Thursday, September 29, 2011

GIMF: convictions

The Local, Men convicted for radical internet posts, 29 Sep 2011 "Three German men have been convicted in Munich on Wednesday of supporting terrorism for posting radical propaganda videos online."

'Debating the Global Jihad in Cyberspace'

Aaron Y. Zelin, al-Wasat, Debating the Global Jihad in Cyberspace, 16 Sep 2011 "Since 9/11 and increasingly over the past several years, online jihad has become just as important to the global jihadi movement at the grassroots level as its military operations. There have been vigorous debates in the past decade amongst jihadis in forums and via official communiqués released online from popular ideologues as well as leaders. However, there have been instances where such debate was purposely shut down by administrators at forums to keep a sense of ideological cohesion. As a result, because of a lack of mainstream coverage the global jihadi movement is viewed in monolithic terms even though there are indeed cleavages that arise every so often, although they do not create big enough rifts to endanger the movement."

Inspire magazine #7

Aaron Y. Zelin, Jihadology, al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula’s al-Malāḥim Media releases Inspire Magazine Issue #7, 27 Sep 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

'Morocco smashes three-member Al Qaeda-linked network'

Oman Tribune, Morocco smashes three-member Al Qaeda-linked network, 28 Sep 2011 "Morocco said on Friday it had broken up a three-man cell with links to Al Qaeda, while Mali’s intelligence officials say the group is seeking to infiltrate into Morocco to facilitate attacks inside Europe."

Syrian cyber warfare

Zeina Karam, Associated Press/SFGate, Syria wages cyber warfare as websites hacked, 27 Sep 2011 "Pro- and anti-government activists in Syria are increasingly turning to the Internet, hacking and defacing websites in an attempt to win a public relations victory."

Germany brings out the intelligence against “Islamophobia"

Islam Online, Germany brings out the intelligence against “Islamophobia”, 28 Sep 2011 "In a positive development, the German daily newspaper Der Spiegel reported on Wednesday 28 Sep that “Islamophobes” could be placed under surveillance by the BfV, the German equivalent of Britain’s MI-5. There are concerns that the anti-Muslim scene is becoming increasingly dangerous, and some intelligence officials want it to be subject to greater scrutiny, despite stringent German privacy laws."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'Delayed Win for Saudi Women' opinion piece

opinion piece: David Keyes, Daily Beast, Delayed Win for Saudi Women, 25 Sep 2011 "A Saudi diplomat recently told me, “With the Internet, there is no such thing as a closed society anymore.” Indeed, a steady flow of pictures, videos, and heartbreaking stories of women being arrested for driving has reached the West." refers to the impact of the internet, and draws on online opinoin

Muslim-Science.Com, “WTN” award nomination for Pakistani Scholar, 23 Sep 2011 "Pakistani scholar Dr. Athar Osama has been nominated for the prestigious World Technology Network (WTN) award and has also been elected as a fellow of the WTN."

See Muslim-Science.Com

'Activists hack official Syrian websites'

News24, Activists hack official Syrian websites, 27 Sep 2011 "Two online activist groups said they hacked several official Syrian websites in the latest tactic to oppose President Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime."

Indonesian internet

Reuters India, Indonesian church bomber linked to radical Islamic group, 27 Sep 2011 "In a sign of the government's struggle to contain militancy, authorities have blocked 300 Internet sites this year suspected of promoting terrorism and hatred, a state news agency quoted a government minister as saying on Tuesday."

Syria: Inside the Secret Revolution

Jane Corbin, BBC News, Syria: 'Our weapon is the camera' in bloody revolution, 26 Sep 2011 refers to Corbin's programme for Panorama, available for UK viewers on iPlayer, Syria - Inside the Secret Revolution, BBC One, Monday, 26 September It's recommended (but disturbing) viewing, with some clips that hadn't been circulated on the net. There are references to Facebook, and the film also shows material that has been circulating on the net. Hopefully this documentary will have a wider international distribution. It was good to see it at a prime time slot (830 pm).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reading list: 'Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post-Al Qaeda Generation'

Philip Seib, Dana M. Janbek, Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post-Al Qaeda Generation (Routledge, 2010) This book seems to have passed me by: I'm looking forward to reading it in due course.

