Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Imam Muda

Barney Henderson, Telegraph Malaysia's got talent: imams take their chants at victory, 25 June 2010 "The Young Imam competitors are becoming idols to teenage viewers. The show's Facebook page has more than 25,000 fans, including prospective mothers-in-law looking to marry off their daughters."

Useful article - headline writers on different news sources are having some fun with X-factor type banners.  

Some selected clips are here (plenty more on YouTube):

It makes for interesting viewing; the show could be a useful resource for students of Islam.

The official Facebook page is here: Facebook, Imam Muda

"'Prince of Jihad' gets 5 years"

straitstimes.com, 'Prince of Jihad' gets 5 years , 29 June 2010An Indonesian publisher and Islamist blogger known as the 'Prince of Jihad' was sentenced to five years in jail on Tuesday for abetting suicide attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta last year ...

" ... Mohammed Jibril Abdurahman, publisher of extremist literature and a militant blog, was arrested at his Ar-Rahmah media company weeks after the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings that killed seven people on July 17, 2009."

also see AFP/thejakartaglobe.com, ‘Prince of Jihad’ Jailed for Jakarta Hotel Bombings, 29 June 2010

Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani's 'fatwa' on music

Abdul Rahman Shaheen, , gulfnews.com, Scholars divided over imam's fatwa on music, 29 June 2010 "A fatwa (religious ruling) issued by Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, in which he claimed that Islam does not forbid singing and music has split Saudi scholars, Islamic thinkers and secularists...

" ... A number of Saudi scholars, preachers, men of letters and writers who spoke to Gulf News were divided on the fatwa. Al Kalbani was strongly criticised specially on the internet which many of them said Al Kalbani has exited the Islamic Jamaa (group)."

In a related development:

Sultan Al-Tamimi, Arab News, Makkah ex-imam’s website hacked, 25 June 2010 "A website belonging to a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah was hacked last week.

"Anyone visiting Sheikh Adil Al-Kalbani’s website at the time would be greeted with a blank page with a picture at the top of the movie character The Joker, who the hacker had apparently named himself after."

Research: "Virtual Caliphate"

YAAKOV LAPPIN Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Analysis: Cyber jihadis circumvent borders, 29 June 2010"Al-Qaida’s main point of access into Israel is via the Web, just as the Internet has opened the door to international jihadi doctrines and incitement to violence in dozens of other Western states."

Note on author: "Yaakov Lappin will publish a book called Virtual Caliphate on the use of the internet by jihadis in September, to be published by Potomac Books."  Details are here


Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, srilankaguardian.org, Al Qaeda eyes on Bangladesh, 29 June 2010"The next Jihadist generation's piety will equal or exceed that of bin Laden's generation. The new Jihadist, having grown up in an internet and satellite television-dominated world, will be more aware of Muslim struggles around the world, more comfortable with a common Muslim identity, more certain that the U.S.-led West is "oppressing" Muslims, and more inspired by the example bin Laden has set—bin Laden's generation had no bin Laden. While leaders more pious than Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are hard to imagine, Western analysts tend to forget that many of Bin Laden's first-generation lieutenants did not mirror his intense religiosity."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Iran 'prayer sellers'

Reuters, In Islamic Iran prayer sellers' trade is booming, 28 June 2010 "In Islamic Iran where clerics rule, unofficial "prayer sellers," who promise to intercede with the divine to solve all manner of life's problems, are seeing their business boom." Prayers can be purchased online.


middle-east-online.com, Piety tops marriage criteria among Muslims, 24 June 2010 "SingleMuslim.com, an interactive community of more than 500,000 members seeking potential marriage partners, polled its members to find out the most important criteria they used when searching for a partner."

See singlemuslim.com

Islamic Bank of Britain domain

birminghampost.net, Islamic Bank of Britain wins rights to website domain name, 25 June 2010 "Islamic Bank of Britain’s website has been reached at the address since 2004, but the bank did not actually own the domain name – it was registered by a New Zealand company called Ifena Consulting which had supplied information technology services to the bank.

