Friday, January 29, 2010

Digital Disruption

John Domokos and Haroon Siddique, Guardian, How young Muslims are fighting extremist propaganda, 29 Jan 2010

"The communities secretary, John Denham, has promised to make changes to the anti-extremism programme Prevent after Islamic groups accused it of stigmatising all Muslims as terrrorists and even spying on them. Haroon Siddique talks to participants on one of the schemes, the Digital Disruption project, about the value of what they are learning."

There's an interesting video attached to the above page.

Mohammed Atif Siddique

Guardian, Mohammed Atif Siddique terror conviction set to be quashed, 29 Jan 2010, "He was convicted of possessing and collecting items such as CDs and videos on weapons use, guerrilla tactics and bomb-making, as well as setting up websites with links to terrorist publications that showed how to use weapons and make bombs, distributing terrorist publications via links on a website, and causing a breach of the peace at Glasgow Metropolitan College by threatening to become a suicide bomber."

Ali Gomaa on phonetones

IslamOnline, Setting Qur'anic Verses as Ringtones: Permissible?, 28 Jan 2010

"Dr. Ali Jum`ah, the current grand mufti of Egypt, stated,

""Setting Qur'anic verses and the Adhan as mobile ringtones is legally impermissible, since Almighty Allah's words are sacred and should not be used in any way that drives them out of their Shari`ah framework.It is improper, and even immoral, to use the Glorious Qur'an instead of ringtones for mobile phones, since it has the sanctity and sublimity that exalt and elevate it above such a use. Almighty Allah says, (That [is the command]. And whoso magnifies the offerings consecrated to Allah, it surely is from devotion of the hearts) (Al-Hajj 22:32).""

Update on earlier reported opinion

iPad

الآي-باد يدعم قراءة اللغة العربية, iphoneislam.com

Article discussing the iPad, suggesting that the product will read Arabic, but the keyboard will (at least in early versions) not be usable for Arabic.

Not sure if I'll be rushing to the Apple store for one of these; think I'll see what happens with early versions, and wait for one with full Flash etc. unless anyone wants to offer me a sample to test drive. They may want to re-name it for the Arabic market...

Also see Guardian, Apple iPad: the first review, 27 Jan 2010

'Communications Capabilities Directorate'

Chris Williams, The Register, Home Office spawns new unit to expand internet surveillance, 28 Jan 2010, "The Home Office has created a new unit to oversee a massive increase in surveillance of the internet, The Register has learned, quashing suggestions the plans are on hold until after the election.

"The new Communications Capabilities Directorate (CCD) has been created as a structure to implement the £2bn Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), sources said."

Tip: Ubiwar

Twitter against censorship

John Gapper, FT, Twitter works on method to foil censors, 28 Jan 2010 "Twitter, the internet social network, is developing technology it hopes will prevent the Chinese and Iranian governments being able to censor its users.

"Evan Williams, the chief executive and co-founder of Twitter, which has been credited with helping anti-government protesters in Iran to organise resistance, said software developers were working on "interesting hacks" to stop any blocking by foreign governments."

COMEX

globalarabnetwork.com, Digital society in Oman - OITE, ICT experts gear up for COMEX 2010, 28 Jan 2010 "With the vision to build a digital society in Oman, organizers of COMEX – the country’s IT, telecom and technology event, OITE, and its COMEX Advisory Committee recently convened to discuss major decisions to boost the capacity and strength of the Sultanate’s largest ICT event."

Here's the exhibition's website

Digerati Indonesia

Vishnu Mahmud,CNET, Digerati Indonesia, Documenting the rise of Digital Indonesia,28 Jan 2010

"America is once again back in the limelight with many Indonesians. The US is still the best place in the world to start a business, has the best schools, and is one of the stronger economies globally with a free press. That said, the US embassy in Jakarta has a lot to do to help reengage potential students, business partners and immigrants who have previously looked to Canada or New Zealand.

"So how is it going to do the job? With the Internet's help, of course."

Q&A "goes viral"

insidevandy.com, Vanderbilt 'Muslims in the Military' event goes viral, 28 Jan 2010

"“Common Ground: Being Muslim in the Military,” an event designed to explore the involvement in Muslims in the military earlier this week, resulted in heated exchanges between a Muslim chaplain at Vanderbilt and the vice president of the national Youth for Western Civilization organization."

Not quite sure how 'viral' or 'heated' this is at present. Article links to video edit (obviously part of a wider Q&A).

Regulating 'the fatwa industry'

Rachelle Kliger, Jerusalem Post, Saudis to Regulate ‘Chaotic Fatwas’,28 Jan 2010 "“If the Saudi authorities regulate the fatwa industry, it will reduce the amount of extreme fatwas and it will send a positive message to those who are irresponsible and unaccountable with their fatwas,” Dr. Khalil Al-Khalil, a former Saudi member of parliament and an expert on Islamic trends, told The Media Line.

"“It will send them a message that they are not doing the right thing.”Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Bin Abd Al-Aziz Bin Baz told Al-Arabiyya that the issuance of fatwas, or religious scholarly opinions, in the Saudi kingdom had gotten out of hand to the extent there was a need to regulate and unify them.

"The Saudi authorities are mainly concerned about extreme fatwas that are being disseminated via mass-media forms such as the Internet and satellite television""

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The power of hip-hop

Independent, Listen up, Auschwitz survivor is hip-hop MC, 28 Jan 2010, "Esther Bejarano says music helped to keep her alive as a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz. Now, 65 years after the liberation of the Nazi death camp, she has teamed up with a German hip-hop band to get her anti-racism message to today's youth.

" ... About two years ago, Kutlu Yurtseven, a Turkish rapper from Microphone Mafia, asked her about a collaboration to combat the growing racism and anti-Semitism in Germany. The octogenarian thought hip-hop "was really a bit too loud" but saw it as a way to reach Germany's youth.

