practice between bombings, endure death threats from anti-Western Islamic militants, and occasionally play a show that brings together what’s probably the entirety of the tiny Baghdad metal scene. Somehow they’ve even managed to keep the band going in exile, first in Syria and now in Istanbul."

See YouTube, Heavy Metal in Baghdad - New Theatrical Trailer (language alert for sensitive surfers)

Also see Heavy Metal in Baghdad site, which includes details on Acrassicauda and their occasional band blog.
Islamic OS, Distribution Release: Ubuntu Muslim Edition 8.04.1 "Ubuntu Muslim Edition (UbuntuME) 8.04.1, an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring Islamic software, a Quran study tool and a web content filtering utility, was released in the form of not just an update but a full new DVD with tons of software: "The Ubuntu Muslim Edition team is proud to announce the release of UbuntuME 8.04.1. This release is only available as an installable DVD. Highlights: WebStrict (parental control tool) enabled by default (so as browsing the Internet is safe); Zekr 0.7.0 (Quran study tool) installed and configured to play Quran recitations; Minbar and Firefox "Pray Times" addon installed; Monajat (display Islamic prayers) Thwab (encyclopedia); UbuntuME artworks: usplash, login screen, Islamic wallpapers, theme etc.""

Full details: Ubuntu Muslim Edition 8.04.1 released "The Ubuntu Muslim Edition team is proud to announce the final version of UbuntuME 8.04. It includes an installable live Desktop CD, a second CD with additional softwares (OpenOffice, Arabic language packs, Quran recitations etc.), an installable DVD (with more Quran recitations), and a script to convert standard Ubuntu installations to UbuntuME."

I plan to evaluate this at some future time.
Ongoing Trial

CTV, Khawaja was no extremist, ex-fiancee testifies, 22 Jul 08

"Khan spent her early years in the U.S. before moving to Pakistan with her family. Her romance with Khawaja's began in 2003 on the Internet, where they wrote each other emails about marriage, children, and where they might live."

CNN, Gays in Iraq terrorized by threats, rape, murder, 24 Jul 08 "CNN spoke with Kamal, now 18, and his 21-year-old friend Rami about what it's like to be gay in Iraq. Coming out as gay is not easy in any country, but to do so in Iraq could mean a death sentence or torture.

"The two men rarely show feelings toward each other in public. They spend a lot of time in Internet cafes in Baghdad, surfing gay chat rooms and seeking contacts with other gay men in Iraq and elsewhere."

AP, Report: Taliban using sophisticated media network, 24 Jul 08 "The Taliban have created a sophisticated media network to undermine support for the Afghan government, sending threats by text message and spreading the militia's views through songs available as ring tones, according to a report released Thursday ...

" ... The Taliban movement also has a Web site, Al Emarah, or The Emirate, which has various domain names due to attempts to block it. The Taliban also publish pamphlets and magazines, and their communications come in multiple languages including English. DVDs and audio cassettes also are used."
Egypt, Mass Arrest of Internet Activists in Egypt Yesterday and Abduction of Ahmed Maher in Alexandria Today, 24 Jul 08 "Egyptian security Agencies arrested 14 young Internet activists yesterday, said the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. The group of activists are known as the “6th of April Youth.” During a journey to Alexandria yesterday, they were detained in the quarters of the State Security Inspectors well known as the “Pharaohs.”"
Egypt, Mass Arrest of Internet Activists in Egypt Yesterday and Abduction of Ahmed Maher in Alexandria Today, 24 Jul 08 "Egyptian security Agencies arrested 14 young Internet activists yesterday, said the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. The group of activists are known as the “6th of April Youth.” During a journey to Alexandria yesterday, they were detained in the quarters of the State Security Inspectors well known as the “Pharaohs.”"
Hacking and Cracking, Malaysian Kaspersky website and shop hacked. Users at risk?, 25 Jul 08, "The official Malaysian Kaspersky Antivirus's website has been hacked yesterday by a Turkish cracker going by the handle of "m0sted"." A familiar name.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Scholars should combat perversion of religion: PM, 24 Jul 08 "The Prime Minister, who outlined a four-pronged strategy to combat such occurrence, said religious scholars and intellectuals in the country must be encouraged to engage with the wider public.

""It is not enough to produce intellectual works and present papers in scholarly meetings, important as these may be. Scholars and intellectuals should not lock themselves away in their ivory towers," he said Thursday in his opening address at the international conference on religion in the quest for global justice and peace at Renaissance Hotel here."

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Tunisia Online (Tunis)/, Tunisia: Country Ranked 35th in the World And First in Africa By WEF's '2007-2008 Global Technology Report' "Tunisia's positive international rankings have just been comforted with the latest ranking by the latest 2007-2008, World Economic Forum "Global Technology Report" which ranks the country 35 th globally with an overall score of 4,33 and the first in Africa insofar as networked readiness in concerned." Report is here:, Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008

DeepBackground/msnbc, Al-Qaida senior leader grants rare TV interview, 21 Jul 08 "Abu Mustafa al-Yazid, an Egyptian whom U.S. intelligence officials have identified as the al-Qaeda's third highest-ranking official, sat for an interview with Najeeb Ahmad, a reporter for Geo TV. Geo TV is a private Pakistani television channel.

"In the interview, Yazid, also known as Sheikh Saeed, called for the destruction of Pakistan's government which he said had "betrayed" the jihadis. Yazid swore that al-Qaida would recapture Afghanistan. And he reiterated al-Qaida's position that "all Americans, not just the American government" are the enemies of Islam."
Security, The sticky issue of web security, 23 Jul 08 "One corporate IT network administrator at a large construction company in Dubai said that in a recent building-wide scan, the technology department detected more than 10 unauthorised outside internet connections, with some being shared among multiple users who were also connected to corporate data servers.

"One employee even brought in a wireless router to share his mobile broadband connection with other staff on the floor. When confronted by the IT department, he said the connection was simply a way to let employees access sites he said were “vital” to their personal lives: Facebook and Google’s Gmail."
aQ, 'Attack by al-Qaida westerners possible', 24 Jul 08

"The ministers, according to the communiqué, were told that global jihad elements were using the Internet and other information transfer technologies to coordinate, recruit and operate terrorists.

"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert directed the officials to continue their information-gathering and counterterrorism efforts and to coordinate with other countries that were partners in the war on terror."
Ahmadiyya Conference

Independent, A pilgrimage to the end of the Northern line, 24 Jul 08, "Cut off from its largest grouping of followers, the expulsion of Pakistan's Ahmadi leadership could have killed off the sect but satellite television and a modern marketing strategy saved it. Free to propagate their creed they set up their own TV station, MTA, and began broadcasting the Khalifa's Friday sermons in multiple languages. The internet has spread their message further, with audiences in west Africa in particular attracted to its tolerant message." Details: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, United Kingdom

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Humum, 2 Years After Launching Humum Web Site for Receiving and Publishing Complaints of Arab Citizens:Over Fifteen Thousands Complaints Received and 2.5 Million Visitors, 22 Jul 08 "On 22 July, 2006 Humum Website ( began to receive and publish complaints, “with complainants privacy reservation.” Two years after this initiative the number of complaints received by the website reached over 15 thousands complaints, and about ten-thousand-five-hundred of them were actually published. The answers to these complaints which were made by individuals or journalist or rights bodies came to 12,000. The surprise was not only in this huge number of complaints, but the number of visitors had set a record, whether comparing it to other Arab rights institutions or to voluntary initiatives in general."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The Star, Crackdown on cybercafés operating as gambling dens, 22 Jul 08 "The Perak government will start cracking down on cybercafés that operate as gambling dens with immediate effect."
Digital Divide

Balancing Act/, West Africa: Race to Build a West Coast Fibre Promises to Push International Bandwidth Prices to New Lows, 21 Jul 08 "Four international fibre projects are racing to complete ahead of each other on the west cost of Africa to give some much needed additional capacity and price competition to SAT3. The drop in bandwidth prices could be spectacular. Russell Southwood looks at the runners in the race and asks whether West Africa is ready for the potentially market-changing impact of cheap international bandwidth." Also see Balancing Act, African Telecoms and Internet Markets

Jonathan Stevenson, Wired 16.08, Tackling al Qaeda Where It Thrives — Online, 22 Jul 08 "Whoever wins the White House in November should take the opportunity to give US foreign policy a makeover, which would allow us to emerge from the cybercloset. From there, the path is clear: harness the Net's unique combination of community and privacy to shape the debate within Islam about the best mechanisms for political change. A new tone in Washington could make moderate Muslims less averse to linkages with the US, which might in turn quietly provide support for anti-jihadist clerics — like Abdul Haqq Baker of the Brixton mosque in London — encouraging them to speak up in the blogosphere."
aQ in Israel, Al-Qaida in Israel / Fertile ground for terrorism, 21 Jul 08

"The uncovering of a second Arab-Israeli cell with ties to Al-Qaida in the space of a few weeks does not quite suggest that an attack by international Islamic terrorism is imminent. But we are still able to learn two things: that among Arab Israelis, like the Palestinians in the territories, there is growing support for the messages of Al-Qaida, and that the Israeli security services are also countering terrorist plans also through the Internet."

