Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hossein Derakhshan

AFP, Canada seeks access to detained Iranian-Canadian blogger, 30 Dec 08 "Canada has not been granted consular access to detained prominent Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan in Iran, a foreign affairs spokesman said in Ottawa.

""Consular officials have been in contact with Iranian authorities, including by diplomatic note, to obtain confirmation of Mr. Derakhshan's arrest and to seek consular access," Canadian foreign ministry spokesman Rodney Moore told AFP."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


PDIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age, Dozens Gather in Second Life to Protest Gaza Attacks, 29 Dec 08

"Dozens of people have been gathering since Saturday in Second Life at a protest of the recent attacks in the Gaza Strip. The Egypt and Qatar-based news site,, has built a Palestine Holocaust Memorial Museum with scores of pictures of the attacks and people wounded in the attacks drawn news sources around the world. The museum was previously named the Gaza Holocaust Museum, about which we blogged in March 2008. Those who identified themselves who attended the gathering were mostly in Egypt, but also included people in Morocco, Italy, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, France and the United States."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


IslamOnline, Parenting Counselor, My 9-Year Old Struggles with Islam, 24 Dec 08"The environment is a huge influence on a young person’s lifestyle and they will in most cases reflect their environment in their own behavior and lifestyle. These are issues that all of us parents have to deal with, so know that you are not alone. This is all the more reason to search for and find, other Muslim parents out there; even if it’s over the Internet – for support and ideas."
Iran Human Rights Centre

Iran Press Service, Intolerant Ayatollahs Shut Down Office of Iran Human Rights Centre, 23 Dec 09 "The international community has severely condemned the Iranian Government over the brutal closure of the Centre of Human Rights Defenders, the sole such organization in the Islamic Republic of Iran, on 21 December by the Police, special security guards and plainclothes agents, acting on orders from the Tehran and Islamic Revolution Tribunal Prosecutor."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lost Connection

Guardian, Repair crew battles to fix undersea internet link, 22 Dec 08 "The Middle East yesterday spent its first workday coping with slow and erratic internet access as a French repair crew began fixing key undersea communication cables that were damaged near Sicily on Friday. Telecommunication providers from Cairo to Dubai were scrambling to reroute voice and data traffic through potentially costly detours in Asia and North America. The cause of the damage is not yet known."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Habib Ahmed, Habib's 'get-rich quick schemes', 19 Dec 08 "Books entitled Islamic Military Resurgence and Defence of the Muslim Lands were found and two computers recovered showed numerous terror-related internet searches on addresses of chemical companies, the components of bombs and how grenades worked."
al-Zaidi update +

Informed Comment (Juan Cole), 18 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Baghdad Bombings; Coup Plot Foiled; US Fires on Fallujah Shoe-Throwers, 18 Dec 08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Scotsman, Terror has seldom seemed so ordinary, 17 Dec 08 "Like teenagers planning a night out, Abdulla and Ahmed planned their own terrorist atrocity, using instant messaging. In Bangalore, Ahmed wore a thick, traditional Muslim beard, and mocked worshippers at the Jamia Hazrat Tippu Masjid mosque, opposite his parents' home, for allowing coloured lights to be hung up outside. While Ahmed told friends not to watch television and to save electricity, he used the internet to plan his martyrdom and a massacre."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Effective Measure system

The National, New measurement system will help online businesses bring in revenue, 16 Dec 08 "A new system to measure the popularity of websites will help Middle Eastern online businesses bring in revenue, advertisers and industry watchers say.

"Launched today in Dubai, the Effective Measure system will give advertisers a clearer picture of who is visiting a given website rather than other services, its backers say.

“This is a democratic system for websites, and everyone can be included and considered,” said Dan Healy, the managing director of Real Opinions, a research company that is launching the service in the Middle East. “No matter how small your audience is, if you are in a niche and reaching the right type of visitor, you will be considered by media buyers."