""We want to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive, but at the same time look into the future and encourage young people to take a stand against new Nazis," she said. "I know what racism can lead to and the members of Microphone Mafia are immigrants and have experienced their share of discrimination as well.""

Microphone Mafia

There's an Amazon.de link here to the album, which has samplers of the tracks.

A link to a TV programme: "PER LA VITA – Bejaranos + Microphone Mafia" (Dokumentarfilm, D 2010, 60 min [unfortunately no programme online]

Microphone Mafia MySpace

iMuslims listed

The American Library Journal has iMuslims in 7th place in the "bestsellers in religion" list

Social networking research

Dalia Yusuf, IslamOnline, Muslim-Christian Interactions on Facebook, Easing or Increasing Tensions? "Studying the Social Network Sites (SNSs) makes people resurface many questions about establishing and maintaining various networks. SNSs are web-based channels for different groups who share interests and activities." [brief reference to Virtually Islamic

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iMuslims Review

There's a review by Robert Rozehnal [Lehigh University] of iMuslims in the Winter 2010 edition of Middle East Journal [subscriber only]. "With its broad scope and accessible style, it is well suited for use in both undergraduate and graduate courses on Islam. The book also will appeal to a wide audience interested in media studies, the anthropology of religion, and the dynamism of the 21st century Muslim world."

Yahoo Arabic search

Gaith Saqer, arabcrunch.com, Yahoo! Launches Arabic Search via Maktoob "Yahoo Arabic search is run on Yahoo!’s own search engine not Microsoft’s bing. Yahoo Arabic search competes not just with Google’s Arabic search but with Jabbar Group’s Araby search engine, which used to be part of Maktoob Group!"

"On Osama to Obama"

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera, On Osama to Obama, 26 Jan 2010

"Osama bin Laden must be laughing his head off. As soon as he reportedly releases an audio tape of a poorly written note by him or one of his companions, droves of 'terrorologists', think-tankers, specialised linguists and war journalists jump in to analyse each and every phrase in the hope of finding something new.

"So many preoccupied by so little."

I enjoyed reading this, which relates to the following:

"The January episode of Empire (see airing times below) will be dedicated to exploring how al-Qaeda and the US 'war on terror' is viewed in the Muslim world and notably in Yemen which some reckon is the latest front in that expanding war."

This looks like an extremely interesting programme (haven't seen it yet, will set the recorder!): Empire can be seen from Wednesday, January 27, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0300, 1400; Friday: 0600.

There's also this interesting report on al-Jazeera from Inside Story, relating to aQ and Palestine:

See the report here:



[Tip: Views from the Occident]

Egypt

meedan.net, Egypt celebrates ‘Police Day,’ activist say stop targeting bloggers "Human rights advocates are calling Monday’s observation of Police Day in Egypt a mockery in light of the recent six-month sentence of blogger Wael Abbas who is known for exposing police brutality."

Yahoo big in Indonesia

arabcrunch.com, Opera: Yahoo! More Popular Than Google in Indonesia. "According to Opera’s State of the Mobile Web report, In Southeast Asia among mobile-Web users, Google is at the top of the rankings for numerous countries, with the very significant exception of Indonesia where Google is only at #6 and Yahoo! is at #2. The vast majority of Opera Mini users in Southeast Asia are in Indonesia.

"On the other hand, Facebook is now the most-visited social network on the mobile. Unique users of Facebook grew more than 600% during 2009, helping the site surpass VKontakte, formerly the most popular social network among Opera Mini users. Twitter saw its usage increase more than any other social network, surging more than 2800% in just one year."

see Opera, State of the Mobile Web, December 2009

'Top of the blogs'

kippreport.com, ArabCrunch Ranked in the Top 25 Blogs Worldwide, First in the Arab World, 24 Jan 2010

iWait

kippreport.com, Mideast awaits Apple’s iTablet – or perhaps iPad, or iSlate, 26 Jan 2010 "The Apple tablet is expected to have a 10in touchscreen, and internet connectivity over Wi-Fi and 3G. It is likely to resemble a large iPhone, but with some extra bells and whistles to wow consumers. It won’t have a keyboard, but is likely to play movies and music, and work as an eBook reader." It's not just the Middle East that is waiting for this one.

ICT in ME

globalarabnetwork.com, ICT market: the Middle East has the best growth potential in 2010, 24 Jan 2010 "Research covering the international information and communications technology (ICT) markets shows that the Middle East has the best growth potential in 2010. IDC MEA, the top market intelligence and advisory firm serving the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (MEA) territories, will gather 100 of the region's top ICT decision makers to discuss industry opportunities, trends and best practices at the upcoming IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2010 to be held from January 24 to 25, 2010 at the Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai." PR related

Back to short-wave???

Babak Shahrvandi, globalarabnetwork.com, Online organising - critical tool for advancing democracy in Iran, 27 Jan 2010 "Today, Iran needs a medium that is universally accessible and unequivocally beyond the reach of the ruling regime. Getting back to basics could be one solution. The most capable medium is still short-wave radio, a low-tech, universally accessible, and hard to jam medium that has often been used to overcome censorship. The experience of stations like Radio Free Europe during the 1980s and many other instances show that the Iranian people would benefit if the lessons of the past are heeded." Opinion piece.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Tackling online extremism... through Communicative action"

Felix Treguer, wiredpolis, Tackling online extremism... through Communicative action, 9 Jan 2010 "Politicians keen on implementing net filtering often hint at the idea that the Internet is a boon for extremist groups, who can use the network to communicate and organize. But Bruce Etling, from the Internet and Democracy blog, afiiliated to Harvard Berkamn’s center, explains that they need to look at the bigger picture." Brief ref to iMuslims. See Bruce Etling's article in full: Bruce Etling, Internet & Democracy Blog, www.jihad.com?, 16 Dec 2009

Monday, January 25, 2010

Matrimonial websites

muslimette.com, Single Sisters : Do you look for love online? blog discussion, that I happened upon when searching for something else...

Islamic apps

Saad Malik,hilalspark.com, 5 Must-Have Islamic Apps For The iPhone/iPod Touch, January 15, 2010

Taalam TV

ameinfo, Al Jazeera Children's Channel launches 'Taalam.TV' - the Arab World's first VOD educational portal, 23 Jan 2010 "Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development (QF), Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) launched "Taalam.TV"- the first Arabic Video On Demand (VOD) educational portal for schools and educators."

Social media

Emirates Business 24-7, Social media popularity growing in Arab World, 25 Jan 2010 "According to the report titled "Third Arab Media Outlook 2009-2013: Inspiring Local Content", 70 per cent of the people in the four markets researched using social networking websites in some capacity and about 15 per cent visiting these sites at least a day."

Abu Qatada

Views from the Occident, "Statement to the Muslims from Shaykh Abu Qatada al-Filistini", 20 Jan 2010 "A letter from imprisoned jihadi-Salafi scholar Abu Qatada al-Filistini [The Palestinian] was released on January 20. He is awaiting extradition from Great Britain, where he has lived in political asylum for years, to his native Jordan. He has has close ties to senior leaders in al-Qa'ida Central and is accused of being a member of the group's juridical council."

'Four Lions' film review.

Four Lions film website. Review: Jeremy Kay, Guardian, Chris Morris's Four Lions: a mixed dish that fails to satisfy, 25 Jan 2010 "Halfway through Four Lions, Chris Morris's dark comedy about a hapless British gang of wannabe suicide bombers plotting death and destruction in London, one of the antiheroes, surveying the aftermath of an unscheduled encounter between a co-conspirator and a flock of sheep, screeches, "Is he a martyr or is he a Jalfrezi?" It's one of the movie's great lines, and as it floated above the heads of a largely American audience unfamiliar with the nomenclature of Indian cuisine, the thought dawned that it asks a pertinent question of the movie itself."

I've yet to see this film, which has just previewed at Sundance. There are some clips on the official site and on YouTube.

Indonesia internet

New and noted:

Jennifer Yang Hui, The Internet in Indonesia: Development and Impact of Radical Websites, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 33, Issue 2 January 2010 , pages 171-191 [tip Jihadica]

Bin Laden recording

BBC News, 'Bin Laden tape' warns Obama of more attacks, 24 Jan 2010, "A tape said to be from al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has warned US President Barack Obama there will be more attacks if the US continues to support Israel.

"In the newly released audio tape aired on al-Jazeera, Bin Laden says the US will never live in peace until there is "peace in Palestine"."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

'El Islam en Internet: El concepto de ciberislam'

Arturo Guerrero-Fuente, webislam.com, El Islam en Internet: El concepto de ciberislam, 21 Jan 2010 "Las nuevas tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación se han convertido en una parte fundamental de nuestras vidas. Internet, la telefonía móvil y otras plataformas digitales son imprescindibles en muchos de los campos. Estos adelantos también han influido en el Islam y ya son muchos los autores que han realizado estudios sobre el Islam en Internet. Este artículo propone un acercamiento al concepto del ciberislam y analiza sus características en contraposición con el Islam cotidiano y actual."

English translation

Interesting overview.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Technology is not the problem, human relations are"

Heather Laird, alt.muslim Comment, Technology is not the problem, human relations are, 22 Jan 2010 "Ignorance is abound. The very few people who have been allowed to speak and given a voice in the mainstream media about Muslims and Islam do not know accurate information about it. They have been well-funded - certainly enough to drown-out all those who do. Their ideas of Islam and the sword are just far off the map. For those who know Islamic history know that Islam spread in times of peace at much greater rates than it ever did during the times of the sword. So this claim of the Muslims wanting to kill all these infidels is just really far off the mark. The real issue is one of human relations."

iMuslims Review

The Times Literary Supplement (22 Jan 2010) contains a review of iMuslims. It has yet to go online.

ICANN IDN ccTLD Fast Track String Evaluation

AP/Arab News, Saudi Arabia gets approval for Arabic Web address, 21 Jan 2010 "An announcement on Thursday by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, paves the way for an entire domain name to appear in Cyrillic or Arabic by the middle of this year. Applications for strings in other languages are pending."

Also see the more technical article (and eye-catching headline): ICANN, First IDN ccTLDs Requests Successfully Pass String Evaluation, 21 Jan 2010 "ICANN is pleased to announce the successful completion of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track String Evaluation for four (4) proposed IDN ccTLDs. The requests are associated with: Egypt, the Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia."

Comments on Hillary Clinton's speech

As one would expect, plenty of reaction to Clinton's speech:

Evgeny Morozov, Foreign Policy, Is Hillary Clinton launching a cyber Cold War? "The very thought that authoritarianism can survive in the age of information abundance scares the bejesus out of American policy-makers, so they simply prefer to skirt it. I doubt that such self-denial would pay off in the long run." Interesting commentary from Evgeny Morozov. Also links to the text of Clinton's speech: Foreign Policy, Internet Freedom, The prepared text of U.S. of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech, delivered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., 21 Jan 2010

Wall Street Journal, The Clinton Internet Doctrine: Kudos to the State Department's campaign to preserve and expand Internet freedom around the world, 21 Jan 2010.

