Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lahore bombing

Dawn, TTP claims Lahore bombing, threatens more attacks, 28 May 09 "Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility on Thursday for a suicide gun and bomb attack in Lahore the previous day that killed 26 people and wounded over 100 ...

" ... Another group calling itself the Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab also claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The group took the blame in a Turkish-language communique posted on Turkish militant websites through an organisation called Elif Media on Wednesday, the SITE Intelligence Group said."


The National, Cyborg hero forged in the heart of Dubai, 28 May 09 "Step aside, Terminator: a new time-travelling cyborg out of Dubai Media City is due to burst on to cinema screens in the UAE’s first computer-generated film."

See the xeroerror blog for more links and info.

UAE 419

John Henzell, The National, E-mail con men use UAE jobs lure, 28 May 09 "Con men are targeting people who have lost their jobs by e-mailing offers of high-paying work in the UAE."

Yamli Firefox extension, Yamli Releases Beta Of Their Official Firefox Toolbar, 26 May 09 "A Yamli toolbar or extension has been a user request for quite a while now, and Yamli has answered with this toolbar that extends the possibility to use Yamli’s Arabic transliteration technology to any site or web application a user might need to type in Arabic in. By just going to the website and clicking on the ‘Enable Yamli’ button in the toolbox, all text input areas get the Yamli functionality activated for them. Another option is to just right click on the textbox you need to use and activate Yamli for just it."

Yamli is a useful tool, so it's interesting to see this toolbar.

Jihadi Brigades of Internet Incursion

Scott Sanford,, Jihadi Email “Incursion” "On 15 May 2009, the Jihadi Brigades of Internet Incursion, which appear to be a part of the Shumukh Forums, announced a successful “incursion” of over 250,000 email addresses."


Washington Post, A Place to Explore Muslim American Life, 23 May 09

Profile of/interview with alt.Muslim's Shahed Amanullah

From his home in Austin, Shahed Amanullah, 41, runs six popular Web sites that explore topics of interest to Muslims -- with two more to go online shortly. A senior project manager at an engineering firm by day, the American-born Amanullah has built a mini-Internet empire. His sites include one that reviews restaurants that meet Islamic dietary restrictions and another that reviews mosques. On a more esoteric note, he has a Web site for the best Muslim writing on the Web and a site that explores gender issues in Islam. But his highest-profile Web site is, a forum for Muslims and non-Muslims to explore contemporary, often controversial, topics as they intersect with Islam: terrorism, politics, culture and comedy.

Iran: arrests

AFP, Iran arrests 104 in raid on 'Satanist' party, 27 May 09

""The session was held in a garden outside Shiraz and the Satanist ceremony was broadcast live to the world via the Internet," he said, adding the arrest was made by members of the Islamist Basij militia linked to the Guards."

Link to metal music possible

Death threat, Islamic death threat targets U.S. radio host, 27 May 09

"A top U.S. radio talk show host has become the subject of an Islamist Internet death threat, WND has learned.

"Rusty Humphries, whose show is broadcast on over 250 stations through Talk Radio Network, was the target of the tirade, posted on a blog powered by Google entitled, "The Jew Report." Humphries is an outspoken critic of Islamic terrorism and a strong supporter of the U.S.-led war on terror.

"The author of the online threat apparently confused Humphries for Rusty Shackleford, the pseudonym used by the proprietor of the popular My Pet JAWA Report website, which focuses on exposing online support of Islamic terrorism."

Jihadi Recollections 2

Jarret Brachman, CT Investigative Insights from “Savvy Irhabi”, 20 May 09 Helpful commentary on Jihadi Recollections 2, which I haven't had a chance to explore fully yet. Dr Brachman has also put the pdf on his site (useful if you don't want to frequent jihadi pages or download sites).

'Who Killed Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi?'

Scott MacLeod, Time, Who Killed Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi?, 24 May 09 "The chance to ever learn al-Libi's full story ended on May 11 when a Libyan newspaper reported that he had committed “suicide” inside Abu Salim prison. Curiously, al-Libi managed to steel himself through years of incarceration and torture, only to supposedly commit “suicide” as a new U.S. government opens the Bush administration's torture files. Wilkerson says that his death came as U.S. lawyers working with tortured detainees were attempting to get Col. Gadhafi's government to allow al-Libi to be interviewed. As it turns out, Human Rights Watch was in fact allowed brief access to al-Libi last April 27, two weeks or less before his “suicide.” He refused to speak to the HRW representative, except to ask, “Where were you when I was being tortured in American jails?”"

Iran SMS Election Campaigning

As with previous elections, the net and SMS are playing a role in Iranian politics:

Reuters, SMS, internet campaigns prove controversial in Iran election, 27 May 09 "Young, urban mobile phone users in Iran are being bombarded with this and similar text messages in run-up to the poll on June 12 when hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will seek a second term.

"Emails and blogs are also playing a big part for the first time in a country more used hearing political messages blared through loudspeakers on small trucks, seeing gaudy posters and being herded to campaign rallies."

Also see Sky News, Iran 'Allows Facebook After Election Block', 26 May 09 "Iran has reportedly restored access to Facebook after allegedly blocking it to prevent supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election rival using it."

Coincidentally, that report has a photo of Roxana Saberi meeting Hillary Clinton.

