Thursday, April 30, 2009
"CPJ names the worst online oppressors. Booming online cultures in many Asian and Middle Eastern nations have led to aggressive government repression."
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Details: Mudarris software. It looks like a useful piece of software. I like the repetition option for practising (shown on the demo), and might give a more thorough test sometime.
"A spokeswoman for Japanese game company Konami Corp. confirmed Tuesday the company is no longer publishing the game, which was set to go on sale early next year."
That's what they say. However, elsewhere ...
bit-tech.net, Six Days in Fallujah dev hasn't given up, 29 Apr 09 "Atomic Games has said that it was very much surprised by Konami's decision to withdraw from publishing Six Days in Fallujah, but that it is still very optimistic for the future of the project."
See Atomic Games for their other titles
Well, not that successfully, in that it can easily be found elsewhere ...
"... The United Arab Emirates has banned Ahmed and Salim, and Palestinian bloggers have denounced it. YouTube removed one of the first six episodes and warned the creators that it could ban the series if new episodes are too offensive."
"A review of some posts loaded in recent days to the internet exposes some kind of optimism among the Muslims. For instance: "Anonymous Coward" wrote: "Muslims are better immune. Did you ever hear of SARS cases in Muslim countries?" Other posts support this view, claiming Muslims will not be infected as they don't eat the "dirty" pork. This is of course a wrong suggestion as humans do not get swine flu from eating pork."
Also see AKI, Swine flu: Imam claims virus affirms Koran, 29 Apr 09 "The global spread of the deadly swine flu virus affirms Islam's teachings and its holy book, the Koran, according to imam Amadia Rachid based in the Italian city of Salerno. "We believe that what is happening shows the truth of our faith," said Algerian-born Rachid in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI)."
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Received first copy of iMuslims UK/British Commonwealth edition from Hurst & Co. Slightly different size to US edition, and it has a different cover - but the same content(!). It's available to pre-order at present through the usual channels - I don't have an official publication date as yet for this edition.
rsf.org, American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi on hunger strike for past five days, 25 Apr 09 "Roxana Saberi, the young American-Iranian journalist who was sentenced to eight years in prison on a spying charge in Tehran on 18 April, has been on hunger strike for the past five days, her father has told Reporters Without Borders. He said she called him today from prison to tell him this. She is “determined and ready to go all the way,” Reza Saberi said, adding that he was “very worried.”"
Also see freeroxana.net
Facebook: Free Roxana Saberi
for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) - pdf report. Also hear the podcast (via ICSR page. I haven't read this/heard this yet [I should have a classification system for such items that are in my 'In Tray']
"The 37-minute video was released by the militant Islamist media house Nida al Jihad."
Monday, April 27, 2009
"Deputy for Special and Computer Crimes at the Islamic Republic Police (IRIP) General Mehrdad Omidi said that some 124,000 internet and computer crimes were reported during the last Iranian year (ended 20 March), 26 percent more than the last year."
"Abu Muslim, who prefers not to reveal his real name, said he was inspired to quit his university course and job at a bakery in England after browsing the Internet to learn about the so-called U.S.-led "war on terror." ...
" ... A recent Internet video showed a light-skinned American identified as Abu Mansur al-Amriki urging "all the brothers overseas, all the shebab (youth), wherever they are, to come and live the life of a mujahed (holy warrior)."
"The clip was interspersed with songs and rapping in what the Middle East Media Research Institute described as "a clear appeal to foreign youth, especially in English-speaking countries, to join the jihad in Somalia.""
"Broadcast media might be supreme as long as the rakyat is not yet fully digitally-literate. Government-owned and controlled television stations will be useful when the rakyat can be made to be stone-glued to their television sets. Hegemony of the ruling regime can continue to be maintained as long as the rakyat is given bread and circus (or roti canai and fun-fairs). This is the feature of the success of the previous 22-year old regime; one that began to crumble after the fall of the Thai Baht of 1997, after the Tom Yum Effect of 1997."
This was taken from Azly Rahman's blog.
Also see the pdf edition of Terrorism Monitor
"Critics say the free Faith Fighter game is 'deeply provocative' and 'disrespectful' towards all world religions."
The above is the link to part 1 of 3. It's based on the events surrounding Malika el-Aroud, and is of interest in this blog because of her work on various jihadi web sites (some of which is discussed in my writing).
More info: CNN, One Woman's War, 10 Feb 09
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Not the first time there has been advice of this nature. I haven't read the magazine fully yet, and will be writing about it in due course. Inevitably it has generated considerable coverage on jihadi fora, opinion blogs, and elsewhere.
