Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anti-Assad forces in Syria are growing more Islamist

Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz, Anti-Assad forces in Syria are growing more Islamist

Bahrain: Cleric Relocated After Fiery Speech

Bahrain: Cleric Relocated After Fiery Speech · Global Voices "Internet activists have reported that Bahrain’s Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa, has ordered the immediate transfer of Sunni cleric Dr Adel Hassan AlHamad from one of the grand mosques in Riffa to another mosque in Tubli."

Islamic Cleric in Norway Convicted of Web Threats

Islamic Cleric in Norway Convicted of Web Threats - ABC News "The Oslo District Court convicted Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad, also known as Mullah Krekar, on Wednesday of posting online threats during an earlier trial, including encouraging the killings or kidnappings of Norwegians."

Egypt's orthodox Muslim rapper offers words of faith (MC Dahab)

Egypt's orthodox Muslim rapper offers words of faith - The National  "It's hard to imagine this bespectacled, shy youth from rural Egypt as the fiery hip-hop artist Mc Dahab, whose complicated prose tackles military trials for civilians as adeptly as religious observance. That is, until he begins to rap." More at MC Dahab's Facebook page

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

KSA Social Media

Your Middle East, How social media has transformed the silent kingdom, 23 Aug 2012  "Many Saudis use Twitter and Facebook penetration is quasi-universal amongst the younger segment of the population. It is both an appreciated luxury, and an undoubted necessity. In a country that imposes severe restrictions on the mixing of sexes and on public entertainment, this emerging social media sphere presents a critical lifeline to Saudi youths."

Jihad advocates focus on young Muslims in West

České, Jihad advocates focus on young Muslims in West - Czech BIS  "The Jihad advocates adhering to Al-Qaeda focus their psychological manipulation on very young Muslims in the West, Czech counter-intelligence service BIS says in its annual report, adding that the spreading of Jihad via the Internet is a significant security risk for the Czech Republic."

And here is the report link on the BIS site [pdf]

Saudi Aramco’s internal computer networks restored

Saudi Aramco’s internal computer networks restored after a malware affected 30,000 of its workstations - ArabCrunch "Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, said on Sunday that the company was back in operating 30,000 workstations after a malware attack put put to hold these workstations at the company."

Africa internet

From farming to films: how the web is changing Africa | World news | The Observer

NWO - The Future is Elsewhere

NWO - The Future is Elsewhere: Towards a Comparative History of the Futurities of the Digital Evalution/Revolution This looks like an interesting project, running out of Leiden University. I am seeking more information from the organisers, and will update when/if it appears.

Research: catch-up mode

I have highlighted a few titles below that have popped up in my research - which I intend to obtain in due course:

Taylor & Francis Online, Carmen Becker, Muslims on the Path of the Salaf al-Salih - Information, Communication & Society - Volume 14, Issue 8

Abstract - SpringerLink, COUNTERTERRORISM AND OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE, Lecture Notes in Social Networks, 2011, Volume 2, Part 2, 223-247, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-7091-0388-3_12, Counterterrorism Mining for Individuals Semantically-Similar to Watchlist Members, James A. Danowski "The research reported here develops a method for locating individuals in discussion forums who have highly similar semantic networks to some reference network, either based on watchlist members’ observed message content or based on other standards such as radical jihadists’ semantic networks extracted from messages they disseminate on the internet."

 New(-ish) and noted: Taylor & Francis Online, Amanda E. Rogers, The Journal of North African Studies, Volume 17, Issue 3, 2012, Warding off terrorism and revolution: Moroccan religious pluralism, national identity and the politics of visual culture,

El-Sayed el-Aswad, Muslim Worldviews and Everyday Lives, AltaMira Press "The worldviews of Sunnis, Shi'as, and Sufis are covered in turn, and Muslims in the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, and suburban Detroit are the focus. el-Aswad also discusses the effects of Western attempts at imposing its essentially secular worldview through the process of globalization and how cyberspace has promoted connectivity among Muslim communities and, especially in the United States, opened up unlimited options and new possibilities."

Mali music falls silent as Islamist repression bites

Lindsey Hilsum on International Affairs,, Mali music falls silent as Islamist repression bites

Provocation as a Way of Life, Provocation as a Way of Life "Every movement has its pioneers. With his novel "Taqwacore", Michael Muhammad Knight created a blueprint for an individual youth protest culture in the US: "Muslim Punk". His book is both shocking and provocative. But "Taqwacore" has struck a chord with Muslim youngsters who say it reflects their own conflicts of identity."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Amateur jihad tests Syrian rebel resources

Amateur jihad tests Syrian rebel resources | Reuters "Talal Mohammad is a long way from Tennessee, and he's out of his depth.

"In an olive grove a few miles from the frontlines of Aleppo, he's at a loss to explain to a battle-hardened bunch of Syrian rebels what exactly this prosperous, U.S.-trained Saudi dentist is doing there - and what he can offer to their cause."

"Crucifixions in Egypt & Al Azhar Fatwas Encouraging Violence?: More Islamophobic Nonsense"

The American Muslim (TAM), Crucifixions in Egypt & Al Azhar Fatwas Encouraging Violence?: More Islamophobic Nonsense
this story featured in the Daily Mail today

India, Pakistan shut down networks after panic

India, Pakistan shut down networks after panic - Security - Technology - News - "Indian authorities have ordered internet service providers to block websites and restrict bulk SMS sending for two weeks after a campaign of threatening messages created mass panic in the country."

Ramadan Themed Web Frauds

Ramadan Themed Web Frauds Strike Islamic Internauts - SPAMfighter  "According to researchers from BitDefender the security company, cyber-criminals taking advantage of Ramadan the Muslim's religious festive time (20th July-18th August 2012) are unleashing spam e-mail scams while targeting Muslim Internauts who faithfully follow their fast during the festival."

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Lashkar-e-Jhangvi publishes beheading video - The Long War Journal "The al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) published a gruesome video on jihadist internet forums that shows the beheading of two Shiites. In a statement that accompanied the video on one of the forums, a jihadist said the Pakistani terror group is part of al Qaeda and the Taliban."

Dark Humor Facebook Pages of the Syrian Opposition, Dark Humor Facebook Pages of the Syrian Opposition "The uprising in Syria has unleashed a wave of dark humor and satire across a range of media, from the clever posters of the Local Coordinating Committee of Kfarnebel to the short sketches from YouTube series “Freedom and nothing else.” Therefore, it’s not surprising that along with the thousands of Facebook pages for organizing coordinating committees calling for freedom of imprisoned protesters and honoring those killed in the uprising, a number of satirical pages for the uprising have sprung up over the last year and a half."

How German Islamists Recruit Young Men for Jihad

Spiegel Online, How German Islamists Recruit Young Men for Jihad, 23 Aug 2012 "Young Muslim men in Germany are systematically trying to recruit their peers for jihad using sophisticated rhetoric and psychology and by targeting vulnerable youths who are searching for direction in life. Two men who have quit the scene tell their story to SPIEGEL, providing a rare look into a dangerous underground."

Come the reformation: Islam online, Come the reformation: Islam online "Islamic hardliners may have issued a slew of fatwas against digital technology, including chat programmes (they could lead to flirting) and the use of Koranic verses as ring tones (disrespectful). But Muslims have embraced the internet and smartphones just as the rest of the world has – and, in some ways, even more." Some familiar themes to readers of this blog

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Saudi Arabia contests 160 TLDs

Wired UK, Saudi Arabia contests 160 TLDs, including .catholic, .islam and .baby "Saudi Arabia has issued more than 160 complaints to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) over domain names that it says demonstrate religious and cultural insensitivities."

The sham “terrorism expert” industry

The sham “terrorism expert” industry -  "A highly ideological, jingoistic clique masquerades as objective scholars, all to justify US militarism." Opinion piece

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Africa? There's an app for that

Wired UK, Africa? There's an app for that

Iran's ministries to go offline

Iran's ministries to go offline: phase one of move to intranet society (Wired UK)

Syria crisis

Syria crisis: Iranian hostages, Aleppo battle, and defections - live updates | World news |

Includes links to Twitter feeds, video, etc.

Sinai on the brink

Sinai on the brink: Arms trafficking and the rise of Egypt's Jihadist groups - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

Iran’s ‘domestic Internet’ schedule slips

The Register, Iran’s ‘domestic Internet’ schedule slips "Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei had best make the most of his time on Twitter and Instagram, since the country’s telecommunications minister is doggedly pressing ahead with his program to cut the country off from the Internet. In the fullness of time, as Sir Humphrey Appleby would have put it."

Monday, August 06, 2012

Tech-savvy pensioners lead surge in online charity donations, research claims

Tech-savvy pensioners lead surge in online charity donations, research claims | "JustGiving pointed out that the surge in online religious donations was likely to have been boosted partly by Zakat, the Islamic practice that stipulates ongoing donations to charity."

