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: