Monday, June 29, 2009


Middle East Online, For news-thirsty Iranians: Human Rights Software, 27 Jun 09 "Software developed by a Canadian lab to circumvent online censorship has been downloaded by more than 18,000 Iranians in the last 10 days, says its developer Rafal Rohozinski."

Details: Psiphon

Report: 'Terrorist Financing on the Internet'

Michael Jacobson, Terrorist Financing on the Internet, CTC Sentinel, June 2009 "In response to growing international pressure since the September 11 attacks, al-Qaeda has increasingly relied on the internet to spread its message and gain support throughout the world. In addition, al-Qaeda has used the web's broad reach, timely efficiency, and certain degree of anonymity and security as a conduit for terrorist financing. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda is not the only terrorist group that exploits the internet for financing; groups such as Hamas, Laskhar-e Taiba, and Hizballah also use the internet to raise and transfer funds to support their groups' activities. Although there is broad international agreement that the internet creates serious counterterrorism vulnerabilities and that action is needed to counter this growing threat, there is far less agreement on what steps need to be taken."

PDF here

Speculation: Abu ‘Abdullah al-Gujrati

Jarret Brachman, British Jihobbyist Dead at 35, 26 Jun 09

"The talk of the English-language jihobbyist town is about Abu ‘Abdullah al-Gujrati , who was from the Midlands in the UK." Speculation. Links to article.

Ahmadinejad inquiry on Neda

Guardian, Iran election: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad orders inquiry into 'suspicious' death of student martyr, 29 Jun 09 "He accused foreign media of using the case for propaganda purposes. He also suggested that the opposition and Iran's enemies abroad aimed to misuse it "for their own political aims and also to distort the pure and clean image of the Islamic Republic in the world"."

Michael Jackson

ATP, Michael Jackson’s (1958-2009) Influence on Pakistan, 27 Jun 09 "I must say I have been surprised by how many ATP readers have written to me saying that we should do a post on Michael Jackson’s death. I was not, at first, sure what the ‘Pakistan connection’ was. But one was made to reconsider as one heard of the MJ memorial set up in Karachi (photos below)and it was apparent how so many were so influenced by the personage of the ‘King of Pop.’" interesting photos

Also see Zahed Amanullah, alt.muslim, The way he made us feel, 26 Jun 09"That someone with his influence could have benefited – and benefited from – Islam is now an academic discussion that will be pondered for as long as Jackson’s music lives on. “May Allah be with you, Michael, always. Love you,” said Jermaine at a press conference announcing Jackson’s passing yesterday. And with that, Michael’s association with Islam and Muslims - wanted or not – was made eternal."

Targeted arrests muffle voice of dissidents in Iran

Michael Weissenstein, AP, Targeted arrests muffle voice of dissidents in Iran, 28 Jun 09 "Iranian officials appear to have identified some protest leaders by monitoring cellphones, e-mail accounts and Internet activity. The fear of official surveillance has forced some opposition supporters into self-censorship, activists say."

Neda Agha-Soltan

Independent, Iran online: Around the world in 60 minutes, 28 Jun 09 "The image of Neda Agha-Soltan dying on a Tehran street just a week ago spread round the world in hours. Via the internet's most powerful media – YouTube, MySpace, Facebook – a lo-fi cell phone video showed the world her dying moments, after she was shot by a sniper as she watched Iranian security forces clash with demonstrators angry at the presumed "stealing" of Iran's presidential election."

Wikipedia & David Rohde

New York Times, Keeping News of Kidnapping Off Wikipedia, 28 Jun 09 "The Wikipedia editor in that case was Michael Moss, an investigative reporter at The Times and friend of Mr. Rohde who has written extensively about groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Like many Wikipedia editors, he adopted a user name that hid his true identity.

"“I knew from my jihad reporting that the captors would be very quick to get online and assess who he was and what he’d done, what his value to them might be,” he said. “I’d never edited a Wikipedia page before.”"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Twitter timeline

Newsweek, A Twitter Timeline of the Iran Election, 26 Jun 09 "The disputed June 12 Iran presidential election and the ensuing chaos were noteworthy not only for the swiftness with which the government cracked down on protesters but also for the role social media sites helped play in disseminating critical images and news." summary

"The Revolution will be Tweeted", "The Revolution will be Tweeted" "David Recordon, Joseph Smarr, and John McCrea on the Social Web news of the week and the role of Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook in the Iran Election protests." Opinion and commentary on Iran/web 2.0 (+ other subjects)

Iran vs. Michael Jackson

Iran vs. Michael Jackson 2:16
CNN's Ivan Watson reports groups that use Twitter to spread their message are worried over shifting news away from Iran.

Iran and the net

Networked Culture, #iranelection – Part 2 – the beginners guide to cyberwar, 23 Jun 09 "In this guide I will segment categories of engagement, and I urge you not to step beyond your capabilities in choosing which category to confine yourself in, there where you can make the most constructive contribution. Below the general principles you will find sections for the three categories of Supporter, Activist, and Cyberwarrior."

Related interest: Renesys, The Proxy Fight for Iranian Democracy

Michael Jackson

Umar Lee, Was Michael Jackson a Muslim? "The question of whether Michael Jackson was a Muslim or not will soon be answered when he is buried.", Had Michael Jackson converted to Islam, Singer Michael Jackson dies at 50 discussion



"Radical Middle Way is launching ikhutbah this Friday, 26th @ 12:00 GMT:

"The term khutbah is given to the Friday sermon delivered within mosques before Friday Juma’a prayers. The Khutbah plays a central role in the weekly congregational prayer, providing Muslims with a time for reflection and focus, guidance and spiritual sustenance; as instated by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

"We have captured many of our world-renowned scholars and luminaries to impart their advice, inspiration and guidance in each ikhutbah video. With this unique facility, you can now immerse yourself in these inspirational bite-size talks each week, at the touch of a button.It'll be in a language that you understand and deal with issues that don't really get addressed in many khutbahs these days. Plus, they'll be short (under 10 mins), to the point, inspirational, though provoking and direct.

"Visit Friday, 26 June at 12:00GMT to watch."

Doctor tells how Neda Soltan was shot dead by Ahmadinejad's basij

Times Online, Doctor tells how Neda Soltan was shot dead by Ahmadinejad's basij, 26 Jun 09

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sarkozy 'fatwa'

Saudi Gazette, Mufti Sarkozy’s ‘fatwa’ not amusing, 25 Jun 09, "Within minutes of his speech, internet forums, social networking sites and blogs – the 21st century’s version of the village grapevine – erupted with hoots of laughter and derision at his feeble attempt to deflect his nation’s attention from more pressing matters to the quintessentially French preoccupation with women’s clothes."

