Monday, March 30, 2009

'Strings of Freedom' controversy

AP, Palestinian orchestra shut after Holocaust concert, 29 Mar 09 includes a reference to Yad Vashem's Arabic website. Expect the orchestra to feature heavily on online fora in the next few weeks.

Also see NYT, Concert for Holocaust Survivors Is Condemned, 29 Mar 09 "Adnan al-Hindi, the leader of the camp’s Popular Committee, a grass-roots group representing the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the young musicians had been exploited by the orchestra director, Wafaa Younis, for the purpose of “normalizing” ties with Israel. He said by telephone that the children had been “deceived” and dragged unwittingly into a political situation that “served enemy interests” and aimed to “destroy the Palestinian national spirit in the camp.”"

Google Street View: mosques (Bristol)

Islam in Britain, Google Street View: mosques (Bristol) pix have been added. I decided to keep the images on Islam in Britain's blog from now on...

Mohammed Al-Aoufi

Habib Trabelsi, Middle East Online, Saudi Jihadist accuses Iran of sponsoring Qaeda, 30 Mar 09, "A repentant member of Al-Qaeda, the Saudi Arabian Mohammed Al-Aoufi, claimed last Friday that Yemen has become a rear camp for terrorist operations in neighbouring countries, in particular Saudi Arabia, accusing Iran of sponsoring “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.”"


CSM, Cyber spy network with global reach raises alarms, 29 Mar 09 "A group of hackers based almost exclusively in China has hacked into 1,295 computers in 103 countries. Canadian researchers at the University of Toronto revealed that cyber spies infiltrated systems in foreign ministries, embassies, international organizations, and the offices of the Dalai Lama. Thirty percent of the targeted computers could be considered "high-value" targets. No US government computers were compromised; however, the cyber spies broke into a NATO computer for half a day."

'Saudi's Most Wanted'

Waq al-Waq, al-Qahtani in Sada al-Malahim, 29 Mar 09 "Nayf Muhammad al-Qahtani's article in Sada al-Malahim on Saudi's most wanted list of 85 suspects gives some good background information on a handful of current leaders, particularly al-Wahayshi, Qasim al-Raymi and Said al-Shihri...."

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (+ generation gap?)

Caryle Murphy, CSM/ABC News, Jihadi Dispute Points to Deeper Radicalism Among Youths: A Leading Jihadi Theologian Is Under Fire for 'Moderating' His Views, 29 Mar 09"The attacks on Jordanian cleric Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who was spiritual adviser for the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, are significant because of Mr. Maqdisi's longtime stature as a revered spiritual mentor who legitimizes violence with his religious interpretations of Islamic sacred texts.

"For some outside experts, the bitter verbal dispute in jihadi online forums is alarming because it heralds the emergence of an even more radicalized younger generation of violent extremists."

Significant issue - generating significant online responses.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Google Street View: mosques (Swansea)

A further part of this ongoing series of images of mosques from Street View (also posted on the Islam in Britain blog):

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Swansea City Mosque & Islamic Centre‎

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Imam Khoei Islamic Centre

I was unable to locate an image of the Hafod Islamic Centre or the Swansea University mosque.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Google Street View: mosques (Glasgow)

Today, in my street view tour, takes me briefly to Glasgow:

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Glasgow Central Mosque (not the best view)

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al-Furqan Mosque

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According to various maps, this is Madrassah Mosque in Dixon Ave. I have no knowledge of Glasgow however, and the site has no labels. Clearly, this is one of the issues associated with Street View (and its use in an academic setting).

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Egypt blogging crackdown

The Guardian Weekly, Egypt cracks down on bloggers, 27 Mar 2009

"In Egypt, victims of a repressive society are daring to find their voice online, writes Patrice Claude in Le Monde." Useful summary.


The Statesman, ‘Arrest’ after UK charity’s terror turn, 27 Mar 09 "Bangladesh authorities today arrested the UK-based financer of an Islamic seminary, from where a huge cache of weapons and ammunition was seized this week.

"The financer of the madrasa-cum-orphanage on the south-western island of Bhola, identified as Faisal, who lives in London and runs a UK-based charity was arrested in Dhaka, officials said preferring anonymity."

also see Guardian, My son is innocent, says father of Briton held on terror charges in Bangladesh, 27 Mar 09

Nik Aziz on Kelantan's Digital Divide

Bernama, Only 10 Per Cent Of Kelantan Population Are Internet Users, 26 Mar 09, "Only 100,000 of the 1.5 million people in Kelantan are internet users, Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said.

"He said although they formed only 10 per cent of the state population, the gap would become wider if no action was taken to bridge the digital gap.

"The communication gap between the internet and non-internet users would be wider and also between that of those with and without knowledge, he said at the launch of the Wifi Aptus Net and the Tok Guru Blog here today.

"Nik Abdul Aziz said efforts should be made to get more people, like senior citizens, housewives, traders, imams and students at "pondok" (religious) schools, to be computer savvy and learn to surf the internet for information.

""Surfing the internet can help enrich our knowledge," he added."

And here is Nik Aziz's blog, with integrated video.


Palestinian rap group DAM have a new video, Alef to Ya

seen on hawgblawg

More on MySpace. Interesting to note that they are touring US in April, which is bound to capture some attention. Other rap perspectives are available (as discussed in Mark Levine's entertaining 'Heavy Metal Islam')


AFP, Iraq kidnappers claim deal to free Britons: report, 27 Mar 09 "A group that kidnapped five British men in Baghdad nearly two years ago claims a deal is in place to release the hostages in exchange for prisoners being held by US forces in Iraq.

""There is an agreement between Britain and the US and our group," Abu Ali, a leader of the Shiite Iraqi movement claiming to hold the hostages, said in an interview with Arabic online newspaper Elaph published on Thursday."

Facebook Arabic

The National, Arabic language finds a friend, 20 Mar 09, "A version of a popular networking website in Arabic is being hailed by media and business analysts as a step forward in bringing more of the language’s 250 million speakers online."

I've previously blogged on Facebook Arabic, but this is a useful summary.


Proving that, alas, it is impossible to take a break in this field of study, here's Thomas Hegghammer Jihadica, Back. A succinct title, article points to recent material issued online by Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. Also pdf links to Sada al-Malahim 8 and Turkestan al-Islamiyya 3.

Malaysia: Nik Aziz - "No Smoking"

alarabiyya, Muslim smokers worse than cows: Malaysia cleric, 27 Mar 09, "Muslims who smoke and try to portray themselves as religious are worse than cows that defecate in the street, a top Malaysian Muslim cleric and politician said on Friday, pointing out that smoking was banned in Islam because the habit was hazardous to health." also refers to an Indonesian fatwa on smoking

Radio 1: Istanbul

iPlayer, Gilles Peterson takes us on a guided tour of Istanbul, Turkey. BBC Radio 1, 9:00pm Tuesday 24th March 2009
Duration: 60 minutes Available until: 11:02pm Tuesday 31st March 2009

I have yet to hear this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Princeton Digital Library, New digital library of Islamic manuscripts online, 16 Mar 09 "Princeton University has placed a new digital library of 200 Islamic manuscripts online for scholars to consult and study.