"But Ifena recently told Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) it wanted to auction the domain name off – a move which could have had had serious consequences for the bank’s online banking services, where it offers Shariah-compliant finance products to businesses and individuals."

Islamic Bank of Britain

Pakistan net ban (cont/d)

AFP, Pakistan to monitor websites for 'anti-Islam content', 25 June 2010 sounds like a full time job, which should provide employment for many

"Pakistan's government ordered the monitoring of websites including Google, Yahoo and YouTube for "anti-Islam content" Friday, an official said, as tensions over the Internet continued."

Humour perspective on net bans

Omar Bilal Akhtar, Tribune, I support the internet bans, 28 June 2010 "If we have started doing it now, it’s simply because of the onslaught of western liberal technology that has destroyed our morals and forced us, for the first time, to view our women as sexual objects.

"Don’t even get me started on Yahoo and Bing. They aren’t even complete words. They are just noises and exclamations. Exclamations of joy made by the Devil every time you click on them." Humour perspective.

Net 'radicalisation'

AP, 7 Israeli Arabs charged in attacks, 28 June 2010 "The Shin Bet security service says the seven underwent a process of Islamic radicalization in recent years through material published on the Internet."

Pakistan appeal ongoing

Reuters, Five Americans appeal terrorism convictions in Pakistan, 28 June 2010 "The five Americans, all students in their 20s, were sentenced Thursday for contacting militants online and plotting attacks by a court in Pakistan, fighting its own battle with Islamist radicals."

Friday, June 25, 2010


Ankita Rao, Huffington Post, Is Facebook A Sin? Some Muslims Think So, 24 June 2010

Khaled Said

Additional materials on the Khaled Said case:

البرادعى وزوجته يزوران أسرة خالد سعيد لتقديم العزاء
,لليوم السابع
[youm7.com news coverage]

شاهد: البرادعي في منزل شهيد الطوارئ
جريدة الشروق

(tip Twitter: amansour87)

Also see Mona Eltahawy, huffingtonpost.com, Generation Mubarak/Generation Facebook, 25 June 2010 "When a young Egyptian died from what his family, activists and witnesses say was a savage police beating, many of his peers - the generation of Egyptians who have known no other leader than President Hosni Mubarak - protested and mourned in the way they know best: by going online."

Twitter: #KhaledSaid


I'm presently working on some new research, planning a further book and some lectures. So the occasional piece of material discovered while engaging in this occasional work in progress will surface on this blog. For example, I was just checking Gowalla, which I blogged about a few months back. There are now several mosques listed, and I'm curious to know how this will progress in other cities. Wales isn't listed, so here's an example from London:

Research on TV

Two useful new pieces of research:

Yasmin Moll, Arab Media & Society, Islamic Televangelism: Religion, Media and Visuality in Contemporary Egypt with references to Mustafa Hosni, Amr Khaled and Moez Masoud.

Secondly, Maurice Chammah, , Arab Media & Society, Cosmopolitan Islamism and its Critics: Ahmed Abu Haiba, 4Shbab TV, and Western Reception

I haven't fully read these pieces yet.


Twitter: #khaledsaid

Zeinobia, Egyptian Chronicles, Follow : A Day of Anger in Alexandria, 25 June 2010 has been extensively updated with photos and film clips.


David George-Cosh, The National, Jordan portal to dig into Arabic social networking, 22 June 2010 "A Jordanian web portal is planning to tap into the social networking phenomenon by giving its users the tools to create their own version of Facebook.

"The move by d1g.com is designed to boost the amount of Arabic content online. It is estimated that only 1 per cent of all online content is in Arabic, despite there being about 300 million native speakers around the world."

According to my screenshot, cats would appear to be prominent on the mind of d1g.com users today:

World cup coverage in Palestine & Gaza

AFP, Palestinian fans turn to Israeli TV for World Cup, 25 June 2010 "An official at Palestine TV, a network run by the Palestinian Authority, said he was not concerned about the reliance on Israeli TV, which he assumed would end with the tournament on July 11."