Iran and the net

Habitat Tweet Hashtag Hijack Gaff

BBC News, Habitat sorry for Iran Tweeting, 24 Jun 09 "Furniture store Habitat has apologised for causing offence after accusations it exploited unrest in Iran to drive online Twitter users to its products.

"Keywords - called hashtags - such as 'Iran' and 'Mousavi' were added to its messages so people searching for those subjects would see the firm's adverts."

Neda Agha Soltan update

Gawker, Neda's Family Evicted From Their Home, Denied Her Body, as Iran Turns Bloodier, 25 June 09

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bing, Microsoft means business in its Google challenge, 19 Jun 09 UAE focused discussion on Bing. I think the jury is out on bing at present. Interface is clean. Top searches were similar for 'Islam' (BBC still out on top).

Cool iPhone app: Rumi>Jawi

Star Online, Mobile Jawi on the iPhone, 24 Jun 09

"Muthu Nedumara, the founder and chief technology architect of Murasu Systems Sdn Bhd is working on Mobile Jawi, an iPhone application that will translate Rumi (Malay text) to Jawi letters.

"“When a user wants to type the text ‘apa khabar’ in Jawi he can enter the text in our Jawi composer which will then convert the word ‘apa’ to Jawi the moment the user presses the space bar,” explained Muthu." For use in SMS/email.

UAE NRI, UAE performs well in network readiness index "Information and communication technology (ICT) development remains an important component in the growth strategies of countries in the Middle East and the region collectively delivered impressive results in the Network Readiness Index (NRI) of the Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009. The report was published by the World Economic Forum and Insead. "


Reuters, Disaster-prone Bangladesh trials cell phone alerts, 24 Jun 09 "Tens of thousands of mobile users in Bangladesh's flood and cyclone-prone areas will now receive advance warning of an impending natural disaster through an alert on their cell phones, a government official says."

Anya Maps, Ayna Adds Satellite Imagery To Mobile Version Of Ayna Maps, 19 Jun 09, "Users of the service can now enter any address in the Middle East on Ayna maps, and click on the “Satellite” link to locate and zoom into the wanted area till having the closest image."

See Anya

Also Ayna Mobile Maps (beta)

aQ Somalia analysis

Jarret Brachman, Good Catch, Exclusive Analysis! "The crack sleuths over at Exclusive Analysis’s Global Jihad Forcasting team caught a document coming out of Iraq’s AQ shop that everyone else, as far as I can tell, either overlooked or dismissed. Their analysis is spot-on and I encourage everyone to check it out." See Exclusive Analysis, A strategy for coordinated global jihad? Analysis of new evidence [reproduced on Dr Brachman's site]

Also see Exclusive Analysis


Jarret Brachman, English-Language Jihobbyism 101 focused on Revolution Muslim Forum, and including several YouTube videos in this analysis. "Now, thanks to Youtube, we can all take the English-language courses on Jihobbyism that you want. I’ve compiled a random sampling of vidz for your learning pleasure. This is the only way we’re going to understand their ideology as well as they do. This is the first of many more iterations of this section to follow."

Iran, Twitter, Web 2.0+

Nico Pitney, Huffington Post, Iran Updates (VIDEO): Live-Blogging The Uprising


NY Times, Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists, 23 Jun 09 "Documents gathered by lawyers for the families of Sept. 11 victims provide new evidence of extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family, but the material may never find its way into court because of legal and diplomatic obstacles."

Malaysia & the net, UKM Lecturer sues blogger for defamation, 24 Jun 09, "A Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) senior lecturer Thursday filed a defamation suit against an assistant director at the Islamic Training Institute of Malaysia (ILIM) over an article on the Wahhabi issue posted on a blog."

'Iran's internet revolution'

al-Jazeera, Iran's internet revolution, 22 Jun 09


AP, Signs Mousavi's rebel stature being eroded in Iran, 23 Jun 09, "Mousavi says he only wants to rattle the country's Islamic rulers, not take them down. In messages posted on his Web site in recent days, he groped for some common ground in a nation increasingly polarized."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Neda profile

Daily Mail, 'It'll be worth it even if a bullet hits my heart': YouTube martyr Neda's final plea before she was shot dead in Iran rally, 23 Jun 09

Ongoing trial: Isa Ibrahim

Daily Mail, Muslim ex-public schoolboy 'made his own suicide bomb vest to look cool', 22 Jun 09

"He spent several months researching Islamic fundamentalism on the internet including the motivation behind suicide attacks.

"He also used the internet to find instructions on how to make explosives from household products such as hydrogen peroxide, the court heard."

Op-ed: 'Reading Twitter in Tehran?'

John Palfrey, Bruce Etling and Robert Faris, Reading Twitter in Tehran? Why the real revolution is on the streets -- and offline, 21 Jun 09 "After all, it appears that people living under authoritarian regimes such as the one in Iran are as addicted to the Internet as the rest of us are. Even though states push back, they can't keep the Internet down for long without serious blowback from their citizens. Iranian officials have the power to shutter the Internet just as they once clamped down on reformist newspapers, but they may be more concerned now about any move that pushes those watching -- or blogging or tweeting -- from the sidelines into the throngs of protesters already in the streets."

Written by authors from Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, whose reports I have previously blogged. Some interesting comments and perspectives here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gary Bunt on the 2009 Iranian presidential elections…

UNC Press Blog, Gary Bunt on the 2009 Iranian presidential elections… brief commentary written today.

Google and Facebook in Farsi

Telegraph, Iran elections: Google and Facebook launch Farsi services to aid protesters "Google has unveiled a Farsi translation service to help Iranians "communicate directly" to the world, while Facebook has launched a version of its site in Persian, they said on Friday."

AFP, Google, Facebook launch Persian services, 20 Jun 09

Google Maps Tehran

View 16 June 2009 Tehran Election Protests in a larger map

Google Maps image: Tehran (showing protests). This also links to YouTube clips
Times Online, Cyber warriors join fight against censors and foil Iran’s bid to silence bloggers, 20 Jun 09 "A guerrilla war of slogans and strategies has played out on Twitter and websites such as YouTube as protesters have sought to get round the Iranian Government’s efforts to shut down communications outlets. Iranians in California are determined to do their bit to make sure that the censors do not win. Web-savvy supporters have pitched in to give technical support to those in the homeland trying to get round the blocks.

