Monday, October 31, 2011

Muslims combat radicalization with online tools

Washington Post, Muslims combat radicalization with online tools, 25 Oct 2011

"A Muslim organization is working to counter radicalization by providing the work of progressive Islam scholars online in simple, youth-friendly language. "Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), a nonprofit group that has established liberal Muslim communities in the U.S. and Canada, created the

“Literary Zikr' website to provide an alternative to the fundamentalist versions of Islam that pervade the Internet."

More info: Muslims for Progressive Values

'Iran cyber police cite U.S. threat'

Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, Iran cyber police cite U.S. threat, 29 Oct 2011 "An Iranian police unit that was formed this year to counter alleged Internet crimes is playing a key role in an escalating online conflict between the United States and the Islamic Republic."

Monday, October 24, 2011


Sihem Bensedrine, Guardian CIF< Tunisian elections: There can be no risk-free democracy, 23 Oct 2011

'Egyptian jailed over 'insulting' Facebook posts'

ABC Australia, Egyptian jailed over 'insulting' Facebook posts, 23 Oct 2011 "An Egyptian court has sentenced a man to three years in jail with hard labour for insulting Islam in postings on Facebook, the official MENA news agency reported. "A Cairo court found that Ayman Yusef Mansur "intentionally insulted the dignity of the Islamic religion and attacked it with insults and ridicule online"."

'The bottom line for the online generation: Internet and cyberspace in Iran'

Maryam Ala Amjadi, Tehran Times, The bottom line for the online generation: Internet and cyberspace in Iran, 23 Oct 2011 "The internet has not only impacted the overall dimensions of Iranian youth and their lifestyle but has also contributed to the definition and the making of youth culture. It has been so deeply integrated into the everyday life of the young generation that it seems impossible to imagine them and their days sans internet. Perhaps this is one of the reasons as to why a good number of social experts in Iran of today believe in the potential power of internet in promoting cultural values and issues and expanding them to the families via their young members. "

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi 'killed', Muammar Gaddafi killed in Sirte, 20 Oct 2011 "Al Jazeera has acquired exclusive footage of the body of Muammar Gaddafi after he was killed in his hometown, Sirte.

"Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured near Sirte on Thursday."

Coverage on Facebook, Libya Youth Movement contains the latest pictures

Also see BBC News, Gaddafi 'captor' brandished golden pistol, 20 Oct 2011

Khamenei discusses Facebook

RFE/FL, Iran's Supreme Leader Issues Ambiguous Fatwa Regarding Facebook, 14 Oct 2011 ""Since Facebook has been filtered in Iran, is logging on to such a website to stay in touch with friends, without having any activity against the national interests of the Islamic republic, wrong?"

"This question was recently put to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reportedly by an Iranian via mail.

"Ayatollah Khamenei's written response, posted on Iranian websites, was ambiguous:

""In general if it requires engaging in [immorality and evil acts] (such as spreading corruption, lies, and false materials) or if there is concern that it is sinful, or it strengthens the enemies of Islam and Muslims, it is not permissible. Otherwise it's fine," he wrote."

"Internet clubs of Muslim women", New Vol. of Muslim woman Journal Published in Moscow, 20 Oct 2011 announcing a magazine: "Introduction of the models for Muslim women, Hazrat Zeynab (SA), interview with a Russian Muslim female activist, Quranic school, teachings of Haj, reality of piety, internet clubs of Muslim woman and Persian miniature are some of the articles of the issue."

‘Internet assassin’ joins swap arrivals in Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News, ‘Internet assassin’ joins swap arrivals in Turkey, 19 Oct 2011 "Eleven former Palestinian released by Israel arrived in Ankara yesterday. Amina Muna, known as the ‘Internet assassin,’ unexpectedly joined the group at the last minute after she refused to go to Gaza."

Op-ed: "Why Muslim women in the Middle East are doing Better than their Peers in UK?"

