Friday, January 30, 2009

Islamic Buildings in 3-D

Following on from the posting earlier this week on Jerusalem in 3-D, here's a selection of Turkish sites in 3-D provided by, which I was reminded of from a recent posting on the ISLAMAAR mailing listing. Enjoy!

For readers with access to iPlayer:

BBC One Wales, New Nation: White, Welsh and Muslim, 19 Jan 09 "Omer Williams and his brother Stuart are both Welsh Muslims. They have converted to Islam and are part of a growing UK trend.

"Stuart and his convert wife Kate are expecting their first baby, believing their child will be the first white Welsh-born Muslim. Omer's wife Shereen, meanwhile, experiences Islamophobia first-hand on the streets of Cardiff."

Not sure about the claim, but the programme (which I have yet to see) looks interesting, and can be viewed on the above link (at least in the UK).

Of related interest:

BBC One Wales, New Nation: Hijabs and Hairdos, 26 Jan 09 "The cameras lift the veil on an Asian women-only beauty and fashion boutique in Cardiff."
aQ on Hizbullah

Ya Libnan, Al-Qaeda attacks Hezbollah for failing to defend Gaza, 29 Jan 09 "An Al-Qaeda operative and former Guantanamo detainee has attacked the Lebanese Shia movement , Hezbollah, for failing to defend Palestinians from Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip. In a video released on the internet, Abu Hureira Qasim al-Rimi directed his attack against Hezbollah leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah."
Jihadi Bros.

The Long War Journal, The Jihadi Brothers, 28 Jan 09 "The U.S. government’s unclassified files demonstrate a point that is often overlooked when analyzing terrorist networks. Al Qaeda has frequently drawn whole families into its web of terror – including the al Bihani brothers."
Bush ... Game Over Video

CBS News, Iraqi Militants Bid Farewell To Bush With “Bush…Game Over” Video, 28 Jan 09, "A jihadi media outlet called Al Ansar Media released a 15-minute video entitled “Bush … Game Over” which features some of former U.S. President George Bush’s blunders and verbal gaffes, with a stamp reading “Stupid President” appearing on the screen at the end of each clip." Easy to Google online, if you wish...

AFP, Abdul the Taliban, on the hunt for American 'infidels', 29 Jan 09 "Abdul Shafiq is around 30 years old and has sacrificed his family life for two things: reading the Koran and fighting.

"After years in exile following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, this Taliban commander is back in the mountains of his birth, having left behind his old life with his family for one mission: chasing out the "infidel" Americans ...

" ... Claiming to be a fighter for Islam above all, Shafiq hardly ever sees his wife and three children, under five. He condemns television as "against Islam" and has never used the Internet." Non-tech.
Sada al Jihad Magazine

Thomas Hegghammer, Jihadica, Gaza Galore in New Issue of Sada al-Jihad, 28 Jan 09 "The thirty-second issue of the ever so slick magazine Sada al-Jihad is out. Like the rest of jihadi media these days, it focuses on Gaza. Practically the entire 41-page journal is devoted to Palestine, and the front page features a close-up picture of the blood-stained face of a Palestinian child. However, the articles do not seem to contain many original viewpoints and analyses. They highlight the civilian suffering, the treason of the Arab leaders, and the futility of the moderate Muslim Brotherhood approach. Much of this has been heard before."

I would recommend the Jihadica blog as a very useful source of information on aspects of jihadi discourse online. The blog is now run by Thomas Hegghammer, Brynjar Lia, Anne Stenersen, and Hanna Rogan. (see The New Crew). They have pdfs of a number of manuals on their blog.

Of related interest: Hegghammer, Thomas. "The Origins of Global Jihad: Explaining the Arab Mobilization to 1980s Afghanistan." Cambridge, Mass.: International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and international Affairs, January 22, 2009.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Indian Express, The growing, and mysterious, irrelevance of al-Qaeda, 28 Jan 09 "Osama Bin Laden's messages from the wilderness get little attention nowadays. Al-Qaeda has been unable to land a blow on Western soil since the 2005 London bombings. Its leaders lurk in Pakistan’s tribal belt, hiding from regular lethal attacks by America’s unmanned Predator aircraft. Their Pushtun hosts are tiring of their troublesome guests. Perhaps most damaging, former supporters publicly denounce its ideology." Opinion piece.

Mohammed Yahia, Islam Online, Welcome to War 2.0, 26 Jan 09 "As missile and shell launches stop in the ceasefire, the sandstorm on the internet continues. War 2.0 for the public opinion will continue. For the first time, people do not need a media house to voice their opinion. They have all the tools right at their fingertips. This may well change the source of information in conflicts forever."

Gulf Daily News, Free Internet for villagers, 28 Jan 09 "The first centre under a BD300,000 project by Batelco to provide fully equipped computer labs and free Internet for those who cannot afford them at villages opened yesterday.

"The Batelco Live Computer Laboratory opened at the Fatima Centre under the Islamic Education Society, Riffa, at a ceremony attended by Southern Governor Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

"Free computers and Internet access will be provided at 30 centres across villages and will be operational in the next two months."
Germany - Islamic Jihad Union

RFE/RL, Uzbek Group Linked To Video Terror Threat Against Germany, 28 Jan 09 " Referring to Germany's involvement in international coalition operations in Afghanistan, six masked men claiming to be members of the Islamic Jihad Union in a video posted on the Internet say the group has prepared a "few surprise gifts for the occupation forces.""
Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia Detains Internet Writer For Becoming Christian, 28 Jan 09
"A young Internet writer in Saudi Arabia was in life danger Wednesday, January 28, after he was detained by authorities for announcing on his blog that he converted from Islam to Christianity, religious human rights investigators said."

aQ Merger

Long War Journal, Arabian Peninsula al Qaeda groups merge, 26 Jan 09 "In the face of Saudi Arabia's success against the al Qaeda organization, many Saudi operatives have fled to the more hospitable climate in Yemen, joining others who recently arrived from Iraq, Somalia, and Pakistan. Al Qaeda in Yemen announced its merger with Saudi Arabia's al Qaeda organization to form al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. The announcement came in its latest release of the online journal Sada al Malahim, or the Echo of Epics. A propaganda video was also released by the group on Friday."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Charity Record for Gaza

AP, Yusuf Islam: Releases song in aid of Gaza children, 28 Jan 09 " The United Nations said the London-born Yusuf Islam recorded a rendition of the George Harrison song "The Day the World Gets Round," along with the German bassist and former Beatles collaborator Klaus Voorman.

"All proceeds from the song will be donated to the U.N. agency in charge of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, and to the nonprofit group Save the Children to be directed to aiding Gaza residents."

Here's the download page:, Yusuf & Klaus, The Day the World Gets 'Round. Haven't heard this yet.

Times Online, British Muslim 'starred in video with ringleader of 7/7 attacks', 28 Jan 09 "A British Muslim made a promotional video with the ringleader of the July 7 attacks when they attended a jihad training camp with terrorists linked to al-Qaeda, a court was told yesterday."
DS 'Baby Pals' Game Conspiracy Theory

You couldn't make this up:, Well, Of *Course* There Are Secret Islamic Messages Hidden In This DS Game, 28 Jan 09 "Does the Crave DS game "Baby Pals" really say "Islam is the light" when you give your tot a bath? Of course not. That's ridiculous. Doesn't stop WTNH from reporting it, though!"

Here's the original report: WTNH, Video game plays strange message?, 27 Jan 09

Also see, Indiana mother finds Islamic message in DS game Baby Pals, Islamophobia, anyone?, 29 Jan 09 "As far as we know, Crave Entertainment has no ties with radical Islam, but it may be that the developer took part of the game's audio from Fisher Price's Cuddle & Coo doll, which also stands accused of delivering religious propaganda, and indeed was expelled from Ms Jones's home just months before the Baby Pals incident on those grounds."

