Thursday, January 31, 2008

Abu Laith al-Libi, Al-Qaeda Commander Libi Dies in Afghanistan, Web Site Reports, 31 Jan 08

AFP, Egyptian firm says it wins mobile phone licence in NKorea, 31 Jan 08 Not sure how big a contract this might be ... "Orascom Telecom, in a statement Wednesday on its website, said the licence was granted to its subsidiary CHEO Technology, which is 25 percent owned by the state-run Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation."
Internet outage update, Massive Internet outage hits Egypt, 30 jan 08 "A breakdown in an international undersea cable network disrupted Internet links to Egypt, India and Gulf Arab countries on Wednesday, and Egypt said it could take several days for its services to return to normal.

"It was not immediately possible to gauge the impact of the disruption on financial institutions. Egypt's telecoms ministry said 70 percent of the country's Internet network was down and India initially said it had lost over half its bandwidth."

Related to this: AFP, Egypt asks to stop film, MP3 downloads during Internet outage, 31 Jan 08 "Egypt's telecommunications ministry appealed Thursday for Internet users to stop downloading movies and MP3s so as to give priority to businesses after damage to an undersea cable forced all traffic onto backup systems." As if ...
Caught on camera

Sabbah's Blog, Not seen on CNN: Israeli Soldiers “Mooning” Palestinian Shepherds, 31 Jan 08 "Friday, January 12 2008, soldiers from the Israeli Army displayed their buttocks in an exhibition known colloquially as 'mooning' to a Palestinian shepherd and two international volunteers from Christian Peacemaker Teams. The incident was insult to injury as it occurred immediately after settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havat Ma’on, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, pushed the shepherd and his flock off the land."

Reuters, Qaeda N.Africa wing claims Algeria attack-Web, 30 Jan 08 "Al Qaeda's north Africa wing said it was behind a blast at a police station in Algeria which authorities said killed two people, according to a statement posted on the Internet on Wednesday."

Bloomberg News/Chicago Tribune, Temporary Muslim marriages raise alarms, 30 Jan 08 Legal issue, non-tech (but a subject of ongoing discussion online)
aQI, Taliban > Australia, Hidden killers driving Al-Qaeda recruitment, 31 Jan 08 "Images of deadly and mysterious insurgents – including Baghdad sniper "Juba" - are replacing notorious terrorists as the spearheads of online jihadi recruitment drives." Background article, which leads to a more detailed page of articles and clips on 'online jihad':, The Hidden War on Australia. Also see, 'We shot down crusader Howard', says al-Qaeda, 31 Jan 08 and, Taliban post Australian deaths online, 31 Jan 08
Cartoon Preservation

Spiegel Online, Danish Library Wants to Preserve Inflammatory Drawings, 30 Jan 08 "Copenhagen's Royal Library is working to acquire controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed for its permanent collection. The 12 drawings would be preserved for posterity -- but probably never put on display, to the dismay of some."
Brunei net heritage

Brunei Times, ICT New Tool For Promoting Cultural Heritage, n.d.

"National training session on the use of information technologies in the preservation of cultural diversity began yesterday with a series of presentations by officials from the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) lecturers."
Sayed Pervez Kambaksh (update)

Independent, Sentenced to death: Afghan who dared to read about women's rights, 31 Jan 08 "The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed." Page includes an online petition

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Digital Islam, Martin Riexinger, Propagating Islamic Creationism on the Internet, 28 Nov 08 "Although negative reactions accompanied the reception of Darwinism in the Islamic World from the beginning, a full fledged Islamic creationist movement did not appear before the 1970s. Originally it was restricted to Turkey, where Islamic groups attempted to undermine the materialist foundation of Marxism and Kemalism. From the late 1990s onwards the subject became popular among Muslims in the diaspora. This was due to the efforts of Adnan Oktar alias Harun Yahya, a hitherto marginal figure in Turkey, to propagate his ideas via the Internet. The Internet allows him to adapt his propaganda constantly to new issues and creationist and anti-creationist publications and to recruit volunteers willing to translate his books. Thanks to the combination of a neglected subject with the innovative use of new media Oktar gained the opinion leadership in this field. Even movements, the founders of which had attacked Darwinism, now refer to Oktar as main authority on this issue. However, he failed to gain an equal degree of attention for topics like conspiracy theories and eschatology. In these fields he had to compete with a bulk of existing material in conventional media. The success of his former disciple Mustafa Akyol shows that using the Internet as main means of propaganda may restrict the political impact. He became the chief Muslim ally of Christian creationists in the USA by managing to get published by respectable “old media”. For him the Internet only fulfils an auxiliary function."

Published as:
Riexinger, Martin. Propagating Islamic creationism on the Internet. Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. Vol. 2, No. 2, 2008. ISSN 1802-5943. pp. 99-112.

BBC News, Web disrupted 'across Mid-East', 30 Jan 08 "Internet services have been disrupted in parts of the Middle East following damage to an undersea cable in the Mediterranean, according to reports."
Ongoing trial

Guardian, Beheading plotter 'had al-Qaida material', 30 Jan 08 Quoting Duncan Atkinson (prosecuting) in case of Parviz Khan and alleged accomplices: ""The computer base unit contained many files which demonstrated that its user had an interest in the Islamic faith.

""However, there were also files which showed an interest in al-Qaida and its activities in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"Atkinson said a further file featured Sheikh Feiz, a fundamentalist Muslim preacher who "advanced a message of the glorification of death ... and terrorist attacks on the West, including the July 7 bombing" of London's transport system."
Jihadi Profiling Theory

EE Times, Holy War! Researchers say EEs have a 'terrorist mindset', 28 Jan 08 "The sociology paper published last November, which has been making rounds over the Internet and was recently picked up by The Atlantic, uses illustrative statistics and qualitative data to conclude that there is a strong relationship between an engineering background and involvement in a variety of Islamic terrorist groups. The authors have found that graduates in subjects such as science, engineering, and medicine are strongly overrepresented among Islamist movements in the Muslim world. The authors also note that engineers, alone, are strongly over-represented among graduates who gravitate to violent groups."

This relates to a recently published paper Diego Gambetta & Steffen Hertog, Engineers of Jihad, Dept. of Sociology, University of Oxford, Sociology Working Papers, 2007-10 [PDF]. I haven't read this one yet, as it runs to 90 pages.
Perwiz Kambakhsh

AFP, Afghanistan's Senate endorses reporter's death sentence: official, 30 Jan 08 "The court sentenced Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, to death for distributing articles downloaded from the Internet that were said to question the Koran and the role of women in Islam.

