Friday, February 26, 2016

Shutdown of seminaries in Pakistan, Pakistan shuts down 254 religions seminaries involved in extremism, 25 Feb 2016 "167 suspected seminaries in Sindh, 13 in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa, two in Punjab, and 72 unregistered seminaries in Sindh have been closed."

ISIS Is Losing Its Capital

Daily Beast, ISIS Is Losing Its Capital "Pentagon officials are cautiously optimistic that the terror group is entering its death throes, even as it advances on new territory." opinion

Radicalisation processes and the internet

:e Monde, Au procès d’apprentis djihadistes : « Comment j’ai pu être assez bête pour vouloir partir là-bas ? »

'Bearing Witness to the Rise of ISIS: The Story of Anna Therese Day'

Gail Sheehy,, Bearing Witness to the Rise of ISIS: The Story of Anna Therese Day, 25 Feb 2016 "As unlikely as it may seem, the story of Anna Day, an intrepid and slight blonde twentysomething from Idaho with a name like a Beatles song, is entangled with the saga of how peaceful political change sought by young Arab activists collapsed against the genocidal appeal of the ISIS narrative."

'How the changing media is changing terrorism'

Jason Burke, Guardian, How the changing media is changing terrorism, 25 Feb 2016 "New technologies have not only made it possible to produce propaganda with astonishing ease – they have also made it far easier to disseminate these films and images."

Iran to Spend $36 Million on Internet "Smart Filtering," to No Avail, Iran to Spend $36 Million on Internet "Smart Filtering," to No Avail, "“The fate of the Islamic Revolution is tied to cyberspace,” said hardline ideologue Rahimpour Azghadi on February 17, 2016. “We can use existing tools and capacities to spread the great message of the Revolution.”"

U.S. looks to Facebook, private groups to battle online extremism

Reuters, U.S. looks to Facebook, private groups to battle online extremism, 25 Feb 2016 " The U.S. government, acknowledging its limited success in combating Islamic extremist messaging, is recruiting tech companies, community organizations and educational groups to take the lead in disrupting online radicalization."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Isis video targets Twitter and Facebook CEOs over suspended accounts

Guardian, Isis video targets Twitter and Facebook CEOs over suspended accounts, 23 Feb 2016 "Islamic State has released a 25-minute video featuring the faces of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg being riddled with mock bullet holes."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Saudi religious police arrested after online furore

AFP/Express Tribune, The Express Tribune > World Saudi religious police arrested after online furore, 23 Feb 2016 "Video purportedly shows members of the religious police, who enforce Islamic morality, chasing two women and then roughly handling one of them whose black abaya robe opened to reveal her leg."

Shazia Mirza interview/opinion

Daily Mail, 'ISIS fighters are the One Direction of Islam': Jihadi brides are suckers for terrorists' bad boy sex appeal, says British Muslim comic

'Should Silicon Valley Go to War?'

Fred Kaplan, MIT Technology Review, Should Silicon Valley Go to War?, 23 Feb 2016 "Imagine if hundreds of counter-­messages flooded an ISIS message board, and if at least some of them were designed to appeal to the sorts of people whom intelligence analysts had pegged as susceptible to recruitment. Keeping a propaganda line open—in order to track and possibly manipulate its contents and controllers—might be far more effective than a whack-a-mole attempt to shut it down." I have discussed this in my publications.

Halal Online verification

Business Insider, A Halal verification service has become so popular it's launching an IPO in London " ... Malaysia-based DagangHalal has created an online verification service for Muslims that allows people to check whether a product is fit for consumption under Shariah law. This not only includes food and drink but also "consumer goods and personal care, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, science and new technologies and hospitality and leisure amongst others.""

Monday, February 22, 2016

Smartphone Ownership and Internet Usage Continues to Climb in Emerging Economies

Jacob Poushter, Pew Research Center,Smartphone Ownership and Internet Usage Continues to Climb in Emerging Economies [PDF] "In many advanced economies, the ubiquity of the internet is now a given. It permeates commerce, social interactions, politics, culture and daily life. But this is not the case in all parts of the world. And while internet access continues to grow in poorer nations, there is still a long way to go before the world is completely wired."

'Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World'

The new edition of the 'Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World', edited by Richard C. Martin (Gale, 2016) is out. It includes a small contribution from myself, on Islam and social media.

Heavy Metal Egypt, How heavy metal music is causing a stir in Egypt "Nader Sadek, an Egyptian metal music performer, said on his Facebook page Jan. 7 that a Masters of the Middle East concert will be held Feb. 20 at Amoun Hotel in Giza featuring four famous metal bands: Inquisition (United States), Perversion (United Arab Emirates), Smouldering in Forgotten (Bahrain) and Al-Azif (Egypt)." The significance of this in terms of this blog is the importance of social media in promoting heavy metal music in Egypt.

Sunni Shia Splits?

Radio 4, File on 4, Sunni Shia Splits?    "Are international conflicts creating tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the UK?

"Shabnam Mahmood reports from both Sunni and Shia communities and reveals how divisive messages from the Middle East are fuelling intolerance here."

I thought this was a useful programme. There was some content in relation to the role of the internet in promoting diverse agendas (and in some cases discord)

Monday, February 15, 2016


Katie Collins,, Muslims seek safe haven in Tutlub social network " Tutlub, which means "to ask" in Arabic, stands in contrast to the fear that social networks have become recruitment tools for extremist groups such as ISIS. Instead, the social network is a place for Muslims to discuss their faith, seek guidance and read curated content. Hassan also wants the site to monitor and counter the spread of propaganda."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Getting the World Online

BBC, Getting the World Online "Billions of the world’s poorest people have no access to the internet. Connectivity is growing fast in many parts of the globe, but not everywhere. In large parts of Africa and South Asia, for example, the barriers to joining the information age are simply too great. So why has the Indian government just banned Facebook and others from operating free-access platforms to provide internet access? And why do some of the most influential advocates of a free-for-all internet support the Indian ban? In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss why it matters that the world’s poorest are able to use the internet, and ask what can be done to achieve universal access for all?" Useful programme, worth a listen!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

LinkedIn Jihadi

Telegraph, Security services hunt Jihadi John recruiter after he revealed his location on LinkedIn, 13 Feb 2016 "Birmingham terrorist Rabah Tahari inadvertently disclosed his whereabouts by joining the Linkedin professional networking site."

Friday, February 12, 2016

al-Azhar monitoring Daesh

Express, Islamic University BEATING heinous Islamic State's 'cancerous' propaganda, 11 Feb 2016 "Al-Azhar in Cairo, one of Islam’s oldest and most influential universities is combatting the vile jihadi’s slick propaganda machine by sifting through dozens of ISIS publications across eight different languages."

Malaysia - "Zahid wants better Islamic propagation via Internet", Zahid wants better Islamic propagation via Interne. 11 Feb 2016t "Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today called for wider propagation of Islamic missionary information through the Internet to match the dissemination via the traditional media."

Islamic State 'help desk' helps members avoid internet surveillance

Telegraph, Islamic State 'help desk' helps members avoid internet surveillance "The advice is offered through a channel on encrypted messaging app Telegram, and has about 2,200 members."

Emoji 'crackdown' in Indonesia, L'Indonésie interdit les emojis gays sur les applications de messagerie instantanée

Whatsapp used to fight terrorism in Islington

Islington Gazette, Whatsapp used to fight terrorism in Islington "The Angel Business Improvement District (BID) has set up a mobile phone messaging group where managers will be sent urgent police alerts and images of people in the area suspected of being extremists."

Iranians speak out over sexual harassment scandal

BBC News, Iranians speak out over sexual harassment scandal "Allegations of sexual harassment at an Iranian TV station are emboldening Iranian women to break their silence and share their experiences of a problem traditionally not acknowledged inside the country."


BBC News, Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police "An anonymous team of Iranian app developers have come up with a solution to help young fashion conscious Iranians avoid the country's notorious morality police known in Persian as "Ershad" or guidance."

Monday, February 08, 2016

Virtually Islamic

Virtually Islamic, my main research website, has been restored after a brief technical interlude.

'Islamic State is no longer so formidable on the battlefield'

Hugh Naylor, Washington Post, Islamic State is no longer so formidable on the battlefield, 8 Feb 2016 "The Islamic State’s recent defeats on the battlefield signal that its once-vaunted militia army has been hobbled by worsening money problems, desertions and a dwindling pool of fighters, analysts and monitoring groups say." Opinion.

Two British Members of Islamic State 'Beatles' Have Been Identified

Vice News, Two British Members of Islamic State 'Beatles' Have Been Identified, 7 Feb 2016 On Sunday, a Washington Post and BuzzFeed investigation named a member of the group known as "Jihadi Ringo" as 32-year-old Londoner Alexanda Kotey, while an ITV News investigation also named Kotey as well as identifying a third member of the group as Aine Davis, a drug dealer who converted to Islam and left the UK in 2013.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Thursday, February 04, 2016

' ISIS release chilling video of English-speaking child beheading hostage and threatening America '

Daily Mirror, ISIS release chilling video of English-speaking child beheading hostage and threatening America, 4 Feb 2016

'Hijab Barbie'

Rachel Lubitz,, This "Hijab Barbie" May Be the Cutest Style Star on Instagram "Adam, who lives in Nigeria, uses her Instagram account Hijarbie to showcase "mini hijab fashion." That means photo after photo of the Barbie-style doll we know — tall, thin, long-legged, probably blonde — wearing clothes we're less used to: Instead of princess gowns or hot pants, it's all hijabs and abayas."

Qur'an teaching online

Tim Craig, Washington Post/ndtv, 'Read It Correctly!' Via Skype, Islamic Teaching Flows Out Of Pakistan, 1 Feb 2016, "With lax telecommunications laws, a large pool of potential teachers and relatively new technologies such as Skype, Pakistan has become a global hub for computerized training courses on how to become a properly observant Muslim."

'Iraq seeks to take Islamic State offline'

Reuters, To silence propaganda, Iraq seeks to take Islamic State offline " Iraq is trying to persuade satellite firms to halt Internet services in areas under Islamic State's rule, seeking to deal a major blow to the group's potent propaganda machine which relies heavily on social media to inspire its followers to wage jihad."

Islamic State's 'Radio Caliphate', Islamic State's Radio Caliphate, internet system in Afghanistan reportedly destroyed; But locals still hear broadcast

Boko Haram

Guardian, Join us or die: the birth of Boko Haram, 4 Feb 2016 extracts from Andrew Walker’s new book, Eat the Heart of the Infidel (Hurst).

China + 'Salafism'

Jonathan Kaiman, LA Times, In China, rise of Salafism fosters suspicion and division among Muslims, 1 Feb 2016 "The growth in the Salafi movement here has rattled China's officially atheist communist government, which finds any expression of religious fervor to be unnerving, especially when it carries associations with foreign extremists."


Quartz, Syrian refugees are offering Arabic lessons to students abroad through Skype "To get started, you fill out a simple questionnaire on Natakallam’s website, then specify your availability in a shared spreadsheet. Classes can be bought singly or in bundles. A Natakallam administrator looks over each prospective student’s level, goals, general interests and preferred schedule, and matches him or her with a conversation partner." This is a great idea. See

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

IS Skype

Daily Mirror, ISIS conducts online bomb-making tutorials over Skype to recruit youths " Terror leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad is said to have personally conducted some of the online tutorials, in a bid to brainwash more young Muslims in India"

Monday, February 01, 2016

Tareena Shakil

BBC News, Tareena Shakil jailed for six years for joining IS, 1 Feb 2016 "Shakil, a former health worker from Birmingham, but formerly of Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire, admitted travelling to Syria but denied joining IS and encouraging acts of terrorism through messages posted on Twitter."

Instagram imams

BBC News, Instagram imams are unlikely online hit, 1 Feb 2016 " They shoot hoops with schoolgirls, pose with Christmas trees to wish seasons greetings to Christians and even make the tea. These are not images of Iranian clerics which the world is so used to seeing.

"But an Instagram account that posts pictures of Islamic scholars in everyday situations has become a social media success in Iran and has more than 12,000 followers."

This refers to TalabeToday