Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sabily 9.10

sabily.org, Sabily 9.10 (Gaza) released. "The Sabily team is proud to announce the release of Sabily 9.10, codename "Gaza". Sabily is the new name of Ubuntu Muslim Edition, the Operating System designed by and for Muslims (but non-Muslims are very welcome to use it too)." New version of the Ubuntu OS

Iran

LA Times, Iran clamps down on protests, 29 Dec 09 "Images of the weekend's violence captured by protesters using cellphone video cameras, uploaded to the Internet and broadcast globally grabbed headlines and roiled capitals. Western officials urged Iranian authorities to deal peacefully with their opponents and release prisoners."

Iason Athanasiadis, Washington Times, Iran forces kill 8 on Shi'ite holy day, 28 Dec 09 "The protesters, in turn, broke several taboos, setting fire to a station of the paramilitary Basij and torching police motorcycles and other police vehicles throughout Tehran. Protesters in some cases beat police and pelted others with stones. They also besieged the headquarters of the state broadcasting authority and stripped captured policemen of their weapons, according to witnesses, Web sites and videos displayed widely on the Internet."


Martin Fletcher, Times Online, Courage, websites and sound judgment fight Iran’s media suppression, 24 Dec 09
"The Iranian regime is fighting not only to suppress opposition protests but to suppress news of those protests lest the contagion spread.

"To that end it has shut reformist newspapers and websites and cut internet services on days of particular tension. It has censored the state-controlled press, television and news agencies to the extent that protests and major events such as the death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri go almost unreported."

Online recruitment

UPI Asia, Online jihad recruiters target Asia, 28 Dec 09 "Extremist groups using the Internet to recruit young people to radical Islam is not a recent phenomenon. But with stronger policing in the West, extremist groups are taking advantage of the not-so-tech-savvy Internet policing in South and Southeast Asian countries and are using online social networks to radicalize the youth of the region."

op-ed on 'radicalisation'/'Islamophobia'

Reem Salahi, Huffington Post, Muslim Youth Radicalization or Politically Correct Islamophobia? 28 Dec 09 "More problematic than this open-ended definition of radicalization is the supposed source of radicalization: the World Wide Web. As someone who frequents the internet most of my waking hours, I do not deny that there are many bad websites and posts on the internet. But I refuse to believe that these websites could lead a normal, integrated Muslim teen to "radicalization." Yet according to the media and to governmental reports, the internet is that powerful. Without providing any contextual background or analysis, the media, the government, and now some Muslim organizations have simplified Muslim youth into a two-part cause and effect: since Muslim youth are intrinsically prone to radicalization, then the most simplistic of triggers such as the internet will change a law-abiding Muslim youth to Osama bin Laden's prodigy."

Umar Faruk Abdul Mutallab

Hugh Macleod, Guardian, Yemen is fertile territory for extremism as it tears itself apart: Al-Qaida able to exploit tribal tensions in Yemen just as it does in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 28 Dec 09

Telegraph, Al-Qaeda warned of imminent bomb attack, 28 Dec 09 "An al-Qaeda terrorist in Yemen warned the United States "we are carrying a bomb" in a video posted online four days before the attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit."

Newsweek, Do We Need 30,000 Troops in Yemen, or A Better Counter-Terror Strategy?, 28 Dec 09

The Canadian Press, Internet posts suggest Nigerian terror suspect was 'depressed and lonely', 28 Dec 09 "Internet postings purportedly written by a Nigerian charged with trying to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day suggest a fervently religious and lonely young man who fantasized about becoming a Muslim holy warrior.

"Throughout more than 300 posts, a user named "Farouk1986" reflects on a growing alienation from his family, his shame over sexual urges and his hopes that a "great jihad" will take place across the world."

Washington Post, In online posts apparently by Detroit suspect, religious ideals collide, 28 Dec 09 "On Facebook, Abdulmutallab's profile features a photo of him smiling, standing alongside two friends and wearing a sharp-looking pink polo shirt and sunglasses. He has 287 friends."

Facebook: We Condemn Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's Action: Nigerians are NOT Terrorists

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, Asharq Alawsat, In Search of the Instructor in Yemen, 29 Dec 09 "Al Awlaki is now most wanted and the source of the problem with regards to at least two crimes; that of Nidal Hasan charged for killing 13 people and Farouk Abdulmuttalab charged with attempting to blow up a plane and attempted murder of the 279 passengers on board. Al Awlaki is an important character and it seems he is the Bin Laden of the internet, the leader of an organization that brings together thousands of young men who are communicated with firstly via websites and then dealt with on the ground later. He became a leader and a Mufti who communicated with his students electronically, and he takes part in extensive Daawa [Islamic preaching] through the World Wide Web. Just like Bin Laden, a cat with nine lives, he was targeted in two similar raids a few days ago and it is possible that he escaped despite news reports of his death. "

Monday, December 21, 2009

"iPhone app of life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)"



"Keeping pace with current trends and technologies, Al-Khawarizmi brings to the world an Iphone application that lets you conveniently browse and read through the monumental life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon Him)."

Ask the Scholar: Theft via the Internet and the Application of Hadd

Islam Online, Ask the Scholar, Theft via the Internet and the Application of Hadd, 20 Dec 09 opinion of Rajab Abu Maleeh "Theft through the Internet is unaccepted in Islam. With its different forms, whether what is called plagiarism or stealing money by way of credit cards or withdrawing cash from ATMs, theft is all impermissible. People should necessarily avoid these forms of larceny if they sincerely want Islam to become dominating."

Esposito and Voll on Friedman's "jihad.com" op-ed

John L. Esposito & John O. Voll, huffingtonpost.com, Tom Friedman on Muslims and Terrorism: Getting it Wrong Again "Thomas Friedman, in his Dec. 15 column "www.jihad.com" repeats and reinforces the same tired, totally incorrect, but commonly-made generalization preached in his July 9, 2005 column, "If it's a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution," that "no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden ..."

'Jihad the Musical'

Evening Standard, Musical that pokes fun at bin Laden on its way to London, 21 Dec 09 "When it was announced the show would be performed in Edinburgh, Ted Brocklebank, culture spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said he hoped the “appalling” show would be withdrawn."

The website for Jihad! The Musical is here. It states: "With singing camels, dancing girls and a heartfelt hero, Jihad! sends up stereotypes, politics and big business, and the love affair between terrorism and the media."

New blog on Yemen

Haley Sweetland Edwards, Sanaa Bureau, Global Post: Green Technology in Sana’a is very, very old, 11 Dec 09 Interesting post from a new blog Tip: Waq al-Waq

Queen Rania

Telegraph, Queen Rania, Jordan's virtual queen, 18 Dec 09 "Queen Rania was in Paris earlier this month to speak at Le Web, a conference that brings together some of the world’s smartest technology entrepreneurs. Though she once worked in Apple’s marketing department, Queen Rania is not someone you would expect to find alongside Chad Hurley, the co-founder and CEO of YouTube, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder.

"However, as she delivered her speech - with its key messages compressed into Twitter-friendly 140-word bites - it soon became clear that she understands the real-time web and is using it in her royal duties and her charitable work."

Maulana Sheikh Nazim Al Haqqani’s official website

yursil.com, Mind, Body, Soul, New Website for Shaykh Maulana Nazim Adil al-Hakkani "We are excited and proud to announce the launching of Maulana Sheikh Nazim Al Haqqani’s official website, which features articles written by him personally in Turkish or Arabic language and translated into English.

"There will be a weekly Gazette (magazine) in the downloadable PDF format.

"This is the address: http://www.saltanat.org"

Algeria censorship plan

Brian Whitaker, al-bab.com, Algeria to censor internet, 20 Dec 09 "Algeria is planning to introduce a centralised system for filtering (i.e. censoring) the internet. It is also proposing stiff penalties for anyone who circumvents the government's filtering, according to the Magharebia news website."

'Iranian Cyber Army' update

Tim Stevens, ubiwar.com, World Tries To Shock Self With Iranian Cyber Army, 19 Dec 09 "There is no evidence that this was the work of Iranian intelligence or military, or even of Iranians, in Iran or elsewhere. Sure, the banner was clearly thumbing its nose at the US, and was geared to look like a Shi’a statement, but that does not make it the work of Iran or Iranians. It was occasionally reported that the Arabic on the banner read, ‘Hezbollah will surely be victorious’, or similar. Again, not necessarily true. The line is from a Qur’anic ayat referring to those who belong to and follow the ‘party of God’; far from an explicit reference to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Islamist organisation, even if that too is where they got their name." Useful commentary on this 'event'.

