Friday, February 27, 2009

Kirkuk Phone Tones

Phone Tones

Samah Samad, IWPR/ISN, Kirkuk Ringtones Reflect Rivalries, 24 Feb 09 "In Iraq’s most diverse and disputed province, mobile phone ringtones play a big part in the politics of identity. Kirkuk contains most of Iraq’s many religious and ethnic groups, and has been described as everything from a colourful bouquet of flowers to a powderkeg."



CBS Internet Terror Monitor, China on the Radar of Al Qaeda, 26 Feb 09 "Several pro-al-Qaeda websites posted the Islamic Turkistan magazine in an attempt to raise the profile of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which has been struggling against the Chinese government to establish an independent Islamic State in the region of Xinjiang. The magazine carried articles entitled “the crimes of the Chinese communist regime” and “why we are fighting China.”"

"al-Ruaybdha" terminology

"al-Ruaybdha" terminology

Waq al-Waq, Jihadi Vocab, 26 Feb 09 "I have thought for some time now that a book that is really needed is some sort of jihadi dictionary, explaining common words phrases and allusions that often pepper jihadi magazines and videos. Not that the book would really sell beyond a few hundred copies, but still..."

'Anti-Filter' in Iran

Independent, Lipstick revolution: Iran's women are taking on the mullahs, 26 Feb 09 "f the feminists wanted to tap into a groundswell, the numbers are there: half of Iran's 34.6 million women are under 25. Many young people are more interested in flouting the strictures on dating by swapping mobile numbers with boys, or attending vodka-fuelled "gatherings" in private homes, than in fighting the women's corner. But others like Maryam and Tahminah, a devout-looking pair of students in chadors I bumped into at a museum, told me some of their friends didn't believe in God, want a lot more freedom and spend much of their time on Facebook. "Everyone has anti-filter," Tahminah laughed, when I asked about internet censorship."

Baghdad museum

AP, Italy plans virtual Baghdad museum, 27 Feb 09 "After helping to fund the reopening of Iraq's National Museum, Italy is planning a virtual exhibition of Mesopotamian and Islamic treasures, many of which are still missing from the looted Baghdad repository, officials said Wednesday.

"Starting late next month, Internet surfers will be able to roam eight virtual halls showcasing artifacts dating from the birth of civilization in ancient Iraq to the founding of Baghdad in A.D. 762."

United Arab Emirates: cartoons and YouTube, UAE bans anti-Islam Israeli cartoon on YouTube, 26 Feb 09 "The United Arab Emirates has blocked an Israeli cartoon on the video sharing website YouTube due to content that mocks Muslims and insults the UAE, the country's two internet service providers announced on Wednesday.

"The controversial cartoon, called Ahmed and Salim, is a set of satirical skits that center on the title characters who are more interested in Western pop culture than their father's aspirations of having them die as martyrs by carrying out terrorist attacks on "filthy Jews or Americans," which the boys continue to fail at."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Islam in Britain - new blog

I've set up a new blog - Islam in Britain Essentially it's a series of feeds and links to news and other resources.

"Blogging the Middle East"

Marc Lynch Presentation, Blogging the Middle East "Last week, Marc Lynch (also known as Abu Aardvark), an associate professor of political science and international relations at The George Washington University and well-known writer and blogger about the Middle East, gave a fantastic presentation to my bureau at the State Department. He was kind enough to allow me to summarize his presentation and share it with the wider community."

Iraq Re-run(?)

Iraq Re-run(?)

CBS News, Video Of January Insurgent Operations in Iraq Includes Old Footage, 20 Feb 09 "A two-part video allegedly showing operations carried out by insurgents in Iraq during the month of January 2009, contained mostly old footage, previously released by insurgent groups. Although the posting claims that some of the operations were carried out in revenge for Palestinian in Gaza because of the Israeli war there, some of the ingested clips were shot in 2007." Haven't seen the clips yet.

Baghdad Museum

Baghdad Museum

AFP, Iraq's treasure trove national museum reopens, 24 Feb 09

Survey: Mosques in England and Wales

Survey: Mosques in England and Wales

BBC News, Survey reveals mosque insights, 23 Feb 09

"The average mosque in England and Wales attracts 400 attendees at Friday prayer meetings, while providing a range of community services, a survey has found."

