Friday, May 28, 2010

"Inside the fatwa lab"

Irena Akbar,, Inside the fatwa lab, 23 May 2010"In Darul Uloom Deoband, the second largest Islamic seminary of the world, the computer is a “born Muslim” but ties and trousers are ways of “debauched Westerners”. Its internet department answers queries from Muslims across the world and sends out fatwas."

This is a very useful article.

Book review: 'The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam'

Muhammad Cohen, Asia Times, Book Review: Southeast Asian Muslims for dummies, The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam by Senator Christopher S Bond and Lewis M Simons, 29 May 2010 "The growth of the Internet has enabled Muslims who couldn't find Israel on a map to identify with distant grievances. Wahhabi missionaries from Saudi Arabia, fueled by Western petrodollars, have found fertile ground for their conservative doctrines in a region where clerics and congregants tend to be poorly educated and poorly served by their own government institutions. However, the authors find that there's less evidence of an international Islamic conspiracy behind radicalism than local issues rooted in grinding poverty and unequal opportunity."

Attackers Hit Mosques of Islamic Sect in Pakistan -, Attackers Hit Mosques of Islamic Sect in Pakistan, 29 May 2010

UAE digital journalism

Farhana Chowdhury,, Scope of digital journalism widens, 27 May 2010 "A chunk of UAE residents are trawling social networking sites for their slice of daily news which is opening up vistas for digital journalism in the country.

"According to Nabila Usman, a 24-year-old journalist and business development executive of an online portal offering tidbits dedicated to quirky news from the region, social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have become an essential part of digital journalism."

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Views from the Occident, Ayman al-Zawahiri Eulogizes Islamic State of Iraq Leaders Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, 25 May 2010 "Al-Qa'ida Central's (AQC; Qaeda, Qaida) media outlet, the Al-Sahab (Clouds) Media Foundation, has issued the audio message from its deputy leader and chief ideologue, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri eulogizing the former senior leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the amir Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi and the prime minister and minister of war Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who was also the head of Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq (AQI)."

Also see UPI, Ayman al-Zawahiri praises Iraqi militants, 21 May 2010 ""You, al-Baghdadi, were a great leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, you knew how take it over most ably from your comrade in arms, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," he said in the message."

Waqar Hussain, AFP, Pakistanis create rival Muslim Facebook, 28 May 2010 "Pakistanis outraged with Facebook over "blasphemous" caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have created a spin-off networking site that they dream can connect the world's 1.6 billion Muslims.

"A group of six young IT professionals from Lahore, the cultural and entertainment capital of Pakistan, launched on Tuesday for Muslims to interact online and protest against blasphemy."

It looks very familiar....

Pakistan YouTube ban 'lifted'

Daily Times, 1,200 URLs remain blocked even after YouTube ban lifted, 28 May 2010 "Although the Pakistani authorities restored access to popular video-sharing website YouTube, Facebook and 1,200 web pages remained blocked on Thursday as authorities debate over the issue of blasphemous content over the internet."

"Pakistan Unplugged"

Amber Rahim Shamsi, Dawn blog, Pakistan unplugged, 28 May 2010 "As I write this, the protests against Facebook continue, even though the offensive page has been removed and the social networking site is still banned in Pakistan. Now it is no longer even a matter of whether facebook should’ve been banned, but whether there can be any rational discussion in this country about anything to do with religion without fear of reprisal. This is symptomatic of a deeper malaise in society – the disengagement from the world of ideas and debate."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Khalifa.emarat, World's first Arabic address website launched by UAE, 23 May 2010 "The UAE's Presidential Affairs Ministry has launched the world's first Arabic address website: Khalifa.emarat. The UAE is one of four countries in the world which have been allowed by the Internet Corporation Assigned for Names and Numbers to use the internet domain in its mother tongue. The UAE government announced last year its plan to launch .emarat - the Arabic equivalent of the .ae domain name for the country."

It may have been launched, but Khalifa.emarat was 'under construction' when I visited.

Egypt and the net

Global Arab Network, Egypt: Information & Communications Technology Expanding Knowledge Economy, 25 May 2010 "The ICT sector has played a major role in the growth of the Egyptian economy during the global crisis, expanding 14.6% in the 2008-09 financial year. In contrast, the overall growth rate for the economy was just under 5% in the same period. Foreign investment into the sector has reached over $1bn annually, due in part to developed infrastructure, including the 3m-sq-metre technology park Smart Village in Cairo.