Harvard's Islamic Heritage Project

Harvard University Library, Harvard's Islamic Heritage Project Is Now Online: An Innovative Collaboration Preserves Key Islamic Materials and Makes Them Accessible to Internet Users Everywhere "Through a new collaboration among Islamic-studies scholars, librarians, and curators, Harvard University has cataloged, conserved, and digitized Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts from its renowned library and museum collections. The result is a new online collection comprising more than 145,000 digital pages available to Internet users everywhere. Entitled the Islamic Heritage Project, or IHP, the collection is made possible with generous support from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Visit IHP online at http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/ihp"

aQ "Wives' Club"

Khaled Wassef, CBS News, Al Qaeda Wives' Club, 18 Dec 09, "Al Qaeda's media wing as-Sahab released an Internet statement Thursday from the wife of Ayman al-Zawahri, the group's deputy commander, the first known recruitment appeal by a prominent female on behalf of the terrorist group.

"The statement from Umaima Hassan Ahmad Muhammad Hassan was titled: "A Letter to the Muslim Sisters." In it, Mrs. Zawahri appealed to Muslim women around the world to support the Mujahideen, calling it "an obligation on all Muslims, men and women.""

'Jihadi Cool'(?)

AP, Did 'Jihadi cool' lure 5 Americans to Pakistan?, 21 Dec 09 "But that may not matter in an age when just about anyone on the Internet can connect with terrorists and where even young Muslims from moderate families can get caught up in what some call "Jihadi cool.""

Also see Steven Stanek, The National, Cyberspace emerges as global jihad battleground, 21 Dec 09

Ayatollah Montazeri

Guardian, Iran braces for protests as up to 1m attend funeral of reformist cleric, 21 Dec 09 "YouTube footage showed Montazeri's supporters gathering at home his home where his body lay in a glass case.

"The reformist website Rah-e Sabz reported that some political activists had been contacted by intelligence agents and warned that they would face arrest if they tried to attend the funeral."



presstv.ir, Ayatollah Montazeri laid to rest in Qom, 21 Dec 09

Friday, December 18, 2009

'Iranian Cyber Army'



Update: The Guardian, Technology Blog, Twitter hack by 'Iranian Cyber Army' is really just misdirection, 18 Dec 09

Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, Twitter Hacked, Defaced By “Iranian Cyber Army”, 17 Dec 09 This is the most detailed post on this issue that I've come across.

Also see:

Telegraph, Twitter hacked by 'Iranian Cyber Army', 18 Dec 09

"A group, calling themselves the Iranian Cyber Army, forced Twitter offline last night."

Wall Street Journal Blog, Twitter, Iranian Reformer Sites Hacked by ‘Iranian Cyber Army’, 18 Dec 09

Morocco

Brian Whitaker, al-Bab, Moroccan internet 'crimes', 16 Dec 09 "A blogger and the owner of an internet cafe have been jailed in Morocco."

Opinion piece: ethics, diamonds and technology

Molouk Y. Ba-Isa, Arab News, Your mobile may be financing murder, 15 Dec 09 "Since 1996, more than 5.4 million people have died from the ravaging effects of war and its aftermath in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite successful elections in 2006, more than 45,000 people are still dying every month in eastern Congo, mostly from hunger and disease resulting from the ongoing conflict. Consumer demands helped stop the violence in Africa fueled by Blood Diamonds. If you want peace of mind in enjoying your cell phone, iPod or notebook computer, support an end to the trade in conflict minerals."

More information: raisehopeforcongo.org

Military apps

Brian X. Chen, Military Could Use iPhones to Track Friends, Enemies in War, 17 Dec 09

Bobbie Johnson, The Guardian, War? There's an iPhone app for that: American military contractor shows off iPhone application intended to help soldiers track and kill insurgents on the battlefield, 17 Dec 09

Not new stories (for example, see Newsweek, Apple’s New Weapon, 18 Apr 09), but some useful updates.

Drones 'hacked'

Times Online, Islamic insurgents hack into CIA state-of-the-art Predator drones, 18 Dec 09 "The Wall Street Journal reported that the hackers were Iranian-backed Shias in Iraq, who used easily downloadable software, such as SkyGrabber, to capture the video feeds, which had not been protected by military encryption."

