Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Related Research, Focus on Theology: Islamic Publishing, 27 Oct 08 "With a topic as broad and varied, and as potentially confusing, as Islam, the comparative approach is appealing. By lining up Islam alongside religious traditions their readers may be more familiar with, university presses educate on Islam in an accessible manner, leaving the door open to greater commercial sales." Refers to my own iMuslims, and also an intriguing title: Devin R. Springer, James L. Regens and David N. Edger, Islamic Radicalization and Global Jihad (Georgetown, 2009) [which] "will look at, among other things, extremist Muslims' Internet postings in order to to better understand their movement." No further details yet.

Times Online, Malaysia to impose fatwa on yoga, 29 Oct 08 "Malaysia's National Fatwa Council is going to impose Fatwa on Yoga after Zakaria Stapa, a lecturer of University of Kebangsaan's Islamic Studies Centre, yesterday advised Muslims who have taken up yoga to stop practising it fearing that it could deviate their belief, local news reports said." I haven't seen the reading on this yet, or the context in which this 'fatwa' was delivered. Here's the Centre's website.
East London Mosque

East London Mosque, Imam of Ka’ba leads prayer at ELM, 28 Oct 08 "One of the Imams of the Ka'ba Shakh Adel Salem Al Kalbani led the congregational evening prayer last night at the East London Mosque."

Also see, Mecca’s First Imam in secret talks with East London council leaders, 27 Oct 08 "His entourage rushed him into the building past a waiting photographer—despite the sheikh indicating he was willing to meet the local press."

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (Cairo), Egypt: Student Denied University Housing As Punishment for Opinions Expressed On His Blog, 27 Oct 2008 "The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the exclusion of blogger Ahmed Abdel Kawi from the lists of students eligible for university housing, despite his meeting all the necessary conditions, because he has voiced his opinions publicly on his blog ("

Business Day (Johannesburg)/, South Africa: Shuttleworth Sticks With His Free Ubuntu Software "Canonical develops the Ubuntu operating system using open-source technology, allowing anyone to modify it or translate it into different languages.

"That makes it particularly appealing to emerging nations which find the licence fees for big-brand software packages prohibitive."

Asharq Alawsat, Fatwa Gives Women the Right to Hit Husbands, 28 Oct 08

"A fatwa originating from Turkey has given women the right to strike their husbands in cases of self-defense."

AP/MSNBC, U.S.: Suspect made videos glorifying al-Qaida, 28 Oct 08 "One of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul's videos depicted the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen and was shown at terrorist training camps in Afghanistan to inspire recruits, Army Maj. Daniel Cowhig, lead prosecutor in the second Guantanamo war crimes trial, said in opening statements."
Filter, Australia readies mandatory Internet filter, October 27th, 2008, Vol. 138, Issue 6 "Australia's current centre-left Labor Party, lauded by many for their 2007 decision to scrap the previous government's plans for a national ID card, is now raising the ire of civil liberty groups across the globe with a new AU$125 million 'Plan for Cyber-Safety.' Similar to the UK's child-pornography filtering system, 'Cleanfeed,' Australia's proposed infrastructure will block any content deemed by the government to be 'inappropriate for children'; that is, pornography of all stripes. However, instead of being 'opt-in,' Australians who don't want their connection filtered will merely be placed on a different filtering system and will be unable to view what the government describes as 'illegal material.'"
Arrest, Turkish hacker arrested by FBI made video giving tips for installing ATM skimmers, 28 Oct 08 "A Turkish hacker known as “Chao” and arrested as part of the FBI operation against underground forum DarkMarket produced his own training videos, researchers revealed this week at the RSA Europe conference in London.", "The U.K. government said schools in England must do more to prevent violent extremists and terrorist groups including al-Qaeda from recruiting students, and issued guidelines on how to combat the threat.

"A 44-page pamphlet released today by the Department for Children, Schools and Families advises teachers how to spot and help vulnerable pupils age 5 to 11 in schools across the country."

It states:

"Access in the past has often been via leafleting and local contacts but evidence suggests that the internet is now playing a much more important role – both violent extremist videos and propaganda accessed via websites or contact via social networking sites."

Department for Children, Schools and Families, Learning together to be safe: A toolkit to help schools contribute to the prevention of violent extremism (p.3) [PDF]
Saudi Arabia

The Economist, The struggle against al-Qaeda, 23 Oct 08

"State television has aired extensive testimony from “repentant” jihadists as well as from scholars challenging the textual basis of jihadist beliefs. A campaign in prisons has targeted more than 3,000 jihadist detainees for counselling, with sweeteners such as housing loans and financial support for their families as well as religious re-education (pictured above). Saudi authorities say that some 1,500 radicals have been rehabilitated and freed, with only a tiny fraction subsequently reverting to jihadist ways. A separate programme has sought to combat jihadist ideas on the internet, by hiring moderate religious scholars to engage in debate on extremist chat sites. New laws have made incitement to terrorism over the internet a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison."
Media Representation, Author Jack Shaheen on Election 2008 Arab and Muslim Stereotypes, 29 Oct 08 "OffTheBus caught up with Shaheen to discuss Arab and Muslim portrayals in the 2008 election and how an Obama presidency can make a positive impact." Shaheen's work is well worth reading.
Omar Bakri Mohammed

This is London, Hate preacher Bakri targets young people through Web campaign, 29 Oct 08 "The Home Office wants to introduce rules making it easier to bar preachers of hate from Britain.

"But a Standard investigation has uncovered dozens of YouTube videos filmed by a radical Islamic sect and its exiled leader Omar Bakri Mohammed as part of its latest recruitment drive."

