Thursday, July 31, 2014


Round-up on Gaza/social media issues: 

It is not possible to record all developments within this catastrophic sequence of events - here are a few links relating to this blog's main theme. Also see my Facebook page for more on this.

Arab News, 100 Gazans die in maniacal strikes "Israel on Tuesday unleashed its heaviest bombardment in a 3-week-old war against Hamas, striking symbols of the group’s control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip’s only power plant."

HP, Gaza in Social Media Images Speaks Volumes "The images from and about Gaza disseminated through social media are striking, searing, poignant and loaded with messages, proving, yet again, that a picture (or cartoon) is worth a thousand words."

Gulf News, How social media hijacked the Gaza narrative

mashable, #IStandWithPalestine vs. I 3 IDF: A War of Photos Between Supporters

aljazeera, Israeli fire kills nineteen in Gaza UN school


BBC News, #BBCtrending: The women having a laugh in Turkey  "Women should not laugh in public. So said Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc in a speech on Monday about "moral corruption" in Turkey. "Chastity is so important," he said. "She will not laugh in public."

"His comments have prompted a big backlash from women on social media in Turkey, with thousands posting photos of themselves laughing and smiling on Twitter and Instagram. There have been more than 300,000 tweets using the term "kahkaha" - the Turkish word for "laughter" - and on the hashtags "Resist Laughter" (#direnkahkaha) and "Resist Woman" (#direnkadin)."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Islamic State’s most effective wars are waged online

Zana Gulmohamad, The National, The Islamic State’s most effective wars are waged online "The internet has provided an extremely effective platform for the warring parties in Iraq and Syria to wage a proxy war. The Islamic State group (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL), has launched a global campaign on social media, which has wrong-footed the international community. Compelled by the success of this propaganda, government officials in Iraq and Syria have also bolstered their cyber warfare efforts."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

'Gaza and Israel: War of the hashtags', Gaza and Israel: War of the hashtags "How instant access to online images and information is helping to shape global reaction to the Israel-Gaza war."

Mehmet Görmez, Turkey's top cleric calls new Islamic ‘caliphate' illegitimate "[Mehmet] Görmez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging. "The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this [because] an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization," he told Reuters in an interview."

Jihadi tours, Jihadists organise tours in their Syria, Iraq 'caliphate' "Salameh said the group's tour buses start their journey in Tal Abyad (on Syria's Turkish border) and end in Iraq's Anbar. Passengers can get off wherever they want, and they don't need a passport to cross the border."

#JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies, Kiss and tell: Arab-Jewish peck goes viral "The campaign #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies was launched by Abraham Gutman and Dania Darwish, both students at Hunter College in New York, shortly after the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in a bid to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza killing at least 583 people." #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies

'Saudi cousins lashed for ‘exchanging insults’ on Whatsapp', Saudi cousins lashed for ‘exchanging insults’ on Whatsapp, 22 Jul 2014 "The Criminal Court in the city of Jeddah sentenced two Saudi women to 10 days in jail and 20 lashes each for exchanging insults via text and WhatsApp messages, Okaz daily reported Tuesday."

'Iraq cyber-war'

BBC News, Iraq conflict breeds cyber-war among rival factions, 22 Jul 2014 "A cyber-civil war is being waged alongside the armed conflict in Iraq, research by security firms suggests.

"As well as using social media to rally supporters and spread propaganda, some factions are employing hackers to gather intelligence."

Monday, July 21, 2014

#Gaza - Round-up of Reporting

For info purposes, here is a brief collection of links/images relating to the current situation in #Gaza.

, Al-Qassam Brigade: We have kidnapped an Israeli soldier #Gaza #Israel. Is this a game changer?

BBC World Service, Newshour, Lyse Doucet, Audio Postcard from Gaza

Telegraph, Gaza conflict: Broken by Israeli barrage, the people of Shejaiya flee as homes are laid waste  

IBT, #OpSaveGaza: Anonymous Takes Down 1,000 Israeli Government and Business Websites


Facebook: Palestine Solidarity Egypt:

Daily Star, NBC Pull Gaza Reporter after Massacre Report  

IBT, Hamas 'Gives Gazans Guidelines For Reporting Israeli Attacks on Social Media' "The Hamas interior ministry website statement, issued along with an instructional video, said: "The Information Department of the Ministry of the Interior and National Security has instructed activists on social media websites, particularly Facebook, to correct some of the commonly used terms as they cover the aggression taking place in the Gaza Strip.... [and] to use the proper terminology, in order to play their part in strengthening the home front and in properly conveying information worldwide.""

Sydney Morning Herald, Israeli propaganda war hits social media, 18 Jul 2014, Gaza stories that have gone viral on social media

Friday, July 18, 2014

Foreign fighters flock to ISIS

Foreign fighters flock to ISIS - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East: "Jabhat al-Nusra is still trying to pick up the pieces of its defeat to the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS) in the northern region. This defeat resulted in the fleeing of its leaders; its groups fell into division and confusion. As a result, the general command of al-Qaeda stretched out a helping hand to its branch in al-Sham. Meanwhile, it has been noticed that the influx of foreign fighters to Syria has increased since the declaration of the Islamic caliphate."

The International Society for Media, Religion and Culture (ISMRC) conference August 4-7, 2014

Digital Religion Research Prominent Theme in Upcoming International Conference | Religion Press Release Services "The International Society for Media, Religion and Culture (ISMRC) conference held August 4-7, 2014, is the 9th in a series of events assembling an international group of interdisciplinary scholars to better understand relationships between media, society and religion and the significance of media for religion in public life. The event draws a diverse crowd of academics and students with interests ranging from media studies and religious studies to anthropology and digital humanities."

Documentary: Babar Ahmad: The godfather of internet jihad?

BBC News - Babar Ahmad: The godfather of internet jihad? "This week has seen the jailing of a man the Americans consider to be one of the most dangerous facilitators of terrorism in the West. But he is likely to be free in less than a year. He was a pioneer when it came to using the web as a tool of jihadist propaganda. So why do thousands of people think that Babar Ahmad is a victim of an injustice?"

I have discussed Babar Ahmad (and his internet activities) in my publications in the past.  The documentary can be heard via iPlayer.  It can also be downloaded.  The reporter, Dominic Casciani, can be found on Twitter @BBCDomC 

Also see BBC News, British cyber-jihadist Babar Ahmad jailed in US, 16 Jul 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

British ‘recruiter’ jihadist allegedly killed in Iraq

British ‘recruiter’ jihadist allegedly killed in Iraq - Al Arabiya News: "A Scottish jihadist who appeared in an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recruitment video last month urging young Western Muslims to perform their duty of Jihad in Iraq and Syria and to has been killed, it has been claimed."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jordan's Abu Qatada says caliphate declaration 'void'

Jordan's Abu Qatada says caliphate declaration 'void' - Al Arabiya News ""The announcement of a caliphate by the Islamic State (IS) is void and meaningless because it was not approved by jihadists in other parts of the world," Abu Qatada wrote in a 21-page document published on jihadist websites."

Kurd singer Helly Luv to ‘Risk it All’ for independence

Kurd singer Helly Luv to ‘Risk it All’ for independence - Al Arabiya News "Kurdish pop singer Helly Luv says she will not be put off by death threats from Iraqi Islamist militants since release of her first music video but, drawing on its title, insists she will "Risk It All" to help a push for an independent Kurdistan." 2.5m hits on YouTube.

Dabiq: ISIS issues print, electronic newspaper

ISIS issues print, electronic newspaper - Al Arabiya News:

"The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has issued an electronic and printed newspaper named Dabiq in Arabic and English, the London-based Rai al-Youm newspaper reported Tuesday, citing social media accounts close to ISIS."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Facebook page calls for release of Musa Cerantonio

Facebook page calls for release of Musa Cerantonio | Mail Online:

"Within hours of the Philippines arrest of an Australian convert to Islam who used the internet to urge people to join 'jihad', a Facebook page calling for his release hit the social media site.

"Robert Edward Cerantonio, 29, who also goes by the name Musa Cerantonio, was detained on Friday in the central Filipino city of Cebu where he is believed to have been hiding from Australian authorities, despite claiming he had arrived in the Middle East just days before."

Fatwas online

Fatwas popular these days, available even on internet - The Times of India: "Darul Ifta, the fatwa-issuing department of the UP-based Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, launched its website in 2007. Till date, it has issued 14,581 fatwas in Urdu, and 7,045 in English. "We decided to accept queries for fatwas online to reduce the load on our staff," says Noamani. The number of queries has gone up in recent years because of the online facility. "A decade ago we used to get around 10,000 queries yearly. This number is around 25,000 today plus 5,000 via email," says a source from Darul Ifta."

hardly a 'headline', but an interesting article

Move over, smiley face: New religious emojis on the way |, Move over, smiley face: New religious emojis on the way |:


Sky News, Abdullah-X Cartoon Aims To Deter Jihadists "The creator of the online campaign featuring a disillusioned young Muslim is a former follower of Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri."


Iran Jails Facebook Users For 127 Years

Sky News, Iran Jails Facebook Users For 127 Years, 14 Jul 2014 "Eight Facebook activists in Iran been jailed for a total of 127 years for making posts critical of the ruling regime."

Friday, July 11, 2014

(Selected) Opinions from Israel

David Sheen, Storify, Terrifying Tweets of Pre-Army Israeli Teens "On Thursday, July 10, I entered the Hebrew word for "Arabs", ARAVIM, into Twitter and searched for uses of the word over the previous few hours. What I found was young Israelis proclaiming their desire for all Arabs to die and in some cases be tortured to death."

Also see Mira Bar Hillel, Independent, Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport, 11 Jul 2014 "Ayelet Shaked represents the far-right Jewish Home party in the Knesset. This means she is well to the right of Benyamin Netanyahu, just in case you thought such a thing was not possible.

"On Monday she quoted this on her Facebook page: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”"

Essential reading

Muslim life in the UK

The Guardian, What is it like to be a Muslim in Britain today? "We asked Muslim bloggers to tell us their experiences of living as a Muslim in the UK today. Do you agree? Share your thoughts and experiences."

Israel / Palestine Conflict animation, I've Never Seen the Israel / Palestine Conflict Illustrated More Uniquely Than This "Nina Paley created this (extremely brief) animated history of the land that was at one time called Israel, Palestine, Canaan and the Levant. She even created this viewer's guide to make sense of what's happening."

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Singapore concerned over returning Syrian jihadists

Singapore concerned over returning Syrian jihadists - Al Arabiya News "Singapore on Wednesday expressed concern at the risk of militant attacks posed by local and foreign jihadists returning to Southeast Asia after fighting in Syria."

Can’t win if you sin! Cleric tweets on Brazil loss

Can’t win if you sin! Cleric tweets on Brazil loss - Al Arabiya News: "His post was ridiculed by many on Twitter, with one user sarcastically replying that Germany had won because they were “busy praying Taraweeh, (special night prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan).”


Imam of Mosul mosque executed before 'caliph' gave sermon, Imam of Mosul mosque executed before 'caliph' gave sermon, 8 Jul 2014: ""Here a Sunni movement is executing Sunni religious leaders. That should make us think," said Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN's special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. "It's important to focus more attention on these particular killings, because here we are not talking about Sunnis versus [Shiites]. This is a very clear case of atrocities committed against their own people, against religious leaders from Sunni Islam who probably have a less simplistic understanding of what Islam means."

Monday, July 07, 2014

Twin Girls Flee UK to Join Isis Jihadi Fighters in Syria, Twin Girls Flee UK to Join Isis Jihadi Fighters in Syria "The girls' parents found their beds empty at 8am last Thursday and called the police. Counter-terrorism forces were subsequently alerted when the girls contacted their family from Syria, where their elder brother is believed to be jihadi fighter."

Blogs of War - ISIS/ISIL: Jihadists Go for the Lulz

Blogs of War - ISIS/ISIL: Jihadists Go for the Lulz: "ISIS, although far more dangerous and disturbing, has swept into the public consciousness in much the same way as LulzSec. Their spectacular success on the ground has been augmented by a clever, well-orchestrated, social media campaign. More importantly, its members and supporters speak the language of social media, and are able to build campaigns around it, in a way that few other groups have. They get snark. They understand the quirky humor and leverage it to their advantage. They know how to make their message move and how to trigger a response. They even have technical resources to help them do that. All of it would be unremarkable, actually, if not for their mission and the surrealness of unspeakable brutality juxtaposed with the odd kitten and AK-47 pic."

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Prominent scholars declare ISIS caliphate 'null and void', Prominent scholars declare ISIS caliphate 'null and void' "The International Union of Muslim Scholars, led by influential Sunni cleric Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, released a statement on Friday concerning the recent declaration of a "caliphate" by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS). The union said that the caliphate declaration is "null and void" and "lacks any realistic or legitimate standards." It warned of serious consequences of the declaration on both Sunni Muslims in Iraq and the revolution in Syria."

Islamic State's 'caliph' lauds Iraq rebellion

Islamic State's 'caliph' lauds Iraq rebellion, Al Jazeera English "In a video posted on social media, the newly elected 'caliph', Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivers a Friday sermon and leads prayers in the grand mosque of Mosul."

Friday, July 04, 2014

Imams' Letter

Imams Online, Over 100 UK imams unite to sign open letter urging British Muslims not to travel to Syria and Iraq This is the link to the letter.

Channel 4, Imams' plea to British Muslims: don't go to Syria or Iraq, 4 Jul 2014 "An open letter signed by more than 100 imams from across major theological backgrounds and cultural groups urged British Muslim communities "to continue the generous and tireless effort to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq", but to do so "from the UK in a safe and responsible way"." Also see

British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace

Independent, British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, 4 Jul 2014

ISIL calls for killing of The 99 creator, ISIL calls for killing of The 99 creator, 4 Jul 2014 "In response, Al Mutawa tweeted: “My work has glorified Islam from the US to China for the past ten years. I really do not believe in ISIL and Qaeda…I don’t care about them”."

Syrian rebel leader

Independent, Syrian rebel leader gives speech to Islamist militants with Hello Kitty notebook, 4 Jul 2014 "A jihadist rebel leader fighting in the Syrian War has been filmed giving an impassioned speech to a group of armed militants with a Hello Kitty notebook in front of him."

Hackers hit IDF account Hackers take over Israel army Twitter account "Internet hackers briefly took over an Israeli army Twitter account, the military said Friday, posting an alarming message that a nuclear facility had been hit by rocket fire."

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Enjoy a virtual iftar this Ramadan

Enjoy a virtual iftar this Ramadan | The National "If you can’t make it home from work for iftar, why not break your fast with your family virtually over the internet?"

Twitter launches Ramadan 'hashflags'

Twitter launches Ramadan 'hashflags' | Technology |

"Twitter has introduced its second set of "hashflags" for users observing Ramadan and celebrating Eid, following from the state-specific flags introduced during the world cup."

Phone apps aid Genxt Muslims in India during Ramadan

Phone apps aid Genxt Muslims in India during Ramadan (Technology Feature) | Mizo News:

Anti-terror police arrest and bail teenager in Cardiff

BBC News - Anti-terror police arrest and bail teenager in Cardiff: "In an online conversation with a reporter from BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme, he  [Aseel Muthana] described seeing "martyrs" to militant group Isis's cause and said he would be "willing to die" for the cause."

The State of the 'Caliphate' Is... Meh

J.M. Berger, The State of the 'Caliphate' Is... Meh: "Apparently, no matter how awesome the power of social media, you can't just announce that you're the boss of everyone and expect people to fall in line."