Commentary - 'Confronting Online Radicalization of Muslim Youth'

Shahed Amanullah, The American Muslim, Confronting Online Radicalization of Muslim Youth, 17 Dec 09 "The bad news is that after being chased out of the Muslim mainstream, those Muslims leaning towards extremism have found sanctuary on the Internet. There, militants have been able to exploit visitors’ religious illiteracy and social alienation better than their moderate brethren and recruit people to join their cause."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Karachi arrests: update

Rafia Zakaria, Dawn, Climate of suspicion, 16 Dec 09

"The most damning evidence they left behind, a farewell video using the familiar format of interspersing Quranic verses with images of atrocities being committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was what made the father of one of the five contact the authorities. One member of the group, Ahmed Minni, left laudatory comments on YouTube videos featuring jihadists. This YouTube connection has, in fact, become central to the whole investigation. Pakistani authorities have since alleged that the group was using social networking sites such as Facebook to search for jihadist contacts with groups such as Lashkar-i-Taiba and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi."

also see Washington Post, Combating homegrown terrorism, 16 Dec 09 (editorial)

Also this blog piece (drawing on/linking to other sources as well) by Mollie Ziegler, getreligion.org, The long arm of Sayyid Qutb, 16 Dec 09 "“This is indeed a wake up call,” Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, told reporters outside the mosque.

"“We are determined not to let religious extremists exploit the vulnerability of our young children through slick propaganda on the Internet,” Bray added."

Also see: Bobby Ghosh, Time.com, Most Domestic 'Jihadists' Are Educated, Well-Off, 16 Dec 09"The idea that mosques are the favored hunting ground of extremists and propagandists is a myth too. Since 9/11, law enforcement and national security agencies have maintained a close scrutiny of Muslim places of worship; equally, Muslim community leaders have grown more alert for any radical preaching. As a result, terrorist groups seeking American recruits now tend to propagandize mainly online. This also means that relatively wealthy Muslims are much more likely than poorer ones to be exposed to extremist views. "You need a computer, an Internet connection — poor Muslims don't have that kind of access," says [Scott] Stewart."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

muslimmatters.org, Interview with a “Taliban-trained” Suicide Bomber

muslimmatters.org, Interview with a “Taliban-trained” Suicide Bomber, 15 Dec 09 "Below is a chilling video of an interview with a young man, who has no qualms about killing innocent men, women and children. This is because he believes that everyone who isn’t participating in Waziristan or other “jihad” can be considered justified collateral. His “ameer” told him so."

Do see the comments from the post's writer Amad on this video, which I've also linked to below:

RevolutionMuslim.com

Jarret Brachman, The Fresh Face of American Jihobbyism: Abdullah as-Sayf Jones, 14 Dec 09 "This is Abdullah as-Sayf Jones, the newly designated emir/leader/director/head of the RevolutionMuslim.com website. With the departure of Yousef al-Khattab, the site now falls on the shoulders of this young mujahid."

Egypt and the net

Reuters, Egypt puts archives on Web to boost Arabic content, 14 Dec 09 "Egypt has begun making its national archives digitally available on the Internet in Arabic, having last month registered the world's first domain name in Arabic script."

Transliteration tools

Gaith Saqer, arabcrunch.com, Google Launches Native Windows Transliteration Application for 14 languages Including Arabic, Greek Hinidi [sic], Urdu and Farsi, 15 Dec 09 "Since Google launched Ta3reeb its online Transliteration for Arabic, which changes Latin letter into Arabic, it has been working in improving it ,as it has become more accurate and better in editing transliterated words. Google also launched an API for Ta3reeb and started integrating it with its online properties starting from Gmail, Blogger, Knol and its ejabat.google.com."

This is an interesting review. I'll to take a further look at these products in due course. It'll be useful to read further feedback on Google IME and Microsoft's Maren. I plan to test-drive them sometime, when I have a spare few days ...

Morocco: blogger arrest

meedan.net, Moroccan blogger arrested for publishing a statement on student protests, 15 Dec 09 "The Moroccan authorities have arrested blogger Al-Bashir Hezzam after he published a statement on student protests in the area of Tarjijt in southern Morocco."