"These manuscripts were selected from some 9,500 volumes of Islamic manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and other languages of the Muslim world in the University Library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton's extraordinary holdings constitute the premier collection in the Western Hemisphere and among the finest in the world, according to Don Skemer, curator of manuscripts."

Click this link to access the library. Be persistent. I got a '404' first couple of times of trying...

Google Street View: mosques (Manchester)

I've chosen a few from Manchester today. Clearly, it would be possible - given time and endurance - to build up a complete picture. I may well assemble these pictures onto the main website in due course. It can take time to locate mosques, using postcodes and cross-referencing, given that the results are often not immediate. There are some mosques which have good pix on flickr, but are obscured in Street View. I have ended up on several detours, but presumably this situation will improve in due course, unless someone pulls the plug. I'm keeping an archive copy of the snapshots as well. It helps to have a fast connection ... This is also on my islaminbritain blog. We could take it international as well (any offers?):

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View Larger Map Central Mosque & Islamic Cultural Centre‎

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'Conversion narratives' ++, Monitoring online chat is essential to disrupt terror recruitment, 26 Mar 09 "Despite a large opposition to government plans to increase its electronic surveillance, Dr James W Jones, professor of religion and adjunct professor of clinical psychology at Rutgers University in the US, says the modern recruitment of extremists could be wholly online and explains the actions that could prevent it."

Ayman al-Zawahiri

AFP, Al-Qaeda deputy tells Sudan's Beshir to 'repent': SITE, 25 Mar 09 "Al-Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri urged the people of Sudan to prepare for guerrilla war and for President Omar al-Beshir to "repent," in an Internet video message released on Tuesday.

"Zawahiri said Beshir's regime is "reaping what it sowed," in reference to the International Criminal Court arrest warrant against the veteran Sudanese president this month on charges of war crimes over the conflict in Darfur."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CONTEST2, Home Office unveils CONTEST2 strategy, 24 Mar 09 articulates UK government policy in a number of areas, including in relation to the net. I have only skimmed this at present, and have more about CONTEST2 on Islam in Britain


Times of India, Haj pilgrims to get digital passes in place of passports, 23 Mar 2009

Google Street View: mosques (Bradford)

Also posted in the Islam in Britain blog:

Here is today's random selection, this time from Bradford. The picture will become more comprehensive in due course. Clearly, Google's data collecting vehicles didn't go down every street, or couldn't access specific sites. To this data, there's a considerable amount - of course - on the general Google Maps pages, including directory information and links to flikr etc. It's interesting to see the integration of mosques into the urban landscape. Also relevant as a basic research tool...

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I plan to continue this 'snapshot' onto further UK cities in due course.


Alex Crawford, Sky News, 'Threat Of Britons Trained By Al Qaeda', 24 Mar 09 "Pakistan has monitored more than 20 Britons believed to have spent time with radical militant groups and then returned to the UK, Sky News has learned."

Social Networking Monitoring

Guardian, Home Office defends plan to monitor social network conversations, 25 Mar 09 "A Home Office spokesman said that the internet eavesdropping plan, which would be set out in the next few weeks, would cover any social network that allows people to chat to one another, including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter as well as internet calls on Skype." Quite how this is to be resourced raises some intriging logistical issues - clearly, it has relevant to those interested in this blog's research area.

Time 'A Quiet Revolution Grows in the Muslim World'

Robin Wright, Time, A Quiet Revolution Grows in the Muslim World, 19 Mar 09 "Today's revolution is more vibrantly Islamic than ever. Yet it is also decidedly antijihadist and ambivalent about Islamist political parties. Culturally, it is deeply conservative, but its goal is to adapt to the 21st century. Politically, it rejects secularism and Westernization but craves changes compatible with modern global trends. The soft revolution is more about groping for identity and direction than expressing piety. The new revolutionaries are synthesizing Koranic values with the ways of life spawned by the Internet, satellite television and Facebook. For them, Islam, you might say, is the path to change rather than the goal itself. "It's a nonviolent revolution trying to mix modernity and religion," Ziada says, honking as she makes her way through Cairo's horrendous traffic for a meeting of one of the rights groups she works with."

'Internet Jihad' opinion piece

Kathy Shaidle,, Islam in America Series: Internet Jihad, 23 Mar 09 Opinion piece.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Google Street View: mosques (Cardiff)

After yesterday's blog entry, with a few London mosques, here are some from Cardiff:

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More to follow.

Khadija Abdul Qahaar

CTV, Canadian abducted in Pakistan pleads for life in video, 20 Mar 09 "A Canadian woman being held hostage in Pakistan says time is running out and her militant captors will behead her soon if a ransom isn't paid.

"Vancouver's Beverly Giesbrecht, who converted to Islam and is now known as Khadija Abdul Qahaar, has been held since November."


AFP, Malaysia says press incited 'hatred' for govt, 24 Mar 09, "Two Malaysian opposition newspapers that have been banned for three months were punished for inciting hatred against the government, the home minister said, according to reports Tuesday.

"The opposition has said it fears a media crackdown is under way, after action was taken against Suara Keadilan, run by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan party, and Harakah, published by the Islamic party PAS."

Their websites appear to be up at present:

Suara Keadilan


Combating Terrorism Center

AFP, Post 9/11, US cadets learning to 'know the enemy', 23 Mar 09 "The Combating Terrorism Center, set up in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, aims to prepare cadets at the nation's premier military academy to confront the shifting geo-political realities of the 21st century."

Combating Terrorism Center includes links to related publications. Their programme has a focus on online activities.


Global Voices Online, Maldives: Free Speech Under Threat, 23 Mar 09 "In early March Mohamed Nasheed, the new President of the Maldives, met with Frank La Rue, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. In the meeting Nasheed expressed his government’s commitment to free speech and announced that Maldives will be made a haven for dissident writers from countries such as Burma. However, within a week writers from Maldives found their right to expression at risk as the government instructed the two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country to ban several websites and a blog."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Google Street View: mosques

Google Street View has received a mixed press recently, especially in terms of privacy issues. It would be quite interesting to set up a mosque street view mash-up. Given a few spare hours, I could have found plenty more in the UK and elsewhere. Here are a few random examples from London:

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al-Sakeenah Saudi Arabia

Arab News, Internet forum for peace gets hundreds to repent, 23 Mar 09

"Al-Sakeenah, an online organization that promotes moderate thinking by spreading Islamic knowledge and strengthening concepts of loyalty and belonging, claims that more than 1,170 deviants have rejected violence and extremist ideologies through its efforts.

"“It was an idea that came to the mind of three volunteers as a result of what they witnessed in chat rooms and on websites,” said Khaled Al-Mashlooh, the brain behind the Sakeenah website."

Fatwa Fatigue

NPR, Concern Grows Over Proliferation Of Fatwas, 23 Mar 09, "An explosion of fatwas on television and the Internet has led to contradictory and occasionally bizarre decrees.

"Now one lawmaker in Egypt is proposing a radical solution — to jail unqualified fatwa-givers."

Includes audio report. Seems an unlikely solution, given internet application of e-fatwas.


