Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tunisians Raise Alarm on Possible Fatwa Encouraging 'Sexual Jihad' - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Tunisians Raise Alarm on Possible Fatwa Encouraging 'Sexual Jihad' - Al-Monitor 
By: Mohammad Yassin al-Jalassi Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab).
اقرا المقال الأصلي باللغة العربية
"Tunisia witnessed controversy yesterday [March 26] regarding a fatwa that permits “sexual jihad” in Syria. Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Noureddine al-Khadimi rejected “sexual jihad” fatwas, saying that the Tunisian people and state institutions are not obligated to adhere to them. Khadimi’s statements follow reports that Tunisian teenagers have headed to Syria in response to this fatwa."

Egyptian diver cable hacker

Pictured: Egyptian divers who tried to hack through cables in attack that could have crashed internet worldwide | Mail Online:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Afghan Taliban's Internet Media Empire – Hosted In Malaysia, Singapore, America

Tufail Ahmad, MEMRI, The Afghan Taliban's Internet Media Empire – Hosted In Malaysia, Singapore, America "This paper reviews details of the major Afghan Taliban websites and their hosting and domain registration details, as well as their accounts on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google, among others. It should be borne in mind that the Taliban's latest video and audio publications are released generally first by Arabic-language jihadi forums such as Al-Fida' and Ansar al-Mujahideen Arabic Forum (AMAF)."

Ideological War Disturbs India Muslims

Ideological War Disturbs India Muslims - Asia-Pacific - News - "Defending their cause and criticizing opponents, some Muslims are taking the Internet to tarnish their rivals."

China Sentences 20 in Restive Xinjiang Region

China Sentences 20 in Restive Xinjiang Region -

"The accused were “seduced by ideas of religious extremism and terrorist violence” and “used the Internet, mobile phones and digital storage devices to organize, lead and participate in terror organizations, provoke incidents, and incite separatism,” the Chinese report said."

What’s New in Digital Scholarship

What’s New in Digital Scholarship: Real-time censorship and whether online news actually increases knowledge » Nieman Journalism Lab

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'10,000 extremist websites on the web', Expert says 10,000 extremist websites on the web "Speakers at the International Conference on Terrorist Rehabilitation and Community Resilience said moderate Islamic groups and governments should make a concerted effort to counter extremist propaganda on the Internet.

"YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media are increasingly being exploited to spread extremist views, and moderate religious leaders and governments must keep pace to counter their arguments, they said."

Not sure of the basis for stats here

Net in Bangladesh, Hacking Websites — New Tool of Bangladeshi Islamic Parties opinion piece

Also see AFP, Bangladesh widens crackdown on ‘blasphemous’ atheist bloggers "Bangladesh has widened a crackdown on allegedly blasphemous blogs after a threat by Islamic groups to march to the capital demanding the prosecution of atheist bloggers, an official said Wednesday."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Topless Tunisian Activist Safe At Home, Lawyer Says

Topless Tunisian Activist Safe At Home, Lawyer Says - Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live "Amina, the Tunisian activist who gained notoriety after uploading topless photos of herself to Facebook, is safe at home with her family, according to her lawyer Bouchra Bel Haj Hmida.

"She is not missing and “has never been in a psychiatric facility,” Bel Haj Hmida told Tunisia Live, contradicting reports that surfaced last week and have been widely circulated on the internet."

CFP for Conference on Media and Religion: the Global View

CFP for Conference on Media and Religion: the Global View | Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies

Tunisian rapper gets jail term for calling police dogs in song, Tunisian rapper gets jail term for calling police dogs in song "Belgueyed and Klibi were arrested earlier this month for a music video ( in which lyrics sung by Weld el 15 describe police as dogs and accuse them of using violence unjustifiably."

Anonymous claims Mossad hack

Infosecurity - Anonymous claims Mossad hack; experts not convinced "Dr Tal Pavel, an expert in the Middle East and Islamic World internet, told the Times of Israel, “There is no doubt that they got some identification information about Israelis, but the claims that they hacked the Mossad site and got a list of Mossad agents is most likely psychological warfare, and not a hack into an important database.”"