Arab Bloggers Meeting

Saudi Jeans, Arab Blogger, Unite! (or don’t!), 10 Dec 09 "The first Arab Bloggers Meeting last year in Beirut was really good, and the second one which is taking place this week has been going great. Last year’s event, held in Zico House, was small and cozy, and I was afraid that since there will be much more people this time around that we would lose that coziness. Luckily, this is not the case. The atmosphere is pretty informal, and the good thing in this year’s meeting is the large number of practical workshops aiming to teach bloggers some practical skills that they can use to improve their blogging experience." Sounds interesting - I'd have liked to have attended this one.

'The Iranian Digital Empowerment Act'

National Iranian American Council, The Iranian Digital Empowerment Act, 14 Dec 09 "This bill will enable average Iranian citizens to access the most powerful tool available for promoting democracy and civil society in Iran: information. It clarifies the intent of current US sanctions not to prohibit Americans from providing certain software or related services to Iranians, enabling them to communicate freely or bypass their government's online spying and censorship efforts."

Sadequee/Ahmed case (USA)

R. Robin McDonald, Fulton County Daily Report/law.com, Federal Judge Sentences 2 Muslim Americans for Conspiring to Aid Terror Groups, 15 Dec 09, "The Internet prohibition followed testimony at the trials of Sadequee and his co-defendant, former Georgia Tech student Syed Haris Ahmed, that identified the duo's forays into Internet chat rooms where they corresponded with self-proclaimed jihadists. Both defendants argued during their trials that their Internet conversations about jihad were idle, harmless chat and that these conversations were constitutionally protected speech."

Majid Tavakoli campaign


cnn.com, New protest statement builds in Iran -- men in head scarves, 13 Dec 09 "Within hours of the Fars report on the arrest of the 22-year-old protester, men both inside and outside Iran responded using a what appears to be a new tactic for the opposition -- they began posting pictures of themselves online wearing head coverings that are mandated for women in the Islamic republic."

Pavyand Iran News, Iranian men dress as women in support of detained student activist, 12 Dec 09 "Hundreds of Iranian men published pictures of themselves wearing headscarves and chadors in support of Majid Tavakoli, the detained Amir Kabir University student who was arrested on December 8 after giving a speech during the National Students Day protests in Iran."

Here's the FARS news report which published the original Tavakoli pictures, an example of which heads this post.

The Spittoon, How the Hijab became the Symbol of Male Resistance in Iran "The ongoing, spirited anti-government protests in Iran has been fearless, witty, creative and nothing short of inspiring." (tip: Harry's Place and Times Online)

And here's an innovative video highlighting this protest:



Also see Sunday Times, Lessons in revolution, via YouTube, 14 Dec 09

iMuslims - Review in Choice

Subscribers to Choice may want to see the recent review of iMuslims in the November issue ("Recommended").

Monday, December 14, 2009

Egypt: blogger's home raided

almasryalyoum.com, Police raid home of prominent blogger, 13 Dec 09 "The family home of prominent Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas was raided and searched by plainclothes police while the activist was attending a bloggers' conference in Beirut, both Abbas and his mother said Sunday."

BTW almasryalyoum.com has undergone a neat makeover, and is now in BETA revamp mode

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pakistan

AP/Miami Herald, Worried father turned in 5 Americans to Pakistani police, 12 Dec 09, "The five had an Internet-powered interest in jihad, or holy war, and had e-mail contact with a mysterious Pakistani militant, the police said. The men's planning appeared amateurish, however. Although police in Sargodha played up the Americans' alleged links to al-Qaida and suggested they were involved in a major terrorist plot, the absence of radical connections may have thwarted their purported ambitions."

Also see dallasnews.com, Pakistani officials search for Virginia men's online Taliban recruiter, 13 Dec 09 "Investigators have identified the man, known as Saifullah, as a recruiter for the Pakistani Taliban and said he contacted one of the American men on YouTube, exchanged coded e-mails with the group, invited them to Pakistan and guided them once they arrived."

Update: NPR, Pakistan Case Highlights Jihadi Efforts On Web, 11 Dec 09

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Human Rights report

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 2009 Report on Human Rights in the Arab World: Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform "Today the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its second annual report on the state of human rights in the Arab world for the year 2009. The report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, concludes that the human rights situation in the Arab region has deteriorated throughout the region over the last year." In Arabic, with an English version to follow (exec summary in Arabic and English also available). I have this on my reading list.