""The Meshrano Jirga endorses the Balkh primary court's verdict on sentencing to death Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh who has been sentenced over insulting Islam and misinterpretation of Koran verses," said the statement read to AFP."
Mujahiddin Secrets 2 (again), Islamic Terrorist Software Released to Cloak Jihadist Internet Communications, 28 Jan 08 "It is ironic that Henry [Paul Henry of Secure Computing] is not legally allowed to hack his way into the site, despite the extreme security risks it represents and the fact that American lives could be at stake if it were allowed to stay up. He says he is now concerned that the Muslim terrorists seem to be getting better at concealing themselves. Henry said, "What concerns me personally is we've relied on their use of archaic technology to block them in the past, and it looks like this might be the start of a tech refresh for the bad guys.""
Blog Life Cycle

Wired 16.02, The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, From Servers to Spiders to Suits — to You Leaving aside that the example of the post is beer, this is a useful diagramatic explanation of the working of blogs, which is relevant to other zones of interest.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

AFP, Google 'looking at Malaysian base', 27 Jan 08 ""I was told that Malaysians formed the highest group of Google users in Southeast Asia," Abdullah said according to The Star daily."

Also see The Register, Malaysia flirts with Google over world's biggest data center, 27 Jan 08
Cyberwarfare 101

USA Today, Air Force trains warriors to defend cyberspace, 28 Jan 08, "Every enlisted man and officer will be taught about cyberwarfare in basic training, the Air Force Academy or officer candidate school, Schissler said. About 100 students per year will receive more advanced instruction at the Undergraduate Network Warfare Training course at Hurlburt Field in Florida. Graduates of the six-month program will be able to operate a computer like "a weapon system" and will be known as cyberwarriors or cyberoperators, Schissler said. The first class graduated last month."
Saudi IT Law, Saudi tightens grip on Internet use, 26 Jan 08, "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has begun implementing new laws for controlling the use of technology for terrorism, fraud, pornography, defamation, violating religious values and disregarding public etiquette.

"The new information technology law contains 16 articles, and provides a maximum penalty of 10 years and a SR5 million fine ($1.3 million) for persons found guilty of running web sites in support of terrorist organisations."

Guardian, Guilty pleas over soldier beheading plot, 29 Jan 08 "Parviz Khan, 37, the ringleader of the group, earlier this month admitted a series of charges including the beheading plot, a court heard today.

"The Islamist "fanatic" intended to capture his victim and behead him "like a pig" in a lock-up garage, Leicester crown court heard. Khan then planned to release the footage of the killing to the public." Clearly, an internet influence on this case.

Also see:

PA/Independent, Man 'plotted to cut off Muslim soldier's head', 29 Jan 08, "The court heard that Khan was active in gathering items, including computer hard drives, range-finders and night vision equipment, to be sent out to Pakistan for use by terrorists operating near the Afghan border."
Iranian Blogging

New article: Annabelle Sreberny & Gholam Khiabany, Becoming Intellectual: The Blogestan and Public Political Space in the Islamic Republic, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 34 Issue 3 2007, 267 – 286 part of a special issue on Iranian intellectuals. Haven't read it yet, but it looks useful.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Iran Rap

Independent, Iran's 'illegal' rappers want cultural revolution, 28 Jan 08, "Given the restrictions, one of the main ways for Iranian rappers to get their music out both locally and globally is via the internet. Many websites – such as and – make downloading it easy. There may be fame, but there's little money in the business because of tight regulations. Most CD shop owners refuse to sell underground music, fearing raids – if caught, they face imprisonment and hefty fines. Concerts in private gatherings are sometimes cancelled because of threats from ad-hoc neighbourhood Islamic vigilantes." Article also refers to filtering of related sites.
'al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb'

Middle East Times, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb's dilemma, 28 Jan 08, "Responding to the public outcry and the dissidence among his own troops, Droudkel has been active on the media front: communiqués, video clips and audio recordings."
Round-up of headlines from Gulf News

Several useful items caught my attention today:

Gulf News, UAE to boost e-government plan, 28 Jan 08 "The UAE seeks to accelerate the implementation of the e-government mandate with 50 per cent of government services to be offered online in 2008 and 90 per cent by 2010, officials said on Sunday."

Gulf News, Etisalat is ready to offer VoIP services, 27 Jan 08 "etisalat, the country's leading telecommunication services provider, announced on Sunday it is technically ready to provide the Voice Over the Internet (VoIP) services, pending the regulators approval."

Gulf News, Online Learning, 27 Jan 08
, "According to Altaf Basha, content development specialist at Integrated Solutions for Business, the key to any form of online learning is in the method of delivery of information to the students."

Gulf News, More customers demanding Arabic instruction manuals, 26 Jan 08

""I think worldwide companies need to start concentrating not on the Middle East. They need to start concentrating on the Arabic population," said Sofyan A Moayed of iMachines, Bahrain's largest reseller of Apple computers. "It you want to make money in the Middle East you need to concentrate on the average man on the street who speaks Arabic."

"When speaking at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this month, Al Moayed often spoke out about the lack of software and hardware that fail to include Arabic, even pointing out the Apple's failure to include Arabic on the iPhone." This article makes several important points regarding the relative lack of Arabic tech manuals, and other materials., Old Websites Sure Are Funny, 29 Jan 08 general article, but with implications in other contexts
aQI Tactical shift(?)

Reuters, Iraq Qaeda video shows police officers "repent": Web, 29 Jan 08, "The video and a statement that said the men were "returning to Islam's ranks" appeared to signal a change of propaganda tactics by the Islamic State in Iraq. The group's earlier videos often showed captured government officers and soldiers being shot dead after voicing regret over their activities."

AP, Ex-dictator Suharto is mourned, buried, 29 Jan 08 just tried to get the government's official site, but it was down
Abdullah Quilliam

Yahya Birt, Abdullah Quilliam: Britain’s First Islamist?, 25 Jan 08 non-tech, but interesting background on Quilliam, which points to the Quilliam Foundation.
Finsbury Park postscript

Times Online, Proud day for spy who infiltrated mosque, 28 Jan 08, "Mr Hassaine’s journey to this point has been long and dangerous. An Algerian who went undercover in Finsbury Park mosque to gather information on extremists, he has endured beatings and death threats, and abandonment by his spymasters. After years of fighting to be British, he told The Times: “At last I can look forward to planning my life, to being able to travel freely. I will be so proud to call myself a British citizen.”"
Attacks planned

Reuters, Islamists seen planning attacks across Europe, 26 Jan 08 "Islamist extremists were planning attacks across Europe, especially against public transport, before their arrests in Barcelona last weekend, a Spanish paper reported on Saturday, citing a would-be attacker's testimony."
Imam surfer, Don't laugh, it's swell being an imam surfer, 27 Jan 08 that's surfing with big waves, not the net
Online dating

PostChronicle, Muslim Dating At Center Of Bitter Lawsuit, 27 Jan 08 "Stockbroker Cherine Allaithy alleges in her lawsuit that after meeting Tarek Youssoff Hassan Saleh on a Muslim dating Web site, their relationship soon became a heated war of words that escalated into violence, the New York Post reported Sunday." Ongoing case and allegations.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cyberspace and the Qur'an

Oliver Leaman has edited The Qur'an: an encyclopedia (Routledge, 2007). It's a very useful volume, not least because it incorporates references to the net in it. Andrew Rippin has written an entry on Cyberspace and the Qur'an.