Also see Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), July 20, 2008, Terrorism and Internet: charges have recently been filed against two Israeli Bedouins, members of the Islamic Movement. "They are suspected of acting on behalf of Al-Qaeda. They formed and maintained contact with Al-Qaeda through the Internet, based on their ideological affinity with radical Islam.", Temecula group starts Web site as Muslim alternative to YouTube, 20 Jul 08 " aims to educate non-Muslims about Islam and provide an Internet site for Muslims to view videos without worrying about anti-Islamic tirades or sexually explicit content, said Tarek Ayoub, a volunteer for the site and for the site's nonprofit founder, Islam The Answer Corp."
Obama's trip

Wallwritings, Obama Needs Some Internet Virtual Reality On This Trip, 21 Jul 08 "Obama needs an internet virtual reality staff person with him at all times, giving him visual, aural and print data, not on the grand scheme of Middle East politics, but on the reality of occupation." Opinion piece (located via
Ethics and the internet

Saudi Gazette, Need for common code of ethics, Excerpts from speech by Nihad Awad, National Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Washington, D.C. A strong internet theme in this speech.
Shirin Ebadi

AFP, Ebadi rights group warns Iran on Internet crime bill, 20 Jul 08 "The Defenders of Human Rights Centre said it opposed the bill, which is set to be debated by parliament and seeks to toughen punishments for harming "mental security" in society.

""If this bill is adopted, there will be further infringement of the freedom of expression, citizens' judicial security will be jeopardised and executions will increase," the group said in a statement."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Saudi Arabia

Al-Arabiyya, Saudi man 'wins' 10-yr-old in deal with her dad, 20 Jul 08 "Saudi sociologist Abdullah Al-Harbi said that in these kinds of marriages the father technically sells his daughter, since the groom-to-be usually pays huge amounts of money to marry a younger girl to "satisfy his sexual desires."

""These marriages usually end up in failure, and the girl usually goes through trauma due to living with a man who is much older," he said."

Al-Arabiyya, British hostage in Iraq killed himself: kidnappers, 20 Jul 08 "The group calling itself the Shiite Islamic Resistance in Iraq begins a video statement released to The Sunday Times with the photo of a man, identified as Jason, appearing alongside the Arabic text of the statement." See Times Online, Why have you abandoned us, asks British hostage held for a year in Iraq, 20 Jul 08

The Nation/Yahoo! News, Flash! Bin Laden Calls Iraq "Distraction", 20 Jul 08, "Osama bin Laden, the leader-in-hiding of Al Qaeda, announced today that his organization was shifting resources from Iraq to Afghanistan.

""Iraq is not the central front in the War of Terror," he said. "It is a distraction. By sending so many troops into Iraq, we've stretched our forces thin. As a result, I am shifting at least two brigades from Mosul and Diyala province to southern and eastern Afghanistan.""

Channel 4, The Seven Wonders of the Muslim World "This week-long series traces the history and message of Islam by following the journeys of six pilgrims to Mecca.

"A series of intimate, 10-minute portraits, explores the lives and beliefs of six young people whose usual places of worship are beautiful and historic mosques across the Muslim world. The films accompany them as they leave their homes and families, follow them as they travel to Saudi Arabia, and share their responses to the culmination of their journey of a lifetime – the pilgrimage to Mecca, where the prophet Muhammed was born."

This comes with a gallery of related images. I couldn't find it on the Catch Up service, although other recent programmes The Qur'an and Shari'ah TV are listed there.
Beyond Love

IRNA/MNN/, Iran: 'Beyond Love' to be released in near future, 21 Jul 08

"In a response to the worldwide appeals for becoming familiar with Islam, the short film 'Beyond Love' will be released by the 'Islam and Christianity' NGO."
Osama bin Laden and Poetry

Bernard Haykel, Guardian, Osama bin Laden, Bard of Terror, 20 Jul 08 " ... through poetry, al Qaida defines what it means to be a member of the movement and commemorates the big episodes in the group's history by glorifying the exploits of "martyrs." Although much of this poetry is not necessarily of high quality, it nonetheless underscores the image that al Qaida's leadership wishes to project, namely that al Qaida's message is authentic and reflects "real Islam.""
eJilbab/dress codes, launches Islamic clothing category with, 21 Jul 08 "The Arab social web shopping portal, has partnered with, to offer a wide variety of Islamic and Middle Eastern apparel, under a new category on" Advertorial. See eJilbab

On the same theme, see, Web fills a void in Muslim garb: Women can 'cover' in fashion, 20 Jul 08 "... cyber-shopping for female Muslim attire is not like scanning Victoria's Secret. The models rarely look at the camera, often casting their eyes toward the ground. Several sites only showed the backs of models' heads or had young girls model the clothing."

Friday, July 18, 2008


Spiegel Online, Salafi jihadists in Gaza: 'Compared to Us, Hamas is Islamism Lite', 18 Jul 08 "Salafis from the Gaza Strip first stepped into the global spotlight in March of 2007, when jihadis from Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) kidnapped the BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who was based in the Gaza Strip. The group is a small faction among Salafis. They held Johnston hostage for four months, threatening to kill him and showing images of him wearing a suicide belt. Abu Mustafa says it was a legitimate tactic in the struggle for Islam. "It was nothing personal. It was a message to the West that they should release imprisoned Muslims." For the moment, he adds reassuringly, foreign journalists are not in danger in the Gaza Strip." Also contains a reference to Google Earth.
Research Issues

Times Higher Education, Researchers have no 'right' to study terrorist materials, 17 Jul 08 "Academics have no "right" to research terrorist materials and they risk being prosecuted for doing so, the vice-chancellor of the University of Nottingham has told his staff ...

" ... The student, Rizwaan Sabir, who is studying Islamic terrorism, said he had downloaded a copy of an al-Qaeda training manual for use in his MA dissertation and PhD application and had forwarded it to the administrator, Hicham Yezza, for printing. After six days in detention, neither was charged."

Previously blogged.
Ongoing Research

AP, Al-Qaida draws more foreign recruits to Afghan war, 18 Jul 08

"Jihadist Web sites from Chechnya to Turkey to the Arab world featured recruitment ads as early as 2007 calling on the "Lions of Islam" to fight in Afghanistan, said Brian Glyn Williams, associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts. Williams has tracked the movement of jihadis for the U.S. military's Combating Terrorism Center at West Point." Here's William's home page.

Last week I mentioned Mark LeVine's book. Here's a review by Howard Hampton: IHT, 'Heavy Metal Islam': Muslim youth and a lot of idealism, 17 Jul 08 "The punch line of LeVine's informative, valuable and moderately mad book is twofold: this conscientious anti-imperialist has written a swell tract in favor of large-scale cultural imperialism and his program is undoubtedly the first to enlist death metal as the spearhead of a new Peace Corps(e)."

The Economist, How to win the war within Islam, Jul 17 2008 "In an internet video in September 2007 Abu Yahya al-Libi, a prominent al-Qaeda leader, mockingly gave the West six tips to wage ideological warfare: highlight the views of jihadists who renounce violence; publicise stories about jihadist atrocities against Muslims; enlist Muslim religious leaders to denounce jihadists as heretics; back Islamic movements that emphasise politics over jihad; discredit and neutralise jihadist ideologues; and play up personal or doctrinal disputes among jihadists. These would indeed be good starting-points."

Thursday, July 17, 2008


The National, No dip in mobiles market, 16 Jul 08 "In spite of soaring rents, weakening currencies and rising inflation, Gulf shoppers are spending more than ever on mobile phones.

"Abdul Hameed al Sunaid, the chairman of the mobile distributor and retailer i2, said his company was yet to experience anything resembling a slowdown in consumer spending."
Anwar Ibrahim

Reuters, Malaysian police mull legal move on Anwar DNA test, 17 Jul 08

In the context of this blog (and my writing elsewhere), it has been noted that Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters have made good use of the net to present their perspective, and his blog has full details of the latest episode: Anwar Ibrahim, 17 Jul 08
Mosques in Germany

Der Spiegel, Not in My Backyard, Say an Increasing Number of Germans, 16 Jul 08 "The planned construction of over 180 mosques in Germany is mobilizing right-wing xenophobes but also an increasing number of leftist critics. They fear the Muslim places of worship will facilitate the establishment of a completely parallel society."
aQ, Disenchanted with Osama bin Laden, former holy warriors are renouncing violence, 16 Jul 08 article by Britta Sandberg, originally in Der Spiegel, Turning their Backs on Jihad, 14 Jul 08

"The al-Qaida leadership is still believed to be hiding out in the mountainous, inaccessible border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. From their isolated location, bin Laden and Zawahiri compose periodic messages to their followers around the world, often seeking to portray the dissidents as creatures of the hated West. The Egyptian doctor Zawahiri, in particular, insists that renegades like Benotman have either been paid off by the West or tortured into compliance, and that Western intelligence agencies engage in propaganda to create divisions and uncertainty among his holy warriors.