Top Saudi cleric says Twitter is for clowns

Top Saudi cleric says Twitter is for clowns - Middle East - Al Jazeera English "Saudi Arabia's top religious cleric has criticised the microblogging website Twitter, calling it "a council for jokesters" and a place for unjust, incorrect messages.

"Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheikh made the remarks during a speech to other Saudi clerics on Friday."

Bassel Khartabil, Index awards winners 2013 announced  "Palestinian-born Syrian software engineer Bassel Khartabil is a champion of web freedom and a computer engineer, who specialises in the development of open source software. Khartabil has been held in prison in Syria for over a year. Accepting the award on his behalf, his friend Dana Trometer said: 'Bassel is aware of this award and he would like to thank the judges and audience for trusting him with such an honour. He would also like to pay respect to all the victims of the struggle for freedom of speech, and, especially for those non-violent youths who refused to carry arms and deserve all the credit for this award.'"

Brown Moses

How Brown Moses exposed Syrian arms trafficking from his front room | World news | ""The success of the blog feeds the compulsion," Higgins says. "If I had the chance I do it for 16 hours a day. When I'm sat on a bus I'll be checking Twitter looking for footage of planes being shot down. When cluster bombs were first used I couldn't sleep. It was about midnight and I saw this video of these bomblets spilt on the floor with their casings. I had to research it. You have to be first and you have to be right.""  The Brown Moses blog is here (very impressive)

Tunisia: Feminist activist threatened, placed in psychiatric hospital

Tunisia: Feminist activist threatened, placed in psychiatric hospital -  "In Tunisia, a 19-year-old feminist activist has been threatened with death and placed in a psychiatric hospital after posting topless photos of herself to the Femen-Tunisian Facebook page."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fashion research

Modest Dressing: faith-based fashion and internet retail - Professor Reina Lewis, University of the Arts London

 "The last two decades has seen the development of a rapidly expanding and diversifying market for modest fashion, arising initially from and serving the needs of Christian, Jewish and Muslim women, who are motivated to dress modestly for religious reasons. This market is also sustained by secular women whose ‘look’ may share many elements of modest styling. For both groups the internet has been central to the rapid growth of the modest fashion sector, fostering the development of a niche market through e-commerce, and providing virtual platforms for debates on modesty and fashion on websites, blogs, and discussion fora."

Further information: 

I found this in a report from: ESRC/AHRC, Religion and Society: Informing public debate and advancing understanding

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

eGods: Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming, New Book: eGods: Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming "Oxford University Press publishes a new book titled "eGods: Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming" written by William Sims Bainbridge."

"There Aren’t Nearly Enough Women on the Internet", There Aren’t Nearly Enough Women on the Internet "Women in developing countries spend more time at home than men, making them less likely to be in public places where they can use computers in Internet cafes. Women are generally poorer than men and have less control over household wealth. When they have spare cash, they’re more likely to use it to pay for necessities. Women also have lower literacy rates, so they may not be able to read or type. In Barcelona last month the GSMA, the smartphone industry association, announced an international design challenge for software programmers to come up with operating systems and apps for people who are less literate—emphasizing pictures over text, for instance." Refers to this report: Women and the Web: Bridging the Internet gap and creating new global opportunities in low and middle-income countries (PDF). I have yet to read this report (which has a commercial edge to it).  Also see Cherie Blair Foundation, Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity

Potential researchers on this subject can contact me via this blog.

Persepolis censored - in Chicago

Guardian, Persepolis battle in Chicago schools provokes outcry, "[Marjane] Satrapi herself, speaking to the Chicago Tribune, said the restriction was "shameful", and dismissed the CPS's concerns about what it had described as "powerful images of torture". "

"These are not photos of torture … seventh graders have brains and they see all kinds of things on cinema and the internet. It's a black-and-white drawing and I'm not showing something extremely horrible. That's a false argument. They have to give a better explanation," said Satrapi."

You might expect such censorship elsewhere!