Vanguard/, Africa: SMS to Drive Continent, Middle East Mobile Data Uptake, 23 Mar 09 "In Africa and the Middle East, SMS revenue is expected to almost double to nearly $12 billion in 2013, far exceeding the revenues of higher-end data services such as MMS or mobile broadband. The report stated that "the significance of this development goes beyond the revenue opportunity coming directly from peer-to-peer SMS. Several operators have found ways to capitalize on subscribers' new familiarity with SMS to increase not only their data ARPS, but their voice ARPS, too."

Oman e-commerce, Oman's Internet users spent US$ 236 million in 2008 on retail e-commerce, 16 Mar 09 "Arab Advisors major online survey of Oman's Internet users revealed that 40.2% of adult Internet users in Oman have used e-commerce. The Arab Advisors Group estimates the number of Oman Internet users who use e-commerce to be more than 158,000 which is around 5.62% of the total population in Oman, spending US$ 236 million in e-commerce transactions in 2008."

Mapping, Ayna Launches Free Mobile Mapping Service For The Arab World, 17 Mar 09 "After launching their online mapping service last year, Ayna has gone on and launched the first locally produced Arabic and English mobile mapping service as promised."

Forum Activity

CBS News, Member of Militant Internet Forum Requests Plane Hijacking Manual, 18 Mar 09 "A militant Islamist Internet forum member going by the name “Deeb Mohammed” posted an “urgent request” on a number of websites yesterday. He appealed to fellow forum members to provide him with all material available on planes hijacking. “Please provide me with everything you got on the hijacking of planes, books, videos, trainings…etc.,” he said."

Not exactly a 'headline', as there is plenty of content like this available on various fora.

Yemen: Organisation of Islamic Jihad, Yemeni sentenced to death in Israel spy case, 23 Mar 09, "The prosecution charged Haidari with corresponding with Olmert through emails, one of which said: "We are the Organization of Islamic Jihad and you are Jews, but you are honest, and we are ready to do anything."

"The charge sheet said Olmert responded to Haidari, also known as Abu al-Ghaith, welcoming his offer to collaborate."

Middle East Media

Guardian, Middle East Media (Supplement), 23 Mar 09

Friday, March 20, 2009

Conference: Thirty Years On: The Social and Cultural Impacts of the Iranian Revolution

SOAS, Thirty Years On: The Social and Cultural Impacts of the Iranian Revolution, 5-6 June 2009 "This conference proposes to focus on these contradictory developments in the social and cultural lives of Iranians since the revolution. It aims to bring some of the best-known practitioners in the media and contemporary arts inside Iran together with academicians and theoreticians of these developments in a unique encounter. The first day will focus mainly on social issues and changing values around women and young people, while the second day will examine novel forms of cultural expressivity including rap music and blogging."

Includes a session on Social networking and the internet: from Facebook to Orkut, which sounds interesting.

Iran; Revolutionary Guards 'Cyber Crime Wing'

AFP/IOL, Iran cracks down on anti-Islamic Internet sites, 19 Mar 09 "The Revolutionary Guards, set up to defend the Islamic republic, said it has "dismantled several networks that had set up anti-religious, anti-revolution and obscene Internet sites."

"It said the groups behind these sites were based in foreign countries, particularly in the United States and had published "articles against the Islamic revolution, religious values and also released pornographic material."

"It did not name the Internet sites nor reveal the identities of the groups that had set up these sites, but accused Internet search giant Google and other similar companies of "offering financial support" to these groups."

Iran: Mohammad Ali Dadkhah

Times Online, Iranian blogger who insulted leader 'dies in jail', 19 Mar 09 "A young Iranian blogger jailed in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for insulting the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has died, his lawyer said today.

"Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said that although there is not yet an official report about the death yesterday of Omid Mir Sayafi, “officials in the prison said that he committed suicide.""

Iran; Revolutionary Guards 'Cyber Crime Wing' II

Reuters, Iran says uncovers foreign-backed Internet plot, 19 Mar 09 "Iran has arrested a number of people accused of setting up anti-religious and obscene web sites as part of a foreign-backed plot to undermine the Islamic Republic, Iranian media reported on Thursday.

"The semi-official Fars News Agency listed the initials of 26 people it said were involved in the case but it did not make clear whether all of them had been detained in an operation by the intelligence arm of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards."

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Nova Scotia Scott, Maldives censors Christians and dissidents, 18 Mar 09 "The Ministry of Islamic Affairs in the Maldives has been busy blocking access to dissident, Christian, and other unIslamic websites. Ironically, this occurs only one week after President Mohamed Nasheed announced his intention to make the Maldives a safe haven for oppressed journalists from other countries."

Report draws on several bloggers' accounts on events in the Maldives.

Publication on Saudi Arabia and Iran

non-tech new publication Rand Report, Saudi-Iranian Relations Since the Fall of Saddam: Rivalry, Cooperation, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Also available as a PDF

"The often tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been at the center of many of the major political shifts that have occurred in the Middle East since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. This volume documents a study of how relations between the two powers have unfolded in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine from 2003 through January 2009. Wehrey et al. detail the complex and multidimensional relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran and its implications for regional stability and U.S. interests. In doing so, the authors challenge conventional thinking about Saudi-Iranian relations, arguing, for example, that Sunni-Shi'a distinctions are not the key driver in dealings between the two nations, that the two states have a tendency to engage on areas of common interest, and that the notion of a watertight bloc of Gulf Arab states opposing Iran is increasingly unrealistic. The study concludes with U.S. policy recommendations for leveraging the Saudi-Iranian relationship, particularly in the context of a U.S. drawdown in Iraq, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the Iranian nuclear issue."


AP, Bin Laden rallies Somali militants in Web message, 19 Mar 09 "Al-Qaida's chief Osama bin Laden denounced Somalia's new president, who was elected as part of a peace push in the lawless African country, and urged in a new audio recording Thursday on the Internet for Somali militants to topple him.

"The 11-and-a half minute recording was released by al-Qaida's media arm As-Sahab and posted on militant Web sites known as clearing houses for Islamic messaging."

Iran - 'Messenger Service'

BBC Monitoring/OS Info, Iran launches messenger service for Islamic resistance groups, 18 Mar 09

""Today, in cooperation with individuals waiting for the emergence of His Holiness Vali-e Asr [reference to the absent twelfth Shi'i Imam], the Association of the Supporters of Islamic Resistance has succeeded in designing an Islamic resistance messenger service and indigenising it. This service provides the possibility of establishing text, audio and video communication between different resistance groups all over the world, and continuous communication has already been established between Islamic resistance groups all over the world.""" 11 Mar 09

Babar Ahmed

MCB, MCB Welcomes Metropolitan Police Decision to Compensate Babar Ahmed, 18 Mar 09

"Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said, “The MCB is very pleased with the decision of the Metropolitan Police offering Babar Ahmed compensation for the treatment he suffered while in custody. Good sense has at long last prevailed."

Long-running case, with web element

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New chapter: L'islam digitale (Internet)

Gary R. Bunt, 'L'islam digitale (Internet)', Le religioni e il mondo moderno III. Islam, A cura di Giovanni Filoramo, Roberto Tottoli (Torino: Einaudi, 2009)

"Il terzo volume di Le religioni e il mondo moderno è dedicato al rapporto tra Islam e modernità. Si tratta di un tema oggi al centro dell'attenzione dell'opinione pubblica occidentale per una serie di motivi troppo noti per insistervi, i cui effetti in ogni caso toccano sempre più i vari paesi europei. Anche se il confronto dell'Islam con la modernità è ben piú antico e meritevole di adeguati approfondimenti e di un'adeguata contestualizzazione storica, la centralità che questo confronto ha assunto nel villaggio globale negli ultimi trent'anni spiega la scelta, a differenza dei due volumi precedenti, di privilegiare una «storia presente» di questi rapporti."

'Pakistan's Taliban Generation'

Channel 4, Pakistan's Taliban Generation, 12 Mar 09 Site includes interactive map. I know some of this area from my travels some time back. Reporter Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy writes:

"Three hours' drive north of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, the flat highway gives way to the windy roads that weave through the Hindu Kush mountains. At the mouth of the Swat valley lies the town of Qambar. A desolate unmanned police station is the only sign that the government's writ was once established here."

UK readers can 'catch up' on the episode online here

Readers elsewhere should petition their local broadcasters to transmit this programme.

Kurdish Qur'an

Reuters, Turkey to translate Koran into Kurdish, 18 Mar 09 "Islam's holy book the Koran is to be translated into Kurdish as part of Turkey's efforts to boost the rights of Kurds and to meet European Union political standards, the state-run religious authority said Wednesday." It'll be interesting to see if this publication emerges online.

UAE: Digital Forensics

Khaleej Times, Hi-tech Lab to Help Fight Cyber Crimes, 18 Mar 09 "The UAE will soon have a state-of-the-art digital forensics laboratory to aid the work of law enforcement agencies in tackling cyber crime in the UAE.

"The centre, the first of its kind in the emirates, is being established following an agreement between Zayed University and First Information Security, a UAE-based information security and forensics company."

Zaky the Purple Bear (!)

Something for everyone in today's blog:

Sydney Morning Herald, Meet Zaky, the purple bear with a message of tolerance, 16 Mar 09 "Zaky's creator, Sydney film producer Subhi Alshaik, describes the mild-mannered cartoon character as "the opposite of Bart Simpson" who teaches "good, ethical, moral messages". Zaky also aims to dispel some of the ugly stereotypes about Islam among non-Muslims."

Report: 'Enemies of the Internet'

MENASAAT, RSF examines “Internet enemies” of the world in new report, 16 Mar 09"In the report titled, “Enemies of the Internet,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) accused authorities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Tunisia, of “transforming their Internet into an Intranet,” in an effort to hinder the public from accessing online information deemed “undesirable” by the national government."

Link: RSF report 'Enemies of the Internet'

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Abdul Hakim Murad

Ali Eteraz, Guardian, 'Comment is free', An imam who can, 17 Mar 09 "Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad is perhaps the most significant British Muslim leader around. It is too bad that so few people know about him. Now that he has launched the Cambridge Muslim College, which is designed to train "local" specialists in Islamic knowledge who are able to "celebrate their identity" as British and Muslim, he should be given his due and treated like a national asset."

The output of Abdul Hakim Murad (Tim Winter) can be widely found online. Here's Masud's list (also mentioned in Ali Eteraz's article)

New Muslim Cool

hawgblawg, New Muslim Cool: Upcoming PBS documentary on POV

New Muslim Cool official website



alarabiyya, Arabs seek partners via matchmaking channels, 16 Mar 09 "Satellite channels are an increasingly popular matchmaking tool, especially among Saudi and Egyptian women, who are more dependent on them than other Arab women the study found.

"Siham Ahmed Azab, assistant professor of sociology at King Abdulaziz University, spearheaded the study, which found the proportion of females relying on satellite channels for marriage higher than the number of Arab males who use these channels.

"One such channel is Wasit al Khair, a Gulf channel that acts as a SMS forum for marriage seekers. Participants send SMS messages describing themselves and the partner they seek that are posted on the screen."

Quran Contemporary Connections

alarabiyya, Quran is compatible with modern US values: Film, 16 Mar 09 "Quran Contemporary Connections, set to be released online in the coming months, is a documentary-type film based on research by a group of American professors who were asked to delve deep into the minds of Muslims and find out if the Quran is out of step with modern times."

Film website: Quran Contemporary Connections contains trailers, downloads, etc.

Saudi Arabia: Rap

MEMRI blog, First Local Rap Album Released In Saudi Arabia, 11 Mar 09 "A rap album by the Saudi rap singer Clash and his band has sparked a dispute in the country."

haven't had time to seek the track out yet (pointers welcome)

Osama bin Laden: Playstation

CBS News Investigates, ‘Joystick Hunt’ For Bin Laden, 16 Mar 09 "Members of militant Islamist Internet forums distributed a video walkthrough of a PlayStation game called “Fugitive Hunter” showing an animation of Bin Laden fighting the “bad guys".

Osama bin Laden statement reaction

CBS News Investigates, Internet Jihadis Respond to OBL’s Call, 16 Mar 09 "Members of militant Islamist Internet forums immediately responded to the call made by al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in his last audio statement Saturday to distribute certain jihadi literature among youths throughout the Muslim world."

Dysfunction and Decline: Lessons Learned from Inside al Qa'ida in Iraq

Brian Fishman, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Dysfunction and Decline: Lessons Learned from Inside al Qa'ida in Iraq, March 2009 "Dysfunction and Decline: Lessons Learned from Inside al-Qa`ida in Iraq is the latest in a series of CTC reports based in part on documents declassified from the Department of Defense’s Harmony Database. It is being released along with a collection of declassified Harmony documents that informed the report.

"Drawing on al-Qa`ida in Iraq’s own lessons-learned documents, Dysfunction and Decline identifies a number of structural weaknesses that contributed to AQI’s decline, including creating unrealistic expectations among foreign fighters, weak indoctrination and training mechanisms, and command and control structures that diluted command authority within the group."

Available as a pdf in English and Arabic [haven't read it fully yet]

Significant related online content also available via the Combating Terrorism Center website.

Bab al-Hara

Guardian, The television soap opera that has the Arab world agog, 16 Mar 09 ""It's a reaction to the modern age, to satellite TV and the internet, it's about nostalgia for traditions that are being lost," said Sharaf, lamenting the new sectarianism that has followed the war in Iraq. "In Syria we don't ask people if they are Muslims or Christians, or Sunni or Shia. In Bab al-Hara you don't ask your neighbour who he is, but how he is, and how you can help him.""

non-tech, although you can follow episodes of Bab al-Hara on the net.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Phone banking

AFP, Phone banking service launched in Africa, Mideast, 15 Mar 09 "South African mobile phone operator MTN on Monday said it was launching a banking service on mobile phones in 21 African and Middle East countries where access to traditional banks is poor."

Muxlim Profile

Reuters, Tapping a Muslim online community "Shabana Ahmadzai, 19, and Sara Bahmanpour, 20, like to hang out on a social network a fraction the size of Facebook. Their portraits enhanced by makeup or anime images, the women are logging on at Muxlim, a lifestyle community for Muslims."

Counselling: Internet addiction +

Selma A. Cook, Islam Online, Islamic Approach to Overcoming Addiction "Unfortunately, addiction has become widespread, including that related to play stations, the Iinternet, and shopping as a result of obsessive behavior. In order to overcome obsessive behavior and attain balance and well-being, the person must undergo a long and difficult journey."