Also see Jamie Bartlett, Comment is Free, Guardian, Extremism: live by webcam, 29 Oct 08 "First, listening to radical preachers rant and rave about Jewish conspiracies or the importance of jihad doesn't turn someone into an Islamic extremist. In Demos' research into the relationship between radicalisation and violence, we are finding that vitriolic speeches calling on people to fight infidels are readily available. But on their own, they never lead anyone into action.

"Indeed, the leaked MI5 report on violent extremism in Britain suggested the influence of extremist clerics had "moved into the background". There is a much more tangled web of influences at work, and forcibly shutting up radical preachers can even be counter-productive. Anything the government ever bans usually becomes, by default, more exciting. Just as 16 year olds will clamber to watch any video that has been banned by MTV, the hits on a preacher's website will quadruple the instant he is not welcome in the UK."

Bartlett writes for Demos, whose main website is here, which includes an indication of their perspective on a number of issues.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feud: Hamas v. Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Asharq Alawsat, Hamas and Islamic Jihad Still Feuding, 26 Oct 08 "It is no secret that the line adopted by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories contradicts that of the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip. Their disagreement dates back to the time when they were first established in the late 1980s and has clearly manifested itself in the Palestinian street, institutions, universities, associations, and prisons. By simply raising a political or religious discussion among the members of both movements, one can realize that they disagree over everything."
aQ Twitter

AFP/, Terrorist 'tweets'? US Army warns of Twitter dangers, 25 Oct 08 "A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular micro-blogging service Twitter, Global Positioning System maps and voice-changing software as potential terrorist tools.

"The report by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), examines a number of mobile and web technologies and their potential uses by militants.

"The posting of the report on the FAS site was reported Friday by Wired magazine contributing editor Noah Shachtman on his national security blog "Danger Room" at"

Here's the article by Shachtman: Wired, Danger Room, Spy Fears: Twitter Terrorists, Cell Phone Jihadists, 24 Oct 08 This issue is put into appropriate proportion here: "Steven Aftergood, a veteran intelligence analyst at the Federation of the American Scientists, doesn't dismiss the Army presentation out of hand. But nor does he think it's tackling a terribly seriously threat. "Red-teaming exercises to anticipate adversary operations are fundamental. But they need to be informed by a sense of what's realistic and important and what's not," he tells Danger Room. "If we have time to worry about 'Twitter threats' then we're in good shape. I mean, it's important to keep some sense of proportion.""

Shachtman links to the report here (pdf): Federation of the American Scientists, Sample Overview: alQaida-Like Mobile Discussions & Potential Creative Uses, By 304th Ml Bn OSINT Team, October 16, 2008
UAE: Arabic domain names

Gulf News, UAE set to change domain name norm, 25 Oct 08 "The UAE is set to become the first country worldwide to offer complete internet domain names in a language other than English by late next year."
Palestinian Football

Sabbah's Blog, Palestinians Make Football History, 26 Oct 08

The National, Dubai meeting to decide future of the internet, 27 Oct 08 "A body that oversees the regional distribution of internet protocol (IP) addresses – the unique numbers that identify every device connected to the internet – will make a decision on migrating to a new addressing system that can cope with the explosive growth of the global network.

"The current IP address format means that only 4.3 billion unique addresses can be generated, a supply widely predicted to be exhausted by late 2010. The new format, known as IP Version 6 (IPv6), allows for considerably more: 79 billion billion billion times as many as the current system."
Google Arabic, Google Launches Arabic Transliteration Tool, Takes On Yamli "Google recently launched a new Arabic transliteration tool, that allows users to use their Latin keyboards to type in Arabic text. This move puts them in direct competition with Yamli, a small startup that has proven very popular and generated great feedback; simulating a modern day tech reenactment of David vs. Goliath."

The tool is here

AP, Egyptian police arrest couple for swinger parties, 27 Oct 08 "The couple — a civil servant and his teacher wife — are accused of soliciting other couples over the Internet and inviting them to their home, said the security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media."
Taliban 'negotiations'

Frank Gardner, BBC News, Thought of Taleban deal alarms jihadists, 23 Oct 08 "Are the Taleban preparing to sell out their old allies, al-Qaeda, as the price for getting back into government?

"Absolutely not, says the Taleban's official spokesman, but supporters of violent jihad on the internet are clearly rattled."
Muslim Brotherhood

Daily Star Egypt, 11 media executives arrested on charges of belonging to an Islamic group, 26 Oct 08, "Eleven media executives were arrested for "being involved in an Islamic organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)," Ahmed Ragheb of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, said at a press conference Saturday.

"The media executives comprised of both anchors and producers, working for private Egyptian as well as Arab satellite channels such as Iqraa, Al-Sa’aa, Al-Nas and Al-Gamal, Ragheb explained, pointing out that they all work on religious programs."
Muxlim Pal, Muxlim Pal to be world's first Muslim-themed virtual world, 22 Oct 08 " ... "within the next few months," says Ashar Saeed, a vice president at, the Internet will receive its first Muslim-themed virtual world, not unlike Second Life, complete with its own currency and culture.

"Saeed asserts that, based in Finland and the United Kingdom, is the world's largest online Muslim community."

Also see Mike Butcher, Techcrunch, Muxlim plans Muslim world’s first virtual world, 20 Oct 08 "Muslim social network, live since late 2006, is planning to launch a Muslim-oriented virtual world not unlike Second Life. The idea is that something tailored to the Muslim world would be allowed through the IP-blocks of countries like United Arab Emirates which currently stops access to virtual worlds and online games considered unsuitable or offensive to Muslim culture. The virtual world is said to launch in 4-6 weeks and will “allow the opportunity to wear a hijab, and go to prayer rooms.” Muxlim itself is your standard social network offering community features, blogs and video sharing. The revenue model will be VIP accounts, virtual gifts, virtual furniture/clothes, themes/styles, profile applications, advertising, branded communities and physical merchandise like t-shirts."

The Techcrunch article inevitably attracted a range of comments (before discussion was closed). Imran Ali suggested: "But I’ve *already* been promised a Second Life!"

Social networking themes are in my next book.

Nothing specific on this in Muxlim, apart from links to the story.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Amil Khan, Guardian, Is it really all over for al-Qaida?, 23 Oct 08 "Challenging ideology does help. I have met people who have become convinced that violence is not the Islamic way to direct their anger. But there's a growing pool of people who don't care about the intricacies of Islamic ideology. They want to fight because violence for a cause enriches their sense of self."
aQ Block

AFP, Qaeda Internet sites blocked, 22 Oct 08 ", which long served as an online message board for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri as well as for jihadists in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, now merely boasts a message by "Your Team."

""The Domain was Successfully Registered with," the message reads. "To administer the domain, configure your email addresses and URL forwarding, or register more domains, please go to"

", a second site used by Bin Laden's network, is totally inaccessible.

"The closure of the two sites has significantly reduced the capacity of Al-Qaeda to distribute its messages, which were popular in jihadist forums and were often commented on by Internet surfers."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


BBC News, Financial crisis: World round-up, 21 Oct 08

"The global financial crisis and its impact have gripped the Arab blogosphere, particularly in the oil-rich Gulf."
Daily Mail, X Factor in terror alert as hate cleric Bakri says reality show is anti-Muslim for supporting troops charity, 21 Oct 08 "Security has been stepped up for reality show the X Factor this weekend after Muslim hate preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed blasted the show for being anti-Muslim, it has been claimed.

"The exiled radical cleric hit out against the ITV1 show for supporting charity Help For Heroes, which aids injured troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Police fear his extremist followers will view his internet rant as a 'fatwa' – a religious ruling – and target the show’s stars and judges, including Simon Cowell."
Perwez Kambakhsh

VOA, Afghan Journalist Receives 20-Year Prison Term for Blasphemy "The death sentence against Afghan journalist Perwez Kambakhsh has been overturned, but an appeals court upheld the blasphemy conviction against him."

Monday, October 20, 2008


ISIM Review has articles on 'Islamic religious Practice in Outer Space' (based on the activities of astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor) and 'Purposeful Art: Between Television Preachers and the State' - focusing on Egypt. These are in issue 22, which isn't yet online (should be soon, I guess)

VOA News, Moroccan Court Jails 45 People for Terrorist Plot, 18 Oct 08 "A Moroccan court has sentenced 45 people to jail terms of up to 30 years for plotting terrorist attacks in the country's largest city, Casablanca." Relates to a bombing of an internet cafe in 07
Pakistan/India, First Indo-Pak gay love story blooms on internet, 17 Oct 08 "Hammad has gone down the gay lane a bit too far, designing Pakistan’s first gay website, He runs the site, which had 569 Pakistani members last checked, from internet cafes for obvious reasons.

"Of those who have registered, 302 are “gays”, 241 “bisexuals” and the remaining “transgender”."

Times Online, Dangerous and depraved: paedophiles unite with terrorists online, 17 Oct 08 "The realisation that there might be something in common between violent Muslim fanatics known for their supposed piety and sexual deviants who prey on children has only slowly dawned on officers. Cracking the mystery of how these worlds overlap is expected to improve understanding of the mindsets of both types of criminals and has been hailed as a potentially vital intelligence tool to undermine future terrorist plots. “A way of finding who the extremists and terrorists are”, an anti-terror source said, “is to go through the child-porn sites.”"

The Sun, Al-Qaeda's paedo files, 18 Oct 08, "TWISTED al-Qaeda terrorists are transmitting secret messages inside hardcore child porn images on the internet, police chiefs believe.

"Scotland Yard fear the Islamic fundamentalists are embedding coded material in depraved pictures of children and using paedophile websites as a secure way of exchanging information."

There are precedents for aQ encryption in images of various kinds. I refer to this in 'Islam in the Digital Age'


Kia Abdullah, Guardian, It's Muslim men we must modernise: Amina Wadud's decision to lead mixed-gender prayers in Oxford today challenges tradition, not the tenets of religion, 17 Oct 08 "Of course, not all Muslims will greet the news with delight. Controversy is brewing among traditionalists with some claiming that the service flouted the laws of Islam."

Relates to the conference organised by the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford (MECO). Plenty of discussion of this online in various fora.
E-jihad fatwa

AKI, Egypt: Sunni scholars sanction 'electronic Jihad' "The religious edict (fatwa) issued by a committee from the highest authority in Sunni Islam, Egypt's Al-Azhar University in Cairo, was published on the website of the Islamist Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement on Thursday." Also see MEMRI, Al-Azhar Fatwa: Hacking U.S., Israeli Websites Is Permissible as Part of Electronic Jihad, 29 Aug 08 Not the first example of this... Also see Ikhwan Online

BBC News, Game delayed over Koran phrases, 20 Oct 08 "A contributor to an online games forum reported the presence of the phrases from the Koran, adding that mixing music and words from Islam's most holy text could be considered deeply offensive by Muslims."

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi University Supercomputer Lures Researchers ""The supercomputer is the cornerstone of this knowledge-based economy that we are seeking," said Majid Al-Ghaslan, in charge of the acquisition, design and development of the "Shaheen" supercomputer.

"Named after the peregrine falcon, which reaches speeds of up to 340 kilometers per hour, Shaheen is expected to reach 222 teraflops, a measure equaling a trillion floating point operations per second, Ghaslan said. This will make it sixth most powerful computer in the world." This is based at KAUST
Sandwich Eaten (!)