The Shias: Egypt's forgotten Muslim minority

Zeinab El-Gundy, al-Ahram Online, The Shias: Egypt's forgotten Muslim minority, 18 Mar 2013 " ... anti-Shia sentiment continues to be disseminated via the internet and the media in Egypt. "Just last week, Mohamed Ismail Makdam, founder of the ultra-orthodox Salafist Call, slammed the Muslim Brotherhood for "allowing Shiism in Egypt.""

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Pak Islamic varsity head sacks staff for speaking to women"

Press Trust of India, Pak Islamic varsity head sacks staff for speaking to women These are allegations via the Press Trust of India (other opinions may be available): "The Saudi Arabian head of Pakistan's International Islamic University has stirred up a controversy by firing employees who spoke to women colleagues and taking action against an official for allegedly watching a movie on the Internet. "

Vigilante killing on social media, Egypt Vigilantes Kill Two Men As Crowd Watches, 18 Mar 2013 "Graphic photos and recordings of the lynchings taken by people in the crowd quickly circulated on social media websites."

Marcus Michaelsen,, Hostility on the Internet "Women in Pakistan are being harassed and are encountering hostility via social networks on the Internet. At the same time, many women's rights activists see the web as a new way to further their work." Also check out:

Salman al-Awdah

Ahram Online, KSA could face Arab spring-like spark of violence: Saudi Cleric "Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, a conservative who was imprisoned from 1994-99 for agitating for political change and has 2.4 million followers on Twitter, expressed his concerns in an open letter on the social media site." Accompanied by an internet derived photo of the Sheikh on his Mac:


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Court case - net link

Guardian, Muslim convert from BBC documentary pleads guilty to terrorism charges, "Richard Dart, 29, admitted plotting a terror attack in Royal Wootton Bassett after receiving training at camps in Pakistan."

 Also see: Brendan Hughes, WalesOnline, Court hears of Cardiff family's extensive links with terrorism, Mar 15 2013 "Jahangir Alom, who admitted getting involved in terrorism, is the husband of Cardiff woman Ruksana Begum, whose brothers plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange.

 "Begum was jailed in December for a year at the Old Bailey for having al Qaida terrorist material in her mobile phone."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Video Games, Video Clips, and Islam: New Media and the Communication of Values

I have been taking another look at this chapter, given the Mali related game earlier this week. It refers to 'neglected media'; I am not a gameplayer/researcher, unfortunately, as my time is limited - but I can see the positives in this research (and have family members who would endorse this too!). The article was published as Sisler, Vit. Video Games, Video Clips, and Islam: New Media and the Communication of Values. In: Muslim Societies in the Age of Mass Consumption. Edited by Johanna Pink. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009, pp. 231–258. Online it is here: Vit Sisler, Video Games, Video Clips, and Islam: New Media and the Communication of Values, "This chapter analyzes video games and video clips with an Islamic emphasis and the various levels at which they convey ethical and moral values. Both video games and video clips have been neglected and marginalized by the academy, albeit to varying degrees. Given their pervasiveness, especially among Middle Eastern youth, we are in crucial need today of critical understanding of the different ways these media articulate Islam and communicate it to consumers. This chapter in particular discusses the appropriation of games by various private Islamic companies, operating in the broader religious and cultural context of the Islamic revival and piety movement, for educational purposes. Finally, this chapter discusses how Islamic game production and, more generally, the public discourse of the Islamic piety movement are shaping mainstream video game production targeted at Muslim audiences and the marketing strategies of game production companies."

Research: “Terroristic Content”: Towards a Grading Scale

Taylor & Francis Online :: “Terroristic Content”: Towards a Grading Scale - Terrorism and Political Violence - Volume 25, Issue 2: article by Donald Holbrook, Gilbert Ramsay & Max Taylor. Abstract: "In this article we offer a first attempt at providing a set of universal grading criteria for determining on what basis, and how far, an item of discursive content can be considered “terroristic.” In doing so, we draw loosely on the existing COPINE scale for child abuse images. The scale described in the article is not intended to reflect actual risk of engagement in terrorist violence, nor is it intended to have evidential validity in relation to offenses in certain jurisdictions relating to “terrorist publications.” Rather, by formalising assumptions which seem already to be latent in the literature on terrorist use of the Internet, it aspires to serve as a starting point for a more methodologically coherent approach to relationships between content—particularly online content—and terrorism."