Commentary: Muslim Brotherhood

Fawaz Gerges, Guardian, The Muslim Brotherhood: new leadership, old politics, 20 Jan 2010 "There is no better way to take the temperature of Arab politics than to examine the state of the Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful religiously-organised opposition movement in Egypt and the Arab world. With branches in several Arab and Muslim countries, the Brotherhood portrays itself as a more authentic, viable alternative to secular authoritarian rulers and religious extremists of the al-Qaida variety." Useful commentary

Thursday, January 21, 2010

'Vanquisher of the Peshmerga'

Views from the Occident, Islamic State of Iraq's Latest Video 'Vanquisher of the Peshmerga' "Continuing my use of the advantages of BlipTV for blogging, below is an embedded copy of the Islamic State of Iraq's (ISI) most recent video, "Vanquisher of the Peshmerga," which was produced by its media outlet, the Al-Furqan Media Foundation. The ISI is an umbrella for several of the most militantly radical transnational jihadi-Salafi groups operating in Iraq, chief among them al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq (AQI). "Peshmerga" is what Kurdish militias in Iraqi Kurdistan are collectively called."

One of several useful links on this blog and its affiliated sites.

Majid Tavakoli

Azarmehr, Eight and Half Years for Majid Tavakoli, 20 Jan 2010 "Majid Tavakoli, the popular Iranian student leader who was arrested on 7th December, Iran's National Student Day, has been sentenced to eight and half years imprisonment."

'Countering the Internet Jihad'

Peter Buxbaum, ISN, Countering the Internet Jihad, 21 Jan 2010 "As Saudis react to jihadists using the internet to recruit and coordinate, the West is at a standstill on the information superhighway, Peter A Buxbaum writes for ISN Security Watch."

Phone fatwa

Metro, Egyptian mobile users warned about ringtones, 21 Jan 2010 "Egypt’s supreme religious law authority has hit out at mobile users who adapt verses from the Koran as ringtones.

"Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa issued a fatwa, or a religious edict, saying they were violating the sanctity of the word of God."

Iran and the net

Press TV, US senators urge action on Iran Internet, 21 Jan 2010 "Five US Senators publically urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expedite aid flow to fight Internet restrictions in Iran, amid accusations that Washington interferes in Iran's internal affairs."

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Marc Lynch, foreignpolicy.com, The Qaradawi Index, 21 Jan 2010 "Yusuf al-Qaradawi is in the news these days, denounced on a daily basis on Saudi, Palestinian and Egyptian op-ed pages, forums and TV over his stances on Gaza, on Hamas and Abu Mazen, on Yemen, and more. Following those controversies is an excellent window into what divides and arouses passion in Arab politics today. Hate him or love him, the man has a keen sense of Arab opinion -- whether he's following or leading it -- and has a proven track record of driving the debate. The fury of his adversaries on the other side of the so-called "new Arab cold war" is a pretty direct function of the fact that his opinions, aired on al-Jazeera and spread through multiple online and real-world networks, matter."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review: iMuslims

Arturo Guerrero Enterría, Reseña. Gary R. Bunt: iMuslim, Rewiring the house of Islam, Revista de Estudios Internacionales Mediterráneos, Número 8 (junio-diciembre de 2009)‎ "Internet se ha convertido en uno de los medios de comunicación más importantes de nuestros tiempos. En el breve plazo de veinte años ha ocupado gran parte del espectro de las comunicaciones y para muchos es difícil plantearse el día a día sin este medio vinculado a las nuevas tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación (NTIC). Esto ha aumentado el interés y la relevancia en el impacto de las nuevas tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación en todos los campos incluyendo el campo religioso. Es por ello que cada vez aparecen más publicaciones que relacionan al Islam con las nuevas tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación. A nivel internacional destacan en la investigación de este tema varios autores como Vit Sisler, Dale F. Eickelmann o como en este caso Gary Bunt, Profesor de la Universidad de Gales. Este investigador, es uno de los pioneros en el estudio del Islam en Internet. Las primeras investigaciones de este autor sobre el impacto de Internet en el Islam ya tienen más de una década y se publicaron bajo el título de “Virtually Islamic”, que da también nombre a su actual página web virtuallyislamic.com. Posteriormente actualizó el contenido de esta obra con su siguiente libro “Islam in the Digital Age” para llegar a integrar los nuevos avances que se han sucedido a su última obra “i Muslims; Rewiring the House of Islam”."

English translation [via Babelfish]

al-Awlaki

Murad Batal Al-shishani, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 2, The Radical Source for Non-Arabic Speaking Muslims: Anwar al-Awlaki, 14 Jan 2010 "After his release, al-Awlaki translated and summarized the works of Yusuf al-Ayiri, an al-Qaeda ideologist who was killed in a security operation in northern Saudi Arabia in 2003 (muslim.net, Jan 15, 2009; Asharq al-Awsat, April 30, 2007). He then went on to write the guide 44 Ways to Support Jihad, in which he says, "Jihad today is obligatory on every capable Muslim. So as a Muslim who wants to please Allah it is your duty to find ways to practice it and support it." The 44 ways of supporting jihad include giving the mujahideen money, praying for them, preserving their secrets, sponsoring their families, providing moral encouragement and urging others to join the jihad.

"In the same book, al-Awlaki encourages followers to be "Internet mujahideen" by, among other things, "setting up websites to cover specific areas of jihad, such as: mujahideen news, Muslim POWs and jihad literature.""

This is a useful overview. I refer to al-Ayiri in my work.

Also see: AP/Fox, Yemen Tribe Protecting American-Yemeni Islamic Cleric, 19 Jan 2010, "Anwar al-Awlaki's run from authorities is the culmination of what U.S. and Yemeni officials say is the charismatic cleric's slide toward terrorists.

"They say al-Awlaki, who once preached in mosques in California and northern Virginia and posted fiery English-language Internet sermons urging Muslims to fight in jihad, is now an active participant in Al Qaeda's offshoot in his turbulent ancestral homeland."

Kngine


Mohamed Marwen Meddah, startuparabia.com, Kngine, A New Semantic Web Search Engine, 18 Jan 2010 "Kngine is a new semantic web search engine and question answering engine that was launched from Egypt, aiming to provide more meaningful search results to users."

This looks quite useful, albeit in a competitive market place.

عرب .arab

Mohamed Marwen Meddah, startuparabia.com, Arab World Is A Step Closer To .Arab Domain Names, 16 Jan 2010, "The recent Arab Top Level Domain Names Steering Committee Meetings held in Damascus, Syria, saw the appointment of Mr. Ahmed Al Doseri, the representative of Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) as president of the Committee that comprises representatives from the Kingdom of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

"This Committee is tasked by the League of Arab States with the direct supervision and follow-up on the League’s application for the domains (.arab) and the equivalent in Arabic (.عرب)."

It will be interesting to observe how this plays out, especially as there will be a rush to obtain specific domains.

Diwanee

arabcrunch.com, And A New Group Joins The Online Media Scene in Arabia: Q&A with Hervé Cuviliez, 19 Jan 2010, "Diwanee Group in the words of its founders: “is a group of various companies dedicated to digital business”. It has come and brought with them, as they like to put it, all of their “Savoir Faire” appropriately expressing their sense of timing to start developing online projects in the region."

Arabic apps

Khaled Rambles, Top Arabic Web Apps for '09 "Make sure to check this list of Arabic web sites, I mean apps, strange, in Arabic it’s مواقع = websites but it’s web apps = تطبيقات الويب."

Interesting list.

Hacking: China

AP/ajc.com, China's Baidu sues US company over hacking, 20 Jan 2010 "China's most popular search engine, Baidu Inc., is accusing its U.S.-based domain name registry of negligence in a lawsuit over a hacking attack that temporarily blocked access to the site last week."

Hacking: 'CW Komando'

Beacon Journal, Hackers deface Ronald McDonald House site, 19 Jan 2010 "The Web site for the Ronald McDonald House in Akron normally features a photograph of this refuge for the families of sick children, with the title, ''The house that love built.''

"On Monday evening, the site was replaced by pictures of soldiers marching with missile launchers on their shoulders and pro-Palestinian messages, including ''Death to Israel.''"

Also see thejewishweek.com, Pro-Palestinian Hackers Wreaking New Havoc, 19 Jan 2010 "The hacker of the Dix Hills Jewish Center Web site claimed to be named CW Komando. A person with that Facebook account lives in Turkey. A Palestinian and Turkish flag were both posted on the hacker’s Web page, acting as bookends for pictures of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Sheik Ahmed Yasin, the founder of Hamas who served as its spiritual leader until his assassination by an Israeli helicopter gunship in 2004."

Al Arab: Mona Eltahawy on iMuslims

لقد رأيتم صورهم: نيجيري متهم بمحاولة تفجير طائرة (أميركية) في أعياد الميلاد؛ وخمسة شبان أميركيين مسلمين محتجزين في باكستان يبحثون جاهدين عن الجهاد


منى الطحاوي ,مسلمون؟ العرب 2010-1-12

Mona Eltahawy's piece relating to iMuslims also featured in Al Arab on 12 Jan 2010. See above link for details

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'Divorce Jihadi Style'

Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, Divorce, Jihadi Style, 13 Jan 2010 "At a more philosophical level, the bomber's wife put herself right in the middle of a raging debate among Muslim women. A few weeks ago the spouse of Al Qaeda's Ayman Zawahiri published a letter "To the Muslim Sisters" encouraging them to support violent jihad any way they could. There's not much question that Bayrak is one of those sisters. But there are also a great many Muslim women and organizations like those that have signed onto the manifesto called "Jihad Against Violence" issued last summer by the WISE Muslim Women's Shura Council. Dense with references to the Quran, it argues that violent extremism and domestic violence in Muslim households are all part of the same tendency to pervert the Prophet's teachings and read the words of Allah out of context. I'd like to hear Bayrak explain herself to those sisters."

I haven't reproduced the embedded links in the above quote (check the original).

See Wise Muslim Women, and also the Jihad against Violence digest [PDF]

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review: iMuslims

Mohammed el-Nawawy reviewed iMuslims in the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 26:4, 118-121. This review isn't available online, so here's a quote:

"Overall, iMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam is an interesting, easy to-digest book that is a must-read for basic and advanced courses in religious studies, digital media, and international communication. It can also be a useful guide for those interested in learning more about the fascinating world of online Islam."

Islam and the Media conference postscript(s)

Stewart Hoover's Blog, Islam and the Media, 14 Jan 2010 "This morning, NPR’s Morning Edition ran a story about online Jihadism. Ordinarily this would not have been notable, but I found it personally ironic, given that we just concluded a conference titled “Islam and the Media” here in Boulder this past weekend. It featured 104 papers from scholars across a wide range of disciplines and keynote presentations from global experts on things ranging from digital Islam to Muslim popular culture to news framing to emerging Muslim voices in the media sphere. Over 140 people attended from five continents and 21 countries. NPR new about it. So did CNN, BBC, and our local media here in the metro area. Did any of them come? No."

Also see Nabil Echchaibi, Stop Asking Where Moderate Muslims Are?, 15 Jan 2010 "It became ever clearer to me after our conference on Islam and the Media that journalists do not work hard to seek out alternative Muslim voices to counteract the extremism of radical Islam."

Taliban magazine

Views from the Occident, Afghan Taliban Photography Magazine, "In Fight" No. 12, December 2009 Issue "The December 2009 issue the Afghan Taliban photography magazine In Fight, which reproduces photographs of the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan between the United States, NATO, and an ever-expanding Pashtun insurgency, led by the Taliban and several other groups, particularly those headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani." [also links to back issues]

Twitter app


Ahmad Fahad, MuTweeps: What Queen Rania and Arianna Huffington Have In Common On Twitter?, 17 Jan 2010,
"What Queen Rania of Jordan and Arianna Huffington Co-Founder of the most popular blog in the world Huffington Post or any other 2 users have in Common on Twitter?