The report is detailed here:

Charity Commission, Charity Commission publishes first detailed mosque survey

Charity Commission, Survey of mosques in England and Wales (PDF). It's 38 pages. Haven't read it yet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Binyam Mohamed

Binyam Mohamed

BBC News, Binyam Mohamed: His full statement, 23 Feb 09

Pact Radio

Pact Radio

Telegraph, The Cambridge chaplain fighting fanaticism by radio in Pakistan's Swat valley, 21 Feb 09 "Mr Butt, who spends part of his year as the Muslim chaplain of Cambridge University, studied for 13 years of at the Dar ul-Uloom Deoband, the most influential Muslim seminary in south Asia. He set up the Pact radio station in 2004, staffed by local reporters he trained himself, to help disseminate the views of local people.

"His programmes argue that the superficial - and dangerous - ideas preached by militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan are a deviation from the more profound message of Islam."

Here's Pact Radio's website

Khatami website blocked

Khatami website blocked

The National, Khatami website blocked, 23 Feb 09 "Iranian reformists are split over the decision to block the website of Mohammad Khatami, a leading presidential candidate, with some saying it may increase his chances of success in the June elections.

"Authorities on Saturday blocked Yari News, a website run by Mr Khatami’s supporters that served as his unofficial campaign website. Yari, another pro-Khatami website where supporters’ messages to him were posted, was blocked simultaneously. The site contained more than 90,000 messages and comments from supporters."

Google Ta3reeb Arabic Transliteration

Google Ta3reeb Arabic Transliteration, Google Ta3reeb Arabic Transliteration, 17 Feb 09

"Google Arabic Transliteration (ta3reeb) is another cool service by Google, that translates the Roman characters into Arabic and vice versa. Don’t we Arabs have numbers standing for our extra characters, and don’t we get non-Arabic speakers confused when we do so? We have it now as brand names even.,, and others. But the confusion can be cleared out: ..."

Google Arabic Transliteration

Yemen (news + new blog)


Jihadica, Al-Awfi Captured, New Yemen Blog, 17 Feb 09 "Muhammad al-Awfi, one of the two former Saudi Gitmo detainees who appeared in the video by al-Qaida in Yemen on 19 January, has now been captured. Press reports and forum rumours this morning were confirmed this afternoon by the Yemeni embassy in Washington."

Refers to Waq al-Waq - a Yemen focused blog.

Saudi Arabia: Sakinah


Bruce Falconer, Mother Jones, Al Qaeda, Online, n.d., 16 Feb 09 "There's a holy war online. On one side is a network of Al Qaeda propagandists eager to use the Web to spread their message and broaden their influence in the Muslim world. On the other is a group of Saudi religious scholars who are prowling the Internet for Islamic extremists who they can convert to moderation. Based in Riyadh, members of the so-called Sakinah ("Tranquility") Campaign have been infiltrating extremist websites and chat rooms since 2004, seeking to engage Islamist sympathizers in religious dialogue. Their aim is to steer potential terrorists away from Al Qaeda, which has used the Web as its primary recruiting ground."

Afghanistan: Payman

Afghanistan: Payman

Nushin Arbabzadah, Guardian, Nostradamus in Kabul, 21 Feb 09

"Baba Vanga, a Bulgarian clairvoyant and blind prophet of doom, has inadvertently closed down Payman – Afghanistan's most respected newspaper – from beyond the grave.

"How did this happen? According to the newspaper, the rumour trail points to the Afghan president as the main driver behind the threats that ultimately led to its closure. The shutdown came after Payman mistakenly published a "blasphemous" article called "Prediction of the Third World War" – the story of Bulgarian visionary Baba Vanga, her dramatic life and her dystopian vision of a nuclear war."

Saudi Arabia: Censorship

Saudi Arabia: Censorship

Islam Online, Saudis and the Web: The Effect of the Internet on Saudi Society, 22 Feb 09 "Depending excessively on virtual relationships has created deep psychological problems among a large part of the Saudi youth; some of them have ignored family relationships and their educational and career paths.

