Friday, April 22, 2016

'Pain, Confusion, Anger, and Shame: The Stories of Islamic State Families'

ICSR Report – Pain, Confusion, Anger, and Shame: The Stories of Islamic State Families "For every jihadist that has traveled to Syria, Libya, or other places where the group calling itself Islamic State (IS) has attemptedto take root, there is a family affected by what their sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, husbands or wives, have done. Their feelings and reactions are the subject of this paper."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Women's Orchestra in Kabul

US warns of links between Islamic State, Boko Haram

AP/Daily Mail, US warns of links between Islamic State, Boko Haram, 20 Apr 2016 "At "Ground Zero" in Africa's counterterrorism fight, senior U.S. officials warned of deepening links between the Islamic State and Boko Haram and prodded Chad's ruling strongman to introduce reforms for the sake of long-term stability."

The Islamic State’s Online Strategy and Violent Extremism in Africa

David Fidler, Into Africa: The Islamic State’s Online Strategy and Violent Extremism in Africa, 19 Apr 2016 "Military campaigns in Iraq and Syria have re-taken territory from the Islamic State and damaged it in other ways, including its ability to finance military operations. As counter-attacks continue in the Middle East, the Islamic State’s activities in Africa, especially North Africa, are increasing. These activities include a defining characteristic of the Islamic State—its use of the Internet and social media to strengthen its control of territory and advance its extremist agenda. This aspect of the group’s efforts in Africa has garnered less interest than the number of its fighters in North Africa or its territorial foothold in Libya. However, the Islamic State is applying its online strategy in Africa, which raises questions about how to respond to this development."

'Islamic State's' most wanted - Part 1: The takeover

BBC, 'Islamic State's' most wanted - Part 1: The takeover, 20 Apr 2016 [use this link to take you to the other parts of the series] "What happens when you resist the world's most violent jihadis?"

What Kind of Person Becomes a Violent Jihadi?

BBC News, What Kind of Person Becomes a Violent Jihadi? "For decades researchers, academics and psychologists have wanted to know what kind of person becomes a terrorist. If there are pre-existing traits which make someone more likely to kill for their beliefs – well, that would be worth knowing. In this edition of The Inquiry – part of the BBC World Service Identity Season – we tell the story of that search for a ‘terrorist type’. It’s a story which begins decades ago. But, with the threat from killers acting for so-called Islamic State, finding an answer has never felt more pressing." [it's note just about the internet!]

Friday, April 15, 2016

'Counter-terrorism drive for public to report online Isis propaganda'

Guardian, Counter-terrorism drive for public to report online Isis propaganda, 15 Apr 2016 "British counter-terrorism officials are launching a campaign to try to drive back Islamic State’s efforts to use the internet to foster extremism. Isis has turned the internet into a frontline of its jihad, using it to spread propaganda to gain recruits and embolden its supporters. However, 300 items a day are being taken down by a special police unit."

'Living Level-3', Graphic Novelist Joshua Dysart Spotlights the Darkness of Iraq with Living Level-3 "New York Times best-selling graphic novelist Joshua Dysart has written about serial killers, about superheroes, and about the supernatural. Now, with Living Level-3, he brings his talent for dark themes to the real-life humanitarian crisis in Iraq. “Comics & Dialogue” had the opportunity to speak with him about goals of this online graphic novel, its challenges, and the social issues that comics can uniquely address."

'Overwhelming majority of Arabs youth reject ISIS, poll finds', Overwhelming majority of Arabs youth reject ISIS, poll finds, 14 Apr 2016
"The survey, undertaken by PR agency Asda'a Burson Marsteller, interviewed 3,500 youths aged 18-24 from 16 Arab countries, including Egypt, Algeria and Saudi Arabia."


Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan, Daily Beast, Everything We Knew About This ISIS Mastermind Was Wrong, 15 Apr 2016 "He was one man, not two. He had at least seven names, and was mistakenly pronounced dead four times. But the fog surrounding ISIS’s No. 2 is finally beginning to part."


Reuters, Iraq's Kurds declare independence in cyberspace with .krd domain name, 14 Apr 2016 "The new top-level domain ".krd" gives Kurds a separate space in the virtual world at a time when they are gaining legitimacy on the ground through their alliance with the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State."

Thursday, April 14, 2016


BBC Wales, #towerlives: Butetown's festival of storytelling - links through to several interesting videos, interviews and discussions relating to Butetown. Also see #TowerLives on Twitter "#towerlives is a week-long festival of storytelling and music, on air and on the ground, around the council estate tower blocks of Butetown in Cardiff." Recommended!!

'ISIS Has Hit List of Western Muslim Leaders', ISIS Has Hit List of Western Muslim Leaders, 13 Apr 2016 "The latest issue (number 14) of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine, Dabiq, published April 13, contains a hitlist of Muslim leaders in the West, specifically naming 21. A 22nd (Nihad Awad of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Council on American Islamic Relations) is pictured, but not named."

'Hashtag fail? #BringBackOurGirls two years on'

AFP, Hashtag fail? #BringBackOurGirls two years on, 13 Apr 2016 "On the ground, 219 of the 276 girls are still missing, their Government Girls Secondary School is a broken ruin and Chibok is desperate for development."

'ISIS Really Wants You To Know It’s Operating In Bangladesh'

Buzzfeed, ISIS Really Wants You To Know It’s Operating In Bangladesh, 13 Apr 2016 " In the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq, ISIS features both a Bengali jihadi and a man it claims is leading its operations inside the country. "

'How To Lose Your Mind To ISIS And Then Fight To Get It Back'

Mike Giglio & Munzer al-Awad, Buzzfeed, How To Lose Your Mind To ISIS And Then Fight To Get It Back, 11 Apr 2016, "It’s far easier to join ISIS than to leave. Members of a hidden community of ISIS defectors recount how they were pulled into the grip of extremism — and their struggle to escape. Mike Giglio and Munzer al-Awad report for BuzzFeed News from the Syrian border."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bakraoui brothers, ISIS claims Paris and Brussels attacks began with Bakraoui brothers "Dabiq, the slick online propaganda magazine published by the Islamic State (ISIS), provides news details in an issue released Wednesday on the group's role in the March 22 attacks in Brussels and links to the Paris attacks."

'The reluctant jihadi'

Guardian, Robert F. Worth, The reluctant jihadi: how one recruit lost faith in Isis "[But] ... some of the true believers who arrived in the Islamic State were discovering that life there was not quite the paradise they had imagined. A new narrative – of disillusionment, of horror, of black comedy – was slowly leaking out from the inside. Abu Ali would become one of its voices."


Vice. Munchies, The #HalalChallenge Encourages Racism Via Pork, 12 Apr 2016, "The creators of the #HalalChallenge say that the slaughter of animals according to Islamic law is a form of cruelty. The Qur’an dictates that an animal must fully bleed out; in practice, animals are sometimes killed without sedation methods like stunning. But the movement has attracted various right wing anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant supporters, and critics say the campaign is racism in disguise. The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the organizer of Bonn’s anti-immigration movement as well as the founder of Hooligans Against Salafists have cheered the #HalalChallenge online."

'China tech companies pledge to tackle content that promotes terrorism'

Guardian, China tech companies pledge to tackle content that promotes terrorism, 12 Apr 2016 "China says it faces a serious threat from groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which operates in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, where hundreds have died in violence in recent years."

Islamic State nets millions selling plundered antiquities online

SMH, Islamic State nets millions selling plundered antiquities online, 8 aPR 2016 " Islamic State is more often associated with images of antiquities being destroyed in Palmyra and Nimrud, than with cultural heritage preservation. But previous reports of the group selling looted artefacts in the Middle East are now understood to be part of a multimillion-dollar revenue stream managed with the help of the internet."


Photo: Trevor Phillips, Channel 4
BBC News, What some Muslims think of 'what British Muslims really think', 11 Apr 2016 "What do British Muslims really think? It's a question that news organisations have repeatedly tried to answer since the terror attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, and one that suggests that maybe the person asking isn't a British Muslim."

Also see Channel 4, What British Muslims Really Think

ICM Data Set is here

Also see #WhatBritishMuslimsReallyThink on Twitter

I haven't looked at any of this material in detail yet. 

Digital Human, Home

Digital Human, Home "In The Digital Human: Home Aleks asks what turns a space into a place and whether we really need bricks and mortar anymore, when home can be anywhere you can go online."

Lebanon Internet, Lebanon's illegal internet boom sparks crackdown - and calls for reform "With some of the slowest and most expensive internet speeds in the world, Lebanon has become a hotbed for illegal internet providers that supply people desperate to get their hands on internet speedier than the state-run company, Ogero - the only legal provider. According to a recent study, the internet in Lebanon is slower than Egypt and Syria."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

'How a Saudi Arabian singer defied tradition to follow her dream'

Alaa Basatneh,, How a Saudi Arabian singer defied tradition to follow her dream "Commenters on Tarabzouni’s social media accounts seem to be split into two camps: the supporters and the haters. “They should take away your passport, and marry you off to a man who will make you forget the stupid singing thing,” one commenter wrote on her Instagram account in Arabic. Another comment reads, “I’m really proud of u because u r a girl from my country and u break the stupid traditions. KEEP GOING.”"

IS video threat

Independent, Isis supporters threaten UK with terror attacks in new propaganda video, 5 Apr 2016

Engare, a videogame about the mathematical beauty of Islamic art

Chris Priestman,, Engare, a videogame about the mathematical beauty of Islamic art, 4 Apr 2016 "Iranian game maker Mahdi Bahrami is the kind of person who answers a question with more questions. I don’t think he can stop himself. “What will happen if I add a short line to one of the tiles in a mosque?” he asks me. “If we take into account the tiling rules of the mosque, what would the whole wall look like after we add the line? What if we change the rules? What would the mosque ceiling look like?” I don’t know. But for Bahrami, that’s entirely the point—his upcoming puzzle game Engare is about exploring this unknown space and finding the answer."

Sunday, April 03, 2016


Evan Ratliff, New Yorker, The strange origins of TrueCrypt, ISIS’s favored encryption tool "When one would-be bomber was dispatched from Syria to France, Callimachi writes, “an Islamic State computer specialist handed him a USB key. It contained CCleaner, a program used to erase a user’s online history on a given computer, as well as TrueCrypt, an encryption program that was widely available at the time and that experts say has not yet been cracked.”" Also see Rukmini Callimachi, How ISIS Built the Machinery of Terror Under Europe’s Gaze, 29 Mar 2016

IS update

Reuters/channelnewsasia, Islamic State executes 15 of its own near Raqqa, Syria - monitor

Taliban app, Taliban Develop Smartphone App to Advance Propaganda Efforts, 2 April 2016 "The Pashto language app includes content such as official statements and videos from the Taliban, which has sought insurgency in the country for more than 14 years since it was ousted in 2001 with help from the U.S. The app appeared on Google’s Play Store until Saturday, when it was removed to fix some "technical issues," Mujahed said. The app should reappear soon, he said."

Friday, April 01, 2016


ITV News, Delivery driver Junead Khan found guilty of planning terror attack against US military in UK, 1 April 2016 "A delivery driver from Luton has been convicted of preparing to carry out a terror attack on an RAF base in East Anglia where US military personnel are stationed." Tech themes in this story.