"MuTweeps, a service we think has potential to grow and become a very handy tool for all twitter users out there, can provide some of the answers."

Mutweeps has been created by a Syrian. I haven't tested it out yet...

Jordanian censorship

arabcrunch.com, A Tweet, Facebook, a Blog Comment Or Even an “SMS” Can Get You To Prison in Jordan!, 14 Jan 2010 "Yesterday, Jordan’s high appeal court has decided to extend the reach of Jordan’s print and publications law to any electronic medium . The court’s decision, issued last week but published yesterday only today, empowers authorities to prosecute or impose fines on any electronic medium of Publishing from SMS to the Internet user from Twitter user, to facebook, to journalists, bloggers and editors for publishing online material that the law finds wrong."

Amr Khaled

meedan, Amr Khaled's "Mujadidoun": Islamic Reality TV? , 18 Jan 2010 "According to Al-Risala Saudi newspaper, Khaled asserted that there would be no mixing of sexes on the programme. He added saying that there would be two teams; one for young men and the other for young women, each doing their work separately."

Manarat o/s

Sabily, Manarat: the code name of Sabily 10.0428 Muharram 1431, "Sabily team is proud to announce the code name of Sabily 10.04: Manarat"

Research on 'Islamogaming'

When Religion Meets New Media, Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God, 11 Jan 2010 links to review of Craig Detweiler, editor, Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games With God - which has a chapter on 'Islamogaming' by Heidi Campbell (which I haven't read yet). Scribd book introduction here

Saudi Arabia: CITC

Iman al Khaddaf, Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia: 300,000 Requests to Block Websites Annually, 15 Jan 2010 " There are between 700 and 1000 requests from internet users to block websites in Saudi Arabia per day, a source at the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) told Asharq Al-Awsat. An average of 850 requests per day means that there are 300,000 requests annually. The same source confirmed that over 93 percent of blocked websites are pornographic.

"Sultan al Malik, Public Relations and International Affairs Manager at the CITC stated that there are approximately 200 requests per day to unblock websites, meaning that for every four requests to block a certain website there is only one request to unblock websites.

"“The CITC happily looks into every request it receives from the public (whether it is to block or unblock a site) in no longer than 48 hours before making the appropriate decision that is in line with applied regulations,” explained al Malik." [tip: al-bab.com, Saudi internet censorship]

Egyptian bloggers detained (and then released)

Egyptian Chronicles, Egyptian Bloggers Detained in Naj Hammadi "Updated", 16 Jan 2010 "A group of Egyptian bloggers has been detained in Naj Hammadi by the security forces earlier this morning." Updated info

Mona Eltahawy, Time.com, iMuslims Online Encourage Debate, Not Hate



Contains reference to iMuslims

Jewish Chronicle hacked

3news, Muslim hackers take down Jewish newspaper website, 18 Jan 2010 "The website of Britain's flagship Jewish newspaper has been attacked by Turkish-speaking hackers, its editor said Monday."

Xinjiang gets (limited) texts back

CIO, China Restores Text Messaging in Cut-Off Muslim Region, 18 Jan 2010 "China has restored mobile text message services in a Western province where they were suspended for months following unrest. Limited Internet access is also returning to the region."

Poland

masterpage.com.pl, Polish Disc Jockey Threatened By Islamic Fundamentalists, 17 Jan 2010 "Fundamentalists reacted to the piece, placed on an internet music store website, because it included backing music of an Islamic prayer."

"Wanted" poster

Daily Mirror, FBI withdraw Osama 'wanted' photo... as it's really a Spanish MP, 17 Jan 2010 "The "wanted" image of the al-Qaeda leader as he might look now without his trademark long beard and turban was posted on the internet by the FBI."

Yemen

BBC News, Yemen treads fine line against al-Qaeda, 14 Jan 2010, " ... the minister for religion, Hamoud al-Hitar, denied that Yemen was tolerating radical religious "scientific schools", as madrassas are called here.

""They have no schools before our very eyes, nor do they have mosques to teach in. Al-Qaeda lessons are delivered on the internet but not through schools or mosques," he told me."

Iran: SMS email 'warnings'

AFP, Iran police warn against SMS, email protest calls, 15 Jan 2010 "Iran's police chief has warned opposition supporters against using text and email messages to organise rallies, ISNA news agency said Friday, amid reports new demonstrations are being planned."

al-Awlaki

The Observer, UK Muslim TV channel linked to al-Qaida cleric al-Awlaki, 10 Jan 2010, "Haras Rafiq of Centri, a counter-extremism consultancy, said Awlaki's online influence over young radicals was becoming a serious concern. "The internet has by far overtaken TV as the favourite pastime of youngsters in countries such as the UK and the ability for people to download Awlaki's sermons is helping to provide radicalisation on demand," Rafiq said."

Baidu Hacked

AFP, Pro-Iran hackers hit China's top search engine, 12 Jan 2010 "China's top search engine Baidu was hacked on Tuesday in what state media said was an attack by a pro-Iranian government group that replaced the usual home page with an Iranian flag."

'Beware Internet use'

AFP, 'Beware Internet use', Malaysia warns, 17 Jan 2010"The Malaysian government has warned against excessive use of micro-blogging sites like Facebook and Twitter, arguing that they could erode the country's culture, a report said Sunday."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Abu Dujana

Jarret Brachman, Abu Dujana now for Kindle??, 10 Jan 2010 " ... one of the new compilations released of Abu Dujana’s writings (this one tops out at 45 essays) now has them in .DOC, .PDF, .DJVU, .EPUB and yes, .MOBI for Kindle. Talk about finding ways to make this material accessible!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ongoing research

Joseph Roberts presented research at the Islam & the Media conference on 'Islamic Social Movements in the Blogosphere'. He has produced a book, 'How the Internet Is Changing the Practice of Politics in the Middle East: Political Protest, New Social Movements, and Electronic Samizdat' (Mellen Press), which I plan to read in due course.

It's encouraging to encounter all this ongoing research on Islam and the internet, in particular those introducing fieldwork, and focusing on specific sites/sectors in detail. I've also met several other people at this conference working on aspects of Islam and the net, which I plan to track on this blog once there are outputs I can link to.

Conference Twitter feed

Islam and the Media conference


Listened to Zarqa Nawaz, talking about her series 'Little Mosque on the Prairie' (previously blogged). Series 5 of the series is in development. It's been shown in many countries, although hasn't reached the UK. I'm seeking out the DVDs - hope they work in the UK. In the meantime, episodes can be viewed on YouTube, where apparently take-up has been substantial (hence its inclusion here). There is also a specific site Watch Little Mosque on the Prairie Online which has all the episodes available.

Conference: Islam and the Media

Gave my paper at the Islam and the Media conference [#imc]. Some very interesting presentations, including Naif Al-Mutawa talking about The 99, where he mentioned a future collaboration with DC comics.




I finally got to see New Muslim Cool, and it was worth the wait. There are some clips on YouTube, and I hope it gets a UK release on DVD. It's a great film, with some insights into Muslim life in the US (+ some good music). The central characters are very engaging.


I've enjoyed several other papers which relate directly to the content of this blog, including Mona Eltahawy's talk on 'MySpace, Herspace: How the Daughters of Generation Facebook use New Media'. This is worth catching, as it was filmed for inclusion on the conference website. I'll post details when available. Charles Hirschkind talked about the 'YouTube khutba', and brought in some significant examples (some familiar) and analysis.

It was particularly interesting to hear Mohammed el-Nawawy talking about his work (with Sahar Khamis), which features in the Islam dot com book. I have this on my future reading list, and it is well worth seeking out (although it is expensive!).

Updates to follow.

al-Balawi


aljazeera.net, CIA attack 'revenge for Mehsud', 9 Jan 09, "In a video released to Al Jazeera on Saturday, Hammam Khalil al-Balawi is shown shooting a gun as he describes how the attack would target US and Jordanian intelligence agents."

CBS News, CIA Bomber in Video With Taliban Leader, 9 Jan 09

CBS News, Brother: CIA Bomber Under "Huge Pressures", 7 Jan 09

Jarret Brachman, The Al-Balawi Martyrdom Tape Hits Al-Jazeera (with Haikimullah Mehsud) [to see copy of al-Jazeera report]

The full clip can be found on YouTube

al-Awlaki TV link allegation

Observer, UK Muslim TV channel linked to al-Qaida cleric al-Awlaki, 10 Jan 09 "A London-based satellite broadcaster that describes itself as "the voice of authority for Muslims in the UK" has been accused of giving a platform to Anwar al-Awlaki, the extremist cleric with alleged links to al-Qaida and to the man charged with trying to blow up a transatlantic jet on Christmas Day."

Google "Islam" debate

Fox News, What's Islam? Don't Ask Google, 7 Jan 09 "Google's search engine returns common results to most queries as you type. But the "don't be evil" company appears to be censoring its results when it comes to Islam."

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Iran: censorship

terra.net.lb, Iran posts banned websites list in cyber crackdown: report, 8 Jan 2010 "The Iranian judicial authorities have published a long list of banned Internet websites in a new crackdown on online networks, including those deemed immoral, the press reported on Thursday."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Google 'censorship'(?)

Ryan Singel, Wired, Is Google Censoring Islam Suggestions?, 7 Jan 2010 "Confused about what is Islam is? Join the party, since it seems Google can’t figure it out either. Or at least its search suggestion program can’t..."

Bahrain, Tunisia - Twitter 'filtered'

ONI, Bahrain, Tunisia Filtering Individual Twitter Pages, 4 Jan 2010 "Over the past few weeks, reports have trickled in to Herdict and via Twitter, alerting us of the filtering of individual Twitter pages in Tunisia and Bahrain (as well as, possibly, China). In Tunisia, the accounts of exiled activist Sami Ben Gharbia (@ifikra), engineer @Ma7moud, and popular independent news source Nawaat (@nawaat) have been confirmed inaccessible, while in Bahrain @FreeBahrain was allegedly blocked on New Year's Day, but has since become accessible."

Malaysia: use of the word 'Allah' on the web

Bernama, Advice To Blogs On Issue Over Use Of Word "Allah" By Herald, 5 Jan 2010 "Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Maj Gen (Rtd) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom on Tuesday urged Internet websites and blogs to refrain from carrying anything negative on the issue of the use of the word "Allah" by the Catholic weekly magazine, Herald."

John Esposito op-ed

Middle East Online, How to Fight Rather than Feed the Beast, 7 Jan 2010

"Many recent terrorism cases have not resulted from a top down process of recruitment and radicalization initiated by al-Qaeda and its affiliates or radical preachers but rather from a bottom up dynamic. Today, individuals initiate. They become alienated and radicalized due to their own experiences and perceptions. They are profoundly affected and changed by what they see as endless oppression, corruption and injustice, notes John L. Esposito."

Iran and the net

AFP, Iran posts banned websites list in cyber crackdown: report, 7 Jan 2010 "The Iranian judicial authorities have published a long list of banned Internet websites in a new crackdown on online networks, including those deemed immoral, the press reported on Thursday."

Martin Fletcher, Times Online, Neda Soltan’s grave defaced as Iran issues new internet restrictions, 8 Jan 2010

Islam and the Media conference

Currently in Colorado at the Islam and the Media conference. Here's its hashtag: #imc

Social media

Mona Eltahawy, Metro Canada, Social media gives rise to the new iMuslims, 4 Jan 2010 "Yes, violent radical groups such as al-Qaida and others have used the Internet to their advantage. That is not new.