"But Zawahiri's messages, delivered by video or broadcast on the Internet, appear to be losing their effectiveness."
Aabid Khan

Ongoing court case relating to Aabid Khan: BBC News, Chechnya 'angered' terror accused, 16 Jul 08 "By the time he was 21 he had hoarded a large amount of material, some of which came from CDs handed to him outside mosques and after conferences, the court heard.

"It was all recovered from a laptop hard drive found in his luggage after he was detained."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Guantanamo Bay

MSNBC, Gitmo interrogation video released, 15 Jul 08 "Lawyers for a Canadian prisoner at Guantanamo Bay released excerpts of videotaped interrogations Tuesday, providing a first-ever glimpse into the secretive world of questioning enemy combatants at the isolated U.S. prison in Cuba."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dr Fadl

Lawrence Wright, The Observer, The heretic: How Al-Qaeda's mastermind turned his back on terror, 13 Jul 08 previously in The New Yorker, this is a detailed and interesting piece, focused on Sayyid Imam al-Sharif a.k.a. Dr Fadl. In the context of this blog, it is helpful in its references to the internet in Fadl's work (previously blogged):

"To wage jihad, one must first gain permission from one's parents and creditors. The potential warrior also needs the blessing of a qualified imam or sheikh; he can't simply respond to the summons of a charismatic leader acting in the name of Islam. 'Oh, you young people, do not be deceived by the heroes of the internet, the leaders of the microphones, who are launching statements inciting the youth while living under the protection of intelligence services, or of a tribe, or in a distant cave or under political asylum in an infidel country,' Fadl warns. 'They have thrown many others before you into the infernos, graves and prisons.'" (taken from part 2)

The National, Hackers break 3G iPhone lock, 13 Jul 08 "Yesterday iPhone Dev Team, a web community for phone hackers, revealed an updated version of its phone-cracking software that works on the new 3G iPhone.

"Local interest in the new phone is high. Magnus Nystedt, the president of EmiratesMac, the Apple user group in the UAE, said he was getting queries about availability of the new device “all the time”."
Hamas/Hizbullah sites taken down

Jerusalem Post, Web vigilante takes down terror sites, 14 Jul 08 "The Canadian Internet service provider iWeb recently removed three Web sites powered by Hamas and Hizbullah from their network of subscribers after complaints were filed against the company ...

" ... The first of the illicit URLs was discovered by Toronto native Jonathan HaLevi while monitoring the Internet under the auspices of the Orient Research Group Ltd. which he co-founded. HaLevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and Radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

""The Internet is an important tool for terrorist organizations to recruit, instruct, operate cells and build what they call 'The Islamic Nation' to launch the 'jihad against the infidels,'" HaLevi told The Jerusalem Post."

The article didn't refer to which Hamas site was taken down, but pages relating to Hamas and Hizbullah (al-Manar) remain online.
Abu Yahia al-Libi

AP/Jerusalem Post, Al-Qaida prison escapee warns of more attacks in Afghanistan, 12 Jul 08, "An Internet audiotape purported to be from an al-Qaida commander who escaped from a US prison warns that this winter will be "hell" for international forces in Afghanistan.

"The message from Abu Yahia al-Libi, who escaped from Afghanistan's Bagram prison in 2005, appeared Friday on an Islamic militant Web site. Its authenticity could not be verified, but it was posted on a Web site that carries militant statements."
Publication has a new paper by Jon W. Anderson: Transnational Civil Society, Institution-Building, and IT: Reflections from the Middle East
Hip-hop, The Persian Hip-Hoppers Tapesh 2012: Multicultural Pulsebeat "The musical inspiration behind Tapesh – which means pulse beat – combines an eclectic range of styles – from hip-hop to reggae and ska, all the way to electronic beats with an oriental touch."

Take a look at their MySpace page for more, including videos.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ongoing case

AP/, 5 men plead guilty in trans-Atlantic airline plot, 14 Jul 08

BBC, Three men admit bomb plot charges, 14 Jul 08

The production of videos by the defendants played a role in this case.
Kuwait, MP holds Al-Ghunaim liable for unethical activities on Net, 14 Jul 08 , "MP Mohammed Hayef Al-Mutairi has held Communications Minister Abdulrahman Al-Ghunaim responsible for the unethical activities on the Internet as well as the publication of abusive messages, reports Alam Al-Yawm. Asserting such activities are against the Islamic Sharia, Al-Mutairi called on the telecommunications companies to screen the messages and asked Al-Ghunaim to hold the companies liable for the transit of offensive messages. He also stressed the need to curb such immoral activities, which shouldn’t be neglected in favor of revenues earned at the expense of the Islamic Sharia and Kuwaiti customs."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Heavy Metal + Islam

NPR, How Heavy Metal Is Working Its Way Into Islam, 10 Jul 08 "Music like heavy metal, punk, hip-hop and reggae — often voices of protest — are typically considered immoral in the Muslim world. But this music may also turn out to be the soundtrack of a revolution unfolding across that world, according to one author.