Iqbal Tamimi, Director for Arab Women Media Watch Centre in UK, Middle East Online, Why Muslim women in the Middle East are doing Better than their Peers in UK?, 17 Oct 2011

"Alriyadh, the national Saudi newspaper published an interesting story on December, 18, 2008, about an unusual marriage condition requested by a Saudi woman at the court of the city of Qatif, where she demanded that her future husband should provide her with 3 personal computers as part of her Dowry, and that he should guarantee her a lifetime access to internet. The groom refused her request, claiming that “internet has bad influence on women and facilitates 'virtual' mixing between men and women”. This incident indicates how important the internet has become in the life of Muslim women especially those who are isolated for social or health reasons. But this incident also shows that internet flirting is a major concern for Saudi men who are living in a segregated society, even though they make the highest percentage of subscribers on dating websites in the Arab region."

Reading list: 'Rock the Casbah'

Alas, 'Rock the Casbah' is not a reference to the Clash, but a review of an intriguing new book:

Nomi Morris,, Welcome to the counter-jihad, 20 Oct 2011 "In Rock the Casbah, veteran journalist and Middle East analyst Robin Wright seeks to ease these worried minds. A “counter-jihad” movement has arisen in recent years that preceded – and continues to inspire – the reformers who took to the Arab street, Wright says. This counter-jihad can be felt across all 57 predominantly Muslim countries and includes the powerful constituencies of clerics, women and youth under 30, who make up more 60 per cent of the globe’s 1.57 billion Muslims."

I haven't read this one yet.  The book's webpage is here: Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, by Robin Wright, Simon & Schuster

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tunisian election 2011: protesters demand freedom of speech - video

Guardian, Tunisian election 2011: protesters demand freedom of speech - video


'In Egypt, young and tech-savvy Islamists try to project new image'

Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, In Egypt, young and tech-savvy Islamists try to project new image, 13 Oct 2011 ""Where's My Ear?" is a satire on the colliding passions and deep suspicions between liberals and ultraconservative Muslims like him, known as Salafis, who have become a pronounced political voice in the new Egypt. The short film has gotten more than 80,000 hits on YouTube and has made [Mohamed] Tolba a celebrity and a curiosity among the Koran set." Mohamed Tolba's video is here


Amir Karimuddin,, Salam World is “Facebook” with Islamic Content. Seriously?, 18 Oct 2011  "When I heard the information about yet another social network site with Islamic content, honestly I accept it skeptically. Moreover when I read the information about Salam World that is projected to be “Facebook” with Islamic concept. As cited from some media, the “Salam World” management is now visiting Indonesia, including to Majelis Ulama Indonesia (Indonesian Ulema Council), the Ministry of Religion, Bank Muamalat to promote its product that will be launched in April 2012." The site will be here, but only has a splash page at present:

Arab Media: Globalization and Emerging Media Industries

Book announcement Khalil Rinnawi, Muhammad Ayish, Noha Mellor and Nabil Dajani, Arab Media: Globalization and Emerging Media Industries (Polity, 2011) [thanks to digitalislam for the tip!]

I haven't seen this book yet

Report: In the Name of God: Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries, Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries Report "The OpenNet Initiative published its report In the Name of God: Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries authored by Helmi Noman. The paper "analyzes the Internet censorship policies and practices of majority Muslim countries and finds that in many of these countries online information controls are primarily based on the Islamic faith and interpretations of its instructions."" Here's the pdf link: ONI, Report: In the Name of God: Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries

Malaysia: 'Muslims need to counter Islamophobia on the net', Muslims need to counter Islamophobia on the net: Ahmad Shabery, 19 Oct 2011 "Muslims need to have knowledge and expertise on information technology (IT) to counter Islamophobia in cyberspace, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek."

'Intel alliance offers sharia-compliant laptop loans', Intel alliance offers sharia-compliant laptop loans, 18 Oct 2011 "Intel is working with an Islamic bank to offer consumers Pakistan’s first large-scale hire purchase scheme for personal computers, aiming to increase its market share in the country."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Maikel Nabil Sanad, Detained blogger Maikel Nabil to be retried, 11 Oct 2011 "A military court decided Tuesday to drop a three-year prison sentence handed down to Maikel Nabil, who he will be retried in another district."