Singapore, Mosques using English more, 28 Jan 09 "Although Malay is still the dominant language of instruction in Singapore's mosques, English is increasingly being used in Friday prayer sermons and religious classes at some mosques."
Barack Obama

AlArabiyya, President gives first interview since taking office to Arab TV; Obama tells Al Arabiya peace talks should resume, 27 Jan 09 transcript - clip can be found here
Yoga Fatwa, Muslims Can Practise Yoga: Deoband Clerics, 28 Jan 09 "Going against Indonesia’s ban on Muslims practising yoga, India’s best known Islamic seminary says there is nothing wrong with any exercise done for health reasons.

"Clerics at the highly revered seminary in Deoband town in Uttar Pradesh in India, said that yoga was fine as long as no non-Islamic religious rituals were involved.

“Islam does not prohibit anyone from practising yoga or any other kind of physical exercise.

"“Only thing is that with what belief you are doing it... If you are doing it for health reasons, there is absolutely no problem in practicing yoga or any other exercise,” Qari Usman, a religious scholar at Darul Uloom, told IANS over telephone.
 “In fact Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had laid stress on people leading a healthy life. Historically there have been traditions of different kinds of exercises in Muslim civilisations,” added Qari Usman, also a former pro-vice chancellor of the seminary that attracts thousands of students mainly from India."
Fatwa Fatigue?

AKI, Indonesia: Islamic group attacks Muslim "excessive" edicts "Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation has attacked a move by the country's highest Islamic authority to impose bans on smoking, practising yoga and voting abstention. A 'fatwa' or a religious edict was issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) during its two-day national meeting in the West Sumatran town of Padangpanjang at the weekend.

"Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s biggest Islamic organisation, criticised the religious edicts as “excessive”."

See Nahdlatul Ulama (English). Their site does have some discussions regarding smoking.

Also see Ian MacKinnon, Guardian, Comment Is Free, Fatuous fatwa, A group of Indonesian Muslims declares yoga beyond the pale – but is anyone listening to them?, 27 Jan 09 "The ruling by Indonesia's top body of Islamic lawyers banning the country's Muslims from practising yoga provoked a torrent of astonished headlines that condemned the fatwa "unnecessary" and "pointless". Indonesian liberal commentators piled in, intoning that the edict would "kill the country's democracy and [religious] plurality"."

Deutsche Welle, Islamist Video Threatens "Surprise" Attacks on Germany, 28 Jan 09 "German authorities are investigating an Internet video of masked men vowing in several languages to attack Germany for supporting the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan. The details are chilling."
Al-Haram Al-Sharif, Saudi Aramco Magazine, Volume 60, Number 1, Michael and Barry Gross & Oleg Grabar, Virtual Walking Tours, Al-Haram Al-Sharif recommended, a virtual tour with pictures and maps, but no checkpoints(!). I haven't done a full assessment of this yet.

Also see, The Virtual Immigrant

Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila Blair,, A Global Guide to Islamic Art includes a web resource section

Monday, January 26, 2009


Al Watan Daily, AlـJazeera drew U.S. viewers on Web during Gaza war, 26 Jan 09

"American viewership of AlـJazeera English rose dramatically during the IsraelـHamas war, partly because the channel had what CNN and other international networks didn''t have: reporters inside Gaza.

"But the viewers weren''t watching it on television, where the Arab network''s Englishـlanguage station has almost no U.S. presence.

"Instead, the station streamed video of Israel''s offensive against Hamas on the Internet and took advantage of emerging online media such as the microـblogging Web site Twitter to provide realـtime updates."
YouTube aQ

Telegraph, Former Guantanamo Bay inmate posts anti-West Youtube video 26 Jan 09, "The video features Abu Hareth Muhammed al-Oufi brandishing a rifle and a grenade as he rails against the West.

"Footage of al-Qaeda figures are accompanied by images of a black-clad gunman shooting at the Union Flag, the Stars and Stripes and the Israeli flag."
New Muslims Project Wales

South Wales Echo, Wales Online, New Muslims get support as they switch faith, 26 Jan 09 "Mr Rahman, an administrator for the Islamic Social Services Association, is reaching out to reverts via the internet, including social networking site Facebook, and has already got the names of 78 reverts in South Wales on his database."

Details: New Muslims Project Wales
Protests about Gaza

Samantha M. Shapiro, NYT, Revolution, Facebook-Style, 25 Jan 09 "As the street protests went on, young Egyptians also were mobilizing and venting their anger over Gaza on what would, until recently, have seemed an unlikely venue: Facebook, the social-networking site. In most countries in the Arab world, Facebook is now one of the 10 most-visited Web sites, and in Egypt it ranks third, after Google and Yahoo. About one in nine Egyptians has Internet access, and around 9 percent of that group are on Facebook — a total of almost 800,000 members. This month, hundreds of Egyptian Facebook members, in private homes and at Internet cafes, have set up Gaza-related “groups.” Most expressed hatred for Israel and the United States, but each one had its own focus. Some sought to coordinate humanitarian aid to Gaza, some criticized the Egyptian government, some criticized other Arab countries for blaming Egypt for the conflict and still others railed against Hamas. When I sat down in the middle of January with an Arabic-language translator to look through Facebook, we found one new group with almost 2,000 members called “I’m sure I can find 1,000,000 members who hate Israel!!!” and another called “With all due respect, Gaza, I don’t support you,” which blamed Palestinian suffering on Hamas and lamented the recent shooting of two Egyptian border guards, which had been attributed to Hamas fire. Another group implored God to “destroy and burn the hearts of the Zionists.” Some Egyptian Facebook users had joined all three groups." Useful article.

Also see حركة 6 ابريل and 6 April Movement, both of which have useful RSS feeds. This will also link you through to the Facebook group (if you are a member).

This entry from Digiactive, Tactic: Egyptians Use Facebook to Organize Strike, 6 Apr 08 is also helpful.
Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal

Wales Online, Sky joins BBC in Gaza aid appeal ban, 26 Jan 09 "Sky News announced today that it was joining the BBC in refusing to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza.

"The broadcaster said in a statement that it had informed the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid agencies, of its decision."

Also see: Disasters Emergency Committee, Aid agencies launch joint appeal to relieve Gaza humanitarian crisis, 22 Jan 09
aQ, To Combat Obama, Al-Qaeda Hurls Insults, 25 Jan 09

"But for now, the change in Washington appears to have rattled al-Qaeda's leaders, some of whom are scrambling to convince the faithful that Obama and Bush are essentially the same.

""They're highly uncertain about what they're getting in this new adversary," said Paul Pillar, a former CIA counterterrorism official who lectures on national security at Georgetown University. "For al-Qaeda, as a matter of image and tone, George W. Bush had been a near-perfect foil.""

Yemen Post, Al-Qaeda Appoints New Leader; Second in Command Ex-Prisoner, 26 Jan 09 "New leaders for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have been appointed; Al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen have posted an audio message on the Islamic internet forum, Sada Al-Malahim, Al-Qaeda’s mouthpiece electronic journal.

"Abu Basir Nasrir Al-Wahaishi a prominent Al-Qaeda member who served as Al-Qaeda leader in Yemen was chosen as Al-Qaeda regional leader and a Saudi ex-Guantánamo detainee, Abu Sufian Ali Al-Shihri was chosen as Al-Qaeda second in command.

"Sada Al-Malahim quoted Abu-Basir saying Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Saudi are now under one unified leadership “Al Qaeda in the Arab’s Peninsula."Details over this matter will be given later through a lengthy dialogue with Abu Basir on Sada Al-Malahim," the message said."