"They have set up proxy servers, which can help to bypass censorship by hiding the identity and location of users. Hundreds of proxy servers all around the world have been set up for use inside Iran and, as they have been shut down, others have popped up."

Iran, Twitter, Web 2.0+ Neda

CNN, Iran media: Council rejects claims of voting irregularities, On Web site, purported message from Moussavi supports protests, urges caution , 22 Jun 09, ""The country belongs to you. The revolution and the system is your heritage," the statement attributed to Moussavi said in a statement posted on his Web site. "Protesting against lies and cheating is your right. Be hopeful about regaining your rights. Do not allow anyone who tries to make you lose hope and frighten you make you lose your temper.""

YouTube, "Basiji sniper takes out teenage Iranian girl amid protest, Tehran, Saturday 20 June" [warning, graphic content]

CNN, "Neda" had become one of top "trending topics" on Twitter by late Saturday, 20 Jun 09

Wall Street Journal, Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology, 22 Jun 09 "The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world's most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale."

Telegraph, Tehran protest diary: an angry Muslim mother reports from inside Iran, 21 Jun 09 "Hanieh has always considered herself a good Muslim and a good Iranian. She prays five times a day, works as a manager at a company in Tehran and after her divorce is bringing up a young daughter alone. She was among the millions who voted for Mir Hussein Mousavi in the belief he could bring change and has shared with The Sunday Telegraph her diary entries, detailing her reaction to the last nine days of protests."

Andrew Sullivan, Times Online, Twitter ripped the veil off ‘the other’ – and we saw ourselves, 21 Jun 09 "When you review the Twitter stream of the past week, it reads like a stream of constantly shifting consciousness. It is a kind of journalistic pointillism. From a distance it gains heft. It is history rendered in the collective, scattered mind and it has never happened before - millions upon millions of tiny telegram messages sent to the world.

"I don’t know where this media revolution is headed any more than I know where the Iranian uprising is headed. What I do know is that something changed last week - something we will not forget and that will transform the way we cover and consume breaking news."

Wall Street Journal, Iran Cracks Down on Internet Use, Foreign Media, 17 Jun 09

CNN, Iran accuses Western media of ‘cyber war’, 22 Jun 09 "Iran on Monday stepped up allegations against the West of “meddling” in its affairs, with the foreign ministry accusing media outlets abroad of conducting a cyber war to sow discord in the country following its disputed presidential election."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

'Anonymous Iran'

Wired, Iran Activists Get Assist from ‘Anonymous,’ Pirate Bay, 18 Jun 09"Anonymous Iran is a collaboration between The Pirate Bay — operators of the world’s largest torrent site, convicted in April of copyright infringement — and Anonymous, the prankster collective dedicated to exposing “Scientology’s crimes.”"

Friday, June 19, 2009

#iranelection cyberwar guide for beginners

Networked Culture, #iranelection cyberwar guide for beginners, 16 Jun 09 "The purpose of this guide is to help you participate constructively in the Iranian election protests through twitter."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran, Twitter, Web 2.0+

Plenty of comment and coverage re the impact of the net in Iran - I'm only touching on issues here (hope to engage more in due course). Here's what I have scooped up this morning:

The above also features in: Hamid Tehrani,, Iran: Protests and Repression "Although Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are currently blocked in Iran, many Iranians have been using proxies to bypass filters and report up-to-the-minute news. Iranian authorities have also blocked SMS text messages, and are also filtering several news websites reflecting reformist opinions." [article contains numerous useful links, some of which I am looking at now)

Ali Akbar Dareini, AP, Iran's Revolutionary Guard warns online media, 17 Jun 09 "The Revolutionary Guard, an elite military force answering to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , said through the state news service that Iranian Web sites and bloggers must remove any materials that "create tension" or face legal action."

TehranLive, Daily Photos From Tehran photo blog

flickr, Agha Hadi's photostream photos from riots

IranEvents photo blog

A twitter RSS feed for 'Iran election'

Loft965, Picture that proves Iran election rigging, Twitter tells the world as Iran slams the door, 17 Jun 09

Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, Live-Tweeting The Revolution

Evgeny Morozov, Net Effect, More on Twitter and protests in Tehran, 16 Jun 09, "Overall, I am skeptical about the claims that Twitter has been instrumental in organizing the protests. I grant that it may have been very influential in publicizing them. But I'd like to see tangible evidence that 10 random Iranians found each other via Twitter and – communicating in Farsi –actually planned a rally. I think we are still short of this – most of the reports I've seen about the use of Twitter have focused mostly on the role it played in publicizing the violence or the already planned protests and rallies. "

Chris Lefkow, The Age, From Time to Oprah to Iran: Twitter comes of age, 17 Jun 09 " ... the importance of the San Francisco-based startup was underlined by the US State Department, which asked Twitter to postpone a planned maintenance shutdown on Monday because of the situation in Iran."

Lev Grossman, Time, Iran's Protests: Why Twitter is the Medium of the Movement "On Saturday, when protests started to escalate, and the Iranian government moved to suppress dissent both on- and off-line, the Twitterverse exploded with tweets from people who weren't having it, both in English and in Farsi. While the front pages of Iranian newspapers were full of blank space where censors had whited-out news stories, Twitter was delivering information from street level, in real time: "

Internet & Democracy Blog, Cracking Down on Digital Communication and Political Organizing in Iran, 15 Jun 09 "The Internet and mobile phones have taken on a major role in Iranian politics over the last several months. As protests over the contested election results continue in Iran, the government has dramatically increased its control over digital technologies. Many important Web sites have been blocked over the past couple of days, including the Web sites of the opposition parties in Iran, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While political organizers have learned to leverage the organizing power of Web 2.0 tools, government censors in Iran are quick to shut them down when they are most effective. None of this is surprising; it reflects similar events seen in many places around the world." Also see their Keeping an Eye on Iran's Post-Election Protests, June 16, 2009, Twitter used to combat limited press freedom in Iran, 17 Jun 09 "Iran's leadership is growing increasingly sensitive to international press on the election protests, with foreign journalists being ordered out and mobile phone networks and newspapers being shut down."

Huffington Post, Live feed extremely useful and comprehensive, including related links to Twitter, etc.

Guardian, Iran's post-election unrest: live [ongoing feed] includes references to Twitter feeds being used to gather data on opposition supporters, and fake news... "Mousavi's purported twitter feed warns supporters to stay away from and, which it says are fake."