Middle East social-web

Meedan, Why Middle East social-web projects miss their target audience, 25 May 09 "If you’re setting up a shop to sell poodles in Spain, it’d make sense to advertise in the Spanish-language ‘Poodles Monthly’ rather than in the English-language ‘Cats R Us’.

"That much seems obvious. Yet all-too-often, Middle East-based social-web projects are not using this simple rule of thumb in the work they do: identify your target audience, and communicate with them."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gazans and the net

China View/, Gazans seek normal life via Internet, 25 May 09

Transcript of video report. Unfortunately, the video was down when I looked.

"Tamer Qarmoot, 29, UNDP employee:

"We like to come to this place in Gaza, we're a small group of friends. This place give us a kind of comfort. It's a modern place, you can have access to Internet, wireless Internet. As you see we all have laptops here, some of us work here, others you can find them communicating with their loved ones (who are abroad) and their friends. Internet is very important here. I mean given the Gaza reality which is a harsh one, the fact that we can not move in or out to see our beloved ones. So for us Internet is our way to overcome this obstacle and reach out to our loved ones outside."

Kuwait elections and the net


Mohammed Adel Fakhro, Gulf Daily News, Rise of liberal phoenix... , 26 May 09

"The election of four women to Kuwait's parliament represents the most significant tidal shift towards liberalism since the rise of Islamic extremism began to take hold in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the Middle East. It represents the rise of the Internet as a means within the region to inspire the youth of a country to go out and vote. It also proves the interest of the youth to see change in the region."

Prosecution: Islamic Jihad, Palestinian who plotted attack via Web gets 15 months: Military Court finds 21-year-old West Bank woman guilty of contacting Islamic Jihad operatives via chat room, planning suicide attack in Israel, 24 May 09

"The defense establishment noted an increase in internet use among terror activists. "The internet has a substantial contribution to greasing the wheels of terror, by distributing dangerous messages worldwide," said the court. "Terror groups have learned that they should take time and invest resources and considerable efforts in web-based PR.""


Gulf Times, Islamic experts discuss issue of globalisation, 26 May 09 "Globalisation and the convergence of different cultures represents a challenge to Islam, but it is a challenge that it is more than capable of surmounting according to experts who will be taking part in the Doha Debates." Internet thread to this.

iPhone: eating halal

Watan, iPhone helps American Muslims eat halal on-the-go "Ask dietary-cautious Muslims in the west what their major challenge is when it comes to eating religiously-permitted foods and they'll say finding a halal place on-the-go. But with Halalpal, an iPhone application that locates halal restaurants and eateries throughout the United States, sticking to a halal diet has become much easier." I write about related issues in iMuslims.

Details on Halalpal here.

"Al-Qaida's Online Couriers"

Evan Kohlman, NEFA Foundation, Al-Qaida's Online Couriers is a flash object, giving some background to various 'networks'. Also see Counterterrorism blog

Iran: Facebook blocked

Reuters, Iranian moderate candidate criticizes Facebook ban, 25 May 09 "A moderate challenger to hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the authorities on Monday for blocking access to the Facebook social networking site ahead of the June 12 presidential election.

"With the Internet playing a mounting role in political debate, authorities have curbed access to political, human rights and news websites, and blocked Facebook on Saturday."

Here's an example of a Facebook page (linking to others) for Mir Hossein Mousavi

Also see Khatami's Facebook page(s), such as this one:

Saudi Arabia: Censorship

Saudi Jeans, Another Saudi Blog Blocked, 25 May 09 "CITC is at it again, this time blocking Susie’s Big Adventure, a blog by an American woman married to a Saudi and based in Jeddah."

CITC give another blog the oxygen of publicity. Well, I went and took a look at Susie's Big Adventure, anyway. It's probably the post on women driving that caused the problem. Either that, or it's the James Blunt record that comes on when you open the page.

CID Uganda tap Egypt

The East African, Uganda CID scramble to equip for cyber warfare, 25 May 09 "As a necessity, all personnel are now being trained on basic computer skills, while a few are undergoing intense training in computer-based investigation skills in Egypt.

"“We have very few detectives and even fewer who can do computer-based investigations. We are trying to change that now,” said Joseph Obwona, officer in-charge of planning and inspection at the CID."

diolch: FP, What is Egypt teaching Uganda's cybercrime officials?, 24 May 09

Afghanistan: Net blocks

AFP/, Afghan government plans Internet curbs, 25 May 09 "The Afghan government is planning curbs on Internet use, starting with blocking pornography sites, as the country's first fiber optic cable is due to be on-line in weeks, officials said Sunday.

"The communications and information ministries are studying limits on web access because the current "free Internet environment" is being misused in particular by the youth, communications ministry spokesman Abdul Hadi told AFP."

WIth the new systems in place, now the blocking starts ...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Watwet: social networking/blogging, Watwet’s New Version With Twitter Link, Channels And Better Language Support, 20 May 2009

"Watwet, the Arab social networking and micro-blogging platform, has released a new version of their web application code named ‘Suzie’, and with it come a bunch of really interesting new features."

See Watwet (English and Arabic sites), which leads to sign-up options, a blog and other info.

Spezify search engine

Spezify Beta has been launched. See Digital Inspiration, New Visual Search Engine Arranges Results in a Large Collage, 21 May 09.

Spezify is an interesting idea, with bags of potential. However, I tried a few 'Islam' related searches, but you really have to be specific (as in the name) with this particular search engine, and ensure that you have plenty of bandwidth too as it is otherwise grindingly slow. Unsurprisingly, the Islam related searches unearthed a mixture of opinions, stereotypes and influences. The Qur'an (obviously more specific) was potentially of greater use. Results look nice, if you have google fatigue.


Waq al-Waq, On that Wall Street Journal Article, 21 May 09 Non-tech, useful commentary on a WSJ article Yemen's Terror Problem

Kashf: The Lifting Of The Veil

Spero News, Sufi Film Aims To Show Gentler Side Of Islam, 21 May 09 discusses 'Kashf: The Lifting Of The Veil'

The film has a Facebook site: Kashf: The Lifting Of The Veil'

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Facebook 'fatwa'

AP/Fox, Muslim Clerics: Facebook Encourages Extramarital Affairs, 21 May 09 "Muslim clerics are seeking ways to regulate online behaviour in Indonesia, saying the exploding popularity of social networking sites like Facebook could encourage illicit sex.

"Around 700 clerics, or imams, gathering in the world’s most populous Muslim nation today were considering guidelines forbidding their followers from going online to flirt or engage in practices they believe could encourage extramarital affairs."

Mecca designs on YouTube

New Civil Engineer, Consultant Atkins’ confidential masterplanning work for Mecca has been leaked to YouTube, 20 May 09. " ... confidential designs from Atkins have now been leaked on You Tube. They show an Ottoman-era section of the Haram mosque replaced by a multi-storey prayer hall, boosting capacity from 900,000 worshippers now to more than 3m. A proposed second phase of development controversially envisages demolishing the old mosque and replacing it with a modern doughnut-shaped building, capable of accommodating more than 5m pilgrims. Only the Kaaba would remain."

The video is here (and elsewhere)

There are some interesting plans here, bound to be the subject of sustained discussion. The designs are rendered in virtual reality, in a corporate clip...

Saudi Arabia: monitoring aQ

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia: Proposal to Set up Centre to Combat Al Qaeda's Media Activities, 20 May 09 "The first National Conference on Intellectual Security to take place in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh discussed the proposal of establishing a media centre similar to the Al Qaeda affiliated Al-Fajr media in order to combat it. The proposal was submitted by Dr. Ahmed al Mawkali in order to combat the Al Qaeda affiliated Al-Fajr media, which was established in February 2006 following the birth of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq.

"Dr. al Mawkali, who is conducting research into how Al Qaeda operates via the internet, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that there had been a change in Al Qaeda's standard operating procedures three years ago after the various organizations that produced and distributed Al Qaeda media content unified their efforts. These media organizations are comprised of seven institutes."

Dutch Islamic Congress

Radio Nethrlands Worldwide, Salafism dominates at Dutch Islamic Congress, 18 May 09, "The first National Islamic Congress in the Netherlands was held last Saturday in Amsterdam and attracted young Muslims from all over the country. The most prominent speakers at the congress belonged to the fundamentalist Salafism movement." Refers to internet 'authorities'

Conference: Rethinking Jihad

CASAW, Rethinking Jihad: Ideas, Politics and Conflict in the Arab World & Beyond, 7-9 Sept 09, Edinburgh

The Provisional Programme is now available for this event. I am giving a short paper (E-Jihad: a Brief History).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

'A Bad Girl of Islam'

Faith Complex: 'A Bad Girl of Islam'. Interview with Asra Nomani by Jacques Berlinerblau (Washington Post)

Islamic Human Rights Commission on the Community Security Trust

Islamic Human Rights Commission, Briefing: Concerns regarding demonisation of Islam and Muslims by Community Security Trust publications, 19 May 2009 "This briefing seeks to explore some of the contentions made in articles posted on the Community Security Trust (CST)(i) website. The IHRC contends that the CST articles, conducted with little academic rigor, are steeped in Islamophobic rhetoric that demonizes Islam and its adherents. Lacking in methodology and utilising haphazard evidence, the CST articles attempt to depict Islam as being an agent of violence, supportive of terrorism and a threat to adherents of the Jewish faith." Opinion piece. The CST site is here.


Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, Taliban's Reign of Fear Spreads in Pakistani City, 20 May 2009 "Spreading outside the lawless tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier, Taliban groups have shut down video stores and Internet cafés in much of the North West Frontier province. In the Swat Valley, in particular, they focused on eradicating girls' education, blowing up some 200 schools and branding female teachers "prostitutes.""

Facebook: Israel

ABC News Australia, Facebook a tool to recruit spies: Israel, 19 May 09 "Israel has accused Arab militants of using the social networking site Facebook to recruit spies against the Jewish state."

Also see Haaretz, Shin Bet: Terrorists on Facebook trying to recruit Israeli spies, 19 May 09 "The Shin Bet security service has warned Israeli citizens to beware of attempts by terrorist groups to recruit them as agents via Facebook and other social networking sites on the Internet.

"The security service has cited a number of recent incidents in which Arab terrorists have tried to lure Israelis to join their cells, either by making direct contact or by trying to arrange a seemingly innocent meeting with the intention of kidnapping them."

al-Azhar, Breastfeeding fatwa sheikh back at Egypt's Azhar, 18 May 09, "The case of the male breastfeeding fatwa, or religious ruling, just took another strange turn as the scholar who issued the controversial opinion was rehired after being fired by Egypt’s al-Azhar University." This case was widely discussed online.