BBC News, Doctor guilty of car bomb attacks, 16 Dec 08 "A jury at Woolwich Crown Court found Bilal Abdulla guilty of plotting the home-made bomb attacks in 2007."
Hossein Derakhshan

Reuters, Nobel laureate urges Iran to release "Blogfather", 15 Dec 08 "Iranian Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi called on Monday for the release of a pioneering Iranian blogger, who is reported to have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel.

"Hossein Derakhshan, nicknamed "the Blogfather," is credited with launching a blogging revolution in Iran with his Internet diaries, in both English and Farsi, which have in the past been critical of the Tehran government."

CSM, Ideological clash of two jihadi titans shakes Al Qaeda, 15 Dec 08 " A bitter, year-long feud that has shaken Al Qaeda's ideological pillars grew even sharper last month. A former associate of Ayman al-Zawahiri accused him of working for Sudanese intelligence, wearing "women's garments" to flee Afghanistan, and spreading an incorrect Islamic theory of jihad."

asharq alawsat, Across Mideast, Arabs hail shoe-hurling journalist, 16 Dec 08

"Many users of the popular Internet networking site Facebook posted the video to their profile pages, showing al-Zeidi leap from his chair as Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were about to shake hands Sunday and hurl his shoes at the president, who was about 20 feet away. Bush ducked the airborne footwear and was not injured in the incident.

""This is a farewell kiss, you dog," al-Zeidi yelled in Arabic as he threw his shoes. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."""
Yamli, Yamli Launches New Smart Arabic Search Engine Features, 16 Dec 08 "Yamli, the startup based in Cambridge, MA, that is funded by ex-Googlers, and that specializes in smart transliteration technologies for the Arabic Web, just unveiled its new search engine that allows users to easily search Arabic content in all its forms.

"Various studies show that transliterated Arabic content is ubiquitous due to a large portion of Arabic internet users choosing to write Arabic phonetically using Latin characters in an ad-hoc and informal fashion. Yamli automatically expands Arabic keyword searches to include all of their transliterated variations and returns results for both Arabic and transliterated content. This feature is a breakthrough for Arabic Internet users who are frustrated with having to repeatedly search different variations of their query when searching for music, news or videos."

Try yamli for yourself, it's an effective tool.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Ian Black, Guardian, From Voyeur's Corner to My First Time: new magazine attempts to lift veil on Arab taboos, 13 Dec 08 "

Article discussing the impact of the controversial magazine Jasad (cover left, logo right):

"In a region where the majority are Muslims, Arabic is revered as the language of the Qur'an and the trend is for bodies to be covered up rather than exposed - let alone in all their intimacy - this daring experiment has triggered both anger and excitement.

"Officials of Hizbullah, the powerful Lebanese Shia movement, tried to close Jasad's stand at this week's Beirut book fair. One outraged visitor ripped down a poster, complaining that the subject matter was "haram" - forbidden. Visitors to the website of the popular al-Arabiya TV have attacked it. "Stop promoting this blatant vulgarity and obscenity," was one furious comment. But another said: "Amazing magazine! Oh Lord, please let it be distributed in Jordan!" A Saudi man pledged to buy 50,000 copies and distribute them free "to open people's minds"."

The Jasad magazine's website is here I haven't read this magazine yet, so cannot comment on its content.

Robert Tait, Guardian, Hollywood film accused of insulting Iran, 13 Dec 08 "The new target in Iran's long-running grievance about its negative portrayal in popular western cinema is, The Wrestler, a film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Mickey Rourke, due for release in the US on December 17.

"Newspapers and websites have alerted readers to the "anti-Iranian film" by highlighting a scene in which Rourke's character, Randy "the Ram" Robinson, violently breaks a pole bearing an Iranian flag across his knee, after his opponent tries to use it to put him in a stranglehold."

Refers to Farda website.

Sky News, Banned Cleric Preaching To Brits, 13 Dec 08 "Omar Bakri Mohammed has been delivering sermons on the internet chat room PalTalk from his home in Lebanon, where he is exiled.

"Between 30 and 50 users log on every morning and evening to listen to what is usually a 30 minute speech.

"He then opens the discussion board up for questions, which he answers directly."