Bill Berkowitz,, Virtual Islam: Peace, Love, and Some Understanding, 24 Jan 09 Interview with Joshua S. Fouts, who has produced a report (previously blogged) with Rita J. King entitled Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds. They are Senior Fellows at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. I haven't seen the report yet (out 29 Jan 09).

Sydney Morning Herald, Berlin taking al-Qaeda threat seriously, 25 Jan 09 "Berlin is taking seriously an internet threat by presumed al-Qaeda militants warning of imminent attacks on three German cities, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

""This video confirms our belief that jihadist propaganda against Germany has taken a new dimension," the ministry said, referring to a clip posted on YouTube."

Economist, The growing, and mysterious, irrelevance of al-Qaeda, 22 Jan 09 opinion piece "Al-Qaeda’s failure to fight for Palestine comes up repeatedly in jihadist internet forums. It also forms part of the latest ideological counter-attack against al-Qaeda by Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, one of its founders in 1998 and a leading jihadist ideologue under the pen-name “Dr Fadl”. He has since fallen out with its leaders, particularly Ayman al-Zawahiri, who succeeded him as head of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad group. Al-Qaeda, he now says, “did not offer Palestine anything except words”."

Long War Journal, Swat Taliban summon government officials to sharia courts, 25 Jan 09

"The leader of the Taliban-controlled district of Swat in Pakistan's northwest has ordered more than 50 political and tribal leaders to appear before a sharia court within a week or face "dangerous consequences."

"Mullah Fazlullah, Swat's radical Taliban leader, issued the order in a broadcast over his illegal FM radio channel after convening the Taliban shura, or council." Non-tech.

Refers to a report in The Hindu, Pak Taliban commander summons dignitaries in 'Sharia court', 25 Jan 09

Also see: al-Jazeera, Swat: Pakistan's lost paradise, 26 Jan 09 "From banning female education and blowing up schools to the hanging of decapitated bodies in Mingora, the valley's main town, the reign of terror spearheaded by Maulana Fazalullah, a radical cleric, defies description."
Jamaat Islamiya

Asharq Alawsat, Islamist Group Urges al-Qaeda for Temporary Truce, 25 Jan 09

"The Egyptian Islamist movement Jamaat Islamiya has called for Al Qaeda to adopt a four-month truce and to cease any operations against the United States, the West and other countries, as they await “the fair, practical stances of the new American president.” Its request came shortly after Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al Libi urged for attacks to be launched on Western states, especially the US and Britain, to avenge Israel’s attacks on Gaza and for Britain’s role in supporting the establishment of a homeland for the Jews in 1948.

"Sheikh Najih Ibrahim, a theorist and leading figure of the Jamaat Islamiya group in Egypt told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement fears that Al Qaeda may carry out operations and launch attacks in the upcoming period and as a result, turn President Barack Obama into “another George W. Bush.” The group fears that Obama would change his position regarding withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq and shutting down the US prison at Guantanamo Bay whereas America under George W. Bush occupied Afghanistan and Iraq and detained Islamists in Guantanamo Bay in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001."

BBC News, Al-Qaeda 'quotes amateur historian' "An amateur historian believes his website about the British Army in Victorian times is being used as propaganda by groups opposed to Nato's presence in Afghanistan, and may even have been used by al-Qaeda.

"The site gives details of battles fought by British forces in the 19th century.

"But it's been quoted word for word in blogs and on websites opposed to western policy, and he believes it may even have been used in a speech by the second in command of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri."

Here's the site:
Qur'an Interpretation

Asharq Alawsat, Al-Azhar Hails First Female Interpretation of the Quran, 25 Jan 09 "Dr. Mustafa Al Shakaa, a member of the Islamic Research Academy of the Al Azhar University said that Al Azhar's approval of Kariman Hamzah's interpretation shows the equality between men and women in Islam, and confirms the women's right to religious education in Islam is the same as a man's. He added that Islamic Shariaa Law gives Muslim women the right to be religiously educated and make religious decisions in the same way that the female Companions [of the Prophet] did in the time of the Prophet (PBUH), and this refutes the rumors and slander which describe the Islamic religion as a religion that restricts the freedom of women, at the fore-front of this a woman's right to education."

It'll be interesting to see whether this appears online.

Related posts:

Muslimah Media Watch, Kariman Hamzah: Giving us a Woman’s Interpretation of the Qur’an, 31 Dec 08 which discusses BBC reporting on this al-Azhar approved Qur'an [BBC News, Egypt clerics back woman's Koran, 31 Dec 08].

Reporters Without Borders, More human rights websites blocked on information ministry’s orders, 22 Jan 09

"Reporters Without Borders deplores the directive which the information ministry sent to Internet Service Providers on 14 January ordering them to block access to certain political and commercial websites and warning that only the information ministry could take the decision to unblock a website. At least 25 sites have been blocked since the directive was issued."

Reporters Without Borders, Outrage at latest trial postponement for cyber-dissident held since last May, 21 Jan 09 "Reporters Without Borders condemns the postponement of jailed cyber-dissident Habib Saleh’s trial again yesterday, this time until 8 February. Saleh has been held in Adra prison, 40 km north of Damascus, since 5 May on a range of charges including spreading false information, inciting civil war and attacking the president. He still does not know when he can expect to be freed."

AFP, Atheism 2.0 -- Indonesia's nonbelievers find refuge online, 24 Jan 09 "Chain-smoking at a trendy coffee shop while studiously ignoring the mosque's evening call to prayer, Indonesian atheists Didi and Dewi have little patience for the beliefs of most of their countrymen.

"The two young women are defiant unbelievers in the world's largest Muslim-majority country, but they let few people in the real world know it.

"Instead, the women have joined scores of young Indonesian atheists who have found refuge on the Internet, using web tools such as social networking sites, mailing lists, blogs and wikis to communicate with like-minded people in a country where declaring there is no God can turn someone into an outcast."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Geert Wilders

BBC News, Islam film Dutch MP to be charged, 21 Jan 09 "A Dutch court has ordered prosecutors to put a right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements.

"Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders made a controversial film last year equating Islam with violence and has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf."

AFP, Australian PM raps Muslim cleric over sex rights sermon, 22 Jan 09 "A Muslim cleric who reportedly said men have a right to force their wives to have sex and to hit them if they are disobedient has been condemned by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd."

Also see Herald Sun, Kevin Rudd condemns self-styled cleric Samir Abu Hamza, 22 Jan 09 "Coburg's self-styled cleric Samir Abu Hamza said despite Australian rape laws it was impossible for a man to rape his wife even if she refused to have sex with him."

Article includes video of the 'sermon'.
Sabbah's Blog

Sabbah's Blog assembled a collection of videos associated with Gaza, including a slide show.

Just found this useful map resource: MSNBC, al-Qaida Timeline, n.d.
Analysis re. Gaza

Summary: Riyaad Minty, al-Jazeera, Waging the web wars, 21 Jan 09 "Enter the "social" internet - currently termed "War 2.0" or "War of Words" - where people from around the world used social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to express their opinions to a global audience.

"With the internet becoming a battleground of ideas, the average person, armed with a keyboard and an internet connection, became a participant in the conflict."

Interesting that al-Jazeera now has a media analyst (Riyaad Minty)


AFP, Final toll of Gaza war: 1,330 dead, 5,450 wounded, 22 Jan 09 "Israel's war on Gaza killed 1,330 people, at least half of them civilians, and wounded 5,450 others, Palestinian medics said on Thursday in a final toll of the offensive."
Yusuf Islam, Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton for new Yusuf album, 21 Jan 09 "Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton have contributed to the forthcoming album from Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens.