Nazril Irham charged

Karishma Vaswani, BBC News, Sex tape charges for Indonesian star Nazril Irham, 25 June 2010 "One of Indonesia's top celebrities has been charged under an anti-pornography law for his alleged role in sex videos which have appeared on the internet."

Bookmarking tools

Mohamed Marwen Meddah, startuparabia.com, Revisiting Arabic Social Bookmarking And Content Discovery, June 23, 2010, "A bit over two years ago, I wrote a post about the Arab social bookmarking services out there, listing the existing options, how good they looked and how well they seemed to be doing, identifying the top ones at that time.

"If anyone were to pull up that same list today and go check on each one of the sites, they’d find that some have shut down, others have become useless and spam ridden, some others have become pretty much inactive, and only one or two are still holding on. What’s clear though is that these social bookmarking services never caught on with Arab web users, and never achieved their founders’ initial dreams for them."

Useful overview of Arabic tools.

Hossein Derakhshan trial begins

Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL, Trial Of Iran’s 'Blogfather’ Begins, 20 Months After His Arrest, 24 June 2010 "Iran’s hard-line Fars news agency reports that the trial of controversial blogger Hossein Derakhshan, known as Iran’s “Blogfather" for helping to popularize blogging in the Islamic republic, began in Tehran on June 23."

There's a good update on Robert Mackey, The Lede, Trial of Iran’s ‘Blogfather’ Begins in Tehran, 24 June 2010

Further information on the case can be found at Free Hoder, and also via the label on this blog post. The image on the left comes from that website. There is also a Facebook: Free Hossein Derakhshan group. The Twitter feed is here

Also see his sisters' blog in support of Hossein:

عدالت برای حسین درخشان

"Follow : A Day of Anger in Alexandria"

Zeinobia, Egyptian Chronicles, Follow : A Day of Anger in Alexandria, 25 June 2010

"Today is the day and after an hour the Friday prayer will be held in Sidi Gaber mosque which has been surrounded by security presence only seen in the Al Aqasa Mosque. I have also known that there is a heavy security presence at Sultan Ibrahim mosque as well.

"Sidi Gaber has been turned in to a military zone , with thousands of anti-riots forces according to eye witnesses."

Live coverage, so return for updates.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adam Gadahn video

AP, Al-Qaida spokesman sets peace conditions with US, 21 June 2010 "The 24-minute video follows an earlier message released in March and was posted on militant Web sites Sunday. Adam Gadahn said the Democrats' loss in January of the Massachusetts Senate seat underlined Obama's falling popularity."

The video is widely available online. It contains an extensive 'commentary' on President Obama, and draws on film clips of US military veterans.

Blackburn 'jihadis'

Kim Pilling, Press Association, Independent, Jihadi terror obsession led to pair's conviction, 23 June 2010

"In his online guise he was the freedom fighter who had just returned wounded from the battlegrounds of disputed Kashmir or the committed warrior who had been locked in combat with US forces in Iraq.

"The reality was that Kanmi sent most of his messages from the more tranquil setting of Blackburn Central Library."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kelantan advice for HIV/AIDS couples

The Star, Use condoms to reduce number of cases, state advises HIV/AIDS couples, 22 June 2010 "To a supplementary question by Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mahmood (PAS-Gaal) whether the state government encouraged the use of condoms among students who were sexually active to curb the spread of the disease, she said illicit sex was against Islam and it was doing its best to discourage such activities and return the youth to the true path of the religion.

"“Among the reasons for such occurrences are the Internet and television and entertainment activities that contribute to sexual activities among the younger generation and the government will continue with its campaign to educate the younger generation about the ills of illicit sex,” she added."

'Muslim Women Reformers'

Ulara Nakagawa, The Diplomat, Muslim Women Reformers, 21 June 2010 Ida Lichter discusses her book Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression: "In my research, I uncovered many women activists who are bravely working to overturn institutionalized gender discrimination in their societies. However, their voices are barely heard above the din of extremists. Some of them also face increasing state-controlled Internet restrictions. By amplifying their voices, I aimed to increase awareness of Muslim women reformers and their organisations, support their empowerment and provide a resource to stimulate further interest and research. Some researchers travelling to Afghanistan have actually approached me for assistance in making contact with reformers I profiled in my book."