This has been happening for sometime. See the related report here:


BBC News, Iran's bloggers thrive despite blocks, 15 Dec 08 including Parasto Dokoohaki audio interview. "The real attraction for bloggers, in this claustrophobic political climate, is that someone is listening.

"That is the view of Seyed Vahid Aqili, assistant professor of mass communications as Islamic Azad University in Tehran."

No mention of Hossein Derekshan in this piece. There's a chapter on blogging in my next book.

Friday, December 12, 2008


RSF, Authorities step up Internet surveillance, cyber-dissident sentenced to five years in prison, 11 Dec 08

"Esmail Jafari, a blogger and journalist based in the southwestern city of Bushehr, was meanwhile sentenced to five months in prison on 6 December on charges of “anti-government publicity” and “disseminating information abroad.” He is still free pending the outcome of an appeal ...

" ... The two online journalists currently detained in Iran are theologian Mojtaba Lotfi, who is imprisoned in the religious city of Qom, and Shahnaz Gholami, editor of the Azar Zan blog ( and member of the Association of Women Journalists (ARZ), who has been imprisoned in the northwestern city of Tabriz since 9 November.

Guardian, 14 al-Qaida suspects held as Europe's leaders gather in Brussels, 12 Dec 08 "Belgian police detained 14 people alleged to have links to al-Qaida in Brussels yesterday as the EU summit got under way. One of those held had made a "martyrdom video", including a farewell message, according to Belgian authorities."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reporters Without Borders Protest

RSF, Protests outside Vietnamese and Syrian embassies against “prisons behind facades”, 10 Dec 08

"Nine journalists and cyber-dissidents are currently imprisoned in Syria. They include independent journalist Michel Kilo and cyber-dissident Habib Saleh. There are more journalists in prison in Syria right now than at any time since Bashar el-Assad became president in July 2000."

Guardian, Dating site 'prostitution', says Iran, 11 Dec 08 "A popular Iranian internet dating website that claimed to be helping people find a spouse and start families has been banned for "promoting prostitution", on the advice of leading Islamic clerics.

", which boasts of having chalked up more than 1.6m page visits, was also fined and ordered to pay back money collected from clients, after a judge consulted senior ayatollahs - known as "sources of emulation" - following a complaint from Tehran's public prosecutor."

The site is still live (at present).

The Long War Journal, Pakistan detains Lashkar-e-Taiba communications expert, 10 Dec 08 "Zarar Shah was one of an estimated 10 to 20 Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives detained during raids on the terror group's offices in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and other locations in Pakistan.

"Shah is a communications expert who set up the network that allowed the Mumbai attackers communicate with Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders in Pakistan, according to Indian intelligence officials. He also serves as a key liaison between the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency."

Chicago Tribune, Which Muslim capital will Barack Obama choose?, 10 Dec 08 "President-elect Barack Obama says he plans to deliver a major speech in an Islamic capital aimed at improving America's image in the Muslim world.

"But choosing the capital will be tricky. The Muslim world is vast and far-flung, governed in many instances by autocratic dictators and riddled with potential political pitfalls for a new president hailed not only at home but around the globe as an agent of change."

PR Web, Jihad on the Internet: SSI Trains Kings County, Washington on January 28th and 29th with Jihad 2.0, 11 Dec 08 "In this exciting and novel presentation, Security Solutions International (SSI ®) shows qualified intelligence, law enforcement and professionals how the Jihad works on the Internet. Through actual materials, taken from Jihadi websites, participants will understand how the Internet is used by Islamic terror groups."

AFP, Jihadist calls for 'Facebook invasion', SITE, 11 Dec 08: "A member of an Islamic jihadist forum who urged supporters last week to wage a "YouTube invasion" by uploading propaganda videos has called for a similar attack on popular social network Facebook.

"The SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based monitoring service, reported on Wednesday that the appeal for a "Facebook invasion" was made on Tuesday on al-Faloja, a password-protected jihadist forum."