"The renowned singer-songwriter is gearing up to release the as-yet-untitled album in late spring. This will be his first non-religious album in 28 years."

Non-tech. Probably the first time I've linked to on this blog ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Israel blogging strategy

alArabiyya, Israel hires army of bloggers to fight image war, 20 Jan 09 "As Israel withdraws its ground troops from Gaza it has deployed “an army of bloggers” fluent in several languages, recruiting an all-volunteer force to combat anti-Zionism in cyberspace and escalating its battle to control Israel’s image abroad. Israeli press reported Monday."

Guardian, Tech Weekly: Israel-Gaza on the Web and the new tech CEOs, 20 Jan 09, "The conflict spilled onto the web - we find how social networking was used in the conflict as well as what the new CEOs at Yahoo and Apple have to look forward to." Podcast (haven't heard it yet)

Times Online, Barack Obama calls halt to Guantanamo trials, 21 Jan 09
Gaza > Saudi Arabia

Middle East Online, Barrage of fire in Gaza, online ‘intifada’ in Saudi, 18 Jan 09 "The Israeli flag in flames, hundreds of thousands of signatures, thousands of films, posters, photos and cartoons to denounce the "holocaust" in Gaza: Saudi Arabia, red lines are crossed ... on the Web." Useful summary by Habib Trabelsi, including references to several blogs. One of the more comprehensive is Gaza Talk
aQ > Germany

AFP/, Al-Qaeda video creator named, 20 Jan 09 "A presumed Al-Qaeda militant in a video message warning that 'time was running out' for Germany was identified on Monday by the interior ministry here as Morocco-born Bekkay Harrach.

"Harrach, born in 1977 and a former resident of Bonn, featured in a 30-minute message that surfaced on Saturday saying the Germans were 'gullible and naive' if they thought they could 'escape unscathed when they are the third occupation force in Afghanistan'."

Khaled Wassef, CBS News, Obama's Big Day Generates E-Jihad Buzz, 20 Jan 09, "Like millions of other people around the world, supporters of global Jihad on the Internet are finding inspiration in Barack Obama’s inauguration, though perhaps not in exactly the same way. " Useful report.
aQ > Germany

Reuters/RFE & RL, Al-Qaeda Threatens German Soldiers In Web Video, 18 Jan 09 "Al-Qaeda issued an Internet threat against German soldiers, citing their involvement in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

""Your soldiers are safe nowhere," said a masked man dressed in a black turban in a video message posted on the Internet.

"The video, which appeared late on January 17, was titled "The rescue package for Germany" and bore the logo of As-Sahab, which is Al-Qaeda's specialist media arm. Germany is part of NATO's peacekeeping force in Afghanistan and has a mandate to send 4,500 troops there."

Monday, January 19, 2009


British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 35 Issue 3 2008; Gender and Diversity in the Middle East and North Africa includes Naomi Sakr, Women and Media in Saudi Arabia: Rhetoric, Reductionism and Realities, 385 – 404. This is a very useful edition of the Journal.
BBC Persian

BBC News, Bloggers welcome BBC Persian TV, 19 Jan 09 "The launch of BBC Persian TV has been the subject of much comment by Iranian bloggers. Most welcomed the new satellite TV channel and predicted that it would attract a large audience inside Iran and in other mainly Persian-speaking countries."

The live feed of BBC Persian is here.

Sameh A. Habeeb,, A war on Gaza and a War on My Blog!, 18 Jan 09 "Before I was using LAN which is a network of a very fast internet. But, this system collapsed due to power blackout so I turned to use the Dial UP connection which is very slow and bad one. I open it and quickly put news on my on my Blog, Facebook and some other websites that I have accounts in…The moments I do these things are very critical because the more time I loose from the battery the more my heart strongly beats up! Then, I open my five emails in consequence and send emails to around 5 lists of journalists each is of 5 hundred persons. I finish doing that and my battery dies but I get smile at the end of the day for that job I was able to carry out. The smile comes out of my face because it is against sends the crying and screams of people I see on the hospitals and those I took photos for them in this cruel war."

Sameh Habeeb's blog is here: Gaza Strip, the Untold Story. There is an great amount of detail on this, probably best seen in conjunction with the Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository material discussed below.

Also see this related piece:

Israel News Agency, Israel Gaza Hamas Children Cyber Facebook Memorial, 17 Jan 09 "An online, Internet Web 2.0 memorial for all Jewish and Arab children who have been killed in the Israel Hamas Gaza conflict is now being organized on Facebook.

"The Israel Gaza Children's Cyber Memorial, in memory of the Israel and Palestinian children killed in the Gaza conflict will be held online next Saturday, January 24, with an Internet ceasefire taking place for one day."
Azad Ali - Mail on Sunday article

Mail on Sunday, Muslim civil servant 'backed fanatic's call to kill our troops in Iraq', 18 Jan 09 and Mail on Sunday, Muslim civil servant suspended over 'killing British troops is justified' blog, 18 Jan 09 "A senior Muslim civil servant has launched an astonishing verbal onslaught against the Government over its response to Israel’s military strikes in Gaza – and has suggested that killing British troops in Iraq is justified. ...

"On the Civil Service Islamic Society’s official website, Mr Ali declares that it is bound by strict rules that say Whitehall special-interest groups must be ‘non-partisan and non-political’ and act with ‘honesty, impartiality and integrity’.

"But there is no such restraint on his personal blog, which highlights his civil service role and provides a link to its Whitehall website."

This refers to allegations concerning Treasury official Azad Ali.

Related links: Civil Service Islamic Society

Azad Ali's alleged posts are here: Between the Lines

A response and further background links can be found here: Islamophobia Watch UK.
Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt political activists turn to internet, 16 Jan 09 "The internet has become the new source of activism for Egypt’s growing opposition movement, Muslim Brotherhood.

"The use of the internet has enabled the Islamic group to spread the message ahead of massive protests in opposition of the war raging in Gaza. Leading that charge has been the younger generation born under the current leadership of President Hosni Mubarak."
Sheikh Salman Al-Oudah, Fatwa is not the sole factor guiding society: Al-Oudah, 19 Jan 09 "Al-Oudah described the Makkah conference as a new addition in the search for correct fatwas and described it as a forum where participants of different cultural backgrounds can exchange ideas.

"He said the conference would attempt to lay down regulations to govern the issuance of fatwa. He, however, added that neither the conference nor Ifta bodies have the power to impose fatwas, especially in view of the information revolution. “If we are able to provide correct fatwas on satellite channels and Internet sites, and in mosques and publications we will be doing the Ummah a great service,” he said.

"Al-Oudah asked scholars to carry out research to come up with identical rulings on controversial issues. He also asked the conference to issue a fatwa on the current situation in Gaza and said this was the issue of the hour and that people were looking to the ulema for guidance.

"Participants in yesterday’s sessions discussed a number of issues that included collective Ijtihad (interpretation) and its importance in dealing with contemporary issues, fabrication and its meaning in Islamic jurisprudence, the significance of fatwas for Muslim societies, and changing fatwas to suit contemporary needs."

Also see:

AFP, Saudi conference seeks to give guidance on Islamic fatwas, 18 Jan 09, "The five-day Fatwa and its Regulation conference organised by the Muslim World League (MWL) was to address the crafting and issuing of fatwas in the modern age, when complex matters and the rapid dissemination of rulings over the Internet have led to contradictory and controversial opinions by those interpreting sharia, or Islamic law."

