Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sabily 9.10

sabily.org, Sabily 9.10 (Gaza) released. "The Sabily team is proud to announce the release of Sabily 9.10, codename "Gaza". Sabily is the new name of Ubuntu Muslim Edition, the Operating System designed by and for Muslims (but non-Muslims are very welcome to use it too)." New version of the Ubuntu OS


LA Times, Iran clamps down on protests, 29 Dec 09 "Images of the weekend's violence captured by protesters using cellphone video cameras, uploaded to the Internet and broadcast globally grabbed headlines and roiled capitals. Western officials urged Iranian authorities to deal peacefully with their opponents and release prisoners."

Iason Athanasiadis, Washington Times, Iran forces kill 8 on Shi'ite holy day, 28 Dec 09 "The protesters, in turn, broke several taboos, setting fire to a station of the paramilitary Basij and torching police motorcycles and other police vehicles throughout Tehran. Protesters in some cases beat police and pelted others with stones. They also besieged the headquarters of the state broadcasting authority and stripped captured policemen of their weapons, according to witnesses, Web sites and videos displayed widely on the Internet."

Martin Fletcher, Times Online, Courage, websites and sound judgment fight Iran’s media suppression, 24 Dec 09
"The Iranian regime is fighting not only to suppress opposition protests but to suppress news of those protests lest the contagion spread.

"To that end it has shut reformist newspapers and websites and cut internet services on days of particular tension. It has censored the state-controlled press, television and news agencies to the extent that protests and major events such as the death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri go almost unreported."

Online recruitment

UPI Asia, Online jihad recruiters target Asia, 28 Dec 09 "Extremist groups using the Internet to recruit young people to radical Islam is not a recent phenomenon. But with stronger policing in the West, extremist groups are taking advantage of the not-so-tech-savvy Internet policing in South and Southeast Asian countries and are using online social networks to radicalize the youth of the region."

op-ed on 'radicalisation'/'Islamophobia'

Reem Salahi, Huffington Post, Muslim Youth Radicalization or Politically Correct Islamophobia? 28 Dec 09 "More problematic than this open-ended definition of radicalization is the supposed source of radicalization: the World Wide Web. As someone who frequents the internet most of my waking hours, I do not deny that there are many bad websites and posts on the internet. But I refuse to believe that these websites could lead a normal, integrated Muslim teen to "radicalization." Yet according to the media and to governmental reports, the internet is that powerful. Without providing any contextual background or analysis, the media, the government, and now some Muslim organizations have simplified Muslim youth into a two-part cause and effect: since Muslim youth are intrinsically prone to radicalization, then the most simplistic of triggers such as the internet will change a law-abiding Muslim youth to Osama bin Laden's prodigy."

Umar Faruk Abdul Mutallab

Hugh Macleod, Guardian, Yemen is fertile territory for extremism as it tears itself apart: Al-Qaida able to exploit tribal tensions in Yemen just as it does in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 28 Dec 09

Telegraph, Al-Qaeda warned of imminent bomb attack, 28 Dec 09 "An al-Qaeda terrorist in Yemen warned the United States "we are carrying a bomb" in a video posted online four days before the attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit."

Newsweek, Do We Need 30,000 Troops in Yemen, or A Better Counter-Terror Strategy?, 28 Dec 09

The Canadian Press, Internet posts suggest Nigerian terror suspect was 'depressed and lonely', 28 Dec 09 "Internet postings purportedly written by a Nigerian charged with trying to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day suggest a fervently religious and lonely young man who fantasized about becoming a Muslim holy warrior.

"Throughout more than 300 posts, a user named "Farouk1986" reflects on a growing alienation from his family, his shame over sexual urges and his hopes that a "great jihad" will take place across the world."

Washington Post, In online posts apparently by Detroit suspect, religious ideals collide, 28 Dec 09 "On Facebook, Abdulmutallab's profile features a photo of him smiling, standing alongside two friends and wearing a sharp-looking pink polo shirt and sunglasses. He has 287 friends."

Facebook: We Condemn Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's Action: Nigerians are NOT Terrorists

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, Asharq Alawsat, In Search of the Instructor in Yemen, 29 Dec 09 "Al Awlaki is now most wanted and the source of the problem with regards to at least two crimes; that of Nidal Hasan charged for killing 13 people and Farouk Abdulmuttalab charged with attempting to blow up a plane and attempted murder of the 279 passengers on board. Al Awlaki is an important character and it seems he is the Bin Laden of the internet, the leader of an organization that brings together thousands of young men who are communicated with firstly via websites and then dealt with on the ground later. He became a leader and a Mufti who communicated with his students electronically, and he takes part in extensive Daawa [Islamic preaching] through the World Wide Web. Just like Bin Laden, a cat with nine lives, he was targeted in two similar raids a few days ago and it is possible that he escaped despite news reports of his death. "

Monday, December 21, 2009

"iPhone app of life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)"

"Keeping pace with current trends and technologies, Al-Khawarizmi brings to the world an Iphone application that lets you conveniently browse and read through the monumental life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon Him)."

Ask the Scholar: Theft via the Internet and the Application of Hadd

Islam Online, Ask the Scholar, Theft via the Internet and the Application of Hadd, 20 Dec 09 opinion of Rajab Abu Maleeh "Theft through the Internet is unaccepted in Islam. With its different forms, whether what is called plagiarism or stealing money by way of credit cards or withdrawing cash from ATMs, theft is all impermissible. People should necessarily avoid these forms of larceny if they sincerely want Islam to become dominating."

Esposito and Voll on Friedman's "jihad.com" op-ed

John L. Esposito & John O. Voll, huffingtonpost.com, Tom Friedman on Muslims and Terrorism: Getting it Wrong Again "Thomas Friedman, in his Dec. 15 column "www.jihad.com" repeats and reinforces the same tired, totally incorrect, but commonly-made generalization preached in his July 9, 2005 column, "If it's a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution," that "no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden ..."

'Jihad the Musical'

Evening Standard, Musical that pokes fun at bin Laden on its way to London, 21 Dec 09 "When it was announced the show would be performed in Edinburgh, Ted Brocklebank, culture spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said he hoped the “appalling” show would be withdrawn."

The website for Jihad! The Musical is here. It states: "With singing camels, dancing girls and a heartfelt hero, Jihad! sends up stereotypes, politics and big business, and the love affair between terrorism and the media."

New blog on Yemen

Haley Sweetland Edwards, Sanaa Bureau, Global Post: Green Technology in Sana’a is very, very old, 11 Dec 09 Interesting post from a new blog Tip: Waq al-Waq

Queen Rania

Telegraph, Queen Rania, Jordan's virtual queen, 18 Dec 09 "Queen Rania was in Paris earlier this month to speak at Le Web, a conference that brings together some of the world’s smartest technology entrepreneurs. Though she once worked in Apple’s marketing department, Queen Rania is not someone you would expect to find alongside Chad Hurley, the co-founder and CEO of YouTube, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder.

"However, as she delivered her speech - with its key messages compressed into Twitter-friendly 140-word bites - it soon became clear that she understands the real-time web and is using it in her royal duties and her charitable work."

Maulana Sheikh Nazim Al Haqqani’s official website

yursil.com, Mind, Body, Soul, New Website for Shaykh Maulana Nazim Adil al-Hakkani "We are excited and proud to announce the launching of Maulana Sheikh Nazim Al Haqqani’s official website, which features articles written by him personally in Turkish or Arabic language and translated into English.

"There will be a weekly Gazette (magazine) in the downloadable PDF format.

"This is the address: http://www.saltanat.org"

Algeria censorship plan

Brian Whitaker, al-bab.com, Algeria to censor internet, 20 Dec 09 "Algeria is planning to introduce a centralised system for filtering (i.e. censoring) the internet. It is also proposing stiff penalties for anyone who circumvents the government's filtering, according to the Magharebia news website."

'Iranian Cyber Army' update

Tim Stevens, ubiwar.com, World Tries To Shock Self With Iranian Cyber Army, 19 Dec 09 "There is no evidence that this was the work of Iranian intelligence or military, or even of Iranians, in Iran or elsewhere. Sure, the banner was clearly thumbing its nose at the US, and was geared to look like a Shi’a statement, but that does not make it the work of Iran or Iranians. It was occasionally reported that the Arabic on the banner read, ‘Hezbollah will surely be victorious’, or similar. Again, not necessarily true. The line is from a Qur’anic ayat referring to those who belong to and follow the ‘party of God’; far from an explicit reference to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Islamist organisation, even if that too is where they got their name." Useful commentary on this 'event'.