"Also, according to Dr. Taghreed Al Samman, a Saudi social consultant, the heavy internet use has turned some young Saudis into introverts.

"“The internet addiction phenomenon in the Kingdom will get worse because of the scarcity of entertainment options for the Saudi youth. The internet has become breathtaking space for the youth, providing them with an opportunity to live in a different world and to meet different people,” Al Samman told IslamOnline.

"Some people blame the internet for introducing the Saudi youth for immoral habits and extremist thoughts.

"“Spending long hours browsing the internet can acquire the youth bad habits, such as gambling, and can brainwash them into adopting fanatic ideas,” Al Towerqy argues."

Saudi Arabia: iPhone


25,000 sign up for iPhone 3G within hours of launch in KSA "Mobily notched up 25, 000 subscribers within hours of its launch here Sunday of Apple’s iPhone 3G, arguably the most sophisticated touchscreen smartphone yet for making calls, sending emails and surfing the web even faster."

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Gazette, Addicted to porn?, 23 Feb 09 "Before the Internet, only people who had crossed some borders of self-control and respect would go to shops to buy adult magazines or videos, but now the access is possible within the privacy of homes, and without anyone seeing.

"That’s wrong. Allah is watching, always.

" has a very interesting discussion on this topic under the Society menu. People who have been affected, those on their recovery and those who have recovered from this addiction have all shared their experiences. Islamic advice from reputed Islamic speakers like Yasir Qadhi has also been included. While it is not possible to publish everything, one success story and advice mentioned in the post has been included that offers a good road map to getting rid of this habit: ..."

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Reuters India, Al Qaeda's Zawahri tells Hamas don't accept truce, 23 Feb 09 "Al Qaeda's second-in-command urged Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip not to succumb to Arab pressure for a truce with Israel and vowed to support fighting against the Jewish state.

"The militant leader in a recording posted on the Internet on Monday also called on Muslims in Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia to press ahead with fighting "crusaders" -- a term used to denote the West -- and their agents."



Daud Khattakis, Times Online, Into a Taliban wasteland of blood and fear, 22 Feb 09 "American officials are concerned that the cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, who is intent on imposing a harsh version of sharia (religious law), will allow the valley to become a base for Al-Qaeda and other terrorists."

Friday, February 20, 2009

al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Reuters UK, Qaeda posts photo of UK hostage, 19 Feb 09 Al Qaeda's wing in North Africa published photographs on the Internet on Thursday of four of six Western hostages it says it has in its custody, including one Briton.

"Earlier this week al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed in an audio tape aired on Arabic broadcaster Al Jazeera that it had a Canadian U.N. envoy and his aide and four Western tourists who were kidnapped in the West African Sahara in December."

Islamic Schools and the Web - Claims (and counter-claims)

Islamic Schools and the Web

This is London, Muslim parents unaware of 'hardline' teaching at some Islamic schools, 19 Feb 09 "SOME Islamic schools in Britain were today accused of teaching "fundamentalist" views in a new report which warns they could undermine the country's social cohesion.

"The report, by Right-wing think tank Civitas, claims pupils are being told to shun chess, music, cricket and even Harry Potter in material posted or linked to school websites ...

" ... The Association of Muslim Schools said the report was based on flawed research. Dr Mohamed Mukadam, the association's chairman, said: "The author has pieced together bits of information from the internet. He hasn't set foot in a single Muslim school or spoken to a teacher or pupil.""

Further reading

Association of Muslim Schools, Press Release regarding Civitas report, 19 Feb 09

Civitas [I was unable to locate the report]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

GIMF, Internet a boon for terrorists, expert testifies, 17 Feb 09 "The Internet has become one of the most important tools for Al-Qa’ida and jihadists for recruiting, communicating and creating virtual cells and Saïd Namouh took full advantage of it, according to an American counter-terrorism expert who testified at the suspected terrorist’s trial Tuesday."

Abu Qatada

Abu Qatada, Law lords approve Qatada deportation, 18 Feb 09 "The strategy of using diplomatic agreements to deport suspected terrorists won the backing of the UK’s highest court yesterday in the case of a radical Islamic preacher once described as al-Qaeda’s “spiritual ambassador” in Europe."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009



CNN, Spanish soldier arrested over 'jihad' videos, 17 Feb 09, "Spanish police Tuesday arrested a Spanish soldier and his Russian girlfriend for allegedly posting videos on the Internet promoting Islamic extremist views and calling for attacks in Spain, a Ministry of Interior statement said."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Panorama: "Muslim First, British Second"

Panorama: Muslim First, British Second

BBC News, UK to shift anti-terror strategy, 16 Feb 09, "The UK government is preparing a major shift in its counter-terrorism strategy to combat radicalisation, the BBC's Panorama programme has learned."

The programme itself could have done with more analysis - very difficult given the retraints of format and time - but had some interesting talking heads.

Here's the iPlayer link: Muslim First, British Second [UK only].

I'm still looking for a transcript. Here's some background, including materials from the reporter Richard Watson: BBC, About Muslim First, British Second

BBC, Chief Constable denies infiltration of Muslim groups

BBC, New tactic in the battle with extremism

Home Office statement on Muslim First, British Second

Monday, February 16, 2009

Twitter and Site Maintenance

I've added a research Twitter section, for those of you on the move, focusing on the areas of this blog - but other material may creep in as well. See Don't expect great outpourings of tweets a la Barack Obama or Stephen Fry, but hopefully it will be useful. I've also updated the RSS on this page: Feedster and other services should function better now...

Wilders + Miliband

Wilders + Miliband

Catherine Bennett, The Observer, Geert Wilders has just made our leaders look truly idiotic, 15 Feb 09 "Between bulletins on Mr Wilders's progress, numberless Britons who would never, otherwise, have known of its existence, discovered that the pretext for all this fuss, his 14-minute film Fitna, was readily available on their laptops. One of the most worrying aspects of the whole business is that foreign secretary David Miliband, previously thought to have rather an impressive, for a politician, command of internet technology, should have been forced to comment on Fitna's offensiveness without actually seeing it. Particularly when he knew about it a year ago." Opinion piece.

Sunday, February 15, 2009



CBS News, Al Libi Urges Jihad Against Newly Elected President in Somalia, 13 Feb 09, "Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Yehya al Libi, called the newly-elected Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed “a traitor and a conspirator” and urged militants to attacks his regime. The statement came, in a new video tape released by al Qaeda’s media wing As Sahab on a number of militant Islamist Internet forums Friday."



CBS News, Uzbek Group Releases Video Showing Kids Groomed For Jihad, 13 Feb 09 "Children as young as four or five years old were shown undergoing military training in a new video released by the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a militant Uzbek group based in Pakistan’s tribal area."

Thursday, February 12, 2009



Here's an interview that I gave to the University of North Carolina Press a few weeks ago, that I forgot to mention in the blog. The book is on-schedule, indexed, and hopefully ready-to-roll for May publication in US and UK (with C. Hurst & Co.). I'll be adding various resources to after the book is released into the wild. Other information to follow - keep checking the sidebar of this blog.

Research on video games


Patrick Haenni, Religioscope, Religion and technology: video games in the Arab world and beyond - Interview with Vit Sisler, 12 Feb 09 "Video games are at the core of a renewed focus of interest and have given birth to what are now known as game studies. Games have to be considered as a fully legitimate field of study for both anthropologists and political scientists, as they are shaping worldviews, social networks and identities and they engage phenomenona of cultural domination/resistance. They eventually crystallise new forms of collective mobilisation and action and have to be considered as cultural artefacts. Vit Sisler, a researcher in game studies, tells us more about the religious and other challenges that games are posing in the Middle East and Muslim world."

Also see Digital Islam

Pakistan Taliban - Piotr Stanczak


The Long War Journal, Taliban feud over murder of Polish hostage, 11 Feb 09 "Two senior Pakistani Taliban leaders had a disagreement over the handling of kidnapped Polish geologist Piotr Stanczak. The disagreement led to Stanczak's gruesome beheading, which was videotaped by the Taliban and released to the public."

Recycle - the movie


Thomas Hegghammer, The National, The Struggle Within, 13 Feb 09

"The film Recycle delves into the conscience of a jihadist – and brilliantly troubles our ideas about Islamic radicalism, writes Thomas Hegghammer."