"In addition to courting international IT players, the government has focused on building up a more computer-literate populace as the foundation of an information society. In February 2010, internet penetration reached 22.2%, representing more than 17m internet users, while the state has made efforts to increase this rate by lowering internet costs."

Fatwas in the Maghreb

Walid Ramzi,, Maghreb religious officials discuss curbing extreme fatwas, 25 May 2010, "The "absence of a Maghreb religious marji'ya … has allowed people to move away from moderation", Algerian Religious Affairs Minister Bouabdellah Ghlamallah said at the two-day event in Sidi Okba, which began on Sunday (May 23rd)."

This might apply to the net as well, although it isn't specifically mentioned in this article.

Abdullah Faisal profile

NPR, Jamaican Cleric Uses Web To Spread Jihad Message, 25 May 2010 "Abdullah Faisal is one of the best known radical clerics on the Internet today. NPR set up an interview with Faisal weeks ago. But when he arrived to speak to us in Montego Bay last week, he demanded money for the interview. NPR refused. So he declined to speak on tape.

"But what he revealed in a conversation provided a peek into the mindset of an Internet cleric who is dancing along the line between free speech and incitement."

Facebook ban in Pakistan (continued)

Dawn, Editorial, Internet censorship, 25 May 2010 "The furore over the websites blocked last week by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority on the instructions of the Lahore High Court refuses to die down, and for good reason. At least 800 web pages and URLs have so far been blocked for Pakistan’s Internet users in an effort to restrict access to material considered blasphemous. The number may grow. However, apart from the Facebook link that called for the drawing of the Prophet (PBUH) — and which has now been removed — we have been given no explanation as to what exactly this objectionable material is."

Also see:

Desire Athow,, Facebook, Youtube & Pakistan : Towards An Islamic Internet?, 20 May 2010

"All three countries in the first batch are Islamic countries, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and one may wonder whether the constant clash between non-Western governments and mostly-US based internet companies may not spawn a segregated Internet."


AFP/IC Publications, New African, Homosexual review goes online in Morocco, 23 May 2010 "The founders of "Mithly", the Arabic word for gay, say it's the first site of its kind in Muslim North Africa and aims to fight homophobia with understanding."

Monday, May 24, 2010

PR Web, Muslim World's Answer to Facebook and Wikipedia - Islamic Social Network Launches for the Muslim World!, 20 May 2010 " has been envisioned as a virtual city catering to Islamic values, in particular, offering services to Muslim youth, that are commensurate with advanced features on other sites like Facebook and Twitter. Users of can have discussions on various topics, upload videos, audio files, form groups, post blogs, articles, and even have a points based system which upgrades their rank, based on the level of activity in their accounts. Also, gender segregation is adhered to, on"

More info:

Unplugged: Real Time Media - The Power of Now

'Ilm al-insaan, Aljazeera: Unplugged, 22 May 2010 useful post from Aljazeera's "Unplugged: Real Time Media - The Power of Now" event.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Facebook and Pakistan

Plenty to talk about regarding the Facebook 'ban' - here are a few perspectives and opinions that I found today:

Ahmad Rafay Alam, The News International, The Facebook shame, 21 May 2010 "One thing about this entire banning Facebook ado is the level of organisation displayed across the country. I may not agree with what they have managed to do, but I do appreciate that they could use Facebook (as many did) to organise their protests. Today I learn that the women's wing of the Jamat-e-Islami is organising a protest against Facebook. Never mind that it has just been reported that a teenager was raped for four months in Lahore, the ladies of the JI (women's wing) have something to protest on this sunny May day.

"We are a country entirely devoid of a sense of irony. Just before the PTA got around to enforcing the ban, someone I know updated her Facebook profile to inform people how pleased she was that Facebook had been banned ...

" ... There is simply no justification – legal, ethical, moral, religious – for the High Court to have ordered a ban on the social network page. Our law is crystal clear: A person's rights cannot be impinged upon without notice. There are well over 40 million Facebook users in Pakistan. The alleged blasphemy is supposed to be taking place in the United States. Under what legal framework is it permissible for the rights of the overwhelming majority of lawful users of Facebook to be affected in this way? As a lawyer, I fail to understand both the petition and the High Court's order."

BBC News, Pakistan blocks access to YouTube in internet crackdown, 20 May 2010 "Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because of its "growing sacrilegious content"."

