Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Student Rights - Challenging Extremists: Practical frameworks for our universities

An update on my post earlier this week about Student Rights/Henry Jackson Society's' "Challenging Extremists" report. The link to the report is below. I haven't read the report yet: Rupert Sutton & Hannah Stuart, Student Rights - Challenging Extremists: Practical frameworks for our universities (pdf)

Flame update

Independent, Israel hints it may be behind 'Flame' super-virus targeting Iran, 29 May 2012 "A top Israeli minister yesterday fed speculation that the Jewish state could be responsible for a powerful new virus said to have been used in a fresh attack on computers in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East."

This was also useful:

Telegraph, Flame virus most powerful espionage tool ever, UN warns "The Flame virus is the most powerful espionage tool ever to target countries, a United Nations agency responsible for regulating the internet has warned."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flame in Iran

Telegraph, Flame virus 'has infected 189 systems in Iran', 29 May 2012   "The most sophisticated computer virus the world has ever seen has infected 189 systems in Iran as part of its intelligence gathering functions, experts said"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Muslim extremists using Facebook, Twitter to radicalise UK students: Report

Times of India, Muslim extremists using Facebook, Twitter to radicalise UK students: Report, 28 May 2012 " Islamic extremists are using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to radicalise British students and spread propaganda, according to a report.

 "Campaign groups The Henry Jackson Society and Student Rights, in their report 'Challenging Extremists' have uncovered the online use of propaganda."

I haven't found this report online yet.  I will update when it becomes available. There is a related report here:, Online Radicalisation: A Case Study [pdf]

Malicious Simurgh copy, Iranian anti-censorship software ‘Simurgh’ circulated with malicious backdoor "It has recently come to our attention that this software is being recommended and circulated among Syrian Internet users for bypassing censorship in their country. This information led to the discovery and analysis of a back-doored version of this software.

"The malicious copy will install the Simurgh software, but will also install an undesirable backdoor on the victim’s computer. This software is distributed as “” and is identifiable via the following md5 and sha256 hashes:"

Read the advice on this page. Download the software from, which is the official site.

Friday, May 25, 2012


"Saudi Woman To Members of the Religious Police Who Harass Her for Wearing Nail Polish: This Is None of Your Business, I Am a Free Woman and Will Expose You on Twitter and Facebook" Sourced from the internet by MEMRI, May 23, 2012

aQ 'propaganda war'

Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor, Is State Dept. hacking Al Qaeda? Not quite, but propaganda war is fierce, 24 May 2012 'Hellfire-missile-carrying drones aren't the only thing Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen are worrying about these days. Add to the list the US State Department's new command center devoted to countering the terrorist group's propaganda on the Internet."

Also see, US state department fights al-Qaeda in cyberspace, 25 May 2012

Update on Egyptian election:

'Qaeda leader tells fighters to support Mali rebels'

Reuters/DefenceWeb, Qaeda leader tells fighters to support Mali rebels, 25 May 2012 "The leader of al Qaeda's North African wing has put his group's fighters in Mali's north at the disposal of Ansar Dine rebels seeking to impose Islamic law across the West African state, the first public comments officially linking to two groups."

Nigeria: On the 'Qur'an Birth' Controversy

Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa, Daily Herald/, Nigeria: On the 'Qur'an Birth' Controversy, 25 May 2012 "A story recently published in some newspapers in Nigeria, and went viral on the Internet, that a baby was born clutching a copy of the noble Qur'an in his right hand, stirred up a controversy over its authenticity, scientific and religious explanations."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The internet, human rights and the UPR

Association for Progressive Communications, The internet, human rights and the UPR "Access to the internet is multifaceted issue including access to physical infrastructure and access to content. Affordable, universal access to the internet is far from a reality. While some countries have enacted legislation that guarantees access, others are more hesitant, acknowledging the internet’s importance for development but wary of considering it a new human right."

Why Did Pakistan Shut Off Twitter?

Doug Bernard, VOA/, Why Did Pakistan Shut Off Twitter?, 24 May 2012 "It only lasted for about 8 hours, but that was long enough to start a whole new round of Internet rumor and worry. On Sunday, May 20th, Pakistani telecommunications authorities suddenly blocked all access to the micro-blogging site Twitter, effectively shutting off the service within Pakistan. Then, just as suddenly, service was restored that evening, leaving behind angry web activists and charges about why access was cut off in the first place. The official reason given: concerns about an event that’s come to be known as “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”

The Clerics vs. Modernity

Mehdi Khalaji,, The Clerics vs. Modernity "The Islamic Republic of Iran’s greatest fear is neither a military attack on its shadowy nuclear program nor a forced suspension of Uranium enrichment, but a cultural invasion in the form of Western modernity." refers to internet impact

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

'Pakistan jails doctor who helped CIA find Bin Laden'

BBC News - Pakistan jails doctor who helped CIA find Bin Laden "A Pakistani doctor is sentenced to at least 30 years in jail for a false vaccination programme which helped the CIA find Osama Bin Laden."

Satire: Saudi clerics “running out of day-to-day things to ban”

The Pan-Arabia Enquirer, Saudi clerics “running out of day-to-day things to ban.” satirical perspective

ORBIS maps

Behold ORBIS, a Google Maps for the Roman Empire, "Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to travel from Londinium to Jerusalem in February during the heyday of the Roman Empire?"

Urs Ajmer Sharif in photos

Thousands Of Pilgrims Flock To Commemorate Sufi Saint "Click through to see photos from the festival: Urs Ajmer Sharif is a six-day long annual commemoration of the death of the Persian Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chisti, at his tomb (dargah) in Ajmer, India."

KSA social networking, Saudi Arabia: A wave of atheism or a misunderstanding "Social networking websites provide insight into public opinion and the general mood. They also reflect like a mirror everything that has been happening under the table and brings it to the surface. This makes you see things you have never expected and might have not wanted to imagine." opinion piece referring to social networking

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Storify Arabic version

UAE censorship
"The defamatory Facebook and Twitter users based in the UAE were axed on evidence from Dubai Police, who say they do not routinely spy online."

KSA social media

Chuck Holmes, NPR, Change comes to Saudi Arabia, in slow motion, May 21, 2012 " ... [But] many Saudis think the game-changer is — and will be — the effects of social media. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have meant that men and women can mingle online.

"On the Internet, like-minded Saudis can discuss common issues of concern to them."

'Pakistan turns to Interpol after Twitter declines to help manage “anti-Islamic material”'

The Next Web, Pakistan turns to Interpol after Twitter declines to help manage “anti-Islamic material”, 21 May 2012 "Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Senator Rehman Malik, has taken to Twitter to explain that, following the Twitter blockage over the weekend, the government has contacted Interpol to take up the issue of screening sensitive content, after Twitter’s management reportedly offered no assistance with the matter."

Monday, May 21, 2012

iMuslims Reviewed: Étudier le cyberspace islamique : du panorama à l’ethnographie

Review of iMuslims: Thomas Pierret,, Étudier le cyberspace islamique : du panorama à l’ethnographie, 23 April 2012 "De fait, iMuslims propose un riche panorama de l’internet islamique à la fin des années 2000. Outre un travail de documentation considérable, le principal mérite de l’ouvrage est donc d’offrir un « instantané » d’une réalité en perpétuelle mutation. À ce titre, iMuslims se révélera sans doute une source très utile pour les futurs chercheurs qui étudieront l’internet islamique dans une perspective diachronique. On soulignera ici que l’ouvrage propose un panorama du web islamique à la veille du printemps arabe et facilitera donc l’évaluation des changements induits par ce dernier."

Pakistan blocks Twitter - briefly

Twitter block lifted in Pakistan - IOL SciTech |

Pakistan censors Twitter over Muhammad images - Technology & Science - CBC News"Pakistan blocked the social networking website Twitter for several hours because it refused to remove tweets considered offensive to Islam, one of the country's top telecom officials says."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jordanian Twitter campaign

Global Voices, Jordan: Jordanians Say “Thank You!” to Monarchy "Jordanian Twitter users have been using the hashtag #شكرا, or “thank you”, to tweet sarcastically about what the Jordanian monarchy has done for the country."

Iranian rapper under 'fatwa' threat

Deutsche Welle, Grand Ayatollah issues fatwa against exiled rapper. 16 May 2012 "Shahin Najafi fears for his life. He is currently in a secret location under police protection. Islamic clerics have accused the musician of blasphemy - a crime that, according to Islamic law, is punishable by death."

Omar Shafik Hammami online memoir

National Post, Omar Shafik Hammami recounts time spent in ‘haven’ Canada in online memoir | "Fourteen months ago, Somali officials announced an ex-Toronto resident turned terrorist named had been killed in Mogadishu."

'Iranian Cyber-Struggles', Iranian Cyber-Struggles "From the Green Movement in Iran in 2009 through the Arab revolts that began in 2011, social media have held center stage in coverage of popular protest in the Middle East."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Islamic Heritage Project Online

Open Collections Program: Islamic Heritage Project - Home "Through the Islamic Heritage Project (IHP), Harvard University has cataloged, conserved, and digitized hundreds of Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts from Harvard’s renowned library and museum collections."

Taliban 'jailbreak' video

"Footag­e shows guards deploy­ed to protec­t the jail offere­d no resist­ance."

Al-Malahem Media

ABC News, Al-Qaeda releases English-language jihad manual, encourages attacks in the West, 16 May 2012 "Al-Qaeda’s English media affiliate, Al-Malahem Media, published a 16-page online English-language jihad manual on Wednesday entitled “Expectations Full,” which contains advice and instruction for Muslims who wish to wage holy war in the name of Islam."

Dailymotion analysis
"Dailymotion ( is a social video-sharing website where members and visitors can upload, view, and share videos. The popular France-based website is among the 16 most accessed websites in that country; Business Insider has called it "the YouTube of France.""

Kuwait 'blasphemy' case
"The appeals court yesterday upheld a 10-year jail term for a tweeter found guilty of insulting HH the Amir and calling for the overthrow of the regime"

Indonesia Facebook charge
"Alex Aan faces up to 11 years in prison, ostracism from his family, community, and country, and possible physical violence for admitting he is an atheist in a country where faith in God is mandatory."

'Al-Qaeda Airlines 'Magazine''

MEMRI,Jihadi Forum Member Posts Second Issue of Al-Qaeda Airlines 'Magazine' Analyzing a Decade of Terror, 16 May 2012 widely reported pdf

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Global Voices, Yemen: The #NoDrones Campaign, 14 May 2012 "Yemenis have launched a campaign on Twitter to express their condemnation of the United States' drone war in Yemen. They are tweeting under the hashtag#NoDrones, and have asked non-Yemenis to speak out and join them in their campaign."

Monday, May 14, 2012

'Iranian firms told not to use foreign email providers'

The Register, Iranian firms told not to use foreign email providers: Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, MSN et al face the chop, 13 May 2012 "Local weekly Asr Ertebatat claimed on Saturday that Iran’s telecommunications ministry is preventing banks, insurance firms and telephone operators from using the services of foreign email providers such as Yahoo!, Gmail and Microsoft."

Germany's 'Salafist' movement(s)
"At a recent demonstration in Bonn, violent Islamists injured nearly 30 police officers, with two suffering severe injuries. What is behind Salafism in Germany, and where is it heading?"

'Iranians Have Democratic Values' - Israeli research team

Yuval Porat, WSJ, Iranians Have Democratic Values, 14 May 2012 "In the high-stakes international discussions surrounding Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, Iran's 80 million people are often forgotten. So I, along with a small team of Israelis, decided to explore the driving forces of Iranian society. There have been signs, on the streets and over the Internet, of a battle raging between the country's Islamic fundamentalists and the proponents of freedom. The question we set out to explore is where the majority of the people stand." This reports on a survey conducted by telephone by an Israel-based research team. Details and findings:

Saudi Social Media study

I'm posting this in for information purposes - I have not read the report yet, which is available to download.
"In a fascinating study on Saudi clerics and social media trends, a new report notes how old-world religious scholars are looking to get their message across in the brave new world of Twitter and Facebook."

Religious sites - malware risk

Malware on religious websites:
"Religious and ideological web pages are more dangerous than pornographic sites with regard to malware infection according to the latest Internet Security." 

Book review: Postcolonial Media Culture in Britain

Book review (contains one of my chapters in):
"Postcolonial Media Culture in Britain is a refreshing and interesting text that introduces readers to postcolonial theory using the context of British media culture in ethnic minority communities to explain key ideas and debates. "

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


The Next Web, Naqeshny: A debating platform to help you make informed decisions, 7 May 2012  "Naqeshny is a brand new social network, launched out of Egypt, which brings the art of debate into a public online arena.
naqeshny logo Naqeshny: A debating platform to help you make informed decisions"Naqeshny, which literally means ‘discuss with me’, is the brainchild of Cairo-based developer and designer firm, Mash." [posted retrospectively]

Thursday, May 03, 2012

aQ Report
"Al Qaeda was so unpopular among Muslims that Osama bin Laden considered changing the terror network’s name and warned other extremist groups to keep their distance in public, according to computer files found at his hideout."

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Graphic version of Virtually Islamic blog

I'm experimenting with infographics, so thought I would start with a version of this blog (via Wordle).  This is based on the current month's posts.

USA wants 10 most wanted Al Qaeda men

Weekly Blitz, USA wants 10 most wanted Al Qaeda men

Freedom of the Press 2012: Breakthroughs and Pushback in the Middle East

Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2012: Breakthroughs and Pushback in the Middle East "The Middle East and North Africa saw dramatic if precarious gains in press freedom in 2011, and for the first time in eight years, global media freedom did not experience an overall decline, according to a Freedom House report released today." Report pdf link here

Minister Spammed

The National, Sheikh Abdullah complains about Etisalat spam, 2 May 2012 "After being bombarded by unsolicited text messages for two days, the minister turned to Twitter to voice his frustration with the telecoms operator."

'Iran identifies 'hidden agenda' behind oil terminal cyberattack', Iran identifies 'hidden agenda' behind oil terminal cyberattack "News agency reports hints at malware design"

aQ encrypted 'future works', Al Qaeda's 'future works' found encoded in porn "Hundreds of documents were discovered by German cryptologists embedded inside a pornographic movie on a memory disk belonging to a suspected al Qaeda operative arrested in Berlin last year."

Boko Haram video release

Reuters/defenceweb, Nigeria Islamist video warns of more attacks on media, 2 May 2012 "Islamist group Boko Haram released a video late celebrating its bombing of a Nigerian newspaper and warning of more attacks on local and foreign media if they published reports that were biased to the sect or insulting to Islam."