 It sounds interesting. I cannot access it, as there is an (expensive) pay wall. It came up as a Scholar Alert, because there is a reference to iMuslims in it.

Iran Internet Infographic

Back to code: currently having a nostalgia burst, writing on a (relatively) ancient computer with a very old version of Internet Explorer. Anyway ... still blogging: How Iran Censors The Internet [Infographic] "This infographic, from the Iran Media Program and the design studio Hyperakt, charts how far up the food chain internet censorship goes in Iran. It all starts at the very top, with the Supreme Leader, and makes its way down to internet users and service providers. In between, note the presence of some government entities, like the Cyber Police, which monitors social networks for anti-Islamic activity, and the Iranian Cyber Army, a coalition of pro-government hackers that launches cyberattacks against opposition groups. Clearly, a lot of thought goes into keeping people in the dark."

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Guardian, Iraq 10 years on - the key bloggers look back on the war "How did the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq affect people who were there at the time? Three bloggers on Iraq reveal how the war changed their lives." As discussed in my book 'iMuslims'.

AFP/AhramOnline, Afghan web-TV pioneers seek new screen revolution " is the latest product of a media revolution in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime -- which banned television, music and cinema -- and the station's bosses hope its bold programmes will attract younger viewers."

Gaza Salafists Take Fight to Syria, Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse. Exclusive: Gaza Salafists Take Fight to Syria " Hijazi [Muhammad Hijazi, an expert on Islamic and Salafist groups] said the members are getting to Syria through Iraq and Turkey, since the border is open. Many of them are currently involved in Jabhat al-Nusra. Salafists in Jordan constitute around half of the total number of militants in Syria, amounting approximately to 4,000 fighters and residing in rural areas". Net subtext in this.

'German-Language Video Promotes 'Jihad' in Syria'

Spiegel Online, German-Language Video Promotes 'Jihad' in Syria "A disturbing video has emerged on the Internet showing a radical Islamist rebel in Syria speaking to the camera in German. The man, who authorities say lived in the German city of Kassel for years, calls on Muslim viewers to come to Syria and wage a "holy war" against the government."

Syria and recruitment

Independent, Conflict in Syria creates wave of British jihadists, 14 Mar 2013 "More than 100 British Muslims are believed to have gone to fight in Syria with the numbers continuing to rise. The situation presents a unique problem for Western security and intelligence services. In Syria, unlike Pakistan and Somalia, they have to keep track of jihadists who are being backed by Britain and its allies."

IMOW Muslima

IMOW Muslima is "an online exhibition featuring the art, voices, and stories of Muslim women around the globe." There's some very interesting pieces and artwork here, so do take a look. An example is below entitled 'Green' by Waheeda Mullulah:


Tunisia blogger jailed for “insulting Islam”

bikyanews, Tunisia blogger jailed for “insulting Islam”, 13 Mar 2013 "Tunisia should mark its national day of internet freedom on 13 March by releasing immediately and unconditionally 28-year-old blogger Jabeur Meiri, who has been in prison for more than a year, Amnesty International said."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Research on 'Arab Spring' and digital media

Digital Islam, New Book: Democracy's Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring information on Howard, Philip N. & Hussain, Muzammil M. Democracy's Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring. Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-19-993697-7. I look forward to seeing this one in due course.  [tip:]. There's some discussion on this book in AFP, Debate flares on 'Twitter revolutions,' Arab Spring. I have been teaching on this subject this week (to undergrads on the 'Islam in the Contemporary World' module).

I discuss aspects of this subject in my chapter in Cesare Merlini and Olivier Roy's 'Arab Society in Revolt', and also in some forthcoming work such as my chapter in Islam in the Modern World, Edited by Jeffrey T. Kenney, Ebrahim Moosa (Routledge) which is out in July this year.

Report: The State of Global Jihad Online, Aaron Y. Zelin, The State of Global Jihad Online: A Qualitative, Quantitative, and Cross-Lingual Analysis [pdf] I have yet to read this report, which is described here: "More than 11 years after the attacks of 9/11 and nearly a decade since the rise of popular online jihadi Internet forums, there is strikingly little empirical research on the manner in which jihadi activists use the Web to propagate their cause. Whereas researchers and policy analysts have systematically collected and analyzed the primary source material produced by al-Qaeda and its allies, very little work has been done on the conduits through which that information is distributed—and even to what extent anyone is accessing that propaganda other than counterterrorism analysts."

OnIslam Q&A

OnIslam, Wife Involved in Extra Marital Affairs on Internet Q&A from 'Ask the Scholar' in OnIslam "My wife had been involved in extra marital emotional affairs on internet while in marriage."

'Iran Targets Means Of Bypassing Online Censorship'

RFE/RF, Iran Targets Means Of Bypassing Online Censorship "Iran has stepped up its already tough Internet censorship policy by blocking the most popular antifiltering tool used by Iranians to access blocked websites."

'Twitter earns F on hate speech - remedy is worse' opinion piece

James Temple, SF Gate, Twitter earns F on hate speech - remedy is worse, 13 Mar 2013 opinion piece: "The Simon Wiesenthal Center's annual report highlighting hate and terror speech online will single out Twitter this year for a sharp increase in "hate-spewing hashtags and handles.""

Jihadi retro 2-D shooter

John Hudson, FP, Jihadis create retro 2-D shooter video game, 12 Mar 2013 "The primitive game, titled "Muslim Mali," simulates aerial combat against French fighter jets, which have been waging a real-life offensive in Mali since January, and is designed to inspire fellow extremists to take up arms against the French. Once a user clicks "play," an Arabic message appears with the words, "Muslim Brother, go ahead and repel the French invasion against Muslim Mali.""

aQ Syria claim

NYT, Qaeda Group in Iraq Says It Killed Syrian Soldiers "A Sunni militant jihadist group in Iraq claimed responsibility on Monday for killing dozens of Syrian soldiers who had sought temporary safety on the Iraqi side of the border last week, boasting about the massacre in an Internet posting that used demeaning references to Shiites and President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect. "

Databasing Islamic Movements Worldwide, Book review: Databasing Islamic Movements Worldwide "Sameh Eid attempt to compile a basic database of Islamic movements worldwide, aiming to pave the way to more in-depth research, is shallow." Interesting idea. Review of Al harakat al islameya fil a’alam (Islamic Movements in the World) by Sameh Eid, Alexandria: Marased Series – Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2012

'German authorities move against Islamic extremists'

AP/, German authorities move against Islamic extremists "The groups banned included one whose Internet propaganda videos helped inspire the extremist who killed two American airmen at Frankfurt airport in 2011, the country's domestic intelligence chief said."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

'Women in vanguard of writing about Iran'

Monavar Khalaj,, Women in vanguard of writing about Iran, 5 Mar 2013 "“My hope is the internet,” said Ms Moheb Ali. “My readers are internet-savvy youth, preferring to download books and read them on their mobile phones.”"

Retro memes

Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, Super Mario on the Nile: Egypt's Protesters Try Western Memes "Why Egyptian activists are using a Nintendo character, and the Harlem Shake, to mock their president."

Commercial break

Hurst & Co's web site has been upgraded. Here's the page for iMuslims

Bassem Youssef

Patrick Kingsley, Guardian, Egypt's Jon Stewart? Al Bernameg is a political satire to rival The Daily Show ""In the Arab world, there were a few experiences. In Egypt, there was nothing." Now, there are too many YouTube presenters to count – a hugely pluralistic crop that includes Islamists who slag off Youssef himself. "If someone says we led the way, it's good to hear," he says. "Every single day, every single week, there's someone new with a video."" Check out the Bassem Youssef YouTube Channel. Also see:

Friday, March 01, 2013

New Book: Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring and a Journalism Revolution | Digital Islam

New Book: Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring and a Journalism Revolution | Digital Islam: "In this book, NPR social media chief Andy Carvin – “the man who tweets revolutions” - offers a unique first-person recap of the Arab Spring. Part memoir, part history, the book includes intimate stories of the revolutionaries who fought for freedom on the streets and across the Internet - stories that would have never been recorded before the days of social media." Look forward to seeing some reviews of this one.