UAE IT

Khaleej Times, UAE IT Market Set for Strong Growth, 8 Dec 09 "The UAE internet penetration estimated to be at 54.3 per cent by the end of 2008, is far above the average for the Middle East and North Africa region. This highlights UAE’s position as one of the most advanced IT countries in the region. Dubai has traditionally been a re-export centre for consumer electronic items, with traders now assembling their own PCs. However the size of the domestic market is also increasing, driven by growing SME spending."

'Inside Islam' film

Union Production Foundation, Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, "Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, a new documentary film from Unity Productions Foundation, explores the expertly gathered opinions of Muslims around the globe as revealed in the world’s first major opinion poll, conducted by Gallup, the preeminent polling organization." I'd be interested to see this in due course, if it makes it to the UK.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

'Jihobbyism' (or not)

Tim Stevens, ICSR, Jihobbyism: What's In A Name? "Two well-respected and prolific watchers of the soft, jihadi underbelly of the internet are having a respectful conversation about the use of a particular term to describe those who subscribe to the e-jihad."

Kidnapping AQIM

AKI, Terrorism: Al-Qaeda tape claims kidnapping of four Europeans, 8 Dec 09 "Al-Qaeda's North African branch on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping last month of three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania and a French citizen in Mali. The Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb's spokesman Salah Abu Muhammad made the announcement in an audio tape aired by Arabic satellite TV network, Al-Jazeera."

Iran and the net

Hannah Allam, McClatchy Newspapers/kansascity.com, Iranian forces battle thousands of student protesters, 7 Dec 09 "Protests erupted on a dozen campuses and in public squares in Tehran, students and opposition groups said. Despite extraordinary measures to prevent news coverage of the events - including banning foreign journalists, locking down campuses and slowing Internet and cell-phone service - eyewitness accounts and amateur videos flooded the Web from early Monday morning."

NYT, Violent Protests in Iran Carry Into Second Day, 8 Dec 09 "The violence continued Tuesday on the campus of Tehran University, where security forces were using tear gas and arresting students, according to reports and video clips relayed through Twitter and Internet postings. There were protests at large squares near the university as well, witnesses said. Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported that the clashes began after groups of pro-government students carrying pictures of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, clashed with protesters on campus."

Monday, December 07, 2009

Review: iMuslims

Here's a recent review of iMuslims: Paul Aarts, hivos.net, Blogging Toward Utopia - Book Review "The growth of Internet usage in the Middle East and North Africa is among the world’s fastest: between 2000 and 2007 usage increased almost 500 percent, more than twice the rate of increase in the rest of the world. Just as elsewhere, this has led to Middle Eastern cyber-optimism - among the users of digital tools and Internet watchers alike. It is a widely-held hope that the coming of Web 2.0 can move closed societies toward democratic values and governance."

Jihadi 'orcs'(?)

A couple of interesting posts from Jarret Brachman that I caught up on today:

(1) Jarret Brachman, Making Jihobbyists our New Secret Weapon in Combating Jihobbyism, 5 Dec 09 "Ibn Siqilli has a great post about the jihadi fascination with Lord of the Rings in response to a spoof video that a jihobbyist recently made about me. To be clear, when I called the English-language jihobbyist community a herd of teeming “orcs,” it was really just me trying to flex my metaphorical muscle. Apparently, I stumbled on something juicy – and talk about counterintuitive."

Here's Ibn Siqilli's post: Views from the Occident, Cyber Jihadis' Lord of the Rings Obsession, 4 Dec 09 It contains a trail of film clips and images (I must admit I haven't viewed them all), which has to be read in conjunction with Jarret Brachman's post.

Research issues

Also on Jarret Brachman's blog:

(2) Doh! A “Regrettable Occurrence” Indeed "Tim Stevens makes a great catch this morning about a retraction from Weimann and Van Knop in the newest Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. Apparently, a Oct 2008 article abstract published in SCT shared passages that were “nearly identical” to language used in the blurb of a 2007 book on jihadi use of the internet by Irish researcher, Johnny Ryan."

The details of Ryan's book are here. Johnny Ryan, Countering Militant Islamist Radicalisation on the Internet, IIEA, 2007 His blog is here

Iran and the net

AP, Iran chokes off Internet on eve of student rallies, 6 Dec 09 "Government opponents shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "Death to the Dictator" from Tehran's rooftops in the pouring rain on the eve of student demonstrations planned for Monday. Authorities choked off Internet access and warned journalists working for foreign media to stick to their offices for the next three days."