More: IMDB and Variety

'Detox' programme


CTV, Toronto mosque offers 'detox' for Islamic radicals, 11 Feb 09 "Muhammed Robert Heft, a team member of the Specialized De-radicalization Intervention program, says the program is based on the idea that Islamic extremism can be fought by incorporating traditional teachings of the Qur'an into a "12-step Extremist Detox Program.""

Iran and the Internet


Hossein Godazgar,, Attitudes towards the Internet in an Iranian University "My findings were shaped by participant observation and interviewing 30 post-graduate students and seven academic staff from different faculties of the University of Tabriz, situated in northwest Iran, in the spring of 2002. The main variables were as follows: the Internet as a value system; the necessity of the Internet; causes of Internet establishment; the pleasant parts of the Internet; access to the Internet; and the effects of the Internet."

The findings are interesting - it would be useful, however, to revisit this, given that several years have passed since the original research.



Daily Mail, Muslim peer who invited terror suspect to visit Parliament, 12 Feb 09

"Yesterday, internet chatter claimed that Lord Ahmed had threatened to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr Wilders getting into the Palace of Westminster.

"Lord Ahmed denied the reports and said his lawyers are investigating those he blames for spreading it."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu

The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu

Forthcoming, on BBC Four at 12 Feb 2009, The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu, "Aminatta Forna tells the story of legendary Timbuktu and its long hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. With its university founded around the same time as Oxford, Timbuktu is proof that the reading and writing of books have long been as important to Africans as to Europeans."

I'm looking forward to seeing this programme. There is a significant digital element to this, as many of the manuscripts are being digitised (I've previously blogged about this). It should be available on iPlayer in due course (for UK viewers), and I imagine it will be picked up by other channels.

The BBC Four page is rather sparse. There is a much better piece here by Aminatta Forna, which demonstrates the significance of this archive and its preservation/translation:

Times Online, The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu, 7 Feb 09 "Today the rediscovery of the manuscripts is prompting a reappraisal of African history. Africa does have a written tradition after all, not just an oral one. As the manuscripts are slowly translated, the contents are revealed to include Islamic science and law, medicine, astronomy and most vitally and importantly, historic treatises, which tell of a pre-colonial Africa of empires and kings - all written by black African scholars."

Also see

Tabula Gaza

Tabula Gaza

BBC News, Gaza activist is freed by Egypt, 11 Feb 09

"Egyptian police have released a pro-Palestinian blogger who was detained last week during a rally.

"Egyptian-German student Philip Rizk was held on Friday, north of Cairo, where he helped organise a protest in support of the Gaza Strip."

Islamic Google Initiative

Islamic Google Initiative

Islamic Google

There have been 'Islamic' search engines before, but this seems quite innovative - haven't checked under the hood yet, though. Their blurb states: "Islamic search engine powered by Google striving to provide an easy to use resource to anyone wanting to learn more about Islam and provide a good way for muslims to surf the web safely.

"IslamicGoogle is powered by Google using "safe search" technology, it produces results from all over the internet with more weighting to given to famous islamics websites and eliminates the vast majority of unsavoury content, such as pornography, it apply strict filtering for both explicit text and explicit images.

"The site is not associated or affiliated with, we work closely with Google to help ensure that the results are not objectionable in nature, however, some of the results and adverts that are displayed may not be in line with Islam and we do not endorse any of the results or adverts displayed on Islamic Google."

It's not clear at present who is making these decisions (the domain is registered in France). A quick search on key terms relating to my own research area, specifically those relating to jihad, suggests that there is some further work to do in the filtering area. It's a difficult task ...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Law & Order: Cairo

Law & Order: Cairo

Reuters, Egypt police beat, detain blogger: rights group, 9 Feb 09 "Egyptian police have beaten and detained a 22-year-old Egyptian blogger and activist who has expressed support for Gaza, an Egyptian human rights group said on Monday.

"A statement from the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said police officers on Friday beat Diaa Eddin Gad in front of his house in the Nile Delta province of Gharbiya, put him in a police car and drove off ...

" ... Gad's website Sawt Ghadib or "An Angry Voice," ( contains pro-Gaza slogans and news and commentary on the Israeli offensive, as well as strident denunciations of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and security services."

CIOL, Is hacking a war tool?, 10 Feb 09 "There is an aura of mystery that surrounds hacking and a prestige that accompanies being part of a relatively 'elite' group of individuals who are techno-savvy and are willing to take the risks required to become a true 'hacker'.

"Unlike most computer crime or misuse areas which are clear-cut in terms of actions and legalities, computer hacking is more difficult to define."
Saudi Arabia

Asharq al-Awsat, Saudi Religious Police Crackdown on Blackmail between the Sexes, 9 Feb 09, "Director of the CPVPV in Mecca, Ahmed Qasim Al Ghamdi revealed exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat that the number of cases of young men blackmailing women with personal photographs has reached 65 in the city of Mecca alone. He pointed out that this number concerns the number of cases the CPVPV had dealt with according to various information, but that many women had refrained from filing reports.

"Al Ghamdi said that the source of "the blackmail is a result of a previous relationship or the exploitation of the blackmailed party by [someone] gaining documents and information. For example some young men gain photos of women by gaining access to their mobile phones, or through mobile phones given to repair shops.""

Jawa Report, Al Qaeda in Gaza Clarifies Relationship to GIMF, 9 Feb 09 "NEFA has released a translation of a communique between al Qaeda's Gaza affiliate, The Army of Islam, and Mahmoud Mahmoud [Muhammad Shawi Mahmoud], a one-time leading figure in the Global Islamic Media Front [GIMF]. Mahmoud was convicted of plotting to attack US targets in Austria. A Canadian member of the same cell, Said Namouh, is presently under indictment for the same conspiracy."
Conspiracy Theory

mina, Australia targeted for 'Forest Fire' jihad?, n.d. "AUSTRALIA has been singled out as a target for "forest jihad" by a group of Islamic extremists urging Muslims to deliberately light bushfires as a weapon of terror.

"US intelligence channels earlier this year identified a website calling on Muslims in Australia, the US, Europe and Russia to "start forest fires", claiming "scholars have justified chopping down and burning the infidels' forests when they do the same to our lands".

"The website, posted by a group called the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Network, argues in Arabic that lighting fires is an effective form of terrorism justified in Islamic law under the "eye for an eye" doctrine.

"The posting — which instructs jihadis to remember "forest jihad" in summer months — says fires cause economic damage and pollution, tie up security agencies and can take months to extinguish so that "this terror will haunt them for an extended period of time".

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Research Outcomes, Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds "On January 29, 2009, Dancing Ink Productions released the findings from the Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds project at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. The findings included a trilogy of actionable items available in digital format here. By releasing three types of reports — policy recommendations, documentary video and graphic book — we hope to make what is still a very new medium as accessible as possible."

Links to various products of this project can be found on the page. I haven't read any of this yet, so may well be commenting later in some form ...
Facebook sermon

AKI, Italy: Islamic sermon on Facebook speaks of jihad, 6 Feb 09, "An Islamic sermon in Italian language was broadcast for the first time on the Internet's top social networking site Facebook, before it was due to be read at a local mosque .

"The idea was originally proposed by Italian imam and director of, Hamza Piccardo. The first topic to be discussed was that of jihad meaning 'holy war' but also 'personal struggle'."

CBS, Internet Terror Monitor, Somali Militants Release New Attack Video, 6 Feb 09
aQ Iraq

CBS, Internet Terror Monitor, Online Jihadis Not Optimistic About the Future of Jihad in Iraq, 6 Feb 09 "A heated online debate was launched today about the future of jihad in Iraq on the “Hanein” Internet forums. It started when a member using the name Shemari posted a message entitled “are the mujahideen close to laying down the arms in Iraq?” The user argued that there were a lot of inactions suggesting that jihad in Iraq is coming to an end. He mentioned the inter-fighting amongst the militants, the growing strength of the awakening councils, the army, and the police, the running out of weapons, and the Iraqi people’s rejection of the jihadi movements. “I think jihad in Iraq will be coming to an end within a year or a year and a half,” Shemari predicted."