Being Muslim in the age of globalisation

Tariq Ramadan, Being Muslim in the age of globalisation | "In a hi-tech age, with its instantaneous processing of information and global competition, Islam is profitable. No doubt about it: Islam makes money, plenty of money. Caught between ideological manipulation and the logic of capitalism, Islam — and with it the fate of Muslims — finds itself in a negative, not to say oppressive, dynamic." Opinion piece.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Syria files reveal regime espionage

Syria files reveal regime espionage - Features - Al Jazeera English

Syria Internet

Spiegel Online, Rebels in Northern Syria Begin Erecting New State - 

Guardian, Syria's video activists give revolution the upper hand in media war

E-government in KSA and elsewhere, Saudi Arabia leader nation in e-readiness: U.N. report, 3 Aug 2012 "Saudi Arabia has joined Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in the elite club of 21 nations holding crucial components of e-readiness for effective e-government and various e-services in public and private sectors, according to U.N. study released in Riyadh on Thursday." The survey should be on the UN Public E-Government Survey website, but the August edition doesn't seem to be available at present.

Social media bug bites Afghans

AFP/, Social media bug bites Afghans  "Like the Taliban, Dostum [Abdul Rashid Dostum] knows that he can use the traditional channels of local elders and mullahs to address and mobilise poor and illiterate Afghans who make up most of the population in rural areas.

""We launch gatherings and rallies in some provinces, mainly rural areas to communicate and address those people who have no access to the Internet.

""But we see social media as an effective way to communicate our messages with the educated Afghans inside and outside the country, as well as with the European and Americans who are engaged or interested in Afghanistan's affairs.""

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Riyadh the most active Twitter city in the Middle East, Riyadh the most active Twitter city in the Middle East "The Saudi capital Riyadh is the Middle East's most active city on Twitter, according to the Paris-based analyst group Semiocast. The firm released numbers Monday based on a study conducted on a sample of more than one billion public tweets posted to the social network from June 1 to June 30, 2012."

However, the most active Muslim majority population city on Twitter is Jakarta, as the report from Semiocast notes: "This study reveals that users from Jakarta were the most active within all cities ranked by the number of posted tweets. Using Semiocast's technology, 27% of all public tweets were geo-localized at the city level. More than 2% of all these tweets were posted from the capital of Indonesia, witnessing the activity of Twitter in the country. Bandung, its second largest metropolitan area, ranks 6th." [source: Semiocast, Twitter reaches half a billion accounts, More than 140 millions in the U.S., 31 Jul 2012

Amateur video shows Syria rebels killing 'Assad loyalists'

BBC News - Amateur video shows Syria rebels killing 'Assad loyalists'

Aleppo mobiles cut, Death toll mounts across Syria; mobiles and Internet reportedly cut in Aleppo "Mobile phone and Internet services have been cut in Aleppo, Syria’s second city, where a crucial battle is taking place between rebels and the army, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday."

Assad Spam

Deutsche Welle, Assad spam fills social media networks, 2 Aug 2012 "The Syrian conflict is filling social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime are engaged in a fierce propaganda battle."

Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, The Guardian, Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria, 1 Aug 2012 "As they stood outside the commandeered government building in the town of Mohassen, it was hard to distinguish Abu Khuder's men from any other brigade in the Syrian civil war, in their combat fatigues, T-shirts and beards.

"But these were not average members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba'a, or "strangers", after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden's time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year."

Syria's cyberwars: using social media against dissent, Syria's cyberwars: using social media against dissent, 25 Jul 2012  "Social media fueled the Arab Spring. In Syria, it's helping the government quash it. The Syrian uprising has opened a new chapter in the history of cyber-espionage, and activists and experts are watching closely to see how it plays out."

Stepping Stones of Islamic Spain

BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Stepping Stones of Islamic Spain, Episode 1

Faith online

Faith online | The Jakarta Post "Those who find books of prayers impractical now may use, an online archive of Islamic prayers, including niat (intention) for daily prayers (shalat), before going to sleep or before eating."

Islamic art masterpieces take center stage

Islamic art masterpieces take center stage | The Jakarta Post  "Two exhibitions present masterpieces of Islamic art spanning many centuries from different regions and their connections across cultures."

Egypt arrests Christian teacher for ‘insulting Islam’ on Facebook, Egypt arrests Christian teacher for ‘insulting Islam’ on Facebook  "Egyptian authorities have arrested a minority Coptic Christian teacher for allegedly posting cartoons on Facebook that insulted Islam - charges that are becoming a common theme in a country ruled by an Islamic majority."

‘Bachmann affair’

‘Bachmann affair’ against Clinton aide Huma Abedin is a wake-up call - Guest Voices - The Washington Post article by John Esposito: "As could be expected, Bachmann’s statements went viral on right wing (political and religious) and anti-Islam Web sites. However, in contrast to many instances in which Muslim Americans have been slandered by presidential candidates, members of Congress, hardline Christian Zionists and media, she has been accused of a witch hunt, reminiscent of the McCarthy era. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats and critics in the media, from CNN, MSNBC and Fox, were quick to characterize Bachmann’s insinuations as based on rumors and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories."