Friday, April 30, 2010

Al-Fatiha organisation

Profile of al-Fatiha's Faisal Alam and overview of related issues and opinions:

Angela Case, The Maneater, Presentation on LGBT Muslims sparks debate, 28 Apr 2010 "Alam said he founded Al-Fatiha when he was a student at Northeastern University in Boston. After coming out to family and friends, he had trouble reconciling his homosexual identity with his identity as a Muslim. Alam began looking on the Internet for resources for LGBT Muslims. Finding none, he started a listserv for LGBT Muslims and promoted it on the listservs of Muslim student organizations worldwide. The listserv grew into what is now the Al-Fatiha organization."

'Cyber infidelity in Egypt’s virtual world'

Ingrid Wassmann, Cyber infidelity in Egypt’s virtual world, Arab Media & Society, Issue 10, Spring 2010 "The popularity of the Internet and other digital technologies is on the rise in Egypt, causing some critics to question whether the digital revolution will lead to a sexual revolution in the traditionally conservative Egyptian society.

"Ghada Lotfi, a training consultant at The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, is convinced that there is indeed a connection between the use of cyber technology, infidelity and the rate of divorce in Egypt. “Of course, of course, they are all related,” said Lofti, pointing out though that there are still no official statistics to support this correlation. “We receive many complaints from women who want a divorce because their husbands are meeting other women in chat rooms and cheating on their wives.”"

Very useful article in a controversial area

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bruce Lawrence Online

Office of News & Communications, Duke University, Interactive Webcast on Teaching Islam April 30

"Insights on teaching Islam over the past four decades are the focus of the next “Office Hours” webcast conversation Friday, April 30. Religion professor Bruce Lawrence will take questions from online viewers during the interview beginning at noon on Duke’s Ustream channel.

"To ask Lawrence a question in advance or during the session, send an email to live@duke.edu, tweet with the tag #dukelive or post to the Duke University Facebook page.

"Watch live Friday, April 23, beginning at noon EDT on Duke's Ustream channel"

This is an open 'office session' - sounds like a good idea. It would be something other academics might consider.  Note: Bruce Lawrence is series editor (with Carl Ernst) of the Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks series, of which my own 'iMuslims' volume is a part.

Muslim Green Guide

Juan Cole pointed to



Amr Khaled Interview: Muslim Green Guide See the Muslim Green Guide (pdf) more more information.

Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen

Views from the Occident, Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen in Somalia: April 27 Kamikaze Attack on African Union "Revenge" for "Martyrdom" of Islamic State of Iraq Leaders, 28 Apr 2010

"The Somalia jihadi-insurgent group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (Movement of Warrior-Youth; Al-Shabaab) claimed responsibility for the April 27 "martyrdom" (kamikaze) operation against an African Union (AU) military base in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital city, in the state of Banadir. The group described the AU contingent as "Crusader forces and said that the attack was carried out by the "martyrs' battalion". It also claimed that fifteen "Crusaders" had been killed, though Al-Jazeera English reports that the fourteen dead were civilians, according to witnesses."

Also see an associated post on Iraq: Informed Comment, Anzalone: The Death of a Caliph "In a guest opinion piece for Informed Comment, Christopher Anzalone asks if the Reported Killings of the Islamic State of Iraq’s two senior Leaders spell the end of the Self-styled Jihadi State."

Cyberwar programme

Tim Stevens, ubiwar, Al Jazeera on Cyberwar, 27 Apr 2010 points to and recommends Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines edition on cyberwar:

Hamas

Arutz Sheva, Hamas Accuses Israel of Blackmail by Internet, 28 Apr 2010 "Hamas has accused Israeli intelligence agents of using the telephone and Internet to blackmail Gaza Arabs into cooperating with Israeli efforts to infiltrate the Hamas terrorist network."

Afghanistan net crackdown

Matthew Green, FT.com, Afghanistan to launch internet crackdown, 28 Apr 2010 "Afghanistan’s government is introducing new rules to ban internet users from accessing sites promoting pornography, alcohol and gambling or other activities that conflict with the country’s Islamic culture, a senior official said on Wednesday."

Anwar al-Awlaki

Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, US-born cleric Awlaki 'proud' to have taught al Qaeda operatives, 27 Apr 2010 "Anwar al Awlaki, an American citizen who is based in Yemen and serves as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's mufti, said he was "proud" to have trained Major Nidal Hasan, the US Army doctor who murdered 13 soldiers at a deployment center at Fort Hood, Texas, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who failed to detonate a bomb on an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day."