NPR, Egyptian Blogger To Face Retrial; His Hunger Strike Approaches 50 Days, 11 Oct 2011

Shahira Amin, CNN, Egyptian blogger, imprisoned and hungry, is steadfast in his protest of regime, 6 Oct 2011

Egyptian protests

Guardian, Middle East Blog, Egypt violence - Monday 10 October as it happened

The Atlantic, Egypt's Anti-Christian Violence: How Things Got So Bad, 12 Oct 2011 "The specific rights and wrongs of this disturbing episode will be litigated on Twitter, Facebook, and Egypt's lively talk shows, but largely to no real good or progress."

AhramOnline, Outrage over state TV's misinformation and anti-Coptic incitement, 12 Oct 2011, Video exposes military abuse of Coptic protester, 12 Oct 2011

'NYPD secretly probed Muslim student groups'

AP/Detroit Free Press, NYPD secretly probed Muslim student groups, 11 Oct 2011 "Investigators have been infiltrating Muslim student groups at Brooklyn College and other schools in the city, monitoring their Internet activity and placing undercover agents in their ranks, police documents obtained by the Associated Press show. "

'Malaysia's youth energises political landscape'

Radio Australia, Malaysia's youth energises political landscape, 11 Oct 2011 "Malaysia's youngest sitting politician says his generation of leaders is ready to move away from race-based politics. "Politics in Malaysia is centred on race and religion, with the Malay UMNO dominating a multi-racial political coalition." Refers to blogs, and the impact of the internet in this audio interview with Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

Ayman al-Zawahri on Libya, New Qaeda chief urges Islamic rule in Libya, 12 Oct 2011 "Al-Qaeda’s new leader is calling on Libyan fighters who overthrew Muammar Qaddafi to set up an Islamic state and urges Algerians to revolt against their longtime leader in remarks in a new Internet video."

'New statement from the Anṣār al-Mujāhidīn English Forum'

Aaron Y. Zelin,, New statement from the Anṣār al-Mujāhidīn English Forum: “Marking the Martyrdom of Imām Anwar al-’Awlaqī and Samīr Khān”, 11 Oct 2011

'Putting a Spin on the Arab Spring'

R. Green, MEMRI, Putting a Spin on the Arab Spring: Al-Qaeda Struggles to Prove Its Relevance in the Era of the Arab Revolutions

"Not only did the uprisings marginalize Al-Qaeda's role in the actual political scene, they also brought to the fore ideas that marginalize Al-Qaeda's own ideology, such as the Arab peoples' public commitment to greater freedom and democracy. Moreover, Al-Qaeda was forced to lay out a new strategy for an Arab and Muslim world dominated by new, more pluralistic and democratic rules and values."

Analysis and opinion.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blackberry down

BBC News, Blackberry services down in Europe, Middle East and Africa, 10 Oct 2011

'Iranian star of Australian-produced film to be lashed', Iranian star of Australian-produced film to be lashed, 11 Oct 2011 "An Iranian actress will be jailed for a year and lashed 90 times for starring in an Australian film production about the Western influence on life in the Islamic republic." Refers to Marzieh Vafamehr from the film 'My Tehran for Sale'. There are several internet references in this story. I haven't seen this film: IMDb has details, and here's the trailer:

Hip Hop UK/USA, Hip Hop Link between Culture and Faith for Filmmaker "San Francisco filmmaker Mustafa Davis wanted to see how music became a link between Muslim identity and Western culture."

Hope this one gets shown in the UK - it sources UK and US artists.

'Fear Inc.'

Opinion piece: Farha Khaled,, Fear Inc. exposes the recession-proof Islamophobia industry, 9 Oct 2011 "A six-month research project by the prominent think tank, Center for American Progress has resulted in a 130-page report appropriately named Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America. This is the first in-depth investigation into Islamophobia, and it sheds lights on how a small group of bigots linked to conservative and Zionist causes each play a role in the seemingly lucrative industry of Muslim hatred and bashing Islam." The report is here:, Fear Inc.

