Saturday, December 28, 2013

Iran reaches out on Twitter at Christmas

Iran reaches out on Twitter at Christmas - "Iran's top leaders used Twitter to send Christmas greetings that praised Jesus, continuing a new era of social media outreach by a government previously known for Islamic extremism and political belligerence."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Between Hip-hop and Muhammad

A Saeed, Between Hip-hop and Muhammad, chapter in Postcolonialism and Islam: Theory, Literature, Culture, Society and Film, edited by Geoffrey Nash, Kathleen Kerr-Koch, Sarah Hackett, Routledge, 2013. "Within contemporary European Muslim youth culture the song 'Aicha'by the Denmark based Hip-hop group Outlandish offers an insightful glimpse into how European Muslim youth challenge their 'pariah'-like status in society through art in a dynamic musical form."

New and noted - 'Islamic Emoticons'

A.L. Stanton, 'Islamic Emoticons', in Internet and Emotions, Tova Benski, Eran Fisher (eds.), Routledge, 2013 "Since the late-1990s, the communications field has seen a growing body of research on computer-mediated human interaction that has focused on the role and importance of emoticons."

New and Noted - Challenging Authority in Cyberspace: Evaluating Al Jazeera Arabic Writers

Challenging Authority in Cyberspace: Evaluating Al Jazeera Arabic Writers, M Lo, A Frkovich - Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 2013

'A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising'

Laila Shereen Sakr, A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising, Middle East Critique, Volume 22, Issue 3, 2013, Special Issue: Special Issue: The Arab Uprisings of 2011 " ... this article presents a micro-study of the hashtag (#) Tahrir using an emergent method of cultural analytics and a repository developed by a digital Arabic knowledge management system—a body of work that coheres dissimilar elements not into a single idea, but rather into a heterogeneous network. It may be difficult to make direct correlations between the rise of revolutionary movements made manifest through large-scale street actions and the adoption of newly distributed communication practices around information technologies, but researchers can examine how verbal acts of protest can be conceptualized, facilitated, staged, ignored, negated, or thwarted in a culture of accelerated mediation and acknowledge the potential fragmentation of publics, the seeming disappearance of the civic, and, possibly, the dissolution of the nation-state in the shifts of globalization." [payment/subscription required to view]

Saudi Arabia 'Twittersphere'

VOA, INSIGHT: Saudi Arabia’s War on Twitter, 12 Dec 2013 " ... the Saudi Twittersphere reveals significant public discontent with the government’s performance on addressing domestic problems like unemployment and corruption. However, persistent efforts by a relatively small number of Saudis using Twitter and other social media to mobilize their fellow citizens for reform have generally failed to translate into large-scale action. The fact that some of the kingdom’s most popular Twitterati are clerics underscores the conservative nature of Saudi society, including the Twitter-happy youth." report by Lori Plotkin Boghardt

Number of Shia Fighters in Syria Could Rise Following Fatwa

VOA, Number of Shia Fighters in Syria Could Rise Following Fatwa, 16 Dec 2013   "How fighters are transported to Syria has become clearer recently with many of the volunteers posting online on Facebook and other social media sites how they got to Syria. Volunteers go to Iran initially and train there before flying to Lebanon from where they are taken into Syria with Hezbollah forces. Many of the fighters in their Internet postings say they were motivated to volunteer for Syria because of their determination to protect Shia shrines."

Revolution Muslim 'Influence'

Daily Beast, Terry Lee Loewen, the Mellow Kansas Man Who Dreamed of Jihad, 16 Dec 2013 "Like the elder of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers and the would-be Times Square bomber and the Fort Hood shooter, Loewen was allegedly a big fan of Anwar al-Awlaki, the al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula leader killed two years ago by a drone strike in Yemen who continues to arouse the worst in lost souls seeking to find meaning in mass murder justified by religious mumbo jumbo.

"Exactly what prompted Loewen to convert to Islam is not yet clear, and none of the mosques in his area acknowledge ever having any contact with him. The criminal complaint quotes an email in which he said that he became attracted to radical fundamentalism when he began visiting a now defunct website called Revolution Muslim."

"Muslim 'Last Supper'"

Huffington Post, Muslim 'Last Supper' Photo Offers Interfaith Tribute To Da Vinci's Masterpiece, 16 Dec 2013 "Fatima Ali and her group of Muslim friends host an annual Friendsgiving, and this year they decided to commemorate the occasion in an epic way. For this year's family photo, shot by Atif Ateeq, they perfectly recreated Da Vinci's "Last Supper.""

Chatting Online II

Cleric says avoid e-chat, women’s groups see red "Progressive Muslim women's groups have slammed a Sunni cleric's advice to women against internet chats and visits to beauty parlours. They said such "regressive" words would discourage girls from keeping pace with a globalized world."

Chatting Online I, Internet Chats Between Males and Females " Many teens seek out boy/girlfriends online, and have actually dated. Furthermore many Muslims are using online chats to seek friends and chat, but as we all know most men and women are seeking more than just friends. They are possibly looking for a future wife or husband. What is the Islamic stance on that?" See the response in this Q&A session.

Malaysia: 'Stern action against internet rumour mongers'

NST, 'Stern action against internet rumour mongers', 17 Dec 2013 "The state government as well as the Perak state islamic Religious Department have also joined the chorus of voices, calling on the people to practise caution, when reading anything on the internet."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Internet Monitor 2013

Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Internet Monitor, "The Internet Monitor’s first-ever annual report is a collection of of essays from roughly two dozen experts around the world, including Bruce Schneier, Ashkan Soltani, Ron Deibert, Molly Sauter, Zeynep Tufekci, and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, among others." available in PDF and other formats.

Iranian Police Boast Presence Monitoring Social Media

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Iranian Police Boast Presence Monitoring Social Media "As several members of the Rouhani cabinet continue to utilize Facebook and other online social networking tools, millions of ordinary Iranians ask why they are not allowed access to the popular websites."

Islamophobia on the Internet report

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, Islamophobia on the Internet: Major new report exposes online hate targeting Muslims "The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), an Australian charity dedicated to the growing problem of online hate, has announced the release of a major new report into the targeting of the Muslim community." Here's the link to the OHPI report

Syria: Western fighters emerge via social media

The Daily Star, Previously invisible, Western fighters emerge via social media "Western Muslims fighting in Syria are emerging from the shadows and using social media to share their experiences of the conflict and encourage others to join them."

'Boko Haram Nigeria Changes Tactics'

Leadership, Boko Haram Nigeria Changes Tactics, 12 Dec 2013, "If the information available to Defence Focus on the counter-insurgency is anything to go by, the war against the Boko Haram terrorists is taking a new dimension that is out to isolate them from the populace and break their communication links."

'The Evolution of Jihadism in Italy'

Lorenzo Vidino, ISN Blog, The Evolution of Jihadism in Italy: Rise in Homegrown Radicals I have had MA students working on related issues recently.

'Regeneration of Islamic Discourse from the Podium to the Internet' - book review

Ahram Online, Book review: The Regeneration of Islamic Discourse, review of Tagdeed Al-Khitab Al-IslamiMin Al-Minbar Ila Al-Internet (Regeneration of Islamic Discourse from the Podium to the Internet) by Mohamed Younis

Convert issues and the net

OnIslam, Dar Al-Arqam – A New Muslim Safe Haven (Part 2) "Maryam, formerly known as Molly, was certain of her belief in Islam, and converted when she was only 17 years old. She still lived at home with her parents in the state of Arkansas. The nearest masjid was over 100 miles away, and she had never met another Muslim face-to-face.

"Her only support was from Muslims she met online. While she gained some emotional support from them, she received very little else. The little she learned about Islam was from YouTube videos and Facebook groups."

aQ Iraq

Reuters, Al Qaeda tightens grip on western Iraq in bid for Islamic state "A short video of the sign was broadcast on jihadi websites last month and reflects a long-held goal of al Qaeda fighters to establish an Islamic emirate."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Another rapper arrest

freemuse, Iran: Popular rapper arrested by Morality Police "Iran’s Morality Police have arrested popular rapper Amir Tataloo."