The screenshot of al-Awlaki has the www.alwasatiyyah.com address; the site itself is still up, with limited open content.

South Park v. Revolutionmuslim.com IV

ITP/Right Side News, CAIR's Irresponsible Dismissal of the "South Park" Threat, 28 Apr 2010 opinion piece, with some useful threads

al-Shabaab

Jane Ferguson, CNN, Violent extremists calling fighters to Somalia, 27 Apr 2010 "In Somalia's enduring chaos, militant groups have for years come and gone. Today's most powerful -- Al Shabaab -- are much more menacing, say those in Mogadishu."

'Taliban flogging video'

Alex Rodriguez, LA Times, 'Taliban flogging video may show different girl, but message is the same: The Taliban did beat Chand Bibi publicly, and whether or not her ordeal was the one shown in a notorious video, the footage awakened Pakistan to the extent of the militant group’s reach', 29 Apr 2010.

"That video, made famous in the age of YouTube and cellphone downloads, stunned the country and gave the world a disturbing view of the plight of Pakistanis trapped in Taliban-controlled regions such as the Swat Valley.

"Did the video show another flogging, or was it even staged? And if so, does it matter?"

Dua Khalil Aswad

Patrick Cockburn, Independent, The death sentence that drags Dua back into a bloody feud, 28 Apr 2010

"The Iraqi government's decision to reassert its authority by executing the men who stoned to death Dua Khalil Aswad threatens more sectarian bloodshed...

" ... Dua was accused of converting to Islam so she could marry the Sunni Muslim man she was in love with; the killing took place in public, in the town of Bashika, and a large crowd watched her die.

"But one thing marked Dua's death out: as she struggled against her tormentors, several members of the crowd took footage of the violence on mobile phones. The killing is the only one to have been filmed, and the circulation of a video online prompted a new rise in tensions between the Yazidis and Muslims in northern Iraq."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Conference announcement: 'Terrorism and New Media'

Extracted from conference announcement:

Terrorism and New Media

Dublin City University, Ireland, 8 - 9 September 2010


PROGRAMME

This is the first academic conference to subject the relationship between terrorism and new media, particularly the Internet, to truly multi-disciplinary scrutiny. The one-day conference (Wednesday, 8 September) will feature a series of panels and a number of plenary addresses. The conference will be followed on Thursday, 9 September by a workshop devoted to the robust debate and analysis of currently ‘hot’ topics in the realm of terrorism and the Internet, particularly the question of the role of the Internet in processes of radicalisation.

CALL FOR PAPERS

We welcome papers or panels reporting on innovative research into any aspect of terrorism and new media. We particularly welcome papers or panels that report novel results or describe and employ innovative methodological approaches.
Papers or panels on the following topics will be of particular interest:

• Online radicalisation
• The Internet and recruitment
• Old terrorism and new media
• Methodologies for terrorism-related Internet research • Terrorism informatics • Network analysis and online terrorist activity • New Internet tools/platforms and radicalisation/terrorism (for example, online gaming, video-sharing, photo-sharing, social networking, micro-blogging, online payment mechanisms, etc.) • Cyberterrorism • Violent Islamism and the Internet • The content and functioning of jihadi Internet forums • Jihadi video producers and content • Children/youth, terrorism, and new media • Women/gender, terrorism, and new media • Case studies of particular groups’ use of new media (e.g. al-Qaeda, FARC, Hamas, Hizbollah, dissident Irish Republicans, etc.) • Policy/legislative responses to terrorists’ online presence • Critical responses to research on, reporting of, and governmental responses to the conjunction of terrorism and the Internet • Ethical issues surrounding online terrorism-related research

Details: Terrorism and New Media: Building a Research Network

France arrests

AHN, Five Extremists Arrested In France For Internet Jihad Posts, 27 Apr 2010

Marawi City, Philippines and the net

Louise G. Dumas, Business World Online, Long way to go to perk up reading in only Islamic city, 27 Apr 2010 ""If before, the problem was the literacy of the Maranaos since many can only read in Arabic, now digital forms of media have taken the attention of the younger generation. They update themselves through text messages, through the Internet, and other digital devices," she said.

"Aside from the use of electronic devices, the people of Marawi have what they call the Banggolo Congress. It is an area at the public market where one could just stand and listen to discussions going around."

More on Marawi City from Wikipedia

Skype ME

Business Maktoob, Skype eyes strong growth in Mideast, 27 Apr 2010

"Internet telephony firm Skype is close to signing partnerships with Middle East telecom carriers as the lure of a young population offsets operating restrictions in some countries, according to a senior official."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

South Park v. Revolutionmuslim.com III

This story continues: Now Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself no stranger to controversy, has provided an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal (with related references to the impact of the web).

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wall Street Journal, 'South Park' and the Informal Fatwa, 27 Apr 2010 "By publicizing the supposed sins of Messrs. Stone and Parker, Mr. Amrikee undoubtedly believes he is fulfilling his duty to command right and forbid wrong. His message is not just an opinion. It will appeal to like-minded individuals who, even though they are a minority, are a large and random enough group to carry out the divine punishment."

In a related development, Pedestrian TV mentions that The Simpsons are supporting South Park. I also picked up that Revolution Muslim got hacked (with the hackers using one of the infamous Jyllands Posten cartoons): Jason Linkins, huffingtonpost.com, Revolution Islam, Website Of Group That Threatened Comedy Central, Is Hacked, 23 Apr 2010

Expect this theme to continue to play out in cyberspace and beyond.

Foursquare and Gowalla

Observer, Will Foursquare be the new Twitter?, 25 Apr 2010 "I asked [Robin] Dunbar if he saw anything in the evolution of online networks to suggest that the next stage might extend our social horizons in any meaningful way.

"The question really is," he said, "does the technology open up the quality of your social interaction to any great extent, and the answer to that question is, so far: not really.""

See:

Foursquare

Gowalla

In terms of research relating to this blog, it might be an interesting theme for the future. At present, neither has much 'Islam' related content (admittedly a non-scientific and rapid sweep). I did come up with this on Gowalla:

Darul Aman Mosque which has just been posted.

I'll be looking out for more of these...

Fred Halliday

Tributes to Fred Halliday:

Sami Zubaida, Guardian, Fred Halliday obituary, 26 April 2010

OpenDemocracy, Fred Halliday, 1946-2010: a tribute, 26 April 2010 "The death of political analyst and international-relations scholar Fred Halliday extinguishes a voice and a light that have illuminated world politics for more than forty years. David Hayes pays tribute and presents a selection of his work for openDemocracy."

OpenDemocracy, Fred Halliday 1946 – 2010

Many of his books are relevant within the context of this blog, notably Islam and the Myth of Confrontation, I.B. Tauris, 1996. I heard him speak most recently at the Rethinking Jihad conference in Edinburgh, where he gave a paper on "Irregular Warfare and the Modern Middle East: From Mirza Kuchik Khan to Osama bin Laden".

Monday, April 26, 2010

MENA net growth

Susannah Tarbush, globalarabnetwork.com, Advancing MENA Information and Communications Technology, 22 Apr 2010 "Infrastructure for a multi-generational shift in telecoms applications is being put into place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. According to telecoms intelligence specialist Informa Telecoms & Media, mobile subscriptions will more than double in the MENA region to 350 million by 2014 compared with 144 million in 2009. And there will be a significant upgrade in the services offered and their market penetration. Informa predicts that by 2014, more than half of subscribers will have access to 3.5G+ (41 per cent) and 3G (18 per cent), while the remainder will be served by 2.5G (9 per cent) and 2G (more than 30 per cent)."

Hip-hop stopped in Gaza

meedan, Hamas breaks up hip-hop concert for being "immoral", 26 Apr 2010, "According to one of the dancers of B Boy Gaza group, police forces have broken up the concert under the pretext of hip-hop dancing being "immoral"; shouting "the show is over" at the audience." Also see associated comments.

Morocco internet dialogue

Siham Ali and Naoufel Cherkaoui, magharebia.com, Morocco prepares dialogue on online media's future "Shaping Morocco's online media in fields such as ethics, funding and legal protections will top the agenda of a Monday (April 26th) parliamentary workshop for journalists and law-makers.

""We want professionals to work together to come up with solutions, particularly in terms of getting the authorities to encourage online publishing, providing financing like they do for the traditional media," Rachid Jankari, the director of MIT Media and a workshop organiser, told Magharebia."

Hamas video of Gilad Schalit

Ben Hubbard, AP, Hamas releases cartoon about captured Israeli, 25 Apr 2010 "Hamas released an animated film Sunday bearing a grisly message for Israel: If it doesn't meet the Islamic militant group's demands, an Israeli soldier it has held for nearly four years could return home in a coffin.

"The short but sophisticated cartoon - which depicts Sgt. Gilad Schalit's aging father wandering empty streets with a picture of his son and ends with the words "There is still hope" - is the latest product of Hamas' growing media machine."

Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, Analysis: Hamas’s Schalit film – cynical and smart, 26 Apr 2010 "While the movie is hard to watch, it does accurately show how Israeli leaders – including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, opposition leader Tzipi Livni and current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – have promised to do all they can to secure Schalit’s release. This movie is a reminder of that promise."

aljazeera.com, 3D Hamas Video Shows Shalit in Captivity as Father Ages, 26 Apr 2010 "The Ezzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, published Sunday a computer animated video entitled "The Sentiment in the Zionist Society regarding Shalit," threatening that captured Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit will share the same fate as Ron Arad should not progress be made in talks. Arad is an Israeli pilot who went missing when he flew a mission over southern Lebanon in 1986."

Here's the video:



Also see



Further comment:

BBC News, Israel blasts new Shalit cartoon released by Hamas, 25 Apr 2010 "Noam Shalit called the film "psychological warfare" and urged Hamas to reach a deal with Israel in order to ease an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has made life hard for Gaza's people.

""Hamas leaders would do better if instead of producing films and performances, they would worry about the real interests of the Palestinian prisoners and the ordinary citizens of Gaza who have been held hostage by their leaders for a long time," he said in a statement."

David Harris, xinhuanet.com, Hamas uses new technique in psychological war with Israel, 26 Apr 2010 "A superbly-made futuristic animated cartoon broadcast by the Islamist Hamas movement on Sunday is creating waves in Israel. It is thought to be the first of its kind from the military wing of Hamas that does not depend on the traditional images of brave Hamas warriors fighting against Israel."

Sudan 'complaint' against ITU

sudantribune.com, Sudan to lodge complaint against ITU over blocked internet sites, 26 Apr 2010 "The Sudanese Commission for Telecommunication (SCT) announced today that it has filed a formal complaint to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on sites that have been blocked in the Sudan.

"The government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) quoted Mustafa Abdel-Hafiz Technical Director of SCT as saying that the commission wants to find out the "real reasons" behind the blocking of several sites including Google chrome, Google open code, MSN messenger, Oracle "creating account", Source forge."

"Iranian cleric says social decency can prevent earthquakes"

thesundaily.com, Iranian cleric says social decency can prevent earthquakes, 25 Apr 2010 "Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, head of the senate-like Guardian Council, said that although no one can predict quakes, moral lifestyles filled with prayer and the giving of alms could prevent seismic activity.

"The remarks by Jannati followed comments last week by cleric Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi suggesting that social immorality - such as improper women's clothing and extramarital sex - would increase the probability of earthquakes.

"The comments prompted a wave of sarcastic remarks by women on internet websites such as Facebook and became the talk of the town."

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayub al-Masri

AFP, Qaeda in Iraq confirms top commanders killed, 25 Apr 2010 "The SITE Intelligence Group late on Saturday said the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the Qaeda front in the country, had in a statement posted on jihadist Internet forums announced for the first time the deaths of the two men.

"But the insurgents also vowed in the message that other insurgents would take their place, under plans put in place ahead of the Iraqi-US military strike that killed them in a house north of Baghdad on April 18."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ahlan Online

Alvin R. Cabral, Khaleej Times, Google launches Arabic website, 22 Apr 2010 "Internet giant Google Inc on Wednesday launched its new Ahlan Online, an Arabic Website which aims to provide users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the skills to navigate the Internet using 
Google tools.

"Using Google’s popular Internet applications such as Google Search, Google Talk and Gmail, the beta version of Ahlan Online is designed to provide users with educational tips and guidance on the Internet’s basics."