Scott Sanford, Jihadica, The Islamic State of Iraq in Gaza?, 18 May 09 "On 15 May 2009, Falluja Forum contributor Wahj al-Rasas (Blazing Bullets) posted photos of leaflets the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) supposedly distributed recently in Gaza. The leaflets claim that the recent announcement of Abu-Omar al-Baghdadi’s capture is a fabrication, the ISI does not know the identity of the person in the alleged photos of al-Baghdadi, and al-Baghdadi is doing just fine. The leaflets were signed by the “Ministry of Information / The Islamic State of Iraq” and the “the al-Shahid Abi-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi Brigade for Jihadi Media Jerusalem.”"

Censorship: Internet Watch Foundation

Wired UK, The hidden censors of the internet, 20 May 09, "Journey with us to a state where an unaccountable panel of censors vets 95 per cent of citizens’ domestic internet connections. The content coming into each home is checked against a mysterious blacklist by a group overseen by nobody, which keeps secret the list of censored URLs not just from citizens, but from internet service providers themselves. And until recently, few in that country even knew the body existed. Are we in China? Iran? Saudi Arabia? No – the United Kingdom, in 2009. This month, we ask: Who watches the Internet Watch Foundation?"

Sheikh Moaz

Long War Journal, Pakistani al Qaeda leader killed in March 2008 Predator strike, 19 May 09, "Dr. Arshad Waheed, who is also known as Sheikh Moaz, was killed in a missile strike in South Waziristan on March 16, 2008. His death was announced on a 40-minute videotape produced by As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm. On the tape, Waheed was eulogized by Abu Mustafa Yazid, al Qaeda’s commander in Afghanistan, and an al Qaeda operative known as Abu Omar Mahmood."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Radical Middle Way

Unfortunately, I cannot attend this, as the date was changed. It looks interesting, and is already being discussed online. Details:

Date: Friday 22 May 2009
Location: Old Theatre, London School of Economics


Shelina Zahra Janmohamed, Author of Love in a Headscarf and Spirit21 blog
Omar Tufail, Web Guru and Founder,
Musab Bora, Blogger at
Indigo Jo, Blogger at www,
Zahed Amanullah, Editor,

Questions can be emailed. The event is apparently being streamed.

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi (?)

Reuters, Iraq airs tape of purported insurgent leader, 18 May 09 Iraq airs tape of purported insurgent leader "Iraqi officials aired a videotape on Monday of a man accused of being an insurgent leader who said al Qaeda-linked militants took orders from Saddam Hussein’s Baath party and plotted to incite civil war.

"In late April, Iraq heralded the capture of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda-linked Sunni militant group.

"Since then, the group, also known as ISI, has denied its leader was arrested and called the Iraqi authorities liars."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Omar Souleyman

Omar Souleyman: Dabke 2020 (Sublime Frequencies, 2009)

MySpace: Omar Souleyman

"Omar Souleyman is a Syrian musical legend. Since 1994, he and his musicians have emerged as a staple of folk-pop throughout Syria, but until now they have remained little known outside of the country. To date, they have issued more than five-hundred studio and live- recorded cassette albums which are easily spotted in the shops of any Syrian city."

While this isn't turning into a music blog, I was reminded of Souleyman's work in a review of the above album (Observer, Sublime, not ridiculous) so couldn't resist the link here. The MySpace page features older work. There are some other important collections/complications on the Sublime Frequencies label, some of which is available to download.

Musical Interlude: Yusuf

Yet another musical interlude. I'm currently listening to Yusuf, Roadsinger. Here's a live version:

Seems to be going back to his Cat Stevens' roots on this track. Here's Yusuf's MySpace, which has the album on.

I was also listening to Yoriyos (Yusuf's son), who also has a MySpace channel.

4shbab: 'Your Voice is Heard'

AP/The Star, Islamic Idol lets pop fans keep the faith, 18 May 09 " The satellite station, 4shbab – Arabic for "For the Youth" – is the brainchild of an Egyptian media worker, Ahmed Abu Heiba, who says his mission is to spread the message that observant Muslims can also be modern and in touch with today's world.

""We have failed to deliver this message," he said on the sidelines of the contest, which aired late last month. The show is called Your Voice is Heard, though Abu Heiba has nicknamed it "Islamic Idol.""

Unfortunate nickname, interesting article.

Saudi Arabia: Web Regulation

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia to Regulate Kingdom-Based Websites, 13 May 09 "Minister of Culture and Information, Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja revealed Saudi Arabia's intention to enact laws, regulation, and legislation for newspapers and internet websites. The most important of the proposed legislation is for websites to require official licenses to be granted by a special agency under the purview of the Ministry of Information."

Yemen aQ

Asharq Alawsat, Al Qaeda Call for Islamic State in Southern Yemen, 14 May 09 "n a recording posted on an Islamist website on Wednesday the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, Nasser Al Wahayshi AKA Abu Basir announced the movement's support for "the people of Southern Yemen" in their struggle [for secession] from President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.

"In the recording Al Wahayshi said "The time for the rule of Islam has come so that you can bask in the justice and tolerance that it brings" adding "The injustice that befell you – God willing – will not go unpunished. The killing of Muslims in the streets is a great crime that has no justification.""