Reuters, Al Qaeda urged Mauritania attacks over Gaza-group, 18 Jan 09 "Al Qaeda's North African wing has urged attacks against Israeli and Western interests in Mauritania, an Internet monitoring agency said, after the Arab state froze political links with Israel over its Gaza offensive.

"Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) also called on Algerians to disobey a long-standing government ban on public demonstrations and stage strikes to protest Israel's campaign against Hamas in Gaza."


AP, Video threatens Germany over Afghanistan, 18 Jan 09 "German authorities said Sunday that they believe a purported al-Qaida video in which a man threatens Germany over its military presence in Afghanistan is authentic.

"The video, dated October 2008, features a man calling himself "Abu Talha the German," who speaks with his face covered by a black turban.

"Speaking in fluent though slightly accented German, he notes that Germany — which has more than 3,300 soldiers in Afghanistan — has the largest contingent of troops after the U.S. and Britain."

News of the World, I was secret bride at 15, 18 Jan 09 "PRETTY teenager Jolean Cox told last night how she quit school and flew to Turkey to be with a waiter she’d met on the internet—with her mother’s BLESSING." [their emphasis] I put this in for its internet linkage ...
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Gazette, NSHR wants rights websites unblocked, 19 Jan 09 "The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has asked the Communications and Information Technology Commission to unblock a group of blacklisted international websites of human rights bodies.

"“The NSHR has received no response to our request to unblock these websites of international human rights organizations with their valuable content of human rights information,” said Saleh Al-Khathlan, deputy chairman of the NSHR.

"It is not clear how many websites of international human rights organizations are currently blocked in the Kingdom, but the websites of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR), Human Rights Watch, and a few others can be accessed in the Kingdom."

Yemen Post, Search for Pornographic Material on Rise; Children are most Vulnerable, 12 Jan 09 " The search for bad material surpasses by far the search for useful and good things available on the internet for many in Yemen. According to Google Trends, Arabs are ranked first concerning search for sex and other linked material.

"Yemen Net or Teleyemen, Yemen's internet providers have sought to block any website containing porn content and other materials that goes against the Islamic principles.

"Further, Information Ministry has ordered the owners of internet cafes nationwide to remove the shields that were made in the past to separate one user from another. According to the resolution, computer screens should be directed towards the front and there should be nothing that prevents others watching what are you surfing."

Al Jazeera Launches First Creative Commons Video Footage Repository, 14 Jan 09 "Last night, Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Network launched the world’s first online repository of broadcast quality video footage released under the ‘Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution’ license. Select Al Jazeera video footage – at this time footage of the War on Gaza - will be available for free to be downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually rebroadcasted by users and TV stations across the world with acknowledgement to Al Jazeera."

See Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository, Al Jazeera Goes Mobile In Both English And Arabic, 16 Jan 09 "Al Jazeera today announced the beta launch of its Arabic and English Mobile websites. The websites will work on any mobile handset that has web browsing capabilities.

"Users can access the websites through their mobile phones and devices at the following addresses: for English news and for Arabic news"
Saad bin Laden

Wall Street Journal, Spy Chief Says Bin Laden Son Left Iran, Likely Is in Pakistan, 16 Jan 09 "Osama bin Laden's third eldest son, an al Qaeda operative, is no longer under arrest in Iran and is likely in Pakistan, the top U.S. spymaster said Friday.

"The release or escape of Mr. bin Laden's son, Saad bin Laden, suggests possible collaboration between Iran and al Qaeda and the potential that Saad bin Laden is a go-between. Al Qaeda has been regrouping in Pakistan after the U.S. forced the group out of its base in Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden is thought to be hiding there." Tip and comment: Long War Journal, Osama's son coordinates call between Zawahiri and Iran's Qods Force, 17 Jan 09
Research tweet tool

How about this for online research?: Wired, Twitter-Yahoo Mashup Yields Better Breaking News Search, 16 Jan 09 "TweetNews takes Yahoo’s news results and compares them to emerging topics on Twitter, in effect using what’s most popular on Twitter as an index for determining the importance of news stories."

Here's a basic test drive on 'Islam', Tweetnews > Islam, which is quite effective
ICT Index, UAE at top of Arab ICT Index, 18 Jan 09 "The UAE topped the 2007 Arab Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Use Index with a score of 2.19 and became the only country in the Arab World to break through the index's 2.00 barrier, according to a survey conducted by Madar Research Group and Orient Planet."

Telegraph, Black Death 'kills al-Qaeda operatives in Algeria', 19 Jan 09 "A security source told the paper: "This is the deadliest weapon yet in the war against terror. Most of the terrorists do not have the basic medical supplies needed to treat the disease.

""It spreads It spreads quickly and kills within hours. This will be really worrying al-Qaeda."

No doubt a few conspiracy theories will emerge regarding this.

Friday, January 16, 2009


The National, UAE researches unveil telecom technologies, 15 Jan 09 "Emirates researchers have showcased work on remote-controlled search-and-rescue robots and audiovisual technologies in the lead-up to the launch of the Middle East’s first telecommunications research centre."

Thursday, January 15, 2009


AKI, Middle East: Bin Laden calls for holy war over Gaza, 14 Jan 09, "An audio message attributed to Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has called for a jihad or holy war to protest against Israel's military action in the Gaza Strip. The audio message entitled , 'A call for jihad to stop the aggression in Gaza', was released on Islamic Internet forums on Wednesday."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Alexandra Sandels, Menassat, Blogging Gaza, 12 Jan 09 "As the Israeli offensive on Gaza continues into its third week, residents of the Strip and activists working in the territory are increasingly telling their accounts of the war on the blogosphere. With limited media coverage coming from the streets of Gaza, these blog contributors are redefining war zone reportage." Contains a brief listing of bloggers, and a reminder about the Twitter feed: Gaza.

AFP, Email and text keep neighbours in Gaza and Sderot in touch, 12 Jan 09 "Since Israel's onslaught began on December 27, contact has been limited, says Eric Yellin, a businessman who has lived in the southern Israeli border town of Sderot for 20 years and who co-writes a blog with a Palestinian friend from Gaza City.

""Hope Man" Yellin and "Peace Man" in Gaza have been blogging for more than a year on a site called "Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot.""

Here is the blog: Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot

Dawn, Ashura Special contains a photo archive and a series of articles, including one on iconography: "Over the past few years, Dawn photographers have captured the passion and intensity of ritualistic mourning during Muharram in memorable images. Here, these images are accompanied by the recitation of a nauha by Syed Asad Jahan, who is the son of the celebrated marsia khuan Syed Nasir Jahan."

Also see: PBS, Shiite Muslims Mark Ashura with Processions, Marches, 12 Jan 09

Here's a story on Malaysia that I missed while concentrating on other headlines, but it has a relevance for this blog (+ great headline!): Audrey Vijaindrenn, New Straits Times, Here comes the cyber-bride, 21 Dec 08 "Project director of the Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association, Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin, says: "This is not a new thing, there are lots of cupid type of companies out there. The only difference is that the concept has shifted from manual to web-based procedures, to reach more people.

""We've received complaints from those who have been conned by the websites. It's not a good way within the Muslim community to find a spouse like this. We don't have specific rules and regulations, but we must ask the National Fatwa Council, Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) and the religious councils in all states to evaluate if it's according to Islam."

"He says most single girls panic when they can't find a husband at the age of 30.""

Related links: Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association
Yemen > Amr Khaled, Amr Khaled to deliver lectures on Palestinian case, 11 Jan 09 "Speaking to Saba, Khaled said that he will also take part in a development and social project under the title of "activate youth to face poverty and illiteracy " which aims at helping about 4500 children to return to schools.

