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

ninemsn.com.au, 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

albawaba.com, 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 TheMuslimGuy.com, 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'

opensocietyfoundations.org, 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. truereligion.com

Boston Globe, The case of True Religion v. truereligion.com "Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim Abu-Harb, a devout Muslim, says he decided to express his devotion to Islam by launching www.truereligion.com. 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'

iranmediaresearch.org, 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

sabahionline.com, 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

irinnews.org, 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

cpifinancial.net, 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

onislam.net, 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 Onilsam.net.

 "“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/saudigazette.com, China’s Uighurs blame violence on oppression, not ‘jihad’ includes reference to net being blocked

#Indonesia - "Led astray on the internet"

khabarsoutheastasia.com, 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 - CNN.com "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, chinadaily.com.cn: "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

gulf-times.com, 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/NJ.com: "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.