'Dead cleric’s videos may find eternal life online'

Omar Sacirbey| Religion News Service, Washington Post, Dead cleric’s videos may find eternal life online, 6 Oct 2011 "The threat is compounded by al-Awlaki’s continuing online presence. His writings and lectures can be viewed on websites with names like (The Strangers), (Prayer time),, and, as well as blogs devoted to spreading his videos and writings. "Several al-Awlaki videos have received more than 100,000 views, including one titled “Major Signs Before the Day of Judgment,” with more than 260,000 views."

Friday, October 07, 2011

'Iran Warns of Facebook's Soft Power'

Hossein Aryan, RFE/RL, Iran Warns of Facebook's Soft Power, 6 Oct 2011 "An Iranian official warned this week that the expansion of social-media networks is harming society and called the country's 17 million Facebook users a threat to the country's Islamic values.

"Mehdi Jafari, who heads the technology and intelligence section of the Pupil's Basij militia -- which runs programs for 12-17 years olds -- told a gathering of teachers in the northern town of Amol on October 3 that the effects of the blogosphere on Iranian society can no longer be ignored."

Anwar al-Awlaki

Middle East Online, ‘Mowing the grass’ in Yemen, 7 Oct 2011 opinion piece "Claims that Awlaki was an Al-Qaeda leader or that he was directly involved in any terrorist action have never been substantiated. His murder was clearly just another feather in Obama’s warrior headdress as he launches his re-election campaign this autumn, notes Eric Walberg"

'Taliban Using Modern Means to Add to Sway'

Alissa J. Rubin, NYT, Taliban Using Modern Means to Add to Sway, 5 Oct 2011 "Punctually, at 8 o’clock every evening, the cellphone signals disappear in this provincial capital. Under pressure from the Taliban, the major carriers turn off their signal towers, effectively severing most of the connections to the rest of the world. "

Email scammers becoming increasingly creative

Luiz Sanchez, Email scammers becoming increasingly creative, using Arab leaders, 5 Oct 2011 "Emails posing as close aides of deposed Arab leaders such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi have offered recipients an amazing deal: give them your full bank account details and they will transfer millions of dollars from the corrupt regime’s offshore accounts in order to safeguard it."

'Wrong interpretations of dreams cause family chaos: Grand Mufti'

Saudi Gazette, Wrong interpretations of dreams cause family chaos: Grand Mufti, 7 Oct 2011 "The Grand Mufti denounced the false innovation of dream interpretation and the proliferation of TV channels and Internet websites which are approached by gullible viewers with a request to interpret their dreams.

"“All these are based on intentions to make money from innocent viewers. The so-called dream interpreter, satellite channels and telecommunication companies divide among themselves the ill-gotten profits they gather from people,” the Grand Mufti was quoted by Al-Madina Arabic newspaper as saying.

"“Dream interpretation has become a lucrative trade. Actually, many of the interpretations cause only concern and harm,” he was quoted as saying."

'Iran's digital media fair kicks off'

PressTV, Iran's digital media fair kicks off, 6 Oct 2011 "“Iran's Digital Media Fair is the biggest exhibition in the field of digital media in the Middle East,” IRNA quoted Head of the Digital Media Center of Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Isa Zarepour as saying on Thursday. "Zarepour also said this year's exhibition features a special section on the Islamic Awakening and digital media whose goal is to deepen focus on the Islamic Awakening in the region."

'The Life Cycle of a Refugee Camp Along the Tunisia-Libya Border'

Emily Parker,, The Life Cycle of a Refugee Camp Along the Tunisia-Libya Border, 5 Oct 2011 "Satellite dishes adorn dozens of tents, and one refugee that we encountered was checking his Facebook page using an “Internet Everywhere” USB key— apparently “everywhere” extends to refugee camps in the middle of the desert. "As we wandered among the rows of tents, melodies of Lady Gaga blasted from some and mixed with regional music booming from others."

'Iran: Internet Access Limited Further', Iran: Internet Access Limited Further, 4 Oct 2011 "Iran has widely blocked the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to keep Iranian web users from circumventing the government’s filters."

