Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New JLA/The 99 comic

out today: JLA/The 99 #1 (OF 6)

I've been following this for a while, as The 99 has a presence online, with comics available to download.

Also see last weekend's Carole Cadwalladr, Observer, The 99: the Islamic superheroes fighting side by side with Batman, 24 Oct 2010

Omar Khadr

Paul Koring, theglobeandmail.com, Khadr a ‘rock star’ in Guantanamo, psychiatrist testifies, 26 Oct 2010 "Mr. Khadr’s deeds made him a “rock star” at the camp [Guantanamo], said the psychiatrist, who studied the Khadr family by searching for videos on the Internet, questioned guards at the Guantanamo prisons and spent two days interviewing Mr. Khadr."

Abdel Hameed Shehadeh

nydailynews.com, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, Staten Island jihadi, busted after all-too-grueling investigation, 27 Oct 2010

"A federal complaint lodged against Shehadeh, 21, formerly of Staten Island, logs two years of monitoring by the FBI and NYPD - much of it while he was advocating for jihad on the Internet.

"While terror fighters knew Shehadeh was posting on jihadist Web forums and creating sites that linked to radical Muslim messengers, they were hamstrung because the First Amendment protects advocacy that's short of actually conspiring to plant a bomb or hijack a plane."

Islamic Jihad

UPI, Turks meet with Islamic Jihad in Gaza, 26 Oct 2010 "The Islamic Jihad Web site published photos of Turkish activists brandishing weapons, including rocket launchers, in a recent visit to the Gaza Strip."

'Iranian Cyber Army'

Shaun Waterman, Washington Times, Hackers shopping malware network: Suspected of backing Iran, 26 Oct 2010 "Most researchers regard the Iranian Cyber Army (ICA) as "hacktivists" — politically motivated pro-Iranian hackers — and there is no evidence they are linked to the Tehran government. Almost a year ago, a group using that name attacked U.S.-based social networking platform Twitter, and then Chinese search engine Baidu, briefly diverting visitors to those Web pages to a different page decorated with an Iranian flag, nationalist slogans and anti-U.S. and anti-Israel images."

Also see, by the same author:

Shaun Waterman, Washington Times, U.S. tries to detect Muslim radicals at home: Al Qaeda calls jihad their 'duty'

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Isfahan ICT hub

Robin Hicks, FutureGov, Iran city reveals ICT masterplan, 25 Oct 2010: "Isfahan, Iran’s second city and a global Islamic cultural hub, has set its sights on becoming the Republic’s leading ‘e-municipality’ and a regional e-government leader."

Shari’ah-compliant online FX trading

CPI Financial, BLME launches Shari’ah-compliant online FX trading, 26 Oct 2010 "In a Shari’ah-compliant environment currency trading is used to support cross-border transactions rather than to realise a profit. Under Shari’ah all currency transactions must be backed by a commodity, which has historically made currency trading, as well as related transactions, complex and expensive. Through BLMEFX, the bank’s corporate and private clients have instant access to a large number of currencies as easily as if they were using a conventional system, thereby making the process much simpler and more cost effective."

Monday, October 25, 2010

UAE Friday sermons in English

Ahmed Al Majaida , Khaleej Times, Friday sermons in English soon in mosques, 25 Oct 2010

"In an unprecedented move Islamic scholars has suggested English Friday sermons for certain mosques, along with the reduction in the time gap between prayer call and the actual prayer in certain mosques.

"The committee has also decided to install LCD screens at the pulpit for Imams to read out the sermons from, rather than using paper ...

" ... Asad Rifaat, a non-Arabic Moroccan, seemed impressed with the decision to have English Friday sermons. “I think it’s necessary, because Islam is not regional, it’s global. Faith should extend beyond language, since most expats here speak English, this will be a beautiful way of extending Islam and making it more relevant for non-Arabic 
speakers.”"

It'll be interesting to see if they start streaming these sermons as well.

Gadahn video released

AP, American al-Qaida spokesman urges attacks in US, 24 Oct 2010 "A U.S.-born spokesman for al-Qaida on Saturday urged Muslims living in the United States and Europe to carry out attacks there, calling it a duty and an obligation. In a 48-minute video posted on militant websites, Adam Gadahn directed his appeal to Muslim immigrants in what he called the "miserable suburbs" of Paris, London and Detroit, as well as those traveling to the West to study or work."

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Akhtar Jamal, Afghan Taliban rejects peace talks, 25 Oct 2010 "In an electronic interview sent via internet, Maulavi Abdul Kabir, member of the “Leadership Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” said that the peace council (established by President Karzai) “consists of people who practically support the Americans, though they claim being Jihadic figures and leaders.” He said that “by siding with the American invaders, they (council members) have forfeited their credibility in the eyes of the Afghans.”"

'What Jihadists Talk About Online' article

Amarnath Amarasingam, huffingtonpost.com, What Jihadists Talk About Online, 22 Oct 2010 "As jihadists talk to each other online, create common goals and rail against common enemies, we would do well to listen in. Learning more about how they articulate their various grievances with the West is integral for devising better strategies in counter-radicalization." Overview from a PhD student, referencing Marc Sageman's work, and the Quilliam Foundation's recent report.

Afghanistan net crackdown

Reuters, Afghan Journal, Afghanistan cracks down on Internet cafes for allowing porn, 24 Oct 2010 "Seventeen internet cafes have been shutdown in the Afghan capital Kabul, for allowing their clients to surf porn websites and access other unspecified “un-Islamic websites”, the local Pajhwok news agency reported."

Also see Muhammad Hassan Khitab, pajhwok.com, ATRA shuts down 17 net cafes in Kabul, 18 Oct 2010"The net cafes had been warned last week not to allow customers to look at porn or other un-Islamic websites in their venues or face action, Muhammad Ibrahim Abbasi, a member of Afghan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA), said."

al-Awlaki on YouTube

MyFox New York, Weiner Wants Terrorist Videos Off Youtube, 24 Oct 2010, "Representative Anthony Weiner(D-Queens and Brooklyn) says that videos by wanted terrorists can be found in the same place as videos by Lady GaGa - and he called for their removal from Youtube on Sunday.

"In a letter to Youtube CEO Chad Hurley, Weiner called for the removal of videos featuring Anwar al-Awlaki, dubbed the "Bin Laden of the Internet," whose videos aim to find new recruits and promote radical Islamic extremism and violent jihad against Americans."

Greek Muslims and the net

Today's Zaman, Greek Muslims, 24 Oct 2010

"Another person with great knowledge and authority when it comes to questions about the state of Muslims in Athens is Ahmed Eldin. Eldin is best known for his website that has videos of questions and answers about Islam. He takes and answers questions about many topics over the Internet. The bulk of the questions received by Eldin are from young Greeks. He spoke of the new mosque for Athens, noting that it is quite necessary, but that it should not mean that the smaller mescids that have cropped up around the city are closed down. He notes that there are now Muslims in every corner of Athens and that they cannot all go to the same place when it is time for prayer."

Book review: 'Talking to the Enemy'

jacket image for Talking to the Enemy by Scott AtranJason Burke, Observer, Talking to the Enemy by Scott Atran, 24 Oct 2010 "Rather than being brainwashed by militant recruiters, terrorists tend to be ordinary people driven by their peer group, argues anthropologist Scott Atran."

Useful review for those interested in the 'radicalization' process and related theories.

Details: Scott Atran, Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists, (London: Allen Lane)

Looks like it is in hardback only at present in the UK ...

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Islamosphere

Mustafa Stefan Dill, Reclaiming The Perceptions Of Muslims, pt. 1 – Be A Citizen, 19 Oct 2010 "Go visit some other part of the internet. Take a long hiatus from blogging about Muslim issues that — let’s be real here and call a spade a spade — are pretty much only read and discussed by other Muslim bloggers blogging about Muslim issues. I’m not saying that kind of exchange shouldn’t happen, of course it should. I love the Islamosphere and we need that internal discourse, but we need to shake any delusions about the Islamosphere’s true external reach and influence on non-Muslims. There are ways to improve that reach that I’ll address later in this series, but currently that reach is not much at all."

Abdelhamid Abu Zeid

Edward Cody, Washington Post, 'Emir of the south' Abu Zeid poised to take over al-Qaeda in NW Africa, 20 Oct 2010 includes net ref "For many Europeans, Islamic terrorism has a new face: Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, the "emir of the south." "

South-east Asia and the web

Ben Doherty, Guardian, Silence of the dissenters: How south-east Asia keeps web users in line, 21 Oct 2010 features an interactive map, with links to Malaysia issues.

'North Caucasus Jihadists'

Murad Batal al-Shishani, The New Ideologues of the North Caucasus Jihadists, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 38, October 21, 2010 "The movement’s links with the global jihad, particularly on the propaganda level, are also increasing. Lately the interest shown by jihadist web forums in North Caucasus developments has been growing and they are reaching out to both Russian and Arabic speaking audiences by including pages in the Russian language to disseminate jihadist materials. On August 28, jihadist web forums released a new documentary-style video entitled "The Caucasus: 50 years," stating that jihad against Russia will last as long as 50 years, as the late Amir Ibn al-Khattab predicted. [2] The Arabic-language video is reminiscent of propaganda videos that jihadists used to release in order to mobilize young Arabs after the Second Chechen War erupted in 1999."

[2] refers to a Global Islamic Media Front video. See article for link.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

KSA media market

Reuters.com, Telcos scramble for piece of booming Saudi market, 20 Oct 2010 "With a population of 29 million and a per capita income of $16,000, the world's largest oil-exporter dwarfs the small states on its periphery, and its rigid social system makes the allure of phone or internet connectivity all the more powerful."

Zachary Adam Chesser

Spencer Ackerman, Wired, South Park-Hatin’ Internet Jihadi to Plead Guilty, 20 Oct 2010 "Matt Parker and Trey Stone can exhale now. Zachary Adam Chesser, the 20-year old who threatened the two South Park creators online for depicting the prophet Muhammad in a bear costume, will plead guilty to supporting terrorism this afternoon in a Virginia court."

RevolutionMuslim.com

Dina Temple-Raston, NPR, 'Revolution Muslim' A Gateway For Would-Be Jihadis, 13 Oct 2010 "Revolution Muslim has its own gossamer connections to terrorism. A list of its recent members reads like a who's who of American homegrown terrorism suspects. One has been arrested for wanting to launch an attack on the Long Island Rail Road for al-Qaida; three others were intercepted getting on flights to join a terrorist group in Somalia. An editor believed to be behind an online magazine for al-Qaida's arm in Yemen was a regular in Revolution Muslim chat rooms, as was Jihad Jane, the Philadelphia woman arrested last year for plotting to kill a Danish cartoonist." Audio and transcript available.

I've posted links to related reports below. All are worth listening to. I've written about many of these elements in iMuslims and elsewhere.

Adam Gadahn and Anwar al-Awlaki

Dina Temple-Raston, NPR, Two Americans Become Al-Qaida Media Strategists, 14 Oct 2010 "There are a lot of different ways of promoting the terrorist message, but few people have been as successful at doing so as Americans Adam Gadahn and Anwar al-Awlaki." Audio and transcript available.