Reuters/Asharq Alawsat, World Record Sandwich? Iranians Eat Evidence, 19 Oct 08 "One of the event's organizers said video footage of the sandwich would be sent to Guinness officials." Also see Kamangir, I’m coming to eat you!, 18 Oct 08

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blogging the Qur'an

Ziauddin Sardar, Blogging the Qur'an, Shedding the burden of tradition, Guardian, 17 Oct 08 comments on the ongoing 'e-tafsir' series (which is bound to become a book one day). Sardar was series editor for the list of books that includes Islam in the Digital Age

Guardian, Turkish newspaper website blocked after creationist's complaint, 16 Oct 08 "A court ruled that Turkish web users should be denied access to the Vatan site after deciding it had insulted Adnan Oktar, a prolific writer who has disputed the theory of evolution."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Abdul-Rahman Yusuf, Poem denies Shiite conversion, calls for Muslim unity, 15 Oct 08

"Poet Abdul-Rahman Yusuf, son of prominent Egyptian preacher Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, denied rumors circulating on several websites that he had converted to the Shiite faith.

"In a poem entitled "Too Much for You," published Tuesday in the Egyptian independent al-Dostor, Yusuf called for the unity of the Muslim nation in the face of a common enemy that does not distinguish between sects and which strives to destroy both Sunnis and Shiites while they are busy fighting each other.

"Some websites attributed to Lebanese preacher Ali al-Kourani statements indicating that Qaradwi lashed out at what he called "the Shiite infiltration" because of his indignation at his son's conversion to the Shiite faith."

See earlier posts on Yusuf al-Qaradawi's recent statements (and associated allegations)
Saudi Arabia, Saudi arrests Jordanians for 'pleasure unions', 15 Oct 08

"Saudi Arabia’s religious police arrested a Jordanian woman residing in Jeddah for arranging pleasure marriages and facilitating meetings between the opposite sex, local press reported Wednesday.

"The Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice stormed the woman's house after receiving reports about her alleged activities. Informants said she facilitated meetings between men and women under the pretext of arranging pleasure marriages, reported the Saudi newspaper Shams."
Muttahida Ulema Council, Pak clerics issue fatwa on jihad, 15 Oct 08 "The clerics issued the fatwa after a conference in Lahore on Tuesday night which declared the suicide bombings as "un-Islamic". The edict, issued unanimously by the Muttahida Ulema Council (MUC) is significant as it came in the wake of the devastating suicide bomb attacks in the country that have claimed hundreds of lives."

Details: lifethelove (blog), Suicide bombing un-Islamic, only state can declare jihad: fatwa, 15 Oct 08

CNN, Muslim DVD rattles voters in key battleground states, 15 Oct 08 "The hourlong film on DVD, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," was made by Israeli filmmaker Raphael Shore and shows disturbing, sometimes violent images.

"Rima Barakat Sinclair, who is Muslim and a Republican, was so angry she called her local lawmakers in Denver."

Details of the film here (note, as with everything else noted on this blog, my site disclaimer).

Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation in Tunisia (Tunis)/, Tunisia: Kalima Website Targeted - Police Attack Olpec Secretary General, 14 Oct 08 "The online magazine Kalima ( has suffered an attack that has completely destroyed its web content.

"The site's webmasters have been unable to update or even to access it since the morning of 8 October 2008. The site will now have to be completely rebuilt and uploaded.

"According to Kalima editor-in-chief Sihem Bensedrine, "the only people who would benefit from an attack on a website that is already inaccessible to Internet users in Tunisia are the security services."

This was on 8 Oct. It's still down.

More info: Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation in Tunisia (Tunis)
Saudi Arabia

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Human Rights Group Address Amnesty Report, 15 Oct 08 "Commenting on these criticisms, Dr. Zuhayr al-Harithi, the Saudi Human Rights Association spokesman, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the death penalty in the kingdom is not carried out until after an exhaustive examination of the relevant case by 13 judges before it is endorsed by the highest authority in the kingdom, the king."

Details of the original report: Amnesty International: Saudi Arabia
Silicon UAE

The National, UAE ripe for Silicon Valley-type boom, 15 Oct 08 "The report, which was commissioned by Dubai Internet City, said that small, innovative companies targeting the government, financial and telecommunications sectors could all thrive in the current environment.

"“The technology industry in the region is the fastest growing market in the world,” said Malek al Malek, the executive director of Dubai Internet City. The special investment zone has become the largest collection of technology businesses in the Middle East, with its model being emulated across the region."
Abu Qaswarah

Long War Journal, US forces kill al Qaeda in Iraq's deputy commander, 15 Oct 08 "US forces struck a major blow against al Qaeda in Iraq's beleaguered network. Abu Qaswarah, al Qaeda in Iraq's second in command, was killed in the northern city of Mosul during a targeted raid ten days ago."

Reporters Without Borders/, UAE: influential blog blocked after analysing impact of US financial crisis "Access to Mujarad-Ensan (“Just a man”:, regarded as one of the United Arab Emirates’ most influential blogs, has been blocked in the country since 12 October. Its author, who often writes about political transparency, free expression and the media, posted an entry on 11 October entitled “Let’s laugh together: our economy is doing well,” in which he analysed the impact of the US financial crisis on the UAE."

The blog is still available elsewhere.

Wired, Plug Pulled on Hamas' YouTube Ripoff, 15 Oct 08 "As in the case of the al-Ekhlaas takedown, militant forums blamed Western intelligence agencies for the unplugging of AqsaTube. But it appears a little sunlight may have done the trick, instead.

"AqsaTube's internet service provider was the French firm OVH. The company "initially denied hosting AqsaTube, according to the BBC, "but later confirmed that the website had been hosted by them and had now been taken offline."

Previously blogged ... that didn't last long.
Ongoing case

TimesOnline, Bomber Nicky Reilly was brainwashed online by Pakistani extremists, 16 Oct 08 "Security sources said that radicals encouraged him to visit internet chat rooms and other websites where he encountered the men based in Pakistan who helped to mould a violent hatred of the West. Reilly, who appeared in court as Mohamad Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed Alim, set up his own page on YouTube, Chechen 233, where he discussed with the men who his targets should be. They answered his questions and directed him to bomb-making websites."

Guardian, Urged on by al-Qaida: the 'vulnerable' convert to Islam who tried to blow up a restaurant, 16 Oct 08 "The influence of extremist websites is clear in a suicide note Saeed Alim left at home. In it he paid tribute to "Sheikh Osama" (bin Laden) and called on the British and United States governments to leave Muslim countries. Echoing a comment made by bin Laden in the wake of the September 11 attacks and adopted by many radicals, he said: "We love death as you love life.""

The case continues...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Al Arabiyya: Update on hacked sites

Guardian, Hackers force Al-Arabiya site name change, 13 Oct 08 "The most controversial of the recent attacks targeted the website of Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani of Najaf, the Shia world's leading religious authority. Hundreds of other Shia sites were also affected.

"Sistani's site carried a statement accusing him of issuing "perverse" fatwas or religious edicts. Also posted was a YouTube clip of the American comedian Bill Maher joking about an edict on sexual behaviour allegedly handed down by Sistani."
Moro Islamic Liberation Front hacked, MILF Web site restored after being hacked "The Web site of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),, was restored Saturday after it was reportedly hacked and offline for seven days.

"MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal confirmed Saturday that their Web site was hacked by unknown individuals last October 4. He described that upon visiting the site, only an empty screen was seen." is now functional
Saint-Prix, France, Ahmadis inaugurate their first French mosque, 12 Oct 08

"Thanks to satellite TV and the Internet, the Ahmadiyya message is reaching beyond borders and local censorship. Broadcasting 24 hours a day, their TV Channel airs the inauguration ceremonies for each new mosque live. The next one is due to open in Berlin this week."
Arabic Twitter,; An Arabic Interface For Twitter, 11 Oct 08 "Even though there is an Arabic micro-blogging service called Watwet that is very similar to Twitter in functionality, a lot of Arab users have chosen to use Twitter instead, maybe because it has mostly become the international poster child for micro-blogging, or because most of their friends already use it and it’s just easier to follow the crowd. Anyway, many of these users choose to tweet in Arabic, but as the Twitter interface is in English, thus left-to-right, Arabic script which is right-to-left gets quite annoying to read through the English interface."

Reuters/Yahoo Tech, Kazakh bloggers say can't access popular website, 13 Oct 08, "Internet users in Kazakhstan complained of censorship Friday after being unable to access the popular blogging service Livejournal, but the state-owned telecoms company denied it was blocking it."

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC). 12 Oct 08, "The Internet and terrorism: Hamas recently launched a new website called AqsaTube, an addition to its extensive Internet presence. Hamas makes intensive use of its website network to wage the battle for the hearts and minds of its various target audiences in the Palestinian Authority and worldwide."

Haven't looked at AqsaTube closely yet, but the files are substantial sizes, and take a while to play.

The Sun, Fury over doll's 'Islam message', 13 Oct 08 "Furious parents have demanded toy-makers Fisher-Price remove a doll that appears to say: 'Islam is the light'."

Tech story (sort of)
Abu Dhabi

The National, Abu Dhabi’s real men to play at being geeks, 13 Oct 08 "The founder of AMD used to say that “real men have fabs”, referring dismissively to those microchip design firms which outsourced, rather than owned, their fabrication plants."
Commentary: aQ, Al Qaeda killing more Muslims than ‘infidels’, 12 Oct 08 "Al Qaeda is killing more Muslims than what it calls ‘infidels’, something that is going to be a ‘game changer’ for the terrorist group, according to Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation." Details: American Foundation

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Golshifteh Farahani, Iranian Actress Heads Into a Storm, 11 Oct 08 "In the past week, heated debates on dozens of Iranian Web sites have pitted those who support Farahani's decision to remove her scarf against those who accuse her of selling out her Muslim heritage."

Wiki: Golshifteh Farahani
Official site: Golshifteh Farahani
Body of Lies (dir. Ridley Scott; Warner Bros site)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hip Hop

Asian News, Debate to discuss relationship between Islam and hip-hop, 10 Oct 08 'The debate will be followed by a live gig in Rich Mix Bar featuring Mecca2Medina, Masika AKA Ffasibillah, Lil Mia, Ppearls of Islam, Baby Muslims, Lemoy, UK Apache and Muhammed Yah Yyah."

"Islam and Hip Hop, Debate and Live Gig will take place on Wed 15 October at Rich Mix, 35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, 5.00pm – 7.00pm. Tickets are £5 - for debate and gig."

Sounds like a good combination.

Details: It's a useful site, which also has a Muslim Artist Directory

alarabiya, Al Arabiya hit by Sunni-Shiite hacking war, 10 Oct 08

"Hackers accusing Saudi-owned Al Arabiya of being pro-Sunni shut down the channel's news website shortly after midnight on Thursday in a cyber attack, claiming to be in retaliation for the recent attacks on Shiite websites.

"Al Arabiya's news website was forced to change it's domain to after its main page was hacked and displayed with a message that warned "if attacks on Shiite websites continue, none of your websites will be safe."