KSA media

Angus McDowall, Reuters, Analysis: Saudi media bypass stricter rules after Arab Spring, 21 Sep 2011 "Saudi Arabian bloggers and journalists say the arch-conservative Islamic kingdom will find it hard to douse glimmers of more open reporting despite a tightening of media rules after the spread of popular revolts through the Arab world."

'Religiosity or Commercialization?'

Alia Raffia Ullah, Islam Online, The British “Islamic” Lifestyle Experience (1): Religiosity or Commercialization?, 20 Sep 2011 "This article explores the ideology of buying into Islam on the British high street, online and over the British Muslim media. It examines whether these recent developments are benefitting Muslims in Britain, or commercializing Islam; turning it into a profitable business."

Journal abstract: "Piety as a concept underpinning Muslim women’s online discussions of marriage and professional career"

In the latest issue of Contemporary Islam, Volume 5, Number 3, 249-265, "Special Issue: Islamic Piety and Gender Relationships among Contemporary Muslims: Anna Piela, Piety as a concept underpinning Muslim women’s online discussions of marriage and professional career "In this article, I address piety as a concept shaping Muslim women’s online discussions about gender roles, marriage and professional careers." [links to abstract]

There are several other interesting articles in this edition.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Libya: 'Internet spy room'

Two pieces relating to Libya, which I have caught up on today:

Paul Sonne and Margaret Coker, Wall Street Journal, Firms Aided Libyan Spies: First Look Inside Security Unit Shows How Citizens Were Tracked, 30 Aug 2011 "The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: "Help keep our classified business secret. Don't discuss classified information out of the HQ.""

There's also this: Peter Murray, Singularity Hub, Internet Spy Room Found In Tripoli – Packed With Western Technology, 12 Sep 2011 which contains some further links and comments.

Yemen news

A reminder about internet news on Yemen. It's difficult to keep up with everything, so a few useful entry points are listed here. As well as numerous twitter sources via  #Yemen (such as Yemen Watch), I'm checking BBC Arabic, the Live Yemen blog and CNN on Yemen.

Opinion piece on NYPD Mapping

Amna Akbar,, Blueprints: Mapping US Muslim Communities, 19 Sep 2011 "The NYPD method for mapping home-grown terrorism is flawed and infringes on First Amendment rights, scholar argues. Without any rigorous data or reliable methodology, the report provides justification to spy on almost any Muslim in the United States. Perhaps even more troubling, it invites focused law enforcement surveillance on places where Muslims gather, on political opinions associated with Muslim communities, and on Muslim religious practice."

"Key cleric calls for more prayer, less Web surfing"

LA Times, Babylon & Beyond, IRAN: Key cleric calls for more prayer, less Web surfing, 20 Sep 2011 "An influential Iranian ayatollah is telling his students to spend more time praying and less time clicking through cyberspace. "Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, a conservative Islamic cleric and chairman of the Imam Khomeini Research and Education Institute in Qom, said the Internet is rife with dangers and temptations that lead to family problems. He urged seminaries to be vigilant, according to the Mehr news agency."

Steve Jobs

Palash R. Ghosh, International Business Times, Steve Jobs: The Most Famous Arab in the World, 25 Aug 2011 "Jobs' biological father is a man named Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian who was a political science graduate student when he met Jobs’ biological mother, an American named Joanne Simpson."

This 'news' has generated substantial discussion on fora and elsewhere, for example:

Farrukh I. Younus, OnIslam, Apple: A Reminder on Innovation, 30 Aug 2011

"Numerous articles across the internet suggest that while he may not have been raised by Muslim parents, his Muslim-ness is in his genes. Ironically, the Qur’an is quite clear on the value of individual merit, shunning the view that recognition is based on a person's heritage. In a society increasingly confused between their wants and their needs, many of us have misunderstood the measure of productivity, with the knock-on impact being placed on how we measure value."