Net control

Opinion piece:

Ariel Rabkin, Weekly Standard, Who Controls the Internet?, 25 May 09 "Until now, the management of the Domain Name System has been largely apolitical, and most of the disputes that have arisen have been of interest only to insiders and the technology industry. IANA has concerned itself with fairly narrow questions like "Should we allow names ending in .info?" Commercial questions about ownership of names, like other property disputes, are settled in national courts. Political questions like "Who is the rightful government of Pakistan, and therefore the rightful owner of the .pk domain?" are settled by the U.S. Department of State."


WolframAlpha has gone live. It's a great 'computational knowledge engine'. Nothing specific in an 'Islam' search, but this search on Mecca gives an indication of the kind of data one can obtain from WolframAlpha. WolframAlpha - Mecca I can imagine this will be useful to students and researchers, certainly in terms of the clarity and immediacy of useful data. As yet, I haven't seen any information on other languages being introduced for this.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Time, Carla Power, Halal: Buying Muslim, 14 May 09 "One reason for the rise of the halal economy is that the world's 1.6 billion Muslims are younger and, in some places at least, richer than ever. Seeking to tap that huge market, non-Muslim multinationals like Tesco, McDonald's and Nestlé have expanded their Muslim-friendly offerings and now control an estimated 90% of the global halal market." non-tech, but many of the products can be sourced online.


I was reading Victor Keegan's article 'A short stroll around my hyperlocal' in the Guardian yesterday. It's an interesting article, despite the broken hyperlinks, and it got me thinking about Geograph.

You might recall that I was using Street Map recently to chart various mosques in the UK - a project that is still ongoing. Of course, another way of looking at mosques is via Geograph. I've looked at this before, but never in this context. A quick search came up with 199 images. Obviously I haven't looked at them all, but there are some fine photos on the site. It would make for a useful teaching resource, if used appropriately (don't get me started about online resources).

Here's my search results. If your local mosque is not there, why not add it. I hope that Geograph gets properly archived!

Geograph search: mosque, 15 May 09,

I also posted this in Virtually Islamic

Lincoln mosque Facebook campaign, Mosque misunderstanding sparks Facebook protest, May 14 2009, "Abdul Salam, spokesman for the Muslim Community in the Lichfield District, said people had misunderstood his calls for somewhere to pray, and said he was disappointed at the racist comments the idea had provoked.

"He insisted this week, that Muslims did not want to build a mosque next door to Lichfield Cathedral, but merely want somewhere they can go to pray."


Garowe Online, Somalia: Web journalist arrested in Somaliland, 15 May 09 "Journalist Hadis Mohamed Hadis, the editor of, was arrested by Somaliland police in the regional capital Hargeisa on Thursday morning."

Muslim Brotherhood

Yaroslav Trofimov,, Muslim Brotherhood Falters as Egypt Outflanks Islamists, 15 May 09 "Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is on the defensive, its struggles reverberating throughout Islamist movements that the secretive organization has spawned world-wide." Non-tech, but interesting article. The MB has a significant online presence. Here's a screen shot of the Ikhwan Online site today (which actually relates well to this article).


Muslim Hands International, Exodus of historic proportions: Muslim Hands launches £500,000 appeal for Swat crisis "Muslim Hands (MH) has responded to this emerging crisis by providing food, safe drinking water, medical field clinics and temporary schools for the 50,000 displaced persons in three of the major camps in Swabi and Mardan, 100 km north of Islamabad. MH began food aid programmes in April, for 1050 needy families in Kunji Camp, Dir."

Details: Muslim Hands [other charities are also involved]

Also see Declan Walsh, Guardian, Caught in the crossfire – the Swat valley's fleeing families, 14 May 09


Bruce Hoffman and Gabriel Weimann, National Interest,, Econo-Jihad, 13 May 09 "Econo-Jihad is thus not merely theoretical or nonviolent. It has begun to affect the terrorists’ choice of targets: including attacks on oil facilities, infrastructure, transportation, tourism and financial institutions. Future attacks will presumably continue to stress adverse economic and financial impact. These plans have even expanded to include cyberterrorism and “Electronic Jihad” alongside conventional terrorist violence. What remains clear is that the last shot in this war has yet to be fired."

Oussama Abdullah Kassir

Washington Post, Man Convicted of Building Militant Camp in U.S., 13 May 09, "A federal jury in New York yesterday convicted Oussama Abdullah Kassir of providing support to al-Qaeda, nearly two years after authorities extradited him from Europe to face allegations that he built a terrorist training camp on U.S. soil. "

Hossein Derakhshan: update/reminder

The Lede, Blogger and Aid Worker Still Held in Iran, 11 May 09

'God is Back'

Times Online, The Bible v the Koran, 14 May 09, "The Islamic world boasts several television channels that do nothing but broadcast the Koran, while at the other end of the technological spectrum, the American Bible Society produces a small audio device that can broadcast the Bible to a crowd of 100. You can consult both books on the internet, read them on a “Psalm Pilot” or listen to them on iPods. (“Podcasting” has given rise to “Godcasting.”)"

Based around the book John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, God is Back

Yemen + aQ

Tariq Alhomayed, Asharq Alawsat, Yemen: Thanks Al Qaeda!, 14 May 09, "What distinguishes the leaders of the Al Qaeda organization, wherever they may be, is their political ignorance and their desire to appear in the media. This is a positive thing as it always helps to expose the danger that they pose to those concerned and to public opinion. The most recent example of this was Al Qaeda’s statements on Yemen."

Saudi Arabia: IT

Tom Gara, The National, Youth driving down the Saudi IT headway, 14 May 09, "The Saudi government has placed an emphasis on the development of an indigenous technology sector, meaning opportunities in the country are almost endless. It has allocated 8 billion riyals (Dh7.83bn) towards the first five years of a 20-year plan that aims to place the country in the top technological ranks of the industrialised world. Some of that money will fund the country’s 10 new technology incubators, scheduled to open in the next five years."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Patheos is a recent addition to the online portals about religion. It is easy to navigate, and contains information on a variety of faith perspectives. The material on Islam is basic and introductory in nature, but it suggests that there will be further updates and perspectives in due course, given that the site is in its early period. There are libraries and 'lenses' for comparative religious study.

See the Muslim Gateway for more information. The site contains advertising, and links to segmented bookstores on each world view. The blurb is here: "Founded in 2008, is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world's beliefs. Patheos is unlike any other online religious and spiritual site and is designed to serve as a resource for those looking to learn more about different belief systems, as well as participate in productive, moderated discussions on some of today's most talked about and debated topics."

A brief review by Nabil Echchaibi is here.

I'm sure I'll return to this in due course.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

al-Maqdisi, 'To the Slave of the Cross'

Jarret Brachman has placed a pdf of Shaykh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, 'To the Slave of the Cross' onto his blog as a PDF. See, At-Tibyan Releases New Al-Maqdisi Book in English I haven't read this yet (also available elsewhere).

Ushahidi, Michelle Austein Brooks, Africa: Online Maps Enable Citizens to Report, Track Events, 8 May 09 "Online mapping tools like MapQuest and Google Maps are known for helping people get from Point A to B. With the help of some technical experts, these maps can also be used to track and monitor critical events in real time."

This is an interesting article, drawing on the activities of Ushahidi. " ... Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, where we are building a platform that crowdsources crisis information. Allowing anyone to submit crisis information through text messaging using a mobile phone, email or web form."

Check out the Ushahidi blog too. Plenty of intriguing developments there. Swahili seems to be the language for naming OS products.

Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi Dies in Libyan Prison "This is going to send Abu Yahya al-Libi through the roof. Watch for a major release by him - it will likely aggressively deny that he committed suicide and instead, indict the Libyans for killing him on orders of the Americans."

al-Baghdadi 'statements'

Jihadica, Al-Baghdadi Speaks, 12 May 09 "The Islamic State in Iraq has now broken the silence over al-Baghadi’s alleged capture. It released a brief statement this morning dismissing the reported arrest and denying any knowledge of the man depicted on the photograph circulating in the media."

Watch Jihadica for updates on this. The site contains copies of related documents (also distributed elsewhere).

'Miss Beautiful Morals'

Donna Abu-Nasr,, It's not bikinis that help win this Saudi pageant, 12 May 09, "The Miss Beautiful Morals pageant is the latest example of conservative Muslims co-opting western-style formats to spread their message in the face of the onslaught of foreign influences flooding the region through the Internet and satellite television." Comment on net influence...

Verdict: Sears Tower trial

NYT, Five Convicted in Plot to Blow Up Sears Tower, 12 May 09, "A federal jury in New York on Tuesday convicted a Lebanese-born Swede of plotting to help Al Qaeda recruit by trying to set up a weapons-training post in Oregon and distributing terrorist training manuals over the Internet.

"The verdict against the defendant, Oussama Kassir, capped a three-week trial that featured the testimony of an American-born Muslim convert who said he tried to create the training camp in Bly, Ore., in 1999."

'An unseen burqa revolution'

CSM, An unseen burqa revolution, 11 May 09, "If women's rights and interests are to significantly advance, the drive for that has to come mainly from the Muslim world itself. Pressure for change is evident – from both the top and bottom, from grass-roots women's groups as well as first ladies. Scholars of Islam are showing women's rights to be in harmony with the Koran. Greater access to education and the workforce is increasing a desire among women for more opportunity and independence.

"And the Internet is playing a large role: In Saudi Arabia, for instance, women are being urged via Facebook to boycott lingerie stores until they employ women salesclerks. In Iran, women have launched Internet campaigns to overturn misogynistic laws."

Italian police arrests

Daily Mail, Italian police arrest suspected Al Qaeda plotters who 'planned terror attacks on Britain', 13 May 09 "Bassam Ayachi, 63, and Raphael Gendron, 34, were arrested in Bari last November.

"The men - a Syrian-born imam and a French computer expert - are feared to have been plotting a string of suicide attacks."

Strong web element to this case.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sabily 9.04 released

Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 44, Ubuntu Muslim Edition Is Now Known as Sabily "Sabily 9.04 has full support for both English and Arabic languages and comes with customized artwork including Usplash, GDM and Metacity themes, cursors and wallpapers. One of the most important applications for Muslims has to be the Minbar, a prayer time app especially useful for those unable to hear the Azaan. Moreover, monajat will pop up Islamic prayers at specified times and firefox-praytimes will display prayer times directly into the Firefox web browser. The Islamic calendar is available through hijra and there is also an Othman Quran Browser in the form of mus-haf Othman. Zekr is another great Quran study tool that you can find in Sabily 9.04. The powerful DansGuardian web content filtering tool is installed and can easily be configured through the frontend provided by Webstrict."

Useful review. I discuss the earlier edition of this in iMuslims.

Here's Sabily's website, where you can download the product in its various versions.

Iran: Hymenoplasty

Janet Afary, Guardian, Recreating virginity in Iran, 12 May 09 "Hymen repair is now sought by sexually active women in many major cities, women who feel they have a right to sex but are too afraid to openly defy the norms. Many are from the more conservative religious classes. Young women from the religious city of Qom agonise on the internet over what to do. Some hope to marry their current boyfriend or an enlightened suitor who would overlook their non-virginity."

Egyptian court bans pornographic Web sites, Egyptian court bans pornographic Web sites, 13 May 09 "The Administrative Court in Cairo issued its ruling in response to a case filed by an Islamic lawyer who argued the sites were destructive to Egyptian social values, said the official MENA news agency.

""Letting these Web sites (work) ruins moral values," the court ruling said. "Freedoms of expression and public rights should be restricted by maintaining the fundamentals of religion, morality and patriotism.""

Malaysia & the net

Bruce Etling, Islam & Democracy Blog, Internet Opens Up Malaysia’s Political Struggle, 8 May 09 "Much has been made of US politicians’ use of new media technology, including the President’s crackberry addiction and the ridiculous meme that Republican’s will be able to recapture the youth vote because some of them are on twitter. But in Malaysia, where traditional media are closely monitored and tend to follow the governing party line, the Internet, Twitter, cellphone cameras and blogs seem to have opened up a political power struggle in Perak, the largest state in the country."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Musical Interlude

I thought I'd assemble some music-related links for this blog, for material which has caught my attention over the past month or so - some of it has been out much longer. There's scope for some serious research on Muslim musicians and the internet. I've been listening to this as I posted the blog today:


Celt Islam contains a multitude of world music influences, integrated into a DJ/dub/drum'n'bass fusion. The MySpace page has plenty more about the Analogue Fakir, a slideshow, YouTube clips and various downloads ...

Next, Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara, Tell No Lies, Real World is out today on CD/download. Juldeh Camara (from The Gambia) plays the ritti, a fiddle with one string:

Tell No Lies cover "Juldeh Camara is an African Master Musician, taught to play by his blind father, who himself was taught directly by the djinn. Playing the ritti, a one-stringed fiddle and West African ancestor of the violin, he participated as a griot (a West African poet, praise singer and repository of oral tradition) in traditional Fula society."

Justin Adams plays blues guitar, and is well known for his work with Robert Plant and Tinarawen (as well as solo materials). The result is excellent, if you haven't heard them already. There are samples on this page, and also a video explaining some of the background to the music.

I'm looking out for the new Khaled CD Liberte, but can't find much information at present on the official French site. The site also includes a video extract.

Also listening to Amadou & Mariam and Bob Dylan (not sure how to fit his latest into this blog, however). Should also mention Yusuf's new one 'Roadsinger', which I haven't heard yet (except clips).


AFP, Jordan queen all a-Twitter over papal visit, 8 May 09 "Jordan's Queen Rania "twittered" on the social online network about Pope Benedict XVI's first ever visit to an Arab country on Friday, as the pontiff kicked off his Holy Land tour."

The link is here


CBS News, Online Jihadi Tell TTP: “Strike in India To Ease The Pressure in Swat”, 8 May 09 "A member of a militant Islamist website suggested Taliban militants in Pakistan should launch attacks in India to get some relief from the attacks waged against them by Pakistani forces in SWAT valley."

UAE, UAE detains sheikh following abuse video, 11 May 09 "The United Arab Emirates detained a member of the country's ruling family and launched an official investigation into allegations that he abused an Afghan man following a dispute over money, the official news agency WAM said on Monday." The video was widely circulated online. Expect this story to run through the next month...

Roxana Saberi Freed, Iran frees US-born reporter Roxana Saberi, 11 May 09 "Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was freed from Tehran’s Evin jail after an appeals court reduced her eight-year jail sentence for espionage to a two-year suspended term, her lawyer and officials said on Monday."

The online campaign succeeds for Roxana - time to focus on other campaigns? ...

el-Hatef el-Islami

Guardian, Fatwa advice line el-Hatef el-Islami to launch in UK, 11 May 09

"Next month sees the UK launch of el-Hatef el-Islami, one of the world's most popular Islamic hotlines. Dubbed dial-a-fatwa and dial-a-sheikh in its native Egypt, it will draw on the expertise of scholars from Cairo's al-Azhar University to provide perplexed believers with help and religious rulings (fatwas) on everyday dilemmas. British callers can ring in with their problems, and access the answer up to 48 hours later by punching in a pin number. The hotline will also include an email facility, with advice sent in English, Urdu and Arabic at a cost of 69p a message."

Only problem is that the website for is down at present. I have blogged on this previously. One might expect other services to emerge in due course, representing other perspectives, although whether it rivals online q&a services is open to question.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Google Morocco Hacked

Techcrunch, Hackers Temporarily Seize Control Of Google Morocco Domain Name, 9 May 09 ", the domain name for Google Morocco’s search portal, was taken hostage by hackers earlier today reportedly for several hours before the problem got fixed (it’s working fine again now)."

Friday, May 08, 2009

Iran: Mousavi and Karroubi campaigns online

Hamid Tehrani, Iran: Movement of 1000 bloggers supports Mousavi for presidency, 6 May 09"Supporters of two leading reformist presidential candidates, former prime minister Mir Hussein Mousavi and former parliament speaker, Mehdi Karroubi are using the internet, including blogs and Facebook, to beef up their chances of being selected as presidential candidates by the Guardian Council in June's election."

Taliban: al-Sumud

Anne Stenersen, Jihadica, Taliban’s View of the Upcoming Elections analysis of al-Sumud, together with links to copies of various editions. "According to the Taliban, the solution is equally simple: Expel the “occupiers” first, and talk politics later. For those who have followed Taliban’s official propaganda this is not very surprising. Ever since the start of the insurgency in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s leadership has, at least officially, consistently refused to make any kind of compromises with the Afghan regime, let alone taking part in the democratic process."

Bahrain ongoing case - Internet defence

Gulf Daily News, Weapons claim by terror suspects , 8 May 09 Ongoing case in Bahrain:

""He said his client only spoke to the Gulf nationals via Internet chat-rooms, where they discussed several issues surrounding jihad, defending Islam and new threats the Gulf countries face.

""My client never met these alleged members of a terror cell, but only spoke to them in chartrooms," said Mr Hashim.

""Their relationship was strictly 'virtual' and he only knew them by their screen names."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

iMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam (2009), Online Bibliography

Gary R. Bunt iMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam (2009), Online Bibliography. Version 1.0 is now available. At this stage, I have not separated books, articles, web pages and other sources. All sources are in this listing, classified alphabetically. A more refined version of this resource may be made available in due course.

There is also a PDF version. More materials will be added to the site in the next few weeks.

Al-Shabaab (update)

Previously blogged:

CNN, Al Qaeda exporting jihad with a hip-hop vibe, 4 May 09 "The latest video from Somalia's al Qaeda-backed Al-Shabaab wing is as slickly produced as a reality TV show but with a startling message -- complete with a hip-hop jihad vibe."

It's easy to source the original via YouTube.

Here's CNN's report (which contains an extract):

Manx mosque on Facebook

Isle of Man Today, Facebook campaign for Manx mosque faces opposition, 5 May 09 "An internet group set up by the Island's Muslim community has sparked fiercely anti-Islamic opposition.

"The group on social networking site Facebook, outlining their campaign for a new mosque to replace the converted garage used at present, has attracted almost 100 members."

kuWeet, KuWeet, Your Window To Kuwaiti Tweets, 3 May 09 "The way it was built is really simple: an account @kuweet was created for twitter users in Kuwait to follow, and then what happens is that all followers of this account are collected and placed in a list. All tweets originating from people on this list are then aggregated into a a public timeline of Twitter users from and about Kuwait."


CBS News, AQIM Figure: “Al Qaeda in Maghreb Continues to Enjoy the Confidence of Bin Laden”, 4 May 2009, "The head of the political committee of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) assured that two years after the group joined al Qaeda, AQIM has become a regional organization that enjoys the support and confidence of the top al Qaeda leadership."

Maqdisi 'Sources'

Thomas Hegghammer,, Jihadists Study Jihadi Studies, 29 Apr 09 "Since my last post on the subject, both the Militant Ideology Atlas and the RAND study mentioned by al-Maqdisi have been posted on al-Maqdisi’s own website, Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad (MTJ). Maqdisi’s readers can now enjoy the original version, the original executive summary as well as an Arabic summary of both reports. As many of you know, MTJ is the largest online library of jihadi literature, so this means that the CTC and RAND are now part of the official jihadi literary canon."

Abu Yahya al-Libi, Abu Yahya al-Libi: The Real Brains Behind AQ "Abu Yahya al-Libi is a revolutionary thinker par excellence. In a previous essay, Al-Tatarrus (Human Shields), he spends the first 30 of 33 pages conducting a meticulous exegesis of Quranic and Hadeeth justifications for al-Qaida’s killing of innocent Muslims if they are being used by the enemy as a human shield." Interesting analysis from Brachman, complete with chart.

Delara Darabi

Independent, Delara Darabi: 'Oh mother, I can see the noose', 4 May 09 "It was 7am when Delara Darabi phoned home. "Oh mother, I see the hangman's noose in front of me," she garbled. "They are going to execute me. Please save me." Moments later a prison official snatched the handset away. "We will easily execute your daughter and there's nothing you can do about it," he barked at the parents. Then, with a chilling click, the line went dead."

Darabi was the subject of a sustained online campaign, for example Save Delara! which contained her paintings.

Friday, May 01, 2009

iMuslims Update

I am currently preparing materials to place on this website in relation to iMuslims. This will include an online list of URLs cited in the book, a bibliography (PDF) and a slide-show. The bibliography is particularly relevant - as we decided that a full bibliography (in addition to the already extensive Endnotes) would make the book rather heavy. Far better to put it online, for download, reference, annotation, etc., especially for those people who read my book in print form with their computers on. The slide show will simply be the screen shots used in the book. The chart that outlines cyber Islamic environments will also be available, in glowing technicolor. I will be updating this in line with readers' (sensible) suggestions, so it may evolve in due course. These materials should be online by mid-May, in line with the UNC Press publication of the book. C. Hurst & Co. advise me that their version of the book will be out 11 June 2009.

Global Media Journal

A couple of articles that caught my attention:

Mahboub E. Hashem, Impact and Implications of New Information Technology
on Middle Eastern Youth, Global Media Journal, Volume 8, Issue 14 Spring 2009

Samskrati Gulvady, Blogging – Redefining Global Modern Journalism: An Omani Perspective, Global Media Journal, Volume 8, Issue 14 Spring 2009