Brynjar Lia,, More Fitna in Cyberspace: Mihdar vs al-Maqdisi, 7 Feb 09 "Is another chapter in the history of cyber-jihadi infighting about to be written these days? The latest controversy is a series of attacks by the webforum Madad al-Suyuf on Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, perhaps the most influential salafi-jihadi clerics alive."

Friday, February 06, 2009


BBC iPlayer, Around the World in 80 Faiths: The Middle East Rich in detail, well worth seeing if you have access to iPlayer, showing a number of faiths in the region. Here's the blurb:

"Pete Owen Jones's epic journey exploring the world's beliefs continues in the Middle East, where he encounters an unknown side to a land scarred by religious strife.

"In a moving and at times disturbing film, Pete travels to Israel where he meets the African-Americans who have settled in the Holy Land to live by the principles of the Old Testament - including polygamy. He travels to Syria to explore Islam and meet the Sufi Whirling Dervishes, to Samaria to witness the 3000-year-old Passover sacrifice, and to northern Iraq to track down the ancient and obscure Yazidi sect, who have a curious reputation for devil worship."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Iran in Space

Guardian, Iran launches first domestically produced satellite, 3 Feb 09 "While Tehran insists the satellite will enable it to improve phone and internet technology and to track natural disasters, western analysts have warned that it would create the capacity to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles."
aQ > Sun

Thomas Hegghammer,, Pathetic Psy-ops, 5 Feb 09 "The British tabloid The Sun reported yesterday that al-Qaeda leaders rape male recruits to shame them into becoming suicide bombers. Let me start by congratulating the journalist on being able to fit the four words “al-Qaida”, “gay”, “rape” and “horror” in one and the same headline in the world’s largest English-language newspaper.

"I would not normally bother with this kind of nonsense were it not for the fact that it sheds light on the recent reports about AQIM’s alleged plague experiments, covered previously on Jihadica. Both stories were broken in the West by The Sun, and both stories relied on Algerian security sources. We are most likely dealing here with an anti-al-Qaida psy-op, and a very poor one at that."
iPhone, Etisalat to bring Iphone to UAE this month, Officially, 2 Feb 09 "Good news for Iphone lovers at UAE. Iphone is all set to debut in UAE this month, officially via Etisalat. However, unlocking an Iphone is no big deal as of now, but having it officially with a service provider, do give you some (or one ) extra options."
Africa, Africa Focus, Africa: Internet Growth Accelerating, 4 Feb 09 "Although Africa still remains last among world regions in estimated internet penetration (5.4% of the population as compared to the world average of 23.4%, according to end-2008 figures from Internet World Stats - see article below), it also features a growth rate of over 1,000% between 2000 and mid-2008, with an estimated 19.8% growth rate between end 2007 and end 2008. Internet World Stats now estimates more than 51 million internet users in Africa, while leading expert Southwood estimates an even higher user/population rate, if usage at internet cafes is fully taken into account."

The National, Internet start-ups hampered by costs, 31 Jan 09 includes video "High start-up costs and a corporate culture that prizes traditional ways of doing business are hampering the growth of new internet businesses in the Gulf region, entrepreneurs say.

"While the best new businesses of Silicon Valley are often incubated in garages and student dormitories, a local start-up must invest tens of thousands of dirhams just to get off the ground and faces a long battle to gain recognition, according to many web businesses."

BBC News, Riding Tunisia's information superhighway by bus, 5 Feb 09 "A luxury coach heading in the direction of a remote, picturesque village in Tunisia is not an unusual sight.

"But the bus on its way to Ain Ek Misha is not in the business of moving tourists about - its purpose is to educate rather than transport.

"This bus, like many others, has been transformed into a mobile internet centre, and it travels around Tunisia teaching students of all ages how to log on, surf the net, and obtain information electronically that can help them in their studies and in finding jobs."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


National Post, Terror accused linked to BBC kidnapping, 3 Feb 09 "The Crown alleges that Mr. Namouh was a central player in the Global Islamic Media Front, or GIMF, a propaganda wing of al-Qaeda that has harnessed the Internet to issue threats and claim responsibility for acts of violence.

"The Crown told court yesterday that in its case it will introduce evidence that Mr. Namouh and his alleged co-conspirator, Mohammed Mahmoud of Austria, "played a major role for the GIMF in the editing of the May 9, 2007, message of demands."

"Evidence of their involvement comes from five internet discussion groups and an Internet audio chat, the Crown said."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Bishwa Ijtema

Gulf Times, 4mn Muslims gather for prayer, 1 Feb 09 "A record 4mn Muslims gathered for prayers yesterday on the banks of a river in Bangladesh at the climax of the largest annual Islamic event after the hajj, police said.
The annual three-day Bishwa Ijtema, or World Muslim Congregation, concluded after an Indian imam led noon prayers."

See Dhaka Daily Photo (2007) and Train for 'Akheri Monajat'! for related photos. Background: Wiki Bishwa Ijtema More photos; Google search 'Bishwa Ijtema'
Tunisia, Tunisia: Number Of Internet Users Reaches 2.8 Million, 29 Jan 09 "The number of internet users has reached nearly 2,8 Million and the ADSL networking rate stands at 11,1 Gigabits per second, said Mrs Lamia Chaffai Sghaier, the Secretary of State in charge of computers and free software at the opening of the first edition of “2009 Technology Days on information systems” (JTSI 2009), which began at the El Ghazala technological park a couple of days ago."
Recession proof?, Middle East Online Ad Spend Set To Grow By Up To 35% In 2009, 1 Feb 09, "Regional spending on online advertising is expected to grow by 25-35 percent as a result of the downturn, as we witness a greater shift from printing to advertising, according to a study titled “Game Not Over”, that was recently released by global management consultant firm, Booz & Company."
'Rehab' > aQ > Yemen

Nancy Durham, CBC, Attempting to rehabilitate Riyadh's jihadists, 29 Jan 09 "Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch reportedly has a new deputy chief, a Saudi named Saeed al-Shihri.

"When I was in Saudi Arabia in 2007 to report on the Kingdom's much publicized rehabilitation program, which aims to turn jihadi fighters into peaceful citizens, al-Shihri was one of the enrollees."
Swat, Pakistani bloggers join hands to help rebuild bombed schools, 30 Jan 09"Avid bloggers in Pakistan have started a campaign to help in rebuilding schools that have been bombed by the Taliban in the picturesque Swat valley.

"Human Development Foundation (HDF), a group run by Pakistanis living abroad, is collecting funds on the internet to help rebuild the schools."

Info on HDF

Press Association, Restaurant bomber jailed for life, 31 Jan 09 "The court was told Reilly decided to carry out his attack on the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter after being encouraged by others on the internet."

Times Online, Nicky Reilly, Muslim convert, jailed for 18 years for Exeter bomb attack, 31 Jan 09 "He is thought to have met British-based Muslim radicals in internet cafés near his council home, which he shared with his mother.

"Security sources said that radicals encouraged him to visit internet chat rooms and other websites, where he encountered men based in Pakistan who helped to mould a violent hatred of the West. He discussed with the men what his targets should be and they directed him to bomb-making websites."
1979 - 30 years on

NPR, Iran 30 Years After The Revolution, 2 Feb 09 audio report [illustrated by photo of net cafe]

"It's been 30 years since the Islamic revolution in Iran. The Iranian government is spending ten days celebrating the time when Muslim clerics took power in 1979. The anniversary comes just as the U.S. considers a new approach to Iran."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Atlas of Cyberspace

"The Atlas of Cyberspace, by Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin, is the first comprehensive book to explore the spatial and visual nature of cyberspace and its infrastructure.

"It uses a user-friendly, approachable style to examine why cyberspace is being mapped and what new cartographic and visualisation techniques have been employed.

"Richly illustrated with over 300 full colour images, it comprehensively catalogues 30 years worth of maps that reveal the rich and varied landscapes of cyberspace.

"The book includes chapters detailing:
- mapping Internet infrastructure and traffic flows
- mapping the Web
- mapping online conversation and community
- imagining cyberspace in art, literature, and film

"Update: October 2008 - The full content of the book now available for free download as a pdf."

It's a very useful resource, which I have cited in my books. Happy reading.

Diolch DigitalIslam