Sunday, September 30, 2007

IHT, Gays in Iran remain in the closet, 30 Sept 07, "The Internet has made socializing easier for gays in the past several years, according to those interviewed, who said they had found many gay friends online.

"There are dozens of gay and lesbian Web sites and chat rooms, which the authorities monitor and block. But ways around the bans are found, and new Web sites are opened. invites gays to find their "Iranian dream date.""

Friday, September 28, 2007, Muslim faces jail over terror book, 26 Sept 07 Expelled Ex-Imam's Website Mentions Imminent Terror Attacks in Italy - Paper, 28 Sept 07, "Abu Sayyaf, the former imam of Carmagnola, has been attacking and insulting journalists from [news agency] Aki- AdnKronos International, from [Milan daily] Corriere della Sera, and from [Rome daily] La Repubblica on his Internet site."

Reason Online, Al-Qaeda's Forerunner. An interview with author and journalist Yaroslav Trofimov, on his latest book describing the 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, 27 Sept 07, "Osama bin Laden was deeply scarred by these events. He was not personally involved in Juhayman's movement—he belonged to a younger, more sophisticated generation that saw novelties like television or, today, the Internet, as potential weapons of jihad rather than the Devil's temptations. But he was upset with the way the Saudi government unleashed its military might on the shrine, damaging it in the process. In an audio message to the Muslim world released in 2004, Bin Laden spoke at length about how the Al-Saud had "defiled" the shrine. To him, Juhayman's gunmen may have made a mistake in occupying the Grand Mosque, but the Al-Saud committed an unforgivable crime by retaking the shrine by force." Sounds like an interesting book by the WSJ writer: it also has a related website, with photos and maps. The Siege of Mecca, Behind jailed engineers, a strained marriage, promise of faith, 27 Sept 07, "Interviews with madrasa officials in Bangalore and Mishra’s statement to a Tis Hazari magistrate, accessed by The Indian Express, point to a story of a strained marriage, a connection over the Internet and the promise of faith which even led to Mishra’s conversion to Islam."
Deutsche Welle, "Cyber Jihadist" Trial Opens New Front in Anti-Terror Fight, 28 Sept 07 "In a landmark case, a court in Germany will decide whether posting terrorist propaganda and calls to violence on the Internet is tantamount to supporting terrorism as it tries a man for conducting a "virtual jihad."

"In the first case of its kind in Germany, a man went on trial this week in the northern city of Celle for posting al Qaeda hate messages and audio and video recordings, by Osama bin Laden among others, in an Internet chartroom for Islamists."
Strategy Page, The Short (but Notable) Career of Fatah al Islam, 28 Sept 07, "What made the career of Fatah al Islam so notable was its use of the internet as a propaganda tool to create a following. Online forums were used as a tool for conveying the group's message, attracting recruits, and building links with other organizations. In the past, Islamists used social networks to do the same. They knew people who knew people. The use of the internet allows these groups to interact with a global audience. That means the terrorists can build a larger support base for their activity. The good news is that they are easily penetrated and accessible to private intelligence organizations."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A couple of 'fatwas' which caught my eye. I happen to be writing about related issues for my next book: Islam Today, Fatwa Archive: Receiving commissions for false Internet referrals "I joined an online affiliate program which rewards its members for referrals. For every person who registers and mentions me as the person who referred them to the site, I will receive a commission."

Islam Today, Fatwa Archive: Internet sales services & e-commerce partnerships"There are several methods of earning income online now, and many people are profiting. I am also thinking of getting involved, but I don't know whether these commercial transactions are lawful in Islam.", VIEW: The new bin Laden —Fawaz A Gerges, 27 Sept 07, "In an open letter, one of his prominent Saudi mentors, preacher and scholar Salman Al Oadah, publicly reproaches bin Laden for causing widespread mayhem and killing. “How many innocent children, elderly people, and women were killed in the name of Al Qaeda?” asks Al Oadah on his website,, and in comments on an Arabic television station. “How many people were forced to flee their homes and how much blood was shed in the name of Al Qaeda?” The reaction of his former pupil is not known, but the angry denunciation by bin Laden’s supporters leaves no doubt that it hurts." Article originally appeared in YaleGlobal Online ( The text of the original statement by Salman b. Fahd al-Oadah can be found here: Islam Today, A Ramadan Letter to Osama bin Laden, 14 Sept 07
Front Page, The Hamas PR Machine in America, 27 Sept 07 "Hamas operates a number of sites including:;;;;;;;;;;; and Perhaps the most well known Hamas propaganda website is the Lebanon-based "Palestine-info" network of 20 or more websites. Domains include:, and The operation is run from Beirut by senior Hamas activist Nizar Hussein, with instructions from Damascus-based Hamas chief Khaled Meshal." Opinion piece written by Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen, linked to
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), The Internet in the service of terrorist organizations: the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Internet network and the service providers by which the organization is supported (updated to September 18, 2007). Overview/profile from Israel of PIJ. Refers to several sites, not all of which are presently online.
Reuters, Iraq insurgents post first video clip in English, 26 Sept 07, "An Iraqi insurgent group said on Wednesday it had produced the first video clip in English that shows attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and which it said was intended to show Americans their troops are losing the war." Previously referred to in this blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007, Syrian mag issues call to "urinate" on scholar, 25 Sept 07 "The unconventional protest was outlined in an article written by the editor-in-chief of 'The Social Magazine' (Al Ijtimaiah).

"In his article entitled, "The End of the Trash Called Arabs," Mohamed Anwar Warda pointed to Fayyad's defense of lesbians and his criticism of Qubaisiat, an Islamic women's group." Haven't found the original of this on the net yet.
Atiya fatwa II:, Algerian wife refuses to breastfeed family friend, 24 Sept 07, "Borboni called for a halt to the influx of "imported fatwas," referring to the "adult breastfeeding" fatwa issued by Egyptian Dr. Ezzat Atiya. The fatwa – or religious ruling – led to his dismissal as head of the Hadith Department at the Faculty of the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence in Al-Azhar University after it was deemed "derogatory to Islam.""
Reuters, Cyber crime takes toll in Saudi Arabia, 25 Sept 07 "Dr Abdul Rahman Al Shunaifi, the adviser in information technology (IT) security at the ministry's unit to tackle cyber crime, said that a large number of Saudis were involved in hacking."
NYT, Swedish Man to Face Charges in U.S. of Aiding Terrorists, 26 Sept 07, "After leaving Oregon, Mr. Kassir spent the next six years creating and operating at least three terrorist Web sites that contained information on how to make bombs and poisons, Mr. Garcia said. Posted on the Web sites, he said, were training manuals with titles like 'The Mujahedeen Explosives Handbook' and 'The Mujahedeen Poisons Handbook.' One of Mr. Kassir’s Web sites was run from an Internet server based, at the time, in White Plains, N.Y., the authorities said."

Reuters, Iran judiciary seals offices of news Web site, 25 Sept 07 "Blocking access to earlier this year was seen as part of the clampdown. Updates to the Web site, which is published in English and Farsi, were still available to Internet users outside Iran until the offices were sealed." is still up today. The order closing the site can be found here:, BAZTAB Shut Down, Tehran Public Prosecutor Ordered, 25 Sept 07
Jawa Report, Stupid Jihadi Propaganda of the Day: R U Gay 2? (Yahoo! Hosting Terrorist Website), 25 Sept 07 "The media arm of the The Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance (aka JAAMI) have produced an 18 minute long propaganda film called "SMS 2 US". The video shows a series of images along with text messages to the US from the group."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NYT, At State Dept., Blog Team Joins Muslim Debate, 22 Sept 07 "Walid Jawad was tired of all the chatter on Middle Eastern blogs and Internet forums in praise of gory attacks carried out by the 'noble resistance' in Iraq.", Egyptians spend $2 million on Ramadan SMSes, 24 Sept 07 "One of the funnier greetings reads: "May God bless you with the stability of BMW, the beauty of A5, the power of Mercedes, the durability of Fiat, and the dignity of Jaguar."

"There are 25 million mobile users in Egypt and the figure is expected to reach 38 million by 2011 – some 53 percent of Egypt's population of 72 million -- the Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, Dr. Tareq Kamel, said."
Jawa Report, Google Hosts How to Build Bombs for Jihad Website, 25 Sept 07 refers to
Gulf News, Dubai Municipality in e-Government initiative, 25 Sept 07 "Dubai Municipality has so far processed about 3.3 million transactions electronically since the launch of the e-Government programme in October 2001, at an average of 90,000 transactions per month, a top official said."
UPI, Commentary: Al-Qaida on the run?, 25 Sept 07, "For a terrorist darting from cave to cave, the world’s most wanted terrorist wasn’t as impotent as he apparently appeared to be in top secret e-mails speeding into Townsend’s computers. The view from cyberspace told a different story about al-Qaida. For bin Laden, it is high noon on the electronic frontier. As former Centcom Commander Gen. John Abizaid put it, "Al-Qaida’s organizing ability in cyberspace is unprecedented.""
Gulf News, Saudi women petition Abdullah for right to drive, 25 Sept 07 "Driving is a door to sedition and evil," wrote someone signing in as Shaikh Suleiman Al Duweish on an internet chat-room."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Deutsche Welle, German Al Qaeda Mouthpiece Resurfaces Online Despite Arrests, 22 Sept 07 "Despite the best efforts of security authorities on both sides of the Atlantic, a German-language mouthpiece for al Qaeda has resurfaced on the Web a week after suspects linked to it were arrested in Austria and Canada."
More on Mohammed Atif Siddique: Scotland on Sunday, A polite student from a quiet Scottish town? Or Scotland's first home-grown al-Qaeda terrorist, ready for jihad?, 23 Sept 07 "As a result of an extensive surveillance operation involving the GCHQ electronic eavesdropping centre in Cheltenham, detectives from Central Scotland Police working on 'Operation Niche' seized his computer and passed it on to experts from the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

"From it, they discovered he had accessed hundreds of Islamist-based web pages containing training material on terror techniques and documents extolling the virtues of martyrdom. There were also images of insurgent attacks in Iraq and footage of beheadings. Accessing such information is a crime under Britain's newly strengthened terror laws."
Press TV, Hamas urges Muslims to honor Qods Day, 24 Sept 07 "The statement added Hamas has planned an Internet program featuring prominent religious and political figures from Arab and Islamic countries to commemorate the occasion. It further called on those interested to post their comments regarding the Qods Day in the program."
AFP, Qaeda claims 'execution' of five Iraqi soldiers, 23 Sept 07, "The video, entitled "Execution of a Divine Judgement," purports to have been made by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and was distributed to a number of websites used by Islamist groups."

BBC News, '$100 laptop' to sell to public, 24 Sept 07 "The first countries to receive the donated laptops will be Cambodia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Haiti." I've been following this for some time. The One Laptop Per Child website contains full details of the hardware and XO software.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New and Noted: Digital Islam: Research on Middle East, Islam and Digital Media. This includes a series of resources and papers, which should be of interest to any readers of this blog, including materials by Vit Sisler. Particularly useful is the archive of information about games with a Middle Eastern/Islamic emphasis.
Al-Iraq News/, 'Repentant' Interpreter for U.S. Forces 'Promises' to Expose His Former Colleagues on Internet, 18 Sept 07, "A confession posted on the Internet by a translator working for U.S. forces in Tikrit [Saddam's home town] has provoked fear among many of his former colleagues who still work for the Americans."
Two Pakistanis arrested in Spain for funding international terrorism, 20 Sept 07
EuroNews, Bin Laden vows revenge on Pakistan's Musharraf, 20 Sept 07 "In a new audio tape, Osama bin Laden has urged Pakistanis to overthrow their president."

FrontPage, The Sleeper Cell Next Door, 21 Sept 07 Interview and opinion from Brian Jenkins, author of Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves. Some net references.
Al-Ahram Weekly, Reading Islam's holy book, 20-26 Sept 07 There are several references to the net in this useful overview. If you are interested in this subject, you might find the following piece I wrote a few years ago useful: "'Rip.Burn.Pray.' Islamic Expression Online", chap. in Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet, Douglas E. Cowan & Lorne Dawson (editors), (New York & London: Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0415970210, £16.99). I am also writing about this subject for my next book.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Islam Online, IOL Virtual Ramadan Tent Attacked, 16 Sept 07 I am presently doing some work on Second Life, and previously blogged on this, but have yet to visit the tent. Here are some extracts from the report by IOL. Take a look at the full report, including the comments by some readers:

"In the first attack, two male avatars showed up completely naked in the tent claiming they came here to "control the tent and remove all Muslims from it."

"The two then proceeded to sexually harass the female avatars of a few Arab women who were present in the tent at the time ...

" ... The attacks were stopped short when a Bahraini girl with an avatar called Laracroft Bade stood up for the attackers.

"Using virtual weapons of protection she was able to remove the attackers from the tent."
Al Jazeera, New al-Qaeda tape claims victory, 20 Sept 07
Regular readers will note that I am endeavouring to be more consistent with the labelling of items in this blog. Rather than incorporating items under a date specific single post, I am now tagging them, hopefully consistently to aid retrospective searching. This is also for my own benefit, as it helps as I edit my book. The manuscript is progressing, entering its 'final changes' phase. More details on the book will be provided in due course, including title, synopsis and publisher details. Watch this space for more info.
Daily Record, The Jihad Fighter On Scots Housing Benefit, 19 Sept 07 Fascinating case.
The Star, Spread your wings, religious students told, 19 Sept 07, "Students of religious schools should 'spread their wings' by learning non-religious subjects to be well-rounded and knowledgeable, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said." Interesting comments here, with the Malaysian PM's suggestion that this will enhance their potential as Islamic scholars. Will this have an impact on cyber discourse about Islam in Malaysia?
RFE/RL, Uzbekistan: Presidential Hopefuls Emerge As Election Date Announced, 18 Sept 07 "An unregistered group, the Alliance of Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan, earlier this year nominated three men by Internet for the top post."
Non-tech, but an interesting project from Cardiff University: Western Mail, How Welsh do Muslim children feel?, 20 Sept 07 "Muslim children from Wales are taking part in the first ever UK study of their attitudes to culture and religion."
This Day, Nigeria: Bauchi's March to ICT Revolution, 19 Sept 07 Refers to IT policies associated with Mallam Isa Yuguda, the Governor of Bauchi State, and his advisor Alhaji Abubakar Kari: "Quoting copiously from the words of a one time scribe of UNESCO, Abubakar stated that 'Information Technology has opened up such tremendous vista for modern societies that any failure to master it would mean a life of perpetual subordination - for Information Technology is more than a form of power, it is a power system'. 'So you can now see the correlation when I said it will be second slavery if the human capacity of a man is not developed' he emphasised."

This Day, Nigeria: Zinox, Intel, Microsoft to Empower Students, 19 Sept 07 "In a bid to promote the use of computers among students in the country, Zinox, Intel and Microsoft have formed a partnership that will empower 100,000 Nigerian students this season through Z-SCOP (Zinox Student' Computer Ownership Project)." [advertorial]

Wednesday, September 19, 2007, Saudi worshippers want "cell phone imam" fired, 19 Sept 07 "Worshippers at a mosque in Saudi Arabia are calling for the preacher to be dismissed after finding out that he read out his Quran recitals from his mobile phone, press reports said Tuesday." originally in al-Watan
Surprising headline of the week: Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Religious Police Embrace Bluetooth Technology, 17 Sept 07 "The head of the Riyadh Branch of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice inaugurated the test launch of what it called the "Awareness Messaging System via Bluetooth" at one of the Riyadh's large shopping centers." This whole issue of Bluetooth 'transgression' in one that I'm presently writing about. One assumes that users will simply hide their identities in order to avoid a txt from the Commission.
Guardian, Saudi women fight driving ban, 18 Sept 07 "Activists circulating the petition by email and on websites say they are relying on statements made by government officials and the fact that no law explicitly states that women may not drive. The ban flows from a strict interpretation of the woman's need to be accompanied by a legal guardian in public." I haven't checked the sites yet, so would welcome any links.

Gulf News, Qtel ‘goes by local laws’ in blocking websites, 18 Sept 07, "In Qatar web censorship revolved round three main areas; pornography, political criticism of Gulf countries and anti-Islamic sites, Qtel sources said."

AFP, Turkish court orders YouTube blocked, 18 Sept 07, "The decision followed a complaint by a resident in the eastern city of Sivas that the site hosted videos containing insults against Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the army, the Anatolia news agency reported."

The mobile imam

Guardian, Sacked imam wins right to employment tribunal, 17 Sept 07 [scroll down for headline] "An imam accused of offering "hotline" blessings, spiritual healings and exorcisms via his mobile phone for a fee won the right to take his case to an employment tribunal yesterday."

Palestinian cyberspace

Very useful article: Atlantic Free Press, Palestinian Propaganda Prize for Israel, 18 Sept 07, "... Hamas for the first time ever cracked down on Internet Web sites. The Open Net Initiative (ONI) has studied the status of Internet censorship in 40 countries including the OPT. ONI’s researchers found no filtering at all in Russia, Israel or the Palestinian territories despite political conflicts there (2007). This finding tells that the cyber-freedom is aught to be absolute in the West Bank and Gaza contrary to all Arab countries without exception. This has now to change."


ABC, Cyberspace driving 'liquid terrorism', 19 Sept 07 including audio comment from Waheed Aly at Monash Uni. ""So this is what some analysts are starting to talk about now, not Al Qaeda which is largely irrelevant, but Al Qaedaism," he said.

""It's just an ideological symbol and people pick and choose, and they take from it whatever they want, and they do it via global media and they do it by cyberspace.""


Reuters India, Tape suggests Bosnian general lied about mujahideen 14 Sept 07, "An audio recording on the Internet suggests foreign Muslim fighters accused of atrocities in the 1992-95 Bosnia war were under the command of the chief of Bosnian government forces, contrary to his denial." This material is on YouTube.
Commission for Racial Equality, A lot done, a lot to do: Our vision for an integrated Britain [PDF] "The CRE's final legacy document outlines the current state of UK race today with facts and statistics relating to all aspects of British life, from young people, health and education through to employment, communities, sport and local government."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Counterterrorism Blog, Operation Niche: The Conviction of Mohammed Atif Siddique relates to the case of Mohammed Atif Siddique. Piece written by Evan Kohlmann, who reviewed materials derived from online sources as part of this case. Kohlmann states: "In an 18-page report filed on behalf of Crown Prosecutors, I concluded that Siddique's collection of online propaganda constituted "a formidable archive of authentic Al-Qaida recruitment and technical material that is designed and likely to be used for purposes relating to the commission, perpetration, or instigation of an act of terrorism—most specifically, a suicide or 'martyrdom' operation."" Evan Kohlmann's material has been flagged on this blog before. Here is a profile of Kohlmann: The Herald, Crucial role of the FBI consultant, 18 Sept 07


This is an interesting piece, on an under-researched area of cyber Islam: The Media Line, Mustab’sirin - Gaza's Converts to Shi’ite Islam, 18 Sept 07, "The Internet forums of Palestinian Shi’ite and Umat A-Zahra (or the nation of Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad,) are sites secretly managed by groups of Palestinians who recently converted to the Shi’ite branch of Islam in the Palestinian territories."

AP, Political Rivalries Emerge in Ramadan, 18 Sept 07 "Fatah loyalists have put together a series of Internet clips goading their Hamas rivals, an apparent contrast with Ramadan's traditional air of forgiveness and piety." I haven't seen the clips yet, which are based on TV soap operas.

In space

This is a definite case where ijtihad is required: AFP/Gulf Times, Ramadan Fast in outer space, 17 Sept 07 "Much thought has gone into how to reconcile Islam with a space mission, including a conference here last year where muftis and scientists pondered how to pray in space in the face of difficulties locating Mecca and holding the prayer position in a zero-gravity environment.

"Anan said that the National Fatwa Committee had given some leeway to the astronaut to perform his religious obligations in space. “As certain rituals might be difficult due to microgravity, the astronaut can perform them in other ways like reciting them in his heart, as long as the intention is pure,” he told the Star." I would be curious to read a transcript of the committee's discussions.


Washington Post/Napa Valley Register, Televangelist dispenses feel-good brand of Islam, 18 Sept 07 profile on Amr Khaled, which refers to his website (and his studies at the University of Wales).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Middle East Online, Iran blocks access to Google, 17 Sept 07 "Iran has blocked access to the Google search engine and its Gmail email service as part of a clampdown on material deemed to be offensive, the Mehr news agency reported on Monday."
New and noted: has published a new edition of its online magazine, which has some interesting articles in. Non-tech, but worth viewing, including a piece on the Ahmadiyya (Admonitions from the Caliph), and an article on Muslims in Bulgaria: New Freedoms and New Conflicts
Telegraph, Bin Laden sidelined as al-Qaeda threat revives, 17 Sept 07 contains a useful graphic of the Chain of Command

Daily Mail, Muslim student who 'threatened to become suicide bomber' guilty on terror charges, 17 Sept 07, "A jury at the High Court in Glasgow took more than eight hours to convict him of possessing and distributing a range of terrorist material via websites and providing instructional material about guns and explosives over the internet."

Online banking:

The Star Online, Maybank offers three new Islamic banking products, 13 Sept 07, "Net Current Account-i, believed to be the first Islamic Internet-based current account in Malaysia, was based on the concept of mudharabah (profit sharing), he said at the launch of the products here."


The Star Online, Malaysia's broadband plans earn praise, 17 Sept 07"An expert in national networking policies has praised the Government for taking steps to encourage broadband adoption in the country, particularly those announced recently in the 2008 budget."

AME Info, Mena's WiMAX on track, 17 Sept 07 "Bahrain's Mena Telecom is on track to begin rolling out its WiMAX network before the end of 2007."

Diverse reactions to media:

christiannewswire/, Bill Keller World's Largest Internet Evangelist Calls Osama Bin Laden to Repent and Turn his Life Over to Jesus Christ, 16 Sept 07, "Bill Keller who is seen by thousands daily on Florida's WTTA TV 38 has blanketed the internet with a video message that speaks directly to Osama Bin Laden and all of Islam. The message has been submitted to over 50 U.S. video hosting sites, 100 international sites and 30 Islamic sites in a saturation plan to reach Osama."

Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs,, Growing Islamist Extremism in Moderate, Non-Arab Countries Must Be Confronted, Bangladeshi Activist Urges, 16 Sept 07 "Former Bangladeshi political prisoner Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is a man with a mission - to spread the message that four out of five Muslims do not live in the Middle East and that the United States must pay close attention to the rising tide of Islamist extremism in moderate Muslim countries if it is to prevent the radicalization of their populations."


AFP, Qaeda urges Islamic terror in West in third 9/11 video, 17 Sept 07 "The new video also includes clips from old voice recordings of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as a short video clip of Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Said, the group's commander in Afghanistan.", Bounty placed on Swedish cartoonist's head, 16 Sept 07 "An audio message on the Internet offers a 72,000 euro reward for Lars Vilks' murder. His sketch depicts the head of the Prophet on the body of a dog. Dogs are considered dirty in Islam.

"Half that sum is promised for killing the paper's editor Ulf Johannson who staunchly defends the picture's publication."


Sunday Times, Why I joined the British jihad - and why I rejected it, 16 Sept 07 (another) former Hizb ut-Tahrir member speaks out

Friday, September 14, 2007

Islam Online, IOL Opens Ramadan Tent in Second Life, 14 Sept 07, "IslamOnline is marking the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan by launching the first Ramadan tent ever made inside the virtual world." If you have a Second Life account, then you can find the tent next to the Chebi Mosque. I am looking forward to visiting this in due course. IOL has had a makeover recently, and is now easier to navigate.

On a different issue, Islam Online are cited in the following article:, Distorting Desire, 13 Sept 07, "The Internet, in particular, is making a huge impact in many parts of the world. In countries where public discussion of homosexuality is still taboo, it is often the most accessible source of information and provides comfort for many whose sexuality has made them feel lonely and isolated." This is an interesting review by Brian Whitaker of The Guardian, of Joseph Massad's controversial book 'Desiring Arabs'.


Reuters, Iraq Qaeda issues video of U.S. pilot killed in crash, 14 Sept 07 "The video posted on the Internet by the media arm of the Islamic State in Iraq showed the body of a dead man in a flight suit wearing a parachute harness and lying in an open area."

The Economist, Visions of Osama bin Laden, 13 Sept 07 commentary, Cybercafes teach terror in Algeria, 13 Sept 07 "In the absence of surveillance, children and adolescents who frequent cybercafes may be brainwashed by terror networks throughout their websites."

Non-techReuters/Yahoo! News, Iraqis vow to fight al Qaeda after sheikh's death, 14 Sept 07 more background on Wiki: Anbar Salvation Council

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First, a couple of tech stories: 7Days, Dubai - Hero for the Middle East, 13 Sept 07, "He has been described as a combination of Indiana Jones, James Bond and Jason Bourne, for the Middle East. New Arab video game ‘Sharq Warriors’ may not have hit UAE computer monitors yet but already gaming enthusiasts in the region are getting excited about its new Middle Eastern hero ‘Sami’." More at TMC, First Modern Arab Action Hero in a 3-D Video Game, 12 Sept 07, Facebook Islam Row Highlights Free Speech Issues, 11 Sept 07 Interesting commentary. The Facebook story was previously blogged here. "Historically, in the brick-and-mortar world, we've had courts to settle disputes. Online, there are terms of service agreements and invisible judges determining, usually at the behest of the loudest and largest mob, who is guilty of crossing the line between conscious protest and hate speech."

Non-tech, identity issues story - links to an interesting audio report: NPR, Moved by Islam, Priest Embraces Two Faiths, 12 Sept 07 "The Episcopal Church has suspended one of its priests, Anne Holmes Redding, for one year after her announcement this summer that she is both a Christian and a Muslim."

aQ related:

CSM, Bin Laden's new image: younger, more Marxist, 11 Sept 07, analysis from Fawaz A. Gerges

Reuters, Bin Laden praises 9/11 "champions", 11 Sept 07, "In a tape released on Tuesday to mark the sixth anniversary of the attacks, bin Laden's voice can be heard introducing the video testament of Waleed al-Shehri, one of two Saudi brothers who helped Mohamed Atta slam the first hijacked plane into New York's World Trade Center." The video is widely available throughthe usual channels.

El Khabar, The youngest terrorist is a 14 year-old boy, 12 Sept 07 "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is recruiting teenagers after the heavy losses owed to army forces military operations notably in terrorist’s strongholds in Kabylia region."

AP/IHT, Austrian suspects may have had ties to kidnappers of BBC's Alan Johnston, 13 Sept 07 "Three alleged al-Qaida sympathizers arrested in connection with an online video threat against Austria and Germany may have had links to the Army of Islam, a shadowy group that kidnapped a BBC journalist earlier this year, a U.S. terrorism research group said Thursday." Based on allegations by SITE Institute.

Washington Post, Plot by German Cell Detailed on Internet, 12 Sept 07, "The Islamic Jihad Union, based in Pakistan and Uzbekistan, asserted in an Internet statement that it was behind the plot, according to the Interior Ministry, which said it considered the statement authentic."

Washington Post/, Jumping ahead of Al-Qaida on video, 12 Sept 07 "Early Tuesday morning, a South Carolina Web designer who works at home managed to scoop Al-Qaida by publicly unveiling its new video, a feat she has accomplished numerous times since 2002. Within hours, cable news stations were broadcasting images of Osama bin Laden commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and crediting the 50-year-old woman, who uses the pseudonym Laura Mansfield."

WSJ, Web Sites for Germany's Turks Fuel Fear of Homegrown Terror, 12 Sept 07 [subscription required], A Muslim's real jehad is to expose terrorists opinion piece

Monday, September 10, 2007

AP, al-Qaida Promises 9/11 Hijacker Video, 10 Sept 07, "Al-Qaida said Monday that it will release a new video of Osama bin Laden presenting the last testament of one of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers, marking the sixth anniversary of the attacks."
An interesting account of events at Sehwan Sharif can be found in The Guardian, Devotees go for a whirl at the country's biggest party, 10 Sept 07 A few photos wouldn't have gone amiss, but this is a great article by Declan Walsh. The main event was a week or so ago. More background info can be found here: Wikipedia, Lal Shahbaz Qalander, from which I found a Hazrat Lal Shabaz Qalandar biography. It is also worth visiting the Official Website of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (R.A). This latter site is loaded with images, and links to related multimedia.
Plenty of coverage on the bin Laden video: the 27 minute video can be downloaded via usual Al-Sahab sites, and (for the time being) on Google Video - amongst other places. The video includes a multitude of contemporary references, historical analysis, and religious interpretation - as well as commentary on a mixture of other topics: the Vietnam War, the Kennedys, Donald Rumsfeld, the Kyoto Accord and 'recommended reading' (including Noam Chomsky and Michael Scheuer) are all included. The frozen picture has created some controversy, for example see Digg, Latest Bin Laden Video Is a Forgery, which notes that the contemporary references all occur during the time the image is still. For some analysis, see Frank Gardner's piece for BBC News, Trimmed Bin Laden in media-savvy war, 8 Sept 07. There's also coverage from another perspective, in Jihad Unspun's article, Brief Analysis Of The New Sheikh Bin Laden Tape For Those Who Doubt. The Jihad Unspun site also contains a less-publicised nasheed, which draws on Bin Laden's words.

The Observer, Target Europe, 9 Sept 07 " ... allegedly trained, ready and motivated, the three men were back in Germany by the end of last year, awaiting instructions, say police. The accusation is that these came in the form of a note placed in the 'drafts folder' of an email address to which Gelowicz had access. But that address was under surveillance by US agencies, who tipped off their Berlin-based counterparts. The Americans traced one member of the group through a broadband wireless signal that he was using illegally." Useful report by Jason Burke. In the same paper, here's a commentary by Ed Husain, Some converts do fall prey to the fanatics. But let us remember the many who do not, 9 Sep 07. Martin Rowson's cartoon in the same paper also has an internet twist to it.

As you would expect, Der Spiegel has some detailed coverage on the current situation in Germany, with some emphasis on internet elements. For example, see Der Spiegel, German Investigators Seek Identities of Terror Masterminds, 7 Sept 07 and Authorities Hunt Further Suspects in Terror Case, 6 Sept 07.

Reuters, Qaeda N. Africa wing claims Algeria attacks-Jazeera, 8 Sept 07 "It said al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb said in an Internet statement it was behind Saturday's suicide truck bombing at a coastguards barracks east of Algiers and an attack in the town of Batna less than 48 hours earlier."

AP/Asharq Alawsat, Al-Qaeda Criticizes Hamas, 10 Sept 07, "An al-Qaeda commander who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan appeared in a new videotape Sunday criticizing Hamas and other Islamic groups that he said prioritized nationalism and electoral politics over jihad, or holy war." This refers to Abu Yahia al-Libi's video, released via As-Sahab.

Elsewhere, Nawaz Sharif's return to Pakistan is shorter than he anticipated: BBC News, Pakistan 'deports' ex-PM Sharif, 10 Sept 07. No comment yet from the Pakistan Muslim League.