Pakistan YouTube + re-blocked

Reuters, Pakistan court again orders websites blocked, 23 June 2010 "A Pakistani court ordered restrictions reimposed on video sharing network YouTube and eight more websites blocked for showing material deemed offensive to Muslims, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

"The other websites are Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, Google, Islam Exposed, In The Name Of Allah, Amazon and Bing.

"If enforced, all major web-based email services, every major search engine and the top shopping site on the Internet would be blocked in Pakistan."

No entry for Naik and Phillips

muslimmatters.org, Muslim Preachers, Zakir Naik & Bilal Phillips, Denied Entry into UK, 23 June 2010, "The Internet Muslim Community has been buzzing with reports of Dr Zakir Naik being denied entry into the UK. Dr Zakir Naik was scheduled to host his Famous Peace Conference in the UK this year but was denied a visa on the accusation of him being a supporter of terrorism."

Indonesia update

AFP, Indonesia to protect 'sex clip' stars from Islamists, 23 June 2010 "Indonesian police said Wednesday they would detain two television starlets who allegedly appear in sex videos posted online, after furious Islamic extremists threatened to do it themselves."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Germany and 'radicalisation'

Der Spiegel, Had It with Jihad: Germany to Launch Exit Program for Militant Islamists, 22 June 2010 "Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, will launch the so-called exit program at the end of June, agency chief Heinz Fromm announced Monday, speaking at the presentation of the service's annual report for 2009 in Berlin. The agency is to set up a telephone hotline that militant Islamists can call if they want to leave radical Islamist groups. Multilingual specialists will be available to give potential quitters advice in Turkish or Arabic, as well as German, Fromm said, without giving further details of the program."

Indonesia internet

AFP, Indonesian Islamists rally over Internet porn, 22 June 2010 "Hundreds of Indonesian Islamists rallied in central Jakarta on Tuesday to demand the stoning to death and public caning of celebrities who allegedly appear in homemade sex videos circulating online.

"About 1,000 protesters led by radical group Hizbut Tahrir shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is greater) and brandished black flags and banners with slogans such as "Arrest those who commit promiscuous sex"."

Also see AFP, Indonesian rock star surrenders over web sex clips2, 22 June 2010 "The mainly Muslim country's first celebrity sex video scandal has underscored the widening gulf between traditional values and modern, Internet-driven youth culture in the Southeast Asian archipelago.

"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has cited the videos in voicing his support for tougher controls on the Internet."

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia's website is currently running very slowly, but they have been running some coverage of the demostration here.

Also see National Express Malaysia, Indonesian Sex Videos May Trigger Internet Crackdown, 22 June 2010

Debnath Guharoy, Analysis: Sharia influences millions of Lux users, 22 June 2010 "It’s unfortunate that Luna Maya and Ariel have become YouTube celebrities, overnight. This column is not the forum for fanning meaningless gossip. But the on going saga does shine a spotlight on brands, their consumers and the social context within which they exist."

Then there's rudefox.com, Luna Maya And Cut Tari Videos Infect Your PC "In a recent trend, thousands of computers are getting infected when people try to visit sites that supposedly have videos featuring Luna Maya and Cut Tari Videos. When the user opens the website, he will see a notice that tells him that his computer is infected and he should install an antivirus unaware that it is a trap."

Darul Uloom profile

Edna Fernandez, Daily Mail, Inside the Muslim Eton: 20 hour days starting at 3.45am with the aim of producing Muslim elite of leaders, 20 June 2010

"... the school vigorously encourages IT skills and study of sciences, and it plans to raise millions to build a new science block in the future.

"Recreation time lasts until 7pm but this is a group of boys for whom the iPod, Facebook, mobile phones and Harry Potter novels are banned, along with surfing internet sites other than those approved by imams."