Plenty of useful Gaza related coverage can be found at Sabbah's Blog, including CNN concern over “biggest prison break”
Gaza diary

BBC News, Gaza diary 2: Rana Elhindi, 23 Jan 08 "Rana Elhindi, a Save the Children worker in Gaza, continues her diary of the current crisis for the BBC News website."

BBC News, Arrests worry Barcelona's Pakistanis, 22 Jan 08 "Grocery shops, restaurants, butchers and internet cafes have mushroomed in El Raval and its surroundings."
The first of three articles that I have linked to today, taken from Arab Media & Society:

Islam Online

Bettina Gräf, Arab Media & Society, Independent, interactive, popular, Jan 08 " This paper gives an overview of the history and operations of, one of the most-visited Arabic/ English Islamic web portals which issue fatwas." Background article.
Egyptian dance music remixed

Jennifer Peterson, Arab Media & Society, Sampling Folklore: The re-popularization of Sufi inshad in Egyptian dance music, Jan 08 is a fascinating article. One of those research areas I would like to explore further, if I had time. Peterson's article is illustrated with various music clips, which also includes an 18 minute MP3 mix of Egyptian dance music to download (I'm listening as I blog). "This Al-Abagiya bachelor party was held for a DJ who produces "mulid" remixes on his home computer and specializes in this dance trend to the extent that he calls his small entertainment business "DJ Mulid"."
Iraqi Blogging

Arab Media & Society, Baghdad Burning: The blogosphere, literature and the art of war, Jan 08

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Wall

Raising Yousuf, Unplugged: diary of a Palestinian mother, Down goes the wall, 23 Jan 08 Laila El-Haddad's account probably says more than any newspaper piece about the Gaza wall. There's also a good article by Hisham Abu Taha: Arab News, Palestinians Blow Up Wall, Flood Egypt, 24 Jan 08

The 'Gaza siege' has led to an international online campaign:

Straits Times, Two men detained under ISA for terror activities, 24 Jan 08 "Two men have been detained under the Internal Security Act for planning terror activities, after being influenced by radical propaganda they found in publications and on video and the Internet."
Wikia Search

Guardian Unlimited, You say you've never considered the politics of search engines?, 24 Jan 08 Interesting opinion piece by Seth Finkelstein, focusing on Wikia Search: "The overall dynamics are much more complex than the superficial idea of Wikia Search being a Google killer. At a deeper level, there's a powerful quasi-populist appeal in presenting a commercial undertaking as a rebellion against authority or an anti-monopolist effort. Wikia has managed to shift many search engine expenses on to others by using arguments of public interest in a "transparent" search system. These ideas have motivated partnership with a nonprofit organisation, the Internet Software Consortium, to have ISC support some of the infrastructure for a search engine."

I haven't really tried Wikia, other than a few superficial tests, but will be following this story with interest. Incidentally, today's top search for 'Islam', outside of a Wiki article, came up with something on Yusuf Islam.
Welcome to the Machine?: the 'Electronic Mufti'

Asharq Alawsat, Can a Machine Issue Islamic Fatwas?, 17 Jan 08 "A controversial new electronic device could revolutionize the field of Islamic jurisprudence and allegedly issue more accurate Shariah fatwas [religious edicts]. The device, currently in production in France, will be known as the 'Electronic Mufti' and will depend on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to issue opinions on contemporary Muslim affairs and matters."

I just found this story. At first, I wasn't sure if this was entirely serious. The device, if it reaches the production stage, is bound to cause heated debate. It's a fascinating article, and I await further developments with interest. I'd be happy to test out a prototype...
Urban Myths(?)

Wired, Obama: I'm Not a Muslim! Forward This to Everyone You Know, 24 Jan 08 "There are various versions of the e-mails, but they generally insinuate that Obama is secretly a Muslim who attended a radical Islamic school in Indonesia. One of the e-mails charges that he's a radical Muslim who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Another e-mail claims that he was sworn into the Senate using a copy of the Quran. All of the allegations are false."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Padilla, Hassoun, & Jayyousi

NYT/Seattle Times, Terrorism conspirator gets 17 years, 23 Jan 08 "Jose Padilla, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born convert to Islam whom the government once accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States, was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and four months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to help Islamic jihadist fighters abroad."

Adham Amin Hassoun, a computer programmer, received 15 years, 8 months.

Kifah Wael Jayyousi, an engineer/school administrator, received 12 years, 8 months.
Geert Wilders' film

UPI/ Analysis: Anti-Islam film scares The Hague, 22 Jan 08 "The anticipated screening has already sparked international protests. Although no one has seen the film yet, there are rumors Wilders will tear up or burn the Koran in it. If that was true, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria, said earlier this month at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, "this will simply mean he is inciting wars and bloodshed. ... It is the responsibility of the Dutch people to stop him.""

See the following reaction: Radio Netherlands, Wilders and the Dutch image, 22 Jan 08
Mujahadeen Secrets 2, Free Encryption Tool for Al Qaeda Supporters Gets an Upgrade, 22 Jan 08 update on Mujahadeen Secrets 2
Sayad Parwez Kambaksh

AP, Afghan Journalist Sentenced to Death, 22 Jan 08 "An Afghan court on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that three judges said violated the tenets of Islam, an official said."
aQ 'Franchise'(?), The al-Qaida franchise, 22 Jan 08 "It may sound like an odd comparison but al-Qaida has become the McDonald's of the terror world. The modus operandi is pretty much the same around the world, but the management is different from country to country.

"What terror experts are trying to ascertain is whether those individual managers are legitimate franchisees or simply stealing the al-Qaida brand name." Opinion piece from the Jerusalem Post, by David Harris of The Media Line.
Italy/Egypt, Italy: Cairo move to stop imam's visit "alarming", says chief rabbi, 22 Jan 08 "The intervention of an Egyptian mosque in stopping Rome imam, Ala Eldin Mohammed Ismail al-Ghobaishy, from visiting the city's synagogue was "alarming", the chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, said on Tuesday." (non-tech)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


RIA Novosti, Sex films sold in Algeria disguised as Islamic sermons, 21 Jan 08

"Algerian police have uncovered a criminal group that made pornographic DVDs and put well-known Islamic preachers on the covers to disguise the films, the Al Shuruk al Yawmi daily reported on Monday."

