Monday, April 30, 2012

Review of iMuslims in 'Journal of Media and Religion'

There's a review of iMuslims by Amanda Sturgill in Journal of Media and Religion, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2012 "The book is a survey of methods of Islamic participation through media and suggests some organizing principles that can help the scholar make sense of the role of the Internet in Muslim experience. Although it is not a focus of the book, the basic structure that Bunt imposes is a useful lens through which to view the role of online media in religious practice in general."

Arab Media Forum

Arab Media Forum, Dubai Press Club Launches Fourth Edition of Arab Media Outlook, 30 Apr 2012 "Recent events in the Arab world have generated a relatively positive impact on the regional media, raising the bar on the quality of news reporting, accelerating the engagement with digital platforms and firmly placing the region on the strategic map of global media houses, announced Maryam Bin Fahad, Executive Director, Dubai Press Club."

Also see Kuwait Times, Media Forum addresses issues in shadow of ‘Arab Spring’

The Forum takes place 8-9 May in Dubai. The report will be made available then. One of the sessions is on ‘Religious Discourses in Arab Media: The Expected Role” (which I would have liked to have sat in on).

The Twitter feed is #AMF2012 from which I got the following info:

You may download the 4th edition of the Arab Media Outlook by clicking on the following link : "  " "

'Palestinian minister resigns over web censorship'

BBC News, Palestinian minister resigns over web censorship, 27 Apr 2012 "The Palestinian Authority's communications minister resigns, claiming it is moving to silence its critics by blocking access to opposition websites."

"Egypt porn ban would cost up to $16.5 million and be 'useless': Experts"

Ahram Online, Egypt porn ban would cost up to $16.5 million and be 'useless': Experts

"Blocking adult websites would be costly, only partially successful and set a worrying precedent for internet freedoms, say delegates at a Cairo tech conference; but others believe the social benefits worth the price."

Some interesting other points from delegates, including:

"Shaarawi Shaarawi, political activist and treasurer of the Egyptian Internet Association, [who] said blocking adults sites could be a prelude to a crackdown on online political voices and lead to the type of repression witnessed under the Mubarak regime."

'Lashkar’s own Skype frazzles Indian intelligence'

Times of India, Lashkar’s own Skype frazzles Indian intelligence, 30 Apr 2012 "The increasing use by terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for communication, and its impenetrability, is proving frustrating for Indian intelligence. In fact, Lashkar supreme commander of operations, Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who is in a Rawalpindi jail, has been networking using a private VoIP on his smart phone with Lashkar cadres."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Google Street View in Jerusalem, Google Street View Comes To Israel "After months of consultations with Israeli security officials, Google has launched its popular Street View service in the country's three largest cities. The new Street View provides images of ordinary life, contested areas and religious sites in the Holy Land."

Also See Ha'aretz, Google Street View catches the beauty and hardships of Jerusalem's Old City

There's quite a lot of detail to be found (in my cursory exploration of this) - and of course many political implications and issues relating to this data being published (and how it is labelled):

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bahrain target of hacking

Gulf Daily News, Cyber security is stepped up "Bahrain has beefed up Internet security after several government websites were attacked by a global hacking network."

Saajid Badat on aQ

CNN, Operative details al Qaeda plans to hit planes in wake of 9/11 "Saajid Badat was speaking via a video deposition from the United Kingdom, where he is serving a jail sentence for his role in plotting to blow up a U.S. bound aircraft in December 2001."

Monday, April 23, 2012

'Report on Congregations and their use of Internet Technologies'

New and noted:, Report on Congregations and their use of Internet Technologies "Internet technologies are being used by a large majority of American congregations, and those that do not use these technologies are likely to be perceived as out of sync, a new report has found. View the report in HTML or download it in PDF."

Sheikh Ali Gomaa profile

The National, Grand Mufti of Egypt known as independent religious thinker, 20 Apr 2012 "Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Egypt's Grand Mufti, has established a reputation in the Islamic world as an independent thinker who uses a deep knowledge of religious texts to take liberal and sometimes unexpected stances."

'Angryarabiya' arrest, Bahrain: Arrest of Prominent Cyber Activist due to a Demonstration Against the Formula One and Human Rights Violations "Ms. Zaynab Alkhawaja – a 27 years old Cyber Activist, better known as Angryarabiya on twitter.She was arrested yesterday (April 21, 2012) after Sit in the middle of the road which leads to the Circuit Bahrain Formula One."

Facebook on parade

Guardian, Tehran's anxieties all too evident during army parade featuring placards proclaiming 'damages of the Facebook internet site' "Government anxieties about social networking featured in a military parade held in the central-Iranian city of Isfahan on Tuesday to mark Iran's Army Day."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Full Body Scanners in Airports and Railway Stations

Just came across this opinion - which I thought might interest some readers, being a 'technological', religious, security and ethical issue: Deoband Darul Uloom Darul Ifta, Full Body Scanners in Airports and Railway Stations [click on in-page link to access pdf]

'The Islamists are Coming'

This one has just come in: the chapters are available for download. I haven't read any of them yet, but it looks like an interesting project. Not sure about the title, however ...Chapters are available to download (might be useful for students on my 'Muslim Politics' MA module) ....
By Robin Wright "The Islamists are not only coming. In several countries, they’ve already arrived. Others are primed to take prominent roles down the road. Altogether, Islamist movements are today the most dynamic political force across the Arab world—and they may well be for the next decade or longer ..."

Yemeni Idol

Gaar Adams, FP, Yemeni Idol, 18 Apr 2012

'How a battle over a Facebook page became a war for the soul of the Syrian revolution'

Amal Hanano, FP, Any Given Friday: How a battle over a Facebook page became a war for the soul of the Syrian revolution. "A woman stands in the middle of a busy Damascus street. Yellow cabs honk and weave around her. Her red dress, splattered with white paint, flows in the wind along with a red fabric banner held up above her head like a translucent shield. A group of people gathers on the sidewalk to observe as she turns side to side, for all to see. As we watch them watching her through our computer screens, we hear a new sound -- not a familiar chant of the revolution, but loud claps of extended applause. When she faces the camera, we finally read her words: "Stop the killing. We want to build a country for all Syrians."" Well-worth reading.

Commenting in the Online Arab Public Sphere: Debating the Swiss Minaret Ban and the “Ground Zero Mosque”

Aziz Douai, Hala K. Nofal, Commenting in the Online Arab Public Sphere: Debating the Swiss Minaret Ban and the “Ground Zero Mosque” Online, Journal of Computer mediated Communication, Volume 17, Issue 3, pages 266–282, April 2012

"This article focuses on the emerging online Arab public sphere that the web has enabled. It explores how the “local” interacts with the “global,” critically examining their implications on global politics. Specifically looking at online readers' comments about the Swiss minaret ban the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” how does the Arab online public sphere respond to and frame these issues? What implications do these reader frames portend locally and globally? The study analyzes online comments and responses that readers of Al and Al posted on related news articles. The article concludes that the new online public sphere does make it possible for Arab citizens to circumvent and challenge traditional authoritarian controls."
haven't read this yet - it's on my reading list! (contains brief reference to my research)

Abu Qatada case

Telegraph, Al Qaeda militants warn of terror attack in Britain if Abu Qatada is deported, 20 Apr 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Security researcher unearths plans for Iran's halal Internet

Cyrus Farivar,, Security researcher unearths plans for Iran's halal Internet, 17 Apr 2012 "Iran appears to have recently published a Persian-language "Request for Information" (RFI) for an even-more filtered and monitored version of the Internet than what presently exists in the Islamic Republic. The RFI calls for "proper conditions for domestic experts in order to build a healthy Web and organize the current filtering situation," and lists a deadline of April 19, 2012."

Virtually Islamic hub

My main Virtually Islamic hub has been reconfigured. This is because Apple no longer host web sites. So, I've tried Moonfruit. See the result (so far): Virtually Islamic.

Breivik and al-Qaeda 'inspiration'

AFP/National Post, Norway killer Anders Behring Breivik tells terror trial al-Qaeda inspired him, would repeat attacks if he could "Insisting that “universal human rights” gave him the mandate to carry out his acts, he described himself as a “militant nationalist” and, using the pronoun “we” to suggest he was part of a larger group, added: “We have drawn from al-Qaeda and militant Islamists.”"

Battle for the Internet

Guardian, Battle for the Internet useful series of articles "The Guardian is taking stock of the new battlegrounds for the internet. From states stifling dissent to the new cyberwar front line, we look at the challenges facing the dream of an open internet."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wael Ghonim's book reviewed

Frank Carrigan, The Australian, Wael Ghonim's virtual revolution hails a new political dawn in Egypt, 14 Apr 2012 "In the borderless virtual universe of the 21st century the geometry of politics has been transformed. The new revolutionaries are online activists and wear white collars. They are turning the world upside down and have spearheaded the birth of Arab democracies. It's just as well that Smiley would be long dead for, unless he was at the cutting edge of communications technology, all his forensic skills would be outflanked by fleet-footed cyber activists. Facebook, BlackBerry, SMS, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and memory sticks have the capacity to make power fall in the streets. Welcome to an age when cyber-utopians justifiably can feel that a new age is just a website away." Book review

'Sacred Lines' radio programme

CMRC Has New Radio Program on KGNU "The Center for Media, Religion and Culture and KGNU, an independent community radio in Boulder and Denver, are co-producing a quarterly radio program on the research of the center and the intersection of religion and the media in general. The program entitled, Sacred Lines debuted on April 5 with an introductory segment featuring Stewart Hoover and Nabil Echchaibi, interviewed by KGNU’s Maeve Conran." Some material relevant to this blog on this new programme, available on MP3 (with a series to follow), including some references to Islam and the net.

