Saturday, December 31, 2011

'Rafsanjani Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order '

RFE/RL, Rafsanjani Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order, 30 Dec 2011 "Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's office manager and younger brother, Mohammad Hashemi, confirmed today in an interview with Iran's ILNA news agency that the website of the former president and head of the Expediency Council has been blocked after officials intervened over the site's content."

Qur’an project for Filipinos launched, Qur’an project for Filipinos launched, 30 Dec 2011 "The Industrial City Dawa Office will print 20,000 copies of the Qur'an translation and commentary in Tagalog for distribution among the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world, said Fuad Kawther, general manager of IDCO. "“We'll also set up a website on the Internet for this Qur'an project, so that Tagalog speakers all over the world can access this great work,” Kawther told Arab News."

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Dogged Syrians film Arab monitors' every move", Dogged Syrians film Arab monitors' every move, 30 Dec 2011 "Arab peace observers touring crisis-hit Syria have been closely tracked by intrepid activists who, armed with camera-equipped mobile phones, provide the only glimpse into spiraling violence."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Egypt: Female blogger asks women to unveil themselves

EnerPub - Energy Publisher, Egypt: Female blogger asks women to unveil themselves, 27 Dec 2011 "The young Egyptian blogger who set off a firestorm because of the nude photographs of herself that circulated on the Internet is now demanding that Muslim men should cover themselves with the hijab: the veil traditionally worn by devout Muslim women."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cambridge Digital Library, Islamic Manuscripts

New and noted: Cambridge Digital Library, Islamic Manuscripts (includes several examples of Qur'anic manuscripts)

Tarek Mehanna case

AP, Mass. man convicted of conspiring to help al-Qaida, 20 Dec 2011 "Prosecutors said Mehanna and two friends conspired to travel to Yemen so they could receive training at a terrorism camp and eventually go on to Iraq to fight and kill U.S. soldiers there.

"When the men were unable to find such a training camp, Mehanna returned home and began to see himself as part of the al-Qaida "media wing," translating materials promoting violent jihad and distributing them over the Internet, prosecutors said."

Also see the comments of  Andrew March in this article.

German man charged with spreading Islamist internet propaganda, German man charged with spreading Islamist internet propaganda, 19 Dec 2011

'Gay Marriage Sparks Malaysia Uproar'

OnIslam, Gay Marriage Sparks Malaysia Uproar, 20 Dec 2011 "The controversy also dominated the virtual world on the micro-blogging site Twitter with many tweets condemning the Malaysian student for straying from Islam and dishonoring his family."

Alwaleed bin Talal - Twitter

Brian Whitaker, Guardian, Alwaleed bin Talal: from Saudi prince to king of Twitter?, 20 Dec 2011 "The $300m deal has caused some alarm, but this royal family member is much more progressive than his relatives."

Pioneer Bloggers in the Gulf Arab States

Sultan Al-Qassemi,, Pioneer Bloggers in the Gulf Arab States, 20 Dec 2012 "Long before Facebook updates and 140-character tweets, a number of cyber activists defined the landscape of non-government led opinion in the Gulf Arab states. In less than a decade, a group of bloggers—many of whom have never met—has paved the way for the emergence of the “other opinion” that was and continues to be largely missing from the government controlled Gulf Arab media. The shake-up to traditional media that these blogging pioneers caused was no less significant than what Al Jazeera’s arrival did to the moribund government-controlled television channels of the Arab world." Useful article [posted retrospectively]

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Bringing London’s “Christmas Bombers” to Trial'

Raffaello Pantucci, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 9 Issue: 46, Bringing London’s “Christmas Bombers” to Trial, December 16, 2011 "Five of the men are also accused of possessing material useful in the preparation of terrorism, and four are charged with owning two editions of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine and a copy of Saudi ideologue Muhammad bin Ahmad as-Salim’s famous tract “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad”"

Writer is the author of a forthcoming book We Love Death as You Love Life: Britain’s Suburban Mujahedeen (Hurst/Columbia University Press)

Also posted in my Islam in Britain blog

Media conference

Arab News, Muslim media’s balancing power stressed at Jakarta conference, 16 Dec 2011 "The second international Islamic media conference held at Jakarta’s Sultan Hotel from Dec. 12 to 15 has called on Muslim media organizations around the world to strengthen their cooperation in defending Muslim causes, spreading the message of Islam and promoting world peace and stability."

'Why the Arab Spring Is Here to Stay'

Newsweek, Why the Arab Spring Is Here to Stay, 18 Dec 2011 "The level of contact and communication these Arabs enjoy was inconceivable to their parents. And yet the young people take it for granted, as part of the natural order in which they’re growing up."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Al-Shabab's tweets [@HSMPress]

Jason Burke, Guardian, Al-Shabab's tweets won't boost its cause, 16 Dec 2011

"Somalia's al-Shabab militants are now using Twitter. You can follow the account @HSMPress – derived from the Shabab's full name, Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen, or Movement of Freedom Fighter Youth – for pithy updates on their violent campaign to bring a rigorous version of conservative Islam to east Africa and beyond, all in 140 characters or less. The account already has more than 3,000 followers. Are the al-Shabab tweeters jealous of their Afghan Taliban counterparts whose own account @alemarahweb has 6,000 followers? Like all Twitter users they'd deny it, of course – and probably be lying."

'Hackers Take Down Anti-Muslim Website', Hackers Take Down Anti-Muslim Website, 15 Dec 2011 "The hacktivist group Anonymous shut down a website rallying against the show "All-American Muslim," as political protest shifts to the online arena."

'Iran says Internet now a 'battlefield''

Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin/WorldNetDaily, Iran says Internet now a 'battlefield': New army of 'cyber-jihadists' working on disruption strategy, 16 Dec 2011

'Tunisia: An ongoing experiment in the revolutionary lab'

Anshel Pfeffer, Ha'aretz, Tunisia: An ongoing experiment in the revolutionary lab, 14 Dec 2011 "A year after the self-immolation of a vegetable vendor in Tunisia sparked a political tidal wave across the Arab world, it's hard to point to much positive change in the North African country. Unemployment remains high, Islamists won a plurality in elections, and women fight to wear the niqab in public."

Tarek Mehanna trial (USA)

Adam Serwer, Mother Jones, Does Posting Jihadist Material Make Tarek Mehanna a Terrorist?, 16 Dec 2011 "Civil liberties advocates say the case represents a slippery slope. In the 2010 case Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which decided whether or not providing nonviolent aid (such as legal advice) to terrorist groups constitutes material support for terrorism, the Supreme Court ruled that even protected speech can be a criminal act if it occurs at the direction of a terrorist organization. Based on that ruling, you could be convicted of materially supporting terrorism merely for translating a document or putting an extremist video online, depending on your intentions."

Veena Malik, Outcry over actress Veena Malik’s revealing FHM cover dominates Pakistani news, 14 Dec 2011 "The Web editor of a local newspaper said the popular actress’s latest coup has already surpassed Osama bin Laden’s death in terms of the site’s Web traffic."

Baby Named ‘Facebook’ in Egypt, Baby Named ‘Facebook’ in Egypt After Social Network Used in Support of Uprising

Egyptian bloggers

Care2, Bloggers in Egypt and Syria Face Prison Terms, 14 Dec "Blogger Maikel Nabil has been sentenced to two years in prison and fined 200 pounds ($33) for criticizing the SCAF on his blog and conscription."

"Al-Azhar Message on Satellite, Internet", Al-Azhar Message on Satellite, Internet, 16 Dec 2011 "Bound by tradition and overshadowed by the state, al-Azhar missed the boat when new communications options opened up and Islamists seized them to challenge its mainstream view of Islam. ""We have not adequately coped with the changing modern means of communication and information technology,” Ibrahim Negm, senior adviser to Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Egypt's second-highest religious authority after Tayeb, said."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'The Role Of New Media And Communication Technologies In Arab Transitions', Manuel Manrique and Barah Mikail, The Role Of New Media And Communication Technologies In Arab Transitions - Analysis

'American chain faces backlash over boycott of Muslim TV show

Independent, American chain faces backlash over boycott of Muslim TV show, 14 Dec 2011 "Its adverts urge Americans to "never stop improving". But if the good people at Lowe's, one of the nation's largest DIY chains, are true to their word, they may want to take a long, hard look at their chief executive's grasp of PR."

'Kenya soldier and Somali militia battle on Twitter', Kenya soldier and Somali militia battle on Twitter, 14 Dec 2011

'The New Arab Journalist'

Arab News, The New Arab Journalist, 14 Dec 2011

Good review of 'The New Arab Journalist'. Some of the content of the book is derived from Lawrence Pintak's PhD, which I supervised.

Tarek Mehanna case, Mehanna defense focuses on language in terror case, 14 Dec 2011 "Defense lawyers for accused terrorist supporter Tarek Mehanna sought to establish yesterday that materials he allegedly distributed in support of Al Qaeda had already been translated by someone else.

"Thomas F. Connolly, a professor of English at Suffolk University who also teaches at Tufts University, testified in US District Court in Boston that subtitles for a propaganda video Mehanna allegedly distributed in support of Al Qaeda appear to be translated by someone trained in British English, not American."

Alaa Abdel-Fattah

Bikya Masr, Case for Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah transferred, 14 Dec 2011 "Egyptian authorities transferred the case of Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah from a state security court to a panel of two investigative judges, as investigations into the controversial case continue."

Maikel Nabil Maikel Nabil sentenced to 2 years in jail, 14 Dec 2011 "A military court on Wednesday sentenced Maikel Nabil, a blogger charged with insulting the military, to two years in prison and a fine of LE200, said activist Noor Ayman Nour from the advocacy group No to Military Trials for Civilians."

Friday, December 09, 2011

OnIslam, US Imam Sets Muslim Role Model "Returning from Cairo, he preached at several mosques at San Francisco as he established, a “virtual mosque’’ that showcases writings from him and about 20 Muslim scholars."

aQ Africa

Time, Threat Level Rising: How African Terrorist Groups Inspired by al-Qaeda Are Gaining Strength, 19 Dec 2011 "The moment Nigeria's Islamists graduated from local to international threat can be dated almost precisely, to just before 11 a.m. on Aug. 26."

OBL Facebook status

MSNBC Technolog, Osama bin Laden's death tops 2011 Facebook status updates, 7 Dec 2011

Reading the Riots

I've written on my Islam in Britain blog about the reports to the riots [Guardian, Readling the Riots]. In the context of this blog, there are some interesting elements relating to methodology, for example in:

Guardian, How Twitter was used to spread – and knock down – rumours during the riots, 7 Dec,

Guardian, Technology has always been blamed in times of unrest, and

Guardian, Riot Rumours, how misinformation spread on Twitter during a time of crisis

'Social media: Don’t donate online, Saudis urged'

Arab News, Social media: Don’t donate online, Saudis urged, 9 Dec 2011 "In the aftermath of the Jeddah school fire back in November, which left four people dead and dozen others injured, social networking websites Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube played a significant role in exposing the case to the world."

'The Islamic world’s Nude Spring'

Joseph Mayton,, The Islamic world’s Nude Spring, 6 Dec 2011 opinion piece: "So when Mahdy removed her clothes, she undressed the liberals and their calls for freedom. Obviously, in their mind, she made a mistake. She was wrong. Nudity has no place in Egypt. But for the millions of women, who on a daily basis face sexual harassment, assault and categorical oppression from all sides, she did what no activist has been able to do. She won. She told the world that her body is owned by nobody other than herself. Disagree with the tactic, fine, but one must, if they truly espouse the idea of freedom of expression, support her in her cause."

'Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas ...', Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas, cucumbers for sexual resemblance, 6 Dec 2011 "One reader said that these religious “leaders” give Islam “a bad name” and another commented said that he is a “retarded” person and he must quite his post immediately. "Others called him a seeker of fame, but no official responses from renowned Islamic scholars have been published on the statements." Allegations widely circulating online ...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Apps: Islamic Architecture Wallpaper, Islamic Architecture Wallpaper Haven't tried this one yet


National Post, Charlie Sheen and Egypt top Twitter's top hashtags of 2011, 7 Dec 2011 "Twitter has released a list of the top hashtags of 2011 and the results fluctuate between the most trivial and serious, with the top two being #egypt and #tigerblood"

Rajasthan Music

BBC, Imagine, Winter 2011, The Lost Music of Rajasthan "Imagine takes a road trip round the desert state of Rajasthan." Very interesting programme.

Jihadists' Social Media, Jihadists' Use of Social Media 'Not a Game Changer,' Experts Tell Congress "Islamic militants may use the Internet to keep connected but it’s not a big terrorist recruitment tool, experts told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on Tuesday."

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Afghan shrine blasts

BBC News, Shias targeted in deadly Afghan shrine blasts, 6 Dec 2011 "At least 60 people killed in twin attacks targeting Shia Muslims marking Ashoura in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif."

'Congress tries to counter terrorist social media propaganda'

AHN/, Congress tries to counter terrorist social media propaganda, 5 Dec 2011 "So far, U.S. government efforts against online recruiting by jihadists have involved tracking the information to see who is publishing it. Government public relations personnel also counter extremist propaganda with public information campaigns. "The subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence wants to know what more can be done without trampling free speech."

'No more virginity in Saudi if women drive, says council'

Sharifa Ghanem,, No more virginity in Saudi if women drive, says council, 2 Dec 2011 "If women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, the result would be catastrophic and lead to “no more virgins,” said clerics from the Majlis al-Ifta al-Aala, the country’s highest religious council."

Friday, December 02, 2011

'Egyptian cameraman at the heart of the Tahrir Square clashes'

Guardian, Egyptian cameraman at the heart of the Tahrir Square clashes, 2 Dec 2011 "A jerky six-and-a-half minute video by a local journalist could be the most important document of the recent violent conflict."


EUObserver, EU lacks will for Iran oil ban, Syria intervention, 1 Dec 2011 "The bloc also added 12 people and 11 entities to its Syria blacklist. The new measures will block Damascus from trading bonds, buying insurance, opening bank branches in the EU, buying oil and gas equipment and buying internet and phone snooping kit (an Italian firm was up until two weeks ago installing email interception equipment for Syrian intelligence in Damascus)."

Net filtering issues, New Internet filtering system condemned as backdoor censorship, 2 Dec 2011 "An Internet content filtering system that Turkey’s Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) introduced on 22 November is proving controversial both domestically and abroad. The outcry has coincided with a conference on the Internet in Turkey that began in the southwestern city of Izmir on 30 November."

AFP/, Businessmen unveil plans for ‘Muslim Facebook’, 1 Dec 2011 "Based in Istanbul, with offices in Moscow and Cairo and coordinators in 30 countries, the site hopes to attract 50 million users within three years, Azimov told about 150 journalists from Muslim countries at the company’s luxurious Istanbul offices.

"“The heart of the project is to create a network without any content that is prohibited by religion,” said [Akhmed] Azimov, a Dagestan native. “To achieve this, we will have a big team of moderators and there will be filters.”"


Jim Finkle, Reuters/, Conficker worm could be key to Stuxnet attack on Iran, 1 Dec 2011 "A cyber warfare expert claims he has linked the Stuxnet computer virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 to Conficker, a mysterious “worm” that surfaced in late 2008 and infected millions of PCs. "Conficker was used to open back doors into computers in Iran, then infect them with Stuxnet, according to research from John Bumgarner, a retired U.S. Army special-operations veteran and former intelligence officer."

Al-Qaeda says group kidnapped American in Pakistan, Al-Qaeda says group kidnapped American in Pakistan, 2 Dec 2011 "Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of an American man in Pakistan and demanded the release of prisoners and an end to air strikes in Muslim countries in exchange for his freedom, according to an Internet statement.

"Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, also said in an audio recording issued on Islamist websites late on Thursday that a senior Qaeda leader based in Pakistan known as Attiyatullah had been killed in a U.S. air strike in August."

Egypt updates

AlJazeera Live Blog Egypt updates on current situation

GCHQ spy recruitment code solved

Telegraph, GCHQ spy recruitment code solved, 1 Dec 2011 "The code which GCHQ, the intelligence agency, posted online to recruit a new generation of tech-savvy spies has been solved within hours of going online."

'Lebanon's intelligence war', Lebanon's intelligence war "With reports of the CIA shutting down in Beirut, Al Jazeera explores the extent of intelligence infiltration in Lebanon."

Mehanna trial

The Boston Globe, Mehanna did not regret trip to Yemen, US alleges, 1 Dec 2011 "Tarek Mehanna did not regret the trip to Yemen in 2004 that became the center of the terrorism case against him. He told his close friend, Kareem Abuzahra, that he would do it again, according to evidence introduced yesterday in Mehanna’s trial in US District Court in Boston."

Shi'a Muslims Muharram online discourse

The Times of India, Thousands take part in Muharram discourses in city, 1 Dec 2011 "For the Shias, attending Muharram majlis is part of faith and those who cannot be physically present in mosques for majlis either catch the discourses on channels like the World Islamic Network (WIN) TV or on iPhones internet and YouTube."