AKI say "One possible reason for Friday's attack is that Al-Arabiya's website has recently given a lot of coverage to remarks by Sunni theologian Yusuf Qaradawi, denouncing what he calls the danger of converting to Shiism." AKI, UAE: 'Shia hackers' hit the Internet, 10 Oct 08
Glasgow bombing trial

Reuters, Jury sees CCTV of panic at Glasgow airport, 10 Oct 08, BBC News, Bomb suspects 'fled in rickshaws', 10 Oct 08 There are references to the use of the net in this trial (ongoing coverage through usual channels)
Podcast Announcement

Islamcrunch, New Islamic Directions MediaCast - Imam Zaid’s Official Podcast, 4 Oct 08 Also see New Islamic Directions MediaCast
txt re taliban

BBC News, New media plan to combat Taleban, 10 Oct 08, "The programme involves using new media like mobile phones and the internet to empower ordinary Afghans to contradict the prevailing Taleban message."

Here's Frank Gardner's report on Radio 4, Today, 9 Oct 08

CNET, Academics sink teeth into Yahoo search service, 9 Oct 08 sounds like a good idea, which I'd like to follow-up at some time

Gizmodo, Dubai Develops World's Largest LED Screen, Straps To Building, 9 Oct 08 conspicuous consumption... "The country that has become famous for its extravagant, luxurious architecture is strapping a giant LED screen to the new 33-story high 'Podium' building."

I couldn't help thinking about Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's article in The Guardian,'We need slaves to build monuments', 8 Oct 08 when I read this.
Yamil and Araby

Islamcrunch, Yamli releases API to allow Arabic text on your website, 9 Oct 08 also see Yamil and, Yamli Officially Releases Free API Allowing Easy Integration of Arabic Transliteration Into Any Website, 9 Oct 08, "Yamli has officially released its free API that allows the easy integration of its award-winning Arabic transliteration technology into any website. Yamli’s Smart Arabic Keyboard allows users to type Arabic using Latin characters by converting their words in real time into Arabic text. Third-party websites using the API can reach a larger group of Arabic speaking visitors who would otherwise find typing Arabic difficult."

On a related theme: Araby, Araby Search Engine Launches Redesign And New Features, 8 Oct 08
Fatwa phone

Times, Dial M for Mufti and you can quiz the world's first Islamic helpline, 10 Oct 08 "One of the most distinguished muftis in the Gulf switches on his computer, dons a headset and prepares to issue yet another fatwa.

"Abdulrahman Ammoura, 48, usually dispenses his religious advice to the faithful at a nearby mosque but today he is in a cramped cubicle in Abu Dhabi, answering the telephone at the world's first call centre for people seeking a fatwa, or religious edict. The popularity of the service easily eclipses attendance at his Friday prayers; it is used by Muslims all over the world, and its organisers say it now takes about 3,700 calls a day, including queries from Britain."

Details (in Arabic)

Well worth reading (also an imaginative headline).

AFP, Lawyer demands release for Afghan reporter on death row, 9 Oct 08 "The lawyer of an Afghan reporter sentenced to death on blasphemy charges accused authorities Thursday of holding his client beyond a legal deadline, as the young man neared a full year in detention."

The National, Egypt arrests nine Muslim Brotherhood members, 9 Oct 08 "Egyptian state security has accused nine men of trying to overthrow the regime and using media outlets and the internet to propagate the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, the men’s lawyer, said yesterday.

"The group, which includes a professor from Al Azhar University, was arrested at the professor’s home on Tuesday in Dakahliya province, around 120km north of Cairo, for what the authorities said was “an organisation meeting”, but which the defendants said was simply a meeting to discuss programming at the respective television stations they work for. They were ordered detained for 15 days."
Morocco, Morocco's king launches offensive against radical Islam - Feature, 10 Oct 08 "The new reform establishes 69 regional or provincial councils of ulemas to guarantee "spiritual security" and to preserve the "tolerant Sunni Islam" that is part of the "Moroccan identity," as King Mohammed said.

"The councils are to update the training of imams, whose medical benefits and living standards will also be improved, alongside those of other mosque personnel.

"A separate council of ulemas will watch over the more than 3 million Moroccans living abroad, whose situation as immigrants is seen as making them particularly vulnerable to extremism."
Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Spiegel Online, The Career of Prisoner No. 760, 9 Oct 08

"This summer marked Slahi's sixth year in Guantanamo. The once-intractable detainee, physically delicate but iron-willed -- who cursed his interrogators and complained about being "treated completely unfairly," as an official with Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, noted -- has turned into a model prisoner. This is why he enjoys privileges, including the telephone conversation with his family. The interrogators refer to his cell as a "suite," because it is larger than other cells and contains a computer and a color TV. Slahi is permitted to order food from McDonald's and shares a small tomato garden with other prisoners."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Guardian, Yahoo employee alleged to be Indian terror group's media officer, 7 Oct 08 "Investigators say Mohammed Mansoor Asghar Peerbhoy, 31, was the head of a "media terror cell" which comprised of "highly qualified, computer-savvy people belonging to good and educated families" who had drafted emails sent just before or just after blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and Jaipur in Rajasthan."

Monday, October 06, 2008


The Taqwacore details of the film of the book of the music; the site also has a blog detailing production (early days yet) ... Original info (Diolch): hawgblawg

Aaidh al-Qarni, Asharq Alawsat, The Islamic Caliphate in a Small Room in London, 5 Oct 08 Opinion piece: "A famous preacher told me that he heard a speaker giving a Friday sermon in a small room in London and calling for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate. The preacher told me: I laughed at the sight, which was actually tragi-comical: A person with little learning, far from his people and society, speaking in a rented room, unable to build a mosque, staying in the country on a temporary residence permit, calling for the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, which Islamic countries, organizations, and groups have failed to establish. I do not know what stupidity got hold of this speaker to make him commit this offense against himself and his reality and indulge in delusions."

BTW translated extracts of al-Qarni's book are available online Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni, Don't Be Sad
Egypt, Sexual assaults in Egypt mar Eid holiday, 5 Oct 08

"The independent al-Masry al-Youm reported that 150 young men assaulted female passers-by on Gamaat al-Duwal al-Arabiya street in the upper-class neighborhood of Mohandeseen. One woman’s clothes were ripped off her body and another had her veil torn, the newspaper reported ...

" ... Similar attacks during the Eid holiday in 2006 went unreported by the mainstream media for several days until bloggers, who published images and videos of sexual assaults in the streets while police stood and watched without intervening, compelled other news outlets to cover the story."
Mustafa Naggar: Waves in the Sea of Change

Gulf News, Internet generation versus Brotherhood's conservatives, 5 Oct 08 "Naggar is a cheery, unassuming man, but his passionate blog, Waves in the Sea of Change, blames the brotherhood for a religious rigidity that has weakened the Islamic party as a political force and distanced itself from day-to-day concerns of most Egyptians."
Adam Gadahn, Pakistan has poor track record reporting deaths of senior terrorist leaders, 5 Oct 08 "A senior Taliban or al Qaeda leader may have been killed in the Oct. 2 airstrike in North Waziristan, according to unconfirmed reports from Pakistan. But without confirmation from either the Taliban or the US, reports from Pakistani officials should be viewed as suspect."

With this in mind..., Adam Gadahn resurfaces in new al Qaeda tape, 4 Oct 08 "Adam Gadahn, al Qaeda's American spokesman, has resurfaced in a newly released videotape, squashing the rumors that he died in a US airstrike earlier this year. Gadahn was rumored to have been killed in a January 2008 airstrike in North Waziristan that killed Abu Laith al Libi, a senior al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan."

CNN, 'Azzam the American' releases video focusing on Pakistan, 4 Oct 08 Quote from Gadahn: ""The enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat, which is beginning to manifest itself in the extending crisis their economy is experiencing. The crisis, whose primary cause, in addition to the abortive and unsustainable crusades they are waging in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, is they are turning their backs on Allah's revealed laws, which forbid interest-bearing transactions, exploitation, greed and and injustice in all its forms and demand the worship of Allah alone to the exclusion of all false gods, including money and power," he said."

Asharq Alawsat, Al-Qaeda: US Economic Crisis Equals Muslim Victory, 5 Oct 08, "In a half hour video message, California-native Adam Gadahn urged Pakistanis to unite against their government and U.S. forces, and taunted Americans over their economic crisis, relating it to their military interventions."

Video contains references to recent events in Pakistan, as well as Gordon Brown. It draws on edited audio clips from Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
'Criminal Server'

SCM, Researcher finds server with stolen FTP credentials, 3 Oct 08 "An Israeli researcher has uncovered a criminal server containing the FTP account credentials for nearly 100,000 legitimate websites across 86 countries, including the U.S. Postal Service and several universities here.

"Ian Amit, director of security research at Aladdin Knowledge Systems, told on Friday that while researching the Neosploit crimeware tookit, he came across a massive deposit of website credentials."

Telegraph, Government spies could scan every call, text and email, 5 Oct 08 "The huge eavesdropping programme would involve the creation of a mammoth central computer database to store hundreds of billions of individual pieces of communications traffic.

"Supporters say it would become one of the security services' most comprehensive tools in the fight against terrorism but critics described it as "sinister"."

Also see: Independent, Spies take war on terror into cyberspace, 3 Oct 08 "As well running its own sites, the Government gives material support to groups that monitor and combat jihadist material on the web in an attempt to prevent indoctrination of young Muslims. The scheme is part of measures being introduced at a time when the threat level is described as being "at the severe end of severe", with, officials say, extremist groups determinedly attempting new attacks." Article refers to The Radical Middle Way

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sheikh Habadan

BBC News, Saudi cleric favours one-eye veil, 3 Oct 08 "Sheikh Habadan, an ultra-conservative cleric who is said to have wide influence among religious Saudis, was answering questions on the Muslim satellite channel al-Majd."

Plenty of online reaction and opinion to this, such as India Uncut, Dear Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan and Shia Chat, Aite Ya'll-this Is Called Propa Hijab!

I haven't seen the original broadcast on al-Majd yet of Habadan's comment, so I'm not sure of the context, etc. It'll probably crop up on YouTube.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Report: "Recruitment and Mobilization for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe"

UPI/, Study on EU Muslim extremism released, 2 Oct 08 "The European Commission Wednesday released the findings of a study conducted by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence and King's College London. According to the study, Islamist militant recruitment efforts have been forced underground and no longer take place in mosques, ICSR reported.

"The report, "Recruitment and Mobilization for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe," found that prisons and the Internet are now the primary avenues of recruitment."

Also see: Recruitment and Mobilisation for the Islamist Militant Movement in Europe - ICSR / King’s College London study for the European Commission

The PDF version can be downloaded here. I haven't read this yet.

See: Wikipedia, The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence for some background to the Centre and its participants.

Akh. Muzakki, Jakarta Post, Young Muslims in televangelism, 3 Oct 08 "The religious life of young people or teenagers has recently become the deep concern of many religious studies scholars. The publication of a book edited by James Heft entitled, Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (2006), justifies this increasingly deep concern.

"The central argument of the book is about the necessity of transmitting religious teachings and identities from one generation to the next. The importance of this religious transmission is applied to all Abrahamic religions, from Judaism, Christianity to Islam. Religious scholars are now rethinking how to strengthen the role of religion to stimulate an energetic faith in the next generation.

"Does the same issue take place in the context of Indonesian Islam? Yes, much has been undertaken by Muslims in Indonesia, as with other parts of the Muslim world, for Islam to be transmitted to the public. But less has been devoted to putting this Islamic transmission segmented and oriented toward young people and teenagers."

Akh. Muzakki makes some interesting comments in relation to Indonesia here. The topic obviously has relevance in relation to Islam and the net too.

Book details: James L. Heft (ed.) ,Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (Fordham University Press)
William of Orange (satire), Netherlands: William of Orange, a practicing Muslim, 2 Oct 08 "The report first appeared on the De Speld website, which at first glance looks like an internet news site. Jochem van den Berg confirms that it was indeed written by the site. The historian and the research don't exist. "We wanted to start off a discussion about Dutch identity. By way of satirical reflection we wrote the article from a Judeo-Christian and Islamic background."

""We had no idea that this article would spread like wildfire on the internet," beams Van den Berg. The phones of his colleagues and him have been ringing off the hook."

Here's the original: De Speld, Willem van Oranje was bekeerde moslim, 25 Sep 08
Soap drama

Daily Star, Threat to blow up Eastenders, 3 Oct 08

"Furious Muslims have issued threats against EastEnders bosses over a storyline that showed an Asian character breaking his Ramadan fast ...

" ... One blogger said: “This is a slur on all Muslims. Those involved should pay the ultimate sacrifice. Why should our religion be used for a cheap laugh?”

"Another, called VirIslam, wrote: “This is an insult to religion and to all Muslims. Yet again Islam is being laughed at on British television. They should be made to pay for this slur.”"

I don't watch 'Eastenders', so have no idea what happened here, but the tabloids are getting excited ...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Berberus, Berberus, The Semantic Maghreb Blog Aggregator, 2 Oct 08

Details: Berberus "Berberus is a new blog aggregator that was recently launched to cover blogs from the Maghreb region. The name is an obvious reference to the region and its roots. The site also says it references the existence of a form of berberism (free man) in every blogger who aspires to express themselves freely."

It's a useful resource: et'll be even more effective when they have RSS functioning.
Inside Islam

ReadWriteWeb, Religion and Web Technology, Part 3: Inside Islam, 25 Sep 08 "This week we're looking at how religious organizations are using Web technology. Today's post looks at a blog that aims to "challenge misconceptions and stereotypical perceptions about Islam and Muslims worldwide". The site is Inside Islam and we caught up with lead blogger Kaitlin Foley today to find out more."
e-Nikah, Net gain: Expats tying the knot on webcam!, 29 Sep 08 "Explaining the e-nikah ceremony, Parveen said that “Babar, who has been living in Riyadh for the last several years, was unable to travel to Lahore for the wedding and hence both families decided to make use of the Internet to solemnize the Nikah.” She said the nikah ceremony at her house was attended by about 40 people including women and children from both sides. Parveen said that the scholars gave the nod for e-nikah and hence “we happily went ahead with our plans.”

"Bride Shaheen uttered “Qubool hai (I accept), Qubool hai, Qubool hai” into an Internet phone in front of her family members as an imam from her side asked for Babar’s consent from Sargodha. “It was a unique experience, I never thought that I would get married this way,” said Babar, a senior advertising executive."

The National, Syria tightens control over internet, 30 Sep 08 "Syrian authorities are tightening their control over the internet and shutting loopholes that used to allow access to banned websites, according to a Damascus free-speech watchdog."

Reuters Africa, Al Qaeda says it was behind Algeria bombing, 1 Oct 08

"Al Qaeda's north Africa wing said it was behind a deadly suicide bombing in Algeria on Sunday, according to a statement posted on the Internet on Wednesday."
Zardari and 'internet rumours'

NYT, Pakistani Leader Repeats a Long Debunked Hoax, 1 Oct 08 "The president of Pakistan apparently believes an Internet hoax alleging that Oliver L. North warned of the dangers posed by Osama bin Laden 20 years ago.

"President Asif Ali Zardari, in an interview with the Fox News Channel that was televised on Tuesday, claimed that Mr. North installed a security system for his home in the late 1980s “because he was ‘scared of Osama bin Laden.’”
Security issues

Bruce Schneier, Wired, The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Terrorists, 2 Oct 08 "Most counterterrorism policies fail, not because of tactical problems, but because of a fundamental misunderstanding of what motivates terrorists in the first place. If we're ever going to defeat terrorism, we need to understand what drives people to become terrorists in the first place."
Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh interview

Asharq Alawsat, Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Talks to Asharq Al-Awsat, 1 Oct 08

Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh: "Fatwas issued by individuals have been present ancient times, since the days of the Companions of the Prophet. However, in early times, disagreements on fatwas by the people were simple and minor disagreements on the interpretation of one of the prophet's sayings or about a general subject. They did not have dangerous differences and thus disagreement was something desirable. However, in this age unfortunately, some fatwas have taken a bad course and some channels began to exploit some of those that are not scholarly in religious affairs. They may be symbols that are referred to as this or that and they are exploited to issue fatwas on Shariaa affairs about which they do not know anything. Thus, the issued fatwas may be wrong ones because they are not based on the holy book and the Sunnah unless someone issues a fatwa based on the holy book and the Sunnah while disagreeing with me on a point about which I had disagreed with him. Such a case would be easier. But it is a disaster and a calamity when a person issues abnormal fatwas that violate justice and that are not based on general rules and constants claiming that he wants to simplify matters and make things easy to understand."

This wide-ranging interview also discusses al-Qaeda, Shi'a-Sunni relations, and the Ramadan moon sighting issue
Lecturers at risk?

Times Higher, Lecturers fear anti-terror laws, 2 Oct 08 "Fear among academics that their teaching and research risks falling foul of anti-terror laws is leading some to include disclaimers in their course materials, according to a senior member of the Higher Education Academy.

"Bela Arora, academic co-ordinator for politics at the HEA's Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (CSAP), organised a workshop on "teaching terrorism" at the University of Strathclyde last month."