See SITE for more on this.
Fatah al-Islam Lebanon

Daily Star, Fatah al-Islam says leader was killed or captured in Syria, 11 Dec 08 "Fatah al-Islam leader Shaker al-Abssi was "probably" killed in a raid by Syrian security forces and fellow fugitive Abed Awad has replaced him, according to an internet statement apparently posted by the group. The unverified information was posted on a website used by Islamic extremists. It said that Abssi and two of his associates were either captured or killed in an ambush by anti-terrorism officers in the Syrian town of Jermana while on their way to meet militants linked with the insurgency in Iraq."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Google Earth

Times, Indian court asked to ban Google Earth, 10 Dec 08 "The demand from Amit Karkhanis, an Indian lawyer, came as a new school of “tech-savvy jihadis” make use of data freely available online and other web-based services to plot and execute their strikes, a phenomenon dubbed “the Google threat” by military commanders. The case filed at the Mumbai High Court alleges that Google Earth and similar services, “aid terrorists in plotting attacks” by supplying detailed bird’s-eye images that are used to acquaint militants with their targets."

Telegraph, Muslim lawyer Anjem Choudary brands Christmas 'evil': Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has branded Christmas "evil" in a sermon posted on the internet, 10 Dec 08 "In the sermon posted on an Islamic website, he said: "In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration Christmas.

""Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners."

Telegraph boosts circulation of Choudary's 'sermon'.

Arab News, Driving the news from Mina, 10 Dec 08 "With 30 years of experience, Abdul Mughni, 48, has been organizing the SRMG Haj team since 1991. He says technology has changed a little bit since then. "In those days we had to write our stories and then go from Mina to Makkah to fax them back to our offices in Jeddah," Abdul Mughni said during a rare break. "Those were not the days of the Internet and mobile phones. Now we can just e-mail the stories and pictures in a matter of seconds.""

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


BBC News, Virtual world for Muslims debuts, 9 Dec 08

"A trial version of the first virtual world aimed at the Muslim community has been launched.

"Called Muxlim Pal, it allows Muslims to look after a cartoon avatar that inhabits the virtual world."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Eid Mubarak!, Jamal Elshayyal, Hajj Diary: A hard day's work, 7 Dec 08

Asharq Alawsat, Muslims celebrate Eid Al Adha, 8 Dec 08, "Muslims all over the world began celebrating the first day of Eid Al Adha, Monday. In Saudi Arabia, Muslims performed the Eid Al Adha Prayer marking the beginning of Islamic festivities and rituals to be conducted over the next three days."

AP, Muslim hajj pilgrimage culminates on Mt. Arafat, 7 Dec 08 "But while most spent the day praying and reading Islam's holy book, the Quran, thousands — mostly Iranians, Lebanese, Iraqis and Bahrainis — held a rally inside their tents to denounce the United States and Israel.

"Called the "disavowal of pagans ceremony," the Iranian-sponsored, anti-U.S. protest is held annually at the hajj, bringing a whiff of politics into what is otherwise an entirely religious event."

PressTV (Iran), Leader sends message to Hajj pilgrims, 7 Dec 08 "The Leader of the Islamic Revolution has honored the advent of the Hajj in a message to millions of devout Muslims gathering in Mecca to perform the rituals." [full text of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei's message to pilgrims]

Live feed: Saudi TV

YouTube/, Hajj Prayers 2008
Abdulkarim Soroush

Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaa, New York Times, Who Wrote the Koran?, 5 Dec 08

"Soroush’s latest views have not endeared him to the powerful conservative wing of Iran’s establishment. Some have accused him of heresy, which is punishable by death. There have been demonstrations by clerics in Qom, the religious capital of Iran, against his recent work. But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, unexpectedly warned against feeding the controversy. He said those who are employing 'philosophy or pseudo-philosophy' to 'pervert the nation’s mind' should not be dealt with 'by declaring apostasy and anger' but rather countered with the 'religious truths' that will falsify their arguments."

Internet thread to this story about Abdulkarim Soroush (a.k.a. Hosein Haj Faraj Dabbagh), and the reactions to his thoughts and opinions on the origins of the Qur'an. Soroush's website is here, and the Soroush wikipedia entry is here
Social Networking

Middle East Online, New Internet ‘diplomacy’ or hypocrisy proposed? "Go on the Internet to make friends -- and world peace.

"That was the message Thursday from a New York conference on the potential power of Internet social networking tools like Facebook to counter terrorism and repressive governments."
Financial Meltdown

Habib Trabelsi, Middle East Online, Saudis seek 'Sharia bail out' to financial crisis, Saudi clerics promote Islamic finance as healthy alternative to current troubled market economy, 6 Dec 08 "The shock wave from the financial catastrophe has not spared the imams of most mosques in Saudi Arabia. They used the crisis to spread in endless praise Islamic finance which is based on the ban of interest (riba), speculation, and sharing the risk and profit between contractors."

Sudarsan Raghavan,, Iraqi Women, Fighting for a Voice, Activists Confront Dual Powers of Religion, Tribalism, 7 Dec 2008

"Hawjin Hama Rashid, a feisty journalist in bluejeans and a frilly blouse, had come to the morgue in this Kurdish city to research tribal killings of women. "A week doesn't pass without at least 10," the morgue director said, showing Rashid pictures of corpses on his computer screen."

Musa Khan Jalalzai, The Post (Pakistan), The UK jihadi network, 8 Dec 08

"[The] Daily Telegraph, in its November 28th, 2008 report claimed that some of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai were British. This report diverted the government attention on the UK extremist groups who receive terrorist training at the camps of the terrorist groups of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"These extremist groups recruit people by isolating them from their communities. Radicalization towards active support for violent extremism is most likely to occur where extremists can act uncontested, away from mainstream voices and competing ideas. This can apply both to physical places – prisons, universities, mosques – and to spaces on the internet."

Jalalzai is Executive Editor of Daily Outlook Afghanistan

Sydney Morning Herald, Bringing brains to the terrorism struggle, 6 Dec 08 "More and more young Australian Muslims turn to the internet for information on Islam. Given the constraints faced by Islamists in the open, the significance of the internet as a virtual recruitment place will grow.

LA Times, Pakistan militant group builds web of Western recruits, 8 Dec 08 "Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic militant group blamed in the Mumbai attacks, has actively recruited U.S.- and British-born contacts who have gone on to execute attacks for Al Qaeda."

Friday, December 05, 2008


NY Times, Gene Test Shows Spain’s Jewish and Muslim Mix, 4 Dec 08

"The genetic signatures of people in Spain and Portugal provide new and explicit evidence of the mass conversions of Sephardic Jews and Muslims to Catholicism in the 15th and 16th centuries after Christian armies wrested Spain back from Muslim control, a team of geneticists reports."

Arab News, Forum calls for strategic plan to reach out to non-Muslims, 4 Dec 08

"An international conference organized by the Muslim World League has called for a strategic plan to introduce Islam as a solution to major problems facing humanity and as a religion that promotes peace, freedom and tolerance.

"The three-day conference, titled “Introducing Islam to non-Islamic countries: Reality and aspirations,” stressed that non-Muslims living in Islamic countries should enjoy all of the rights enjoyed by Muslims. ...

"The conferees stressed the need to produce Islamic TV programs in major world languages to introduce Islam to non-Muslims. They also urged Muslims to behave righteously with non-Muslims and understand their culture. "We should come up with innovative ideas to propagate the message of Islam, using the Internet and satellite channels," it said."

CNN, Israeli Web site advises using wisdom of Quran, 5 Dec 08 "A new Web site launched by an Israeli university professor and his Bedouin students aims to address life's everyday quandaries from the perspective of an ancient sacred text: the Quran.

" Organizers of the site,, say they hope it will serve as a "bridge between Islam and the West" by applying the wisdom of Islam's holiest book to modern-day problems.

""We try to transform the Quran into a modern and useful tool, so that every person can find a Quranic answer to modern psychological and educational queries," said Ofer Grosbard, professor at the Academic Arab College for Education, affiliated with Haifa University."

Details: Quranet I haven't read any of the content of this yet. There seem to be some interesting juxtapositions going on here. The advisors include:

* Sheikh Musa Admani
* Sheikh Muhammed Omari
* Prof. Yuli Tamir
* Sheikh Abdullah Nimer Darwis
* Dr. Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed

Their biodata is included in the site
'aQ' figures

Metro, Fury at Osama bin Laden Lego-style toys, 4 Dec 08 "A range of LEGO-style fighting figures - including Osama bin Laden - has sparked outrage among Muslims.

"The tiny figures - decked out as a follower of 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden - have a removeable mask and are kitted out with a rocket launcher."

They are produced by BrickArms not Lego. Brickarms' website is presently overwhelmed by orders, and the 'Mr White' model (which I think is what the focus is on) is on backorder. I couldn't locate a specific 'bin Laden' model. The photo is from the Brickarms' site.

From the Jamestown Foundation: Abdul Hameed Bakier, Iraq’s Islamic Mujahideen Profiled by Jihadi Websites: Part Two, Terrorism Focus, Volume: 5 Issue: 41, December 3, 2008 "In the last issue of Terrorism Focus, we examined the profiles of three Iraqi jihadi groups based on information compiled by al-Haq, an Islamic news website and later distributed through a number of jihadi internet forums ( August 7, 2008). This issue will cover four remaining major insurgent groups mentioned in al-Haq’s research." Also available as a PDF
Europe's Muslim Women

Sara Silvestri, Europe's Muslim women: potential, aspirations and challenges, Qualitative study based on interviews with Muslim women in Brussels, London and Turin (King Baudouin Foundation: 2008) "This report presents the key findings of a qualitative study about Europe’s Muslim women, conducted by Dr Sara Silvestri (London’s City University and Cambridge University, United Kingdom), on behalf of the King Baudouin Foundation.

"It aims to obtain a general sense of the extent to which the religion of Islam plays a role in defining the experiences of Europe’s Muslim women and to charter the main issues of concern, and trends of thinking and of mobilisation among them. The study has the ambition to bring forth the voice, daily life, problems, and aspirations of these women. It was conducted in Belgium, Great Britain and Italy, primarily in three cities with large concentrations of Muslim populations: Brussels, London, and Turin. It involved questionnaires and structured and unstructured interviews with 49 Muslim women."

The link to the free PDF (1MB) is here. Other formats and purchase details via the link above. I haven't read this report yet, but it looks interesting.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hajj Information

Khaleej Times, Haj-related Agencies Told to Extend Best Services to Pilgrims, 3 Dec 08 "The ministry has mobilised 24 hospitals, with a capacity of around 4,000 beds and 133 primary health care centres and around 10,000 health care personnel to serve the pilgrims in the holy cities of Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites of Mina and Arafat."

Ministry of Hajj, Tracking Hajj Shuttle Buses using RFID Technology "Passive Radio Frequency Identifier RFID) tags have been fixed on the windshield of each shuttle-bus that operates in Al-Nafrah phase of Hajj. This amounts to about 4000 tags. These tags are used mainly to automatically keep track of the identity of buses leaving and entering the parking area. About 45 RFID readers have been installed all over the shuttle-bus system paths in the holy sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina.

"This is very useful to organisers since shuttle buses participating in Al-Nafrah come from 13 different transportation companies. Moreover, shuttle-bus drivers are seasonal drivers who are paid based on the number of shuttle rounds made. Therefore, tedious and lengthy paper-based bookkeeping can be avoided if buses’ tags can be remotely and collectively read at the parking-area gates and fed into a database application that keeps track of the live entry-exit information.

"Moreover, by installing an RFID reader on each side of the road at the entrance of the Arafat, Muzadalifah and Mina areas, it is possible to record when each shuttle-bus entered any of the three areas. A sophisticated computer application has been developed based on the requirements of the shuttle-bus system operators and managers to analyze RFID reader raw data and extract and generate a multitude of collective statistical reports on the shuttle-bus traffic performance indicators that may be useful to both operational and strategic Hajj managers and officials."

The Ministry have a comprehensive site this year, including an RSS Feed of updated news and an online questionnaire. The Hajj day-by-day flash presentation is useful for students. For pilgrims, there is a safety film in various formats. There is also an animated trip through the precincts of the Ka'ba (this looks like it has been taken from Finally, links to Saudi TV feeds can be found through the Ministry's site.

Vanguard/, Nigeria: Fighting Cybercrimes - the Executive, Legislative & Judiciary Collaboration Approach, 3 Dec 08 "The President of the Appeal Court, Justice Umaru Abdulahi recently expressed worries over the high occurrence of cyber crimes in Nigeria and the need for the Judiciary to brace up for the challenges posed by this nagging and fast spreading form of crime."

I was catching up with my reading, and saw this: Rachel Cooke, Observer Magazine, Daughters of the desert, 30 Nov 08 "By the time I get to what remains of AA's house, its destruction is old news, both in the village of Al-Zarnouk, where the single-storey building had stood for more than 20 years, and far beyond: thanks to mobile telephones and the internet, hundreds of people have already seen images of its demolition by the Israeli Defense Forces on the morning of 30 October." Also see: Oxfam, The women of Al Zarnouk, 18 Aug 08 (which predates the events discussed above).

Guardian, Study challenges claims of Islamic extremism among students, 3 Dec 08 "British universities are not hotbeds of Islamic radicalism, despite fears about the rise of "campus extremism", a new study argues.

"The University of Cambridge research, based partly on in-depth interviews with 26 students at UK universities, found that most young British Muslims are opposed to political Islam and are more likely to join Amnesty International than al-Qaida."


Guardian, Anthony Glees, Are British universities hotbeds of Islamic radicalism?, 3 Dec 08

And from the report's author: Guardian, June Edmunds, Look elsewhere for the enemy within

I haven't been able to track down the report yet.

AFP, US to use Web 2.0 to win "war of ideas": US image-maker, 2 Dec 08 "The United States is embracing social networks and other Web 2.0 tools to win the "war of ideas" with Islamic militants and other extremist groups, a top US policy-maker said Monday.

""In the war of ideas our core task in 2008 is to create an environment hostile to violent extremism," said James Glassman, the US undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs."
Ayman al-Zawahiri

AFP/, Qaeda deputy lauds dead Bali bombers, slams Saudis "Al-Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri paid tribute to three Indonesian Islamists executed last month for the deadly Bali bombings in 2002, in an Internet audio message released on Monday."
Mumbai update

Times of India, Terror mail routed through Pakistan's Lahore, 2 Dec 08 "Indian agencies tracing the source of the email sent by an outfit calling itself Deccan Mujahideen to a TV channel claiming responsibility for the terror attacks on Mumbai have found that the text was routed through Lahore in Pakistan before travelling to different locations through anonymous "remailer" service."

Also see Times of India, Deccan Mujahideen's e-mail traced to Pak [video]

Reuters ASfrica, Two terrorism suspects arrested in Italy, 2 Dec 08

"Ilhami and Ghafir, who had been living in Italy for around 10 years, downloaded information about bomb-building from the Internet. They also discussed potential targets in conversations monitored by police with eavesdropping devices."

Reuters, Islamic extremists being coaxed toward YouTube, 2 Dec 08 " Islamic extremists are being instructed on how to use the popular video-sharing site YouTube as a way to disseminate propaganda videos, a U.S.-based terrorism monitor said on Tuesday.

"Militants are being encouraged to use the online site through postings on other Islamic forums on the Internet, according to the SITE Intelligence Group."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mumbai II

Couriermail/Sunday Mail, Terrorists turn technology into weapon of war in Mumbai, 30 Nov 08 "THEIR battle fatigues are jeans, T-shirts and trainers. They are the new breed of terrorist – using everyday technology as a weapon of war.

"Among their arsenal of weapons are bags of almonds and BlackBerry mobile phones – almonds to keep their energy up, and the mobile internet connections to stay one step ahead of police and the military."
Mumbai I

Times of India, Muslims speak out against terror online, 30 Nov 08 "Muslims protesting online against violence and fundamentalism find themselves cornered by radical elements in their community. Posts by on online communities like express fear of retaliation against Muslims after the Mumbai terror attack."