Also see this op-ed/blog post:

Asif Akhtar,, What do Facebook and cricket have in common?, 21 May 2010 "Though all this buzz about a silly Facebook contest group seems a little bit over-hyped to be making international news headlines, I’m sure the administration of the Pakistan censorship regime were just looking for an excuse to test out their instant web-portal blocking apparatus. Probably didn’t do as well as one would expect, since it took them a few days to get the blocking sealed. Please, do these people have any idea how many status changes, picture uploads, note posts, and information sharing can take place within a few days? This could be catastrophic in an emergency situation which prompts Facebook blocking. A sorry attempt, I must add."

From the same blog:

Zeresh John,, Diary of a closet Facebooker, 21 May 2010 "Before yesterday’s ban on Facebook, I would have laughed off the idea of being addicted to a social networking site. Really. It couldn’t have come down to this. Or has it?"

And not forgetting:

Sana Saleem,, The ban that backfired,20 May 2010 "This is a a sad day for new media in Pakistan. While many claim this to be a ‘victory’ against the offensive campaign, I feel at loss. The ban frenzy has only created a win-win situation for extremists on both sides. Instead of allowing people to opt for deactivating their accounts and registering their protests in the way they want, we have been forced to act like sheep once again, forced to jump on a bandwagon, and bear the burden of the perception that we are in fact an intolerant society."

Dan Gilgoff - CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor, CNN, Musharraf backs Pakistan's decision to shutter Facebook, 20 May 2010 "Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told CNN tonight that he backs Pakistan’s decision to shut down Facebook this week in response to an online group calling on people to draw the Prophet Mohammed."

But Musharraf is still active:

The Facebook protest was featured on Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan's Facebook page...

Also see the official Jama'at-e-Islami-Pakistan page here:

The site reports: "Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because of its "growing sacrilegious content".

"Access to the social network Facebook has also been barred as part of a crackdown on websites seen to be hosting un-Islamic content."

Jama'at-e-Islami's coverage uses Reuter's film clips:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Halal food app

Eli Milchman, Cult of Mac, App OKs Food For Halal Or Vegetarian Eaters (Non-US Only, Though), 18 May 2010

"Halal Scanner Islamic (featured in the clip above) prompts the user to take a photo of an item’s listed ingredients, scans the photo and checks each item on the list against a database of allowed ingredients, and then alerts the user if there’s a possible conflict; Vegetarian Scanner works the same way, but for vegetarians."

I've been writing about apps - hope to see the piece out shortly.

Abu Mansoor al-Amriki 'rap' update

UPI, Militant uses rap to recruit, 18 May 2010 "Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, 26, whose real name is Omar Hammami, was born to a Syrian father and Southern Baptist mother in Alabama.

"During the last year he has released five hip-hop songs on the Internet praising the virtues of jihad and urging the slaughter of the U.S. military and U.S. political leaders, ABC News reported Tuesday."

I have referred to this previously on this blog

aQ Iraq

AFP, Qaeda in Iraq 'names replacements for slain leaders', 17 May 2010 "The US-based SITE Intelligence Group said that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) made the announcement on May 15 in posts on jihadist forums.

"The new leaders are "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi, the Emir of the Believers of the Islamic State of Iraq" and "Sheikh Abu Abdullah al-Hassani al-Qurashi is his prime minister and deputy," it quoted a statement from the group as saying."

Facebook ban in Pakistan

BBC News, Pakistan temporarily bans Facebook website, 19 May 2010 "A court in Pakistan has ordered the authorities temporarily to block the Facebook social networking site.

"The order came when a petition was filed following reports that the site was holding a competition featuring caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad."

Digital Bangladesh 2012 Programme

Bernama, Bangladesh Asks For Task Force To Help Islamic Countries Face Climate Change, 19 May 2010, "Sheikh Hasina also invited global companies to invest in the newly initiated "Digital Bangladesh 2012 Programme" aimed at turning the country into an information technology-based and knowledge-driven middle-income country in a decade."

Ian Black, Guardian, Syrian and Israeli bloggers try to resolve their differences online, 19 May 2010

'Syrians and Israelis are crossing one of the Middle East's great divides to co-operate – in cyberspace – to explore ways to advance peace between their countries.