"Khaled added that he will deliver a number of Islamic lectures in the capital Sana'a and Dhamar and Ibb provinces to call on Yemeni youth to use the internet for making a dialogue with the world in order to define the Palestinian case."
Khadija Abdul Qahaar, Ransom demanded for B.C. journalist kidnapped in Pakistan, 11 Jan 09, "Captors of a controversial West Vancouver journalist have made a ransom demand, raising hopes she is alive two months after gunmen kidnapped her from a lawless area of Pakistan.

"Khadija Abdul Qahaar, 55, was taken Nov. 11.

"She changed her name from Beverley Giesbrecht and converted to Islam in response to the U.S. "war on terror" that followed 9/11. She gave up her career as a magazine and Internet publisher, sold all her assets and started up the website Jihad Unspun, focusing on news in the Islamic world."

Jihad Unspun is still online
Doha Meeting

Peninsular Online, Islam’s young envoys to gather in Doha, 10 Jan 09

"Islam’s young ambassadors include Haroon Moghul, director of public relations at New York University’s Islamic Centre, which has arranged for Friday sermons to be downloaded via the internet to a weekly audience of 15,000.

"“One of the important issues is to challenge the kind of discourse that one finds often in Islamic communities, which doesn’t necessarily respond to the needs and desires of people in terms of the contemporary world,” Moghul said Thursday."

Monday, January 12, 2009

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

BBC News, Orchestra defies Gaza conflict, 12 Jan 09 "Daniel Barenboim is conducting a concert in Berlin that he hopes will transcend the Gaza conflict." [Film report] Also see West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Gaza Situation: Update

IHT, Al Jazeera provides an inside look at Gaza conflict, 11 Jan 09 "According to Nanabhay and another new-media evangelist within Al Jazeera, Riyaad Minty, a 24-year-old South African who is a senior analyst at the network, the Gaza crisis is helping to convince their superiors of the power of the Internet to tell a sprawling story that unfolds over weeks or perhaps months."

The First Post, Gaza propaganda war escalates on the internet, 12 Jan 09

Mark LeVine, Al-Jazeera, Who will save Israel from itself?, 12 Jan 09 "Anyone with an internet connection can Google "Gaza humanitarian catastrophe" and find the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territories and read the thousands of pages of evidence documenting the reality of the current fighting, and the long term siege on Gaza that preceded it."

Al-Jazeera, Israel's 'other voices' go unheard, 11 Jan 09 ""It is very difficult to add a different voice, because the public and media discourse is so monochrome and so militaristic," said Nomika Zion, an Israeli member of the peace collective, Another Voice."

VOA, Gaza Protests Held in Many Countries, 12 Jan 09
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and sig

Adrian Levy, The Guardian, On the trail of Pakistan's Taliban, 10 Jan 09

Photo Gallery (photos: Warrick Page)

"The Sig director takes us upstairs to a suite of offices where his men busy themselves at computers, their workstations stacked high with blue paper files. Beyond lies the Sig lab, where technicians are poring over scraps of clothing, hair and shrapnel, using tweezers, tiny brushes and miniature shovels - kit sent over by the FBI and Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad. Pervez's men are learning to secure a blast site for DNA evidence, scouring it for flaps of skin or shards of bone. "We are trying every new method to identify the bombers," a senior officer says, explaining that since an explosive jacket usually decapitates the wearer, heads can be recovered, or at least fragments of the skull and face. These body parts are packed in ice and flown down to plastic surgeons at a hospital near Karachi for reconstruction. Pervez says: "Since one-third of Pakistan's adult population does not have any form of identification, these remains are often the only link back to the madrasa that indoctrinated the bomber and the extremist group that dispatched him.""
The Simpsons

Wikipedia, The Simpsons, Mypods and Boomsticks. This episode aired on Sky in the UK last night (was broadcast in US 30 November), and was notable for its approach towards Islam. It was apparently commended by the CAIR [Ayloush, Hussam (2008-12-03). "Thank you letter - Matt Groening, PDF].

Reaction to the episode: Daily Star, Fury at Simpsons' Muslim Terror Plot, 12 Jan 09

WENN, Groening defends Simpsons over Muslim plot, 12 Jan 09 "A spokesperson for The Islamic Cultural Centre & The London Central Mosque slammed the episode, telling the Daily Star, "I hope Muslims take no notice of the show."" I wonder if they saw it before commenting, given the CAIR comments above?

The episode was also significant for its satirical take on Apple (probably well overdue, even though I'm a loyal Apple user).

Ha'aretz, Report: Madonna receives death threats from Muslim extremists , 12 Jan 09, "Following the threats Madonna reportedly hired two Israeli bodyguards to provide security for her and her family.

"The report states that an internet site affiliated with Muslim extremists quotes a top official of the Palestinian Popular Front committees' saying "If I meet her? I will have the honor of being first to behead her if they continue to spread their satanic culture against Islam.""
Glassman Interview

American University in Cairo, Egyptian Bloggers to Interview U.S. Public Diplomacy Czar in New Virtual Arab Newsroom, 8 Jan 08 "In a first-ever event on the internet, a group of seven Egyptian bloggers will conduct a “virtual” interview with the head of U.S. public diplomacy on January, 12. The encounter with James Glassman, US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, will take place in a new Virtual Newsroom created in the internet community Second Life for the Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo (AUC)."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Survey article

Council for Foreign Relations, Tech-Savvy Terror, 9 Jan 09 "Al-Qaeda militants issue press releases and video pleas to online advocates of jihad. In Mumbai, India, attackers affiliated with Lashkar e-Taiba navigated their November 2008 terror spree using GPS-guided boats, BlackBerrys, and Google Earth imagery. And as Israel's soldiers advanced on Gaza in pursuit of Hamas fighters last month, members of the group sent text messages to Israelis (Ynet) warning of retaliation if the offensive wasn't halted. "Telephone messages and breaching the enemy's radio frequencies are just some of the surprises we have for the Israeli side," one Palestinian fighter boasted."

Friday, January 09, 2009


Reporters Without Borders, , More websites blocked including RFI and Deutsche Welle, 28 Jan 09, "Reporters Without Borders condemns the wave of censorship that has hit many Iranian and foreign Farsi-language websites since 24 January. Most of the sites contain articles critical of the government and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose term expires on 12 June. International news media websites have also been blocked since 26 January."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Forum discussion allegations

Telegraph, , Muslims urged to contact prominent British Jews over Gaza, 7 Jan 09 "The post was made during a discussion on Ummah, an Islamic internet forum. A member suggested that people who featured on a list of influential Jews - including David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary - should be reminded of the plight of the Palestinian people. "

Here's a response from to the original article in The Sun, and also the original thread [disclaimer applies as usual]

AP, BBC to launch Persian-language TV channel, 8 Jan 09 "The BBC said Thursday it will launch a Persian-language TV channel next week that can be seen in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere, despite Iranian claims that it will be used to recruit spies." More info: BBC Persian
Radio station website hacked

Telegraph, Radio Basingstoke hacked by 'Soldiers of Allah', 8 Jan 09 "Radio Basingstoke's home page was replaced by an emerald green background featuring a pair of eyes hovering above a body on an altar, along with an Islamic chant. An accompanying message in green text read: "We are the Soldiers of Allah and Muslim Hackers. Whoever thinks of insulting Islam or Muslims will suffer the same fate. As long as you kill our kids, we ---- your servers.

""We are the nightmare of western websites in the cyber war. Stop killing kids and women. God bless all moujahidines. Free Palestine – Iraq – Afghan.""

To those outside the UK: the station isn't a national service, but a relatively small local station, which can be found here (now with a slightly higher profile) ...

Headline writers have had a field day with this:

Daily Mail, Muslim extremists hijack radio station's website 'because they hate Cliff Richard',, 8 Jan 09
Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

AKI, Qatar: Hardline cleric blames Jews for corruption, 9 Jan 09, "Prominent Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has blamed the Jews for bringing 'corruption to the world'. "I tell the Jews that God will not praise he who oppresses. You have brought corruption to the world at least twice during your history," said Qaradawi during Friday prayers at the Ibn al-Khattab mosque in the Qatari capital Doha, quoted by Arab TV station Al-Jazeera."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Al-Jazeera Twitter+Maps > Gaza

Technology always advances in times of intense crisis. To update on my recent post, al-Jazeera have mashed Twitter and Microsoft Maps at Al-Jazeera, War on Gaza.

More on this on Noah Shachtman, Wired, New Gaza War Reports Combine Tweets, Maps, SMS, 5 Jan 09 "The effort, from Al Jazeera Labs, just got started; the reporting is still spotty, and the technology is very much in the testing phase. But the idea is for residents of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank to send quick updates about the conflict from their computers or mobile phones, through SMS or Twitter. The results are then verified, and posted to a Microsoft Virtual Earth map."

Rediff India Abroad, Pak clerics issue fatwa for jihad if India attacks, 6 Jan 09 "A group of clerics and religious scholars have issued a fatwa or edict that says jihad will be obligatory for every Pakistani citizen if India attacks the country.

"The fatwa was announced at a conference organised by the Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz at Jamia Naeemia seminary in Lahore on Monday. The meeting, chaired by Federal Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, was arranged to discuss Pakistan's security concerns."
Ibn Battuta Film

AMEInfo, Imagenation Abu Dhabi announces world premiere of 'Journey to Mecca', 7 Jan 09, "The film, shot in ultra-high definition IMAX format, chronicles the travels of Ibn Battuta on his first holy pilgrimage in 1325 as well as the contemporary Hajj as it is performed today." See Journey to Mecca's official web site for more information, trailers, etc. This looks very interesting, and I look forward to seeing it (especially on IMAX, although that's unlikely in my present location!). The website also includes a downloadable educational kit, which is well thought out, and various maps.

Independent, Wannabe suicide bombers beware: Chris Morris movie gets go-ahead, 7 Jan 09 New film project: ""Four Lions is a funny, thrilling fictional story that illuminates modern British jihad with an insight beyond anything else in our culture. It plunges us beyond seeing these young men as unfathomably alien. It undermines the folly of just wishing them away or alienating the entire culture from which they emerge. As Spinal Tap understood heavy metal and Dr Strangelove the Cold War, Four Lions understands modern British jihadis."" The film has yet to be made. Clearly, a controversial subject area...

YNet, Muslim group hacks into Hadera hospital website, 7 Jan 09 "The hackers defaced the site and planted images of wounded IDF soldiers instead of the regular content."

Telegraph, MI5 and how to deal with homegrown Muslim extremists, 6 Jan 09 "Now the Security Service has decided to publicly celebrate its success, albeit cautiously."
Ayman al-Zawahiri

Asharq Alawsat, Report: Al-Qaeda No. 2 Blames Obama for Gaza Fight, 7 Jan 09 "Al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader lashed out at President-elect Barack Obama in a new audio message Tuesday, accusing him of not doing anything to stop Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to an intelligence monitoring center.

"The recording purportedly by Ayman al-Zawahiri was al-Qaeda's first comments on the Gaza crisis since Israel launched its offensive against the Islamic militants of Hamas on Dec. 27."

al-Jazeera, Rageh Omaar, Pakistan's tribal faultline "In the second part of his special series on Pakistan's role in the so-called war on terror Rageh Omaar travelled to the country's remote northwest late last year to witness first-hand the army's fierce conflict with the Taliban."

Interesting reports, non-tech, but with a relevant subtext for elements of this blog.
Ishki, Ishki, A New Portal For Arabs To Post Their Complaints Online, 6 Jan 09 "Ishki (which means ‘complain’ in Arabic) is an interesting new portal that was recently released from Jordan, giving Arab users the chance to post their different complaints online and get their voices out to the world."

This is likely to be a popular product, cathartic if nothing else, and I liked the design and use of cartoon characters ... Check it out at

AFP, 'Cybergeddon' fear stalks US: FBI, 7 Jan 09 "US experts warn of "cybergeddon," in which an advanced economy -- where almost everything of importance is linked to or controlled by computers -- falls prey to hackers, with catastrophic results."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Call for Papers

The Fifth Islamic Manuscript Conference: Access and Rights, 24 - 26 July, Christ's College, Cambridge "The Association invites submissions of papers for its annual conference on topics related to the care, management, and study of Islamic manuscripts. In 2009, the Conference will specifically address the issue of access to manuscripts. Improving access to manuscripts through digitisation and electronic ordering and delivery systems whilst ensuring their proper long-term preservation is fundamental to the successful future study of the Islamic heritage. Presently, technologies are available that have the potential to transform the way manuscripts are studied; however, the access these technologies can allow is counterbalanced by collection holders' concerns regarding their legal rights and the financial sustainability of their organisations. During the Fifth Islamic Manuscript Conference these vital issues will be discussed by our invited speakers and selected paper presenters."

Unfortunate news: "The International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) will be closed as per 1 January 2009, due to the lack of adequate funding." [source: ISIM]

ISIM (based in Leiden, The Netherlands) produced the top-quality ISIM Review for several years, as well as supporting other scholarly endeavours and encouraging postgraduate research. It includes articles relating to the research area of this blog. In terms of its international relevance and profile, and the topicality of its research area, it seems to be a poorly thought-out example of a bureacratic cost-cutting exercise.

Details of a petition can be found at Dervish (although it may be too late!)

Several articles about Pakistan can be found in IIAS Newsletter, Autumn 2008, which has just arrived on my desk.

Times Online, Asylum seeker Faiz Baluch is 'casualty of post-September 11th geo-politics', 5 Jan 09 "Mr Baluch, 27, and his co-defendant, Hyrbair Marri, 40, are on trial at Woolwich Crown Court accused of gathering information to help the BLA, which is proscribed in Britain, and inciting murder in Pakistan via websites from their homes in London."

The website referred to in this prosecution is still live.
Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari

Independent, Bhutto daughter pays tribute with YouTube rap, 5 Jan 09

"Like any child who has lost a parent, it was only natural that Benazir Bhutto's eldest daughter would wish to express her grief for her murdered mother. Less obvious, perhaps, was that the tribute would come in the form of a mournful rap song."

Plenty of coverage of this in the media. The sound quality could be better on this track (there are subtitles). Here's the video:


AFP, Malaysia mulls 'cyber court' to handle Internet crimes, 6 Jan 09, "Malaysia is considering establishing a "cyber court" to deal with the increasing number of crimes related to the Internet and blogging, a report said Tuesday.

"Communications Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor said more than 30 Internet-linked cases had been submitted to the country's attorney general in the past three years."

Monday, January 05, 2009


Amidst the thousands of possible links and pages, here are some selected materials specifically related to the central theme of this blog. Usual disclaimers apply.

Key sources:

Palestine Blogs feeds aggregator

AlJazeera, Live Twitter updates on Gaza

Sabbah's Blog

Facebook, End the siege on Gaza now....معا لأجل فك الحصار عن غزة

AlJazeera, Civilian deaths mount in Gaza war, 5 Jan 09

BBC News, Aftermath of Gaza raids

Other materials (including commentaries):

alArabiyya: Gallery

UNRWA, Stop the Killing in Gaza "The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Karen AbuZayd, expressed her horror to the extensive destruction visited upon Gaza Strip today and her deep sadness to the terrible loss in human life. UNRWA, the United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, strongly urges the Israeli Government to heed calls for ceasing its bombardment on Gaza. Israel is a signatory to international conventions that protect non-combatants in times of conflict. These conventions are worthless if they are not upheld."

