Friday, July 31, 2009

Iran telecoms market, Iran - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband, "The telecoms market in Iran is, as one might expect, one of the least liberalised in the region. Serious competition exists only in the mobile market where second national mobile operator MTN Irancell now has around one third of the market. Further liberalisation, in the form of a third national mobile licence and the partial privatisation of incumbent telco TCI, has been in gestation for some considerable time, with both beginning in August 2008, but both have yet to eventuate and maybe the stop-start proceedings reflect wider conflicts in government." Links to a commercially available report.

Telegraph, Facebook handed Iranian domain name by UN, 29 Jul 09, "Facebook has been granted control of the Iranian domain name after the United Nations ordered its owner to surrender the address."

Taliban 'code of conduct'

CNN, In the Field, Why are Taliban issuing code of conduct?, 30 Jul 09 "The Taliban is on a public relations drive. The militants fighting on fronts from Afghanistan to Pakistan fear they are losing the propaganda war among their own people. So, the leadership is doing something about it, releasing a new “code of conduct” for fighters in the field." non-tech, but interesting report, which seems familiar. See Jarret Brachman, Taliban Releases ‘Code of Conduct’ Document – W/ CLARIFICATION "I’m still trying to sort out the details on this one. The 30 points that I had posted earlier were not from 2009, but rather 2006. I had pulled it off the forums and it was incorrectly labeled (note: dont trust jihadis to do your homework for you). The question how much the 2009 version differs from the 2006 one." Watch Dr Brachman's blog for more on this.

aQ Belgium

CNN, Al Qaeda priority: Western targets, 31 Jul 09 "This story is based on interrogation reports that form part of the prosecution case in the forthcoming trial of six Belgian citizens charged with participation in a terrorist group. Versions of those documents were obtained by CNN from the defense attorney of one of those suspects. The statement by Bryant Vinas was compiled from an interview he gave Belgian prosecutors in March in New York and was confirmed by U.S. prosecutors as authentic. The statement by Walid Othmani was given to French investigators and was authenticated by Belgian prosecutors." CNN have been following this for some time.

Google v.

Faraz Omar, Saudi Gazette, Google’s abuse of power to take over popular, 31 Jul 09 "Google has sent shockwaves in the online Muslim community by wrestling to take over the popular Islamic video sharing website The website run for over three-and-a-half years by Sheikh Yusuf Estes, a popular da’ee in America, is 100 percent child safe and visited by thousands of net surfers for videos on a variety of subjects."

Isa Ibrahim: overview

Raffaello Pantucci, Britain Jails “Lone Wolf” Terrorist Isa Ibrahim, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 23, July 30, 2009 "The internet played a major role in his radicalization; in the period running up to his arrest he grew particularly obsessed with suicide bombers, including the leader of the July 7, 2005 London bombings, Mohammed Siddique Khan, and the April 2003 Tel Aviv bomber Asif Hanif, whose martyrdom videos he watched repeatedly (Telegraph, July 18; BBC, July 18, Times, July 18)."

GIMF 'Sada al-Jihad'

Abdul Hameed Bakier, Jihadis Offer Training in Evasion of Police and Security Forces, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 23, July 30, 2009 "The July issue of Sada al-Jihad (Echo of Jihad), a jihadi e-magazine published by the Global Islamic Media Front, contains religious research, analytical articles on ongoing jihadi operations and an interview with the spokesman of the so-called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. On the practical side, the e-magazine usually includes training material for the mujahideen in the field. In this latest issue, Sada al-Jihad carries an article entitled “Security Precautions: The Negatives” (, July 15)."

It's been out a couple of weeks. See Jihadica for more

Thursday, July 30, 2009


TMC, Indonesia police investigate Internet claim on Jakarta bombing, 29 Jul 09 "Indonesian police are investigating an Internet posting allegedly by one of the most wanted terrorist suspects in Southeast Asia claiming responsibility for the July 17 bombings of two luxury hotels in Jakarta, an officer said Wednesday ...

" ... Two statements posted on a blog dated Sunday and allegedly sent by Noordin Mohamad Top, a Malaysian and Southeast Asia's most-wanted militant, said the attacks were accomplished with "God's blessing." Written in Arabic and Indonesian, the statements cited several verses of the Koran to justify the attacks."