Gulf News, UAE internet users spend over $1.15b on e-commerce, 10 Sept 07, "Based on the survey findings, the Arab Advisors Group estimates e-commerce users in the UAE to exceed 1.16 million consumers who have spent over $1.15 billion over the past 12 months.

"The survey, 'UAE internet users and e-commerce survey 2007', concluded on September 7. With over 75 detailed exhibits and 64 pages, it provides the results of a major comprehensive online survey of internet users in the UAE." The report is available via Arab Advisors Group, although I couldn't find a summary when I looked today.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

BBC Brasil, Clérigos muçulmanos usam internet para emitir fatwa, 4 Sep 07 "Muçulmanos podem beber cerveja sem álcool? É permitido para mulheres islâmicas arrancar pêlos da sobrancelha? Para encontrar respostas a perguntas da vida moderna, como estas, cada vez mais muçulmanos estão recorrendo a websites que emitem fatwas." Interview: Gary R. Bunt

Friday, September 07, 2007

Times Online, Latest video reveals new look for bin Laden, 7 Sept 07 "The video will be the first new images of the al-Qaeda leader since October 2004, and the first audio tape of him in more than a year – his longest period without a message."

LA Times/Chicago Tribune, U.S. tip led to Germany arrests, 7 Sept 07 "After receiving the initial lead, police suspected that militants here were communicating with Pakistan from an Internet cafe, a frequent strategy to avoid detection, but they did not know which one. So they deployed surveillance teams at several dozen Internet cafes around the city, officials said. The laborious stakeouts paid off when police spotted a 28-year-old convert who was already known as an associate of Islamic militants and has now been identified publicly as Fritz Gelowicz."

Times Online, The homegrown cleric who loathes the British, 7 Sept 07 "Sheikh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq, to give him his full title, travels the world to speak and lecture, often to audiences of young people, and his books and sermons are sold widely.

"Many can be downloaded from the internet. Most offer guidance on the practice and beliefs of Islam. They carry no overt political agenda and are said to display an impressive range and depth of scholarship. Mr ul Haq displays a deep love and respect for his fellow Muslims. It is when he chooses to talk about nonMuslims – and offers his analysis of world events – that the anger erupts." More about Riyadh ul Haq can be found at the Al Kawthar Academy. The site includes MP3 downloads, wallpaper download, an online shop, and reading materials.

Wall Street Journal, Iran's Unlikely TV Hit, 7 Sept 07 This is a fascinating report, which refers to a programme about Iranian Jews during World War 2: "Episodes of "Zero Degree Turn," broadcast in Farsi, can be seen outside of Iran on the Internet, either streaming live or downloaded at It is also broadcast with English subtitles on the state-controlled Jameh Jam satellite channel, which is available on Europe's Hot Bird satellite network. Mr. Fatthi also says Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting has been contacted about selling the show to networks in other countries, but he doesn't know which ones." I am looking forward to viewing this in due course.

Telegraph, Report: Libraries stock Islamic terror books, 7 Sept 07

And finally, a non-tech, fatwa story:, After fatwa, Muslims line up to marry afresh, 7 Sept 07 "Scores of Muslim couples lined up before a cleric in an Uttar Pradesh village for a fresh nikah (marriage) after a fatwa invalidated their marriages.

"The edict invalidated all marriages in the sect simply because its members had participated in a Namaz-e-Janaza or namazat (funeral), led by the moulvi (cleric) of another Muslim sect 20 days earlier."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

AFP, Muslim extremists are masters of Internet: Wiesenthal report, 6 Sept 07 "Radical Muslim and other extremists have mastered the use of the Internet as a tool for propaganda, organizing and education, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a new report Wednesday."

Times Online, Ten terror plotters still on the run in Germany, 6 Sept 07, Sunni terrorists: fresh suicide attacks for Ramadan, 5 Sept 07 "In an announcement published yesterday on an Internet site the "Islamic State of Iraq" [a coalition which includes al-Qaeda] wrote: "Our War Ministry had decided to form special battalions for martyrdom seekers who with God’s help, will destroy the American crusaders and their war"." (Israel), Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), Palestinian Islamic Jihad, September 5, 2007, "Palestinian Islamic Jihad Website and a spokesman claimed the volleys of Qassam rocket fire at Sderot were launched to mark the beginning of the school year. They bragged that they had disrupted the studies of Israeli school children and the daily lives of Israeli civilians." Discussion on content from PalToday (Arabic)/PalToday (English).

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Noted: Prisoner345 - an ongoing online campaign to free Sami al-Hajj, and al Jazeera cameraman detained in Guantanamo. Includes contact details, and details of campaigns supporting al-Hajj
AFP, Germany foils 'massive' attack on US citizens, 5 Sept 07, Berber language gets an airing, 3 Sept 07 The Amazigh language has been promoted via the net, hence the inclusion in this blog. I've also mentioned it in my next book.

LA Times, Danes hold 2 in alleged terrorist plot, 5 Sept 07 "Danish police arrested eight suspected Islamic militants here Tuesday, charging two of them with planning a terrorist attack and attempted murder in what was described as a serious plot with direct ties to Al Qaeda.", Foreign Leftists in Shechem Thwart Counter-Terror Missions, 5 Sept 07, "A video released by “internationals” in Shechem (Nablus) – foreign citizens who travel to Israel as tourists and then seek to act as human shields for wanted terrorists – has been uploaded onto the Internet as counter-terror operations in the city continue." The video is on this page.

ZNet, Secularism and Islam: the Turkish experience, 5 Sept 07, "In Turkey the president is elected by parliament, and an opposition boycott led the Constitutional Court to annul Gul’s election, because it deemed the assembly inquorate. The decision was handed down after the military made it clear where it stood via a message posted on its website. With only a little bit of exaggeration, it has been described as the world’s first internet coup."

Info World, Debate rages over German government spyware plan, 5 Sept 07 "No firm date is set when German parliamentarians are expected to vote on the proposed security law. But with Islamic radicals targeting German troops and others working in Afghanistan in recent weeks, Schäuble has spoken of a heightened threat level that makes the spyware issue of increasing urgency."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Just picked this up via email. Some interesting products, including material for Macs and mobile phone. There is a zakat calculator for mobiles amongst the showcase. I haven't tested any of these yet, but may give them a go in due course. Any reports on these products would be appreciated: Guided Ways
AP/USA Today, 'New media' fatwas rankle Islamic establishment, n.d., "The Internet, satellite television and even the telephone are increasingly being used in the Muslim world to issue fatwas — religious decrees — on issues as varied as whether women can pluck their eyebrows or good Muslims should read Harry Potter." Includes a quote from this blogger.

Monday, September 03, 2007

AFP/, One more held over Malaysia race riot texts: report, 2 Sept 07, "The men are accused of sending mobile telephone text messages which claimed that ethnic violence would break out on Friday, when Malaysia celebrated its 50th year of independence from Britain."
Times Online, Muslim ‘anti terror’ lessons, 2 Sept 07, "Sajid Hussain, an Oxford-educated secondary school teacher, has devised more than 30 lesson plans that can be downloaded from the internet. They are aimed at pupils aged 10-17.

"Hussain claimed radical preachers had tried to drive 'a wedge between a Muslim person’s faith and society'. The lessons, he believes, will enable youngsters to challenge extremist views by using evidence in the Koran." No URL link to the plans provided - the Bradford Council of Mosques website lacks content at present. There was an earlier story on this: NYT/Taipei Times, New civics class asks what would Mohammed do?, 24 Aug 07. Any help finding the links would be appreciated.

IHT, 19 South Koreans return home after Taliban captivity, 2 Sept 07, "The criticism of the hostages, and of missionary work in Islamic countries, has been especially vitriolic on the Internet.

""Do they know what a tremendous humiliation and damage to our national credibility we suffered, as well as a monetary cost, just because they went to a place where they should not have gone?" said one posting Sunday on, the largest Web portal in South Korea.", Legitimate, illegitimate acts of violence, Op-ed by John Esposito: "Whether in the media or public discussions, these are common and persistent questions. But in fact major Muslim religious leaders and Muslim organizations have and do speak out. The media tends not to find these fatwas and statements newsworthy, but they are available on the Internet:" This link refers to Charles Kurzman's webpage, 'Islamic Statements Against Terrorism'.

BBC News, Court told videos 'easy to find', 31 Aug 07, "Islamic extremist videos and documents which were found on a terror accused's computers are easily accessed on the internet, a court has been told."

dnaindia, Police raid many madrassas, 1 Sept 07, "The Islamic clergy in Hyderabad has taken strong objection to the overnight raids by state police on some half-a-dozen madrassas." Net ref in this story., New Islamist websites seek to recruit women, 30 Aug 07 "n a study published in Tunisia's Le Temps last week, religious scholar Dr. Iqbal Gharbi said the number of websites devoted to female Jihad has increased, along with their forms and amount of content.

"Gharbi, professor of religious anthropology at the Zitouna Institute, identified four general functions the sites aim to achieve: distance learning, dissemination of the Salafist call, mobilisation and terrorism on the Internet." Just looked for the article in Le Temps, but couldn't find it. Sounds like a useful piece of research., Facebook Slow to Shut Down Group: F*** Islam, 2 Sept 07 I added some *** here and issue the usual language and warning etc.: the post appears to have been edited down anyway. It refers to a dialogue about an anti-Islamic page on Facebook.

AP/canadianpress, Germany wants to spy on suspects via web, 1 Sept 07 "German officials on Friday defended a proposal to use "Trojan horse" software to secretly monitor potential terror suspects' hard drives, amid fierce debate over whether the measures violate civil liberties."

Yahya Birt, Sufis and Salafis of the West: Discord and the Hope of Unity, 26 Aug 07 located via alt.muslim, Discord and the hope of unity, 31 Aug 07 (shorter version + photo of 'Sheikh Google'). "This is still a new world to which both the ulema and the Muslim masses are adjusting and attempting to formulate an etiquette for. And once a tool is available, especially one of this revolutionary power and sheer utility, people will use it. Yet legal rulings apply to the use made of a tool and not to the tool itself.", Sex and the City, Saudi-style, 3 Sept 07 refers to Rajaa Alsanea's book (previously blogged) Banat Al-Riyadh: "Alsanea hit upon "the e-mail thing because it reflects how we have double standards in our society. I mean, the Internet has changed lots in Saudi society since it was introduced in the late 1990s, but it didn't change the traditions. And I'm not a big fan of traditions. They're suffocating us.""