"But what is new is how young Muslims around the world have been using the Internet to challenge authority. Their exciting work is overshadowed by news of angry, young Muslims online." Includes a reference to my book iMuslims

Monday, January 04, 2010

Islam4UK march

Ian Drury and Andy Dolan, Daily Mail, Choudary compares British troops to Nazi stormtroopers as 190,000 sign Facebook bid to stop his Islamic extremist march, 4 Jan 2010

"As more than 190,000 people signed an internet petition objecting to the march, Anjem Choudary said he had chosen to protest in the town - renowned for honouring soldiers killed in Afghanistan - because it would attract 'maximum attention'."

Also see Telegraph, What is Islam4UK?, 4 Jan 2010


Related links:

Facebook, No to the Planned Islam4UK March through Wootton Bassett

Islam4UK

Op-ed on Umar Faruk Abdul Mutallab

Mark LeVine, aljazeera.net, The $30bn pair of underpants, 4 Jan 2010 "Think about it. One angry young man with about three ounces (around 80 grams) of explosive material, $2,000, and a pair of specially tailored underwear has completely disrupted the US aviation system.

"It does not even matter that he failed to blow up the plane."

"Jihad for Dummies"

Jarret Brachman, “Jihad For Dummies”: Shaykh Abdullah al-Faisal, 3 Jan 2010

"Over the past few weeks, in the aftermath of the Anwar al-Awlaki’s rise to mainstream media prominence, I’ve been asked by several journalists to identify and discuss the role of the influential ‘online celebrity shaykhs.’ At the top of my list of Western jihadist clerics has been a guy known as Shaykh Abdullah al-Faisal. Well, turns out, he’s not just at the top of my list."

Tehran perspective

Tehran Times Political Desk, Enemy has launched internet war against Iran: official, 3 Jan 2010 "Davoud Ahmadinejad, the Passive Defense Committee secretary, said the enemy has targeted Iranians’ interests by taking advantage of the World Wide Web with the intention of weakening national unity.

"He made the remarks on Saturday during the second Passive Defense Conference held in Science and Technology University in Tehran."

Iran and the net

Ron Callari, inventorspot.com, The Iranian Blogosphere Through The Looking Glass, 2 Jan 2010 "Compared to other countries in the Middle East, the Iranian people have a high level of political maturity and an organized popular movement for democratic socio-political change. So why do Iranians continue to revolt on the blogosphere and the streets of Tehran?" Overview.

Algeria censorship

Helmi Noman, ONI, Algeria joins the Internet censors club, 2 Jan 10 "Algeria joins an increasingly expanding list of government Internet censors in the Middle East and North Africa. ONI's in-country tests conducted January 1, 2010 verified that access to the the Web site of the Algerian political movement Rachad (www.rachad.org) has been banned in Algeria. Access to the movement's Internet TV channel (tv.rachad.org) and discussion forum (forum.rachad.org) were also found to be inaccessible."

Twitter Palestine/Gaza

Gaith Saqer, Arab Crunch, “End the Illegal Siege of Gaza” Succeeds: #Gaza A Trending Topic On Twitter, 27 Dec 09 "Today, International activists from all over the world organized a mass social online and off line campaign to “mark the fact that is has been one year since the Israeli attack.” Most notable collation managing the effort is the “international Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza” which called for “mobilizing an international contingent for a nonviolent march alongside the people of Gaza on Dec. 31, to end the illegal blockade.”"

Yemen op-ed

Brian Whitaker, Help Yemen, not its government, 4 Jan 10

"Yemen needs aid, but propping up its ailing regime will only perpetuate its problems."

Cartoonist attacked

AFP, Somali charged with attempt to kill Danish cartoonist, 2 Jan 10 "Danish police on Saturday charged a Somali man with the attempted murder of a cartoonist whose caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed sparked riots and protests around the world.

"The axe-wielding 28-year-old broke into Kurt Westergaard's home late Friday, screaming for "revenge" and "blood." The cartoonist hid in a panic room with a five-year-old granddaughter and called the police." Refers to websites/internet

Counselling 'advice'

Elise Stolte, Edmonton Journal/Canwest News Service, Gay Muslim scholar shunned by own community, 3 Jan 10 "Muslim Junaid Bin Jahangir realized he was gay while a student at the University of Alberta. He decided to throw his energies into educating the Islamic community about the topic ...

" ... He went to see a local Imam and told him his fears. "‘You're effeminate,' " the Imam told him. "‘I want you to go to the gym and keep a diary.'"

"Mr. Jahangir discarded the advice. "I said this is no solution."

"He sought help from an Islamic counsellor on the Internet. "All she said was, ‘You seem like a good person. I'll pray for you.'"

Anwar al-Awlaki

Telegraph, Detroit bomber's mentor continues to influence British mosques and universities, 2 Jan 10

"Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical cleric accused of inspiring the Detroit plane bomber, has been permitted to speak at a series of British mosques and universities, a Sunday Telegraph investigation has discovered."

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Telegraph, Revealed: the true extent of Islamic radical influence at UCL, 3 Jan 10 "The Sunday Telegraph can disclose new details of radical Muslim speakers who have been invited to events organised by University College London's Islamic society, the organisation headed by Abdulmutallab when he was an undergraduate at the institution in 2006-07."

Conference: Islam and the Media

I am participating in a conference on Islam and the Media 7-10 Jan 2010 at the University of Boulder-Colorado, USA. Details: Center for Media, Religion and Culture: Islam and the Media

Getting lost in the virtual world

Rahla Khan, Saudi Gazette, Getting lost in the virtual world, 4 Jan 10 Discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of the internet, from a Muslim perspective (including a brief reference to some of my work).

Abu Yahya al-Libi

Views from the Occident, Abu Yahya al-Libi: 'Eid al-Adha 1430 Sermon

Useful material, pointing to video sources. The post also points to Occident2, which contains articles and primary source material.