Action by Churches Together (ACT) - Switzerland/Alertnet, ACT: Eyewitnesses in Gaza: "They kill our children at home", 2 Jan 09 "Reports from Palestinians, who ACT International works with, have a different story to tell. The situation is described as "horrendous". Children are hungry, scared and cold. People have to stay in their homes, more or less exposed to the bombing, just hoping to stay alive."

Ha'aretz (Israel), IDF shell kills Palestinian family of seven near Gaza City, 5 Jan 09 (includes film coverage)

Globes (Israel), Hackers take battle with Hamas to cyberspace, Campaigns have been launched to crash Hamas servers. Pro-Palestinian hackers are attacking Israeli websites. "An Israeli Internet initiative is recruiting surfers for cyberwarfare to crash hostile websites. Help Israel Win is inviting users to download a file that can overload Hamas servers, causing them to crash. 5,000 people have joined this effort so far."

SC Magazine, Muslim hackers attack Israeli websites as Gaza strikes continue, 31 Dec 08 "Muslim hackers have launched a massive cyberattack, defacing more than 300 Israeli websites since the Jewish state began pounding Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, a computer forensics expert said this week.

"And operators of pro-Israeli websites operating in the United States should expect similar assaults to come their way, said Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham."

Wired, YouTube, Twitter: Weapons in Israel's Info War, 30 Dec 08 "The Jerusalem Post quotes Maj. Avital Leibovich, the head of the Israeli Defense Forces' foreign press branch on the digital media campaign. "The blogosphere and new media are another war zone," she says. "We have to be relevant there.""

International Business Times, Gaza Battle Online as Israeli Army Takes to YouTube, 31 Dec 08 "The top viewed video on the channel has more nearly 100,000 views as of Wednesday. It is said to show the Israeli Air Force striking a government complex used by Hamas on December 30 "which has targeted innocent civilians in a campaign of terror."", Israel Drafts YouTube, Netanyahu to Woo World Opinion on Gaza, 1 Jan 09 "“This conflict will not be decided on the battlefield, but on the media front,” said Gabi Weimann, a professor of communications at Haifa University. “Both sides know there will be some sort of compromise imposed on them, so this is not just an exchange of fire but one of messages and images.”"

Press Association, Israel's military YouTube message, 1 Jan 09 "Supporters of Gaza's Hamas rulers have posted images of the devastating Israeli offensive on both popular websites and on blogs, uploading images of the carnage and suffering in the tiny seaside territory.

"The militants themselves regularly update their websites in Arabic and English. In addition, they broadcast images of masked, uniformed fighters on Hamas TV, which was bombed by Israeli warplanes but continues to broadcast from a mobile unit. Taking its campaign to the virtual world, the military spokesman's office has opened a YouTube channel containing footage it says was taken during the five-day Israeli assault against Gaza's militant Hamas rulers."

TimesOnline, Gaza: secondary war being fought on the internet, 31 Dec 08 " ... on social networking site Facebook, a battle has emerged between quasi-official pro and anti-Israeli posters. One group, 'I Support the Israel Defence Forces In Preventing Terror Attacks From Gaza,' set up on Monday by a former Israeli Army veteran, has so far accumulated 22,964 members. Counter-groups have been set up opposing it.

"The Hamas web operation has also sprung into action online. The group has relied on shocking images of civilian casualties taken by local media workers to rally people to its cause. The images have also been placed on Islamist websites, along with messages calling for Israel's destruction."

Abdul Bari Atwan, GulfNews, Israel will not be able to uproot Hamas, 4 Jan 09
, "Though governments remain silent, the Arab world is at boiling point as ordinary people respond to the suffering of Gaza's children, evidenced day after day on their televisions, on the internet and in newspapers."

Tariq Ramadan, The Guardian, An alliance of values, 2 Jan 09 "Listening to the feelings expressed by Muslims around the world one gets a sentiment of anger and revolt mixed with a deep sense of helplessness. The current massacres are but a confirmation of the well-known: the "international community" does not really care about the Palestinians, and it is as if the state of Israel, with the support of the US and some European countries, has imposed a state of intellectual terror. Among the presidents and kings, nobody dares to speak out; nobody is ready to say the truth. All are paralysed by fear."

Malaysian Insider, As Gaza burns, politicians rush to champion Palestinian cause, 5 Jan 09

Juan Cole, Informed Comment, Have Bush and the Neocons Ruined it for the Israelis?, 5 Jan 09
Mostafa Hosni

Profile of Mostafa Hosni:

LA Times, Imam for a new generation, 31 Dec 08

"Hosni's path is similar to that of other popular TV preachers, such as Amr Khaled and Moez Masoud, charismatic men who started in commerce and were eventually drawn to religious fervor and a desire to repackage Islam. This brand of preacher has not eclipsed the influence of imams and clerics, but it has forced traditional holy men to reckon with the power of the Internet and the allure of simplifying centuries-old texts to fit modern times."

Middle East Online, Where’s Osama?, 5 Jan 09

"How likely is it that Osama bin Laden, the defender of the oppressed Moslems, “the perpetrator of 9/11” as they tell us, would remain silent in the face of the Israeli massacre of the helpless Palestinians in Gaza? Asks Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.

Tehran Times, Holy Quran encyclopedia now online, 3 Jan 09, "The encyclopedia of the Holy Quran and Quranic Sciences, recently launched by experts at the Computer Research Center of Islamic Sciences in Qom, is now available on the Internet.

"The website contains over 2000 issues on the Quran, questions and answers on the Quran, as well as articles and about 700 abstracts of students theses collected by experts at the center."

Arabic version of
English version of
Science & Islam

BBC Four, Science & Islam "Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries."Coming soon to tv, iPlayer, etc.
Ahmad al-Shugairi

NYT, Preaching Moderate Islam and Becoming a TV Star, 2 Jan 09 "As Ahmad al-Shugairi took the stage, dressed in a flowing white gown and headdress, he clutched a microphone and told his audience that he had no religious training or titles: “I am not a sheik.”" More information on: Facebook: Ahmad al-Shugari
Omar Bakri Muhammad

Telegraph, Omar Bakri accused of training al-Qaeda terrorists, 2 Jan 09 "An arrest warrant has been issued by Lebanese security forces over allegations the preacher gave weapons training to an extremist group called al-Qaeda Lebanon."

On a related theme: MailOnline, Hate preacher Omar Bakri instructs followers to convert aliens to Islam, 3 Jan 08 "A security source is reported to have said: 'Perhaps he could show his people the way - it would give everyone a break if he was beamed up.'"

Michelle Chen, In These Times, Live Chat—Resistance Now!, 30 Dec 08 "In October, a popular video-sharing website abruptly shut down. Notices circulated on the Web explained that the site’s operators had been forced offline but were “making necessary arrangements” to relaunch. That was unwelcome news to some of AqsaTube’s most devoted followers, however." Includes quote from myself.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Digital Islam, Across Cultural Divides: Data Protection and Islam (announcement) "Prof. Joe Cannataci has co-edited a special issue on "Across cultural divides; Data Protection and Islam" of the Journal "Information and Communications Technology Law", published by Taylor and Francis under the Routledge imprint. The issue contains five articles dealing with the highly topical and mostly neglected problematics of data protection in the Muslim world."

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Telegraph, Terrorists launder cash through online gambling, 1 Jan 09 "At a select conference on the Terrorist Threat to Britain experts from Jane's Intelligence Group said an online community was growing with younger and more impressionable people inadvertently sponsoring terrorism."