South Park v. Revolutionmuslim.com II

Octavia Nasr, CNN, 'South Park' Mohammed issue sparks debate among Muslims, 22 Apr 2010 more on this. I haven't seen this episode.

elasira.eu

James M. Dorsey, Qantara.de, Sharia-conform Eroticism from Amsterdam, 20 Apr 2010

"El Asira's homepage, www.elasira.eu, unlike traditional sites that sell sexual enhancement products, reflects Aouragh's conservatism. There are no seductive pictures of attractive women or enticing, suggestive texts. Instead, its homepage is a sober black and grey street with a dividing line in the middle that grants men and women separate entry – women on the left, men on the right."

I have previously blogged about el-asira.eu - this article provides more detail.

Gulen movement

Time.com, The Turkish Imam and His Global Educational Mission, 26 Apr 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

German jihadis

Deutsche Welle, German jihadists targeting NATO troops. 21 Apr 2010 "In a recent Internet video, German jihadists fighting on the side of the Taliban in the Hindukush are seen boasting of attacks on American and Afghan troops."

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi

Asharq al-Awsat, Who was the Real Abu Omar al-Baghdadi?, 20 Apr 2010, "When Al-Baghadi was reportedly killed in May 2005, Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, said "we have brought in people who knew him [al-Baghdadi] for 20 years, and they have identified his body." Khalaf added "we played voice recordings posted by him on the internet, and they confirmed that this is the voice of Abdul-Latif al-Jabouri." However the al-Jabouri family categorically denied that Abdul-Latif was in fact al-Baghdadi. The US also previously announced [in 2007] that al-Baghdadi was a non-existent figure that has no basis in reality."

Sub-Saharan Africa

ThisDay (Tanzania), Tanzanians go to church, the mosque and the witch doctor, 21 Apr 2010, "As sub-Saharan Africa looks to the future, an intriguing attachment remains to the traditional beliefs that many Christian and Muslim leaders condemn.

"Though it may be that influences from beyond Africa, not least those available through the power of the internet, may yet contribute most to changes in the religious landscape in future."

This is an informative article. Take a look at the Pew Forum survey, Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa, April 15, 2010. The full report is available as a pdf - which should make for fascinating reading

iPods and jihad related output

Jarret Brachman, Jihad Straight to Your Ipod? AQAP’s Latest Gimmick, 18 Apr 2010

"The notion that kids anywhere (at least those who speak Arabic) can download a rabid jihadist statement in mp3 direct to their Ipod is precisely what thinkers like Abu Musab al-Suri had been hoping for – the convergence of new media technology, a prioritization on education and global jihadist ideology taught by actual shaikhs . It’s a bad development for us and the key for longevity for them."

Moving towards a streamlined jihadi media output, as discussed in iMuslims - Jarret Brachman's useful post includes a banner with an iPod on it.

Kyrgyzstan

Evgeny Morozov, Net Effect, Kyrgyzstan's "Analog Revolution", 8 Apr 2010

"For all the hype about "digital revolutions", "analog revolutions" are still the norm, not the exception."

Belatedly picked up this interesting post by Evgeny Morozov.

'Jihad by Night' op-ed

Yahya Ibrahim, Saudi Gazette, Jihad by Night, 21 Apr 2010 "Our audacity, at times, tempts us to feel content with our current level of devotion and ‘Ibadah (worship). The internet becomes our Da’wah, the Masjid our hangout, and the brothers – da brothas. Our ‘Ibadah is weak but our talk is uninhibited. Our dreary lives, jobs, lack of jobs, idle free time and stress cause us to have grandiose self-assessments and an over estimation of our true nearness to the Divine."

Morocco rock

LA Times, Babylon & Beyond, Rock, rap and heavy metal music fans rejoice in newfound freedom. 20 Apr 2010 "Seven years after Morocco's satanic-music trial, the alternative music scene in the North African country is alive and kicking; it has even received a grant from king Mohammed VI himself."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Google translation tools

arabcrunch.com, Google Adds RealTime “Word” Translation to Any Website in 41 Languages Including Arabic, 20 Apr 2010 "Google is pushing further to support Arabic and other 41 International languages in its quest to further increase its Internationalization revenues."

South Park v. Revolutionmuslim.com

CNN, Security Brief: Radical Islamic Web site takes on 'South Park', 19 Apr 2010

"On Sunday, Revolutionmuslim.com posted an entry that included a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that they risk violent retribution – after the 200th episode last week included a satirical discussion about whether an image of the prophet could be shown. In the end, he is portrayed disguised in a bear suit."

aQ English language sites

Daniel Williams, Bloomberg, Terrorists Seek Next ‘Jihad Jane’ on English-Language Web Sites, 19 Apr 2010, "Al-Qaeda and its ideological allies are using English-language Web sites and forums to encourage non-Arabic speakers to make war on the West as terrorists seek the next Ft. Hood shooters and “Jihad Janes.”"