Osama bin Laden

al-Jazeera, Bin Laden accuses Arab leaders, 14 Mar 09 "

"Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, has said in an audio tape obtained by Al Jazeera that some Arab leaders were "complicit" with Israel during its offensive in Gaza."

"Bin Laden said in the tape aired on Saturday that Arab leaders were "hypocrites", and that "liberating Jerusalem needed honest Arab leadership" to fight and liberate the Arab people."


Telegraph, Anjem Choudary investigated by police over mujahideen fundraising, 15 Mar 09 "In the recording, posted on the site Islam4UK, Choudary said: "People looking for a place for their money to go so they can go to the front line and they can't find it.

""You have opportunity to carry dawah [spreading the word] to society . . . and you have money that can go towards the dawah, you have money that can go towards the mujahideen.""

Sunday Times, Hate cleric leads jihad cash appeal, 15 Mar 09 "When confronted, Choudary said: “I don’t think I’ve ever said to people ‘raise money and send it to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban’, which is what you are suggesting.”"

Rejoiners and comments:

'Euro-Islam', Muslims in Germany: Vanguards of "Euro-Islam"? "For some people the buzzword "Euro-Islam" is some kind of ominous spectre – right-wing factions like the Pro NRW party, which above all is against the building of mosques, are prophesying an Islamisation of Europe that will lead to its doom. Experts on terrorism also see only the negative side of integration; in September 2007 in the region of Sauerland three German converts to Islam were arrested – they had planned terrorist attacks.

"In the meantime Al Qaida has even started broadcasting its video messages in fluent German – a somewhat paradoxical form of "successful integration"."

'Caucasus Emirate: Virtual Myth or Reality?'

Mikhail Roshchin, Caucasus Emirate: Virtual Myth or Reality?, North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 10 March 13, 2009 " ... the real question is to what extent does the Emirate reflect the existing reality and not a virtual project that is being actively promoted by the radical Muslim websites such as the Kavkaz Center (, for instance. It is apparent that the strongest base of the Emirate is in Chechnya despite certain successes scored by the pro-Russian regime of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in recent years." Interesting article.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bangladesh & YouTube

AFP, Bangladesh lifts YouTube ban over mutiny row, 12 Mar 09 "Bangladesh has lifted a ban on the video-sharing site YouTube after it hosted a recording of an angry dispute between the premier and army officers over a mutiny, an official said Thursday.

"Several similar sites were also blocked on Sunday after the recording, purportedly an argument between the army chiefs and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, was uploaded onto the Internet."

G-Pals, Google Announces G-Pals Day 2009 In Palestine, 12 Mar 09 "Google announced that upon invitation by the Palestine Information & Communications Technology Incubator (PICTI) and Palestinian IT Association (PITA), with support from UPP and USAID, it will be offering specialized training days in Ramallah (West Bank), aiming to spur economic development in Palestine."


Opinion piece:, Notes on Syrian Bloggers Campaign Against Homosexuality, 13 Mar 09 "What I find so interesting about this campaign is that and as I have said above it is an identity-based campaign. Syrian bloggers campaigned to free a fellow Syrian blogger. Tariq Biasi, they campaigned for occupied Palestine and occupied Gaza, they campaigned for occupied Golan Heights also. Campaigns about freedom of speech and Palestinian and Golan liberty does not reflect the “who I am” formula the campaign against homosexuality heavily carries within it."

'Revolution Muslim'

Huffington Post/The Brooklyn Ink, Yousef Al-Khattab, Man Behind Virulent Islamic Website, Grew Up Jewish, 13 Mar 09 ""I don't know if this is my jihad," says Yousef Al-Khattab. "It's my obligation to command the good and forbid the evil." His American based website, Revolution Muslim, has become the scourge of Jewish bloggers and cyber vigilantes across the country, an odd achievement for a person born into Judaism and educated in Jewish schools, who has lived in Hassidic communities in Williamsburg and Jewish settlements in Gaza."

Full story

Revolution Muslim


Christian Institute, Muslims hack Christian web group on Facebook, 13 Mar 09 "Muslims have attacked an internet group of more than 300,000 Christians on the popular social networking website, Facebook, prompting thousands to leave the group.

"Islamic hackers altered the group’s name from “Christians on Facebook” to “La ilaha illallahu Muhammadur Rasulullah”, which means “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” reports TG Daily, a technology news website."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

MEMRI, Scandinavian Islamic Groups Distance Themselves from Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, Following MEMRI Translation of His Statements on Al-Jazeera TV Calling Holocaust "Divine Punishment" For Jews," Warning "Allah Willing, The Next Time Will Be At The Hand of the Believers", MEMRI Special Dispatch - No. 2277, 11 Mar 09 "In response to MEMRI TV's February 1, 2009 release of a translated and subtitled clip capturing prominent Sunni sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi on Al-Jazeera TV in January 2009 calling the Holocaust "divine punishment" for the Jews and warning that "Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers [i.e. Muslims]," and also saying that he would "shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews," it was reported that Muslim Imams and Islamic groups in Scandinavia have distanced themselves from the remarks and are questioning association with Al-Qaradhawi." [footnotes/refs can be found in original article]

Info on MEMRI

Wikipedia MEMRI [article includes discussions on controversial aspects/allegations re MEMRI]

Muntazer al-Zaidi - منتظر الزيدي

alArabiyya, Shoe-throwing "hero" found guilty for assault: Iraq shoe-thrower sentenced to three years jail, 12 Mar 2009, "A Baghdad court sentenced an Iraqi reporter who hurled his shoes at former U.S. president George W. Bush to three years in prison on Thursday.

"Muntazer al-Zaidi worked for al-Baghdadiya television, and earned instant worldwide fame when he threw his shoes at Bush at a news conference in December, calling him a dog."

Wiki: Muntazer al-Zaidi

Iraq: Media

alArabiyya, Iraq media booming, yet still in sectarian grasp, 12 Mar 09 "A boom in local media since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 has given Iraqis a choice between some 200 print outlets, 60 radio stations and 30 TV channels in Arabic, Turkmen, Syriac and two Kurdish dialects.

"Yet most media outlets remain dominated by sectarian and party patrons who use them for their own ends, and have yet to become commercially sustainable enterprises let alone watchdogs keeping government under scrutiny, the favored Western model."


Jihadica, Qandeel Siddique, Child Martyrs, 11 Mar 09, "The Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, led by the famous Masood Azhar, has a strong presence on the Urdu-language wing of the jihadi internet. Among its less savory operations is an online jihadi magazine tailored especially for children, entitled Musalman Bachay [Muslim Children]. In the magazine, Masood Azhar and others regale their young readers with anecdotes from personal battles, as well as fictional pieces, centering on the importance of Islam and being a “good Muslim”, and convincing them of the bravery and honor in pursuing the path of jihad."

Jihadica has significantly boosted its coverage in this subject area, by bringing in Qandeel Siddique to provide Urdu content analysis.


IHT, The globalization of censorship, 12 Mar 09 "How are a few extraordinarily wealthy individuals from the most senior ranks of the world's most brutally repressive societies succeeding in muzzling free speech on major international issues? The unlikely answer is, simply, by "visiting" London."

Saudi Arabia: Society

Mary Fitzgerald, Irish Times, Mobile phones change dating habits as Saudis search for new identity, 11 Mar 09 "Back at the cafe in Jeddah, Jawaher and her friends discuss politics and the place of religion in Saudi society. “When it comes to religion here, there is only one voice – not just Islam, but one particular interpretation of Islam,” complains Badr, who recalls with distaste some of what he was taught in school about other faiths." Useful article. Ref. to Ahmed al-Omran (Saudi Jeans)

Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh

Scotsman, Afghan court accused of corruption as 'blasphemy' student faces 20 years, 12 Mar 09 "The Supreme Court in Afghanistan was accused of being "no better than the Taleban", after an appeal hearing involving the life of a student journalist was allegedly held in secret.

"Almost 18 months after Sayed Pervez Kambaksh was convicted of "offending Islam" and sentenced to death by three mullahs in a secret court, any hope of justice evaporated yesterday, amid gross irregularities, allegations of corruption and coercion."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Report: Countering Online Radicalisation: A Strategy for Action

BBC News, Online extremism tactics 'crude', 10 Mar 09 "The study by radicalisation thinkers warns that governments miss the point if they just close down websites.

"The team based at Kings College London says "self-radicalisation... via the internet with little or no relation to the outside world rarely happens".

"It argues governments must see the internet not as a threat but as an opportunity to combat extremism."

Here's the report link, which takes you to the PDF and Exec Summary:

ICSR, King's College London, Countering Online Radicalisation: A Strategy for Action, 10 Mar 09

"Political extremists and terrorists are increasingly using the internet as an instrument for radicalisation and recruitment. What can be done to counter their activities? Countering Online Radicalisation examines the different technical options for making ‘radical’ internet content unavailable, concluding that they all are either crude, expensive or counter-productive.It sets out a new, innovative strategy which goes beyond ‘pulling the plug’, developing concrete proposals aimed at:

* Deterring the producers of extremist materials
* Empowering users to self-regulate their online communities
* Reducing the appeal of extremist messages through education
* Promoting positive messages"

I haven't read this report yet.

AQIM, Internet Sites Unveil Belhadj Acquaintances with El Qaeda, 10 Mar 09 , "The terrorist organization, now known as “El Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb” has announced the forthcoming publication of newsletters by the former leader of the dissolved Islamic Salvation Front ‘FIS’, Ali Belhadj, under the title “Why we boycott?”. The organization adds that other entries will be published soon."

Facebook Arabic

Guardian, Facebook launches Arabic version, 11 Mar 09 "Facebook, the world's most successful social networking site, has officially launched in Arabic, tapping into a potentially huge market in the Middle East and beyond, the company has announced.'

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh

AKI, Court upholds jail term for 'blasphemous' reporter, 9 Mar 09 "Afghanistan's Supreme Court has upheld a 20-year jail term for blasphemy handed to Afghan journalist Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh, who claimed men and women were equal. Kambakhsh's brother said the family had just learned of the closed-door ruling delivered a month ago in the absence of Yaqub Kambakhsh, his lawyer or family members, the Information Safety and Freedom media watchdog reported on Monday."

iMuslims: Update

Islamic Book Trust (Malaysia) have announced their edition of iMuslims.

Sufi Shrines attacked in Pakistan

The National, Pakistani Taliban target Sufi shrines, 10 Mar 09 also reported elsewhere. "In the highest profile attack to date, militants early on Thursday struck at the shrine of Rehman Baba, a 17th-century Sufi saint and revered poet of the Pashto language. Militants planted explosives against the columns of the mausoleum in Peshawar, causing extensive damage to the structure. It was empty at the time. They struck again late on Thursday, firing rockets at the shrine of Bahadar Baba, located in hills near Nowshera, 40km east of Peshawar."

Also see William Dalrymple's article in The Observer, Wahhabi radicals are determined to destroy a gentler, kinder Islam, 8 Mar 2009 "Behind the violence lies a long theological conflict that has divided the Islamic world for centuries. Rahman Baba believed passionately in the importance of music, poetry and dancing as a path for reaching God, as a way of opening the gates of Paradise. But this use of poetry and music in ritual is one of the many aspects of Sufi practice that has attracted the wrath of modern Islamists. For although there is nothing in the Qur'an that bans music, Islamic tradition has always associated music with dancing girls and immorality, and there is a long tradition of clerical opposition."

Also see The News, Kakakhels to repair Bahadur Baba shrine, 7 Mar 09 "The Kakakhel tribe has announced to repair on self-help basis the shrine of great saint Bahadur Baba that was damaged in a terror incident in the wee hours of Friday."

Background: Wiki: Rahman Baba

Rahman Baba in English

'Cool': Konashah (Konashah), An Arabic Online Notebook Application

", which stands for Konashah, a word that means notebook in Arabic, is just as its name suggests an Arabic online notebook application, made to provide a place for Arab internet users to jot down and save their thoughts, favorite quotes and sites, and anything they’d like to be able to go back to and find in the future."

'The Army of the Nineteen for Media Distribution'

CBS, Online Supporters of Al Qaeda Form Media Committees Named After 9/11 Hijackers, 6 Mar 09

"Members of militant Islamist Internet forums who are supporters of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, formed three committees named after Sept. 11th hijackers Mohammed Atta, Abdel Aziz al Zahrani and Marwan al Shehi.

"Each committee counts a number of senior forum members, and is tasked with spreading Jihadi propaganda across the forums."


CBS, Sudani Islamist Militant Urge Bashir To Repent, Give Bin Laden U.S. $ 200 Million, 9 Mar 09 "Abu Khabab al Sudani, the leader of Sudanese group called Jamaat al Tawhiid Wal Sunna, addressed Sudanese President Omar al Bashir released an Internet statement. He told him that the ICC arrest warrant against him was a well-deserved result for his violations of the Islamic law, his acceptance of the man-made laws, his adherence to international organizations, treaties and agreements, but most importantly for throwing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers out of Sudan on the orders of the leaders of “the Zionist-Crusader front.” "

Uploading Tutorial: Rapidleech

CBS, The Art of Uploading Militant Groups’ Propaganda On Hosting Sites, 9 Mar 09, "A short clip explaining how to upload militant Islamist groups’ propaganda on web hosting sites using the Rapidleech script has been distributed online today. Rapidleech is a free server transfer script for use on popular file sharing websites such as, and more than 45 other web hosting sites."


CBS, Online Jihadist Proposes Plan To Attack Eilat From Jordan, Egypt or Saudi "A member of a militant Islamist Internet forum proposed a plan to launch a missile attack on the Israeli port of Eilat from nearby Arab lands."

Jundullah Studios

NEFA Foundation, A Unique Look Inside the IMU's "Jundullah Studios" (March 2009), "The NEFA Foundation has obtained new video footage of day-to-day operations inside "Jundullah Studios", the official media wing of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)-an Al-Qaida and Taliban mujahideen ally fighting in pockets along the Afghan-Pakistani border."