Al-Fateh children's website reviewed

Yohanan Manor and Ido Mizrahi, Hamas's Web School for Suicide Bombers, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2010, pp. 31-40 "All states use education as a medium to encourage responsible behavior in their children, at least in part to develop a law-abiding, civic-minded citizenry. Authoritarian regimes have a history of distorting this trust, often turning schools into places of indoctrination for a state or religious ideology. The Palestinians have, for some time now, created an educational system exemplifying this indoctrinational approach: Their textbooks deny Jewish and Israeli legitimacy within historic Palestine, demonize Jews and Israelis, discourage compromise or negotiated peace, and glorify violent struggle to achieve what are often termed "Palestinian aspirations." Since coming to power through elections in early 2006 and following its military coup in Gaza in June 2007, Hamas has continued this path of indoctrination, utilizing its popular children's website, Al-Fateh."

Note on the writers' perspective: "Yohanan Manor, chairman of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, is the author of "Arabs and Palestinians in Israeli School Textbooks" in Korinman and Laughland, eds., Israel on Israel (Valentine, 2008). Ido Mizrahi is research project coordinator at the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Iran and technology

Jillian C. York, Comment is Free, Guardian, US gives Iran more net freedom – but what about Syria?, 16 June 2010 "Iranian web users recently received some good news: following the media frenzy over last year's elections, the US has chosen to relax export controls related to technology, giving users access to previously unavailable communications tools. The changes will affect not only Iran, but Sudan and Cuba as well, countries where free internet use has long been stifled by US restrictions."

World Cup 'fatwa'

Mathilde Aarseth, jihadica.com, World Cup Fatwa, 17 June 2010 "In case you hadn’t noticed, the soccer World Cup is on. To mark the occasion Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad prominently displays a fatwa tackling the issue of the legality of watching the World Cup. Like every religious edict, it is introduced by a question, in this case from a presumed jihadi football fan. The tormented soul is not worried about the game in itself, but rather its sinful surroundings. Is it really OK for a good Muslim to watch lightly dressed women cheering from the grandstands while music is being played over the loudspeakers?"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tatarstan net

eurasiareview.com, Kazan Tatars Launch Websites To Promote Modernist Islam, 15 June 2010

"Last week, Rafik Mukhametshin, rector of the Russian Islamic University in Kazan, announced the launch of the first of these, a new Islamic Internet portal at www.islam-portal.ru/ to “propagandize the intellectual Islam of the Hanafi School that is traditional for Tatarstan."

Indonesia net

AFP, Indonesia minister calls for Internet blacklist, 17 June 2010 "Indonesia's communications minister vowed Thursday to issue a decree by the end of the year to "save the young" from pornography on the Internet.

"The mainly Muslim country has been scandalised by the recent online release of homemade sex videos involving three popular celebrities, breathing new life into proposals to filter the Internet for pornographic content."

tweetmeme Arabic

arabcrunch.com, Retweet Button Now Multi Lingual And Translates Retweeted Stories In Many Languages Including Arabic! nice idea, but arabcrunch notes there are some content/tech issues re. google translation (nothing new there then!).

"Tweetmeme has been an innovative startup, its Retweet button that allows people to Retweet any story ( repost to their Twitter stream) has been installed according to the company by over 200,000 websites ( we are one of them.)"

Twitter trends

Matt Silverman, Mashable, 5 Terrific Tools for Keeping Tabs on Twitter Trends, 15 June 2010

This is a useful article. It discusses Trendistic, Twopular, Tweetvolume, PicFog and bitly.tv. I'm considering how to integrate these and some other tools into my research, especially in relation to trending topics. The first three are the most relevant at present. I've also been looking at Bing's trending topics.

Iran net police

CNN, Iran to create internet police, security chief says "He [Maj. Gen. Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghadam] said the force was necessary because the "internet is relatively new and is so extensively used," so "unique and serious threats are felt by users and the society. Identifying these threats and removing them and passing new laws applicable in this space is part of an effort to prevent any harm.""