Rapper imprisoned

freemuse, Tunisia: Freemuse condemns imprisonment of rapper Weld El 15 [tip: CyberOrient] "Weld El 15 (also spelled Oueld El 15, “The 15-Year-Old Boy”) was originally given a two-year sentence in June 2013 for his song ‘The Police Are Dogs’. His legal team denied that Weld El 15 should have sung the song at the concert in the resort of Hammamet."

Local YouTube in Pakistan?

India Times, Pakistan govt in talks with Google to localise Youtube: Minister, 11 Dec 2013 "Pakistan government is in talks with Google to localise YouTube, a move which could pave the way for the popular video sharing website to be unblocked in the Islamic country."

'Pornography, internet freedom and Shariah'

Sumayyah Amar, Free Malaysia Today, Pornography, internet freedom and Shariah "According to a study conducted by the National University of Malaysia, 60% of internet users in the country utilise it for entertainment and pleasure such as watching videos on YouTube and playing games. Thus, unhealthy cultures have spread within the society and influenced people, especially teenagers and children. It has caused many teenagers to become obsessed with games, watching videos, and chatting on the internet, affecting their education and causing them to become lazy in other spheres of their life or in fulfilling their Islamic or family responsibilities." Note: "The writer is a member of the central media office of Hizb ut Tahrir"

New and Noted: paper re. gaps in SMS use in Berber communities

Leslie L. Dodson, S. Revi Sterling, John K. Bennett, Minding the gaps: Minding the gaps: cultural, technical and gender-based barriers to mobile use in oral-language Berber communities in Morocco, Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development: Full Papers - Volume 1, Pages 79-88 "The proliferation of text-based applications in the Mobiles for Development (M4D) domain tends to privilege the conventional wisdom that texting is a ubiquitous skill among mobile phone users. This view obscures many real and present barriers to using SMS and mobile features, most critically where low literate and/or oral language-dependent communities cannot rely on text as a viable communications system. This paper investigates mobile "utility gaps" -- the spaces between high rates of mobile phone ownership and low use of productive features on mobile phones."

'Extradited Briton Babar Ahmad admits terrorism offences'

BBC News, Extradited Briton Babar Ahmad admits terrorism offences, 10 Dec 2013 "Ahmad launched Azzam publications in the late 1990s as probably the first website promoting jihadist thought in English. It went on to play a pivotal role in propagating the political ideology at a critical point in its development and growth in the West."

Monday, December 09, 2013

Lee Rigby murder trial update

BBC News, Lee Rigby murder trial: Michael Adebolajo 'a soldier of Allah', 9 Dec 2013 "A man has admitted killing soldier Lee Rigby but said it was not murder because "I am a soldier of Allah" and "this is a war"."

'‘My Afro Is Melting’: Syrian Rebels Want Hair Products and iPads', ‘My Afro Is Melting’: Syrian Rebels Want Hair Products and iPads "In comparison to the ascetic 1980s jihad in Afghanistan, sleeping quarters in Syria are provided with Internet connections, allowing fighters to chat to family members abroad and play online games."

Also see, Changing the face of Jihad in Syria

The Spying Game

Guardian, Spy agencies in covert push to infiltrate virtual world of online gaming "NSA and GCHQ collect gamers' chats and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life"

Monday, December 02, 2013

'Iran officials criticised for using banned social media'

Middle East Online, You can’t use Internet but we can! Iran officials criticised for using banned social media, 2 Dec 2013 "Iran's police chief Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghaddam on Monday criticised officials who "cross red lines" by using banned social media networks, Mehr news agency reported."

Rouhani Music Video

Middle East Online, Another step to breaking taboos: Rouhani tweets music video "A music video has surfaced on YouTube hailing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a similar way to a famed 2008 paean to his US counterpart Barack Obama."

And here is the video, directed by Hossein Dehbashi:

UK Jihadis in Syria

Daily Mail, The Al Qaeda fanatic from Britain who funded jihad trip to Syria by mugging Londoners with a Taser, 1 Dec 2013 " A British man who was killed fighting alongside Al Qaeda-linked extremists in Syria funded his trip by mugging people in an affluent area of London, The Mail on Sunday has learned.

"Choukri Ellekhlifi, 22, threatened victims with a Taser-style high-voltage stun gun and forced them to hand over valuables including designer watches and mobile phones."

'Sixty years of Palestinian suffering: UN refugee agency unveils archive'

UNRWA audiovisual archive for Palestine refugees is discussed in Middle East Online, Sixty years of Palestinian suffering: UN refugee agency unveils archive

'Cafe for Girls'

National Yemen, Cafe for Girls a Welcome Site [sic] in Sana'a "Nasim Mohsen, student, said that the café is a very comfortable place and she comes to it every day with her friends to study, “when I am in Girls Café, I feel as if I am at home, we can take our veils, laugh, eat, study and use the internet without the crowding of men. In Girls Café everything is convenient for girls.”"

'ISIL Terrorists Exhume Sufi Shrines in Aleppo'

Al-Manar, ISIL Terrorists Exhume Sufi Shrines in Aleppo "Terrorists of the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Levant” were shown in a videotape exhuming and sabotaging Sufi tombs and shrines in al-Bab city in the countryside of Aleppo."

Google's virtual tour of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

HH Sheikh Mansour inaugurates Google's virtual tour of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque | 7 Days Dubai

Google: Arabic content ranks eighth on the internet

Google: Arabic content ranks eighth on the internet - Al Arabiya News "Arabic is currently ranked the “eighth language in terms of growth and usage on the internet,” a Google spokesperson told Al Arabiya News."

Mayam Mahmoud

Rapper Mayam Mahmoud challenges Egyptian expectations of veiled women | World news | "Since she first performed on television in October, Mayam Mahmoud's new fans have been posting up to 50 supportive messages a day on Facebook. But there have also been a few unwelcome messages. "Some say I'm creating a bad name for Islam," she says. "Or even that I'm an infidel."" And here she is:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Religious mobile apps

New York Daily News, Religious mobile apps changing the faith-based landscape in America

'Kazakh Mullahs Get Web-Savvy'

Maqpal Mukankyzy and Farangis Najibullah, RFE/RL, Kazakh Mullahs Get Web-Savvy, 22 Nov 2013, "Darkhan Syzdykov, deputy imam of Qostanay's Maral Eshan mosque, supports the effort. Syzdykov, who took part in the local workshop along with 56 other religious leaders, believes that without the Internet and social media, mullahs would lose touch with their most important target audience.

""Nowadays, young people spent most of their time surfing on the Internet. Nobody wants to bother to listen to mosque sermons," Syzdykov says. "Young people prefer to get answers to their questions [about religion] without leaving their homes. That's why imams should be proactive on social networks.""

'The Video-Game Invasion of Iraq'

New Yorker, The Video-Game Invasion of Iraq, 13 Nov 2013 "Mohammed believes that the friendships he has formed through online gaming have had a transformative effect on the way in which some people view his country. “Some people told me they were scared of Iraqis,” he said, “thinking that they are all terrorists. But in reality, we are victims. When they got to know me, they saw the truth and changed their minds about Iraqis. It removed the fear.” A twenty-two-year-old Norwegian, Michael Moe, is now one of Mohammed’s closest friends. The young men met online while playing Battlefield 3, and now speak on the phone or over Skype every few days. “I become worried about Mohammed if I do not hear from him for any more than two days,” said Moe. “I always check up on him when that happens.”"

British Kataa’ib

Daily Mail, The British Muslims waging 'five-star jihad' for Al Qaeda: At least 17 extremists post messages about experiences in war-torn Syria "The group is called the British Kataa’ib, meaning British Brigades.

"As well as operating social media accounts that detail their activities, some of the group also operate blogs and even participate in question-and-answer sessions with supporters, often urging others to join them ‘while the path is clear’."

Australian websites targets by Indonesian hackers, Aust websites targets by Indon hackers, 25 Nov 2013 "Indonesian hackers are targeting Australian police and other government agencies' websites as payback for spying on their president but no critical police information has been compromised."

'I Am Sushi'

Diana Moukalled, Asharq Al-Awsat, 26 Nov 2013 "A young, modern, married couple sits calmly on a sofa with their baby between them. The father is holding up a piece of paper that reads “I am Shia” while the mother holds up one that reads “I am Sunni.” The child, sitting between his parents, is holding up a piece of paper of his own. It reads: “I am Sushi.”"

Iran's Hard-Liners Criticize Alleged Efforts To Unblock Facebook

Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL, Iran's Hard-Liners Criticize Alleged Efforts To Unblock Facebook "Lawmaker Fatemeh Rahbar, known for her hard-line stances, told the semi-official Fars news agency that presidential adviser Mohammad Reza Sadegh discussed lifting the block on Facebook with representatives of six ministries -- including the ministries of science, culture, and intelligence."

Egypt: FEMEN - Alia Al Mahdi, Egypt's FEMEN favorite Alia gets feisty on social media: Feminist flasher tackles Islam's call to prayer "Alia al-Mahdi - notoriously known as the “nude poser” - stirred up more trouble when she derided the Muslim call to prayer on social media."

Gap Ad

Huffington Post, Gap's Ad With Sikh Model Waris Ahluwalia Defaced With Racist Graffiti, Drawing Incredible Response From Company""Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor at The Islamic Monthly and founder of, posted a picture to his Twitter and Facebook wall of a defaced subway advertisement for Gap featuring Sikh actor and jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia. The caption had been changed from "Make Love" to "Make Bombs," and the writer had also scrawled "Please stop driving TAXIS" onto the poster." See article for details of Gap's response.

'Hate Mails Threaten Irish Muslims'

OnIslam, Hate Mails Threaten Irish Muslims "A hate e-mail sent to Muslim mosques, homes and organizations in Dublin has been widely condemned by Irish officials as unwelcomed “racism” and “religious bigotry”."

'Stop Al-Qaida's Infitration on the Internet' - op-ed

Opinion piece; Ed Swan, IBTimes, Stop Al-Qaida's Infitration on the Internet - or More British Jihadists Will Die in Syria: Incoherence and hypocrisy of extremist narrative must be stopped - or more British lives will be lost. Note: Ed Swan is from the Quilliam Foundation. "The internet has been used effectively by al-Qaida and related groups to spread their narratives. Marginal religious scholars, often self-proclaimed, have been able to gain wide audiences online for takfiri proclamations, which declare certain individuals or groups to be non-Muslim for the purpose of legitimising their killing, which has happened in the case of Shia Muslims in Syria. There is now an urgent need for greater investment in challenging extremism online, as well as in the 'real world'."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

'The Last Ottomans are Gathering on Facebook'

Sabah English, The Last Ottomans are Gathering on Facebook "The last 77 members of the Ottoman dynasty, which are spread out throughout a wide geography spanning from the United States to Jordan, are now in communication with one another through a group formed on the popular social networking website Facebook."

'Young Saudis getting creative on YouTube'

Matt Smith, Reuters, Young Saudis getting creative on YouTube, 18 Nov 2013 "Turn on a Saudi television and you'll usually get a diet of religious programming and uncontroversial imported fare. But there's much more to a "night in" for the average Saudi - they're also the world's most avid watchers of YouTube."

Pakistan Calling

RSA - Pakistan Calling: "Pakistan Calling is a platform for films showing links between civil and cultural organisations and communities in Pakistan and the UK. These films explore some of the many pressing social problems faced by Pakistan and shine a light on, and support, some of the inspiring stories of people and organisations tackling these issues. Pakistan Calling builds on a project run by the RSA and The Samosa in 2011. The project aims to build community trust in UK, and to support the creativity and energy of the British Pakistani diaspora and others working between Britain and Pakistan. Read more about Pakistan Calling."

Twitter pulls Shebab accounts as group boasts of Kenya attack

Twitter pulls Shebab accounts as group boasts of Kenya attack | AFP/The Raw Story "Twitter has now suspended the account, but others quickly sprung up in what one analyst likened to an online version of Whac-A-Mole."

Kuwait tweeter gets 5 year prison sentence for 'insulting Prophet'

Kuwait tweeter gets 5 year prison sentence for 'insulting Prophet' — RT News "A Kuwaiti activist has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammed. Musaab Shamsah was charged after posting a message on Twitter deemed offensive to relatives of the Prophet."

Monday, November 18, 2013

'Meet the Somalis', Meet the Somalis: The illustrated stories of Somalis in seven cities in Europe 

I have yet to read this, but it looks like an innovative way to present a narrative (with shades of Joe Sacco)


Muslim Brotherhood rapper resists Egypt military government with music

NBC, Muslim Brotherhood rapper resists Egypt military government with music 

"With its television stations shuttered and many of its leaders jailed, the Brotherhood has lost the traditional means to spread its message, and the work has fallen to younger, more media-savvy members like Sharif.

"Armed with YouTube accounts, Quranic verse, Malcolm X quotations, and rugged beats sampled from the Internet, young songwriters and rappers are trying to breathe new life into the beleaguered movement."

True Religion v.

Boston Globe, The case of True Religion v. "Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim Abu-Harb, a devout Muslim, says he decided to express his devotion to Islam by launching True Religion Apparel Inc., a purveyor of $300 jeans, says Abu-Harb’s only devotion is to money, and it wants the website shut down." A complex case.

'Citation Filtered: Iran's Censorship of Wikipedia', Citation Filtered: Iran's Censorship of Wikipedia "Using proxy servers in Iran, researchers Collin Anderson and Nima Nazeri scanned 800,000 Persian language Wikipedia articles. Every blocked article was identified and blocked pages were divided into ten categories to determine the type of content to which state censors are most adverse." Sounds interesting. The report is here [PDF] (haven't read it yet). Also see the useful infographics

Op-ed - 'Banning the Book'

Irfan Husain, Dawn, Banning the book [opinion piece] "We in Pakistan do not have to look very far for instances of this kind of backwardness. Hundreds of schools have been blown up, barber shops attacked and DVD outlets forced to close. The ostensible reason is that they promote Western values. In the minds of many Muslims, the equation is straightforward: ‘modern’ equals ‘Western’ equals ‘sinful’.

"And yet these same barbarians have no problem with other products of modern education: witness their harnessing of the Internet and cellphone technologies for their purposes."

'Facebook not a crime: Iranian culture minister'

Asharq Al-Awsat, Facebook not a crime: Iranian culture minister "Ali Jannati, Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, told reporters that he is a member of social networking website Facebook and that membership is not a crime, Iranian news agencies reported on Friday."

al-Shabaab Smartphone ban, Al-Shabaab says smartphones used 'to spy on Muslim people', 14 Nov 2013 " ... Mumin Gabow, a 60-year-old traditional elder from El Bur, said he was angry about al-Shabaab's anti-smartphone campaign.

""First, I am an old man and I do not use these phones that al-Shabaab is allegedly banning people from using, claiming the phones are used for spying," Gabow told Sabahi. "But I am very sad about it because it is good for a human being to use any kind of phone he desires. The most important reason to carry a phone is to speak on it, and in my opinion, I think al-Shabaab is using any kind of lie to destroy the progress people have made.""

'Syrian rebel beheaded in apparent case of mistaken identity'

LA Times, Syrian rebel beheaded in apparent case of mistaken identity, 15 Nov 2013, "Fares lost his life in an appalling case of mistaken identity, according to various opposition accounts circulating on the Internet, where the case has caused a minor sensation."

Lewthwaite profile

Amelia Gentleman, Yahoo Australia, The Hunt For The White Widow "She was once a middle-class girl, from a sleepy English town, but, since the devastating Nairobis attacks, Samanatha Lewthwaite has become an international fugitive. Amelia Gentleman looks at the mystery and mythology of the "White Widow"."

Girls still sent to Kashmir for forced weddings, Girls still sent to Kashmir for forced weddings "[Other] ... women have made dramatic escapes, using the internet to seek help from the British High Commission or hiding spoons in their underwear to set off airport metal detectors, giving them an opportunity to speak to authorities."

Saudi Arabia records highest Twitter penetration in the world, Saudi Arabia records highest Twitter penetration in the world, 16 Nov 2013 "A recent study has showed that 41 per cent of Internet users in Saudi Arabia are on Twitter social network, thus the Gulf state tops the world list of Twitter penetration as proportionate to the area and population. According to the survey conducted by BI Intelligence, Saudi Arabia came in the first place worldwide in terms of the ratio of Twitter use, followed closely by Indonesia in the second place and the Philippines, which came third."

Malawi Muslim Leaders Fight Pornography, Malawi Muslim Leaders Fight Pornography "“The emergence of the internet, much as it is celebrated for the significant contributions it’s made to our societies, it’s also regrettable for the devastating effects it’s made to the young people,” Sheikh Ahmed Chienda, Programs’ Officer of the Islamic Information Bureau (IIB) in the southern region of the country, told

 "“One of the harmful effects the new technology has brought on the youths is providing easy access to pornography, a worrisome trend, which is threatening to erode both moral and religious values of the society.”"

#JAKIM: Social media a threat to Islam

Malay Mail, Social media a threat to Islam, Internet controls a must, Muslims told in Friday sermon "The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) alleged that “enemies of Islam” were prowling social media platforms, purportedly to topple the governments of Muslim-majority nations, with a nod to the conflict-riddled Middle East as an example.

 "“The pulpit would like to state that the abuse and misuse of the internet and telecommunications technology is against religious obligations, laws and community conduct."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#sufism - 'Sufism in Britain'

Saraya Cheruvallil Contractor, 'Online Sufism' - Young British Muslims, Their Virtual 'Selves' and Virtual Reality chapter, in Sufism in Britain via Google Books I have written on aspects of Sufism recently (see J. Kenney & E. Moosa (eds.), Islam in the Modern World, Routledge)

Muslim bloggers in Germany: an emerging counterpublic

Stine Eckert & Kalyani Chadha, Media, Culture & Society, Muslim bloggers in Germany: an emerging counterpublic: "The Muslim minority in Germany has been historically misrepresented in and excluded from the mainstream public sphere. In response, some Muslims in Germany have turned to blogs as an alternative space to challenge the dominant public discourse through varied discursive practices. In this study, we examine these practices through 28 in-depth interviews with Muslim bloggers in Germany. Applying Nancy Fraser’s theory of counterpublics, we posit that this group, which seeks to challenge mainstream representations and offer oppositional counter-discourses, represents an emerging counterpublic."

#Egypt - Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis

Al-Ahram Weekly, Head-to-head "There is a long history of antagonism between the Muslim Brothers and Salafis. Any accommodation between the two partners in political Islam has invariably been short lived. Since the declaration of the new roadmap on 3 July their relationship has been in free fall. The Salafist Calling, and its political wing the Nour Party, signed up to the roadmap in the hope of promoting itself as the acceptable alternative to the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing." Opinion and analysis

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The internet subculture of Indonesian face-veiled women

Eva F. Nisa, The internet subculture of Indonesian face-veiled women, International Journal of Cultural Studies May 2013 vol. 16 no. 3 241-255n taking a look at this now.

Investigating religious information searching through analysis of a search engine log

Rita Wan-Chik, Paul Clough, Mark Sanderson, Investigating religious information searching through analysis of a search engine log, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 64, Issue 12, pages 2492–2506, December 2013 - I have yet to read this (no subscription ;[)

Jaish al-Islam and her Air Force

spioenkop, Jaish al-Islam and her Air Force

Twitter Shares Approved For Islamic investment

Reuters/Huffington Post, Twitter Shares Approved For Islamic investment "Shares in Twitter Inc have been found eligible for investment by Islamic funds, according to IdealRatings, a company that screens stocks to determine whether they meet Muslim principles."

Social media and politics in Malaysia

The Star, Exciting PAS Youth polls for a change social media and politics in Malaysia

'China’s Uighurs blame violence on oppression, not ‘jihad’'

AFP/, China’s Uighurs blame violence on oppression, not ‘jihad’ includes reference to net being blocked

#Indonesia - "Led astray on the internet", Led astray on the internet, "Although the internet can be a powerful tool for learning about Islam, it can also pose dangers as extremists use the web to circulate their distorted version of the Prophet's teachings." Opinion.

'Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures' allegations

al-arabiya, Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Portrait of the NSA

Portrait of the NSA: no detail too small in quest for total surveillance | World news | The Observer:

"Hundreds of the documents show the NSA engaged in activities that would generally be applauded. One credits the NSA's Texas base as intercepting 478 emails that helped to foil the Jihad Jane plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks over his depiction of the prophet Muhammad.

"Another shows the NSA, during a deadly takeover of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul by the insurgent Haqqani group, able to listen in, minute-by-minute, to what the gunmen were saying."

The Jihad blog, post 1

The Jihad blog, post 1 - Your Middle East: written by Charlie Cooper, from the Quilliam Foundation

Opinion: Don't tell Muslim women what to wear

Opinion: Don't tell Muslim women what to wear - "When a police officer demanded that she cover her hair, Amira Osman Hamed simply refused. "I'm Muslim, and I'm not going to cover my head," she declared. For that, the 35-year-old Sudanese engineer was arrested last August and charged with "indecent dress.""

Some reference to social media in this report.

Xinjiang Muslims

Separatists spreading terror skills over Net, "The Internet and social media are the main channels and tools for "East Turkistan" separatists to promote their beliefs among young people in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, an expert said.

"The separatists, which seek independence for a so-called Eastern Turkistan, believe that once they gradually influence young people, they can achieve their goal of separating China. As the Internet becomes more and more popular in Xinjiang as its economy develops, it has provided convenience for separatists to spread their ideas and reach out to a greater audience," said Adiljan Ablat, a professor of politics and public management at Xinjiang University."


Hacker 'The Messiah'

Hacker 'The Messiah' claims attack on Singapore govt sites, repeats ‘Anonymous’ cyber threat - Yahoo News Singapore: "A reply from an email address left by alleged hacker “The Messiah” claimed that members of the activist internet group Anonymous worked together Saturday to temporarily take down websites of the Singapore government."

'Singapore Hijab Movement'

A reality of living in a multi-religious society: S'pore's DPM Teo on tudung issue - Yahoo News Singapore: "Thousands of Singaporeans have shown support — asking for the use of the tudung to be allowed — on a Facebook page called “Singapore Hijab Movement”, which was set up on Sunday.

"In just two days, the page has garnered over 18,000 Likes and several supporters have also changed their profile pictures to the same one used in the page -- a red and white illustration of a woman wearing the tudung, also known as hijab in the Arab world. "

Elusive Al-Qaida leader in Syria stays in shadows

Elusive Al-Qaida leader in Syria stays in shadows - AP/KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff: "Before he became head of an al-Qaida-linked group that is one of the most feared bands of radicals fighting the Syrian regime, he was a teacher of classical Arabic who fought American troops in Iraq and quickly rose through the ranks of the global terrorist network."

Iran Culture Minister Wants Social Media Ban Lifted

Iran Culture Minister Wants Social Media Ban Lifted - Bloomberg: "Iran’s government should legalize access to social-networking websites including Twitter and Facebook, Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ali Jannati said.

“Not only Facebook, but other social networks should be accessible and the illegal qualification should be removed,” Jannati said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency."

Singapore Muslims, Singapore Muslims embrace technology to practise their faith "Fazal [Bahardeen] is among the growing number of Muslims in Singapore who are embracing technology as well as modern marketing and fashions to help them practice their religion."

Friday, November 01, 2013

Revolution Muslim

N.J. man who ran radical Islamic website admits Internet threats against Jewish groups | AP/ "A New Jersey man who co-founded a radical Islamic website has pleaded guilty to using the Internet to make threats against Jewish groups.

"Yousef Mohamid al-Khattab, 45, of Atlantic City started the now-defunct Revolution Muslim website in 2007 with partner Jesse Curtis Morton."

You'll find some previous posts on Revolution Muslim elsewhere on this blog.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Children and Technology, Technology: Friend or Enemy of Muslim Youth? "The idea that our children are moving beyond our absolute control may be the bitterest pill for many of us to swallow in the digital era. The need to protect children is reflexive, visceral, and instinctive. All the harder, then, to change; difficult yes impossible no, I know I have tried. Too many times one feels how can we compete with the outside world but it is our duty and this we cannot deny."

Jihadist Websites Linked to Syria Thriving on Internet

Jihadist Websites Linked to Syria Thriving on Internet - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East "The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which is the local and increasingly powerful chapter of al-Qaeda, issued a statement on Facebook and Twitter affirming that it has nothing to do with the many Web pages bearing its name. The statement stressed that the only Facebook and Twitter pages that represent ISIS are those of the Itissam Foundation and its official website."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CFP Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion

CFP, Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion  "ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION

"Forthcoming 2015

"Volume 6: Religion and Internet

"Edited by

"Enzo Pace (University of Padua), Göran Larsson and Daniel Enstedt (University of Göteborg)

"The issue Religion and Internet focuses on the current state of research. In particular, it provides on one hand a comprehensive overview of the different approaches and theoretical perspectives confronted in studying religion online, and on the other, a selection of research reports concerning both traditional religions and so-called predominantly online religion. The first goal is not only to reflect on the progress of theoretical and empirical studies, but also and especially to what extend common themes, languages, and methodological tools are sharing by scholars as well as persisting problems related the structural ambivalence of the object between religion and communication, reality and virtuality, great religious traditions and innovation, which sometimes reach paradoxical extremes. The second goal is to explore the nexus between information and communication technologies, and religion, and, more precisely, how both religious organizations and individuals make use of new technologies with regard to religion."

Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research

Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research 6:1 - new issue available now

Webcast of: Digital Humanities + Islamic & Middle East Studies @ Brown University, Webcast of: Digital Humanities + Islamic & Middle East Studies @ Brown University Plenty to see here - need a few spare days.

Boko Haram

Benjamin S. Eveslage,, Clarifying Boko Haram’s Transnational Intentions, Using Content Analysis of Public Statements in 2012 "To advance understanding of the dynamic global security threats emerging in West Africa, this article analyses the radical Islamic sect in Nigeria popularly called “Boko Haram”.This was done by addressing the question: What is the likelihood that Boko Haram will transnationalize? Current literature is inconclusive. On the one hand, some discuss Boko Haram as part of an international network of terror groups, and therefore a transnational threat, while others describe the Boko Haram conflict within a domestic or regional context. This article offers, for the first time, a systematic content analysis of the group’s public statements issued in 2012 to address this question. The analysis found Boko Haram to express itself in an intrinsically domestic orientation, and as such, transnationalization is unlikely. However, Boko Haram also exhibited a highly reactive modus operandi – highlighting concerns for increased transnationalization if international actors engage Boko Haram. In light of the analysis, policy recommendations are offered."

I haven't read this one yet.

Uighur Muslims in China Arrested For ‘Online Jihad’

Uighur Muslims in China Arrested For ‘Online Jihad’ - International Business Times "Chinese crackdown on Uighur Muslim, continues in the country's restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang province, as security agencies arrested over 139 activists over the past few weeks on charges of promoting jihad online."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Iran's 'Cable Guys'

Holly Dagres, al-monitor, Iran's 'Cable Guys' Provide Service For Contraband Satellites, 20 Oct 2013 "Although satellites are contraband, somehow many people manage to own one. It's estimated that 50-70% of households in Tehran have satellite dishes to broadcast their favorite news, music and movie channels. Even in a holy city such as Qom and other areas, it's estimated that some 30-40% of households own a satellite dish.

Rihanna, social media and Abu Dhabi, Ri Ri goes native! Rihanna shocks fans by wearing hijab for Abu Dhabi mosque photoshoot attracting some attention on social media

'Officials blame Skype for Karachi's chaos'

Irfan Ahmed, Inter Press/Asia Times, Officials blame Skype for Karachi's chaos, 21 Oct 2013

"First, it was YouTube. Now, if the government of Sindh has its way, it could well be goodbye to Skype, Whatsapp, Viber and Tango for the people of this province in southeastern Pakistan. At least for the next three months."

al-Azhar, Police Clashes With Al-Azhar Students, 20 Oct 2013 "Images of anti-riot police forces firing teargas at students protesting against the army’s move to depose former President Mohamed Morsi were posted on the internet on Sunday, October 20, reflecting a new development in Egypt daily protests over the past three months."

'Turkey's first online Islamic sex shop opens'

France24, Turkey's first online Islamic sex shop opens, 21 Oct 2013 "The "Halal Sex Shop" website presents its products as being "entirely safe," and in compliance with Islamic norms."

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Fugitive - By Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa

The Fugitive - By Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa | Foreign Policy:

"Waiting for the tram in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Abu Omar is on his way to the mall. No groceries today -- his shopping list includes a Turkish-made tablet computer and a small GPS navigation device loaded with digital maps of the Middle East."

Report: Internet Freedom Declining

Report: RFE/RL, Internet Freedom Declining "Freedom House says Internet freedom has declined worldwide in the past year, sparked by broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and increasing arrests of social-media users." Freedom of the Net 2013 Report here including a selection of charts and maps

Pakistan province orders halt to Skype over security concerns

Pakistan province orders halt to Skype over security concerns - "Pakistani authorities have banned instant messaging and internet telephone services including Skype, Whatsapp and Viber in the province of Sindh for three months for security reasons, a government spokesman said on Thursday."

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Social media: weapon of masses

Social media: weapon of masses "It is a story of Sher Bano’s incredible courage that has brought the issue of women’s right in Islamic countries to greater global attention. Bano is a 19-year-old Pashtun girl who has been writing about life in Pakistan from the perspective of a teenage girl who has spent time in western Pakistan. The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens. “They are afraid of women. Being a girl in Peshawar is difficult. There are many ‘dos and don’ts’,” Bano said in her blog."

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

New book: The Evolution of a Muslim Democrat: The Life of Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim

Charles Allers, The Evolution of a Muslim Democrat: The Life of Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim - Reihenübersicht - Peter Lang Verlagsgruppe newly published book written by my former PhD student Charles Allers.

Anwar Ibrahim

Charles Allers, The Evolution of a Muslim Democrat: The Life of Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim - Reihenübersicht - Peter Lang Verlagsgruppe newly published book written by my former PhD student Charles Allers.

'Yemeni students jump on distance learning bandwagon'

Samar Qaed, Yemen Times, Yemeni students jump on distance learning bandwagon, 1 Oct 2013 "In Yemen, where—according to international estimates—nearly half of residents are illiterate, only 15 percent have access to the Internet, and the quality of public education and curricula has been called into question, can online education help Yemenis access a wider-range of educational possibilities and opportunities?"

'Qaeda Plot Leak Has Undermined U.S. Intelligence', Qaeda Plot Leak Has Undermined U.S. Intelligence , 29 Sep 2013 opinion and analysis "American counterterrorism officials say they believe the disclosure about the Qaeda plot has had a significant impact because it was a specific event that signaled to terrorists that a main communication network that the group’s leaders were using was being monitored. The sharpest decline in messaging has been among the Qaeda operatives in Yemen, officials said. The disclosures from Mr. Snowden have not had such specificity about terrorist communications networks that the government is monitoring, they said."


Bitcoins: Currency for Criminals? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East "Alongside the obvious disadvantages of this currency and the enormous fluctuations in its exchange rate recently, there is also a fear that as an anonymous currency, it will be used to fund various activities, most of which are illegal."

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bergen on Twitter

Peter Bergen, CNN, Are mass murderers using Twitter as a tool? "The next logical step will be for terrorists to cover their deadly operations using their own real-time live video feeds linked to sites such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube."

First Anonymous Attack against the Regime in Jordan

ArabCrunch, First Anonymous Attack against the Regime in Jordan, The Group Hacked Briefly Jordan’s Prime Ministry Website, 29 Sep 2013 " Anonymous hacker group have defaced briefly a webpage on Jordan’s prime ministry website in objection to government plans to raise taxes and prices. and left a message in Arabic to Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur."

Jihad Twitter research

Jihadica, The ‘Who’s Who’ of the Most Important Jihadi Accounts on Twitter? "In this part of our series for Jihadica on the Jihadi Twitter phenomenon, Ali Fisher and Nico Prucha take a closer look at 66 Twitter accounts recommended by a Jihadi online forum user." Jihadica, 66 Important Jihadist Twitter Accounts (part 2) I haven't read this yet (just catching up), but it looks interesting.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Saudis tweet anger at religious police following car chase death, Saudis tweet anger at religious police following car chase death "A Twitter user named @talal tweeted: “The religious police had killed people in al-Madina, and killed in Tabuk, and Baljurashi and today they killed in Al-Riyadh and on National Day. The Haia are blood thirsty.”"

'Saudi Women Ready To Take To The Streets', Saudi Women Ready To Take To The Streets  Tip: The uprising of women in the Arab world انتفاضة المرأة في العالم العربي‎ on Facebook (well worth checking)

“I will drive on #Oct26, even if I have to run over every bearded man in my way,” said Fatima al-Faloul, a 31-year-old Saudi mother of three. “I have two young daughters, I will not allow them to face the same frustrations I have faced.”

The article refers to the following YouTube video

Religious authority, state power and revolutions

Hatem Bazian,, Religious authority, state power and revolutions "The current conflicts and competing fatwas from Sunni religious authorities in response to events in Egypt and Syria, point to a deeper problem, the clear intellectual and institutional fragmentation witnessed among scholars (Ar) at the highest levels." Opinion/analysis by Hatem Bazian, who is editor of the Islamophobia Studies Journal The 2012 inaugural issue is still available for download (haven't read it yet)

New and noted: 'Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach', New Book: Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach "Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach, written by experts on the front lines, gives you an insider's look into the world of cyber-warfare through the use of recent case studies. The book examines the issues related to cyber warfare not only from a computer science perspective but from military, sociological, and scientific perspectives as well. You'll learn how cyber-warfare has been performed in the past as well as why various actors rely on this new means of warfare and what steps can be taken to prevent it."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Morocco journalist charged, Morocco journalist charged with inciting 'terrorism', 25 Sep 2013 "Ali Anouzla, director of the Arabic version of independent news website Lakome, was arrested on September 17 after his website posted a link to the video attributed to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the jihadist network's North African affiliate."

QueerPK blocked

CNN, Pakistan's gays in dark after Muslim nation's first gay website blocked, 26 Sep 2013 "Queer Pakistan, which just went online in July, confirmed it had been blocked September 24 with a Twitter post saying, "It's official! QueerPK is banned from viewership in Pakistan.""

Also see, Pakistan blocks ‘un-Islamic’ gay website 

Net cut in Sudan, At least seven killed in Sudan as anti-government violence flares article also discusses internet cuts

In Post-Revolution Egypt, Business Picks Up Online

WSJ, In Post-Revolution Egypt, Business Picks Up Online "The internet played a big role in the Arab Spring as people took to social media to plan and organise protests, inspiring a whole new generation of activists. It is now helping an increasing number of people to meet their financial aspirations in the Arab country."

al-Shabaab "recruitment drive"

Jon Swaine, Telegraph, Al-Shabaab's American recruitment drive: 'Betray the US and join "the real Disneyland" of African jihad' "Teenage boys in America's biggest Somali community are being urged to betray the United States and join "the real Disneyland" of African jihad, in a recruitment drive by al-Shabaab."

Shabaab finance squeeze

Reuters, Shabaab finances face squeeze after Kenya attack "Al Shabaab emerged as a regional threat funded by millions of dollars from activities ranging from extortion to taxing charcoal exports, but its attack on a Kenyan shopping mall is expected to provoke a counter-terrorism response aimed at crippling the Somali Islamist group's finances."

Samantha Lewthwaite

NBC News, Interpol issues 'Red Notice' for Britain's terror widow on behalf of Kenyan authorities "While the Interpol notice does not specifically cite the mall attacks, Lewthwaite was mentioned on al Shabaab’s Twitter feed before the post was taken down late Sunday.

 “@HSM-PRESSOFFICE2: Sherafiyah lewthwaite aka Samantha is a very vrave (sic) lady,” it read. “were happier to have her in our ranks #westgate #AlShabaab COWARDS!”"

Battle To Save US Youth From 'Jihadi Pipeline'

Greg Milam, Sky News, Battle To Save US Youth From 'Jihadi Pipeline', 26 Sep 2013 "Authorities in the American city regarded as the 'jihadi pipeline' for terror group al Shabaab say they are winning the battle to prevent young men being recruited." Includes reference to internet influence.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Al-Shabaab and Social Media

There's been a great deal of conjecture about al-Shabaab's use of social media during the phases of the Westgate siege in Nairobi, as events have played out. Some of that is reflected below, in opinions and analysis. This is a logical progression from use of diverse web tools by 'jihad' oriented groups over the years, many of whom integrate social media into their activities (representatives of al-Shabaab having been particularly proactive in this sphere, as evidenced in other posts in this blog - click the label below to see more). 

I shall be writing about this issue again in due course, for a forthcoming project (I've been gathering material in the interim). There's some reference to al-Qaeda (+ affiliates) and social media in my chapter for Jeffrey Kenney and Ebrahim Moosa's edited book "Islam in the Modern World" (Routledge, 2013) - as well as my earlier work. 

Here's a few links which discuss this particular aspect of events (content does not necessarily reflect my personal opinions).  

Mail & Guardian, Tweets stream in over Kenya's Westgate mall shooting

BBC News, Authorities and militants take Nairobi battle to Twitter

BBC World Service, Is There a Link Between Terror Attacks in Kenya and Pakistan?, 24 Sep 2013 includes podcast available for download (for 7 days after broadcast)  (which also includes a contribution by Lisa Curtis of the 'Heritage Foundation', who wrote a blog post entitled Pakistan and Kenya Terrorist Attacks: Is There a Link?)., The Western Voices of al-Shabaab's Twitter Account "The al-Shabaab, known for their pernicious recruitment of child soldiers, hand chopping and stoning of girls, opened their first Twitter account two years ago and has been shut down a number of times since. What is striking about their tweets is their native and even high-brow use of the English-language. Words and phrases like "minuscule in nature" and "sangfroid" do not seem to belong to the language of violent jihadists."

Update: MEMRI, List Of Nairobi Attackers, Including Westerners, Published On Social Media

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Report: Profiles in Blogging

CIMA, Report: Profiles in Blogging: How Bloggers Around the World Practice Their Craft tip: Digital Islam "Blogging, once a trendy new phenomenon in the early days of the World Wide Web, is now almost two decades old. But bloggers continue to fill information voids in countries where free speech is constricted or forbidden. Some bloggers play the role of citizen journalist, once scorned by the mainstream media, but now more often welcomed as a source of raw information, photos, videos, and eyewitness accounts from places where news organizations have no reporters or photographers on the scene." Report includes sections on Saudi Arabia and Yemen

The Online Project, Social Media in Ramadan

The Online Project, Social Media in Ramadan "Ramadan has a significant impact on people's behaviors and daily routine in the Middle East. In this report, we've explored the impact of the Holy Month on social media in the MENA region; specifically on Facebook and Twitter." PDF, available in Arabic and English.

Monday, September 16, 2013

aQAP leader killed, Al-Qaeda confirms death of Yemen leader Qaeed al-Dhahab "The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) confirmed on Saturday in an Internet posting, the death of senior AQAP member Qaeed al-Dhahab in a U.S. drone strike late last month."

'Shiny nails may be halaal', Shiny nails may be halaal "Cosmetics company Inglot has applied to the Muslim Judicial Council for its 02M "breathable" nail enamel to be certified halaal .

"Sheik Moosa Titus, chief of operations at the council's Halaal Trust, said the council was considering the application."

Pakistan YouTube Filtering Plan

Mahesh Sharma,, Pakistani Activists Smell A Mole In Government’s Proposed YouTube Filtering Plan "After ignoring repeated requests to appear in a court case challenging the Pakistan government’s year-long YouTube blackout, the country’s elusive IT minister is expected to appear at a hearing later this month to outline plans to drop the blanket ban — and instead selectively restrict “blasphemous” and “offensive” material on the video-sharing site. However, activists have decried the move as a Trojan Filter that will precipitate a far-reaching internet surveillance regime."

MSA, MSA celebrates 50 years on campus: The Muslim Student Association helped bring Halal food into Penn dining halls "1992-1996: Over the course of these years, the MSA set up QIBLA — Quran and Islamic Books Library — the first Islamic database on the internet. This project was led by 1997 Engineering graduate Wuqaas Munir."

Alwaleed's Twitter stake

Telegraph, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed won't sell Twitter stake in IPO " Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says he will not sell any of his shares in microblogging site Twitter when it goes public, and expects the firm's IPO to hit the market later this year or in early 2014."

Friday, September 13, 2013

al-Shabaab attack (follow-up)

Daily Mail, Ally of world's most wanted woman the White Widow is shot dead in Somalia raid: Briton killed by rival Islamic militants, 13 Sep 2013 "A British bomb-maker on the run with the widow of a London 7/7 bomber is believed to have been killed in a gun battle in Somalia.

"Habib Ghani, 28, was ambushed along with one of America’s most wanted terrorists in a dawn raid after falling out with commanders from militant group al-Shabab."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"#Islam, Social Networking, and the Cloud"

"#Islam, Social Networking, and the Cloud", my chapter in Islam in the Modern World, Edited by Jeffrey T. Kenney, Ebrahim Moosa (Routledge, 2013), is out now. The book has a useful accompanying website. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Abu Mansoor al-Amriki killed (?)

US-born 'jihadist rapper' Omar Hammami reportedly killed in Somalia | World news | "A rapping jihadist from Alabama who ascended the ranks of Somalia's al-Qaida-linked militant group and was on the FBI's most wanted list with a $5m (£3.2m) reward for his capture was reportedly killed on Thursday in an ambush ordered by the militant group's leader." Click on the tab below for more reports about Hammani from over the past few years.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel | World news |

"The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals."

"The 'diamond' suit of terrorists"

The 'diamond' suit of terrorists: Hamas, Hezbollah and Lashkar-e-Taiba | Andrew Scarpitta, Washington Times Communities opinion/analysis

'Minister of Facebook'

RFE/RL, Iranian Ministers Join Facebook En Masse, Sparking Debate About Online Censorship "Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, was the first. In August, after his Facebook page began showing activity, Zarif announced that it was being updated by him and his children. He quickly gathered 160,000 "likes" and became jokingly known as the "minister of Facebook.""

New Report: Mapping Digital Media

New Report: Mapping Digital Media: Egypt | Digital Islam  "The Open Society Foundations released its report Mapping Digital Media: Egypt written by Rasha Abdulla. "The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.""

Monday, September 09, 2013

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Palestinian Hacker who posted on Facebook CEO’s Wall Hired

Palestinian Hacker who posted on Facebook CEO’s Wall Hired - ArabCrunch:

The Backlash Begins - "In Syria, a second war is rising between the Islamists and more moderate rebel groups"

Hannah Lucinda Smith, Asharq al-Awsat, The Backlash Begins: "The Islamists’ civilian PR offensive is proving all the more successful because there is a dearth of independent news and information in the opposition-held areas. The Internet connections were cut long ago and only the rich can afford to install and maintain satellite connections. In Menbej, people crowd into the Internet cafes to check their emails on painfully slow connections, but even this is outside the budget of the poorest – one hour of Internet time costs SYP 75, as much as two packets of precious bread. “When the revolution started, people were selling their valuables so that they could buy a laptop and find out about everything that was happening,” a local activist tells me. “But now the laptops are useless because they can’t connect to the Internet anymore.”"

Book review - 'Startup Rising'

Book review of Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East by Christopher M Schroeder Martin Fletcher,, Books: A new golden age for Islam?: "His protagonists have built successful websites such as, and Ideal Ratings that tell investors which companies are Sharia-compliant. They have developed apps to bypass Cairo's appalling traffic congestion or to track the user's daily prayers. Some Yemeni schoolgirls went online and learnt how to make solar-power lanterns to end the fire risk to tents.

Interesting review by Martin Fletcher. I'd like to see this book sometime.

African Religious Studies Center in Iraq, Al-Abbas holy shrine founds an African Religious Studies Center in Iraq: "The center is going to build a website on the internet in order to post all the activities and programs of the informers of Islam."

Mobily unveils app store within BlackBerry World platform

Mobily unveils app store within BlackBerry World platform | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.: "Mobily has launched its Mobily App Store) within the official platform of BlackBerry World in an initiative considered to be the first in the telecom sector in the Middle East."

First cyber defence centre in Middle East opened

First cyber defence centre in Middle East opened - Technology - "Based in Dubai, the centre aims to collate information on potential threats, the perpetrators and their motivation, as well as general data that can help governments, institutions and companies prevent and quickly respond to cyber attacks."

The Assads: the family from hell

The Assads: the family from hell | The Australian refers to social media use by the Assad family

Monday, September 02, 2013

The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart, The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart:

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi Twitter Hacked?

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi Twitter Hacked? | Ibn Percy: I picked this up via Facebook

Mullah Najibullah: Too Radical for the Taliban

Mullah Najibullah: Too Radical for the Taliban - Newsweek and The Daily Beast "His movement recently published its “policy statement” on the Internet. The 26-point program emphasizes the “permanence of the jihad,” making clear that the fight won’t “be limited only to Afghanistan ... but will continue until Muslims have been freed from the atrocities of non-believers.”"

Bin Laden's Identity Verified By DNA Test After Deadly Raid, Report Reveals, Bin Laden's Identity Verified By DNA Test After Deadly Raid, Report Reveals:

Al-Qaeda group claims wave of Baghdad attacks

AFP/, Al-Qaeda group claims wave of Baghdad attacks: ""The new wave organised by the lions of the Sunni people... was a response to the crimes of the Safavid government with the executions of a group of Islamists from the Sunni people in Iraq," said the statement posted on jihadist Internet forums."

“Your fatwa does not apply here”

“Your fatwa does not apply here”: Muslim artists battle fundamentalism -

refers to the impact of 'cyber imams' in this piece by Karima Bennoune

Sermon from JAKIM (Malaysia)

Islam before all else, Muslims told in crackdown on minority beliefs | Malaysia | The Malay Mail Online: "The sermon accused these “enemies” of using “new innovations” such as the mass media, Internet, Facebook, emails, and text messages to spread lies, cultural pollution, and poison the faith of Muslims."

Iran soon to see a revolution – in technology

Iran soon to see a revolution – in technology | The Journal Gazette: "So I’m not sure that the introduction of iPhones and MacBooks is really going to tip the political balance in the Islamic Republic, but it’s not as if the embargo was really helping either. How about Cuba, next?"