Tech stuff (update) Renesys, Iran and the Internet: Uneasy Standoff "In short: Iran is still on the Internet. As the crisis deepens, people are literally risking their lives by continuing to use the Internet for coordination and communication. Iran's physical connectivity to the Internet is so centralized, and so fragile, that it's within the power of the government to simply "turn it off" if they so desired. And yet, they have not done so."

Esther Addley, Guardian, The Twitter crisis: how site became voice of resistance in Iran, 16 Jun 09 "At about 3.30pm Iranian time today, an Iranian student calling himself Fair_vote_Iran wrote the following breathless post on his Twitter page. "Basij [the government paramilitary force] is after us. Slept in the streets last night. Internet is down in most of the city." Moments later he added: "5 killed in the girl's dorm," and then, "Asad is dead & I don't know where is Mohsen, lost him in the crowd yesterday.""

Bernd Kaussler, FPIP, Ahmadinejad's Coup D'Etat, 16 Jun 09 "Three days after the presidential elections in Iran and over 48 hours after violent clashes between crowds and security forces across Tehran, it's evident that what happened was a coup d'état. The military-security establishment and certain elements in Iran's clerical nomenclature carefully planned a large-scale manipulation of the election. They were evidently prepared for the riots and protest that followed. Anticipating a high voter turnout and victory for reformist challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi, security forces blatantly took control of the entire election process and virtually declared martial law in Tehran."

Internet and Democracy Releases Report on Arabic Blogosphere

Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Internet and Democracy Releases Report on Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture and Dissent, 16 Jun 09 "After much work over the past year, the Internet and Democracy Project team is proud to officially announce today the release of our study on the Arabic blogosphere, a follow-up to last year’s I&D study on the shape of the Iranian blogosphere. Our research identified a base network of approximately 35,000 blogs, and aimed to generate a baseline for understanding the state of online discourse in the region. As in our previous work, we’ve worked with John Kelly to visualize the data on over 6,000 of the most connected blogs and had researchers read over 4,000 blogs to understand who the bloggers are and the issues they care about."

This looks like an extremely useful report - I haven't read it yet, but will do in due course.

You can find the details here: Bruce Etling, John Kelly, Rob Faris, John Palfrey, Internet and Democracy, Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere, 16 Jun 09

Here's the pdf

The map (an important part of this study) is here

Opinion: Iran

Daniel Brumberg, Georgetown/On Faith, Washington Post, Death of the Islamic Republic in 5 Acts, 17 Jun 09 "Every revolution ends up devouring its children. In this case, the menu includes many grandchildren as well. In the coming days we will probably see the Final Act: a systematic purge of anyone who opposes Iran's new Caesar. Ahmadenejad has promised as much, and he is bound to deliver. After all, he has the people's support!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Facebook: Iran

NBC NY, On Facebook, Ahmadinejad Is a Kid From Jersey, 15 Jun 09 "After Facebook opened the virtual floodgates to personalized URLs Saturday morning, millions jumped in – including one user who picked “Ahmadinejad.”

"“I chose the name for attention,” the user wrote in response to an email message, emphasizing that he doesn’t support that “clown,” Ahmadinejad. “I'm a bored rich kid from the suburbs.”"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Footage & Facebook: Iran Election

Guardian, Iranian election: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei orders investigation into claims of vote-rigging, 15 Jun 09

Raw footage : YouTube, Protests in Tehran after election - Riot police caught by crowd [also links to other footage]

See cell phone footage

FP, Net Effect, Iran: still online, despite media reports citing Renesys, Strange Changes in Iranian Transit, 14 Jun 09 "There's no question that something large happened in the Iranian telecom space, and that the timing aligns with the close of voting and the emerging controversy. Iran typically has a fairly high baseline level of sporadic route instability, due to the country's highly centralized incumbent transit through DCI (Data Communications Iran, AS12880) and DCI's somewhat peripheral connectivity to the main east-west conduits for data. Even so, we started seeing spikes of route instability (changes in the paths to Iranian IP space) starting around 08:05 UTC on Saturday (just after noon in Tehran) that were significantly larger than normally expected. These bursts affected as many as 400 prefixes (blocks of IP addresses) — the majority of Iran's Internet presence."

Mark Almond, Daily Mail, Iran's hardliners pulled the plug on the great Facebook Revolution, 15 Jun 09 "What is clear is that his candidacy polarised the cultural gulf between those with access to the world of Facebook and those who wouldn’t access the web even if they could."

Times Online, The Facebook revolt of Iran's youth isn't over yet, 14 Jun 09 "The beatings by riot police, closure of universities and clampdown on foreign news websites yesterday, after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed an overwhelming victory, were targeted at the Facebook generation."

AP, Iran supreme leader orders probe of vote fraud, 15 Jun 09 "State television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directing a high-level clerical panel, the Guardian Council, to look into charges by pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has said he is the rightful winner of Friday's presidential election."

Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad case

AP, Recruiter shootings spark homegrown terror fears, 15 Jun 09 "Counterterrorism officials warn that unless individuals attract attention either through criminal behavior or even threat-laced Internet postings, U.S.-born radicals — particularly those operating alone — could go unseen until they take action.

""One of the scariest things is that we don't have a profile for how someone becomes radicalized," said counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt. "It's different for everybody."

""It can happen on the Internet. It can happen in prison. It can happen in a mosque," said Levitt, who formerly worked with the FBI and Treasury Department. "There are different ways it manifests itself and that demonstrates how serious a problem it is.""

This led me to Washington Institue, Rewriting the Narrative: An Integrated Strategy for Counterradicalization

"Rewriting the Narrative: An Integrated Strategy for Counterradicalization is the final report of the Task Force on Confronting the Ideology of Radical Extremism, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission of diplomats, legislators, strategists, scholars, and experts. A joint project of two Institute programs -- Project FIKRA and the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence -- the task force has devised a comprehensive strategy to counter the growing radicalization of Muslim populations, particularly youth, worldwide." PDF here

Media awareness programme in Afghanistan

The Star, Can Toronto woman win propaganda war in Kabul?, 15 Jun 09 "After moving to Kabul three years ago to help train local broadcasters, Sharif started a media company with two friends. Her main client is the U.S. Department of Defence, for whom she has created hundreds of ads that highlight the war's toll on civilians, explain how to detect roadside bombs and urge locals not to become suicide bombers." Profile of Mina Sharif

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Op-ed

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Australian, Obama should speak truth to Islam because others can't, 15 Jun 09 "IT was not an April Fools' joke. When President Barack Obama met the Queen of the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace, he gave her an iPod. Last week, I was half expecting the president to show up in the Middle East laden with Kindles.

"He could have started with a special reading selection when he met Saudi King Abdullah. The day after, when the President spoke to the Muslim world at Al-Azhar University, I pictured him handing out another Kindle to Muhammed Sayyid Tantawy, the university's grand sheik. Obama might have had a third Kindle for the ambassador of Iran to Egypt (for this man represents the ayatollah, who is the highest authority for Shia Muslims), who attended the presidential address."

Opinion piece.


AP/msnbc, Freed Uighurs relish Bermuda's sun and sand, 14 Jun 09 "They once were terrorism suspects, but even after U.S. authorities determined the men weren't a threat to the United States, they were kept at the Guantanamo prison for years because no nation would take them — until a few days ago, when Bermuda agreed to let them in as refugees."

Al Naqshabandiya Army

CBS News, Al Naqshabandiya Army Announces Creation of “Jihadi Awakening Councils”, 12 Jun 09, "The Iraqi insurgent group al Naqshabandiya Army announced that it has signed “loyalty and honor agreements” with a number of tribal dignitaries and chiefs in southern Iraq. According to the terms of the agreements, those tribes would pledge allegiance to the Supreme Command For Jihad and Liberation, led by Saddam’s former deputy Izzet Ibrahim al Doury, and would “offer their sons to fight for the victory of Islam and liberate the country from any foreign occupying enemy.”"

Cihadi/Abul Yazid

CBS News, Abul Yazid’s Tape Posted On Turkish "Cihadi" Blog, 12 Jun 09, ""This is the first time that Abul Yazid appears in a non-al Qaeda media outlet production. He has only appeared in media releases that were produced by al Qaeda media wing As Sahab- since he was named leader of the group in Afghanistan in May 2007.

"Al Fajr media, another outlet of jihadi propaganda, has distributed the tape on numerous Internet website. But the content of the message, and the way it’s been distributed, raise question over whether it was intended for a public audience, and whether it received the seal of approval from the top al Qaeda leaders. "

Also see Khaled Wassef, CBS News, Recession Tough For Al Qaeda, Too?, 10 Jun 09 "An audio message intercepted by CBS News, sent by the terror group's chief financial manager (a label used by Sept. 11 Commission), portrays a rare image of the terrorist enterprise: hard-up. "


CBS News, Website: Somali Militants ‘Officially’ Pledge Allegiance To Bin Laden, 12 Jun 09 "Islamist militants in the Somali city of Kissmayo pledged allegiance to al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, according to a statement posted on a Somali jihadi blog. “The Islamic administration of Kissmayo, under the command of Sheikh Abu Bakr Zayla'I, pledged allegiance to Sheikh Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda leaders, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Yahya al-Libi God protect them all,” the statement said."

Gadahn video: analysis and opinion

Comments/early analysis on Gadhan video:

Thomas Hegghammer,, The Gadahn Factor, 14 Jun 09, "Gadhan’s speech is relatively succinct, clear and commonsensical. What we are seeing here is basically Anglo-Saxon rhetorical principles applied to jihadi propaganda. We are also seeing new examples and arguments brought in to refresh the somewhat repetitive global jihadi rhetoric. Gadahn, in other words, is doing more for al-Sahab than improving their English translations."

Jarret Brachman, New Gadahn Video: “My Grandpa Was a Zionist” "Gadahn’s new video, “Let’s Continue our Jihad and Sacrifice” ... is out this weekend. Some terrorism analysts, like Evan Kohlmann, have just had enough of ‘Azzam al-Amriki.’ I’m actually of a different mind than Kohlmann – rather than wanting to turn off Gadahn’s microphone, I think we should turn it up."

Evan Kohlmann, Dear As-Sahab: Please Take Away Adam Gadahn's Microphone, 13 Jun 09 "Were Al-Qaida's leadership to read this, they could perhaps dismiss these criticisms by explaining it away as merely a "crusader" attempt to rain on Al-Qaida's parade, no matter who the messenger. Yet, for those who would defend Gadahn on this basis, there is a clear, recent example of an effective American mujahid who has appeared on video and who admittedly does have a certain distinct "Che Guevara"-style appeal. I speak here of "Abu Mansour al-Amriki", the erstwhile star of a recent propaganda video produced by the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement in Somalia. While Abu Mansour certainly displayed his own set of eccentricities--including rapping freestyle about Al-Qaida and terrorism--he fits much more closely into the mold of an Ibn-ul-Khattab or an Usama Bin Laden. Abu Mansour speaks softly, carefully, and deliberately. He offers deference to others, and in a tone that suggests coolness and confidence, not frothy rage. He is shown fighting in the field, hiding from the enemy, and without any sense of script or pretension. In a word, in contrast to the constantly posturing Gadahn, Abu Mansour appears genuine. Not the least of all, his incredible pronunciation of Arabic makes Adam Gadahn's Quranic recitation sound by comparison like someone banging trash cans together."

Also receiving sustained comments on bulletin boards and fora elsewhere (which I'll be writing about in due course).

Also see WorldNetDaily, Adam Yahiye Gadahn "Azzam": Let's Continue Our Jihad and Sacrifice - English Text "

Thursday, June 11, 2009

UAE iPhone

Gulf News, New iPhone may arrive in UAE in August, 10 Aug 09 speculation on cost/tariffs

Gulf Cooperation Council Census

Khaleej Times, Oman Launches Web Site for
Joint GCC Census, 11 Jun 09 "Oman will hold the head count on April 4, while the other GCC states will fix their own dates during the month. Following the launching ceremony, Macki inaugurated a meeting of the GCC Ministerial Planning and Development Committee. He said the common census was the outcome of “joint efforts and culmination of cooperation among the GCC states in the economic and social fields,” stressing that it would be first in the world to be conducted in six countries at the same time"

“Fatah al-Islam between Asad al-Jihad2 and al-Maqdisi”

Scott Sanford ,, “Fatah al-Islam between Asad al-Jihad2 and al-Maqdisi” 8 Jun 09 "A post by an unknown author titled, “Fatah al-Islam between Asad al-Jihad2 and al-Maqdisi / Lessons and Considerations,” has been making its rounds through the various forums. The author offered a scathing critique of Fatah al-Islam (FI) and of recent comments by FI’s Sharia Officer, Abu Abdallah al-Maqdisi (not to be confused with the Jordanian ideologue Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi). Using statements from Asad al-Jihad2 (AJ2), who is a possible al-Qaida (AQ) leader, the author argued that FI’s leadership lacked clarity in its mission and was too afraid to attack Israel."

Speculation on Air France 447

Thomas Hegghammer,, A Note on Air France Flight 447, 10 Jun 09 "I have looked around on the forums for claims of responsibility, but I couldn’t find anything. On the contrary, the few posts devoted to the issue suggest the grassroot jihadis themselves doubt an al-Qaida connection."

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, New Mustafa Abu al-Yazid Statement "Fascinating update from Mustafa Abu al-Yazid today. In an 8 minute and change video, featuring audio from Al-Yazid played over hist still photo and other jihadist imagery, al-Qaida’s senior leader, accountant and Afghan commander, appealed to Turkish Muslims."

Details and related screengrabs can be found on the above page. This is well-worth reading. Dr Brachman makes some important points, including: "This focus on Turkish Muslims is DEFINITELY an area worthy of further research. I dont have time to do it right now but I encourage all the jihad-watchers out there to start digging back in their archives and track the evolution of this Turkish focus."

Also see CBS News, Al Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan Sends Message to Supporters in Turkey In Audio Obtained by CBS News, 10 Jun 09

In passing, here's a screengrab of al-Faloja's current entry page:

al-Jazeera, Iranian reformists try new media to win votes - 09 June 09

Located via Bruce Etling, Internet & Democracy Blog, Al Jazeera on Mousavi’s New Media Campaign

Iran elections

New Zealand Herald, Irfan Yusuf: Repressive Islamic rule loses its lustre in Iran, 11 Jun 09

Syed Haris Ahmed: trial

AFP, US jihadist wannabe found guilty of conspiracy: official, 10 Jun 09 "Born in Pakistan, Ahmed was a naturalized US citizen attending Georgia Tech university in Atlanta in late 2004 when he began communicating with other alleged supporters of violent jihad via the Internet.

"He traveled to Toronto in March 2005 to meet with his Internet contacts to discuss plans to travel to Pakistan and potential targets for attacks in the United States."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

iMuslims: Resources Update

I have been adding some resources to the main website, which are directly related to my iMuslims book.

The main diagram of the book can be found here as a webpage:

A diagrammatic representation of Cyber Islamic Environments (CIES).

It is also available as a PDF:

A diagrammatic representation of Cyber Islamic Environments (PDF)

The slideshow of screengrabs used in the book can be found here:

iMuslims Slideshow

This is also available as a QuickTime Movie:

iMuslims QuickTime Movie

Monday, June 08, 2009

Iran and the Internet

BBC News, Iran: Rap, blogs and the political mix "Sixteen years after visiting Iran to report for BBC's Panorama, and just as President Barack Obama makes overtures to the Islamic world, Jane Corbin returned on the eve of presidential elections.

"She found a country with a burgeoning underground music scene, a love of cosmetic surgery and an internet savvy young electorate eager to make their own mark 30 years on from the Islamic Revolution."

Based in part on Panorama: Obama and the Ayatollah, Monday, 8 June, BBC One at 2030BST.

'Jihadi reactions to Obama'

Thomas Hegghammer,, Jihadi reactions to Obama, 4 Jun 09 "We have heard Bin Ladin and Zawahiri’s comments, and Marc Lynch and others will tell us how the Arab mainstream reacted. But what are the grassroot jihadis saying about Obama’s Mideast tour in general and his Cairo speech in particular?

" ... In a widely diffused and entertaining post, a contributor named “Abu al-Bashar” describes a daydream about Egyptian Salafi Ulama confronting Obama. The text is written like a short skit ..."

Egypt Twitters on Obama

Sarah Carr, Daily News Egypt, Egyptians on twitter unimpressed with Obama speech, "Confined to their homes, Egypt’s Twitter users passed the time by engaging in a lively debate about the merits or otherwise of Obama’s speech.

"While waiting for Obama to arrive at Cairo University blogger Wael Abbas spent the time celebrity-spotting, possibly because he was “stuck with old people” downstairs and “all the [babes] are upstairs in the journos and students section” [sic]."

Reactions to Obama, Israel and Egypt (with kufiya content)

hawgblawg: Reactions to Obama, Israel and Egypt (with kufiya content)

Blogging on Obama

The Lede NY Times, Some Dissenting Voices in Arab Blogosphere, 4 Jun 09 "If, like The Lede, you followed the State Department’s global live Web chat immediately after President Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo this morning, you might have gotten the impression that an era of peace and good will was at hand..."

Zaytuna, Zaytuna College website has been launched, 3 Jun 09

The link for Zaytuna College is here

also see Riazat Butt, Guardian, First accredited Islamic college planned for US, 7 Jun 09 "The management committee from the Zaytuna Institute, which is dedicated to classical Muslim scholarship, last week recommended launching Zaytuna College in autumn 2010. The board of trustees is expected to vote on it later this month."


AFP, Algeria militants claim ambush, 7 Jun 09 "A statement released on the Internet by al-Qaida of the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, claimed the militants killed 100 people in 17 attacks through the months of May and early June. The dead included British hostage Edwin Dyer, who the militants announced they'd killed in neighboring Mali on Tuesday."

Indonesia: Facebook +

Jakarta Post/Asia Media, Internet, Facebook, cell phones are 'children's gates to porn', 6 Jun 09, "Sophisticated cell phones and online social networks like Facebook have been accused of providing children access to pornography amid the government's weakness to block and filter adult content over the Internet, an expert said Wednesday."

'God is Back' - book review

Christopher Howse, Telegraph, God Is Back by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge: review, 6 Jun e09 "It has not, however, escaped the authors’ notice that a large slice of global religious growth belongs to Islam. When apostasy is a capital crime in more than one Islamic country, how does this fit their claim that pluralism boosts religion? It seems to me that here the authors perform sleight of hand. They point to huge modern printing presses turning out Korans, to the internet as a means of spreading Islamic ideas, to a big hotel in Dubai and a big container port in Tangiers. All these, they suggest, show Islam embracing modernity."

Facebook: Iran

Elham Khatami, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Facebook brings big changes to Iran politics, 8 Jun 09 ""Reformists are using Facebook to bypass official state media, which explicitly or implicitly favors the current administration," said Mehdi Semati, associate professor of communication at Eastern Illinois University and editor of the book "Media, Culture and Society in Iran."


Oxford Times, Imam bridges a wedding divide, 6 Jun 09 "Most had spent months looking for an imam, and many found Dr Hargey after contacting American Muslim leaders via the Internet. ...

" ... Dr Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said he had performed about 36 marriages in the past two years between Muslim women and non-Muslim men."

Edwin Dyer

Times Online, ‘He wept, hands bound. Then I heard two shots’, 7 Jun 09, "Zeid had indoctrinated the young members of his faction, which called itself the Sahara Mujaheddin, with videos showing the beheading of hostages in Iraq and Afghanistan and hate-filled preaching by radical clerics.

"Paradoxically, given the extreme conditions in which his group lives in the desert, they watched the videos on lap-tops and listened to preaching on MP3 players, showing a sophistication they had probably acquired in militant Islamic schools."

Friday, June 05, 2009

Syria and Google Wave

Evgeny Morozov, Net Effect, Syrians are unlikely to ride the Google Wave any time soon "Now, come on, Google: Syrians along with some other "forbidden nations" already suffer enough from their bad governments; they also suffer from the lack of tools to protest against these governments. So now they also have to face an information blockade? Can't you just let them pretend to experience the same Web as the rest of us for at least a day?"

Obama trip

Guardian, Bin Laden accuses Obama of sowing 'revenge and hatred' in Muslim world, 3 Jun 09 "In an audio recording timed for Obama's latest overture, the al-Qaida leader said the US leader had planted seeds of "revenge and hatred" towards the US in the Muslim world, al-Jazeera television reported."

alArabiya, Obama gives Americans blueprint for Muslim ties, "Just a few months into an historic presidency Barack Obama made a bold step and went to Cairo, which he called a “timeless city,” leaving behind for a moment the economic crisis and domestic politics to fulfill a promise made nearly two years ago to repair relations with the Muslim world."

alJazeera, Obama seeks new start with Muslims, 4 Jun 09

AP/Dawn, Obama asks Muslims to make fresh beginning, 4 Jun 09 includes a remarkable (if staged) AP photo of 'Popular Resistance Committee members' watching the speech on TV (also one here):
There's one here of Hamas members (note logo above TV):

AP also have a photo of Palestinian "security officers loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas" undertaking the same activity: (click on the photos for full size images, etc.)

The AP photographers have a further selection of other TV viewers of the speech. I'm sure there are some of people watching streamed video on laptops too.

Obviously, plenty of comments available on Obama's speech, from various shades of opinion (if I had a spare week to post them):

Saudi Jeans, Now Walk the Walk, 4 Jun 09

Time, Lebanon Reacts to Obama, Sort of, 4 Jun 09

Isa Ibrahim: Ongoing trial

Telegraph, Boy 'made suicide vests after watching Abu Hamza on internet', 4 Jun 09 "A former public schoolboy, who converted to Islam in just three months after watching videos by the radical cleric Abu Hamza on the internet, mixed explosives and made suicide vests before carrying out reconnaissance trips on targets, a court has heard."

Syed Haris Ahmed: trial

CNN, Terror trial defendant makes own closing argument, 4 Jun 09 "Throughout the trial, Martin has argued that his client is a shy, highly emotional young man. Martin said Ahmed moved to a suburban Atlanta neighborhood with his family when he was 12. He did not have a religious mentor and turned to the Internet to find his identity as a Muslim, Martin said."

Saudi Arabia

BBC News, Saudi reform in 'fits and starts', 5 Jun 09, "In one week in April, a Saudi-owned entertainment channel filmed a report about the merits of marriage arranged on the internet, while another Saudi channel screened a tragic TV drama.

"It told the story of two sisters who are kidnapped by men they meet on the internet, beaten and violently raped."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Ayman al-Zawahiri on Barack Obama

Daily News, Al Qaeda scoffs at President Obama's peace message to Islam, 3 Jun 09 "Al-Qaeda's No. 2 dismissed President Obama's planned outreach to the Islamic world Tuesday, insisting the overture is trumped by wars against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan." Widely reported

Jundullah statement

CBS News, Jundullah Says Executed Sunnis Not Linked to Iran Mosque Bombing, 2 Jun 09, "The Popular Iranian Resistance Movement, which is most commonly known by its name Jundullah, denied in an internet statement that any of the three men executed by the Iranian regime had anything to do with the bombing of Zehdan mosque last Thursday - an attack which the group had taken credit for. The statement indicated that only one of the three men was connected to the group, but had no link with the group’s military activities."

Taliban video

CBS News, Teen 'Suicide Bombers' Seen in Taliban Video. 2 Jun 09, "An increasing number of children and teenagers are appearing in jihadi videos of the militant Afghan Taliban movement, which claims that they carry out suicide attacks. A new propaganda video showing attacks carried out by the group shows two young boys who allegedly carried out two separate suicide attacks in Nangarhar in Western Afghanistan."

Neda al Jihad

CBS News, Taliban Video Shows Attack on Military Base in Nuristan, 2 Jun 09 "The Taliban’s media outlet Neda al Jihad released a new video of attacks carried out by the militant group against a NATO base in the “Zumyobileh-Nuristan area” last year."

Facebook: Iran

Useful overview:

Babak Rahimi & Elham Gheytanchi,, The Politics of Facebook in Iran, 2 Jun 09, "According to reformist newspapers, the regime was finally forced to unblock the website because of Iranian users “vehemently protesting” the regime’s censorship policy ahead of the elections. Though the main reason behind unblocking the website remains unknown, it is highly likely that the state has recognized that once some social freedoms are granted, it would be difficult to deny them to a public with a more profound understanding of itself in a less restricted medium of interaction-especially in virtual space. The potential threat of a strategy of selective political openings, therefore, is that Islamic Republic would have to ultimately deal with an offline community of Facebook activists demanding a more open society regardless of an expanding state control over the Iranian public sphere."

Faadi: Pakistani search engine, Pakistani search engine Faadi

"Faadi has an own spider which crawls the Pakistani web sites and collects information in an own index (not a Google custom search as many do at the moment). The collect information about sites in Pakistan of all kind and topics (including Educational, Entertainment, Informative). Unfortunately they do not mention on their site if they only index .pk sites or if they crawl the whole internet to identify other web sites with Pakistani content."

Faadi is here. It looks like a neat and useful search engine (based on a quick search).

Muslim Groups criticise helpline

BBC News, Muslim Groups criticise helpline, 2 Jun 09 report refers to several groups/interests

el-Hateef el-Islami/Islamic Hotline 'Live' in English

Robert Pigott, BBC News, 'Real Islam' just a phone call away, 2 Jun 09 "Callers to the Islamic Hotline will get answers to their questions within 48 hours, from scholars trained at one of the world's principal Islamic universities. Users are also able to email their enquiries through the service's website."