Tunisia e-gov

Hannan Taha, globalarabnetwork.com, Tunisia Wins United Nations E-government Award, 16 June 2010

Syrian tech

globalarabnetwork.com, Syria Discusses Cooperation with US Information Technology Companies, 16 June 2010 "The Deputy Prime Minister said the government's programs aim to develop the capabilities of Syrian establishments and companies and their workers in the fields of info-tech, adding that Syria is exerting efforts to spread computer culture on all levels through providing people with means for learning and possessing info-tech skills, in addition to providing computers and internet services at reasonable prices."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

International State Crime Initiative

Melanie McFadyean, Times Higher Education, Research intelligence: Big Brother backlash, 10 June 2010 "Mention the study of state crime and people tend to ask what it entails. Put simply, it is a relatively new branch of criminology focusing on states as perpetrators of crime."

"Now its profile is set to be raised by Penny Green, head of research at King's College London's School of Law, and Tony Ward, reader in law at the University of Hull, who have set up the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), a website with grand ambitions."

See statecrime.org for more info. on archives and resources.

The site was launched by Robert Fisk. Yusuf Sayman's film "You are Turkish" and the Sayman Photo Essay on Turkey & Iraq also featured in the launch.

Waayaha Cusub

AFP, Exiled Somali musicians rap against the Shebab, 15 June 2010 "A group of young Somali musicians in exile is challenging the hardline Shebab Islamists who control large swathes of their homeland, by recording anti-Shebab songs set to hip-hop and rap.

"Their songs, recorded in the Kenyan capital, find their way into Somalia on pirated CDs, on the radio or via internet, to the anger of the Shebab."

Plenty of their music is available online, such as:

Internet Thoyyibah - Kelantan

Najhah Najib, Malay Mail, Enter... The 'halal' Internet browser, 15 June 2010 "At the launch of Internet Thoyyibah last month, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat expressed hope that this service would bridge the digital divide among people in the State.

"Kelantan records the lowest rate of Internet users in the country, with only 10 per cent of its 1.5 million population.

"The Pas spiritual leader said although the State government champions Islamic-based development, he encouraged people to utilise modern technology the 'halal' way, responsible Internet usage being one of them."

Also see dikelantan.com, Internet thoyyibah prohibit access to approved site, 17 May 2010

Also see: dikelantan.com, Internet Thoyyibah which has links to the product, should you wish to download it, together with further background info ...


arabcrunch.com, Yemeni Social Rating Site Ras2ras.com "Acquired by an Investor from Qatar, 13 June 2010"Ras2ras.com, a social rating platform from Yemen was acquired by an investor from Qatar for an undisclosed amount. Ras2ras.com, which was founded by Amad Almsaodi in 2008, is built around a very simple yet really interesting idea: putting any two comparable things against each other, and letting people vote on which they like best."

I like the idea of Ras2ras.com too. As you'll see from the shot below, it asks 'significant' questions. Which is better: gold or cash? Brazil or Portugal (that's a World Cup question!)?  etc.

Riyad Bank website hacked

arabcrunch.com, Update: Riyad Bank Website Gets Hacked, 14 June 2010 "Saudi bank Riyad Bank has been hacked by a group of hackers who posted a message demanding to end the service of the Mayor of Al Madina province in Saudi Arabia."

Book: Journey into America

Frankie Martin, CNN, Belief Blog, My Take: New portrait of Muslim America shows community on edge, 11 June 2010 Background on a new book: Akbar Ahmed, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, Brookings Institution Press

The latter site gives this description: "Journey into America is equal parts anthropological research, listening tour, and travelogue. Whereas Ahmed's previous book took the reader into homes, schools, and mosques in the Muslim world, his new quest takes us into the heart of America and its Muslim communities. It is absolutely essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of America today."

Not a 'tech' story, but it has implications in relation to many of the themes discussed in this blog (Martin was one of the researchers). I haven't seen this book yet.


Twitter: #Kyrgyzstan

Robert Mackey, The Lede, NYT, Video of Kyrgyz Unrest on YouTube, 14 June 2010 "Video showing the aftermath of deadly clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek citizens in and around Osh has been posted on YouTube and collected on the video-sharing service’s CitizenTube blog. Some of the images of dead or badly wounded people posted on the blog are very hard to watch."