Mohammed Tantawi

AP, Veil's spread fans Egypt's fear of hard-line Islam, 6 Dec 09 "The debate has grown more heated since Mohammad Tantawi, the top cleric at prestigious Al-Azhar University, banned the niqab in classrooms and dorms on the grounds that it "has nothing to do with Islam," and that it was unnecessary since the college is gender-segregated. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry and religious authorities forbade nurses and preachers to wear the niqab."

Iraq filtering?

Martin Chulov, Observer, Baghdad's night life falls foul of religious right, 6 Dec 09 "The clubs are only the most colourful victims of the conservative crackdown. Other potential sources of liberal licentiousness have been targeted. Internet cafes have been told that filters will soon start blocking some websites, especially pornographic ones, and alcohol vendors in the city's international zone were informed they will soon be out of business."

Friday, December 04, 2009

Recording the hajj

Anwar Al-Sayed, Arab News, ‘Preserving’ journey of faith for life, 4 Dec 09 "While many pilgrims were raising their hands in prayer, others were lifting cameras and mobile phones, photographing scenes from Haj. A number of pilgrims were keen to take advantage of their presence in Makkah and the holy sites to document life’s most sacred journey."

The use of cameras during the hajj raises a number of interesting religious issues, which have been addressed in various opinions over the years.

Ibrahim Suleiman al Rubaish

Long War Journal, Former Guantanamo detainee now al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula's Mufti, 4 Dec 09 "A former Guantanamo detainee has emerged as a leading ideologue and theologian for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – one of the strongest al Qaeda affiliates in the world."

IDF social media

Meedan, Israel to fight 'hostile entities' through Web 2.0

"A new unit of bloggers, techies and social media experts have been recruited to help Israel portray a positive image of the Israeli Defense forces (IDF) to international viewers, an Army spokesman said on Monday."

Net ban

Daily Star, Tories to ban Muslim Extremists' Internet Broadcasts, 3 Dec 09, "Muslim extremists will be banned from broadcasting over the internet to the UK under a Tory government.

"Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said Britain had been “far too willing to tolerate extreme public protests”."

Doesn't explain how they plan to do this.

'Islam and the Internet' commentary

Sumayyah Meehan, InFocus News, Islam and the Internet "The Internet is the most successful modern-day da’wah tool in the history of Islam. Authentic Islamic information is available with just a few strokes of the keyboard. Translations of the Holy Qur’an are available for download on Islamic Web sites in just about every language known to man." Overview

Iran and the net

World Market Media, Iranian Oppression Spreads Farther Than its Borders, 3 Dec 09 "In an effort to suppress descent among its people, the Iranian government is beginning to threaten nationals living outside the country for criticism its regime over the Internet. A majority of the harassment has been through the tracking of individuals YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts."

'Muslim Punk Rock'

Carla Power, Time, Muslim Punk Rock: A Mashup of Piety and Politics, 3 Dec 09 "Whether they're the voices of Muslim feminists going back to read the Koran and the Hadith as documents of liberation, gay Muslims working out a theology that embraces homosexuality or even the millions of Muslim youths trusting Islamic chat rooms — which one British Muslim leader has dismissed as "Sheik Google" — over the local imam, they, like Muslim punks, are expressing a growing dissent with the Islamic world's mainstream theologians."

Muslim Brotherhood 'split'

Roula Khalaf and Heba Saleh, ft.com, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood split, 3 Dec 09

"For the first time in the Brotherhood’s largely secretive history, the internal divisions are out in the open, reflected in newspapers and internet sites."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Germany: Jihadis

Peter Neumann, ICSA, Jihadism in Germany: An Update, 1 Dec 09 tip: Jihadica

op-ed on scholars

Opinion piece: Jerome Taylor, Independent, Can a Muslim say happy Christmas to his friends?, 26 Nov 09, "While the real world provides a vast array of interpretations from a variety of Islamic schools, more often than not it is the intolerant strands of Islam taught by Saudi Arabia's fundamentalist Wahabi scholars that dominate online. Backed by billions of petrodollars and an army of tech-savvy graduates who are more than capable of capturing the YouTube generation's imagination, the internet has long been a stronghold for the most intolerant forms of Islam." Discuss ...

Financial meltdown Dubai - blogger reaction

meedan.com/huffingtonpost.com, Arabs lament Dubai woes as UAE stock markets slump in debt crash, 1 Dec 09 includes blogger reaction: "Also in Al-Hayat, Daoud Al-Shariyan called for greater transparency in Dubai to calm nerves and reassure investors.

He said: "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, should have expected this media coverage of his country when he spoke in front of the second conference of investment companies and international investors in Dubai, being careful to clarify two points which Dubai has suffered from since the beginning of the global economic crisis.

""The first is that Dubai is not alone, and its success is an extension of the success of Abu Dhabi.

""The second: the recognition that silence has created an information vacuum that has allowed rumors to spread; he called for this to be avoided in the future.""

Al-Azhar 'The Response'


Euro-Islam, "The Response”

This is a very useful pointer to fixyourdeen.com, available in Arabic, English and Urdu as pdf files. Dr. Richard Gauvain (one of the translators) notes: "This book is the result of a lengthy collaboration between scholars of Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar University and Islamic Hotline or El-Hatef El-Islami organization. Put simply, far too simply, its aim is to contest the growing number of intolerant and/or simply mistaken legal opinions that often go unchallenged in Muslim communities today. Deeply rooted in the legal tradition of ikhtilaf writings, yet utilizing modern means of communication, The Response applies the wisdom of the classical jurists to the complex realities of the contemporary Muslim world."

I haven't read the document yet ...

'Metro' comic book 'censored'

she2i2, Egyptian court upholds comic book ban, fines creator & publisher, 1 Dec 09 "Metro's creator, Magdy el-Shafei, told Al-Masry Al-Youm EE "this verdict is disappointing, but I was expecting to be disappointed. Nonetheless, I am pleased with the solidarity that we have received from human rights organizations, civil society associations, independent journalists and bloggers. This sort of solidarity gives me hope.""

More on el-Shafei here; haven't seen any of the comic books yet

Soccer row (the Egypt v Algeria one)

Views from the Occident, Egypt vs. Algeria, The Soccer Row: An Artistic Response by Jihadis, 29 Nov 09 "While doing my daily trolling of jihadi-Salafi web sites for my current research project on the visual media produced by Muslim political (Islamist) groups, both jihadi and non-jihadi, I found an interesting graphic:…

" ... The animated graphic's text begins with the statement, "We are all Muslims," and then procedes to call for Algerians and Egyptians to support the "banner of truth" and the "victory of truth" over false "idols," such as nationalism. "Truth" in these statements refers to the interpretation of religion and politics as seen by jihadi-Salafi groups. This call is illustrated by showing "paths" from both the Algerian and Egyptian flags leading to the black flag emblazoned with the shahada, the Muslim testament of faith, used (in several variations) by jihadi-Salafis across the glove."

Kzalek

Gaith Saqer, Arabcrunch, Kzalek, The First Arabic Twitter Desktop Client Out of Private Beta, 1 Dec 09

Google in Saudi Arabia and Egypt

Gaith Saqer, Arabcrunch, Google Launches City Level Ad Targeting In Saudi Arabia and Egypt, 27 Nov 09 "Google announced yesterday that it has added a new feature to its contextual online advertising platform Adwords, for advertisers targeting Egypt and Saudi Arabia."

Ahmadinejad

David Keyes, WSJ.com, Ahmadinejad, the Blogger, 30 Nov 09 "It's hard to believe in light of this Internet repression, but Iran's president is himself a blogger. "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Personal Memos" is the place where he goes to vent and stay in touch with the common folk. He says he allots himself 15 minutes a week to write on his blog, but admits that at times he exceeds this limit." I wrote about this in iMuslims

KSA floods

BBC News, Saudi Arabia orders inquiry into flash flood deaths, 1 Dec 09 "There has been unprecedented criticism of the government on internet forums and on the social networking site Facebook in the aftermath of the floods. Some accused officials of negligence and a slow response when Jeddah's infrastructure was overwhelmed."

World Aids Day

BBC News, Imam aims to break Aids taboo, 1 Dec 09 'Mohamed Bashir has agreed to train other imams on how to tackle the taboo.

"He accepts that in the face of HIV, condoms may be the lesser of two evils, but says communicating that to a congregation is a sensitive issue."

Jamming

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

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

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