"Mark LeVine, an author, musician and professor of Middle Eastern history, talks about the young generation of heavy metal fans in the Middle East and Northern Africa."

The report comes, usefully in this context, with examples of the genre and an interview, in which LeVine notes the significance of the net in circulating music and helping in the organisation of gigs.

The book is Mark LeVine, Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam, Three Rivers Press 2008

More information on LeVine can be found here and at There is also an album in the pipeline, and plenty of useful resources on the website.
Qur'an TV Programme

Channel 4, The Qur’an, 14 July 2008 at 8pm micro-site for forthcoming documentary, which presumably will also be accessible online. "This powerful film meets a diverse range of people living according to their understanding of the Qur’an, from ayatollahs to peasant farmers, and from hardline fundamentalist imams to progressive Islamic thinkers. It asks how – if the Qur’an is the ultimate and changeless message of God – such differences are possible."
Media in Africa

The National, Continent finds voice of its own, 10 Jul 08 "This latest venture into television news would make his father proud. The Amin family knows a lot about media coverage on the world’s most under-represented continent. So when Mr Amin announced plans to start Africa’s first 24-hour news channel, analysts said the network would do for Africa what al Jazeera did for Middle Eastern media.

"Mr Amin is weeks away from launching A24 Media, the first step towards a news network. A24 Media will be a news agency for freelance photographers and television reporters from across Africa. Freelancers will send their images to A24, and the agency will market them to international broadcasters."

Interesting article in the NS today on rap: New Statesman, Sing out sisters, 10 Jul 08 "Mir is not alone in wanting to break into an industry that is seen by the more conservative elements in Muslim communities as highly undesirable for young women. She is one of more than a dozen artists whose work is featured on Sisterhood, an online mixtape of previously unreleased songs by up-and-coming female Muslim rappers, MCs and poets from the UK, US and Europe. Their music deals with a range of issues that each has been affected by on some level."

More information can be found at Deeyah Presents Sisterhood (logo, right) "Sisterhood is the collective name for a mixtape project of previously unreleased songs written by young up and coming female Muslim rappers, singers and poetesses from the UK, Europe and US.

"Their songs deal with a range of issues that each has been affected by on some level ranging from the war in Iraq to racism, love, romance, living in a post 9/11 world, to women's rights issues, faith and personal experiences of being young socially conscious Muslim women in the West."

You can hear the streaming content of the mixtape - it isn't available for sale, but is well-worth hearing.

Jerusalem Post, Analysis: Holy war on the Web: Israel and the cyber-battle against the jihadis, 10 Jul 08 Article by Yaakov Lappin, who has a book coming outo on al-Qaeda and the net:

"Al-Qaida ideologues have also expressed deep disappointment with Hamas, which they accuse of being too nationalist and provincial. Al-Qaida members routinely condemn Hamas for failing to declare an Islamic emirate in Gaza, an entity they say could link up with other pockets of Islamist rule in a future caliphate state.

"One message, posted on the jihadi al-Firdaws forum several months ago by a user who identified himself as Palestinian, read, "When Hamas took over Gaza, we eagerly anticipated their announcement of the establishment of an Islamic emirate, as was the case in Afghanistan and in Somalia. But this did not happen.""

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


The Sun, Bin Laden's son in web terror rant, 9 Jul 08

"This is Osama Bin Laden’s school-age son, who yesterday continued his father’s mission of hate — with a POEM begging for Britain to be destroyed.

"Baby-faced Hamza Bin Laden — just 16 but already dubbed the Crown Prince of Terror — also ranted in his evil ode that the US and our other allies must be wiped out."

Includes the clip in question.
Abu Sayyaf

Reuters, Militants in SE Asia rely on donations-experts, 9 Jul 08 ""Zakat has contributed a lot in the continuity of the struggle of the Abu Sayyaf," Mendoza [Rodolfo Mendoza, deputy head of the national police's investigation division] said on Wednesday, adding the rebels had been using the Internet by showing Muslims' struggle in the south to gain more donations from people and groups abroad."