"The groundbreaking website aims to bring together prominent Israelis and Syrian bloggers, academics and experts seeking ways to break the stubborn impasse in negotiations."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hesham Shashaa profile

Souad Mekhennet, NYT, Munich Imam Tries to Dull Lure of Radical Islam, 15 May 2010 "Hesham Shashaa looked twice at the display on his cellphone, staring at the number. “It’s either a person who needs help or someone who wants to kill me,” he said.", Islam Online staff to launch new website, 17 May 2010 "Staff of disputed Islamic Resource Islam Online (IOL) are preparing to launch a new website after a two-month row between its employees and the website’s Qatari funders, according to Fathy Abu Hatab, former journalist at IOL."


"Activating the Counter-Terrorism Fatwa"

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, Asharq Alawsat, 'Opinion', Activating the Counter-Terrorism Fatwa, 17 May 2010 ""Targeting public resources, corruption, hijacking planes, and blowing up buildings." This is the most important line in the historical fatwa that was issued last month by the Saudi Arabian Senior Ulema Council which is in practice the most important religious authority in the Islamic world. This is a line that explicitly prohibits the actions of terrorist groups that claim to be Islamic and who fight in the name of Islam. As this is a fatwa that deals with international security, not just security in Saudi Arabia and the Islamic world, we expected that this would be circulated and broadcast everywhere, however I only succeeded in finding news of this fatwa with difficulty, and the majority of what was reported was just general information.

"Since this is the most important fatwa to appear until now with regards to the controversial war on terrorism we expected news of this to appear everywhere, however this fatwa still remains away from the spotlight and unknown to the general public. Without publicity this fatwa remains as nothing more than a mere piece of paper, and terrorists will continue to benefit with regards to financing, recruitment, and winning public sympathy. Therefore it is in the interests of terrorists and the extremists who support them for this fatwa to remain unknown and not receive any publicity, and they are trying to bury or silence this fatwa."

Also see Turki Al-Saheil, Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia: Grand Mufti Describes Terrorism as "Alien", 13 May 2010

Aal Al-Sheikh campaign

Abdullah Al-Dani, Saudi Gazette, Al-Sheikh favors special focus on educating youth, 17 May 2010 "Aal Al-Sheikh also touched on the efforts made by the ministry to protect young people by carrying out various awareness programs for propagators, imams, khateebs and all segments of society. The ministry has launched a dialogue campaign for youth on the Internet named the “Peace campaign for dialogue”."

Indonesia internet

The Jakarta Post, Sonata’s blog messages show RI’s terror war is far from over, 17 May 2010 "The police on Sunday blocked a web blog publishing an article said to be written by terrorist fugitive Abdullah Sonata. He called on fellow former convicted terrorists to keep their faith in jihad and not to follow the footsteps of those he said had become anshoru thogut or “the helpers of evil”."

Saudi Arabia

wall Street Journal,, Summer Said, WSJ Special Report: Saudi Arabia: Second-Class Citizens, 17 May 2010 " Against the odds and wearing a veil, Saudi female poet Hissa Hilal made the final of hit Arab reality TV talent show Million's Poet. With only her eyes showing, Mrs. Milal performed her poem Chaos of Fatwas in which she denounced those who issue hard-line religious edicts, comparing them to suicide bombers. She then attacked the segregation of the sexes maintained by preachers who "prey like a wolf" on those who seek progress and peace.

"The former journalist's poem sparked controversy in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia and prompted lively exchanges on internet forums. While many viewers hailed her "courage," others called for her death."

al-Qaeda in Iraq, Al Qaeda appoints new 'war minister' for Iraq, 14 May 2010

"Al Qaeda in Iraq announced the appointment of Nasser al Din Allah Abu Suleiman as the new minister of war for its political front, the Islamic State of Iraq. Abu Suleiman's appointment was announced in a statement released on jihadist Internet forums."

Germany and net 'radicalisation'

Deutsche Welle, Islamist radicalization a growing trend in Germany, says expert , 11 May 2010, "Elmar Thevessen is a terrorism analyst for German public television channel ZDF. He explained to Deutsche Welle the process of how young German citizens can become radicalized and fight alongside Islamist militias and terrorist groups."

Amr Khaled

New and noted: Aaron Rock, 'Amr Khaled: From Da'wa to Political and Religious Leadership', British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 37, Issue 1 April 2010 , pages 15 - 37

I've just received this, so haven't read it fully yet. It contains a number of references to the role of the Internet in relation to religious and political authority, so will be relevant to regular readers of this blog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Computer games

Star, Imam concerned over computer games' effect on children, 12 May 2010 "An imam here has expressed concern over the impact of computer games on children, saying the portrayal of gods as well as heaven and earth in these games could potentially confuse them about the concept of the hereafter."