Islam Crunch, and - new Halalfire stealth projects, 22 Jan 08

"Halalfire has put up 2 stealth sites announcing their coming and services. Halalfire is well known for their site which is an excellent resource for finding restaurants with halal and zabihah menus. Other services Halalfire offers are Salatomatic (directory of mosques and Islamic schools), Halalapalooza (directory of Muslim owned businesses) and their popular online magazine, AltMuslim."
Images and Islam

Counterpunch, Why Islam Should Tolerate Images, 21 Jan 08 opinion piece by B.R. Gowani
University monitoring

Times Online, Universities join battle against terror as guidelines are agreed, 22 Jan 08, "The guidance advises universities to make proper checks on student groups or outside bodies that book university premises for speaking events. Leaflets distributed on campus should be translated into English and students and lecturers should be advised to report suspicious activity, such as unusual internet use."

See DIUS, Promoting freedom of speech to achieve shared values and prevent violent extremism on campus, 22 Jan 08 which includes a link to the guidance publication
New publications

Some interesting new articles from Arab Insight:

Abdullah el-Tahawy, The Internet is the New Mosque: Fatwa at the Click of a Mouse

Khalil al-Anani, Brotherhood Bloggers: A New Generation Voices Dissent

Al-Sayed Zaied, Da'wa for Dollars: A New Wave of Televangelists

Mohamed F. Farahat, Y do U h8 us L? Arab Online Forums Examined
New Blogging Tools, Three new languages and a whole new direction for Blogger which includes Arabic and Persian

Monday, January 21, 2008

Muslim Brotherhood

All Arabiyya, Egypt arrests 29 Muslim Brotherhood members, 21 Jan 08 "Egyptian police have detained 29 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood on Monday, including a prominent activist and two candidates for parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood said.

"The group said, on its website, that the arrests were carried out to prevent the Islamist movement from carrying out a demonstration in support of Palestinians under blockade in the Gaza Strip."
No Tube

AP, Turkey bans YouTube for second time, 20 Jan 08, "A Turkish court has again blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube because of clips allegedly insulting the country's founding father, according to reports Sunday."
aQ Q&A

AP, Sympathizers seek answers from al-Qaida, 21 Jan 08

"Sympathizers submitted hundreds of questions to al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri's "on-line interview" before a recent deadline. Among them: Why hasn't al-Qaida attacked the U.S. again, why isn't it attacking the Israelis and when will it be more active in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria?

"So far, there have been no answers."
Ashanti Internet, King of Ashanti Kingdom in the Republic of Ghana visits World Islamic Call Society, "He toured the library of the World Islamic Call Society, where he got acquainted with its different sections; as well as the electronic library, which comprises ten of thousands of books and cultural, literary, scientific, references; and Islamic manuscripts, references, periodicals, scientific messages, computer networks and internet hall."
Yemen Internet

BBC Monitoring/Arab Media & Society, Yemeni Journalists Syndicate condemns blocking of website, 21 Jan 08

Saturday, January 19, 2008

aQ Software Update

Reuters, Jihadi software promises secure Web contacts, 18 Jan 08 "The software, available free on the password-protected site which often carries al Qaeda messages, is a newer version of Mujahideen Secrets issued in early 2007 by the Global Islamic Media Front, an al Qaeda-linked Web-based group." Useful article.

Reuters, UK seeks ways to stop militant grooming on Web, 17 Jan 08

Guardian, Smith vows to tackle ideology of violent extremists, 18 Jan 08 "Home Secretary Jacqui] Smith, in a speech in London to the first international conference on radicalisation and political violence, made clear that the government could not "arrest its way out" of the problem. She also announced a drive to tackle promotion of violent extremism that relies on the internet."

And comment:, Brits: Ban access to militant Islamic Web sites, 18 Jan 08 opinion piece by Preston Gralla.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

al-Qaeda in the UK?

Reuters, Web site declares al-Qaeda's founding in UK: report, 15 Jan 08
"According to the report, security experts fear a posting on the site,, declaring "the creation of the al Qaeda organization in Britain" may be genuine."

Wired, NSA Must Examine All Internet Traffic to Prevent Cyber Nine-Eleven, Top Spy Says, 15 Jan 08 "The nation's top spy, Michael McConnell, thinks the threat of cyberarmageddon! is so great that the U.S. government should have unfettered and warrantless access to U.S. citizens' Google search histories, private e-mails and file transfers, in order to spot the cyberterrorists in our midst.

"That's according to a sprawling 18-page story on the Director of National Intelligence by Lawrence Wright in the January 21 edition of the New Yorker. (The story is not online)." This is a useful summary from Ryan Singel.
Irhabi 007

Mail on Sunday, British Muslim computer geek, son of diplomat, revealed as Al Qaeda's top cyber terrorist, 16 Jan 08 This is hardly 'news', but some background on Younes Tsouli ('Irhabi 007').

It is linked to the broadcast on BBC 2 of Gordon Corera's report, Terrorist 007, Newsnight, BBC Two, Wednesday 16 January, 2230. I believe you can watch it through Newsnight's own website. The Windows Player preview is here . Also see Corera's report for BBC News, The world's most wanted cyber-jihadist, 16 Jan 08 Also see the related report: BBC News, Al Qaeda online and in UK?
'Muslim Boys'

Spero News, Muslim gangs: Coming soon to a town near you, 14 Jan 08 "Many of the Muslim Boys gang members were incarcerated at Belmarsh, a prison that was constructed in 1991. This prison has traditionally housed the majority of Britain's convicted Muslim terrorists. One of its notorious inmates is hook-handed Abu Hamza al-Masri, former firebrand preacher at the Finsbury Park Mosque. A serving prison officer at HMP Belmarsh has recently stated: "The highest-risk prisoners are kept in the High Security Unit. It's a jail within a jail. The talk of the unit is always Abu Hamza. None of the prisoners ever bother him. A lot of the Muslim Boys look up to him. In addition to a portable TV, he has his own laptop provided by the Prison Service, a few books and a prayer mat."" Article discussing gang activity in London, focusing on the so-called 'Muslim Boys'.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New film

Daily News, 'Islamic Jesus' hits Iranian movie screens, 13 Jan 08 "A director who shares the ideas of Iran's hardline president has produced what he says is the first film giving an Islamic view of Jesus Christ, in a bid to show the "common ground" between Muslims and Christians."

Times Online, Muslim Britain is becoming one big no-go area, 13 Jan 08, "As if to emphasise the point, a statement released on a known Al-Qaeda forum last week specifically called for attacks on moderate Muslims in Britain."
Forthcoming Publication

NY Sun, Inside Qaeda's 'MySpace' Internet Sites, 15 Jan 08 "Al Qaeda-operated Web forums are bringing young men into the terrorist movement, including some who are turning into suicide bombers in Iraq, says a new paper for the American military's think tank on the war against Islamic terrorism.

"The paper will be released Thursday in the monthly journal, Sentinel, of West Point's Combating Terrorism Center. It delves into what its author, Evan Kohlmann, calls Al Qaeda's "MySpace," the jihadi Web forums that have in some ways overtaken the role of Qaeda's physical training camps."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Imprisoned Bloggers

Independent, Bush talks the talk on free speech. Now he must walk the walk, 14 Jan 08 "President George Bush is under pressure from human rights groups to use his visit to Saudi Arabia today to seek the release of the pioneering blogger Fouad al-Farhan, who has been jailed without charge for more than a month.

"The human rights groups, including Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists, are urging the president to raise Mr Farhan's case with King Abdullah today. They also want him to appeal for the release of an Egyptian blogger, Abdel Karim Suleiman, the first to be jailed in Egypt, when he meets President Hosni Mubarak at Sharm-el-Sheikh on Wednesday. The Egyptian blogger is serving a four-year sentence for insulting President Mubarak."
Qur'an 'Secret' Archive

Spengler/Asia Times Online, Indiana Jones meets the Da Vinci Code, 15 Jan 08 Look beyond the headline on this one, for an intriguing update (and associated allegations) on a long-running story. "Islam watchers blogged all weekend about news that a secret archive of ancient Islamic texts had surfaced after 60 years of suppression. Andrew Higgins' Wall Street Journal report that the photographic record of Koranic manuscripts, supposedly destroyed during World War II but occulted by a scholar of alleged Nazi sympathies, reads like a conflation of the Da Vinci Code with Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail."

The story by Higgins is here: Wall Street Journal, The Lost Archive, 12 Jan 08 "On the night of April 24, 1944, British air force bombers hammered a former Jesuit college here housing the Bavarian Academy of Science. The 16th-century building crumpled in the inferno. Among the treasures lost, later lamented Anton Spitaler, an Arabic scholar at the academy, was a unique photo archive of ancient manuscripts of the Quran.

"The 450 rolls of film had been assembled before the war for a bold venture: a study of the evolution of the Quran, the text Muslims view as the verbatim transcript of God's word. The wartime destruction made the project "outright impossible," Mr. Spitaler wrote in the 1970s.

"Mr. Spitaler was lying. The cache of photos survived, and he was sitting on it all along. The truth is only now dribbling out to scholars -- and a Quran research project buried for more than 60 years has risen from the grave."

According to the report, Professor Angelika Neuwirth of the Free University Berlin is presently reviving this project. Information on Prof. Neuwirth's work is here: Professor Dr. Angelika Neuwirth, Seminar für Semitistik und Arabistik. Qantara also published an interesting interview with her last year:, The Koran – A Book in Many Languages: "Angelika Neuwirth is one of Germany's most renowned Koran experts. In this interview with Kurt Scharf, she talks about the aesthetic dimension of the Koran, the trouble with translating sacred texts, and the notion of "inlibration""

One of the more unusual stories relating to Islam currently exciting interest on the web: Al Arabiya, Britney Spears may convert to Islam: reports, 13 Jan 08
Happy 1429!, Muharram, the month of Allah and Ashura, a day of fasting, 13 Jan 08
Knowledge Economy

Some useful points came out of a recent conference: Arab News, Knowledge Vital for Progress: Khaled, 13 Jan 08 "Professor Salim Al-Hassani, chairman of the board of the UK-based Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization, dealt with invention, innovation and entrepreneurship in Muslim civilization, and noted that the Gulf states were working vigorously toward achieving higher levels of electronic innovation, communication and information technology, the Internet and electronic services in view of the higher levels of incomes generated by soaring oil prices.

""But, the interest shown by Muslim countries in all forms of electronic services does not go beyond usage despite the fact that more than three decades have passed since the invention of the (computer) processor. This, in fact, is a disturbing situation. Will the share of the Muslim countries in the IT industry be similar to their share in the traditional industry? Moving from an economy that relies mainly on selling raw materials to one that is knowledge-based is not merely a vision, but a struggle that might take decades to realize." For Muslim countries to move toward a knowledge economy and benefit from its results that lead to sustainable economic growth and development, they need to face various challenges. They need to have clear strategies to stimulate the knowledge economy through the development of policies and mechanisms. These include giving priority to teaching and training future generations; encouraging innovation and research, especially in modern technology and means of communications; motivating students to learn as a lifelong exercise; providing teaching aids and educational training for teachers; and reviewing the strategies of education from time to time, said Al-Hassani.""

Information on the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization can be located at

I am writing about this in my next book.

Friday, January 11, 2008


NST Online, Thingamajiggy: Take that, sucker!, 11 Jan 08 "It has been the subject of many a computer user’s fantasies since the advent of USB ports. Ridzwan A. Rahim finally lands his first USB vacuum cleaner." Posted in the interests of keeping the computer environment clean. Not sure if this is a Malaysian innovation.
Saudi Internet

After yesterday's Arab News article (previously blogged: Arab News, People Looking Up Official Websites Meet Dead Ends, 10 Jan 08) comes this lively editorial contribution. Arab News, Editorial: Out-of-Date Websites, 11 Jan 08:

"This is not acceptable in an age when the Internet is such a major conduit for international business. It is no good claiming that the ministries’ Arabic websites are up to date (a questionable assertion in any event). The fact is that Saudi Arabia wants — needs — investment from around the globe. The business world does not operate in Arabic. It operates in English. A ministry such as Commerce and Industry cannot afford to ignore that fact. The idea that foreign companies, if they want to do business here, have to be totally proficient and operate wholly in Arabic simply is not going to work. It is blinkered and damaging." It makes some other intriguing comments too.

Op-Ed News, Rumors of bin Laden's Death Won't Go Away, 11 Jan 08 includes online rumours

Speech by Abu Bakar Bashir: AKI, Indonesia: Ask Allah forgiveness, firebrand cleric tells ex-president Suharto, 11 Jan 08 "According to ‘Okezone’ news portal, Bashir then asked people to pray for the health of the leader of the New Order, as Suharto’s 1965-1998 US-backed regime was called.'"
Media Research Journal

New and Noted: Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 1:1, has some interesting looking articles in. Haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it can be accessed online.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


By popular demand, I have added headlines to the posts. This is in addition to the tags. I hope it helps readers to scan the material online. Further additions and changes to the Virtually Islamic site are planned.
Saudi Internet

Arab News, People Looking Up Official Websites Meet Dead Ends, 10 Jan 08, "The English versions of many of the Kingdom’s official government websites are either outdated, fail to open or include inaccurate information, frustrating many non-Arabic speaking expatriates wanting to follow up on official matters."
Questions and Answers, Q & A with Imam Zaid Shakir - Post-RIS, 6 Jan 08, "Imam Zaid Shakir has just uploaded an audio file where he addresses questions he received at the Reviving Islamic Spirit Convention 2007. Due to time constraints, he could not attend to these questions at the event." This features some interesting questions and opinions, and the responses can be found here:, NEW - Questions from “Reviving The Islamic Spirit” Conference, 6 January 2008