Harvard's Islamic Heritage Project

Harvard University Library, Harvard's Islamic Heritage Project Is Now Online: An Innovative Collaboration Preserves Key Islamic Materials and Makes Them Accessible to Internet Users Everywhere "Through a new collaboration among Islamic-studies scholars, librarians, and curators, Harvard University has cataloged, conserved, and digitized Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts from its renowned library and museum collections. The result is a new online collection comprising more than 145,000 digital pages available to Internet users everywhere. Entitled the Islamic Heritage Project, or IHP, the collection is made possible with generous support from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Visit IHP online at http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/ihp"

aQ "Wives' Club"

Khaled Wassef, CBS News, Al Qaeda Wives' Club, 18 Dec 09, "Al Qaeda's media wing as-Sahab released an Internet statement Thursday from the wife of Ayman al-Zawahri, the group's deputy commander, the first known recruitment appeal by a prominent female on behalf of the terrorist group.

"The statement from Umaima Hassan Ahmad Muhammad Hassan was titled: "A Letter to the Muslim Sisters." In it, Mrs. Zawahri appealed to Muslim women around the world to support the Mujahideen, calling it "an obligation on all Muslims, men and women.""

'Jihadi Cool'(?)

AP, Did 'Jihadi cool' lure 5 Americans to Pakistan?, 21 Dec 09 "But that may not matter in an age when just about anyone on the Internet can connect with terrorists and where even young Muslims from moderate families can get caught up in what some call "Jihadi cool.""

Also see Steven Stanek, The National, Cyberspace emerges as global jihad battleground, 21 Dec 09

Ayatollah Montazeri

Guardian, Iran braces for protests as up to 1m attend funeral of reformist cleric, 21 Dec 09 "YouTube footage showed Montazeri's supporters gathering at home his home where his body lay in a glass case.

"The reformist website Rah-e Sabz reported that some political activists had been contacted by intelligence agents and warned that they would face arrest if they tried to attend the funeral."

presstv.ir, Ayatollah Montazeri laid to rest in Qom, 21 Dec 09

Friday, December 18, 2009

'Iranian Cyber Army'

Update: The Guardian, Technology Blog, Twitter hack by 'Iranian Cyber Army' is really just misdirection, 18 Dec 09

Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, Twitter Hacked, Defaced By “Iranian Cyber Army”, 17 Dec 09 This is the most detailed post on this issue that I've come across.

Also see:

Telegraph, Twitter hacked by 'Iranian Cyber Army', 18 Dec 09

"A group, calling themselves the Iranian Cyber Army, forced Twitter offline last night."

Wall Street Journal Blog, Twitter, Iranian Reformer Sites Hacked by ‘Iranian Cyber Army’, 18 Dec 09


Brian Whitaker, al-Bab, Moroccan internet 'crimes', 16 Dec 09 "A blogger and the owner of an internet cafe have been jailed in Morocco."

Opinion piece: ethics, diamonds and technology

Molouk Y. Ba-Isa, Arab News, Your mobile may be financing murder, 15 Dec 09 "Since 1996, more than 5.4 million people have died from the ravaging effects of war and its aftermath in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite successful elections in 2006, more than 45,000 people are still dying every month in eastern Congo, mostly from hunger and disease resulting from the ongoing conflict. Consumer demands helped stop the violence in Africa fueled by Blood Diamonds. If you want peace of mind in enjoying your cell phone, iPod or notebook computer, support an end to the trade in conflict minerals."

More information: raisehopeforcongo.org

Military apps

Brian X. Chen, Military Could Use iPhones to Track Friends, Enemies in War, 17 Dec 09

Bobbie Johnson, The Guardian, War? There's an iPhone app for that: American military contractor shows off iPhone application intended to help soldiers track and kill insurgents on the battlefield, 17 Dec 09

Not new stories (for example, see Newsweek, Apple’s New Weapon, 18 Apr 09), but some useful updates.

Drones 'hacked'

Times Online, Islamic insurgents hack into CIA state-of-the-art Predator drones, 18 Dec 09 "The Wall Street Journal reported that the hackers were Iranian-backed Shias in Iraq, who used easily downloadable software, such as SkyGrabber, to capture the video feeds, which had not been protected by military encryption."

Commentary - 'Confronting Online Radicalization of Muslim Youth'

Shahed Amanullah, The American Muslim, Confronting Online Radicalization of Muslim Youth, 17 Dec 09 "The bad news is that after being chased out of the Muslim mainstream, those Muslims leaning towards extremism have found sanctuary on the Internet. There, militants have been able to exploit visitors’ religious illiteracy and social alienation better than their moderate brethren and recruit people to join their cause."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Karachi arrests: update

Rafia Zakaria, Dawn, Climate of suspicion, 16 Dec 09

"The most damning evidence they left behind, a farewell video using the familiar format of interspersing Quranic verses with images of atrocities being committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was what made the father of one of the five contact the authorities. One member of the group, Ahmed Minni, left laudatory comments on YouTube videos featuring jihadists. This YouTube connection has, in fact, become central to the whole investigation. Pakistani authorities have since alleged that the group was using social networking sites such as Facebook to search for jihadist contacts with groups such as Lashkar-i-Taiba and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi."

also see Washington Post, Combating homegrown terrorism, 16 Dec 09 (editorial)

Also this blog piece (drawing on/linking to other sources as well) by Mollie Ziegler, getreligion.org, The long arm of Sayyid Qutb, 16 Dec 09 "“This is indeed a wake up call,” Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, told reporters outside the mosque.

"“We are determined not to let religious extremists exploit the vulnerability of our young children through slick propaganda on the Internet,” Bray added."

Also see: Bobby Ghosh, Time.com, Most Domestic 'Jihadists' Are Educated, Well-Off, 16 Dec 09"The idea that mosques are the favored hunting ground of extremists and propagandists is a myth too. Since 9/11, law enforcement and national security agencies have maintained a close scrutiny of Muslim places of worship; equally, Muslim community leaders have grown more alert for any radical preaching. As a result, terrorist groups seeking American recruits now tend to propagandize mainly online. This also means that relatively wealthy Muslims are much more likely than poorer ones to be exposed to extremist views. "You need a computer, an Internet connection — poor Muslims don't have that kind of access," says [Scott] Stewart."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

muslimmatters.org, Interview with a “Taliban-trained” Suicide Bomber

muslimmatters.org, Interview with a “Taliban-trained” Suicide Bomber, 15 Dec 09 "Below is a chilling video of an interview with a young man, who has no qualms about killing innocent men, women and children. This is because he believes that everyone who isn’t participating in Waziristan or other “jihad” can be considered justified collateral. His “ameer” told him so."

Do see the comments from the post's writer Amad on this video, which I've also linked to below:


Jarret Brachman, The Fresh Face of American Jihobbyism: Abdullah as-Sayf Jones, 14 Dec 09 "This is Abdullah as-Sayf Jones, the newly designated emir/leader/director/head of the RevolutionMuslim.com website. With the departure of Yousef al-Khattab, the site now falls on the shoulders of this young mujahid."

Egypt and the net

Reuters, Egypt puts archives on Web to boost Arabic content, 14 Dec 09 "Egypt has begun making its national archives digitally available on the Internet in Arabic, having last month registered the world's first domain name in Arabic script."

Transliteration tools

Gaith Saqer, arabcrunch.com, Google Launches Native Windows Transliteration Application for 14 languages Including Arabic, Greek Hinidi [sic], Urdu and Farsi, 15 Dec 09 "Since Google launched Ta3reeb its online Transliteration for Arabic, which changes Latin letter into Arabic, it has been working in improving it ,as it has become more accurate and better in editing transliterated words. Google also launched an API for Ta3reeb and started integrating it with its online properties starting from Gmail, Blogger, Knol and its ejabat.google.com."

This is an interesting review. I'll to take a further look at these products in due course. It'll be useful to read further feedback on Google IME and Microsoft's Maren. I plan to test-drive them sometime, when I have a spare few days ...