Inspire 2 - follow-up

Following on from the online publication of issue 2 of 'Inspire' (previously posted):

Dina Temple-Raston, NPR, American Editor Brings U.S. Savvy To Jihad Outreach, 12 Oct 2010 "A new issue of the online magazine Inspire — from the Yemeni group al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula — has some alarming advice for would-be terrorists: Open fire on lunch-hour crowds in Washington, D.C., to "knock out a few government employees." Audio and transcript available.

Thomas Hegghammer, Jihadica, Inspire 2, 12 Oct 2010 On the contents of Inspire 2:

"Perhaps most interesting are the advice on how to avoid detection:

* Do not travel abroad for jihad – act on US soil instead.
* Do not use mobile phones and the Internet for any jihad-related communication – if you have to, use coded language and encryption tools.
* If you are clean stay clean – do not interact with other activists.
* Do not access jihadi websites – get your jihadi propaganda fix from anti-jihadi monitoring sites such as MEMRI and SITE."

The last point is interesting. If there were plans of potential jihadis to do that, for some content on MEMRI and SITE, subscriptions are necessary ...

Steven Stalinsky, MEMRI, Second Issue of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) 'Inspire' Magazine: A General Review, 13 Oct 2010 "It should be noted that within hours of its release, this edition of Inspire was posted on the major social media outlets YouTube and Facebook, and was made available for download to Amazon's Kindle and to Daisy and DjVu."

Shuaib M. al-Mosawa, Yemen Observer, AQAP releases new issue of Inspire, pictures of Abyan attacks, 16 Oct 2010 "Written in near perfect English, the 74 page long document includes photos of AQAP fighting Yemeni security forces in Abyan, a guide to “mowing” down civilians with large trucks, and an essay written by American born Samir Khan, now residing somewhere in the Yemeni countryside."

Lynne Nahhas, AFP, Al-Qaeda reaches out armed with English, Internet, 18 Oct 2010 "Philip Seib, a professor at the University of Southern California and co-author of "Global Terrorism and New Media," believes the terror network has itself become a media organisation.

"It might be time to stop thinking of Al-Qaeda as the terrorist organisation that does media and more as the media organisation that does terror," Seib said."

Richard Spencer, Telegraph, Al-Qaeda magazine teaches how to kill Americans, 12 Oct 2010 "It seems to confirm that al-Qaeda operations are being hampered by better intelligence and drone attacks on its bases in Pakistan and Yemen. Last month, a "Mumbai-style" attack on European cities was uncovered by a combined operation involving US, UK, French and German intelligence agencies."

Y. Carmon and H. Migron, MEMRI, New Trend in Al-Qaeda's Recruitment Efforts: American Muslims Should Carry the Burden of Jihad in U.S. "The new trend of addressing Americans is reflected in the call made on Islamist websites to circulate the Inspire magazine on various English-language websites – not only on jihadist sites but on general ones, such as sports sites. The trend is also reflected in the statement that "the target audience" of Inspire magazine is "non-Arab Muslims" (meaning English-speaking Muslims of all nationalities)."

It's also worth listening again to the NPR piece broadcast in July on issue 1, which is still relevant:

Dina Temple-Raston, Al-Qaida Magazine Draws Attention, But Few Fans, 19 Jul 2010 "Yet for all of the attention the magazine has received in the Western media, it hasn't seemed to get much traction with the very audience it is supposed to attract: aspiring violent jihadists."

I will be writing about 'Inspire' 2 in due course. It's easy to locate a copy online. I haven't read it all yet ...

Shumukh Al-Islam

The MEMRI Blog, Jihadists "Brainstorm" On How To Repeat 9/11 Attacks: Hijacking Airplanes, Targeting Football Stadium And Skyscraper, 18 Oct 2010 "On October 18, 2010, a member on the Shumukh Al-Islam jihadi web forum posted a topic titled "The Easiest Way to Execute an Attack Similar to 9/11.""

Subscription to JTTM required to read full post.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Inspire 2

globaljihad.net, New edition of 'Inspire', jihadi magazine published "The second edition of the Jihadi internet INSPIRE MAGAZINE was posted by Sada al-Malahim media branch in the web, on Monday 10/11/2010, the eve of the tenth anniversary of the USS Cole attack."

“Wordling”

Jarret Brachman, “Wordling” Our Way Through Al-Qaida Texts, 18 Oct 2010 "Here’s a fun little non-scientific experiment. Below, you’ll find a visualized comparison of a recent article from Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki in Inspire 2 with a recent text from Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi and a recent transcript of an Ayman al-Zawahiri video using something called “Wordle.”"

If you have some spare time, this is an interesting diversion!

This is the wordle for this blog (current page):

wordle for virtuallyislamic.blogspot.com 19.10.10

"Yo Dude, What’s Your Radicalization Score?!"

Jarret Brachman, Yo Dude, What’s Your Radicalization Score?!, 18 Oct 2010: "As part of Salafimedia’s facelift this weekend, the site added a bunch of cool new features, including my favorite: a radicalization score."

Check it out: salafimedia.com. I haven't taken a close look at their revamped site yet.

Iran (further) crackdown on bloggers

Los Angeles Times, Babylon & Beyond, Iran: Crackdown on bloggers targets hardline cleric's son, 18 Oct 2010: "Khazali's arrest came just a few weeks after blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was sentenced to 15 years in prison for insulting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the president and creating and using proxy software to circumvent government filters. Maleki's mother and lawyer have told the press he was beaten and forced to sign a confession."

Also see RSF, Persecution of bloggers continues, now with harsher sentences, 15 Oct 2010 "Khazali was arrested on 13 October after responding to a summons to appear before the 4th chamber of the Tehran prosecutor’s office. His son said he was threatened earlier the same day by members of the security services who wanted force him to go directly to Evin prison.

"A doctor as well as a blogger, Khazali is the son of Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali, who has been an influential member of the Council of Guardians of the Iranian Constitution for the past 30 years. Mehdi Khazali has been posting a lot of criticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government on his website Baran (http://www.drkhazali.com/) for more than a year."

Iranian distributes Trojan

ZDNet UK, Mapping Babel (blog), Webroot: Iranian distributes free Firefox password logger, 11 Oct 2010 "Upon analysing the Trojan's source code, Webroot found that it contained the creator's name and email address. With this, they were able to track the creator to a message board, where it became apparent that he had distributed the Trojan as a free download. Webroot eventually found his Facebook profile, and discovered that he was based in Kiraj, Iran."

Use of 'jihadi' manuals trial outcome

thisisleicestershire.co.uk, Man put on trial after collecting terrorist instruction manuals cleared, 19 Oct 2010 "Mr Yusuf, a Somalian Muslim, was arrested at his home in Higgs Close, Evington, Leicester, on May 28, 2008, during an investigation into his links with a militant group in Somalia.

"But, during his trial at the Old Bailey, he claimed that the material was to be used in legitimate self-defence by resistance forces back in his homeland against invading Ethiopian troops."

GIMF prosecutions

Expatica Germany, Eight suspected Islamic militants charged in Germany < German news, 19 Oct 2010 "The prosecutor's office said the suspects belong to the German chapter of the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) and attempted to lure recruits to Al-Qaeda with online propaganda between August 2006 and March 2008."

Khatami's website 'blocked'

AFP: Iran blocks ex-president Khatami's website: report, 19 Oct 2010 "Kaleme.com, the mouthpiece of main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, said "governmental committee has ordered the filtering on Khatami.ir," which carries news and comments of Iran's former president."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dalia Ziada

alarabiya.net, Egypt blogger wins Euro-Mid online media prize, 16 Oct 2010 "Ziada published on her blog many of her controversial articles, including one in which she criticized al-Azhar, the chief center of the Sunni Islamic learning, for failing to curb the spread of the face veil known as the Burqa and which many religious scholars describe as un-Islamic."

Facebook: Dalia Ziada has plenty of related links (pic comes from there)

Also see her article which featured in the award: Dalia Ziada, A space for unveiling the minds of young Muslim women, 8 Nov 2009 "The information technology revolution has done much more than merely making the world a small village. For us, young women activists living in Egypt and the Middle East, the information technology revolution gave us the space we needed to practice our lives the way we want, apart from the restrictions imposed on us by our patriarchal societies."

MENA net enthusiasm

Joseph Mayton, bikyamasr.com, Middle East, China most enthusiastic internet users, 14 Oct 2010

"Move over America, there are two new Internet powerhouses in the world. A recent study conducted by TNS research has revealed that the Middle East and China are the top Internet enthusiasts on the planet."

Relates to this from TNS, Largest ever digital research project reveals major changes in online behaviour around the world, 10 Oct 2010 "The largest ever global research project into people’s online activities and behaviour - Digital Life - was launched today, ‘digital day’ by TNS, the world’s biggest custom research company. Covering nearly 90 per cent of the world’s online population through 50,000 interviews with consumers in 46 countries, the study reveals major changes in the world’s online behaviour."

Here's the link for discoverdigitallife.com, which I'll have to take a look at in due course.

Al Arabiya get interactive (sort of)

alarabiya.net, Al Arabiya celebrates launch of new website, 18 Oct 2010

Al Arabiya party to celebrate their new website. "The website still has several surprises for its esteemed visitors. Among those is launching blogs for the presenters at Al Arabiya in order to allow their viewers to directly interact with them."

Unfortunately, their RSS feeds all seem to be a year out of date today ...

'Battle of the web'

Abdullah al-Dani, Saudi Gazette, Extremist sites winning battle of the web, 18 Oct 2010

"Three hundred Internet websites are dedicated to the propagation of “deviant ideology” compared to only five challenging extremist views, a recent report says.

"“The sites opposing extremist ideology are few and far between compared to the increasing number of ‘takfeeri’ sites,” said author of the study Fayez Al-Shehri, a researcher specializing in the press and Internet."

Highlights the work of the Muhammad Bin Naif Al-Munasaha Center; I'd like more info on the numbers presented here, although haven't sourced the report yet.

"The Lure of Radicalism and Extremism Amongst Muslim Youth" article/op-ed

Discussion piece: Yasir Qadhi, Muslim Matters, The Lure of Radicalism and Extremism Amongst Muslim Youth, 18 Oct 2010 "Not hearing anything from his local or national scholars in the physical world around him, he scours the virtual world instead, looking on the net for voices that will speak to his concerns and address his anger. And in this virtual world, he stumbles across chat-rooms and forums where, for the first time, he finds people who see the world his way. These people, aided by the anonymity of the internet and empowered by the false bravado that only a fake alias can give, finally make our young man feel home, and that he was right all along in his assessment."

This article is generating comment elsewhere on forum postings.

Also see Mind, Body, Soul, Yasir Qadhi - misses the boat on radicalism, 18 Oct 2010 "Qadhi is not able to transcend the philosophical high chair of an academic to understand how these youth think, and in-so-doing, he falls into the same rhetoric which distances them in the first place."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hip-hop and Islam

Moniza Khokhar, elanthemag.com, Is Hip Hop Helping the Public Image of Muslims? "With the current polarization of opinions in mainstream America about the Muslim American community, I see various discussions on Islam, Muslims and our culture. But what’s most surprising is when listening to hip hop stations particularly these days I hear a lot of references to my people and in turn my beliefs. Now, given public opinion isn’t so favorable about Islam (roughly about 38% say they have an unfavorable opinion about Islam), I think this is pretty risky and bold for the hip hop community to continue their support for Muslims."