(Somehow, I missed this thread from a few weeks ago ...)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Arab Spring 'punditry'

Tabsir,, Arab Spring’ Is All About Sex, Apparently "Now that we are about to officially head into the Autumnal paradox of the Arab Spring, there is no limit to the excess of punditry about why it happened, is happening and will continue to happen."

KSA e-gov, E-government ‘falls short of aspirations’, 14 Sep 2011 "The electronic government program, which was introduced in the Kingdom back in 2003, has so far not been able to satisfy the ambitions of citizens and only made slow progress, officials involved in the project said Wednesday. "

KSA phone subs up, Cell phone subscriptions cross 54.8m, 14 Sep 2011 "The number of mobile phone subscriptions in the Kingdom reached about 54.8 million by the first half of this year, according to an electronic bulletin published by the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC)."

'Iran bans ‘love triangles’ and ‘half-naked men’ on TV Special', Iran bans ‘love triangles’ and ‘half-naked men’ on TV Special, 13 Sep 2011 "One young blogger from Tehran, who has written in English since his Persian blog was filtered, thinks the bans on love triangles and half-naked men will have no impact on content. “Who does this affect? Swimmers? I have never seen much flesh in TV except during sports.”

Houston's Muslims: 'Offering competing messages via YouTube'

Zain Shauk, Houston Chronicle, Offering competing messages via YouTube, 10 Sep 2011 "The script is a familiar one: A Muslim, inspired by radical online videos, turns to violent extremism. "It is a reality that, although confined to a small minority of Muslims, cannot be ignored, community members say. So Houston Muslims this week - 10 years after a group of extremists unleashed the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history - decided to do something about it: They turned to YouTube."

The Taliban's Internet Strategy

Useful article/op-ed:

Bashir Ahmad Gwakh, RFE/RL, The Taliban's Internet Strategy, 10 Sep 2011 "Although the Taliban has numerous blogs and websites, two of their official websites, and (mostly videos), are their main official tools of propaganda. "Along with pictures and videos, they provide text materials in Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Persian, Urdu, and English."

I've been looking at Taliban sites for several years - there has been a long-term presence online (I wrote about them in Virtually Islamic).

'Tehran rocks, but only under ground'

Reuters, Tehran rocks, but only under ground, 14 Sep 2011 Angband profiled along with other bands:

"Clad head-to-toe in black -- the international uniform of heavy metal -- Mahyar Dean looks the archetype hard rock guitar hero. "But along with the mandatory Marshall amplifier and out-sized drum kit, his group, Angband, also boasts a couple of goatskin percussion instruments that have been a familiar part of Persian music for centuries."

I'm now listening to Angband on, with my speakers turned up to 11 (this may alarm my colleagues).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Student in al-Qaida raid paid £20,000 by police"

Guardian, Student in al-Qaida raid paid £20,000 by police, 14 Sep 2011 "Police say sorry and pay damages to student held for seven days after downloading al-Qaida manual for his masters degree"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

aq 9-11 Video

AFP, Al-Qaeda releases 9/11 anniversary video, 13 Sep 2011 "Al-Qaeda has released a video marking the anniversary of 9/11 which includes a message from its slain leader Osama bin Laden to the American people, monitoring group SITE Intelligence said Tuesday."

Syria: poetry and film montage relating to protests

سورية بصوت الأدان

Compilation of film clips relating to Syrian protests (contains violent images), together with poetry.  Sourced via Facebook Syrian Revolution

'Al Qaeda and 10 years of e-jihad'

Khaled Wassef, CBS News, Al Qaeda and 10 years of e-jihad, 9 Sep 2011 "Alarmed by the decline in members' contributions, a recent posting by blogger "al-Assad al-Tha'er" at the Shumukh al-Islam forum addressed the "reasons that led to the decline of activity on the jihadi blogs." ""The main section on the forum which used to be abuzz with messages, now could stay for hours without a single response posted," al-Tha'er said, "and the same goes for Ansar al-Mujahideen and al-Fidaa forums."" Opinion. Perhaps there is also migration to other online tools ...