Morocco: blogger arrest

meedan.net, Moroccan blogger arrested for publishing a statement on student protests, 15 Dec 09 "The Moroccan authorities have arrested blogger Al-Bashir Hezzam after he published a statement on student protests in the area of Tarjijt in southern Morocco."

Arab Bloggers Meeting

Saudi Jeans, Arab Blogger, Unite! (or don’t!), 10 Dec 09 "The first Arab Bloggers Meeting last year in Beirut was really good, and the second one which is taking place this week has been going great. Last year’s event, held in Zico House, was small and cozy, and I was afraid that since there will be much more people this time around that we would lose that coziness. Luckily, this is not the case. The atmosphere is pretty informal, and the good thing in this year’s meeting is the large number of practical workshops aiming to teach bloggers some practical skills that they can use to improve their blogging experience." Sounds interesting - I'd have liked to have attended this one.

'The Iranian Digital Empowerment Act'

National Iranian American Council, The Iranian Digital Empowerment Act, 14 Dec 09 "This bill will enable average Iranian citizens to access the most powerful tool available for promoting democracy and civil society in Iran: information. It clarifies the intent of current US sanctions not to prohibit Americans from providing certain software or related services to Iranians, enabling them to communicate freely or bypass their government's online spying and censorship efforts."

Sadequee/Ahmed case (USA)

R. Robin McDonald, Fulton County Daily Report/law.com, Federal Judge Sentences 2 Muslim Americans for Conspiring to Aid Terror Groups, 15 Dec 09, "The Internet prohibition followed testimony at the trials of Sadequee and his co-defendant, former Georgia Tech student Syed Haris Ahmed, that identified the duo's forays into Internet chat rooms where they corresponded with self-proclaimed jihadists. Both defendants argued during their trials that their Internet conversations about jihad were idle, harmless chat and that these conversations were constitutionally protected speech."

Majid Tavakoli campaign

cnn.com, New protest statement builds in Iran -- men in head scarves, 13 Dec 09 "Within hours of the Fars report on the arrest of the 22-year-old protester, men both inside and outside Iran responded using a what appears to be a new tactic for the opposition -- they began posting pictures of themselves online wearing head coverings that are mandated for women in the Islamic republic."

Pavyand Iran News, Iranian men dress as women in support of detained student activist, 12 Dec 09 "Hundreds of Iranian men published pictures of themselves wearing headscarves and chadors in support of Majid Tavakoli, the detained Amir Kabir University student who was arrested on December 8 after giving a speech during the National Students Day protests in Iran."

Here's the FARS news report which published the original Tavakoli pictures, an example of which heads this post.

The Spittoon, How the Hijab became the Symbol of Male Resistance in Iran "The ongoing, spirited anti-government protests in Iran has been fearless, witty, creative and nothing short of inspiring." (tip: Harry's Place and Times Online)

And here's an innovative video highlighting this protest:

Also see Sunday Times, Lessons in revolution, via YouTube, 14 Dec 09

iMuslims - Review in Choice

Subscribers to Choice may want to see the recent review of iMuslims in the November issue ("Recommended").

Monday, December 14, 2009

Egypt: blogger's home raided

almasryalyoum.com, Police raid home of prominent blogger, 13 Dec 09 "The family home of prominent Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas was raided and searched by plainclothes police while the activist was attending a bloggers' conference in Beirut, both Abbas and his mother said Sunday."

BTW almasryalyoum.com has undergone a neat makeover, and is now in BETA revamp mode

Sunday, December 13, 2009


AP/Miami Herald, Worried father turned in 5 Americans to Pakistani police, 12 Dec 09, "The five had an Internet-powered interest in jihad, or holy war, and had e-mail contact with a mysterious Pakistani militant, the police said. The men's planning appeared amateurish, however. Although police in Sargodha played up the Americans' alleged links to al-Qaida and suggested they were involved in a major terrorist plot, the absence of radical connections may have thwarted their purported ambitions."

Also see dallasnews.com, Pakistani officials search for Virginia men's online Taliban recruiter, 13 Dec 09 "Investigators have identified the man, known as Saifullah, as a recruiter for the Pakistani Taliban and said he contacted one of the American men on YouTube, exchanged coded e-mails with the group, invited them to Pakistan and guided them once they arrived."

Update: NPR, Pakistan Case Highlights Jihadi Efforts On Web, 11 Dec 09

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Human Rights report

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 2009 Report on Human Rights in the Arab World: Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform "Today the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its second annual report on the state of human rights in the Arab world for the year 2009. The report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, concludes that the human rights situation in the Arab region has deteriorated throughout the region over the last year." In Arabic, with an English version to follow (exec summary in Arabic and English also available). I have this on my reading list.


Khaleej Times, UAE IT Market Set for Strong Growth, 8 Dec 09 "The UAE internet penetration estimated to be at 54.3 per cent by the end of 2008, is far above the average for the Middle East and North Africa region. This highlights UAE’s position as one of the most advanced IT countries in the region. Dubai has traditionally been a re-export centre for consumer electronic items, with traders now assembling their own PCs. However the size of the domestic market is also increasing, driven by growing SME spending."

'Inside Islam' film

Union Production Foundation, Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, "Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, a new documentary film from Unity Productions Foundation, explores the expertly gathered opinions of Muslims around the globe as revealed in the world’s first major opinion poll, conducted by Gallup, the preeminent polling organization." I'd be interested to see this in due course, if it makes it to the UK.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

'Jihobbyism' (or not)

Tim Stevens, ICSR, Jihobbyism: What's In A Name? "Two well-respected and prolific watchers of the soft, jihadi underbelly of the internet are having a respectful conversation about the use of a particular term to describe those who subscribe to the e-jihad."

Kidnapping AQIM

AKI, Terrorism: Al-Qaeda tape claims kidnapping of four Europeans, 8 Dec 09 "Al-Qaeda's North African branch on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping last month of three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania and a French citizen in Mali. The Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb's spokesman Salah Abu Muhammad made the announcement in an audio tape aired by Arabic satellite TV network, Al-Jazeera."

Iran and the net

Hannah Allam, McClatchy Newspapers/kansascity.com, Iranian forces battle thousands of student protesters, 7 Dec 09 "Protests erupted on a dozen campuses and in public squares in Tehran, students and opposition groups said. Despite extraordinary measures to prevent news coverage of the events - including banning foreign journalists, locking down campuses and slowing Internet and cell-phone service - eyewitness accounts and amateur videos flooded the Web from early Monday morning."

NYT, Violent Protests in Iran Carry Into Second Day, 8 Dec 09 "The violence continued Tuesday on the campus of Tehran University, where security forces were using tear gas and arresting students, according to reports and video clips relayed through Twitter and Internet postings. There were protests at large squares near the university as well, witnesses said. Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported that the clashes began after groups of pro-government students carrying pictures of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, clashed with protesters on campus."

Monday, December 07, 2009

Review: iMuslims

Here's a recent review of iMuslims: Paul Aarts, hivos.net, Blogging Toward Utopia - Book Review "The growth of Internet usage in the Middle East and North Africa is among the world’s fastest: between 2000 and 2007 usage increased almost 500 percent, more than twice the rate of increase in the rest of the world. Just as elsewhere, this has led to Middle Eastern cyber-optimism - among the users of digital tools and Internet watchers alike. It is a widely-held hope that the coming of Web 2.0 can move closed societies toward democratic values and governance."

Jihadi 'orcs'(?)

A couple of interesting posts from Jarret Brachman that I caught up on today:

(1) Jarret Brachman, Making Jihobbyists our New Secret Weapon in Combating Jihobbyism, 5 Dec 09 "Ibn Siqilli has a great post about the jihadi fascination with Lord of the Rings in response to a spoof video that a jihobbyist recently made about me. To be clear, when I called the English-language jihobbyist community a herd of teeming “orcs,” it was really just me trying to flex my metaphorical muscle. Apparently, I stumbled on something juicy – and talk about counterintuitive."

Here's Ibn Siqilli's post: Views from the Occident, Cyber Jihadis' Lord of the Rings Obsession, 4 Dec 09 It contains a trail of film clips and images (I must admit I haven't viewed them all), which has to be read in conjunction with Jarret Brachman's post.