Arab Media & Society - new and noted

Arab Media & Society has an interesting new issue on social media issues. These include:

Sahar Khamis, Paul B. Gold and Katherine Vaughn: Beyond Egypt’s “Facebook Revolution” and Syria’s “YouTube Uprising:” Comparing Political Contexts, Actors and Communication Strategies [pdf], Nadav Samin: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Social Media Moment [pdf],  Robert Hassan's ‘Not Ready for Democracy:’ Social Networking and the Power of the People The Revolts of 2011 in a Temporalized Context [pdf], and Nabil Dajani: Technology Cannot a Revolution Make: Nas-book not Facebook. I'm looking forward to reading these and the other items in due course. Unfortunately, you cannot download an entire issue in one pdf...


There's been a pause in my posting, as I have been on leave. Now I am back, and in catch-up mode...

Astrophysicist Prof. Nidhal Guessoum on Social Media, Islam, Science and Evolution

(watching this now)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

'Germany: A Koran in Every Household'

Gatestone Institute, Germany: A Koran in Every Household "Islamic radicals in Germany have launched an unprecedented nationwide campaign to distribute 25 million copies of the Koran, translated into the German language, with the goal of placing one Koran into every household in Germany, free of charge."

Turkish Pianist Faces Prison for Tweets, Turkish Pianist Faces Prison for Tweets

"A Turkish pianist is facing prison time for anti-Muslim tweets, raising questions over the state of religious and Internet freedoms in less than secular countries."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

'Afghanistan announces satellite tender'

Guardian, Afghanistan announces satellite tender, 9 Apr 2012 "International partner sought to put Afghanistan's first satellite in orbit to improve the country's television and internet coverage."

Pakistan digital rights, Fighting online censorship when legal action fails "Grassroots activists in Pakistan have set an example for digital rights activism."

'Hackers claim they've snared Tunisian leader's emails'

Reuters, Hackers claim they've snared Tunisian leader's emails "A group claiming affiliation with the Anonymous hacker network says it has obtained 2,725 emails belonging to Tunisia's ruling Ennahda party, including those of the prime minister."

Monday, April 09, 2012

'Another face of Internet Islam'

Ayesha Shahid,, Another face of Internet Islam "From the hotness of the new mehram in a girl's life to saying no to a potential date, online chat rooms and blogs deal with religion and twenty-first century issues in an appealing manner."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

'Global Jihad Sustained Through Africa'

RUSI - UKTA No.2: Global Jihad Sustained Through Africa "The latest UK Terrorism Analysis suggests that Africa represents a potential new front for counter-terrorism in Britain and the linkages already evident across the continent suggest the development of some disturbing new trends."

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

YouTube UAE, Google launches UAE version of YouTube, 2 Ap 2012 "Online content in the UAE just got a huge lift, as parent company, Google, launched a homegrown version of its popular video platform, with"

Monday, April 02, 2012

Syria's missing activists

CNN, Opinion: World must not forget Syria's missing activists "Photographer Paul Conroy, injured in an attack in Syria, calls on the international community to do more to help two missing activists."

aQ outages (?), Al-Qaeda’s online forums go dark for extended period "Outages cause some experts to conclude the sites have been taken down in a cyberattack, but others are skeptical."

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Syria crack down cont/d

Syria cracking down on journalists, activists say - “The Syrian government is trying to “systematically dismantle” the anti-regime “citizen journalist network” and have seized a key player in the operation, activists told CNN Saturday.”

Web monitoring

Press Association, Ministers 'plan new web monitoring', 1 Apr 2012

Supreme Council of Cyberspace

Jerusalem Post, Inside Man: Behind Tehran’s ‘electronic curtain’ "The mullahs are intensifying their internet crackdown with a newly formed agency, the Supreme Council of Cyberspace."

France: arrests

Reuters, France arrests suspected Islamic militants, 30 Mar 2012 "Gilles Kepel, political scientist and specialist in Islam, said the group operated more on the internet - preaching extreme views and intimidating but never actually turning to violence.

""It's a big show, but obviously spreading ideas that can cause problems," he said."

NSA's watching you...

Wired, The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) "The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze."