Monday, January 30, 2012

'Islam, John Locke and the future of the internet'

MEED, Islam, John Locke and the future of the internet, 31 Jan 2012 "Business leaders spoke out at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority’s annual summit, but had little to say about the latest storm over the internet."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

'Twitter is a platform for promoting lies: Saudi Mufti', Twitter is a platform for promoting lies: Saudi Mufti, 29 Jan 2012 "Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti (religious chief) has launched a virulent attack on the social networking site Twitter, saying it has become a platform for promoting lies, newspapers in the Gulf Kingdom reported on Sunday."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Martyr database

Daily News Egypt, Online database keeps memory of martyrs alive "Kicking off on the first anniversary of the January 25 uprising, Lan Nansahom is a database compiling all the names of those killed and injured while fighting for democracy."

The Daily News Egypt, Online database keeps memory of martyrs alive

see لن ننساهم

'Twitter to delete posts if countries request it'

CNN, Twitter to delete posts if countries request it, 27 Jan 2012 "Twitter said Thursday it will begin deleting users' tweets in countries that require it, but will keep the tweets visible elsewhere."

Boko Haram 'leader' issues new threats in internet message

Sapa-AFP/, Boko Haram 'leader' issues new threats in internet message, 27 Jan 2012 "The purported leader of Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram has issued new threats in a message posted on YouTube while also saying last week's attacks in Kano were over the torture of its members."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

'Pro-Palestinian hackers apologise for cyber attack on Haaretz newspaper website'

The National, Pro-Palestinian hackers apologise for cyber attack on Haaretz newspaper website, 27 Jan 2012, "The group claimed responsibility shortly after the attack, tweeting: " Tango Down :)". But yesterday morning an apology appeared on the same Twitter account "@haaretzprint we are sorry, we didn't know that haaretz is a good newspaper, we sorry about this, and be sure no one will attack u again"."

Hajj exhibition

Guardian, Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam – review I look forward to seeing this exhibition in due course (sounds like it might be difficult to get a ticket!). Also see the British Museums Hajj exhibition page


NY Times, Now Able to Exhale, Libyan Rappers Find a Voice, 10 Jan 2012 only just picked this one up via last weekend's Observer NYT supplement. "A small crowd of boys huddled around the open door of a concrete shed turned recording studio to gawk at a trio of Libyan rappers in black baseball caps and oversize hoodies mixing tracks on a wide computer screen."

'Egypt's Revolutionary Music'

Huffington Post, Egypt's Revolutionary Music, And 7 Other Revolutions That Turned To Song (AUDIO) "The songs of the Arab Spring draw on hip-hop, rap, rock, pop and more, vividly capturing the frustration, anger, and hope of the countries they originate within. And in those countries, releasing such songs at all is itself an act of rebellion."


Islamopedia Online | Translation and Analysis of Commentary and Opinion from the Islamic World [some useful articles on contemporary issues]

Opinion piece: WikiLeaks, Manning and the Pentagon, WikiLeaks, Manning and the Pentagon: Blood on whose hands? "The bodycount that resulted from Pfc Manning's leaks have amounted to zero thus far, while his accusers stand bloody."

Jan 25 - how Egypt's bloggers see the revolution one year on

Guardian, Jan 25 - how Egypt's bloggers see the revolution one year on, 25 Jan 2012 "Three bloggers who have documented Egypt's revolution online share how they covered events in 2011 and tell us what the anniversary of 25 January means to them." One of a series of articles relating to social networking and Egypt.

Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Egypt: Sheikh of Al-Azhar outlines 12 steps to achieve the demands of the revolution "The Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Sunni authority, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, delivered a speech marking the anniversary of Egypt’s January 25 Revoltuion, calling upon people to preserve unity and integrity as they observe the day."

Tahrir Square assaults, Exclusive: Woman tells of having pants ripped off, assaulted and prodded in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, 26 Jan 2012 "Later in the night, the issue of sexual violence toward women was sparked after an eyewitness reported on the micro-blogging site Twitter that a foreign woman was stripped, groped and assaulted by another mob of men in the square."

Maikel Nabil

Bikya Masr, After months of waiting, Egypt blogger Maikel Nabil is freed - "Jailed Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil, considered by most to be Egypt’s first prisoner of conscience after jailed by the military junta early last year, was freed on Tuesday, his brother Mark wrote on Twitter."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Call for articles: “The Net Worth of the Arab Spring”

Recently received notice (please reply to editorial address below, not myself):

“The Net Worth of the Arab Spring”
Call for Papers
CyberOrient: Online Journal of the Virtual Middle East
Editor-in-Chief: Daniel Martin Varisco
Guest Editor: Ines Braune
Submission deadline: 31 May 2012


As the first anniversary of the “Arab Spring” nears, several long-standing dictators have been toppled, protests still continue in other countries and new governments are being formed.  Arguably, throughout this last year digital media have played an important, if not defining, role through Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the extensive news coverage in cyberspace. This is a call for papers across disciplines aiming for critical and evidence-based evaluation of the use of social media in the Arab Spring, the coverage of the Arab Spring in cyberspace and beyond, and the remediation and appropriation between social media and traditional media outlets, including satellite TVs and the press. First-person and ethnographic accounts are welcomed, but CyberOrient welcomes contributions from any field.

About CyberOrient

CyberOrient ( is a peer-reviewed journal published by the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. The aim of the journal is to provide research and theoretical considerations on the representation of Islam and the Middle East, the very areas that used to be styled as an “Orient”, in cyberspace, as well as the impact of the internet and new media in Muslim and Middle Eastern contexts.  The articles will be published online with free access in early autumn, 2012.


Articles should be submitted directly to Ines Braune

Friday, January 20, 2012

'The badly kept secret of Israel's trade throughout the Muslim world'

Ha'aretz, The badly kept secret of Israel's trade throughout the Muslim world, 19 Jan 2012 "Israeli business quietly thrives in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and in far-off countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, too. Company owners on both sides do all they can to avoid harmful publicity. Contacts are made at international conferences overseas, through European and U.S. companies familiar with both sides, and directly over the Internet. "

"Technology, particularly the Internet, is making the world smaller," explains Eliran Malul at Arab Markets, which brokers deals in Arab countries. "Arab entrepreneurs are interested in Israeli technologies and search them out through the Internet and social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn."

Inspire magazine in Guantanamo

AP/Daily Mail, Al-Qaeda magazine that gives tips on how to kill Americans was smuggled into Guantanamo Bay, 18 Jan 2012

''Sheikh' Google'

Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Jakarta Post, Phenomenon in global education: A ‘sheikh’ called Google, 20 Jan 2012 " ... Google is now assuming honorary status that used to be occupied by the “sheikh” or masters in traditional society. Google is now acting like a new “sheikh” who may help Muslims with knowledge and information about Islam. Even religious edicts or fatwas are now abundantly available on the Internet, and Sheikh Google can help us locate them in a split second."

'Senior al Qaeda operative 'killed by US drone strike''

Telegraph, Senior al Qaeda operative 'killed by US drone strike', 20 Jan 2012

Moeed Abdul Salam case

Daily Mail, Moeed Abdul Salam: From US boarding school student to al Qaeda terrorist "Salam went on to study history at the University of Texas at Austin and graduated in 1996. His Facebook profile indicated he moved to Saudi Arabia by 2003 and began working as a translator, writer and editor for websites about Islam.

"'Anyone can pick up a gun, but there aren't as many people who can code html and understand the use of proxies,' said Evan Kohlmann, a senior partner a Flashpoint Global Partners, which tracks radical Muslim propaganda."

'Revolution 2.0' - Wael Ghonim book

NPR, Social Media Advances 'Revolution' In Egypt : NPR "Egyptian cyber activist and former Google executive Wael Ghonim talks to Steve Inskeep about his new book Revolution 2.0, which chronicles his role, and that of social media, in the toppling the regime of Hosni Mubarak." Look forward to reading this sometime.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Golshifteh Farahani

alArabiyya, After posing nude, Paris-based Iranian actress is warned to not return home, 18 Jan 2012 "“I do not support what she did nor reject it, because it was her personal choice, but I love her courage,” wrote one Iranian blogger named Alfred. “She did what the Egyptian blogger Alya Majda al-Mahdi did, and this is to protest against gender discrimination and the forced veil,” he wrote. The blogger was referring to a similar instance, when al-Mahdi took off her clothes to pose naked in protest against what she saw as unfair practices."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marines' YouTube clip controversy, 'Deplorable': U.S. defense chief condemns urinating Marines video, 12 Jan 2012 "An Internet video showing what appear to be U.S. forces in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters will not affect efforts to broker peace talks, a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban said Thursday."

Malaysia politics

Asia Sentinel, Malaysia Election Around the Corner? 12 Jan 2012 "The allegations of corruption have cost the country four places in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, dropping it to a still relatively respectable 60th. But it is the third straight year the country has slipped in the perceptions index – all three of them occurring on Najib’s watch. Although the mainstream media, all of which are owned by the component parties of the Barisan have tended to downplay the corruption reports, it is estimated that 41 percent of Malaysians now have access to the Internet – and a huge flock of opposition bloggers and websites, some of which, such as Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini, are very professionally produced, and which pull no punches on reporting corruption and government mismanagement."

CNN Videos from Syria

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

al-Shabaab case: update

Middle East Online, Court charges ex-US soldier with trying to join Somalia’s Shebab, 10 Jan 2012 "Ex-US soldier with specialist intelligence, cryptology training has been charged with trying to join Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab." More on this breaking case.

Opinion: "The Saudi response to the ‘Arab spring’"

Madawi Al-Rasheed,, The Saudi response to the ‘Arab spring’: containment and co-option, 10 Jan 2012 "Saudi Arabia’s response to the ‘Arab spring’ has been an attempt to co-opt movements for change in a bid to maintain the status quo. Madawi Al-Rasheed talks to Deniz Kandiyoti about the contradictions of a ruling elite that promotes a conservative Islam, that threatens women’s existing rights abroad – as in Tunisia and Egypt – while it poses as the emancipator of women at home."

Refers to Manal al-Sharif's online campaign.

Egyptian Brotherhood

AP/Guardian, Egypt's Brotherhood treads carefully after victory, 10 Jan 2012, 

"The Freedom and Justice party's political manifesto, posted on the group's website, does not speak of the prohibition of alcohol and the segregation of the sexes, but there is enough there to suggest it may just be a matter of time .

" ... It [the manifesto] also says it will create a network of Internet sites that "bolsters constructive culture, and the social and religious values of Arab and Islamic societies.""

al-Shabaab 'recruit': ongoing trial, Ex-soldier from Laurel charged with trying to join terrorist group in Somalia, 9 Jan 2012 "The soldier from Laurel had never been particularly religious. But with his deployment and his time in the military coming to an end, prosecutors say, an online article about Judgment Day spoke to him. When he returned to Maryland, they say, he began to make plans to live out his life in a land governed by Sharia law."

Monday, January 09, 2012

"Facebook Un-Islamic"

The Jakarta Globe, Facebook Un-Islamic, Membership a Sin, Iranian Ayatollah Says, 7 Jan 2012 "ISNA on Saturday broadcast coverage of the response of Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi-Golpaygani, a senior cleric, to the question about Facebook and Iranian membership in the social networking service.

"“Basically, going to any Web site which propagates immoralities and could weaken the religious belief is un-Islamic and not allowed, and membership in it is therefore haram [a sin],” the ayatollah replied."

"Al Qaeda home-delivers magazine in Pakistan"

'Special delivery':

Press Trust of India/, Al Qaeda home-delivers magazine in Pak: Report, 9 Jan 2012 "Al Qaeda continues to preach jihad or 'Holy War' through an Urdu monthly magazine that is delivered to homes in cities across Pakistan by post, according to a media report on Monday.

"The 200-page magazine, Hiteen, is named after the battlefield where Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi defeated the Crusaders and features articles that preach jihad and praise Osama bin Laden."

''Briton in Kenya radicalised in shoe bomber’s prison'

AFP/capitalfm Kenya, Briton in Kenya radicalised in shoe bomber’s prison, 9 Jan 2012 "An extremist accused of heading a wave of British recruits to an Al-Qaeda group plotting attacks in Kenya was radicalised in the same prison as shoe bomber Richard Reid, a report said on Sunday."

Solar laptop, Samsung to bring 'solar' laptop in Bangladesh: official, 9 Jan 2012 "An official of Samsung Electronics said on Monday that they were trying to bring 'solar' laptop to Bangladesh for the people who cannot afford power-fed computers."

Anwar Ibrahim acquitted

BBC News, Anwar Ibrahim 'elated' at acquittal on sodomy charges, 9 Jan 2012

The Star, Rais: Anwar's acquittal shows independence of judiciary (Updated), 9 Jan 2012

Telegraph, Explosions injure two after Anwar Ibrahim acquittal, 9 Jan 2012

Wall Street Journal, Handicapping Anwar Ibrahim’s Odds for Malaysia’s Premiership, 9 Jan 2012 "Just hours after Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was acquitted of charges that he sodomized a male former aide, attention was already turning to whether he would contest the next national elections in Malaysia – and more importantly, whether he could win."