Research issues

Also on Jarret Brachman's blog:

(2) Doh! A “Regrettable Occurrence” Indeed "Tim Stevens makes a great catch this morning about a retraction from Weimann and Van Knop in the newest Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. Apparently, a Oct 2008 article abstract published in SCT shared passages that were “nearly identical” to language used in the blurb of a 2007 book on jihadi use of the internet by Irish researcher, Johnny Ryan."

The details of Ryan's book are here. Johnny Ryan, Countering Militant Islamist Radicalisation on the Internet, IIEA, 2007 His blog is here

Iran and the net

AP, Iran chokes off Internet on eve of student rallies, 6 Dec 09 "Government opponents shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "Death to the Dictator" from Tehran's rooftops in the pouring rain on the eve of student demonstrations planned for Monday. Authorities choked off Internet access and warned journalists working for foreign media to stick to their offices for the next three days."

Mohammed Tantawi

AP, Veil's spread fans Egypt's fear of hard-line Islam, 6 Dec 09 "The debate has grown more heated since Mohammad Tantawi, the top cleric at prestigious Al-Azhar University, banned the niqab in classrooms and dorms on the grounds that it "has nothing to do with Islam," and that it was unnecessary since the college is gender-segregated. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry and religious authorities forbade nurses and preachers to wear the niqab."

Iraq filtering?

Martin Chulov, Observer, Baghdad's night life falls foul of religious right, 6 Dec 09 "The clubs are only the most colourful victims of the conservative crackdown. Other potential sources of liberal licentiousness have been targeted. Internet cafes have been told that filters will soon start blocking some websites, especially pornographic ones, and alcohol vendors in the city's international zone were informed they will soon be out of business."

Friday, December 04, 2009

Recording the hajj

Anwar Al-Sayed, Arab News, ‘Preserving’ journey of faith for life, 4 Dec 09 "While many pilgrims were raising their hands in prayer, others were lifting cameras and mobile phones, photographing scenes from Haj. A number of pilgrims were keen to take advantage of their presence in Makkah and the holy sites to document life’s most sacred journey."

The use of cameras during the hajj raises a number of interesting religious issues, which have been addressed in various opinions over the years.

Ibrahim Suleiman al Rubaish

Long War Journal, Former Guantanamo detainee now al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula's Mufti, 4 Dec 09 "A former Guantanamo detainee has emerged as a leading ideologue and theologian for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – one of the strongest al Qaeda affiliates in the world."

IDF social media

Meedan, Israel to fight 'hostile entities' through Web 2.0

"A new unit of bloggers, techies and social media experts have been recruited to help Israel portray a positive image of the Israeli Defense forces (IDF) to international viewers, an Army spokesman said on Monday."

Net ban

Daily Star, Tories to ban Muslim Extremists' Internet Broadcasts, 3 Dec 09, "Muslim extremists will be banned from broadcasting over the internet to the UK under a Tory government.

"Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said Britain had been “far too willing to tolerate extreme public protests”."

Doesn't explain how they plan to do this.

'Islam and the Internet' commentary

Sumayyah Meehan, InFocus News, Islam and the Internet "The Internet is the most successful modern-day da’wah tool in the history of Islam. Authentic Islamic information is available with just a few strokes of the keyboard. Translations of the Holy Qur’an are available for download on Islamic Web sites in just about every language known to man." Overview

Iran and the net

World Market Media, Iranian Oppression Spreads Farther Than its Borders, 3 Dec 09 "In an effort to suppress descent among its people, the Iranian government is beginning to threaten nationals living outside the country for criticism its regime over the Internet. A majority of the harassment has been through the tracking of individuals YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts."

'Muslim Punk Rock'

Carla Power, Time, Muslim Punk Rock: A Mashup of Piety and Politics, 3 Dec 09 "Whether they're the voices of Muslim feminists going back to read the Koran and the Hadith as documents of liberation, gay Muslims working out a theology that embraces homosexuality or even the millions of Muslim youths trusting Islamic chat rooms — which one British Muslim leader has dismissed as "Sheik Google" — over the local imam, they, like Muslim punks, are expressing a growing dissent with the Islamic world's mainstream theologians."

Muslim Brotherhood 'split'

Roula Khalaf and Heba Saleh, ft.com, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood split, 3 Dec 09

"For the first time in the Brotherhood’s largely secretive history, the internal divisions are out in the open, reflected in newspapers and internet sites."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Germany: Jihadis

Peter Neumann, ICSA, Jihadism in Germany: An Update, 1 Dec 09 tip: Jihadica

op-ed on scholars

Opinion piece: Jerome Taylor, Independent, Can a Muslim say happy Christmas to his friends?, 26 Nov 09, "While the real world provides a vast array of interpretations from a variety of Islamic schools, more often than not it is the intolerant strands of Islam taught by Saudi Arabia's fundamentalist Wahabi scholars that dominate online. Backed by billions of petrodollars and an army of tech-savvy graduates who are more than capable of capturing the YouTube generation's imagination, the internet has long been a stronghold for the most intolerant forms of Islam." Discuss ...

Financial meltdown Dubai - blogger reaction

meedan.com/huffingtonpost.com, Arabs lament Dubai woes as UAE stock markets slump in debt crash, 1 Dec 09 includes blogger reaction: "Also in Al-Hayat, Daoud Al-Shariyan called for greater transparency in Dubai to calm nerves and reassure investors.

He said: "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, should have expected this media coverage of his country when he spoke in front of the second conference of investment companies and international investors in Dubai, being careful to clarify two points which Dubai has suffered from since the beginning of the global economic crisis.

""The first is that Dubai is not alone, and its success is an extension of the success of Abu Dhabi.

""The second: the recognition that silence has created an information vacuum that has allowed rumors to spread; he called for this to be avoided in the future.""

Al-Azhar 'The Response'

Euro-Islam, "The Response”

This is a very useful pointer to fixyourdeen.com, available in Arabic, English and Urdu as pdf files. Dr. Richard Gauvain (one of the translators) notes: "This book is the result of a lengthy collaboration between scholars of Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar University and Islamic Hotline or El-Hatef El-Islami organization. Put simply, far too simply, its aim is to contest the growing number of intolerant and/or simply mistaken legal opinions that often go unchallenged in Muslim communities today. Deeply rooted in the legal tradition of ikhtilaf writings, yet utilizing modern means of communication, The Response applies the wisdom of the classical jurists to the complex realities of the contemporary Muslim world."

I haven't read the document yet ...

'Metro' comic book 'censored'

she2i2, Egyptian court upholds comic book ban, fines creator & publisher, 1 Dec 09 "Metro's creator, Magdy el-Shafei, told Al-Masry Al-Youm EE "this verdict is disappointing, but I was expecting to be disappointed. Nonetheless, I am pleased with the solidarity that we have received from human rights organizations, civil society associations, independent journalists and bloggers. This sort of solidarity gives me hope.""

More on el-Shafei here; haven't seen any of the comic books yet

Soccer row (the Egypt v Algeria one)

Views from the Occident, Egypt vs. Algeria, The Soccer Row: An Artistic Response by Jihadis, 29 Nov 09 "While doing my daily trolling of jihadi-Salafi web sites for my current research project on the visual media produced by Muslim political (Islamist) groups, both jihadi and non-jihadi, I found an interesting graphic:…

" ... The animated graphic's text begins with the statement, "We are all Muslims," and then procedes to call for Algerians and Egyptians to support the "banner of truth" and the "victory of truth" over false "idols," such as nationalism. "Truth" in these statements refers to the interpretation of religion and politics as seen by jihadi-Salafi groups. This call is illustrated by showing "paths" from both the Algerian and Egyptian flags leading to the black flag emblazoned with the shahada, the Muslim testament of faith, used (in several variations) by jihadi-Salafis across the glove."


Gaith Saqer, Arabcrunch, Kzalek, The First Arabic Twitter Desktop Client Out of Private Beta, 1 Dec 09

Google in Saudi Arabia and Egypt

Gaith Saqer, Arabcrunch, Google Launches City Level Ad Targeting In Saudi Arabia and Egypt, 27 Nov 09 "Google announced yesterday that it has added a new feature to its contextual online advertising platform Adwords, for advertisers targeting Egypt and Saudi Arabia."