Edufina

StartUpArabia, Edufina: A University Research Portal For The Arab World, 13 Oct 2010 "Edufina is a newly launched startup that aims to fill in an empty space providing comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information about universities around the Arab world."

Details: edufina.com

Looks useful.

Comment on Pamela Geller (and blogging)

Charles Johnson, Comment is Free, Guardian, Pamela Geller and the bloggers of hate, 14 Oct 2010

"Since the days when Pamela Geller commented frequently at LGF, I've made a serious effort to develop tools for effectively moderating blog discussions, so that LGF will no longer become an inadvertent breeding ground for Geller's brand of hatred. The web's inherent anonymity makes it far too easy for extremists and trolls of all kinds to hijack a blog's comments; only by taking more control of the tone of the discussion can sane bloggers start to pull things back toward the centre, away from hate-fuelled internet extremists such as Pamela Geller and her cronies."

Johnson's own site is Little Green Footballs

"A Coronation in Qom" [PBS]

PBS, Frontline, A Coronation in Qom, 13 Oct 2010: "The closure of the ayatollahs' websites coincided with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's trip to the United Nations, where he reveled in extensive media coverage. His big line of argument was that in Iran all are free and everyone says what is on his or her mind. Some observers were quick to question his claim when the ayatollahs' websites went down and called Ahmadinejad a 'liar.'"

Facebook, Muslims and gender inequality

Kim-Mai Cutler, insidefacebook.com, Men Outnumber Women Among Facebook Users in Muslim Majority Countries, 13 Oct 2010 "Gender inequality in Facebook’s Islamic markets is expressing itself in the social network’s demographic makeup too. The Group of 20 nations, which includes 19 of the world’s biggest developed and emerging markets along with the European Union, have a virtually even gender breakdown between men and women."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Iran and "internet terrorism"

isna.ir, Iran calls virus in nuclear system "internet terrorism", 13 Oct 2010 "Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi called virus in Iran's nuclear system "internet terrorism." "

UAE BlackBerry issues

bikyamasr.com, UAE: Lack of transparency about BlackBerry’s concessions, 12 Oct 2010

"The Emirati authorities appear to have reached an agreement with Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian manufacturer of the BlackBerry smartphone, under which they are not after all carrying out a threat to suspend certain BlackBerry services from today."

Linda Norgrove

Bill Roggio, longwarjournal.org, 'Salafist group' allied with Taliban, al Qaeda behind kidnapping of slain British aid worker, 12 Oct 2010 "A Taliban subgroup with links to al Qaeda was behind the kidnapping of a British aid worker who was killed during a rescue attempt late last week."

sms regs

AP/alarabiya.net, Egypt imposes new regulations on SMS services, 13 Oct 2010 "Egypt's telecommunications regulator has set new rules for companies sending text messages to multiple mobile phones, in a move activists say will stifle efforts to mobilize voters ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections."

aQ strategy

Jarret Brachman, Foreign Policy, Watching the Watchers, Nov 2010 issue

"Whatever his actual traffic, Chesser had become the newest incarnation of a dangerous online phenomenon al Qaeda has inspired over the last several years -- one that is helping the group transcend its image as a brutal terrorist organization and attract a much broader spectrum of followers, particularly in the West. In full view of us, al Qaeda is cultivating a nimble, sophisticated global network of Internet activists, amateur pundits, and general well-wishers working to bring al Qaeda to the masses."

Also see Jarret Brachman, Foreign Policy, The Internet Jihad: Zach Chesser's how-to guide.

Jarret Brachman, Foreign Policy, Al Qaeda Wants to Be Friends

Some of the comments on this article are interesting too, especially in relation to levels of traffic to sites/pages discussed: volume of traffic isn't necessarily everything ...

Yemen: "Aden-Abyan Army"

AFP, Yemen Qaeda chief announces formation of 'army': website, 12 Oct 2010 "Al-Qaeda's military chief in Yemen Qassim al-Rimi on Monday announced the creation of an "Aden-Abyan Army" to free the country of "crusaders and their apostate agents," in an Internet audio tape."

Digital preservation in Indonesia

Dewi Pertiwi, Jakarta Post, Saving Indonesia’s Cultural Heritage, 13 Oct 2010

"Dozens of countries have been involved in the project, which uses the Internet like a storage data bank, putting the world’s documented heritage at your fingertips.

"Dr. Oman Fathurahman, a senior researcher at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, spends his days tracking down and deciphering Indonesia’s many ancient texts and manuscripts. He thinks it is a job that is not only critical to understanding the country’s cultural and historical past, but also where it is headed in the future."

See www.manassa.org for examples of how manuscripts have been preserved.

"Top Media of Islamic World Selected"

abna.ir, Top Media of Islamic World Selected, 13 Oct 2010 "Top media of the Islamic world were honored at the closing ceremony of the 4th general assembly of the Islamic Radios and Televisions Union.

" ... Sedaye Afghan, Al-Minar, Sahar Golobal network, Al-Anwar 2, and Hilal TV were selected as those running the best websites."

Discuss.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tajikistan block sites

Reuters, Sites critical of government blocked in Tajikistan, 11 Oct 2010

"Internet providers in Tajikistan acting on orders from authorities barred access on Monday to websites known for carrying criticism of the Central Asian nation' government, providers and sites said."

Friday, October 08, 2010

Pakistan: 'Hate on the Internet'

Huma Imtiaz, Dawn.com, Hate on the Internet, 8 Oct 2010 "Even as the twenty-first century has dawned upon Pakistan, the cycle continues. In 2009, the Pakistan government removed videos, of a Pakistan Army officer allegedly beating a Swat resident, from YouTube. Later on, videos of President Zardari saying “shut up” to a supporter at a public gathering were erased off of YouTube. In 2009, following a petition in the courts, the Lahore High Court slapped a ban on Facebook, which was later lifted. Even www.thepersecution.org, which documents crimes committed against the Ahmadi sect, is routinely banned by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA).