Steve Jobs

Guardian, Steve Jobs obituary, 6 Oct 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Media coverage of Islam

Get Religion, Anwar al-Awlaki’s many faces, 3 Oct 2011 opinion: "Anwar al-Awlaki was reportedly killed by a U.S. drone strike on Friday morning. He was as the New York Times describes him “the American-born cleric whose fiery sermons made him a larger-than-life figure in the shadowy world of jihad.” "But that is not how the New York Times always described him. It’s interesting to review the coverage he received over the years and what, if anything, that can tell us about media coverage of Islam in America."

'Beyond Yemen'

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, CSM, Beyond Yemen, Awlaki: Look for core Al Qaeda members outside the hot spots, 3 Oct 2011

"Awlaki's Killing No Interest for Arabs", opinion, Awlaki's Killing No Interest for Arabs, 3 Oct 2011 "The killing was heavily covered in the US with American analysts involved in lengthy discussions about the fallout of his death. "But the impact of Awlaki's death was much less in the Arab countries. ""I don't think this will really get people's interest, I can't imagine why it would,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center."

'Iran's War On Fun'

Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL, 2 Oct 2011 "A woman in the Iranian city of Mashhad has become the latest victim of Iran's longest-standing and most unconventional war -- the war against fun."

The Egyptian Revolution: Women, Islam And Social Change

Karen Torjesen,, The Egyptian Revolution: Women, Islam And Social Change

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan

Plenty of coverage relating to Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. I had been writing about al-Awlaki for a forthcoming chapter; both al-Awlaki and Khan are referred to in iMuslims. Click on the labels for back stories on Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan.

Here's a round-up:

AP, 2 US citizens dead in Yemen airstrike, 30 Sep 2011 "U.S. officials say Samir Khan and al-Awlaki were killed early Friday in a strike on a convoy in Yemen. The strike was carried out by the CIA and U.S. Joint Special Operations Command. Khan edited the slick Western-style Internet publication "Inspire Magazine" that attracted many readers.", Anwar al-Awlaki was typically modern and charismatic, say experts, 3 Oct 2011 "The real danger lay in his being a modern terrorist who mastered a variety of skills that facilitated the operations he commanded, said Nabila Ramadani, a journalist and an expert on Islamist movements. 

"“Awlaki spoke fluent English and excelled in using modern technologies like the internet and especially websites like You Tube, as well as social networking websites,” she said on Al Arabiya’s Panorama."

ABC News, American Jihadi Samir Khan Killed With Awlaki, 30 Sep 2011 "A young American who edited al Qaeda's English-language magazine, and had urged Muslims to mount deadly attacks on U.S. targets, was killed in the same CIA drone strike that eliminated Anwar Awlaki in Yemen Friday, U.S. officials said."

Will McCants,, English-Speaking Jihadis Lose Principal Propagandists, 30 Sep 2011

Suzanne Kelly, CNN Senior National Security Producer, Samir Khan: Proud to be an American traitor, 

CBS News, NC Muslims tried to change al-Qaida supporter

USA Today, At Islamic center, relief Awlaki can no longer 'spread hate', 3 Oct 2011 "Members of the suburban, Washington D.C., Islamic center where Anwar al-Awlaki once served as Imam condemned his terrorist activities following his death Friday."

Aaron Y. Zelin, Foreign Policy, American Jihadi: The death of Samir Khan in Yemen marks the end of a key figure in the Internet jihad, 30 Sep 2011 "Although Khan was never in the same league as Awlaki in terms of religious stature and oratory skills, Khan made up for it in his ability to connect disparate groups online and facilitate information not necessarily readily available in English. For thousands of would-be radicals, he made the jihadi cause accessible. As such, if Khan indeed is dead, he will go down as one of the most important pioneers and influential figures in the history of the American jihadi movement."

Then there's this:

Yemen Post, Al-Qaeda Claims al-Awlaki is Still Alive, 3 Oct 2011 "As the U.S government is relishing its victory over al-Qaeda with the alleged death of several of the group's top leaders, amongst whom well-known cleric and mastermind in al-Qaeda in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki; the terror group has announced that the allegations were false and that al-Awlaki was still very alive."

Adam Bates, Washington Post, Letters, No jury for Mr. Awlaki