'Captain Jihad'

Robin McDowell, AP, Captain Jihad: Ex-terrorist is now comic book hero, 9 Sep 2011 "The real life adventures of former al-Qaida-linked militant Nasir Abas have become a comic book in Indonesia, chronicling his transformation from foe to invaluable ally in the fight against terrorism."

'Al-Qaeda vulnerable but Yemen branch growing threat: US'

Dan De Luce, AFP, Al-Qaeda vulnerable but Yemen branch growing threat: US, 13 Sep 2011 "Al-Qaeda's core leadership has been severely damaged but the network's affiliate in Yemen has exploited unrest there and poses a growing danger, US intelligence chiefs said Tuesday."

'AlJazeera Deletes From its Website Content that Disturb the US Government', Wikileaks: AlJazeera Deletes From its Website Content that Disturb the US Government, 11 Sep 2011, "A confidential US cables from US embassy in Doha, Qatar where Aljazeera head quarter is located and was published recently on Wikileaks, reveals that Al Jazeera Managing Director Wadah Khanfar has agreed to US government request to delete and altar website content that “disturb” the US government."

Wikileaks on Jordan, Wikileaks: Jordanian government officials envision Jordan as the “India of the Middle East”, 7 Sep 2011 "A US diplomatic cable sent from US embassy in Amman and published on Wikileaks this week discussed Jordan’s IT sector status and plans after Yahoo acquisition of Jordanian portal Maktoob."

Jordanian Youth Movement Launches Online Petition, Jordanian Youth Movement Launches Online Petition Against “Constitutional Patches”, Faces Cyber Attack, 8 Sep 2011 "Jordanian youth movement has launched online petition rejecting the proposed Jordanian constitutional amendments and in demand for a comprehensive reform."

Monday, September 12, 2011

The 99 - update

The 99 Newsletter mentions the forthcoming film, TV series and documentary. The film premieres in New York. See, The 99 - Unbound

Ghalia Mahmoud

The Observer, Egyptian television chef hailed as the 'cook of the revolution', 11 Sep 2011 "Ghalia Mahmoud gains huge following with her mix of thrifty cuisine and all-inclusive message for a new Egypt."  Also see other reports, including:

'10 Years After 9/11' opinion piece

Brian Levin, Huffington Post, 10 Years After 9/11: A Degraded Yet Dangerous Al Qaeda Adapts & Inspires opinion piece "Ten years ago a much more potent al Qaeda organization still had a virtually complete inability to harness the Internet to reach disaffected youth in the United States in English in a compelling manner that actually presented a tangible threat. That has now changed, and has made more autonomous small cells and loners more of a threat than they have previously been."

Archive postings on 9/11

I've been looking at some of the material I posted 10 years ago, in relation to 9/11. Many of the links have expired, but here's a few interesting articles: Newsweek, Did Encryption Empower These Terrorists? CAIR, CAIR's Anti-Terror Campaign MSNBC, Anti-Arab sentiment festers online, 11 September 2001 (link deleted) Cosmiverse, Did Echelon Overlook Terrorist Threat?, 14 September 2001 Take a look at my archive listing for more related links: Virtually Islamic, Archive: News about Islam, Muslims and Cyberspace.

'The 9/11 Wars'

Huffington Post, Jason Burke: 'The Problem Is Not Islam But A Fusion Of The Secular And The Religious' Relates to Jason Burke's new book/opinon, 'The 9/11 Wars' (which I haven't read!).