North Carolina arrests

Washington Post, From Suburban D.C. Childhood To Indictment on Terror Charges, 29 Jul 09 "For Boyd, his arrest follows an unusual path from an Alexandria classroom to the dusty streets of Afghanistan, according to court filings and interviews with friends and neighbors."

AP, US extremists with training abroad raise concerns, 29 Jul 09

Jawa Report, Jihadi's Facebook Account, 30 Jul 09 "At first glance Yaghi's Facebook account seemed so ordinary. Hence why all his friends are shocked, neighbors all describe the ringleader's family as nice people, and the "banality of evil" reference. But on a deeper analysis of "hidden" information, it becomes clear that Yaghi had jihadi aspirations for some time."


Guardian, The app economy, 29 Jul 09 "I also like two Islamic apps: Ela-Salaaty reminds Muslims when to pray, while Face Makkah also uses GPS to tell you where Mecca is in relation to you, so that you can kneel in the right direction during prayer."


Face Makkah

If you are interested in apps relating to Islam, then you can also check out iPhone Islam which carries a range of reviews and associated screenshots. That link goes to the English pages, but there is also a good overview of Arabic apps on the main iPhone Islam site

Iraq hostages timeline

Telegraph, Iraq hostages: timeline of events, 29 Jul 09

"These are the key developments since the five Britons were kidnapped in Baghdad two years ago."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fashion and social networking

Guardian, Muslim fashion: 'Anyone can wear these clothes'

"Riazat Butt meets the designer behind Elenany, a new fashion label for Muslim women that blends modesty and street cred."

Video refers to social networking sites and blogs too, including Hijab Style.

Also see elanany

Sunday, July 26, 2009

'Muslim and Looking for Love'

Channel 4, Muslim and Looking for Love, 26 Jul 09 "If you're young, single and Muslim, finding love is getting increasingly difficult.

"Qualifications, height, job prospects and even complexion are high on the list of demands. Then there's the question of nationality. Will your husband or wife come from Britain or from abroad?

"For professional women, educated Muslim men are in short supply. Muslim men tend to marry at a younger age, not good news when you're pushing 30.

"At the Birmingham Central Mosque, they think they have the answer. As well as ministering to its congregation, it also offers the services of one of the largest Muslim marriage bureaus.

"The Bureau has over a thousand people on its books and Mr Haq and Mr Razzaq are the voluntary matchmakers. Unlikely as it may seem, these two middle-aged men are at the vanguard of a Muslim marriage revolution. For them, the Bureau offers a third way, a space between the traditional arranged marriage and the Western dating scene."

It will be available to view on demand after broadcast (in UK)

Friday, July 24, 2009

'Top shelf'

The San Francisio Chronicle, Top shelf: Recommended reading, 17 Jul 09 listing includes iMuslims.

Brigades of 'Abdullah 'Azzam video

Views from the Occident, New Salafi Jihadi group in Lebanon criticizes Hizbullah 'Hypocrites' on Palestine issue, 24 Jul 09 "A video entitled "خرق الحصون ," "Breach of Forts/Strongholds" was released today by the Brigades of 'Abdullah 'Azzam (BAA), a Salafi jihadi group which claimed responsibility for a series of bombings at luxury resorts in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt in October 2004 and July 2005, as well as failed rocket attacks on U.S. Navy ships in the Jordanian Red Sea port city of Aqaba in August 2005 (more information HERE). The BAA, reputedly affiliated with the jihadi umbrella "al-Qa'ida in the Levant and Egypt," is named after the late Palestinian religious scholar and paramount jihadi ideologue, 'Abdullah 'Azzam, who played a major role in fundraising and recruiting for the 1980s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. For more on 'Azzam, see HERE. Today's video is notable chiefly because it was not only issued in the name of the BAA, but also in the name of a seemingly new branch of it in Lebanon, the Detachments of Ziyad Jarrah. Due to the flexible transliteration of Arabic into English and depending on how one translates the Arabic word "سرايا ," it could also be rendered: Brigades of Ziad Jarrah; سرايا translates most closely to "detachments" or "squadrons," but is often translated into English as "Brigades" or "Battalions," e.g. the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement, سرايا القدس as the "Quds Brigades.""

Useful discussion/breakdown (should be read in full).

Iran: net law

MWC, Iran internet law sparks suspicion. 21 Jul 09 "Iran has passed a new internet law that experts fear will make information on internet users more readily available to the authorities. "

Cyber-Dissidents, Senate to Hillary: Support Cyber-Dissidents, 23 Jul 09 "This month, amid record profligacy on Capitol Hill, Sens. Sam Brownback (R., Kan.) and Arlen Specter (D., Pa.) pushed for spending that all Americans can celebrate: $30 million of the Senate’s State Department appropriations bill will go to support digital tools for undermining Internet censorship. If the initiative is properly implemented, the politically repressed from Havana to Rangoon will have cause for celebration."

Iran: Protests

AP, Thousands protest in Iran, defying crackdown vow "Iranian authorities had promised tough action to prevent the marches, which supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi have been planning for days through the Internet. Heavy police forces deployed at key points in the city ahead of the marches, and Tehran's governor vowed to "smash" anyone who heeded the demonstration calls."

In relation to this, follow Azarmehr, For a democratic secular Iran. For peace and prosperity in the Middle East

Hamas media

NYT, Hamas Shifts From Rockets to Public Relations, 23 Jul 09, "Seven months after Israel started a fierce three-week military campaign here to stop rockets from being fired on its southern communities, Hamas has suspended its use of rockets and shifted focus to winning support at home and abroad through cultural initiatives and public relations."

News in Iran

Judith Townend,, Protests in Iran continue, but whose news should we trust?

Iran and the Internet

Jamsheed K. Choksy, Iran, Protest, and Intelligence: Why Strategic Reports Often Get it Wrong, 22 Jul 09

"Cell phone penetration and internet access in Iran exceeds land-line capacity and cuts across urban, rural rich, and poor divides. It is a basic means of communication not restricted to any particular socioeconomic segment of the population. Details can be gleaned from,, and Electronic communication has become the predominant means of assembling opposition to the Iranian regime and communicating crackdowns by that regime. The Iranian government has its own reasons for not shutting-off all electronic communications. The regime in Tehran is utilizing covert technologies to locate cell phone and internet users who are protesting the theocracy and transmitting data to one another and to the outside world. On this matter, it is useful to consult with a response at The Janus-face of modern technology in tussles between citizens against the state is vividly illustrated by recent events in Iran."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Muezzin bot, Muezzin bot, "The Sabily team has just developed a useful jabber bot: the "Muezzin bot". It can send you Instant Messages when it is time to pray. It can also display the prayer times of the day."


Bill Law, BBC, Radio 4, Crossing Continents, One cleric's legacy of peace, 22 Jul 09 "Pakistani madrassas, religious schools, are often seen in the west as incubators for terrorism. Most do not fit that stereotype.

"Madrassas stress Koranic studies but many also provide what is called a modern education - maths, sciences, computer technology. They provide free education where the state cannot. "

Available as a podcast

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Booting Up Baghdad"

Steven Levy, Wired 17.08, Booting Up Baghdad: Tech Execs Take a Tour in Iraq

"On one hand, it's ludicrous. What can makers of social networks and video sites do to fix an economy that's as broken as Saddam's statue? On the other hand, Silicon Valley types like to think they know how to make the world better. This trip isn't about profits or investing opportunities—as new markets go, Iraq falls somewhere between Antarctica and Somalia in desirability. They're motivated by a mix of curiosity and Obama-inspired patriotism. (If George Bush were still president, some of them might not have come.) There is also the guilt factor."

This article is well worth reading.

BlackBerry Spyware

Kim Zetter,, Researcher: BlackBerry Spyware Wasn’t Ready for Prime Time, 21 Jul 09, "A BlackBerry software upgrade in the Middle East that turned out to be an e-mail interception program was likely a buggy beta version of a U.S.-made surveillance product, according to an analyst who dissected the malicious code."

Iran and the Internet, Underground Internet ‘newspapers’ emerge in Iran following media crackdown, July 21st, 2009 "The Iranian authorities have continued to tighten its grip on the media, jailing journalists, shutting down reformist newspapers, and filtering websites since June’s disputed presidential poll. As a result, opposition activists have increasingly turned to web-based news publications as a tool to get their message out. MENASSAT spoke with Hamid Tehrani, Iran editor at the international blog community Global Voices, about his research on the phenomenon." Useful article.

Also see 22khordad (screenshot above)

Opinion piece on al-Muhajiroun

Adrian Morgan, Exclusive: Al Muhajiroun – Vigilantes of Islam, 22 Jul 09 Opinion piece "Though the members of Al-Muhajiroun may be few in number, their intransigent and confrontational attitudes have done more to damage social cohesion in Britain's Muslim and non-Muslim communities than any other group. "


David L. Stern, GlobalPost/Reuters, Web crackdown spreads, 21 Jul 09 "With less than six months until it takes over the chairmanship of one of Europe’s flagship human rights organizations, Kazakhstan has thumbed its nose to Western governments and introduced a draconian Internet law.

"The new legislation follows similar crackdowns on online political communication in other former Soviet republics and signals a growing fear among officials in authoritarian states after public uprisings in Iran and Moldova were fueled by internet social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Iran: Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie

AFP, Iran's controversial new VP denies quitting, 19 Jul 09

"Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, considered a close confidant of the newly re-elected president, dismissed the media reports of his resignation as "lies," according to his personal website."


As posted on Views from the Occident, Two images creative (and quite ridiculous) examples of Salafi jihadi cyber art

Haven't had time/energy to track down the original of this yet, or to determine its source 'credentials' ... there's another anime image as well.

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group

Evan Kohlmann,, Who is the Legitimate Voice for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)?, 18 Jul 09 "n the past few weeks, a communique published by several exiled former leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) based in the United Kingdom has caused a bit of a stir in British media."

Isa Ibrahim

AP, UK man convicted over suicide bomb plot, 18 Jul 09 "Ibrahim had claimed in court that he planned to detonate the vest safely, without wearing it, and post a video of his experiment on the YouTube Web site ...

" ... Police said Ibrahim was not known to authorities and appears to have become radicalized by researching extremist Islamic material posted on the Internet."

Saturday, July 18, 2009


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

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

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Jarret Brachman, Shaykh Attiyatallah = Abd-al-Karim al-Libi = Atiyah Abd al-Rahman???, 13 Jul 09 unpicks the (possible) identity of Attiyatallah in the machine

AFP, High-tech Israeli-Palestinian firm defies barriers, 15 Jul 09 "The software, called, makes use of cutting-edge "cloud computing" to allow users to create a virtual desktop -- complete with files and applications -- that can be accessed from any computer or mobile phone in the world." There's a screen shot of a desktop for on the left (looks familiar). The product itself is potentially very useful, and available in many languages. See for info on the Arabic version. As significant in this article is reading about the barriers the Palestinian developers face, and the obstacles the company has had to get over.


Reuters, Death of U.S. jihadist in Somalia shocks family, 14 Jul 09 "The mother of an American national of Somali origin killed fighting for Islamist rebels in Mogadishu collapsed after seeing images of her dead son being paraded in the street, the man's uncle said on Tuesday."


NYT, A Call to Jihad, Answered in America, 11 Jul 09 "An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with close friends and relatives of the men, law enforcement officials and lawyers, as well as access to live phone calls and Facebook messages between the men and their friends in the United States, reveals how a far-flung jihadist movement found a foothold in America’s heartland." Includes video from al-Shabaab (previously discussed).

al-Qaeda: research report

Hassan Mneimneh, Seven Years Later: The Jihadist International, AEI Online "Understanding al Qaeda's true character, structure, and strategy provides important clues about why the organization has not been able to ignite a global jihad. Still, the organization poses a grave threat to international stability and to the United States in particular. The next generation of al Qaeda leaders may be able to deliver more localized sporadic deadly attacks." Just picked this up - haven't read it yet.

Mohsen Namjoo

AFP, Iran singer gets five-year jail term, 14 Jul 09 "An Iranian singer, Mohsen Namjoo, has been sentenced in absentia to a five-year jail term for ridiculing the Koran holy book in a song, reformist daily Etemad Melli reported on Tuesday." Namjoo's Facebook page is here and his page links to plenty of videos. Sample below:

Iran and the Internet

Useful article, with associated links: Will Heaven, Telegraph, How Iran is using the internet to 'hunt down' online protesters, 14 Jul 09, "So how is Iran’s regime achieving this sinister feat? Apparently, the answer is DPI – “Deep packet inspection“, a form of network filter which can be used to examine information while it is being passed from one internet user to another. Essentially, every sent packet of information can be deconstructed, examined for keywords and then reconstructed – all in less than a second. Because of this, DPI can be a useful and benevolent tool. It can stop viruses and spam. In the West it is used, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, to fight terrorism and drug trafficking – both of which have elements carried out online." Article points to Timothy Karr, HP, Helping Iran Target Iranians, 10 Jul 09. Karr's tweets have more info. The Guardian is also running with this story: Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian, Iranian consumers boycott Nokia for 'collaboration', 14 Jul 09 "The mobile phone company Nokia is being hit by a growing economic boycott in Iran as consumers sympathetic to the post-election protest movement begin targeting a string of companies deemed to be collaborating with the regime."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

al-Sahab release

View from the Occident, Usama bin Laden's June Message to the Pakistani People released online, 14 Jul 09 "Al-Qa'ida "Central's" (AQC) media outlet, Al-Sahab (The Clouds), yesterday released a full version of the audio message from AQC chief Usama bin Ladin that was aired by Al-Jazeera in early June of this year. The audio release was delivered to Al-Jazeera by courier, unlike most media releases today produced by AQC and other Salafi jihadi groups that are released on the Internet." Full information on this statement, together with analysis.

Ayatollah Montazeri

The Real News, "Grand Ayatollah: System based on force illegitimate", "Iranian Grand Ayatollah Montazeri suggests Supreme Leader illegitimate, urges people to fight oppression"

Marwa el-Sherbini

Asma T. Uddin, alt.muslim, The “hijab martyrs” among us "Despite the murder of Marwa el-Sherbini in Germany, Muslims still benefit from European hate speech laws, in contrast to blasphemy laws which restrict freedom of conscience in Muslim countries. In one scenario they are offered special protection; in other, they are more vulnerable to persecution."

Iran and the net

Ethiopian Review, Ethiopian News Forum, Iran Military Warns Online Media, 12 Jul 09 "The Revolutionary Guard, an elite military force answering to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said through the state news service that Iranian Web sites and bloggers must remove any materials that "create tension" or face legal action."


Telegraph, China pleads for understanding as al-Qaeda vows revenge over Uighur deaths, 14 Jul 09 "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM) said it would target the 50,000 Chinese workers in Algeria and elsewhere in Northern Africa,

"Two extremist web sites affiliated with al-Qaeda also made threats against the large numbers of Chinese people working in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Internet et religion

Jean-François Mayer, Livre: Internet et religion - les enjeux d'une mutation technologique (Infolio/Religioscope)

Details on a new book (in French) on the study of religion and the internet. Some specific content in relation to Islam, and some interesting thoughts on how to approach this growing discipline. I would advise students to use this on my Studying Religions on the Internet MA module. Recommended.


Contemporary Islam has reviews on two books I contributed to:

R. Ramji on Elizabeth Poole & John Richardson (editors)
Muslims and the news media (see review here)

Dan Varisco on Göran Larsson (editor), Religious communities on the internet.
The latter review makes a good point about the book's limited distribution. It is a volume worth seeking out for the range of contributions, and deserves a wider circulation.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Iran and the Internet

Nasser Karimi, AP, Thousands protest in Iran, defying crackdown vow, 10 Jul 09 "The calls for a new march have been circulating for days on social networking Web sites and pro-opposition Web sites. Opposition supporters planned the marches to coincide with the anniversary Thursday of a 1999 attack by Basij on a Tehran University dorm to stop protests in which one student was killed."

Bruce Etling, Internet & Democracy, Iranian Protesters Return to Streets, Everyone Else to Twitter, 9 Jul 2009

CNN, 'United for Neda' is artists' song for Iranian people, 9 Jul 09

Marwa al-Shirbini

AP, Egypt: Veiled Martyr murdered by German buried, 9 Jul 09

"The Brotherhood said it was considering organizing protests in front of the German consulate in Alexandria, and that members would raise the issue in Parliament. Internet users were divided over the utility of a boycott of German products and companies.

""Please join for the sake of Islam; protecting (the) hijab," one proponent said on the social-networking site Facebook. "It could be me and my wife."A woman said she thought a boycott was the wrong approach. "I think we should go on with calling for our rights ... through all ... legal measures against the (German) government," she said."

Abu Mansur al-Ameriki

Views from the Occident, American Jihadi Abu Mansur al-Ameriki (Amriki) in Somalia responds to US president Barack Obama's Cairo speech "Late yesterday evening, a new audio message was posted on the main Salafi jihadi online discussion forums from Abu Mansur al-Ameriki (also spelled, Abu Mansur Amriki and Abu Mansoor Amriki), an American member and spokesman of sorts for the Somali radical group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin [Movement of the Mujahidin-Youth] and its paramilitary wing, the Jaysh al-'Usrah [Army of "Hardship"] which responds to U.S. President Barack Obama's recent speech in Cairo that was aimed, supposedly, at the "Muslim world.""

This is a useful post, which includes a transcript by Christopher Anzalone of the recording.The originals can be found on the usual channels.
Paul Goble,, Hackers Assume Larger Role in Russia’s Online ‘Religious Wars’, 9 Jul 09 "Hacker attacks against websites maintained by the Russian Orthodox Church, its various subdivisions and even individual clerics like Archdeacon Andrey Kurayev are a relatively new phenomenon, but such attacks have been taking place against Islamic sites on a regular basis for a decade.

"At the end of June, hackers took off line for a brief period two of the most important Russian-language Islamic news sites, and, both of whom have been subject to similar attacks in the past. Pozdnyaev says that it is possible the hackers are people who “do not share the loyal attitude” of these sites to the government."

Uighur Muslims: Commentary and Opinion

Plenty of coverage of this - I have tried to focus on web related issues:

Khalid Amayreh, Islam Online, Uighur Muslims Crushed in East Turkistan: The Muslim World's Absence of Reaction "Some reports spoke of a real pogrom, including acts of lynching as the number of victims continued to rise, prompting the Chinese authorities to try to block twitters and slow down mobile phone and internet services, apparently in an effort to prevent the dissemination of news of the violence to the rest of the world ...

" ... Muslims around the world have an absolute religious, moral, and human duty to identify with their oppressed brothers and sisters in East Turkistan. These suffering people whose plight can be compared with the plight of the Palestinians, are only demanding basic human rights, including the right to religious freedom."

Susan Yasin, Islam Online, Internet, Blogs Solace Oppressed Uighurs, 7 Jul 09

Stephanie Ho, VOA, Chinese Authorities Blame Internet for Fanning Uighur Anger, 8 Jul 09 "Chinese authorities blame foreign activists for inciting violent protests this week in Xinjiang, and say the Internet enabled them to do it. Uighur groups have used the Internet to rapidly get out images from what they say was a provocative government crackdown on a peaceful demonstration ...

" ... In Beijing, the Twitter messaging system, which protesters in Iran recently used to report on police crackdowns there, has been disabled. And while cell phone connections in the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, still operate, getting a call to the city, or making an international call from there, is proving difficult."

AFP, China extends hand to foreign media, but tightens grip elsewhere, 9 Jul 09 "The openness after the riots may also indicate Beijing is realising it has become increasingly hard to keep information hidden, said David Zweig, a China expert at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

""They know they didn't do very well in Tibet ... rather than journalists not have access and get stories from Uighurs overseas, this way they go in and see for themselves," he said."

Helena Zhu, Epoch Times, Reporters Fight With Web Police for Xinjiang Incident Photos and Videos, 9 Jul 09 "Amidst the violence in Urumqi, Xinjiang, Chinese bloggers penetrated the regime’s Internet blockades and uploaded photos and videos to Web sites including Twitter and YouTube. They also sent text messages overseas, saying “Reveal truth to the world.”"

Willy Lam, Jamestown Foundation, The Net Revolution: Chinese Netizens vs. Green Dam, China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 14 "Given the sensitive nature of the post-election political drama in Iran, it is hardly suprising that there is little coverage of the protests—particularly Net-empowered ones—in the Chinese press. Official media stories have focused on Beijing’s support of “the choice of the Iranian people” as well as its opposition to interference by Western forces."

Imagetheif, Riots in Xinjiang and the price of omission, 7 Jul 09, People's Daily calls for social stability in Xinjiang, 9 Jul 09 "The People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CPC), will publish an editorial Friday highlighting stability in Xinjiang as "the most important and pressing task currently."

BBC News, Some mosques defy order to shut, 10 Jul 09 incl. video

Evgeny Morozov, NPR, Foreign Policy: Why Twitter Failed The Uighurs, 8 Jul 09 " Given the current oversupply of Twitter experts, it's strange that nobody told the Uighurs that staging a protest in the week of Michael Jackson's funeral is not going to propel them into the top charts of Twitter's most discussed items. What a bummer – Michael Jackson is still topic number one on Twitter, the Uighurs are not even in top 10, and the Internet-savvy whizzes of the State Department are nowhere to be seen."

Shadow of the Hegemon, China, Iran, and The YouTube Effect, 8 Jul 09 "Nobody can be fully sure where this will end up. Many-to-many video distribution is a new thing, and arguably a bigger deal than many-to-many text distribution was. We're moving away from YouTube-as-harmless amusement to YouTube-as-vital service. But where it goes after that? It depends on people react."

Twitter feed: Xinjiang

New publication: A Companion to The Muslim World

Amyn B. Sajoo (editor), A Companion to The Muslim World, (London: IB Tauris/Islamili Studies, 2009), "What is the extraordinary text that is the Quran - and how does it relate to the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad? How did a legacy so richly varied in faith, law and civilization emerge from the message of the Revelation that came to be called 'Islam' (or submission to God's will)? This immaculately researched yet thoroughly accessible book offers a journey into the full range of experience - past and present, secular and sacred - of the diverse peoples and cultures of the Muslim world. Threads of continuity and change are woven through each chapter to make a coherent narrative covering a broad variety of themes and topics. Poets, cities and the architecture of mosques are as much a part of the exploration as multiple aspects of scripture, the status of women in the faith, and the emergence of a 'digital community' of believers. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, understanding what Islam is about and what Muslims believe is a vital concern across all frontiers. A Companion to the Muslim World is an attractive venture by distinguished scholars to contribute toward this urgent process of comprehension."

Contains a brief chapter by myself ('The Digital Umma'). Haven't read the book yet, but it looks useful as an introductory text (and has an interesting cover) ... Other contributors: Amyn Sajoo, Reza Aslan, Abdullah Saeed, Amir Hussain, Bruce Lawrence, Azizah Yahia al-Hibri, Shainool Jiwa, Hasan-Uddin Khan, Amira Bennison, Anil Khamis, Raficq Abdulla.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

BRISMES at Manchester

I attended the BRISMES 2009 conference last weekend. It was a well-organised conference, with several interesting papers. It was interesting to hear Dale F. Eickelman in conversation with Muhammad Shahrur. I gave an iMuslims themed paper, timed against the men's singles final at Wimbledon(!). Mainly discussed Web 2.0 and Islam, and Iran. Co-speakers on the panel were Edmund Herzig on ISNA, and Mohamad Zayani on transnational Arab media: plenty of good questions, mainly asking me about all the stuff I cut from the paper due to lack of time. Also chaired 'Islamic Movements in Focus' - 8.30 on a Sunday morning (some good papers, and people actually turned up at that time!). I helped promote the HEA Islamic Studies network. The day concluded with a visit to Old Trafford - very cool place for academic visit. There were several good Arab restaurants near to the conference, which I took advantage of - stocked up with enough Turkish coffee for a month or two as well, so should stay awake while blogging late at night.

Mingana Collection

University of Birmingham, Virtual Manuscript Room, The Mingana Collection, "This site is the first phase of The Virtual Manuscript Room (VMR) project. In this phase, we present full digitized manuscripts from The Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts held at Special Collections in the University of Birmingham. This collection, previously unavailable on the web, has been designated as of national and international importance. As well as high-resolution images of each page, the VMR provides descriptions from the printed catalogue and from Special Collections' own records."

Includes numerous pages from an early manuscript of the Qur'an. Images can be downloaded in various formats.

Related research

New publication: Robert M. Geraci and Vit Sisler have edited a special issue of the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology on religion and technology. Here are some selected highlights related to this blog (haven't read any of this yet!).

European Courts’ Authority Contested? The Case of Marriage and Divorce
Fatwas On-line
Vit Sisler

This article explores Islamic websites providing normative content for
European Muslim minorities. It focuses on four distinct Sunni websites
and analyzes their fatwas, i.e. legal and religious recommendations
issued in matters...

The Politics of Virtual Fatwa Counseling in the 21st Century
Jens Kutscher

A multitude of fatwa services sprung up on the Internet during the
last few years and has grown since. One finds,,, and among them. Yet it is
not only these private Muslim...

“Gaining Knowledge” – Salafi Activism in German and Dutch Online Forums
Carmen Becker

Recent years have witnessed an expansion of Salafi activism into
computer-mediated environments like online discussion forums. Forum
activities are part of the activists' endeavor to access the religious
sources (Quran and Sunnah)...

Video: Divan 2.0 Question Time Event

"Welcome to Muslim 2.0 – a wired generation whose members would rather pose their tough questions to Shaykh Google than their local Imam, and who feel more connected to the Facebook ummah than the congregation at the local mosque. Never has Muslim conversation buzzed with so many divergent, combative and off-the-wall perspectives ..."

View this here

Alas, I was unable to attend (haven't viewed this yet).

Indonesia & Twitter

Marisa Duma, Global Voices Online, Indonesia: Twittering the Presidential Election, 7 Jul 09 "Throughout June, Twitter users brought the world's attention to Iran's disputed election. With the curbed media on ground, protesting Iranians have been relying on Twitter and other social tools to get the word out. As trending topic, hashtagged #iranelection, New York University professor Clay Shirky noted the phenomenon as “The big one. This is the first revolution that has been catapulted onto a global stage and transformed by social media.”." Useful article with plenty of detail


AFP, Al-Qaeda claims killing 28 Malian soldiers, 8 Jul 09 "Al-Qaeda's North African wing claimed it killed 28 Malian soldiers in a weekend attack, according to an Internet statement published after Mali's president declared all-out war on the Islamist group."

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Iran SMS unblocked(?)

BBC News, Iran 'lifts block on SMS texting', 4 Jul 09 "Reports from Iran say that SMS text messaging services have been unblocked for the first time since disputed presidential elections."

Conspiracy theories: 7/7

Daily Mail,Conspiracy fever: As rumours swell that the government staged 7/7, victims' relatives call for a proper inquiry, 3 Jul 09 "Mr Naseem, a well-educated man, had made 2,000 copies of Ripple Effect for members of his mosque. Research has revealed that even before the contentious video came out, one in four British Muslims thought the Government or the Secret Services were responsible for the 7/7 atrocities. Now the number of doubters is growing."

The video is available on DVD and online (such as here at Google Video)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

BSL Qur'an, Qur’an: Surah Al-Fatiha in British Sign Language, 30 Jun 09

as-Sahab Media presents ...

Follow-up on recent publications online:

Jarret Brachman, Get the Popcorn: AQ Releases 2 Doozies, 30 Jun 09 "1. Abu Yahya al-Libi released a new, 149-page book, “The Ruling Concerning Muslim Spies,” featuring an intro from Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri ...

" ... Winds of Paradise 4 – the last Winds was a spectacle so this one is really going to have to dig down deep in order to match it." There's also some initial analysis on these (which explains why the person on the screenshot above has been highlighted).

Also see this useful overview: Views from the Occident, Winds of Paradise 4

Original publications widely available on usual fora.

Iran blogs

John Kelly and Bruce Etling, Internet & Democracy Blog, Iranian Blogs Dynamic During Election Protests, 30 Jun 09 "While Twitter is getting a lot of attention in the current Iranian crisis, it’s good to know that the robust Iranian blogosphere also remains active in the face of the government’s interference with the Internet." It's very useful to see how this is mapped out.

7/7 conspiracy theories

BBC News, Unmasking the mysterious 7/7 conspiracy theorist, 30 Jun 09 "In the absence of a public inquiry into the 7 July bombings, conspiracy theories have filled the vacuum. One of the more inflammatory involves a man hiding behind an Arabic-sounding pseudonym taken from a sci-fi film starring Sting, says the BBC's Mike Rudin."

Hacktivists and Iran

Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, AP/Washington Times, 'Hacktivists' target Iran's leadership online, 1 Jul 09 "A sharp clampdown by Iranian authorities may have quelled street protests, but the fight goes on in cyberspace. Groups of "hacktivists"- Web hackers demanding Internet freedom - say they are targeting Web pages of Iran's leadership in response to the regime's muzzling of blogs, news outlets and other sites. "

Hamas and Islamic Jihad

Zvi Bar'el, Ha'aretz, Are Hamas and Islamic Jihad planning a merger?, 1 Jul 09 "The freeze on aid to Islamic Jihad is part of an overall effort by Hamas and senior Jihad officials to merge the two movements and create a joint leadership coalition in preparation for the possible reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and the formation of a national unity government. The goal is to have Jihad fighters join Hamas' military establishment and to fold Islamic Jihad's administrative officials and civil infrastructure into the Hamas government and civil mechanisms. Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Abdallah Shalah, Nahla and some of the organization's leadership in Gaza, such as Mohammed al-Hindi, support the merger with Hamas and are working to promote it." commentary, with internet ref