Anwar al-Awlaki

Denis MacEoin,, Anwar al-Awlaki: "I Pray that Allah Destroys America" 12 May 2010 "We will implement the rule of God on earth by the tip of the sword."[1] These words are among many coming from the pen and tongue of one of Islamic terrorism's leading proponents. Anwar al-Awlaki (Anwar Nasser Abdullah al-'Awlaqi) is not as well known in the West as Osama bin Laden, but for growing numbers of radical and radicalizing Muslims, he is a beacon."


AFP: Qaeda in Iraq names new 'war minister': SITE "The US-based SITE Intelligence Group service said that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the branch of Al-Qaeda in the country, named him in a statement posted on jihadist Internet forums.

""The new War Minister is identified as al-Nasser Lideen Illah Abu Suleiman, 'The Supporter for the Faith of Allah, Abu Suleiman'," it reported."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Belgium: Malika El Aroud

earthtimes, Eight convicted in Belgium for recruiting terrorists for al-Qaeda, 10 May 2010 "Moroccan-born Malika El Aroud, 50, was said to be the leader of the group, working to send would-be islamists to training camps in Waziristan, on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, to fight against Western soldiers.

"El Aroud was known as one of the most prominent internet jihadists in Europe, urging Muslims to take up arms against the West in the name of radical Islam.

"She was sentenced to eight years and received a 5,000-euro (6,400- dollar) fine, along with her second husband, Moez Garsallaoui, who was tried in absentia, the Belga news agency reported."

also see AFP/, Three leaders of Al Qaeda cell jailed in Belgium, 11 May 2010 "Ms Aroud, who was acquitted a few years ago when an extremist group went on trial in Belgium, oversaw Internet websites from Belgium and Switzerland calling for “holy war”, the court said in its findings. She had told the court she was “opposed to terrorism but in favour of ‘jihad’”."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Islam Online update

MEMRI, The Islamonline Schism, 10 May 2010 "The Al-Balagh Society for the Service of Islam on the Internet, a Qatari association that owns, recently decided to reorganize the popular Islamic website and to transfer supervision of its content and technology, as well as its administration, from its Cairo-based editors to the association's main headquarters in Doha. In response, some 300 of the website's Cairo employees who faced layoffs as a result of this decision launched a strike."

Background on MEMRI

Op-ed on Faisal Shahzad

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, The American Taliban are coming, 11 May 2010 "Shahzad fits the profile: young, globalized and addicted to a fantasy - the virtual ummah (Muslim community). He apparently did make the conceptual leap from idealizing the ummah on the Internet to actually feeling the irresistible urge to act on the ground. Like virtually every neo-jihadi - from Dhiren Barot (who planned to bomb the New York Stock Exchange) to shy underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - he broke communication with his family. As a Pakistani-American he was already a living exercise in deterritorialization." Op-ed. Escobar wrote Obama Does Globalistan, which I have yet to read.

Malaysia software piracy

The Star, Losses due to software piracy go on rising, 11 May 2010 "Losses due to software piracy in Malaysia continue to increase, said antipiracy watchdog the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

"The losses were recorded at RM1.4bil last year, compared to RM1.2bil previously. The local software market is growing, the BSA pointed out, but the illegal-software industry is keeping pace."


Thomas Hegghammer points to some useful 'Homegrown Literature' from the Centre for Studies of Islamism and Radicalisation at Aarhus University in Denmark. This includes Jonathan Githens-Mazer, Robert Lambert, Adbul-Haqq Baker, Safiyah Cohen-Baker, Zacharias Pieri: Muslim Communities Perspectives on Radicalisation in Leicester, UK [pdf] which looks helpful.

Skype blocked in Yemen

Brian Whitaker, al-bab, Blocking Skype in Yemen, 9 May 2010 "Yemen has joined the list of Arab countries trying to stop people making cheap phone calls over the internet. According to the Yemen Times, blocking of Skype was introduced earlier this year at the request of TeleYemen to protect the revenue it gets from international calls."

Team Taliban: Pro Wrestling, Islam, & the Muslim "Bad Guy"

Christopher Anzalone, Religon Dispatches, Team Taliban: Professional Wrestling Doc, Team Taliban, Looks at the ‘Muslim Bad Guy’, 10 May 2010 "24-year-old Adeel Alam is—in street clothes at least—not your average professional wrestling villain. Introspective and engaging, he is the focus of Team Taliban, a highly recommended if all-too-brief documentary on Alam’s experiences portraying a generic “Middle Eastern/Muslim” villain, “Prince Mustafa Ali,” a member of “Team Taliban.”" Do check out Anzalone's comments in his Tales from the Occident post as well, which has further links, pix and info

'Islam Inside'

I have a chapter section with this title in iMuslims, so was intrigued to see this logo. I found it on Great Islam on Flikr. However, the original appears to be at, Islamic wallpapers, 25 May 2008. There are some other jpgs there to download and use as wallpapers etc

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki

A couple of related articles:

Scott Shane and Souad Mekhennet,, Anwar al-Awlaki - From Condemning Terror to Preaching Jihad, 9 May 2010 "His mix of scripture and vitriol has helped lure young Muslims into a dozen plots. He cheered on the Fort Hood gunman and had a role in prompting the attempted airliner bombing on Dec. 25, intelligence officials say. And last week, Faisal Shahzad, who is charged in the attempted bombing in Times Square, told investigators that Mr. Awlaki’s prolific online lectures urging jihad as a religious duty helped inspire him to act."

Ian Black and Hugh Macleod, Guardian, YouTube Islamist: how Anwar al-Awlaki became al-Qaida's link to local terror, 7 May 2010 ""Awlaki has a huge internet following among Muslims all over the world," said Faisal Gazi, a British Muslim blogger. "His sermons, delivered in word perfect English and Arabic, are downloaded and shared by vast numbers of people in the Middle East and in the west.""

Friday, May 07, 2010

Naming a child

Shazia Ali, Chicago Tribune, A rose by any other name … The problem with naming an American-Muslim baby, 7 May 2010 "During my pregnancy, my husband and I both took great pleasure in making lists of names, scouring the Internet and pestering friends and family for suggestions ...

"... Names are quickly catching up to color as factors in hate crimes."

ICANN and business

David George-Cosh, The National, Arabic language makes the internet its domain, 6 May 2010 " ...Dubizzle, an online classified advertisement website that receives more than 33 million page views a month, said it would have its entire website translated into Arabic as early as next month.

"JC Butler, the co-founder and managing director of Dubizzle, said the company had spent the past nine months building several features that would allow advertisements to be automatically cross-listed in English and Arabic."

See Dubizzle

Middle East e-learning

Tony Glover, The National, Middle East is making the grade in e-learning, 6 May 2010 "Middle East students in higher education are becoming increasingly demanding of the technology used in teaching. Research by the US-based O’Reilly Radar reveals that the highest age demographic of Middle East users of the social networking website Facebook is between 15 and 25 years old.

"Many in this group are students who expect academic environments that allow the same level of interactivity and collaboration as that available on Facebook, YouTube or MySpace."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Laptops to Gaza, UN Delivered 2,100 Laptops to Gaza 500,000 More to Palestinian Children, 5 May 2010


Reuters, Belgium analyses video threat over Muslim veil ban, 6 May 2010 "A text written in English on a video posted on the Internet says: "If you ban the burqa, hijab or niqab (veils) ... then you will see (a) very dangerous situation in your countries.""

Arabic net

BBC News, 'Historic' day as first non-Latin web addresses go live, 6 May 2010 "Arab nations are leading a "historic" charge to make the world wide web live up to its name.

"Net regulator Icann has switched on a system that allows full web addresses that contain no Latin characters."

Also see ICANN blog, First IDN ccTLDs now available "Today the first three production non-Latin top-level domains were placed in the DNS root zone. This means they are live! Here is one newly enabled domain with a functional website that works right now: وزارة-الأتصالات.مصر

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Reminder @garybunt

Don't forget that you can pick up a (very) condensed version of this blog at Twitter: @garybunt. I generally update it daily with key words from this blog.

Also check out the Facebook: Gary R. Bunt page.

Virtually Islamic is also blogged on Facebook

New York car bomb update

Guardian, Car used in New York bomb plot was bought on internet last month, 4 May 2010 "Vehicle sold to 'Middle Eastern or Hispanic' man, investigators establish, as Pakistan group disowns video claiming attack"

Saudi Arabia - King Abdullah photo

Spero News, Saudi Arabia: In the battle for women’s rights, King Abdullah is photographed with 40 women, 4 May 2010 "The significance of the picture lies less in the fact that female faces were bared than in the break with the kingdom’s traditionally rigid separation of the sexes. Since it was published, the picture has become a talking point on blogs, Internet forums, shisha cafes, newsrooms and the corridors of power."

German jihadis

Yassin Musharbash, Spiegel Online, German Jihadist Eric Breininger Killed in Pakistan, Group Claims, 5 May 2010 "Eric Breininger, one of Germany's most wanted suspected terrorists, has been killed in a battle with Pakistani troops in the Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, according to an unconfirmed statement by a jihadist group. Breininger had appeared in several Internet videos trying to recruit terrorists in Germany."

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Sufi channel

Hamad Al-Majid, Asharq Alawsat, Saudis to Fund Sufi Channel, 28 Apr 2010 "With funding from a number of Saudi and Gulf businessmen, the Sufis have decided to start a television war by launching a satellite television channel that aims to find an audience among Sufis, while also targeting members of other sects. Sheikh Alaa Abul-Azayem, the head of the Sufi Azayemiya order in Egypt said that this channel is set to be launched soon, and that it aims to address the "deluge" of new satellite channels that are financed by Gulf States and Saudi Arabia and that are controlled by "Salafist and Wahabi extremists and fundamentalists" according to the well known almesryoon website."

'Jihad Jane' case, Judge Indefinitely Postpones "Jihad Jane's" Trial, 3 May 2010 "A federal judge on Monday delayed the trial of two American women charged in a global terror plot, and a defense lawyer held out the possibility of a plea deal."

StartPalestine, Breaking: Demo Palestine Joins ArabCrunchStart Family, Now Called #ArabCrunchStart #Palestine, 28 Apr 2010 "ArabCrunchStartPalestine will work in 2 tracks: startuping and technology advancement, and will host a series of events featuring top notch local and global speakers, startups and highly skilled engineers.

"ArabCrunchStartPalestine will also work closely with the Palestinians startup and tech community and help them in any way possible."

See StartPalestine for more information on this.

Zoofs, Jordanian Founders of Twitter’s Arabic Clone Launch Zoofs: Most Tweeted Youtube Videos eMagazine Site, 2 May 2010, Kareem Arafat and his friends at tootcorp, the mother company that launched around 2 years ago WatWet,Twitter’s Arabic clone- has launched a new online project this time around Twitter it self.

Riyadh floods and social networking, #riyadhrain Catastrophe SocialMedia Guide to Save Lives, Ask for Aid & View Traffic.., 4 May 2010

South Park v. V

Irfan Yusuf,, Muslim-phobia has gone beyond a joke, 30 Apr 2010 "Muslims know of Muhammad as a man who happily forgave the men and women who murdered his followers, even the woman who chewed the liver of his uncle slain on the battlefield. So why are ludicrous threats taken so seriously."

Useful article on Revolution Muslim and the South Park 'controversy'.

Yahoo and Maktoob

Middle East Online, Yahoo Maktoob Shuts Down 27 of its Website but Keeps its ‘Helwa’, 3 May 2010

"The first of Maktoob’s sites that should have been shut down first is ‘Helwa’. I have been monitoring the website for academic research for a long time, one thing I am sure of; there is hardly any education of women going on there, notes Iqbal Tamimi."

See Iqbal Tamimi's work with Journomania.

Digital Publishing, Crown prince calls for more e-books on Islam, 3 May 2010 "Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, chaired a meeting of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs here on Sunday and emphasized the need to publish more e-books and establish e-libraries."

Rachelle Kliger,, Digital Books Leave Arabs Cold, 3 May 2010 "Jalal Abdallah, managing director of Arabic E-Book, an online store for digital books in Arabic, said the most popular books sold on his site deal with culture and politics, while books on religion rank at the bottom of the list."

Times Square bomb

Numerous theories on this:

Reuters, Failed New York bomb puts Pakistan under spotlight, 4 May 2010 "Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the failed bombing and its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, appeared in videos on the Internet on Sunday threatening suicide attacks on major U.S. cities."

USA Today, Car bomb was 'response to 'South Park'?, 3 May 2010 "The offices of Viacom, the parent company of South Park's Comedy Central network, may have been the target of the New York Times Square car bomb, reports have suggested."

Farhan Bokhari & Matthew Green, Pakistan Taliban leader threatens US, 3 May 2010 "The leader of Pakistan’s Taliban movement, who was reported to have been killed in a US drone strike, has appeared in a video threatening to launch suicide attacks in the US."