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Views from the Occident (Twitter Speicals), Afghanistan taliban: the American Colonialist Agenda, 19 Apr 2010, " ... a statement from the Afghan Taliban, which refers to itself as the "Islamic Emirate [state] of Afghanistan" (as it did in the 1990s). The statement is run without edits."

Blog post: "Is Using Internet Haram or Halal from Islamic Point of view?"

The Religion of Islam, Is Using Internet Haram or Halal from Islamic Point of view?, 19 Apr 2010 "If we use Internet for good purposes it is a blessing for us but if the same Internet is used for wrong things it can create lot of problems. May Allah Swt help everyone in making correct use of Internet."

Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi 'killed'

alarabiya.net, Al-Qaeda's two top Iraq leaders killed in raid, 19 Apr 2010

BBC News, Senior Iraqi al-Qaeda leaders 'killed', 19 Apr 2010 "Mr Maliki said on national TV that the Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who led an affiliate group, were dead ...

" ... "During the operation computers were seized with e-mails and messages to the two biggest terrorists, Osama bin Laden and [his deputy] Ayman al-Zawahiri," Mr Maliki added."

Fox, 2 Most Wanted Al Qaeda Leaders in Iraq Killed by U.S., Iraqi Forces, 19 Apr 2010

Islamic Studies Pathways

I'm planning a re-vamp of Islamic Studies Pathways, my guide to net resources relating to Islam, which I started back in 1996. If there's something you'd like me to consider for inclusion, please drop me a line. I'll be working on it during the summer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Press freedom/blogging

Deutsche Welle, International blogging conference puts Internet press freedom on the agenda, 16 Apr 2010 "n 2009, more than 60 countries experienced some form of internet censorship, according to Reporters without Borders. In March, RSF published a list of 12 so-called "enemies of the Internet," which are countries that seriously violate their citizens' free speech online.

"Apart from China and Iran, the list also includes Saudi Arabia, Burma, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Cuba and Egypt, who use a range of measures from Internet filtering and blocking Web sites, to imprisoning bloggers and journalists."

Op-ed on blogging

Khaleej Times, Bloggers have their way, 19 Apr 2010 "Blogging and social networks have allowed people with different beliefs, political views and cultures to talk about their lives, joys, sorrows and truths. And for Muslim-Western relations, the Internet constitutes an unmatched, eye-opening outlet for voices from all sides to have their say, mitigating divides and misunderstandings. We now know that at the end of day we are not as different as we first thought."

Written by Hisham Khribchi, a Moroccan blogger who blogs at almiraatblog.blogspot.com

KSA

RFE/RL, Saudi Arabia Awakens To The Dangers Of Wahhabism, 16 Apr 2010

OBL Facebook

London Evening Standard, Osama Bin Laden goes on Facebook, 16 Apr 2010 "The profile page is named "The leader of the Mujahideen, Osama bin Laden", and although written in Arabic, messages have appeared in English."

FoxNews, Usama Bin Laden Had a Facebook Page, 16 Apr 2010

ABC, 'Osama Bin Laden' Facebook Page Shut Down, 17 Apr 2010 "The page, which went up on March 25, referred to bin Laden as the "Prince of Mujahideen," and set his location to the "mountains of the world," according to the Arabic language news site Elaph. Bin Laden is believed to be hiding in the mountainous area that stretches across Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Other media outlets have become excited by this one too, which has obviously been generated by supporters, agent provocateurs, etc. Next week, look out for aQ tweets.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"When Madrassa Pedagogy meets Technology"

Muslimology, When Madrassa Pedagogy meets Technology, 14 Apr 2010 "Today, with Islamic education online, there is an excellent use of technology, however, this use of technology is one-sided. It is largely used by educators (shaykhs) to teach, however, the only way one can know if it has enhanced learning is by studying the student. Is the student comprehending better? I would contend although technology has helped with new methods of teaching it has not increased Islamic learning on part of the student, in fact, I think it has either stayed the same or gone downhill. Islamic knowledge has been trivialized by the Internet and seen as “edutainment,” and at the accidental click of a button one can become totally distracted. The Internet does create a beguiling sense of “know-it-all” when really, most Muslims online can rarely quote a hadith precisely and on the spot, which of course is what counts. We forget, all that information can be deleted instantly off the Internet, forever gone."

Online influence issues

Jarret Brachman, What Role do CT Researchers and the Media Play in Creating the Monsters that We Counter?, 14 Apr 2010 Interesting dialogue between Jarret Brachman and Faqir Mohammed Darwish. As I have mentioned elsewhere, there is certainly potential impact and influence of online analysts and aggragators (including academics) of jihadi related materials on the very sphere that they write about.

Saudi Liberal Network

Saudi Jeans, Saudi Liberal Forum to Shut Down, 11 Apr 2010"The Saudi Liberal Network, one of the biggest local forums, have announced today that the website will be shut down due “extraordinary circumstances and expensive costs.”

Iran 'cyber warfare'

Views from the Occident, Religious Cyber Activism: Video calls Iranian youth to an Internet bagglefield, 14 Oct 2010 editorial by Emaun Kashfipour "An online presence that calls itself the "Iranian Cyber Army" shows the willingness of many supporters of the Iranian government to respond to this call. The Iranian Cyber Army has hacked high-profile websites such as mowjcamp.com (a prominent reformist website) and the micro-blogging website Twitter (it was quite an accomplishment even though they only had control of it for a few hours)."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tanzeem-e-Islami

The Nation, Renowned Islamic scholar Dr Israr Ahmed is dead, 14 Apr 2010 "Dr. Israr was the head and founder of Tanzeem-e-Islami. He had a huge following in Pakistan, India and Gulf countries, especially in Saudi Arabia."

Tanzeem-e-Islami has an extensive and regularly updated website, including Dr Ahmed's speeches and discussions.

Arab Tweeple

ArabCrunch, ArabTweeple: A Directory for Arab Twitter Users Indexing 15,000 Arab Users, 10 Apr 2010 "Looking to meet fellow Arabs on Twitter, ArabTweeple is the place to go as it Index 15,000 Arab twitter users."

Hissa Hilal

BBC News, Saudi female poet Hissa Hilal loses in contest final, 8 Apr 2010 "The veiled female Saudi poet competing in the United Arab Emirates' version of Pop Idol failed to win the top prize in the final of the event."

Russia and Islam

Paul B. Henze and S. Enders Wimbush, WSJ, Russia's Encounter With Islam, 14 Apr 2010 "Will Russia become the next major frontier for Islamic radicalism? Contradictory forces are at work. The Muslims of Russian empire have been predisposed historically to moderation, even modernism. But Russia today has its own Islamic radicals, and it is bordered by Islamic states in Central Asia which host homegrown and foreign Islamic radicals. Russia's young Muslims can no longer be sheltered from trends in the larger Islamic world, as modern media and the Internet connect them around the clock. Meanwhile, Russians continue down the well-worn path of thinking of Russia's Muslims as Lenin did, even as they fill their cities."

Al-Azhar

Sarah A. Topol, CSM, Cairo's revered Al Azhar University now overshadowed by TV imams, 9 Apr 2010 "Al Azhar today is suffering from a perceived lack of credibility in the face of pressure from the Egyptian government and a loss of popularity amid the rising influence of TV preachers and Internet imams. That has created a crisis of legitimacy for an institution whose influence once stretched from Morocco to Indonesia."

Facebook

Jawa Report, Virtual Extremism, 12 Apr 2010 discusses Facebook groups

'Hirabists' or 'jihadis'?

UPI, Professor: It's not jihad, 12 Apr 2010, "Mohammad Khalil, a professor of religious studies at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois, said in a recent interview with the university's news bureau calling terrorists jihadists is a misnomer."

The 99

Eleanor A. Smith, The Atlantic, Comic Belief: When Islam Inspires Superheroes, 13 Apr 2010 interview with Naif al-Mutawa

Net addiction op-ed

Amber Shahid, Saudi Gazette, Ouch! Internet addiction hurts!, 14 Apr 2010 "The Internet, no doubt, is a good source of entertainment but an empty mind is a devil’s workshop and over-usage may lead to unnecessary and immoral activities which may not coincide with our Islamic values. You can find interesting and beneficial activities outside the Internet world too and there is nothing as good as real human interaction that develops a better personality and etiquette. So why not try that ?” Hina Khan, a psychologist advised."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Muslim Brotherhood net forum 'leaks'

almasryalyoum.com, MB sources: Group leaked platform to internet, 11 Apr 2010

"The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has intentionally leaked its platform for the 2010 Shura Council elections to the group's internet forum, according to a number of young Brotherhood members.

"The move, the Brothers said, was intended to see what kind of response the platform would elicit before its official announcement. Comments by forum participants will be taken into account when formulating the final platform, they added."

Friday, April 09, 2010

Shoaib Malik and 'internet marriage'

BBC News, Can you get married over the phone?, 8 Apr 2010 "Malik is reported to have conducted an internet and telephone relationship with Ayesha Siddiqui from Hyderabad, finally tying a long-distance knot with her in 2002."

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Report on conference: ‘Terrorism: Between Intellectual Extremism and Extremist Ideology’

Huda al-Salih, Asharq Alawsat, Debate at Counterterrorism Conference Rages, 2 Apr 2010 "Sheikh Mohamed al-Nujaimi, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence at the Higher Institute of Law at the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh ignited this fierce ideological debate by demanding "the suspension of those in the media and putting an end to their excesses and attacks on the people of knowledge." This outburst led to many of the media figures present at the conference demanding an explanation for the reasons behind the absence of a critical approach to religious thought, as well as the reasons why religious students criticize [opposing] religious symbols."

Friday, April 02, 2010

Islam Online update

Heba El-Sherif, Daily News Egypt, Al-Balagh official says board only wanted to develop Islam Online, 2 Apr 2010 "The issue at popular Islamic resource Islam Online (IOL) was part of a “plan to diversify the website’s content and outreach” and not an attack on the website’s progressive approach to editorial content, according to Mohamed Badr El-Sada, one of IOL’s founders and current board member of Qatar’s Al-Balagh Foundation."

Ali Sabat

The Lede, NYT, Saudi Arabia Reportedly Delays Execution of TV ‘Sorcerer’, 2 Apr 2010 "The television psychic was popular in Saudi Arabia and was reportedly recognized by members of the country’s religious police — officially known as the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice."



Octavia Nasr, CNN, AC360°'What kind of justice is this?', 2 Apr 2010 "A Facebook page was set up asking people to take action. It led to a small demonstration in front of the Saudi Embassy in Beirut. People displayed effigies representing Sibat about to be executed with masked men pretending to be the executioners. Others carried signs on their chests reading, “Don’t kill” in Arabic.

"On Twitter, Lebanese people were joined by many other nationals in denouncing what they called the extreme nature of the sentence."

Check out #AliSabat on Twitter

Here's the Facebook page:

أوقفوا إعدام المواطن اللبناني حسين سباط في السّعوديّة

Critique on Home Office report

Jillian York, aljazeera.net, UK study on Islamic blogs 'flawed', 2 Apr 2010 "... some media analysts have criticised the list as a shot in the dark, which compiled a list of some sites which have little to no relation to Islamic bloggers." I previously posted on this report.

KSA conference

Saudi Gazette, Adhere to piety, extremists urged, "Titled “Terrorism: between Extremism of Thought and Thoughts of Extremism”, the conference recommended that the Muslim family should bring up its children on a “culture of dialogue and acceptance of others”, and guard them against “bad company” and “protect them from suspect satellite television channels and immoral Internet sites”."

Afghanistan Taliban magazine

Robert Fisk, Independent, Glossy new front in battle for hearts and minds, 2 Apr 2010 "Once it was grainy video footage on websites. Now the Taliban believes its best chance of winning the propaganda war lies in a magazine ...

" ... The "Islamic Emirate's" internet "Shariah radio" is also part of Abu Ahmed's remit: tough, hard-edged programmes intended to appeal to rural Afghans. "We have proved that Afghans can adjust themselves to learning about the situation," he says. "Most of our websites are run by professionals. That's why the Americans have tried to block them so many times, using different "gates" in Afghanistan and other areas – but we have been able to unblock them every time.""

Metro bomber identified

RT, One of the metro bombers identified – anti-terrorist committee, 2 Apr 2010 "The national anti-terrorist committee has confirmed the identity of one of the suicide bombers involved in the Moscow Metro bombings on Monday. The woman is reported to have been 17-year-old Djennet Abdurakhmanova."