"Which makes it even all the more surprising that with such stringent control over the media and the internet, the Pakistan government has so far, turned a blind eye to the abundance of religious hate material that is floating around and readily available on the internet."

Saudi Arabia 'monitoring social networks'

almasryalyoum.com, Saudi religious police move to monitor social networking, 7 Oct 2010 "Saudi Arabia’s religious police, commonly known as Mutaween, have started tapping social internet networks like Facebook, Twitter, and chat rooms, Saudi officials said. The move aims to widen the purview of intelligence activities."

aQ and gender

Murad Batal al-Shishani, BBC News, Is the role of women in al-Qaeda increasing?, 7 Oct 2010 "In the last week of September, the As-Sahab Foundation, which disseminates al-Qaeda messages and propaganda, released a video clip showing a group of militants launching mortar attacks on Pakistani army sites."

Iran’s 4th International Digital Media Fair

ISNA, Tehran opens 4th int'l Digital Media Fair, 6 Oct 2010 "Media Software, Internet Websites and Blogs, Computer Games, Cell Phone Software, Digital Arts, Research, Technology and Innovation, International Division, Technical Workshops, Digital City and Correction in Consumption Model, Providers and Centers for Digital Media Services and Special Division of 30 Years Holy Defense as well as lots of interesting divisions are among programs of Iranian’s 4th International Digital Media Fair. "

Iran censorship issues

Reporters Without Borders, Internet censors target ayatollahs, feminists and students, 6 Oct 2010 "Reporters Without Borders is outraged that the Iranian government is reinforcing and extending its online censorship and repression of netizens. Several news and information websites have been blocked in the past few days including those of two influential Grand Ayatollahs, which have been inaccessible in Iran since 3 October. Online women’s rights and student activists are among those who continue to be questioned and threatened."

.ly issues

Stephen Shankland, CNET, Libyan legal issue takes down URL shortener, 6 Oct 2010 "What was once "the Internet's first and only sex-positive URL shortener" is no more, thanks to a conflict with Libyan law.

"The Vb.ly service combined the initials of blogger and sex columnist Violet Blue and the .ly country-specific Internet domain associated with Libya. The combination didn't work out, an outcome with potential implications for bit.ly, those use it, and address-shortening services in general."

Canada: net case dropped

Globe and Mail, Judge spikes child-porn case against Muslim preacher targeted by CSIS , 6 Oct 2010, "The written decision says CSIS spent years targeting Mr. Mejid, convincing him to take a polygraph test, threatening to expose an alleged extramarital affair, and directing law-enforcement agencies to search for porn on his computers. Prior to his handing over his laptop, CSIS agents told him his “life would change” if he did not co-operate."

Australia

Bryan Littlely, The Advertiser/heraldsun.com.au, Fears for Perth man Safaa Al Awadi missing in Egypt "Members of the Saviours of Mankind fear Safaa Al Awadi, one of their Australian members, is being held by the Egyptian Government accused of being a terrorist and could be killed for announcing his religious views ...

" ... the Saviours of Mankind - which has about 50 members in Australia - often debated religion over the internet."

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Rai

Just found this:

Ted Swedenburg, Foreign Policy, Khaled and the myth of rai, 10 Sept, 2010 interesting analysis - also see a related piece in hawgblawg, Rai myths. Both articles have links to related clips.

"Dubai Police to track Internet paedophiles"

Amira Agarib, Khaleej Times, Dubai Police to track Internet paedophiles, 6 Oct 2010, "The long arm of the law has extended online to target child abusers. The Dubai Police are closely monitoring chat rooms and blogs to arrest paedophiles who exploit children.

"This was stated by Lt. General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander in Chief of the Dubai Police, on Tuesday. He was speaking during a forum on protecting children from IT crimes, held at the Dubai Police Academy."

Cool tool: Yamli Transliteration Application

Mohamed Marwen Meddah, startuparabia.com, Yamli Transliteration Application Launched For iPhone And iPad, 4 Oct 2010 "Yamli, the startup that specializes in smart transliteration technologies for the Arabic Web, just unveiled its new official iOS application for the iPhone and the iPad, bringing their technology to their users while on the move on their mobile phones and tablets."



Details: iTunes: Yamli




Check out the startuparabia review for more info.  The app looks like $2.99 well spent (haven't downloaded it yet).

If you haven't seen it, also check my recent piece on apps which appears in Cyber Orient.

Musical break: Natacha Atlas



Banning Eyre, NPR, Natacha Atlas' 'Mounqaliba' Anglo-Middle Eastern Meditations "The sounds and ideas on Mounqaliba rub against one another and ultimately produce sparks, even light. Atlas hones the contradictions of her tangled heritage into an enchanting musical space and a restless meditation on the contradictions of an uncertain world."

I haven't heard Atlas' new album, but like her previous work (including with Transglobal Underground), much of which can be found online. Her MySpace page is here: MySpace: Natacha Atlas. Also check out her Last.fm page: Natacha Atlas

Her recent single is on YouTube (not much of a video, however)

Morocco "ICT pioneer"

Adnan Kassar, globalarabnetwork.com, North Africa - Morocco, ICT pioneer in Maghreb region, 2 Oct 2010 "Morocco is a pioneer in the Maghreb region in terms of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), said , in Zurich, Jean-Pierre Labry, Managing Director of R&M Middle East and Africa, underlining that despite being ahead of many countries, Morocco always seeks to develop its infrastructure and avail itself of the best expertise in the field." Advertorial

op-ed on Yemen and the media

Jane Novak, weeklyblitz.net, Comparative Counterinsurgency in Yemen, 6 Oct 2010

"AQAP often references a hadith predicting 12,000 warriors will arise from Yemen in defense of Islam. Although the dozens of wild-eyed al-Qa'ida fanatics in Yemen claim this legacy as their own, the army is already here. It is Yemen's reformers and they are being slaughtered on the streets, tortured in jail, and starved of food and education. Nonetheless, this is the winning side. And they deserve U.S. recognition on both moral and tactical grounds. The key to the productive political engagement of Yemeni youth is the internet and print media. Media repression inhibits expression of the national consensus, splinters reformers, and short-circuits accountability. It is imperative that the United States robustly support the civil and human rights of Yemenis and especially the right of journalists to perform their jobs without retribution. The structural remedy to corruption, violence against civilians, and extremist thinking is a free press. The shortcut to a Yemen that performs in the best interests of its citizens is an unfettered independent media."

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

YouTube 'Palestinian prisoner video'

ArabCrunch, Video of “Israeli” Solider Dancing in front of Humiliated Palestinian Female Prisoner Posted on Youtube, 5 Oct 2010 "This is not new, humiliation of Palestinians and Muslims men and woman around the world is not very recent. What is new is that social media and YouTube has made these footage public rather than hidden behind bars."

Tal al-Mallohi

Albert Aji, AP/Yahoo! News, Official: Syria accuses teenage blogger of spying, 4 Oct 2010 "Syria accuses a 19-year-old detained blogger of being a spy, a Syrian official said Monday, the first comment from the authorities in a case that sparked calls by the New York-based Human Rights Watch for the young woman's release."

Morocco social media

Magharebia.com, Morocco youth leaders hone social media skills, 3 Oct 2010 "A new programme in Morocco aims to empower youths to take charge of their future. The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Alumni Network's "Be Heard Now" project provided young leaders with a week-long training course in social media that ended Friday (October 1st) in Rabat."

Interrogation in Afghanistan

Spiegel Online, Interrogation in Afghanistan: German Authorities Reserved about Terror Warnings, 4 Oct 2010 "The CIA and American military are currently interrogating a German jihadist at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. His warnings of impending attacks in Europe, apparently financed by Osama bin Laden, have alarmed US authorities -- but the German intelligence community is more skeptical."

Predator strike

The Long War Journal, 8 Germans said killed in Predator strike in North Waziristan, 4 Oct 2010 "Eight Germans and two Britons were reported killed in the Sept. 8 Predator strike in Datta Khel. An Islamic Jihad Group commander known as Qureshi was also reported killed in the attack. Qureshi specialized in training Germans to conduct attacks in their home country.

"German and Turkish Muslims make up a significant portion of the Islamic Jihad Group. Its fighters are often referred to as German Taliban, and they carry out attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last year, the Islamic Jihad Group released video of 'German Taliban villages' in Waziristan. Its fighters were seen training at camps and conducting military operations."

Commentary on recent aQ audio

Views from the Occident (Twitter Specials): Is Al-Qa'ida Central Still the Model to Follow? Is the New Usama bin Laden Audio on Pakistan Floods Modeled after AQAP's Strategy?, 1 Oct 2010 "Al-Sahab's recently releases from Bin Laden and American spokesman Adam Gadahn strongly resemble, and may indeed be modeled after, the clever strategic reaction of Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to the flooding in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2009 and Hadramaut/Hadramawt and al-Mukalla in Yemen in October 2008. "

UK 'jihadism' report

Luke Heighton, opendemocracy.net, A Jihadist census: ‘Al Qaeda-Affiliated and ‘Homegrown’ Jihadism in the UK: 1999-2010' 5 Oct 2010

See Jytte Klausen, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, ‘Al Qaeda-Affiliated and ‘Homegrown’ Jihadism in the UK: 1999-2010'

The PDF report can be downloaded from this page. I haven't read this report yet (but have added it to my reading list!).

Pentagon's 'cyber warriors'

Jim Wolf, Reuters, Special report: The Pentagon's new cyber warriors, 5 Oct 2010 "An examination by Reuters, including dozens of interviews with military officers, government officials and outside experts, shows that the U.S. military is preparing for digital combat even more extensively than has been made public. And how to keep the nation's lifeblood industries safe is a big, if controversial, aspect of it."

aQ Twilight theory

الآراء من الغرب Views from the Occident: Al-Qa'ida Central's Media Attempts to Tap into Popularity of "Twilight" Film Series, 3 Oct 2010: "Al-Qa'ida Central's (AQC; Qaeda, Qaida) media outlet, the Al-Sahab (Clouds) Media Foundation, has a new intro animation segment. They are clearly attempting to tap into the popular Twilight film series in order to win recruits from among teenyboppers and young women (Yusuf al-'Uyayri and the folks at Al-Samood Jihadi Media would/will be glad to see the 'descendants of al-Khansa' ' finally being cultivated)."

Stuxnet

Geoff Ziezulewicz, Stars and Stripes, Worm in Iran marks new era of cyberwarfare, 4 Oct 2010 "A sophisticated computer worm that infested Iran’s nuclear facilities marks a new phase in cyberwarfare: the first time a cyberweapon has targeted a country’s infrastructure."

Round-up on the Stuxnet issue, widely reported elsewhere. For example, in the Washington Post, Iran struggling to contain 'foreign-made' 'Stuxnet' computer virus, 27 Oct 2010 ""We had anticipated that we could root out the virus within one to two months," Hamid Alipour, deputy head of Iran's Information Technology Co., a part of the ministry of communication and information technology, told the Islamic Republic News Agency. "But the virus is not stable, and since we started the cleanup process three new versions of it have been spreading," he said."