Jakarta Post, Citizen diplomacy and cross-cultural pollination, 9 Jul 08, "Understanding the need to build bridges between civilizations, particularly between the often-misunderstood Islam and the West, a group of U.S.-based Ph.D. students who belong to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), a large moderate Islamic organization in Indonesia, established American NU Community last week. Ulil Abshar-Abdalla (Harvard), Sumanto Al Qurtuby (Boston) and Ahmad Munjid (Temple) are among the founders. According to them, this community is a new NU generation."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Opinion piece

Yahya Birt,, British Muslims and the Muslim Council of Britain: the next decade, 7 Jul 08

AP, In Morocco, a festival where tolerance is traditional and Jews pray together with Muslims, 8 Jul 08 "While religious tensions flare in Jerusalem and beyond, in Morocco, Jews and Muslims say they nurture a legacy of tolerance and maintain common sanctuaries where adherents of both religions pray. Decades of emigration to Israel by Morocco's Jews and terrorist bombings in Casablanca that targeted Jewish sites haven't diminished the draw of these annual pilgrimages.

"During the festival that began Friday, visitors prayed and feasted around the shrine of Abraham Ben Zmirro, a rabbi reputed to have fled persecution in Spain in the 15th century and then lived in Safi, where he is buried with six siblings." non-tech
Media Representation

Guardian, Misreporting Muslims, 7 Jul 08 Discusses Channel 4, Dispatches: It Shouldn't Happen to a Muslim . This comes with other documentation, including results of a poll.

UK readers can use the C4 'catch up' facility (not sure if it works elsewhere). Haven't seen this myself yet (who watches scheduled TV anymore??)

Jakarta Post, Anti-terrorism campaign: A chilling message from jail, 8 Jul 08 "In early 2007 in a dusty Semarang prison, Central Java, clad in a glowing white robe, Subur Sugiarto candidly said the most wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia, Noordin M. Top, doesn't need to seek soldiers for his jihadi operations. "Passionate and dedicated mujahid (Muslim fighters) who understand the importance of jihad will eagerly come to him and are ready to die for the cause," he said."

Includes a reference to a translation of Abu Muhammad Al Maqdisi's work:

"The book, which was published by a Solo-based publisher, Jazera, in December 2007, is called Mereka Mujahid Tapi Salah Langkah (They are Muslim fighters, but chose the Wrong Path)."

National Post, Marc Sageman on the battle for young Muslims' hearts and minds and the future of the leaderless jihad, 7 Jul 08 "The world’s most dangerous jihadists no longer answer to al-Qaeda. The terrorists we should fear most are self-recruited wannabes who find purpose in terror and comrades on the Web. This new generation is even more frightening and unpredictable than its predecessors, but its evolution just may reveal the key to its demise."

Monday, July 07, 2008


NYT, Tiny Voices Defy Child Marriage in Yemen, 29 Jun 08 this came to my attention in yesterday's Observer, where it was reprinted. Non-tech, but a fascinating article by Robert Worth, that has been picked up elsewhere on the web.

The same paper had NYT, Albanian Custom Fades: Woman as Family Man, 25 Jun 08, which has an oblique tech link "For centuries, in the closed-off and conservative society of rural northern Albania, swapping genders was considered a practical solution for a family with a shortage of men. Her father was killed in a blood feud, and there was no male heir. By custom, Ms. Keqi, now 78, took a vow of lifetime virginity. She lived as a man, the new patriarch, with all the swagger and trappings of male authority — including the obligation to avenge her father’s death.

"She says she would not do it today, now that sexual equality and modernity have come even to Albania, with Internet dating and MTV invading after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Girls here do not want to be boys anymore. With only Ms. Keqi and some 40 others remaining, the sworn virgin is dying off." This article by Dan Bilefsky has a slide show (unfortunately, the Yemen article doesn't)

AFP, US denounces Pakistan Red Mosque bombing, 6 Jul 08 "The White House on Monday denounced a suicide bombing that killed 15 people in Pakistan, calling it a "needless act of violence" and vowing to help the US ally fight "this common enemy.""
Police Dogs

Daily Express, Bootees For Sniffer Dogs Are Just Not Necessary Says Imam, 7 Jul 08 non-tech.

" ... imam Ibrahim Mogra said: "In Islamic law the dog is not regarded as impure, only its saliva is.

"Most Islamic schools of law agree on that. If security measures require to send a dog into a house, then it has to be done. I think ACPO needs to consult better and more widely.

"I know in the Muslim community there is a hang-up against dogs, but this is cultural. We Muslims should do our bit to change our attitudes.""

Islam Online, UK Muslims and Dogs... What's the Fuss?, "As the frenzy over Muslims' stance from a police plan to use sniffing dogs in public places keeps making headlines across the UK, British Muslims affirmed that the fuss is actually about nothing, since their religion does not forbid using dogs for security reasons.

""There is no harm in using trained dogs for security purposes," Mufti Dr Shah Sadruddin, of Jamiatul Ulama UK (the Council of Muslim Scholars), told"

Friday, July 04, 2008

9/11 - The Third Tower

BBC, "9/11 - The Third Tower "The Conspiracy Files delves into the final mystery of 9/11: the collapse of a third tower at the World Trade Centre, which was never hit by a plane.

"The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 - The Third Tower will be broadcast on Sunday, 6 July, 2008 at 2100 BST on BBC Two." Trailer

Times of India, Deoband fatwa confuses couples, 4 Jul 08, "A fatwa from Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband, which was hotly contested among Muslim clerics, questions the validity of innumerable love marriages in the Muslim community where a girl or a boy from different religion converts to Islam for matrimony."
UK today

Reuters, British Muslims feel like "Jews of Europe", 4 Jul 08 according to MP Shahid Malik

Mirror, Osama bin Laden suspect we can't kick out is freed, 4 Jul 08

BBC News, Top judge backs sharia 'role', 4 Jul 08 "Principles of sharia law could play a role in some parts of the English and Welsh legal system, the Lord Chief Justice has said."; Daily Mail, Sharia law SHOULD be used in Britain, says UK's top judge, 4 Jul 08 "The most senior judge in England yesterday gave his blessing to the use of sharia law to resolve disputes among Muslims.

"Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said that Islamic legal principles could be employed to deal with family and marital arguments and to regulate finance."

Times, Britain gives Pakistan £1bn to fight extremism, 4 Jul 08

AKI, Terrorism: Following al-Qaeda is against Islam, says Muslim scholar, 4 Jul 08 "A Saudi mufti or Islamic scholar has said that following the al-Qaeda terrorist network is against Islam.

""The things that al-Qaeda members do in Saudi Arabia must be unacceptable to any Muslim," said the Saudi mufti, Al-Sheikh."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

OBL, Bin Laden May Die of Kidney Disease in 6 Months, Time Reports, 2 Jul 08 "The amount of drugs the terrorist leader is taking to combat the disease led the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to conclude in a report that he has six to 18 months to live, the magazine said, citing one of the officials who has seen the report."
Net penalty

AFP/Khaleej Times, Iran mulls death penalty for Internet crimes, 2 Jul 08 "... the draft bill also includes "establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy", which is a new addition to crimes punishable by death.

"Those convicted of these crimes "should be punished as "mohareb' (enemy of God) and "corrupt on the earth'," the text says."
Quilliam Foundation

David Shariatmadari, The Guardian, The Quilliam take on Islam: fascinating but flawed "The Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim counter-extremism outfit, has certainly been given the Civitas seal of approval, and this week its director, Maajid Nawaz, spoke about his aims at its offices in Westminster."
E-mail threats

Trade Arabia, Death threat e-mail alert, 28 Jun 08 "Tricksters have stooped to a sinister new low, sending out death-threat e-mails which demand money to spare the victim's life.

"One e-mail circulating in Bahrain is headlined 'Someone You Call Your Friend Wants You Dead'."
Saudi Arabia

Trade Arabia, Saudi TV shows 'Internet jihad' militants, 2 Jul 08 "Two former militant supporters confessed on Saudi state television on Tuesday night how they organised the Internet operations of Al Qaeda's campaign against the Saudi government, media said."

Also see:

AKI, Terrorism: Al-Qaeda draws new recruits via Internet, 2 Jul 08 "The powerful broadcast presented the testimony of Saudi 'turncoats', members of al-Qaeda forums who had been arrested by police and then renounced their allegiances after re-education.

"The first to speak was Abu Azzam al-Ansari, one of the editors of the jihadist magazine, Voices of Jihad, published to web users from 2004 to 2007.

""The Internet is a means open to everyone and this is its strength," he said. "I began using it because of my desire for the real news on what was happening in the world, because I was convinced that the United States was telling lies."

I'd be interested to see this - any URLs appreciated. The same programme is discussed here:

AKI, Terrorism: Wrong to issue fatwas on the Internet, says Saudi imam, 2 Jul 08 "The imam of a mosque in the Muslim holy city of Medina in Saudi Arabia has said that it is wrong to issue fatwas or religious edicts on the Internet.

""It is wrong to think that from the Internet, science can be revealed and Sharia [Islamic law] can be developed," said Sheikh Saleh Ibn Awad al-Mudamsi, the imam of the al-Qubba mosque in Medina."
Mullah Omar

Canada East, Mullah Omar wears shades, has trimmed beard, lives in Pakistan: ex-follower, 30 Jun 08

Tsung Wei Wong,, Legal Download 2.0 - legal issues for UAE bloggers, 2 Jul 08