OnIslam, Decade After 9/11, Al-Qaeda in Shambles, 11 Sep 2011 opinion piece

'US Professor Argues Muslim Support For Al-Qaeda Is Only Skin-Deep'

RFE-RL/, US Professor Argues Muslim Support For Al-Qaeda Is Only Skin-Deep, 12 Sep 2011 "Ever since New York’s twin towers fell, one widespread view of the 9/11 attacks has drawn on the idea of a “clash of civilizations,” a term popularized by Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington. In this interpretation, Al-Qaeda’s war on the West is merely part of a larger and essentially unavoidable fight between two opposed cultural realms defined by Islam and Christianity. It’s basically a tale of two irreconcilable worldviews fighting to the death. "Now, just in time for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, eminent University of North Carolina sociologist Charles Kurzman is weighing in with a contrary take. The title of his provocative new book puts it right out there: “The Missing Martyrs: Why Are There So Few Muslim Terrorists?”"

Book details are here: OUP, Charles Kurzman, “The Missing Martyrs: Why Are There So Few Muslim Terrorists?” I've not read this one yet.

'Iranian Hacker: I Did It on My Own'

NIS, Iranian Hacker: I Did It on My Own, 10 Sep 2011 "The Iranian hacker that hacked into IT security firm Diginotar says he acted alone in giving false security certificates to "certain people in Iran." He also says that the action was a protest against Geert Wilders."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Post-Sept. 11 Saudi Arabia Modernizing, Slowly

NPR, Post-Sept. 11 Saudi Arabia Modernizing, Slowly "Al Rabah is now a 23-year-old journalist with Shams newspaper in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. He wears T-shirts and ripped jeans, is Internet savvy, and like many Saudis his age wants his country to be globally connected and widely respected."

'Al-Azhar Blossoms in Arab Revolutions', Al-Azhar Blossoms in Arab Revolutions, 4 Sep 2011 "Submitted to strongman leaders, Al-Azhar's role waned just as firebrand preachers with less religious learning began spreading their religious views on the Internet and satellite TV."

Seminar on dawa sites on the Internet

arabnews,com, Seminar on dawa sites on the Internet, 7 Sep 2011

"The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance will organize a two-day seminar in Riyadh in October on Saudi websites specializing in dawa.

"Assistant undersecretary of the ministry Abdul Mohsen Al-Asheikh said the seminar on Oct. 5-6 is aimed at evaluating dawa activities on the Internet, encourage people to join these sites and coordinate efforts in fighting extremism."

Xinjiang attacks: online announcement

BBC News, Islamic militant group 'behind Xinjiang attacks', 8 Sep 2011 "A militant Islamic group has released a video saying it was behind recent attacks in China's Xinjiang region which left dozens of people dead, a US internet monitoring group says."

op-ed: Political Repression 2.0

Evgeny Morozov, NYT, Political Repression 2.0, 8 Sep 2011 "Agents of the East German Stasi could only have dreamed of the sophisticated electronic equipment that powered Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s extensive spying apparatus, which the Libyan transitional government uncovered earlier this week. The monitoring of text messages, e-mails and online chats — no communications seemed beyond the reach of the eccentric colonel."

Britain's Muslim Soldiers - Voiceless yet Victorious

Britain's Muslim Soldiers - Voiceless yet Victorious "The Shared War Project is a cross-community programme that retells the accounts of Muslim soldiers and also draws attention to African, African-Caribbean, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh and British efforts. For almost 4 years, we have witnessed the impact of telling these shared stories first-hand at schools, youth centres and community events. The Project encourages young people to view Britain as their home, to appreciate the contributions of their ancestors and to see themselves as stakeholders in Britain and not as voiceless subjects within a foreign land." [thanks to Yahya Birt for the link]

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Eid ul-Fitr timing issues

Jerome Taylor, Independent, Saudi star-gazers accused of bungling dates of Ramadan, 6 Sep 2011 "When is a moon not a moon? That is the question vexing Islamic astronomers after accusations that Saudi Arabia had jumped the gun in declaring the festival of Eid ul-Fitr because they mistook Saturn for the Moon."

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Jihadist videos

AP, Suspect admits killing US airmen at German airport, 31 Aug 2011  "Uka, dressed in jeans, sneakers and a crisp white shirt with rolled-up sleeves, smiled at his attorneys as he was brought in and his handcuffs were removed. But he wept repeatedly as he recounted the attack and watched the jihadist videos he said motivated him."