David Keyes, WSJ.com, Ahmadinejad, the Blogger, 30 Nov 09 "It's hard to believe in light of this Internet repression, but Iran's president is himself a blogger. "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Personal Memos" is the place where he goes to vent and stay in touch with the common folk. He says he allots himself 15 minutes a week to write on his blog, but admits that at times he exceeds this limit." I wrote about this in iMuslims

KSA floods

BBC News, Saudi Arabia orders inquiry into flash flood deaths, 1 Dec 09 "There has been unprecedented criticism of the government on internet forums and on the social networking site Facebook in the aftermath of the floods. Some accused officials of negligence and a slow response when Jeddah's infrastructure was overwhelmed."

World Aids Day

BBC News, Imam aims to break Aids taboo, 1 Dec 09 'Mohamed Bashir has agreed to train other imams on how to tackle the taboo.

"He accepts that in the face of HIV, condoms may be the lesser of two evils, but says communicating that to a congregation is a sensitive issue."


BBC News, Kenyan mosque jams mobile calls, 17 Jul 09 "A device which blocks mobile phone signals has answered the prayers of some Kenyan Muslims.

"Imams in Kenya have long complained that mobile phones constantly rang during prayers, disrupting services.

"Imam Hassan Kithiye says he bought the machine in Dubai and it has been well received by his congregation."

Monday, November 30, 2009

apps and maps: Gowalla - KSA

Khaled A., Khaled Rambles, Add points of interest to the Saudi map using Gowalla, 28 Nov 09 "So I highly recommend using Gowalla to add points of interests in the Saudi map. It’s available as an iPhone app and you can read more about it at TechCrunch. A group of iPhone users in Saudi Arabia are already using Gowalla and we are slowly populating it with actual data!"


Jarret Brachman, “Jihobbyism” Goes Viral: NY Times Blog and Dallas Morning News, 25 Nov 09

al-Latefa Channel

Lara Jakes, AP, Mysterious 'Saddam Channel' hits Iraq TV, 29 Nov 09 "No one seems to know who is bankrolling the so-called Saddam Channel, although the Iraqi government suspects it's Baathists whose political party Saddam once led. The Associated Press tracked down a man in Damascus, Syria named Mohammed Jarboua, who claimed to be its chairman."

Fort Hood Updates

Op-ed: The New American, Radical Imam's Website Encouraged the Killing of American Soldiers, 30 Nov 09 "The sum of al-Awlaki’s internet evangelism and his unquestionable dedication to the cause of radical Islam and the deadly methods employed to promote it is a frightening figure that should have set off a deafening din of alarm bells throughout the American intelligence community that had already classified al-Awlaki as “an example of al-Qaeda’s reach” into America. Those bells never sounded, however, or if they did, they were never heeded by those whose timely response perhaps could have prevented the murders committed by al-Awlaki acolyte, Major Nidal Hasan, on November 5.'

Switzerland: Minaret ban

ansamed, Switzerland: Minaret ban, anger and surprise on Islamic blogs, 30 Nov 09 "The call to prayer from minarets rung out yesterday across the entire Islamic world, involved in the last hours of the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid Al-Adha) and the height of the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Mecca, while surprise and in some cases anger spread among Muslim TV commentators and internet users when pan-Arab media announced to the Islamic world the news that the Swiss referendum for a ban on minarets had received support from almost 60% of voters."

Facebook KSA

Telegraph, Saudis protest on Facebook over government handling of floods, 29 Nov 09

"Thousands of people have begun an internet-based protest movement in Saudi Arabia after the deaths of more than 100 people in flooding."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Eid al-Adha pictures

BBC News, In pictures: Eid al-Adha, 27 Nov 09

Eid al-Adha

Oralandar Brand-Williams, The Detroit News, Best Buy creates Internet buzz with Black Friday ad marking Muslim holiday, 24 Nov 09 "Electronics retailer Best Buy's Black Friday ads acknowledging the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha are stirring controversy on some Internet blogs today.

"The ads, promoting the retail giant's holiday sales, contain a greeting for the Muslim holiday that reads "Happy Eid al-Adha." The ad is drawing criticism on the Internet. The Muslim holiday will be observed Friday and marks the end of the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca."

See comment from Hesham Hassaballa: Best Buy brouhaha highlighted ignorance, 26 Nov 09 "I could not believe my eyes when I saw it: Best Buy had printed in its weekly ad "Happy Eid Al Adha." My heart was so very warmed, and it made me so very happy that Best Buy acknowledged the upcoming Muslim holiday. (And, it made me determined to make my next purchase there...) Of course, there were scattered angry online protests, with one person commenting that Eid Al Adha is a "Muslim goat throat slitting festivity." This statement exposes the enormous ignorance about this major Muslim holiday."

Hajj > Eid al-Adha

Very interesting article: Lisa Siregar and Tasa Nugraza Barley, Jakarta Globe, Indonesian Muslims Surf Internet for a Sacrifice, 25 Nov 09

"Muslims no longer have to purchase sacrificial goats and cattle for Idul Adha in person, but can arrange for them to be delivered to their home or slaughtered in their name via the Internet ..."

" ... Three sociologists from the University of Indonesia declined to comment about the practice of arranging sacrifices online, because it is considered a sensitive issue. However, Masdar F Mas’udi, the deputy chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, said buying sacrificial livestock on the Internet should not be controversial.

"“Life is changing. If it is possible to buy sacrifices indirectly with credible information, it is not a problem,” he said."

The article gives links to Indonesian websites offering this service.

It's a practice that has been ongoing online for several years, which I've looked at in my research. See qurbanionline.com and myqurbani.com for other examples (numerous products are available, listing does not imply recommendation, etc.)

'Virtual Hajj'

France24, 'Virtual Haj' allows Internet users to make 'pilgrimage', 25 Nov 09 "This year’s Haj commenced on Wednesday, attracting 2.5 million worshippers to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. For those who can’t make the trip, however, the “Virtual Haj” – found on the Islam Online site - allows Internet users a way to pay virtual homage to the fifth pillar of Islam."

Details at Hajj Blog, Islam Online, perform Hajj on Second Life, 9 Nov 09

If you're not on SL, then take a look at this (made in '08) "This is for an ethnography class for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is a synopsis of IslamOnline.net's virtual Hajj on Second Life." While the clip is useful, please be advised that this has a music soundtrack attached, so you may want to hit 'mute' on your computer!. It may be more atmospheric...:

Mullah Omar message

Times Online, Taleban leader Mullah Omar gets on message with speech aimed at West, 26 Nov 09 "The message is a fascinating demonstration of how an austere and vindictive group of extremists has adopted the PR techniques of its Western foes.

"Many experts say the tactics show the influence of al-Qaeda in the use of technology, and an awareness that the militants must fight their own hearts and minds campaign."

The statement is widely available online.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ansar al-Mujahideen on Fort Hood

Views from the Occident (Twitter Specials), Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forums' Statement on Fort Hood Attack, 24 Nov 09

Iraqigov on YouTube

"The Iraq government has followed in the footsteps of the Queen and the Pope and set up its own YouTube channel."BBC News, Iraq government launches its own channel on YouTube, 24 Nov 09

And here it is: YouTube - Iraqigov's Channel

Iraq museum online

Guardian, Google puts Iraq museum collection online, 24 Nov 09

"CEO Eric Schmidt announced that the search engine will feature 14,000 pictures of the museum's artefacts."

Ongoing trial

Derby Telegraph, Muslim said he felt deaths of US soldiers were a 'gift', 25 Nov 09 "A DERBY Muslim arrested for terrorism offences told people he met online that "when American soldiers die it is like the whole world has given me a gift" ...

" ... As well as the videos, police searching Lusha's Moore Street home found many documents downloaded from the internet, including a Hezbollah military instruction manual, Middle Eastern terrorist bomb design, improvised radio detonation techniques and a Mujahideen explosives handbook."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'Palestine Street' on al-Jazeera

Tip: Sabbah Report. The programme escaped my attention first time around, so this is a useful pointer.

Harakat al-Shabab

Views from the Occident, Bridging the Gap: Somalia's Harakat al-Shabab Cleverly publicizes its public sector social service work, 22 Nov 09 "The Somali insurgent-jihadi group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen ["Movement of the Warrior-Youth"] is publicizing its public sector social service work, such as distributing materials and monetary aid to those in need and building bridges, literally."


Herve Bar, Ex-Somali fighters tell why they abandoned jihad, 24 Nov 09 "The gunfire outside does not disturb them as they speak, explaining what led them to leave behind their lives as Islamist fighters and defect to the side of Somalia's weak transitional government." There is a net link in this interesting story.

al-Oudah on Fort Hood

wired.com, Danger Room, Bin Laden’s Spiritual Mentor Condemns Ft. Hood Attacks, 16 Nov 09

"Salman Al-Awdah, a Saudi cleric who played an influential role in Bin Laden’s early radicalism, made the statement during an appearance on his “Life is a Word” show on MBC, a Saudi-owned news and entertainment satellite TV channel, later posting his remarks on his website, Islam Today."

Fort Hood Updates

MEMRI, Popular Jihadist Forum: We Hope Other Muslims in the U.S. Army Will Take Nidal Hasan as a Role Model, Nov 24, 2009 Analysis "The Ansar Al-Mujahideen jihadist forum issued a communiqué on November 24, 2009 in praise of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. The communiqué aimed in particular to defend Hasan's actions against the condemnations that have been voiced by Muslim associations in the U.S."


Scotsman, Photoblog: Pilgrims look down on the lights of Mecca, 24 Nov 09

Adel Zaanoun, AFP, Muslim pilgrims converge in Saudi city for hajj, 24 Nov 09 "An estimated 2.5 million Muslims have converged on Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage, as workers toil round the clock to complete construction projects designed to avoid deadly stampedes."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Research on the internet in Palestine

Oded Yaron, Ha'aretz, Palestinian internet users stuck between Fatah, Hamas and Israel
23 Nov 09
"Israel has a hand in these problem, Ben-David argues. Israel prevents equipment meant for bettering the internet industry from entering the Palestinian Authority - equipment such as servers and routers. Moreover, Israel is delaying giving a permit to Wataniya, a second cell phone and internet provider in the West Bank, which bolsters the existing company PalTel's monopoly. Ben-David says that "according to the Oslo accords, PalTel is required to pass the communication lines outside the West Bank and through Israel."

The report's available for download at Global Information Society Watch 2009 Report. I haven't read this one yet...


middle-east-online.com, Muslim faithful descend on Mecca, 23 Nov 09 "Braving the swine flu pandemic and tensions between the Saudi hosts and Shiite Iran, more than 2.5 million Muslim faithful are descending on the holy cities of Mecca and Medina this week for the hajj." Live coverage will be available via Saudi1TV (and elsewhere), streaming across the net.


middle-east-online.com, Syria’s gays, lesbians fight discrimination, 22 Nov 09 "Online, Syrian homosexuals can find several dating and chatting websites where they can exchange photos and telephone numbers and sometimes fix dates to meet."

aQ English sites

AP, 200 Web sites spread al-Qaida's message in English, 20 Nov 09 [not exactly a headline ...] "Increasing numbers of English-language Web sites are spreading al-Qaida's message to Muslims in the West. They translate writings and sermons once largely out of reach of English readers and often feature charismatic clerics like Anwar al-Awlaki, who exchanged dozens of e-mails with the Army psychiatrist accused of the Fort Hood shootings."


BBC News, Arabic web domain: Your emails, 16 Nov 09

Egypt says it will apply for the first Internet domain written in Arabic. The new domain name will be .masr written in the Arabic alphabet - which translates as .egypt. Here is a selection of emails on the subject from BBC readers in Egypt."

Fort Hood Updates

Armstrong Williams,thecuttingedgenews.com, Death by Political Correctness, 23 Nov 09, op-ed: "Approximately six months ago, the FBI reviewed internet postings by Hasan, which described suicide bombings as heroic sacrifices in defense of Islam: "If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory," wrote Hasan. The FBI never opened a full investigation. Do terrorists now have to hand out business cards proclaiming themselves "Terrorists" before the FBI takes action? This thought may have actually occurred to Hasan, who printed up business cards identifying him as "SOA"—a jihadi acronym for "Soldier of Allah." Still, no one did anything."

Iran and the net

AFP, Iran police arrest 12 couples for partner swapping, 23 Nov 09 "Iran's moral police have arrested a dozen couples for engaging in illicit sexual acts, including swapping of partners, the conservative Jomhuri Eslami reported on Monday.

"The report said the couples and another individual were running a website, Iran Multiplication, which was aimed at promoting illicit sexual relations."

.il unblocked in UAE(?)

Opennet Initiative, UAE unblocks access to top Israeli domain ".il", 22 Nov 09 "ONI noticed earlier this month that .il Web sites have been accessible from the UAE, and has since been testing for filtering of tens of .il Web sites from different categories including government, politics, religion, and entertainment. All sites have been found consistently accessible via the country's two ISPs, Etisalat and du."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Napoleon TV going live

I previously blogged on this back on 4 Nov. [see al-Arabiya article here] It's coming to Sky in the UK on 1 Dec.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oman ROP VoiP raid

Rahima Al Balushi, Times of Oman, 212 held for providing VoiP, 16 Nov 09, "The Royal Oman Police (ROP) raided 121 cyber cafes throughout the country and arrested 212 people for providing illegal Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoiP) service, a senior police officer said here yesterday." tip Neteffect

'The Ideological Hybridization of Jihadi Groups'

Thomas Hegghammer, currenttrends.org/Hudson Institute, The Ideological Hybridization of Jihadi Groups, Nov 18, 2009 "A second possible explanation is that hybridization is the result of changes in the media and communications environment of jihadist groups. The Internet revolution in the 2000s has, of course, greatly facilitated the production and distribution of jihadi propaganda, and this has made it easier for groups to borrow talking points and operational ideas from each other." tip Jarret Brachman

UAE iTunes?

The National, iTunes may be on way to UAE, 19 Nov 09 "The UAE is in talks with Apple, Amazon and Sony to allow residents to download music, books and films."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Islam, Evolution & Creationism on the net

Times Online, Muslim academics and students are turning against Darwin's theory, 17 Nov 09 "Evolution did not contradict Islamic beliefs, Dr Guessoum said, unless a literal reading of the texts were adopted. “Many Muslim scholars, from the golden age of Islam to today, adopted an evolutionary world view,” he said.

"Addressing the conference in Alexandria, organised for the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, he said that concerns among Muslims about evolution were being fuelled by Christian creationists. People in Muslim countries would find creationist theses on the internet and, not realising that these were on the fringes of scientific debate, assume that creationism had scientific credibility in the West."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nidal Hasan Powerpoint

Washington Post, Hasan on Islam "Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, the Army psychiatrist believed to have killed 13 people at Fort Hood, was supposed to discuss a medical topic during a presentation to senior Army doctors in June 2007. Instead, he lectured on Islam, suicide bombers and threats the military could encounter from Muslims conflicted about fighting wars in Muslim countries."

Monday, November 16, 2009


BBC News, Arabic web domain: Your emails, 16 Nov 09

Egypt says it will apply for the first Internet domain written in Arabic. The new domain name will be .masr written in the Arabic alphabet - which translates as .egypt. Here is a selection of emails on the subject from BBC readers in Egypt."

Fatwas from prisons

David Leppard, Times Online, Terrorists smuggle fatwas out of secure prisons, 15 Nov 09 "Some of Britain’s most dangerous Al-Qaeda leaders are promoting jihad from inside high-security prisons by smuggling out propaganda for the internet and finding recruits."

The report is published by the Quilliam Foundation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Iran and the net

AFP, Iran creates Internet crime unit, 13 Nov 09 "The Iranian police have created a special unit to monitor Internet crime, particularly political offences, a senior police officer was quoted by the ILNA news agency as saying on Friday."

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Nadeem F. Paracha,Dawn, A nation of sleepwalkers, 12 Nov 09 "Recently, we also heard about a hijab-clad female student at the prestigious and ‘liberal’ Lahore University of Management Sciences, who bagged her 15 minutes of fame by capturing images through her mobile phone of students indulging in ‘immoral activities’ on campus. Of course, the same lady’s ‘concern’ and righteousness ends at becoming a self-appointed paparazzi for the reactionaries, whereas it was young women (in hijabs) and men with beards who died so senselessly at the Islamabad Islamic University campus.

"Pathetic, indeed."