Nigeria's child brides:

Nigeria's child brides: 'I thought being in labour would never end' | Guardian, Global development | "The storm of Twitter and online commentary has translated into a handful of protests in the more liberal south, which is predominantly Christian but also home to millions of Muslims."

Of mediums and messages

Of mediums and messages - Listening Post - Al Jazeera EnglishOf mediums and messages profiles Marshall McLuhan

Syria’s largest city just dropped off the Internet, Syria’s largest city just dropped off the Internet:

Syrian Electronic Army

Syrian Electronic Army seen as 'nuisance,' not a serious cyberthreat - Investigations, NBC News

Monday, August 05, 2013

Threats against embassies 'very reminiscent' of pre-9/11 chatter

Threats against embassies 'very reminiscent' of pre-9/11 chatter - NBC Politics "The threats that led to the U.S. closing almost two dozen embassies abroad this weekend is based on intelligence that is reminiscent of the "chatter" preceding the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a top senator on intelligence matters said Sunday."

Iran to Host Int’l Conference on Campaign against Cyber Crimes

Farsnews, Iran to Host Int’l Conference on Campaign against Cyber Crimes: "Iran will host a conference and a regional workshop on international cooperation and campaign against cyber crimes on August 13-14, a deputy police chief announced on Monday."

Zakat and technology

BERNAMA - Many Still Prefer To Pay Zakat At The Counter: "In a world full of inequalities, the solemn tradition of paying zakat, obligatory for every Muslim who can pay, now finds technology coming to the aid of the devout."

Friday, August 02, 2013

Mehanna case

U.S. man convicted of al Qaeda support says his free speech was violated - Reuters/ "Lawyers for a Massachusetts man convicted a year and a half ago of conspiring to support al Qaeda have claimed that prosecutors prejudiced the jury with videos of beheadings and that the judge who sentenced him violated his right to free speech."

'Sheikh your Google'

Sheikh your Google | "As a growing number of young people search for information about Islam online, experts warn that ‘religions were never programmed for Google’." Some familiar themes here, related in this article specifically to Australia.

al-Qaeda’s big prison break: rumours and conspiracy theories fly

Niqash - politics - al qaeda’s big prison break: rumours and conspiracy theories fly: "Film clips were also posted on the Internet that showed the prison attack underway. The clips were posted on sites known for their affiliation with Al Qaeda and members of the sites wrote messages underneath the clips, congratulating each other on the success of the operation.  "


Ministry tells MCMC to get Jakim help in ‘Aidilfitri’ dog video probe | The Malay Mail Online "Putrajaya today directed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to seek guidance from local religious authorities in its probe on the controversial Aidilfitri dog video."

Saudi blogger faces lashes for 'insulting Islam'

Saudi blogger faces lashes for 'insulting Islam'|Middle East| "Raif Badawi, who started the "Free Saudi Liberals" website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, has been held since June 2012 on charges of cyber crime and disobeying his father - a crime in the conservative kingdom and top US ally."

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bradley Manning verdict

Bradley Manning verdict brings anger, disappointment – and relief | World news | The Guardian "Transparency campaigners condemned the harsh sentence in prospect for Bradley Manning, but journalists and lawyers closely associated with the trial were relieved with the acquittal for the most serious charge – that he "aided the enemy" by transmitting state secrets to WikiLeaks."

Syria's weapon makers

Fascinating article by Matthieu Aikins on Syria's 'rebel' weapon makers, who use Google Maps to select their targets, and compare one weapon with a catapult from 'Angry Birds'. Matthieu Aikins, How War in Syria Turned These Ordinary Engineers Into Deadly Weapons Inventors | Threat Level |

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Productive Muslim - Towards a Productive Ummah!

Productive Muslim - Towards a Productive Ummah! contains a variety of resources and information, and is updated regularly... there's some good content on Ramadan being posted at present.

New apps help Muslims observe holy month

New apps help Muslims observe holy month | The Augusta Chronicle: "Aminah Hussain has lots of apps on her phone, but there’s one she turns to time and time again during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month." See my discussion on this in CyberOrient. I have some work in-progress on apps, which discusses their implications in various religious contexts. Watch this space for publication information (due out 2014)

Converts In Mexico Online

Muslim Converts In Mexico Make Up A Diverse, Fast-Growing Community | Fox News Latino: "Although still a small community in comparison to other Latin American countries, the Muslim community in Mexico is extremely diverse. In Mexico City alone, there exists a Shi’ite Muslim women’s organization, a Sufi organization headed by two women, and a fundamentalist Salafi organization run by Muhammed Ruiz al-Mekisi, a Mexican convert to Islam." Interesting article, which highlights the role of the net in conversion processes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Forthcoming book: Studying Islam in Practice

Forthcoming book: Studying Islam in Practice (Paperback) - Edited by Gabriele Marranci. To Be Published 16th December 2013 by Routledge – 256 pages. Series: Studying Religions in Practice "This book presents Islam as a lived religion through observation and discussion of how Muslims from a variety of countries, traditions and views practice their religion. The range of fascinating case studies will also help students understand how research into religious practice is carried out, and what issues and challenges arise." I have a chapter coming out in this book.

'Jihad Comics'

MEMRI: Jihad Comics on Western Muslim Joining Nusra Coalition to Wage Jihad in Syria – Part 1

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Safe Surfing: New Search Engine Launched For Muslims

RFE/RL, Safe Surfing: New Search Engine Launched For Muslims "Halalgoogling, a new alternative search engine designed to filter "haram" content (content forbidden under Islam) has been launched just in time for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan." Test it yourself

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Channel 4 - The Adhan: The Muslim Call to Prayer

Channel 4 have done a great job with this and their related programming.  Their series will run through Ramadan.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Minbar Ansar Deen and Boko Haram

BBC News, Two extremist groups face UK ban "Support for two extremist groups - Minbar Ansar Deen and Boko Haram - is to be made a criminal offence in the UK."

Leaked report shows Bin Laden's 'hidden life', Leaked report shows Bin Laden's 'hidden life'

Egyptian teen pushed off roof 'by Salafi'

Egyptian teen pushed off roof 'by Salafi' France24, The Observers "Of the many harrowing amateur videos to have come out of Egypt these past few days, one from Alexandria has particularly shocked Egyptians. The video, which was filmed on Friday but surfaced online on Saturday, shows several teenagers being chased by a mob of angry men onto a water tower on a rooftop. Two were thrown off the water tower and severely injured; a third was killed. FRANCE 24 spoke to the victim's father."

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Egypt and social media - summary (so far)

I have been tracking developments on Twitter and Facebook regarding the situation in Egypt.  It's been a case of following, rather than archiving everything (clearly impossible).  Already, there are articles relating to social media impact on Egypt over the past few days.  Here are a few that caught me attention:

mashable, Morsi Ousted While Sparring With Egyptian Army on Social Media which makes the useful point that " ... there's a new circumstance that has been occurring alongside all that: The crucial players in the conflict — Morsi and the military — are using social media to post statements not simultaneously seen on other media." 

In relation to this, also see Amira Al Hussaini, Global Voices Online, Former Egyptian President Morsi Rants on Twitter , "President Mohamed Morsi is no longer the president of Egypt. Instead, he is ranting on Twitter on his verified Twitter account @EgyPresidency." (also see Amira Al Hussaini, Global Voices Online, The Story Behind Morsi's [Fake] Arrest Video)

The Lede: Latest Updates on Egypt’s Political Crisis is one of several useful summaries.

Also see, The Stream: Morsi's overthrow sets Egypt's Twitter alight

BBC Arabic: الجيش المصري يكلف رئيس المحكمة الدستورية برئاسة البلاد covers the army speech and initial reaction.

New channel is already proving its worth, with some useful articles, including this one on the broadcasting silence post-Morsi., Religious channels go off air and employees arrested