Background: NEFA

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)


AFP, Canadian court eases bail for third terror suspect, 10 Mar 09 "In all three cases, the federal court found that incarceration, strict bail conditions upon release and increased media scrutiny had neutralized, to varying degrees, the threat each individual posed to Canada's security." net theme to this

Indie Indonesia

Jakarta Post, Black Hole: A new hub for Jakarta's indie music scene, 10 Mar 09,

"Jakarta has a thriving indie scene, with a choice of bands.

""The number of bands in Jakarta reaches a thousand. On Myspace and even in records you'd be amazed by the sound of the bands. But some of them would have never have even played live," said Sweaters vocalist Leornardo Merdi Simandjuntak.

"With the lack of space, indie musicians managed to keep the gigs going in small events, such as Triski's Black Out party. A small store Hey Folks, in Mayestik, South Jakarta, owned by members of indie-pop band Ballads of the Clich*, also holds musical events in their parking lot. At the end of last year, Zeke held an event in his own studio-cum-house in South Jakarta."

Monday, March 09, 2009


Guardian, Rapping for Allah - the new channel for the Muslim MTV generation: Egyptian channel 4Shbab aims to provide an Islamic take on music video culture for the world, 6 Mar 09 "To reverse this corruption of a generation through "lewd imagery" and "contradictory values", he travelled around the Gulf raising funds for a channel that would appeal to young Muslims. Now '4Shbab' has arrived on TV sets throughout the Middle East and Europe. But the channel — which declares it will "listen to the tune of Islam" — is already being criticised. On the one hand, Abu Haiba has been accused of demeaning Islam by those who believe that all music is haram (forbidden). On the other hand, his station has taken flak from women, who rarely feature in its music videos or game shows such as Who Wants to Be an Islamic Pop Star?. The network's content is vetted by a committee of five men who decide whether videos conform to 4Shbab's Muslim philosophy. "We don't have a problem showing women, as long as it is according to Islamic standards," insisted Abu Haiba, who previously worked with Amr Khaled, a blockbuster preacher who has revolutionised Islamic sermonising on television. "But we must be careful in dealing with the issue of women on TV, and it's not wise to smash all the walls straight away.""

Friday, March 06, 2009

Afghanistan: photo subject revisited

National Geographic, A Life Revealed "She remembers the moment. The photographer took her picture. She remembers her anger. The man was a stranger. She had never been photographed before. Until they met again 17 years later, she had not been photographed since." Non tech, follow up to a famous photo

'Mullah Matchmaker'

CNN, Mullah Matchmaker, 5 Mar 09

"An Iranian religious figure's matchmaking service results in more than 2,000 marriages. Reza Sayah reports."

Jafar Ardabili profile. For more information, see Jafar Ardabili's web site. 'Success stories' are in the gallery

This issue is discussed in iMuslims

Report: Countering internet radicalisation in Southeast Asia

IHT, Internet growing weapon in Asian radicalisation, 6 Mar 09 "Extremist groups in Southeast Asia are increasingly using the internet and social networking to radicalise the youth of the region, said a new security report released on Friday.

"Internet usage in Southeast Asia has exploded since 2000 and extremist groups have developed a sophisticated online presence, including professional media units."

More information can be found in the report:

Australian Strategic Policy Institute/S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, Special Report Issue 22 - Countering internet radicalisation in Southeast Asia, 6 Mar 09:

"Since its inception, the internet has been used by terrorist groups around the world to disseminate propaganda and tradecraft materials. But as the internet has evolved in recent years, it is being used more and more as a tool for the radicalisation of young people towards violence and hatred. Extremists now use interactive web forums and chat rooms to entice new recruits.

"This Special Report finds that the internet is an increasingly important part of the radicalisation process. This report is the result of a joint research project conducted over several months by ASPI and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. The authors are Anthony Bergin, Sulastri Bte Osman, Carl Ungerer and Nur Azlin Mohamed Yasin."

Available as a PDF on their site, although I cannot directly link to it here. I have yet to read it (24 pages).

Appeal overturned: 'Fort Dix plot'

Star-Ledger, Judge denies appeal by Fort Dix terror plotters, 5 Mar 09, "During the eight-week trial, prosecutors cast the men as homegrown terrorists. They said the men, who grew up in America, had become so hardened by their religious beliefs that they studied jihadist videos and lectures, trained with guns, and scouted Fort Dix and other nearby bases for a possible attack."

Abu Dhabi

The National, Prophet’s birthday a time for reflection, 6 Mar 09, "Mosques around the country are preparing to mark the birth of Prophet Mohammed, an official national holiday where Muslims are encouraged to spend time with family and reflect on their life."


Long War Journal, Yemen: New terror camps as a city falls to jihadists, 3 Mar 09 "In January, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh asked his network of loyalist jihadists to prepare for offensive operations against domestic “enemies of the state.” In return, Saleh has ceded authority to fundamentalist fanatics who seek to impose a neo-Salafi theocracy in the religiously pluralistic country. It is unclear if this is the full extent of the quid pro quo."

Taliban video

CBS News, Internet Terror Monitor, Taliban Releases New Compilation Video, 4 Mar 09 "The militant Afghani Taliban movement released a new compilation video featuring several attacks carried out against Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan."


CBS Internet Terrorism Monitor, New Ammonium Nitrate, Bomb-Making Manuals Distributed Online, 4 Mar 09 "Al Gurabaa organization distributed a new nine-page illustrated manual for the preparation of Ammonium Nitrate using ammonium, sugar and wood dust."

Slumdog Millionaire online

Anila Baig, The Sun, Every angry Muslim boy should watch Slumdog, 6 mAR 09 "Everyone should watch Slumdog Millionaire, in particular every confused Muslim boy who carries not just a chip on his shoulder but a sack of potatoes." Opinion piece from Sun Columnist to Lahore cricket shootings, which generated some responses from readers (see below article).

Non-tech. article. Great film, though, and a good excuse to look at some of its current online presence:


Official UK Site

MySpace: Slumdog Millionaire (includes AR Rahman's music)

Yoga & Islam

Jakarta Post, Yoga in-sync with Islam, experts say, 6 Mar 09 "Salman Harun, a professor at Jakarta’s Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University and a noted Koranic scholar, said the act of prayer in Islam, or shalat, could be perceived as a form of yoga.

"He argued that most forms of yoga as practiced the way they are today not Hindu in nature and that the practice is simply an age-old method created by people trying to connect to a cosmic force.

"“In that sense, the moves done while praying, like the way we stand, the ruku (bending over with the hands over the kneecaps), the sujud (kneeling with the face down on the floor) and the way we sit during praying is similar to yoga,” he said.

"“Besides, most Muslims would agree that the moves in shalat are beneficial to our health.”

"He said that, despite popular culture linking the method to Hinduism and Buddhism, this has little to do with the way yoga is practiced around the world."

Non-tech, but the story has a long thread online ...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Gaza: 'Closed Zone'

Rory McCarthy , Guardian, Animator of award-winning Israeli movie tackles Gaza, 5 Mar 09, "One of the creators of the successful Israeli movie Waltz with Bashir has produced a new animated film to highlight the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million Palestinian residents.

"Yoni Goodman, who was director of animation for the Golden Globe-winning movie, said he was motivated to take part in the project by the recent war in Gaza. His 90-second animation, Closed Zone, follows a young boy chasing a bird through the Gaza Strip who finds his way out blocked at every turn."