AP/Fox News, Couple Linked to Al Qaeda Online Video Threat to Face Trial Soon in Austria, 8 Jan 08 "Investigators say evidence suggests the video — which was posted on a German-language Web site and showed images of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center — was produced by the Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaida propaganda group."
Highlights from Terrorism Focus

Michael Scheuer, Bin Laden Identifies Saudi Arabia as the Enemy of Mujahideen Unity, Terrorism Focus, Volume 5, Issue 1 (January 8, 2008) "Osama bin Laden’s latest message is one of the richest, most comprehensive and starkly realistic he has issued since the start of the Iraq war. The following essay is the first of two that will analyze the message and offer an assessment of its importance. This essay considers al-Qaeda’s dour recognition of its inability to control post-occupation events in Iraq as a small vanguard organization and a non-Iraqi presence in the country. The second part of this article will examine bin Laden’s confidence that al-Qaeda has accomplished its main goal in Iraq: establishing a base from which to project its influence and military power into the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula."

The same issue of Terrorism Focus (a product of the Jamestown Foundation) has a very interesting article by Abdul Hameed Bakier entitled Ex-Baathists Turn to Naqshbandi Sufis to Legitimize Insurgency. "The “Men of the Army of al-Naqshbandia Way” (Jaysh Rajal al-Tariqah al-Naqshbandia, or JRTN) is a Sunni jihadi group that first announced insurgency operations against the Coalition in Iraq in December 2006 in response to the hanging of Saddam Hussein (, December 30, 2006). Since then, the Naqshbandi army has claimed numerous attacks against the Coalition, posting links to video clips of these attacks in various jihadi forums. Like some other insurgency groups, JRTN publishes a monthly magazine promoting the group’s ideology and enumerates its operations against Coalition forces while soliciting donations (, December 28, 2006)."
Sohail Qureshi Conviction

CSM, Britain convicts Pakistani man for plotting attacks, 9 Jan 08 summary "A British court convicted Tuesday a Pakistan-born dental assistant who planned to fight against US and British troops in Afghanistan, sentencing him to 4-1/2 years in jail. UK security forces arrested Sohail Qureshi in 2006 on the basis of Internet conversations in which he vowed to "kill many" in revenge attacks. Prosecutors said he had boasted of training in Al Qaeda camps in Pakistan in the 1990s and raising money for mujahideen operations in Afghanistan."

There is also an interesting summary here, incuding a time-line and links to the related 'Lyrical Terrorist' case: BBC News, The terrorist and the shop girl, 8 Jan 08 "According to the Metropolitan Police, Qureshi went online to discuss his plans with a key contact in late 2006. The internet is at the heart of many jihadi networks - it provides a degree of anonymity and security for extremists who are sometimes operating in different countries."
Paris Attack Planning

AP, French Probe E-Mail Threatening Paris, 9 Jan 08 "French prosecutors are investigating a cryptic e-mail sent to an Islamic Web site urging attacks on the capital's mayor and its tourist sites, judicial officials said Wednesday.

"The e-mail's sender and the site were not identified by the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. They said only that the message went to an Internet site run by Salafists, or Islamic fundamentalists."

CBS have a more detailed article, as they have been monitoring various chat-rooms: CBS News, Terror Bloggers Claim Paris Attack Plan, 9 Jan 08, "
CBS News, which monitors jihadist Internet forums and chat rooms on a regular basis, first noted several postings on the al-Ekhlhaas forum on Jan. 4, 2008 calling for militant action against France's capital and leaders."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Times Online, Dentist Sohail Qureshi pleads guilty to terror charge, 8 Jan 08, "On a computer hard drive police found a library of jihadi literature, including the al-Qaeda training manual and the Mujahidin Poisons Handbook. A CD he was carrying included a picture of him carrying an M16 rifle.", U.S. well-served by Saudis, 7 Jan 08 "Saudi Arabia has modernized much faster than people realize. Sixty years ago, most Saudi men and nearly all Saudi women were illiterate and lived in mud-brick houses. Now most Saudis enjoy modern conveniences and have at least a high school education. Under King Abdullah, newspapers, the Internet and satellite television have ended the monopoly on discussion that Muslim clerics enjoyed until recently. Abdullah has also enacted more than 40 commercial laws to help improve the country's business climate and expand its nonoil economy." Article by Wyche Fowler Jr. and Mark Weston.
Washington Post/Seattle Times, In fighting terror, think low-tech, 8 Jan 08 by Craig Whitlock: "In an age of spy satellites, security cameras and an Internet that stores every keystroke, terrorism suspects are using simple, low-tech tricks to cloak their communications, making life difficult for authorities who had hoped technology would give them the upper hand."

Monday, January 07, 2008

BBC, iPM, An update from Last of Iraqis The original blog, Last of Iraqis, is here., Scholars decry lesbian scene in Egyptian movie, 7 Jan 08 "Religious scholars in Egypt are outraged by a lesbian scene in a new movie, telling audiences to stay away from the sinful flick and calling for the director and actresses to be prosecuted.

"Preacher and Islamic Studies professor at Cairo University, Dr. Abdel-Sabour Shahin accused the new movie, Hina Maysara (Until Further Notice), of spreading homosexuality and promoting debauchery."

Naturally, this film has picked up substantial comments online, including, ‘Heena Maysara’: Constructive or Outrageous!.
PA, Al Qaida reissues mobile messages, 6 Jan 08 "In a bid to extend influence and further spread its message, the al-Qaida terror network is reissuing batches of its video recordings in formats geared to mobile phones."
Sunday Herald, Two Scots among five ‘forgotten’ hostages, 6 Jan 08 "Neil Doyle, an investigative journalist who specialises in monitoring the activities of Islamic terrorists online, said discussion websites used by al-Qaeda - whose adherents are from the Sunni strain of Islam - showed that activists around the world were "puzzled and bewildered" over who was behind the hostage-taking and who the hostage-takers were."
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Iraq: Bin Laden Appeals To Muslims To Support Al-Qaeda, 4 Jan 08 commentary by Kathleen Ridolfo, Marksman, 5 Jan 08 "The video, a copy of which was sent to AFP by the rebel group, apparently shows US soldiers being cut down by the sniper. The commentary says it aims to tell "the truth to the American people" about their military losses in Iraq." The sniper in question is 'Juba'.
AFP, Al-Qaeda slams Mauritania over Dakar Rally: Internet, 5 Jan 08 "Al-Qaeda in North Africa in a statement posted on the Internet slammed Mauritania for planning to host the Dakar Rally as the organisers cancelled the event on Friday because of security fears.

"The government in Nouakchott has been busy "securing for the infidels a suitable climate for the 'Rally'," the Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb said in the statement dated December 29 and posted on Islamist militant websites."
Guardian, Blogging the Qur'an, 7 Jan 08 "Blogging the Qur'an is conceived as a year-long project. Before the blogs proper start, Zia [Sardar]has written three introductory pieces: one, which is on the site today, is a personal piece about what the Qur'an means to him. Next week, he'll discuss the nature and style of the Qur'an - explaining its structure and why it's such a difficult book to read. The third piece will be about the study and interpretations of the Qur'an." This looks like an interesting project. Ziauddin Sardar was series editor for my book Islam in the Digital Age. See the Introduction to Blogging the Quran.
Very useful article: AFP, Morocco, where bloggers can write about anything...almost, 6 Jan 08 "Morocco today counts 30,000 blogs for four million Internet subscribers. "That's not much compared to the 1.7 million blogs in France but it's a lot more than in our neighbors," El Hilali said."
AFP/, Iraqi Sunni insurgents reject links with 'Awakening', 7 Jan 08 "Founded in February 2004, the Islamic Army (Al-Jaish Al-Islamy) is responsible for many attacks against US and Iraqi forces, and posts videos of its lethal exploits on the Internet almost daily."
VOA, Al-Qaida Internet Video Calls for Attacks on President Bush, 7 Jan 08 "A new al-Qaida videotape on the Internet shows an American member of the terror network calling for attacks on President Bush during his travels in the Middle East later this week.

"In a 50-minute-long video that appeared Sunday in the name of al-Qaida's media group, Adam Gadahn denounces U.S. foreign policy as well as Arab leaders who are hosting Mr. Bush during his trip."
Telegraph, Muslim women recruited to stop extremists, 7 Jan 08 "Intelligence has revealed that extremists are putting "greater focus" on targeting young people through "sleek and seductive messages" using the internet and new media."
The past weekend's New York Times' Sunday Book Review is focused on Islam, with contributions by Ayaan Hirst Ali, Tariq Ramadan, Irshad Manji, William Dalrymple, Fouad Ajami and others. Haven't read it yet, but some interesting topics on offer.

Friday, January 04, 2008

International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)/, Egypt: Court Rejects Request to Ban 51 Websites, 2 Jan 2008 ""It is truly a wonderful day. We are pleased with this sentence that restores things back to normal and restores consideration for human rights, press institutions and blogs that have been unjustly described as 'terrorist'," said Gamal Eid, executive director of HRinfo. "The right of citizens to a free Internet and a free flow of information is now guaranteed by the judiciary in Egypt.""
AP/IHT, Malaysia maintains ban on non-Muslims referring to God as "Allah", 4 Jan 08 "The Malaysian government has reiterated that non-Muslims cannot use the word "Allah," sparking concern Friday among Christians who use it to refer to God in their Malay-language Bible and other publications." This discussion is also taking place online, and presumably will have some impact there. For example, see Akhie Naim's Blog, Hold Up Herald!, 3 Jan 08. The Herald's site is here
Times Online, A change in Muslims’ attitudes is inevitable, 4 Jan 08 commentary by Inayat Bunglawala, non-tech (perhaps surprisingly) although it refers to 'speed dating
For regular readers of this blog (or even my books), the following is not really 'news', but nevertheless this is a useful piece: The Australian, Muslim youth 'shop around for fatwas online', 29 Dec 07 "The former member of the Howard government's Muslim reference board called on local imams to warn their followers against shopping around for fatwas on the internet.

""I would like imams to give sermons in the mosques about the danger of seeking fatwas outside this country from unknown characters. There must be sermons given in the mosques for the youngsters to not fall into the internet traps.""
alt.muslim, The grinch who stole Eid ul-Adha, 3 Jan 08 "Contributor Andrea Useem interviews author Asma Mobin-Uddin, who's latest children's book The Best Eid Ever helped a new generation of young Muslims enjoy Eid in 2007." Non-tech, interesting interview originally in
Reporters Without Borders, Two cyberfeminists freed after authorities reduce bails sums demanded, 3 Jan 08, "Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of two women’s rights activists who had been held for more than a month in Tehran’s Evin prison for exercising their right to online free expression. Maryam Hosseinkhah and Jelveh Javaheri were freed on bail yesterday after the authorities reduced the large amounts of bail being demanded for their release." (Update on previously blogged story)
AFP, Saudi bloggers demand freedom for famous colleague, 3 Jan 08 "Calls for his release have also come from several Arab and international media rights groups, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists." More on the Free Fouad campaign (previously blogged).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

NYT/The Lede, Prankster Playing Bhutto’s Son on Facebook Fools News Outlets, 2 Jan 08 "But the author appears to have been an Internet prankster who calls himself Tonay, who chronicled the caper on a vulgarity-strewn bulletin board that tracks with the developments on the Facebook profile."
The Register, FBI's 'idiot dude' fails to boost US Navy terror emails, 2 Jan 07 "We now return readers to the case of alleged terrorist Hassan Abu-jihaad, the former US Navy signalman banged up for sending Babar Ahmad and Azzam Publications information on when his surface action group was transiting the Strait of Hormuz in 2001. Another alleged crime was buying a few Chechen jihadi videos and tipping the web company five dollars in overpayment." This is a thorough account of an ongoing case, and is well-worth reading.
AP, Iran's Ayatollah: No Smear Campaigning, 3 Jan 07, ""Discrediting and damaging the reputation of individuals in the press, Internet web sites and other means is not correct at all, and is not advisable," Khamenei said on state television. "I strongly request and insist that the sympathizers only propagate and support their favorite candidates and seriously avoid such damaging methods.""
BBC News, The global terror threat in 2008, 3 Jan 2008 "Two of the FBI's most wanted fugitives - Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri - have delivered over a dozen audio and video messages in the past 12 months.

"The latter, who is effectively al-Qaeda's chief strategist, has taken to appearing against a cosy-looking backdrop of a library of Islamic texts, implying that wherever he is currently in hiding, he is secure and comfortable." Overview by Frank Gardner

Wednesday, January 02, 2008, Mobile ringtones using Holy Quran verses are banned in Saudi Arabia, 1 Jan 2008 "The Islamic Jurisprudence Council has banned the use of the verses of the Holy Quran as ringtones for mobile phones because it impinges on the sacred character of the the Holy Book, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

""It is demeaning and degrading to the verses of the Holy Book to stop abruptly at the middle of a recitation or neglecting the recitation, as happens when they are used as ringtones in mobile phones. On the other hand, recording the verses from the Holy Quran in phone sets with the intention of recitation and listening is a virtuous act," the scholars attending the council meeting in Makkah recently said in a statement." Previously reported.
Reuters/, Al-Qaeda group confirms top figure killed, 23 Dec 07, "An al-Qaeda-linked group in Iraq has confirmed the death of Abu Maysara, a top operative who the US military said was killed in a clash last month, according to a recording posted on the Internet on Saturday.

"Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, hailed Maysara as "a martyr who was a scholar and a mujahid (holy war fighter)", on the audio tape posted on Islamist Web sites."
The Peninsula, Qatar’s Net revolution, 30 Dec 07 article by Nasser Al Harty: "Budding poets and short story writers have now a new, centralised way to keep in touch with other like-minded enthusiasts with the launch of Al-Ashjan is a culture-centred online social networking forum for all age groups — those interested in exchanging ideas on social and cultural topics, poetry and short story writing or just logging on for information. Access is free but a password is necessary to create a profile on the site.", Technology Tells on Age-Old Traditions, 26 Dec 07, "The introduction of communication tools such as cell phones and the Internet are some of the vital and life-changing technological advances adopted by Saudis in the last decade. The availability of Wi-Fi Internet access to the Haj pilgrims this year was one such example of how the Kingdom is making good use of technology. But with all the benefits technology has brought, the country’s induction into what has been termed in technological jargon as the “global village” is being blamed for causing many families and friends to ironically disconnect during festive occasions.", Interview with Jelve Javaheri: From a Reading Group to the Campaign for One Million Signatures, 1 Jan 08, "Jelve has been in Evin Prison since December 1, 2007 on charges of disturbing public opinion and propagating falsehoods on the Campaign's website, We know her crimes well since many of us are guilty of the same crime: To bring the issue of gender equality in the public's view and consciousness. She stands accused because she has helped raise consciousness about gender-based discrimination among a larger audience, beyond the usual groups of women's rights advocates and supporters. Her crime is helping to create public platforms for women to articulate their demands for equality.", Sunni forces targeted in Iraq, 31 Dec 07, "In a message posted on the internet on Saturday, bin Laden said the Awakening Councils had "betrayed the nation and brought shame and scandal that will be followed by damnation forever unless they repent". "
Sify News, I don't think I am alive: Taslima, 31 Dec 07 "But she considers herself lucky to be with a mobile phone and laptop with Internet connection. "Send me an email. I will email you back something.

""I could come here only with my laptop. All my things are in Kolkata. I have left my life there," she said."

PC World, Saudi Blogger Arrested, Held Without Charges, 28 Dec 07 "Blogger and IT professional Fouad Ahmed al-Farhan, 32, was taken into custody on December 10, the Committee to Protect Journalistsreported on Wednesday. His Arabic-language site now has a "Free Fouad" banner in English across the top." Al-Farhan's site is here.
LA Times, Unlikely forum for Iran's youth, 2 Jan 08 "Incensed when a government official hailed the conservative newspaper Kayhan as a paragon of dissent, a 20-year-old who lives in Southern Iran logged on to a popular website.

"The praise for the state-controlled daily was "the biggest political joke of the year," Ali wrote in a message posted on his profile. "I can't believe what a stupid nation we have and what a stupid president we have and that people are still following him."

"The post set off a debate about freedom of speech and censorship in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where criticism of the government is rarely welcome and the outspoken are often punished. The cynics on didn't pull their punches."
ANI/Thaindian News, Taliban shuts down Internet cafes in NWFP, 1 Jan 07 "The NWFP province in Pakistan is witnessing the growing influence of Taliban with cyber cafe owners receiving threatening letters from anonymous persons asking them to close their shops.
Recent incidents of bombings of some video and CD shops in the area show the growing dominance of the Islamic fundamentalist here, as they consider listening music as un-Islamic.

"The diktat has affected hundreds of students here who are keen to learn about the Internet and using the World Wide Web to further their careers. The local Taliban has demanded closure of cafe and Internet training institute alleging that students are using it for voyeuristic purposes."
Benazir Bhutto

Times Online, Bhutto book could be an unexpected bestseller, 1 Jan 08 "HarperCollins had intended to publish the book, entitled Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, later this year but now it is now rushing to get it into print as quickly as possible."

The News (Pakistan), The assassination of Ms Bhutto, 31 Dec 07 "The assassination of Ms Bhutto is a national tragedy, but there is supreme irony involved in it, originating from a famous observation she made in an interview recently. She said: "No good Muslim will attack and kill a woman, because Islam forbids it. Anyone who did so will burn in hell. I am not afraid because no real Muslim will attack a woman.""

Press Trust of India/, Bloggers sign condolence book for Bhutto, 31 Dec 07 "Hundreds of Internet users from across the globe are signing an online condolence book offering their tributes to the slain former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto." The book is here: Teeth Maestro, Online Condolence Book for Benazir Bhutto, 28 Dec 07

Independent, Robert Fisk: They don't blame al-Qa'ida. They blame Musharraf, 29 Dec 07 "Of course, given the childish coverage of this appalling tragedy – and however corrupt Ms Bhutto may have been, let us be under no illusions that this brave lady is indeed a true martyr – it's not surprising that the "good-versus-evil" donkey can be trotted out to explain the carnage in Rawalpindi."

NY Times, Pakistan Asserts Link to Al Qaeda in Bhutto Death, 29 Dec 07

Reuters, Bhutto supporters shot dead, ambulances, shops burned, 29 Dec 07 "Telephone and Internet links between Islamabad and Karachi were also disrupted due to the violence. The main fibre-optic between the two cities was cut in Sindh province and an angry mob on Saturday chased away engineers sent to fix it.", Malicious Web Site / Malicious Code: Attackers Exploiting News of Benazir Bhutto Assassination, 27 Dec 07, Also see, Benazir Bhutto Assassination used by Malicious Web sites to cash in on Unsuspecting PC Users, 29 Dec 07 "If you search for Benazir Bhutto on the Internet, chances are extremely high that you would reach a malicious Web site that will attempt to steal your money and personal details stored on the computer. It may even cause your computer to crash. All of this could happen if you do not have genuine and valid anti-virus software installed on your system." Related story:, Malicious websites cash in on Bhutto's death, 29 Dec 07 "Websense Security Labs, a global anti-virus vendor, discovered malicious websites attempting to capitalise on the news of Bhutto’s assassination.", 'Bhutto used internet to develop direct rapport', 29 Dec 07 "A New York-based veteran Pakistani journalist, who had a long association with slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, says she was "not arrogant" and used the "internet to the maximum" to develop a direct rapport with everyone."

PR NewsWire/, News, Bhutto's Party Goes On-Line Globally for Support, 26 Dec 07 "The Pakistan People's Party (PPP), under the leadership of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has turned to the Internet to raise funds for the party's efforts to win parliamentary elections in January 2008.", Terrorism experts say radical groups are targeting teenagers as young as 14, 28 Dec 07, Al-Jazeera: Al-Qaeda's Brutus?, 31 Dec 07, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques sends cable of thanks to Hajj Minister, 31 Dec 07 Cable?