Advertorial: Alafasy Quran service

zawya.com, Nawras leads with launch of exclusive Alafasy Quran service, 5 Oct 2010 "Nawras, a Qtel Group company, is delighted to be introducing a new Quran service providing regular Islamic recitations by Shaikh Mishary Rishad Alafasy, delivered directly to customers' handsets. The service is already being enjoyed by almost half a million people across the region and Nawras is now making it available for the first time in the Sultanate of Oman."

Advertorial (but interesting for readers of this blog)

Iran: Sanei and Bayat-Zanjani websites 'blocked'

William Yong, NYT, In Sign of Discord, Iran Blocks Web Sites of Some Clerics, 4 Oct 2010, "The web sites of the clerics, Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Sanei and Grand Ayatollah Asadollah Bayat-Zanjani, who are both “sources of emulation,” the highest clerical rank in Shiite Islam, were first reported blocked by news sites linked with Iran’s political opposition movement on Sunday. The official site of a third top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali-Mohammad Dastgheib, was reported blocked early last month."

Iran internet

Middle East Online, No future for Iranian web restrictions, 3 Oct 2010 "In the run-up to September 3, when Iran marks Quds Day with anti-Israeli demonstrations, web users in the capital Tehran noticed that internet connections were getting very slow."

Anwar Al-Awlaki

San Jose Mercury News, Alleged terrorist did early recordings in Denver, 2 Oct 2010 "More than a decade has passed since Anwar al-Awlaki left Colorado, but the American-born imam's legacy still resonates in the place where he recorded innocuous sermons long before he began posting Internet rants promoting terrorism."

'Dueling fatwas'

Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Dueling fatwas, 4 Oct 2010 "Reciprocal death sentences raging between Yemen and the United States offer a glimpse of warfare in the Internet age."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Taliban Facebook 'friends'

Danny Schechter, Opinion, When the Taliban calls, pick up, 3 Oct 2010

"Earlier this week, I received a friend request on Facebook from one Abdullah Musafir. He identified himself as from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. His wall was filled with Islamic proverbs and reports on the killing of Western forces and battles with “cowardly terrorists,” i.e., NATO, Afghan soldiers and US troops. There were references to the destruction of “puppet” police vehicles and the use of IEDs.

"Clearly it was Taliban propaganda, a side of the war we rarely get in any unfiltered form, as opposed to our propaganda that routinely comes our way on TV and in the press. Theirs is crude; ours is much slicker. Is any of it credible?"

Friday, October 01, 2010

'Osama bin Laden recording'

BBC News, 'Osama Bin Laden' tape on relief work, 1 Oct 2010 "A new audio message purporting to come from al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is on Islamist websites, say reports."

CNN, Purported bin Laden message focuses on relief issues, 1 Oct 2010 "The message, which appeared on jihadist forums Friday, strongly urged Muslims to help Muslims by investing in infrastructure projects and developing awareness programs, such as how to deal with issues like water pollution."

SITE Institute, Bin Laden Speaks on Relief Work, 1 Oct 2010 [subscription needed]

AQIM

AFP, Qaeda posts picture of hostages seized in Niger, 30 Sep 2010 "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) posted a photo on the Internet on Thursday of seven people, including five French, whom it kidnapped in Niger two weeks ago."

Anwar al-Awlaki & Adam Gadahn

Mark Schone, Matthew Cole & Anne Schecter, ABC News, Amid Jitters About a New Terror Threat, Two American Jihad Leaders Resurface: Awlaki and Gadahn Release Videos As Officials Search For Commandos With European Passports, 29 Sep 2010

Daily Mail, Radical Yemeni terror preacher calls for more attacks on the West in new internet video, 29 Sep 2010 "Anwar al-Awlaki, whose radical sermons have been cited by terrorists involved in four U.S. bomb plots, has survived a series of American drone attacks to re-emerge with a new video that is expected to be posted on the internet soon."

Pravda, Osama bin Laden to be replaced with US-born Yemeni, 28 Sep 2010 "The world may have established another "terrorist number one." Saudi Osama bin Laden was replaced (or is about to be replaced) by U.S.-born native of Yemen Anwar al-Awlaki."

Maldives

Azra Naseem, minivannews.com, Internet and ignorance to blame for religious extremism in the Maldives, says Dr Bari29 Sep 2010 "Religious extremism in the Maldives is the long-term result of the previous government’s repression of religious debate and learning, Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari has said ...

" ... Dr Bari’s conclusion that some Maldivian extremists were radicalised online is in line with emerging Western literature on the subject as well as new anti-radicalisation laws in the West."

Jamming al-Jazeera allegations

Al Jazeera, World Cup jamming in Jordan, Sep 29, 2010:



Ian Black, Guardian, Jordan denies illegal jamming of al-Jazeera World Cup TV, 30 Sep 2010 "A statement from the prime minister's office in Amman described as "absolutely baseless and unacceptable" suggestions that the government was behind the illegal jamming. But the Doha-based network countered that an extensive investigation by independent international experts had identified the exact location in Jordan."

Jordan Times, Claims of Al Jazeera signal jamming 'absolutely baseless', 1 Oct 2010, "The JMC [Jordan Media City] chief [Radi Alkhas] also questioned the accuracy of the Guardian’s report in identifying the coordinates where the alleged jamming took place in the Kingdom, saying that the margin of error in such cases ranges from 10-15km and in that case could include neighbouring countries."

thepeninsulaqatar.com, Al Jazeera seeks Jordan’s explanation, 1 Oct 2010 "Al Jazeera Satellite Network yesterday announced that an extensive investigation carried out by multiple teams of independent international technology experts identified the exact location from where the disruption of Al Jazeera Sports’ broadcast of the 2010 FIFA World Cup originated."