This is an effective 90 second film. Also see:

Gisha (Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement)


Saqib Saab, Have You Joined The Twitter Revolution?, 24 Feb 09 I was pointed to this by the Muslim Matters' review (see below). " ... a whole wave of my Muslim friends have all of a sudden joined. When Muslims all get onto something, then you know it’s big. Not just that, but I can see it benefitting us and have already seen some initiatives to use it for da’wah purposes."

UAE iPhone

just picked this up:, Price does matter : Another Iphone failure story in UAE, 24 Feb 09 "Even though iPhone is a trend setter, but it is not world’s most feature rich phone and hence Price vs Value ratio for iPhone is very low. Consumer is not a fool to buy a phone at double the price for features which are available in other phones for half the price."

Iran: television

Middle East Online, Politics aside, Iranians love American TV shows, 2 Mar 09 ""I never took television seriously and first started watching these to improve my English," Ehsan said. "But they are so funny and show the everyday life of young people in a way that you don't see in movies."

""Some of my friends follow them on satellite TV, which is not allowed in our home, but the DVDs are easy to get and I watch them on my computer," he said."

Some intriguing key phrases must be emerging from close study of 24, Lost, Friends, etc. Alas, they don't seem to be watching any UK TV series in this way.


Middle East Online, Iraqi pilgrim train chugs to better days, 5 Mar 09 "Abdel Amir Hammoud, Baghdad's public transport director, said the train has been making the two-and-a-half-hour journey every Friday since early December with an average of 80 to 100 passengers in the cautious first weeks.

"But last week he had to add an extra carriage to carry the 220 passengers headed for Samarra, with the numbers going up every Friday for the Muslim day of prayers."

non-computer tech, but interesting story

Saudi Arabia: 'Fatwas'

Middle East Online, Wanted! Prince Waleed… by Saudi theologian, 3 Mar 09 ""People such as the Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and Walid Al-Ibrahim need to be brought before a Sharia court" ruled Sheikh Youssef bin Abdallah Al-Ahmed, a member of the board of lecturers at the theology faculty of the Riyadh-based Islamic University of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud.

""These two men are no less dangerous to Muslims than drug traffickers", added the theologian in a fatwa uploaded on his personal website on Saturday."

You can read the lively online responses to this in this article as well. The original article was translated from SaudiWave, which - incidentally - has some comprehensive coverage of other Saudi subjects.

Iran: arrests

Guardian, Iranian police arrest pornographic film actors, 4 Mar 09 "Police in Iran have arrested a group of mostly female actors who were making pornographic films, a crime that carries the death penalty under the country's Islamic laws, local media reported today.

"The arrests were made at a house in a middle-class area in the east of Tehran, the pro-reformist website Fararu said."

Website: Fararu

Sudan: al-Bashir warrant

alJazeera, Al-Bashir warrant sparks US unease, 5 Mar 09 "Barack Obama, the US president, has called for stronger international action to press Sudan to end the conflict in Darfur." Plenty of online discussion on this topic. See:

Human Rights Watch/Huffington Post, ICC: Bashir Warrant Is Warning to Abusive Leaders (VIDEO), 4 Mar 09 "The International Criminal Court's (ICC) issuance of an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan signals that even those at the top may be held to account for mass murder, rape and torture, Human Rights Watch said today. ICC judges granted the warrant for Bashir, its first for a sitting head of state, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in orchestrating Sudan's abusive counterinsurgency campaign in Darfur."

Jihadi Forums

Thomas Hegghammer, Jihadica, The History of the Jihadi Forums, 4 Mar 09 Hegghammer writes: "One of the most intriguing questions about the jihadi internet is how it came into being. The early history of jihadi websites remains very poorly understood. Most of us started studying them too late, and we are too busy keeping track of present developments to examine the past.

"My curiosity was therefore piqued by a recent article by ‘Mihdar’ on Midad al-Suyuf, who provides what he calls a ‘complete historical analysis’ of the jihadi forums on the web. Considering Mihdar’s record as a somewhat controversial figure - for other controversies involving Madad al-Suyuf, see here or here, the study should be taken with a grain of salt. And indeed, Mihdar is more interested in politics than in facts. He devotes a considerable part of his ‘analysis’ to lashing out at other jihadi forums, in particular criticising the policy of closing forums to registered members only. This, he argues, both restricts the flow of information (since password-protecting a forum means that you cannot enter it from public search engines, like Google), and facilitates the formation of cliques and factions among the members."

Nevertheless, it's an intriguing item. I haven't had time to look at it in detail, but will be monitoring responses. The archive availability and labour intensive nature of analysis makes any future, more academic analysis a difficult task.

Here's the link to the Jihadica copy of the 'analysis' [madad-al-suyuf-the-jihadi-forums] in pdf format

Book Review: Groundswell

Useful review of a subject I touch upon in iMuslims:

Ibn Abee Omar, Muslim Matters, Book Review: Groundswell - How Muslims Can Benefit from Social Technologies, 4 Mar 09 "I often feel the Muslim world is 2 steps behind in all technologies. When the world was listening to CD’s, Muslims still insisted on using audio cassettes. Now when the entire world has shifted to mp3, many of our Muslim media companies unfortunately are still clinging to the CD age. Being a step behind everyone is never a model of success in any environment.

"The internet itself spawned many changes in the Muslim communities around the world. It facilitated the sharing of knowledge, but also deviance. It created online communities of like-minded people, but in some senses it also encouraged their withdrawal from real life communities. Many internet-savvy Muslims had their first experiences with social media by joining various forums and message boards. This spawned new relationships and introduced people to a myriad of issues they were previously unaware of."

Book details: Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, (Forrester, 2009)


ionglobaltrends, Swat Valley: Radical cleric sets deadline for implementation of Sharia, 2 Mar 09 "A hardline Muslim cleric in Pakistan's volatile Swat Valley said Sunday the government must fulfill its promise to set up strict Islamic courts in the region by March 15 or face protests."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lahore attack update

Asharq Alawsat, Pakistan Arrests Suspects in Sri Lanka Team Attack, 4 Mar 09

Shi'a Muslims

Economist, Grumbling and rumbling: Shias in the Gulf, 26 Feb 09 - commentary/overview (non-tech) "As Shia clerics weighed in with calls for an end to what they called systematic persecution, Sunni extremists accused the rafida, an abusive term for Shias, meaning rejectionists, of acting as a fifth column for Iran. “Today they besiege the religious police,” howled one website commentator. “Tomorrow they will encircle the Eastern Province along with the Shias of Bahrain and with Iranian backing.” The Saudi king should “strike them with an iron fist”, declared the writer. Another suggested that the Shias be hurled into the Red Sea or, better still, dropped onto the Iranian shrine city of Qom."

Afghanistan: mullah + iPhone

AP/Fox News, Mullah Embraces iPhone in Afghan Tech Boom, 3 Mar 09 "Beyond making life easier, some say the country's embrace of technology could help break the cycle of 30 years of relentless warfare. It puts at the tip of a finger many things that were strictly outlawed by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar — music, movies, pictures of people and games like chess.

"Young Afghans see the world differently from older Afghans because of their use of the Internet and mobile phones, and their participation in sports, said Shukria Barakzai, a female lawmaker and former newspaper editor."