Opinion piece on Dawn's blog

Social Networking and the New Workplace

Philip M. Berkowitz, Social Networking and the New Workplace, New York Law Journal, November 12, 2009

"Taking action against an employee because their Facebook page or Twitter posts suggest they have emotional difficulties or mental health problems may itself be a violation of anti-discrimination laws. If a Web site reveals that an employee is a believer in Islamic fundamentalism, this is not by itself information that can justify an employer's adverse action."


kansascity.com, Muslim Mafia' author ordered to remove documents from Web, 9 Nov 09 "A federal judge has taken the rare step of ordering self-described anti-terrorism investigator Paul David Gaubatz to remove from his Web site some of the 12,000 documents that his son allegedly stole from the Council on American-Islamic Relations."


arabcrunch.com, After Getting Funded, ArabCrunch Launches First Online Social Platform in the Arab World focused on Startups & The Technology Industry, 10 Nov 09 See Arabcrunch.net


AP, Azerbaijan opposition bloggers sentenced to jail, 11 Nov 09 "A court in Azerbaijan sentenced two bloggers to prison Wednesday for a fight in a restaurant, but the defendants say the charges were a pretext to punish them for political dissent."

Social networking and Facebook

Saudi Jeans, Facebook Friends and Colorful Circles, 10 Nov 09 points to andfaraway.net, 25 Years of Facebook Friends "How do your real-life networks reflect on your digital networks? In my 25 years of acquaintance accumulation, I have hopped from circle to circle."


thestar.com, Fowler's captors steered by Internet: Even in middle of desert, hi-tech Al Qaeda relied on web, ex-hostage says, 12 Nov 09, "The Al Qaeda captors of Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler held him in the desert of northern Mali for 130 days, starting last December. But despite their archaic views and lifestyle, he says, they are sophisticated readers of the political barometer thousands of kilometres away.

""They live in the 7th century but they're technologically savvy," Fowler told the Star. "They were following the Internet, and one even showed me a cellphone picture of me at the UN that I'd never seen before.""

Neda Agha Soltan update

Times Online, 'Angel of Freedom' Neda Agha Soltan Oxford scholarship will be her most important legacy, 12 Nov 09 "Four months on, Neda has become a defining symbol of the protest movement in Iran. So the decision by Queen’s College, Oxford, to establish a scholarship in her name is more than commendable. The “Neda Agha-Soltan Graduate Scholarship” for philosophy students of Iranian descent could prove to be a galvanising tool for the protesters – especially in their fight to counter academic censorship in Iran. As a British-Iranian student myself, Oxford’s move is as striking as it is heartening."


BBC News, Wrecks tell tale of growing violence, 12 Nov 09, "The bombers were Islamist radicals. In a chilling video posted on the internet, a Russian-born Muslim convert called Said Buryatsky makes it clear the bomb was intended to kill as many people as possible."

Anwar al-Awlaki

Times Online, SNP candidate praised radical Muslim as ‘preacher of peace’, 12 Nov 09, "Mr Awlaki, 38, who on his blog described Major Hasan as “a hero”, has been a regular visitor to Britain and delivers frequent lectures to audiences here by video or via the internet.

"Counter-terrorism sources said last night that Mr Awlaki was barred from entering Britain on security grounds, while the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation said that he was “perhaps the most influential pro-jihadist ideologue preaching in English today”."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fort Hood Updates

Washington Post, Authorities scrutinize links between Fort Hood suspect, imam said to back al-Qaeda, 9 Nov 09 "Federal investigators are examining possible links between Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal M. Hasan and an American-born imam who U.S. authorities say has become a supporter and leading promoter of al-Qaeda since leaving a Northern Virginia mosque, officials said. "

Monday, November 09, 2009

al-Watan Hacked

alarabiya.net, Saudi newspaper al-Watan website hacked, 7 Nov 09 "The website of the Saudi based newspaper al-Watan was hacked early Saturday by suspected supporters of a leading cleric who was recently sacked from the kingdom’s Council of Senior Clerics board.

"After the newspaper’s website was compromised, the hackers placed a picture of Sheikh Saad bin Nasser al-Shithri on its front page along with a statement denouncing the defamation of Muslim scholars."

Saudi Arabia and Facebook

alarabiya.net, Saudi religious police launch Facebook group "A group of Saudi's launched a group on a popular social networking website called The Facebook Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and have so far to attracted more than 500 members.

"The group, named after the kingdom's Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice also known as the religious police, aims to introduce people to the religious police, the London-based al-Hayat reported Friday."

Malaysia IT

star-techcentral.com, Choose local IT solutions, govt agencies told "All government agencies will soon be required to use local software and solutions whenever possible.

"The move is to give Malaysian ICT (information and communications technology) companies a chance to flourish in the local market and strengthen their products before pushing into global markets."

Also see star-techcentral.com, Three new MSC Malaysia cybercentres to be developed "Three new locations in the Klang Valley will be developed into MSC Malaysia cybercentres — the Persoft Tower in Petaling Jaya, as well as GTower and Bangsar South City in Kuala Lumpur.

"Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, chief executive officer of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), said the new locations are to provide more variety and choice to companies and organisations looking to be part of the MSC Malaysia initiative.

Najibullah Zazi

The Sun, Brit spies foil 9/11 New York raid No2, 9 Nov 09 "Thousands of New Yorkers could have been at risk from a US subway blitz. Zazi, of Denver, Colorado, is alleged to have been given instructions through the internet by a senior al-Qaeda figure in Pakistan.

"But the Yard's counter-terrorism branch was monitoring an email address uncovered in April's abortive Operation Pathway probe into an alleged UK terror cell."

Fatma Riahi

aljazeera.net, Tunisian blogger detained, 7 Nov 09 "A Tunisian blogger and drama teacher, Fatma Riahi, known online as Arabicca, has been arrested by the country's police, Al Jazeera has learned."

The photo above comes from Facebook, Free Arabicca

Also picked up by LA Times, TUNISIA: Online activists rally to free fellow blogger Fatma Riahi [Updated], 7 Nov "Fatma Riahi was released Saturday morning, according to a statement posted on the Facebook page and blog devoted to her release.

"The statement said Riahi was in good health but was still in danger of being re-arrested."


Ahmed Naish, minivannews.com, Maldivian featured in al-Qaeda video, 8 Nov 2009 "A video clip of a Maldivian man, who went to Pakistan for Jihad and was reportedly killed in a suicide attack in Lahore, has surfaced on the internet.

"In the clip, Ali Jaleel (Mus’ab Sayyid), 30, from H. Moscowge in the capital Male’ says he wants to wage Jihad and die a martyr.

"“I want my blood to be the bit of carpet which the Mujahideen are taking from their blood. The red carpet which would take the Ummah to its glory...So I want to be among that caravan so that I can be a brick upon which Islam will stand,”"

Commentary on Islam Q&A - Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid

Tarek Fatah, National Post, Spreading intolerance, one fatwa at a time, 9 Nov 09 "Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid is a well-known Saudi cleric who has a large following in Canada and the West. Like other so-called Islamic scholars, he maintains an active presence on the Internet, which he uses as a platform to tell young Muslim men and women how to lead proper Islamic lives. His Saudi-based Islamic web portal, Islam Q& A, caters to Muslim youth not just in English, but Mandarin, Cantonese, Turkish, Urdu, French, Spanish, Russian, Uyghur and of course Arabic."

Refers to the Islam Q&A site, which I have discussed in iMuslims and other work.

Fort Hood Shooting - Nidal Malik Hasan

Observer, Fort Hood massacre investigators focus on suspect's internet activity: Computers belonging to army major examined as chief of staff warns against anti‑Muslim backlash, 8 Nov 09 "Detectives from the FBI and the US military's internal police force have taken away for forensic examination the computer used by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who is now in a coma having been shot in the gun rampage on Thursday. They have also seized a computer that he often used in a neighbour's house.

"They hope that by tracing Hasan's internet activities, including postings and conversations that may have been erased before the killing spree, they can gain some insight into his actions."

Also see Naveed Ali Shah, washingtonpost.com, In Iraq, the Ft. Hood attack hit home, 8 Nov 09 interesting article: Naveed Ali Shah also has a blog: aCitizenSoldier

TechCrunch, NSFW: After Fort Hood, another example of how ‘citizen journalists’ can’t handle the truth, 7 Nov 09 op-ed

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fort Hood Shooting - Nidal Malik Hasan

Guardian, Fort Hood gunman shouted 'Allahu Akbar' as he opened fire, 6 No v09

"Family and fellow officers said Hasan had complained of harassment by other troops about his Middle Eastern ethnicity and Muslim faith.