The original announcement surfaced a few weeks ago on The Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowlege (a site which is discussed in iMuslims).
It was previously blogged in Jihadica, Jihad Recollections. No surprises regarding alleged authorship... It has been on related fora during the past few weeks, and can still be found as a download. There's been opinion and commentary on Jawa Report and Internet Haganah (the latter has screen shots if you don't want to go to download sites). Also see the comments on Closer, Studying Jihadism - The Jihad Recollections I, 14 Apr 09
Also see Jarret Brachman, Al-Fursan Media Part 1 "This is the first post in what will be a 71-part series on the new English-language jihadist magazine: “Jihad Recollections”", which looks like it will be a useful, comprehensive (and time-consuming) analysis.
I should also give a mention to Brachman's book, which I plan to read shortly: ...
Also see Amnesty International, Delara Darabi's execution postponed for two months, 20 Apr 09 and MySpace: Help Delara. There is an online campaign:
See World Digital Library
This is an exciting resource, which I'll be taking a look at in detail. A good sample page is the page on Qur'anic Verses. It features a 9th century fragment from Surat al-An'am in Kufi script. If you have a decent net connection, then it is possible to zoom in and out of this quickly, and also read the curator's comments (in this case, Christopher M. Murphy), which are also read on video.
There is plenty of other Islamic Studies related material to view on the site, including maps, documents and scanned manuscripts (the "Munajat" of 'Abdallah Ansari, and the Explanation of the Work of al-Ghazali and Nuh ibn al-Tahir al-Fulani (from Timbuktu) have also caught my attention). I can see myself spending hours looking at this material.
"Tehran's deputy prosecutor Reza Jafari said 50 Iranians had been arrested and were under investigation for running such websites and promoting prostitution, Vatan Emrouz reported.
"He said the term "corrupt on earth" suited "a person who manages many immoral, anti-religious and anti-revolutionary sites, and corruption on earth is legally punishable by death" under strict Islam."
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
"In an open letter to the “revolutionary Iranian people”, the Pasdaran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, announced their fight against the “activities of organised destructive networks in cyberspace”. The Pasdaran also claimed that the aim of the network operators is to lead Iranian youth astray and that they had been encouraged and financially supported by the “largest foreign companies and small terrorist groups and by the counterrevolution”. The focus of criticism is not simply Iranian hardcore pornographic films, but rather those internet operators that “pursue the diabolical objectives of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution” and that , according to the Pasdaran, are “endangering Iran’s general security”. Some of these networks have apparently been “identified and destroyed” using the “intelligent and resolute” measures of the Pasdaran’s information departments."
Also see Free the BlogFather. Ahmadinedjad asks to defense rights for Hossein Derakhshan and Roxana Saberi, 19 Apr 09, which notes:
"According to the Iranian national press agency IRNA, iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called this sunday for a fair treatment of iranian-american journalist Roxana Saberi, sentenced to 8 years of Prison this week as US SPY and Hossein Derakhshan, detained since 1 november, 2008 in an unknown place in Tehran."
Monday, April 20, 2009
See المصرى اليوم
"The new security regulations include a ban on using any Internet service subscription, prepaid cards or unlicensed satellite Internet other than the one certified for use by the café. Those under 18 years of age will not be allowed entry into the cafés, which must close by midnight. Also, a Saudi must be employed and all phone lines must be in the name of the licensed café , not the owner’s or anybody else’s name."
a few comments are also included
More at kippreport.com, Tracking Saudi’s surfers, 16 Apr 09
First Media e-Session with the Prime Minister-Part I: Interview with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum answers rather a lot of questions, with more to follow.
""This is the second time that I have responded to your questions online; the first time was eight years ago, when Internet communications were still in the nascent stage -- although, I must say, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates had already made noteworthy progress in this field. During that initial online interview, my objective was to stimulate the interest of the Emirati community in the Internet when the use of the online communications was relatively limited.
"Today the usage of the Internet across the UAE has come to be taken for granted; in fact, the Web has been adopted so extensively in both the public and private sectors that e-communications are the norm rather than the exception. We see that a large segment of our society, especially young people, believe that the Internet is the most important source of information, education and entertainment."
And here is a selection of (positive) responses:
Business 24-7, Responses to Sheikh Mohammed's interview
Gulf News, Online community praises Mohammad, 20 Apr 09 which includes a photo
"While one girl is shown tearfully pleading for help, the other is seen having her abaya stripped away. The scene ends when one rapist threatens to circulate picture of the rapes via Bluetooth if they dare go to police.
"The scene was a part of “Asakinat fe Qolubena,” (Dwellers in our Hearts) a new television series drama being aired on MBC1. It illustrates how Saudi drama has become more bold and sophisticated in exposing social problems."
The article makes some interesting comments relating to technology, as well as on the social impact of the programme. (which I haven't seen yet).
Also see/join Twitter, Free Roxana
Facebook: Free Roxana Saberi
"Dozens of activists are now jailed in Iran, including at least two prominent bloggers. One of them, Hussein Derakhshan, helped ignite the Iranian blog boom in 2001 by posting simple instructions to create sites in Farsi."
Friday, April 17, 2009
"One of the busted porn sites had 300,000 registered Iranian users and some of the adult video clips were downloaded at least six million times, according to the Guards.
"With a population of over 70 million, Iran has 12 million internet users.
""Over half of internet users in Iran have admitted searching for porn and about one third of them do it every day," says Saeed Madani, a sociologist in Tehran
"Since boys and girls are banned from socialising freely in Iran, demand for online adult content has exploded in big cities where internet access has become widespread, Mr Madani adds."
Also see Hamid Tehrani, Internet & Democracy Blog, Revolutionary Guards’ soft power: from “cyber repression” to “humanitarian action”, 16 Apr 09 "It seems the Revolutionary Guards Corp was so pleased by its conquest of the virtual world that it launched a Web site [(2)] where it names the sites this military ideologically motivated organization has dismantled and hacked. The Web site also reveals photos of arrested people who were allegedly involved with these sites."
"Mark Drapeau, National Defense University associate research fellow, said the current piecemeal approach to social-media technologies like Facebook and Twitter by the Defense Department needs to be addressed, Nextgov reported."
Can be read in conjunction with the post immediately below.
""Almost all Western governments are thinking along the same lines -- that it's better to monitor these (sites) than to try to censor everything on the Internet," said Dr Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR)." Discussion on the Conference on Terrorism and Cyber Security. Not exactly a 'headline', but an interesting article.
"N is one of some 300 mostly young Iraqis who over the last year have been undergoing psychotherapy through the Centre for the Treatment of Victims of Torture (BZFO, after its German name), which operates from Berlin. BZFO was founded in 1992, but its online therapy project for Iraqis started in the spring of 2008."
I found this further info: BZFO
"President Imomali Rakhmon did not name any countries, but his remarks came at a time of growing tension between Tajikistan, a strategic nation courted by the West, and Russia, its former Soviet overlord."
Obtained from Christine Benlafquih, arabisto.com, UK to Offer SEO Training for Moderate Islamic Groups, 12 Apr 09 "I'm curious to see which groups sign on to this SEO training. Moderate Islamic groups alrready speak out against terrorism and extremism, and those with a web presence find their real competiton comes from anti-Islam sites, not extremist points of view. The UK is likely already aware of this. Makes you wonder if by offering SEO training,. the government isn't hoping to be in a position to make editorial suggestions as well. High Google ranking, reputable Islamic group, and controlled content – what more could they hope for in their online fight against extremism?"
As The Register notes too, I'm not sure how this is all going to work, or whether these concepts have been fully unpacked. I'll be watching this with interest.
"He said it will not be a copy of "Fitna," the film he released on the Internet last year that coupled images of terror attacks with verses from the Quran."
Also see Dawn, Maulana Abdul Aziz back preaching at Red Mosque, 17 Apr 09
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"Christian Morales, Intel’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said a dramatic slowdown in spending by businesses accounted for the faster-than-expected contraction in the first quarter of this year."
"A panel of clerics from Jamia Asharaf-ul-Madaris objected to the use of aayats (verses from the Quran) as ringtones, arguing that people answer calls midway, leaving the verse incomplete."
Opinions of rapper K'naan via Davey D., New American Media, Somalian Born Rapper Sheds New Light on Pirates, 14 Apr "Davey D talks to Somalian born rapper K'naan about Hip Hop, the Somalian community under scrutiny in America and his notorious countrymen pirating off the horn of Africa."
Also see K'naan's Official Site
"The husband, who is in Iraq to participate in what he described as “jihad,” also telephoned two of his friends who witnessed his marriage and told them that he had divorced his wife."
""One of the countries that have given financial support to the opposition over the past few years is the Netherlands," said the statement. "The Dutch project aimed to encourage sexual and moral deviation in society" and to support the idea that "threats [against Iran] are increasing... and that the current Iranian government is incapacitated." "
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age, The Launch of a Journalistic Experiment: The Virtual Newsroom of the American University in Cairo, 7 Apr 09 "Today at the Virtual Journalism Conference at the Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University (WSU), Dancing Ink Productions (DIP) is proud to premiere our latest documentary: "Virtual Journalism: Inside the Virtual Newsroom of the American University in Cairo." The documentary is part of an ongoing project in collaboration with Lawrence Pintak the director of the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism and Research to explore the transformation of the business and culture of journalism in a global context. It was produced in conjunction with Ill Clan Animation studios. It describes a news conference in Second Life organized by DIP and AUC which brought together James K. Glassman who was then US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and a group of eight Egyptian bloggers."
Haven't seen this all yet.
MidEastWire, “Dubai police asks Google to confront spread of pornography...” "On April 2, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya.net news website carried the following report by Ahmed Sharif: “The Dubai police has asked the directors of the renowned Google search engine to seek a mechanism “to prevent the spread of pornographic images and movies that create problems and generate decadence in society, especially among the young and the teenagers”. The police thus announced on Thursday 2-4-2009: “During a meeting that was held in Dubai, security officials asked Gisel Hiscock, the director of Google Business Development in the Middle East and Europe, to limit the spread of pornographic clips, as well as clips mocking religions, calling for atheism and spreading newly-founded religions."
"But if Muslims grow up to identify extremism with Islam, and to believe that to be an accurate reflection of their religion, then we will have a far bigger problem than we ever could have imagined. Passing off aberration as the norm is a danger to all of us. And constantly setting the record right on what is and isn't Islam is the duty of every able communicator in today's multimedia world."
from the creator of The 99
see Iran: A Nation of Bloggers - Vancouver Film School (VFS) and the related blog
""We hope that the modern presentation of a text, audio and video footages will make acquaintance with Islam attractive and visual," Temirbek said. The project also includes multimedia materials on fundamentals of Allah's religion in a CD. It is of an educational and informational nature."
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
"Dozens of activists, students and members of the banned Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested, though there were no reports of mass arrests. A police crackdown over the weekend resulted in at least 30 arrests, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information ...
" ... Activists used Twitter, which allows users to send out short messages called tweets via mobile phones to their followers and their blogs, and blogs to publicize the detentions and arrests of fellow protesters and keep tabs on police activity."
Rolling Coverage: IkhwanOnline (Arabic)
also IkhwanWeb, Egypt Under Siege On ‘Day of Rage’
"Legislation proposed by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf) and awaiting cabinet approval, would bring in a more “unified” approach across the emirates."
" ... This recent study claims that Gulf and Egyptian influence is also a problem. It might be true that the extremist ideology that is prevalent in the Arab world today is the source of the problem in most parts of the Islamic world. However, holding it entirely responsible suggests that some parties are not willing to take responsibility. Extremism has become a general issue; its main channels are the modern means of communication popular among our youth, such as the Internet for example. Therefore, would it be logical to say that the United States is responsible for the spread of Islamist extremism because the internet is US based?"
Not sure whether one can really make that final point - otherwise, an interesting article.
Monday, April 06, 2009
The piece refers to iMuslims, and also my piece in Saturday's The National (see below), as well as highlighting some recent research in the field.
This includes John Kelly and Bruce Etling, Internet & Democracy Blog, Mapping Change in the Iranian Blogosphere, 12 Feb 09:
"A number of recent international anecdotes indicate increased online activism by governments. A perfect example of this ’state-engagement’ in cyberspace is found in Hamid Tehrani’s recent post about the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ plan to recruit 10,000 Basij bloggers. This may help explain some changes we’ve seen in the Iranian blogosphere, and is a good opportunity to share an updated Iranian blogosphere map created by John Kelly at Morningside Analytics, Berkman’s partner on our foreign language blog studies."
The mapping is useful. It also points to Berkman Center, Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere, (English and Persian translation), Apr 05, 2008
"For centuries visitors to the Alhambra fortress-palace in Granada, built by Spain's medieval Moorish rulers, have wondered what the thousands of Arabic inscriptions that are carved into its walls and ceilings mean.
"What the researchers have found so far is that, contrary to what was widely believed; verses from the Koran and poetry represent only a tiny minority of the messages in classical Arabic that cover the Alhambra, Europe's jewel of Muslim architecture."
""There are no major errors, but corrections have been made for some old mosques, thanks to modern techniques. In any case, it does not affect the prayers," the newspaper quoted Sudairy as saying in its Saturday edition."
Also see: GVU Center, Georgia Tech, Sun Dial: Exploring Techno-Spiritual Design through a Mobile Islamic Call to Prayer Application, "Sun Dial is a mobile phone application that supports Muslims’ prayer practices, . Our projects responds to the growing interest in knowing how to appropriately design technologies that account for and support user’s spiritual and religious practices. Unlike similar systems ours relies on imagery, rather than text and graphs to communicate prayer times. The sun’s gentle movement through the sky prompts Muslim users to their five daily prayer times. Users’ drove this choice, by telling us that tracking the sun was the most religiously valued method to determine prayer times. Additionally, our system was developed for Muslims practicing in the United States, who told us that they have different needs from those living in regions where Islam is more widely practiced."
Also see: Susan P. Wyche, Kelly E. Caine, Benjamin K. Davison, Shwetak N. Patel*,
Michael Arteaga, and Rebecca E. Grinter, Sacred Imagery in Techno-Spiritual Design [PDF]
"Statements said to be from the Jordanian have appeared recently on a number of extremist websites.
"The Quilliam Foundation think tank say Abu Qatada has released three letters from prison in four months.
"But the Prison Service says Quilliam's claims that it has been incompetent are "completely unfounded"."
"Fares, who runs the blog "My tongue is my pen" (http://abdofares.blogspot.com/), was detained on suspicion of distributing literature promoting the Brotherhood's ideology and inciting citizens to strike, the source added."
" ... We are already doing this in the UK with the use of the internet but we need Muslim intellectuals on the ground who can speak -English and French as well as Arabic."
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
"Zaad is a local Palestinian directory search engine that serves up search results from specialized databases, currently covering the Palestinian private sector and NGO sector databases."
Also read this piece: Saeed Shah, The Guardian, Pakistan region in grip of fear as leader begins to implement sharia law, 3 Apr 09 "[Sufi] Muhammad is leader of an Islamist movement that has long since agitated for sharia justice. And he took a big step towards his objective in February when he struck a "peace for sharia" deal with the authorities under which the Taliban would stop a two-year armed campaign in the region in return for the establishment of new religious courts. In a rare interview with any media outlet, domestic or foreign, he told the Guardian that the new courts would formalise penalties including flogging, chopping off hands and stoning to death."
Thursday, April 02, 2009
"It adds: "This career track offers rewarding, fast-paced, and high-impact challenges." The CIA is also advertising on the social networking site Facebook and YouTube.""
This refers to World Economic Forum, The Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009 - which can be downloaded in full as a 2.1 MB pdf. Clearly, it could be a useful piece of research. I haven't read its 379 pages yet... There is an interactive version of the report as well.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
"The White House strategy, though, betrays an obsession with physical space at the expense of virtual space. This fixation very much reflects a generational divide among the scholars and policy-makers who focus on terrorism. Younger scholars such as Will McCants (now at the Department of Defense) and Thomas Hegghammer--in addition to being much more likely to actually be able to speak and read the relevant languages (Arabic and Urdu)--are "digital natives" rather than "digital immigrants" (to use the labels preferred by the counter-insurgency scholar Thomas Rid): They do not need to have the explosive potential of the internet explained to them, and McCants and Hegghammer especially have individually spent hundreds of hours on the more popular jihadi chatrooms to gather data about the debates and spread of information that is taking place in the virtual world."
Hegghammer notes in his posting response:
"There are at least two more reasons why there ought to be a virtual dimension to the new AfPak strategy. First, the Pashto and Urdu-language part of the jihadi cyberspace is growing rapidly, and very few people are keeping track of it. Those who do rarely know the Arabic sites and vice-versa. No analyst I know has enough Arabic and Pashto to connect the dots (except Mustafa Abu al-Yazid).
"Second, the Internet infrastructure in Afghanistan and Pakistan is relatively poorly developed compared to the Arab world. This is very worrying, because it means that there is a huge untapped propaganda resource which will be exploited as the local infrastructure inevitably develops."
Some interesting issues here, which I'd like to pick up on if I had more time...
"Trimizi Zainal creates hell for unearthly spirits which haunt mortals.
"AT FIRST glance, Trimizi Zainal comes across as just another Malaysian student whom you’ll probably bump into in London’s Oxford Street.
"Like any IT-savvy youngster, the 23-year-old stays connected when abroad. With his Yahoo! Messenger, he sends text messages, makes PC calls or chats with friends over the Internet.
"Well, the similarity ends there. Trimizi is no ordinary Malaysian whom you would want to mess with.""
This is an interesting article. Trimizi is coming to the UK, and I found details of a course here at PISANG, Islamic Medical Treatment Course
And there's some blogger commentary on it here: Coffee Conversatins (Zurairifm), Blame It On the Djinns