'Hackers expose defence and intelligence officials in US and UK

Guardian, Hackers expose defence and intelligence officials in US and UK, 9 Jan 2012 "Among the huge database of private information exposed by self-styled "hacktivists" are the details of 221 British military officials and 242 Nato staff. Civil servants working at the heart of the UK government – including several in the Cabinet Office as well as advisers to the Joint Intelligence Organisation, which acts as the prime minister's eyes and ears on sensitive information – have also been exposed."

'Al-Qaeda Members Gripe Over Cash Crunch as U.S. Goes After Terror Funding', Al-Qaeda Members Gripe Over Cash Crunch as U.S. Goes After Terror Funding, 9 Jan 2012 "Few people noticed Saudi Arabia’s three-day conference in September on disrupting terrorism financing. For a team at the U.S. Treasury Department, though, it was a long-sought victory in the fight against al-Qaeda."

'2012 Brings Muslim Facebook to Greek Muslims'

Greek Reporter, 2012 Brings Muslim Facebook to Greek Muslims, 9 Jan 2012 "From Twittering Quranic verses and religious injunctions to using smartphone apps like iPray and iQuran to find the nearest mosque or halal restaurants, the emergence of Muslim social networking is an interesting phenomenon that can perhaps be attributed to the need to create a more conservative forum for discussion with stricter regulations. Islamic social network sites aim to connect the world’s Muslim communities to each other and to the wider world through shared online experiences, but none of these sites even comes close to the 800 million active users of Facebook – until now."

'Iran further restricts Facebook and Twitter'

Mashable/, Iran further restricts Facebook and Twitter, prepares its own internet "Iran is testing a domestic Internet, a “Halal” network that will restrict citizens from penetrating foreign sites. Internet users this week reported delays in their network connections, which is believed to be connected to the new network’s trial run."

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Reading List: 'Godwired'

Rachel Wagner, Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtual Reality (Routledge) "Godwired offers an engaging exploration of religious practice in the digital age. It considers how virtual experiences, like stories, games and rituals, are forms of world-building or "cosmos construction" that serve as a means of making sense of our own world. Such creative and interactive activity is, arguably, patently religious."

Have yet to read this one.

aQ Franchises

Sreeram Chaulia, Asia Times Online, The rise of al-Qaeda's franchises, 6 Jan 2012 "The recent series of deadly bombings in Baghdad and Damascus that killed scores of civilians and agents of state have brought the phrase "al-Qaeda" back into the reckoning."

Skype issues

Mirror, Al-Qaeda bomb plotter moans he can't use Skype in jail "An al-Qaeda terrorist locked up for 30 years is furious the prison has banned him from using Skype."

'Saudi hackers target Israeli credit details'

Channel 4 News, Saudi hackers target Israeli credit details, 4 Jan 2012, "Saudi Arabian hackers have claimed a successful cyber attack on Israeli computer servers, publishing the financial details and mobile phone numbers of an estimated 400,000 people."

'Social Media Carries Prison Message From Iranian Activist'

RFE/RL, Social Media Carries Prison Message From Iranian Activist, 3 Jan 2012, "A well-known Iranian political activist, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, has managed to send out an unprecedented video message from the Rajayishahr prison in which he dismisses Iran's repressive measures aimed at silencing dissent and predicts they will fail."

'Iran Announces New Restrictions For Internet Cafes'

RFE/RL, Iran Announces New Restrictions For Internet Cafes, 4 Jan 2012 "Iran's cyberpolice have issued new guidelines for Internet cafes that appear to be part of the Iranian establishment's efforts to tighten its control of the Internet."

'Expert meeting in Makkah on ethics of internet use in scientific research'

IINA, Islam/Internet: Expert meeting in Makkah on ethics of internet use in scientific research, 3 Jan 2012 "As well as developing a roadmap to tailor laws and ethics for scientific research carried out via the internet to the principles of Islamic Law, the meeting will review participant countries’ experiences on the matter, examine laws regarding the use of the internet and its systems to combat cybercrimes, identify tools to gear the internet to scientific research, and establish a draft regulatory framework thereto."

KSA protests

Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia: Renewed Protests Defy Ban, 30 Dec 2011 "Saudi reform advocates have staged several protests since mid-December, 2011, despite a categorical ban on protests issued last March, Human Rights Watch said today."