From Islamic Hotline

"Islamic Hotline Phone Service was created in Egypt in 2000 with the mission to become the global and primary source of information for Moderate Islamic Teachings in IT & Telephony medium, initially through the medium of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, and subsequently, via Internet through unified messaging and e-debit cards."

"Islamic Hotline or El-Hatef El-Islami is a pay-per-call service which is online 24/7, ready to receive callers’ queries at any time of day to give reliable answers by AL-AZHAR Scholars, in Egypt after 24 hours, and outside after 48 hours. This easy to use service has begun in Arabic and has been translated to English, Urdu, Bengali, Indonesian, Malay and Senegalese (Wolof)."

I've been monitoring this for some time. I will be writing about this in a forthcoming chapter. Some aspects of the site are not fully operational. The design is straightforward and intuitive in nature.

Hostage killed

BBC News, Al-Qaeda 'kills British hostage', 3 Jun 09 "The militants posted a statement on an Islamist website announcing the killing.

""The British captive was killed so that he, and with him the British state, may taste a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of the Crusader and Jewish coalition to the east and to the west," it said.""

Creative Visualization

Internet & Democracy Blog, Visualization Methods Good For Tracking Silly Videos and Middle East Politics, 2 Jun 09 links to, Going Viral which states "Today, the work of a social scientist named John Kelly is helping illuminate what has really happened to social networking in the age of the Internet. Blogs and other online forums have become the new bowling leagues and Rotary Clubs where humans gather and share social knowledge. Blogs -- a word that didn't enter the lexicon until the late 1990s -- are now so extraordinarily interconnected that they can spread information widely in a remarkably compressed time."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Obama trip

James J. Zogby, Media Monitors Network, High Expectations for Obama's Speech in Egypt, 1 Jun 09


Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia Suffers Lack of Working Women as Oil Fluctuates, 2 Jun 09, "Some foreign companies are hoping to profit from building contracts in the cities. Cisco Systems Inc. is designing the technological infrastructure -- everything from broadband Internet connections to video surveillance systems to traffic control -- for all four of them.

"Cisco will invest $250 million in Saudi Arabia during the next five years, says Wim Elfrink, Cisco’s chief globalization officer. Al-Dabbagh, the minister in charge of the cities, has asked Cisco to provide the world’s fastest broadband Internet connections."

Malaysia & the net

Bernama, Master ICT For Effective Dissemination Of Islamic Knowledge - Raja Nazrin, 2 June 09, "The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, today called on Muslims to improve their skills and master information communication technology (ICT) for effective dissemination of Islamic knowledge for the benefit of present and future generations.

"Raja Nazrin said the inability of any group to ride on the new communication technology wave or benefit from it would result in Muslims to once again be left behind in science and technological development.

""Let us not lag behind to the extent of the next generation having to be pay the price of our own complacency. Don't create a situation where our future generations will put the blame on today's generation," he said before chairing the 166th meeting of the Perak Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIAMP) at Kompleks Islam, here, Tuesday."

Monday, June 01, 2009


Zulkiple Abd. Ghani, Digital Islam: Harapan Peradaban Baru? Research paper (PDF, in Malay). Also see Institut Islam Hadhari

Islamic Blogosphere

The Islamic Blogosphere (left hand side panel of this blog) is now being updated again, following some technical issues.

iMuslims: Hurst & Co edition

iMuslims has now been 'released' in its Hurst & Co edition. Further information: Hurst & Co

Da'wah Brazil

IslamOnline, Internet Serves Da`wah in Brazil " In a vast country like Brazil, the internet is emerging as the most effective tool to spread the message of Islam, says a leading Muslim scholar in the South American nation.

""The internet is one of the most successful contemporary da`wah tools," Al-Sadiq Al-Othmani, head of the Islamic Affairs Department at the Center of Islamic Da`wah in Latin America, told over the phone."

al-Azhar TV

Reuters, Egypt's al-Azhar to launch Islamic TV channel"Egypt's seat of Islamic learning, al-Azhar, will launch a satellite channel to give the world a better understanding of Islam and counter some Islamic outlets preaching "extremist dialogue", its architects said on Sunday.

"Sheikh Khaled Al-Guindy, a scholar at al-Azhar mosque and university, said the new channel would reach out to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and non-Muslims alike."

Ali Gomaa, Muslims should not use weapons of mass destruction and possess them only as a deterrent, a top Islamic cleric says. "Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa said using such weapons would violate Islamic teachings as Muslims as well as non-Muslims could be killed.

"He issued the religious ruling, or fatwa, following reports that the use of such weapons was legitimate, the state news agency Mena said."

Iran and the Internet

Middle East Online, Iran rights activist hopes for better days, 1 June 09 "Amini's [Asieh Amini] Internet blog has been blocked for more than two years and a group she worked with, the Volunteer Research Institution which trained other NGOs, was closed along with many other groups which burgeoned under Ahmadinejad's reformist predecessor Mohammad Khatami."

Indonesia: Facebook

Ary Hermawan, The Jakarta Post/AsiaMedia, Thou shalt not Facebook, 30 May 09 "The challenge is how can we incorporate (or "upload") offline values, that have been tested throughout history, into the digital world. No, this won't be as easy as saying it, but we have learned that government's controls are not the answer to handling the Internet's menace.

"Muslim clerics can fill this gap, but they need to do more than just saying, "Thou shalt not Facebook!" since to do so is theologically and logically irrelevant.

"Young people today seem to be quite allergic to commandments. They need good reasons (there's a reason why safe sex, not abstinence, is today's morality).

"The clerics should give young Muslims good reasons why they need to Facebook, blog, Youtube and tweet, responsibly."

Obama trip

Opinion piece: AbdulRahman Mansour, alArabiya, Ten tips for Obama before his visit to Cairo, 30 May 09 "The Egyptian media, both public and private, are dominated by voices working for Mubarak and his regime, It is therefore hostile to all opposition movements, even those on the internet. Leaders of the opposition, as well as well known bloggers are the window to figuring the best ways to implement change by putting the right economic and diplomatic pressure on the Egyptian regime to achieve political reform, which has been stalled since the beginning of President Hosni Mubarak’s era."

Video (humour) Interlude

Khaled's Ramblings, video: Smooth Criminal, Saudi Style (with tip thanks to Saudi Jeans).

This works well. BGT's Diversity should watch out.