"The FBI was last night going through Hasan's phone and computer records to see if a motive could be identified. Agents were checking back on website postings by a man who identified himself as Nidal Hasan that appeared sympathetic to suicide bombings."

Times Online, Web post by Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Malik Hasan could shed light on motives, 6 Nov 09, "Investigators trying to understand why a US army psychiatrist launched into a shooting spree on a military base in Texas will be poring over an internet posting he is thought to have made comparing the sacrifice of Islamist suicide bombers and American military heroes."

Obviously, this event has been picked up by various jihadi oriented sites, which I'm looking at at present.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Ghaith, arabcrunch.com Yahoo!Maktoob’s Launches Workplace and University Friend Finder Alert for its Arabic Social Network “As7ab”, 4 Nov 09 "As7ab which means Friends in Arabic is one of first Arabic social networks owned now by Yahoo! Maktoob, the social network was launched around 2 years ago by Maktoob, since then it has been adding features gradually."

See As7ab for more

Napoleon TV

Mona Moussly, alarabiya.net, Mutah Beale launches TV show to present "true Islam": US rapper to expose "media lies" about Islam, 04 November 2009

"Islam is backward, breeds terrorists and suppresses women, are just some of the lies the media promotes about Islam, says American rapper and convert to Islam Mutah Beale, who is set to launch a TV show next month to counter the negative stereotypes about Muslims.

"Beale, who shot to fame as a member of the "Outlawz" formed by hip hop legend Tupac Shakur, is set to launch Napoleon TV on Dec. 1 to introduce people to the "true" Islam and counter what he terms "media lies about Islam." "

Iran protests: update

# Ian Black and Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian, Iran protesters hijack 30th anniversary of US embassy seizure: Pro-Mousavi demonstrators are met with militia violence after taking to the streets against Ahmadinejad regime, 4 Nov 09 "Video footage on the internet showed supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who claims he won the presidential race, stamping on images of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, and denouncing him as a "murderer". Others criticised the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Many wore wearing green scarves, ribbons or wristbands."

YouTube, Iran Tehran 4 Nov 09 Shariati St Seyed Khandan Protest P37

Also see Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press, Rival marches in Iran mark U.S. hostage anniversary: Opponents defied threats to protest as supporters praised the 1979 revolution, 4 Nov 09

Jillian York, ONI, Is Iran Cracking Down On the Internet Again?, 4 Nov 09

Egypt cellphones

Joseph Mayton, bikyamasr.com, Egypt: Is the government getting your personal information?, 30 Oct 09 "When Rashad Mahmood’s mobile phone stopped working earlier this month, it came as a surprise. But when a text message was sent asking him to update his personal information with Vodofone Egypt, he was confused. The staff writer for Business Monthly – a publication run through the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt – didn’t know what was going on."


AFP, Qaeda blasts Saudi king over mixed university: SITE, 5 Nov 09 "Ibrahim al-Rubaish, a Saudi member of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said in an audio message posted on the internet that the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, where post-graduate science students and researchers will work together, violated Islamic shariah law."

Qur'an resources

baltimoresun.com, Walters Art Museum puts Islamic texts online for all; Digitization revolutionizes scholarship, experts say

"In a quiet, windowless room deep inside the Walters Art Museum, a digitization specialist places a 900-year-old Quran into the cradle of the Stokes Imaging System.

"She turns a page, lowers a wedge to hold the book in place, and snaps a picture."

I'm looking for a direct link to this, and will update when I receive info. The Walters Art Museum's general page is here

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bismillah Raven

Just saw this, when looking for something else ....

Sourced from Islamicate, Bismillah Raven

Commentary: al-Qaradawi and 'Fiqh al-Jihad'

Nelly Lahoud, Qaradawi on Jihad this is the first of a three parter available on jihadica.com "Youssef al-Qaradawi’s recent book Fiqh al-Jihad (Jurisprudential Reasoning and Jihad), excerpts of which are available here, has received considerable attention in the Arabic press and for good reason. Al-Qaradawi commands significant influence among Sunni Muslims in the Arab world and beyond, not least because he reaches a wider audience through his television shows on al-Jazeera (”Huda al-Islam” and “al-Shari‘a wa-al-Hayat”) and his two websites, one dedicated to his work, the other, Islamonline, designed to serve as a news service about the Muslim world, a religious guide to Muslims and a window to the Islamic faith and civilization to non-Muslims."

I haven't read this closely yet, but it looks useful. The article links through to the other two sections.

Commentary on aQ

Leah Farrall, All Things Counter Terrorism, Al Qaeda’s As Sahaab brand value slipping? is commented on at Internet Hagahan, Whither the as-Sahab brand? [thread picked up at jihadica.com]

Saudi Arabia

Yves Gonzalez-Quijano, saudiwave.com, Sex and the Arab City : les vents du changement soufflent dans le monde arabe, 2 Nov 09, "A voir le nombre de commentaires qu’elle a suscités sur le Net, la vie sexuelle des Arabes, en particulier en Arabie saoudite, est un sujet qui passionne ! Rappel pour ceux qui n’ont pas suivi cette affaire: en juillet dernier, un Saoudien a eu la malheureuse idée de faire état de ses aventures galantes dans le cadre de « Ligne rouge » (الخط الأحمر), une émission tapageuse – et à succès – de la chaîne libanaise LBC (contrôlée par le milliardaire saoudien Al-Waleed Ibn Talal)."

Malaysians go shopping online

Star, Malaysians still big on online shopping, 3 Nov 09, "Despite the weakened economy, Malaysians are entering into the festive spirit, with 6 in 10 shoppers expected to spend more or the same amount during the upcoming holiday season, as compared to last year."

Phone code in Egypt

BBC News, Egypt seeks ethical mobile users, 29 Oct 09 "A code of ethics for the use of mobile phones has been launched by Egypt's official telecoms regulatory body.

"The 16-point guide includes advice about when to switch phones off and warns against annoying others with ringtones and loud conversations."

No specific references to religion in this guide.

'Love Jihad' update

hindustantimes.com, 'Love Jihad' a mis-information campaign, say Muslim outfits, 2 Nov 09, "Muslim outfits in Kerala today said the 'Love Jihad', where girls from other religious background are allegedly lured to marriage and converted to Islam, is a "malicious-and mis-information campaign" by Sangh Parivar outfits."

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

The Australian, ASIO busy fending hostile cyber probes, 28 Oct 09

"A sharp increase in cyber attacks including internet probes by "hostile foreign intelligence services" marked the busiest year since 2005 for the country's peak security service, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

"ASIO's annual report to federal parliament released yesterday, cited "new layers of complexity" to the standard fare of terrorism threats, espionage and foreign interference.

"The most serious national security challenge in 2008-09 was the thwarting by ASIO of an alleged plan by Melbourne-based Islamic extremists for an armed suicide assault on an Australian Defence Force facility, the report said."

'Ibn Sina' the Robot

AFP/asiaone.com, Robots primed for 'are you being served' role in Arabic, 3 Nov 09 "A laboratory in the UAE has built what it says is the world's first Arabic-speaking robot which could soon go into mass production to serve as staff in shopping malls.

"Ibn Sina, named after the 11th century Islamic philosopher and scientist commonly known in English as Avicenna, was designed by a team at UAE University in the city of Al-Ain, which is part of Abu Dhabi emirate.

""It is the world's first Arabic-speaking conversational humanoid robot," Nikolaos Mavridis, assistant professor of computer science at the university who led the team, told AFP in an interview."

Sada al-Malahem

Al Qaeda calls for home-made bomb attacks in West, 2 Nov 09 "Abu Basir Nasser al-Wahayshi, in an article in the e-magazine Sada al-Malahem, also urged militants to assault secular media figures and columnists who promote the policies of rulers in the world's top oil exporting region.

""You do not need to exert great effort or spend a lot of money to make 10 grams of explosives, more or less. Do not spend a long time searching for materials as they already exist in your mother's kitchen," Wahayshi wrote in the article, posted on an Islamist website on Sunday."

Also see jihadica.com, Magazines and Waq al-Waq.