Indonesia internet

Andy Saputra, CNN, Alleged celebrity sex tape shocks modest Indonesia, 14 June 2010, "Police in Indonesia were on Monday investigating video clips that allegedly show three celebrities taking part in sex acts. The images, spreading online and via cellphones, have shocked the modest Muslim nation."


Matthew Weaver, Guardian, Iran protests: One-man video channel that is a thorn in Tehran's side, 11 June 2010 "Until his father was arrested, Mehdi Saharkhiz had little to do with Iranian politics. But since the arrest in the aftermath of the disputed elections last July, Saharkhiz, a 28-year-old graphic designer living in New Jersey, has poured all his energies into a one-man internet video channel that has captured crucial moments of the country's unrest.

"Saharkhiz has become the source for dramatic mobile phone footage of the demonstrations and their violent suppression. As independent mainstream media has effectively been banned from Iran, it is these amateur clips that have perhaps best documented what has been happening in the country – and they have been a major irritant to Tehran."

See onlymehdi for examples of the clips, and also Twitter @onlymehdi.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Iran: censorship

CNN, Hamid Dabashi, opinion piece, One year later, Iran protesters fight on, 11 June 2010 "The hopes and aspirations of these young women and men -- in a nation where young people make up some 70 percent of the total population -- are now branded a "fetneh/menace" by the loud propaganda machinery of the Islamic Republic."

Also see

Hamid Tehrani, globalvoicesonline.org, Iran: Two Bloggers and Student Leader on Hunger Strike in Prison, 28 May 2010 "Two bloggers and one leading student activist - deprived of their pen and blogs in an Iranian prison - are now using a hunger strike to protest prison conditions and defend their rights.

"The student is Majid Tavakoli, a leading human rights activist, and the two bloggers are Hussein Ronagh Melki, and Koohyar Godarzi."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Taliban 'hacked'

Adam Rawnsley, wired, Taliban Webmaster: We’ve Been Hacked!, 10 June 2010 "Abu al-Aina’a al-Khorasani, an administrator an elite jihadi forum endorsed by the Taliban, warns in an online post that the “group’s main site and the site of its online journal Al-Sumud, have been the subject of an ‘infiltration operation.’”"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Arabic Bloggers Forum

WAM (Emirates News Agency), Arab Blogging Award launched in Ajman, 10 June 2010 "Outstanding Arab and Gulf bloggers will be recognised under a new ''Arab Blogging Award'' launched at the end of the first Arab Bloggers Forum hosted by the Emirate of Ajman."

More at GIA News, First Arab Bloggers Conference concludes sessions, 10 June 2010 "The First Arab Bloggers Conference, co-organised by the Department of Culture and Media (DCM) – Ajman, the Information General Authority and the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, has shed light on the personalities and fads of the people behind the over 75 million active Arabic blogs on over 120,000 platforms."

First Arab Bloggers Conference

Ahmed Shabaan, khaleejtimes.com, Arab bloggers discuss freedom, abuse of platform "Arab bloggers have helped spread Arabic content on the Internet and attracted millions of surfers in the region, according to the First Arab Bloggers Conference which kicked off on Tuesday in Ajman.

"“Not only have Arab blogs attracted some 60 million Arab web surfers, but also ranked Arabic language up to the sixth position among all active languages on the world wide web,” Saudi blogger Mohammed Badwi told the audience of the first session titled ‘Press and Media’."

Government bloggers

Ahmed Shaaban, khaleejtimes.com, Government blogging still short of systematisation, 10 June 2010

"The Arab countries, particularly the UAE and Bahrain, have presented leading examples of government blogging, yet all still lack systematisation, according to senior official here.

"“The Bahraini e-government has created a blog where it more effectively interacted with the public and led to an informed decision making process based on the comments, feedback and information received and collected from residents,” said Dr Basem Shahin, Content Development Manager at the UAE General Information Authority."

Abu Yahya al-Libi

Views from the Occident, Abu Yahya al-Libi's New Book: Jihad & the Battle of Uncertainty/Vagueness/Doubt "Abu Yahya al-Libi, a senior Al-Qa'ida Central (AQC) leader based in Pakistan-Afghanistan who is often referred to as the group's mufti (chief jurist), has penned a new book, Jihad and the Battle of Uncertainty/Vagueness/Doubt, الجهاد و معركة الشبهات . The 45-page book was published by the Al-Fajr (Dawn) Media Center, a shadowy transnational jihadi-takfiri media outlet that distributes all the visual, audio, and written media productions of AQC and its two main affiliates, Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North and Northwest Africa and Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) based in Yemen."

ICT in Arab world

David Morgan, globalarabnetwork.com, Towards Information Society - National e-Strategies in the Arab World, 5 June 2010

"The report, National e-Strategies for Development Global Status and Perspectives 2010, highlights the varying stages of development in the adoption of ICT across the Arab World."

See ITU, E-Strategies/ICT Strategies which links to the pdf: "The report National e-Strategies for Development, Global Status and Perspectives, 2010 is a publication in the framework of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the WSIS’s Tunis phase and the adoption of the Tunis Agenda for Information Society. The Report reviews the progress in the elaboration of comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable national e-strategies, and makes recommendations on policies and measures. This includes ICT strategies and sectoral e-strategies as an integral part of national development plans and poverty reduction strategies, as was called for by the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society."

Morocco DELL

globalarabnetwork.com, DELL Opens in Morocco its Biggest Business Center in Europe, Middle East & Africa, 8 June 2010 "Dell's chief financial officer, Brian Gladden underlined that Morocco "represents a strategic investment for DELL" as the country experiences one of the highest growth rates and has a qualified multilingual workforce in the ICTs field."

KSA bloggers

Rima al-Mukhtar, Women bloggers express themselves on Web, 8 June 2010 "As Internet usage in the Kingdom increases, so is the number of women who use it to express themselves in ways they would never do in public, not even in front of their closest friends.

"Around 500 female Saudi bloggers responded to an online Arab News survey about their ages, the topics they write about and why they blog. Sixty percent of respondents, all of whom are between 17 and 30, use blogs as personal diaries, while 30 percent comment on social issues and 10 percent write about fashion."

This sounds like useful research: I'd like to see the data-set.

Asri Zainul Abidin: profile

ennaharonline.com, A mufti in preaches an open Islam in Malaysia, 10 June 2010

"By tightening their speech, the Conservatives seek to strengthen their base, says former mufti of Perlis state, bordering Thailand, which became a university professor in 2008.

"They can win the battle but, at the age of the Internet, they can not win the hearts of young Muslims who are demanding answers based on reason," he said.

US arrests NJ update

Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger, N.J. terror suspects to appear in court for bail hearing, 10 June 2010, "The men, both U.S. citizens, had been being monitored by the FBI since 2006 after they began watching lectures by radical Muslim clerics on the Internet. Authorities say Alessa, of North Bergen, and Almonte, of Elmwood Park, were caught on tape talking about killing, beheading and sending Americans home in body bags."

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Net coverage to east Arabia and Afghanistan

arabcrunch.com, ArabSat to Deliver Internet Via Satellite to East Arabia and Afghanistan, 9 June 2010 "Arabsat coverage design utilizes Ka-band technology will cover the Arab peninsula, Levant and Afghanestan in face of this project, Hesham said they will have 3 gatways to cover several spots most propably in Amman, Jordan, serving Levant, Damam and Judha in Suadi Arabia."

Turkey: Google blocked

eweekeurope.co.uk, Google Sites Blocked By Turkish Government, 9 June 2010 "The Turkish government has reportedly imposed a ban on Internet search engine Google and many of its services – including Google Docs, Books and Analytics.

"In an official statement, the Turkish Telecommunications Presidency (TIB) – which regulates communications in the country – confirmed the that it had blocked access to many Google IP addresses, citing “legal reasons”. However, it gave no further explanation of these reasons, nor did it confirm whether the ban is temporary or permanent."

See the related article in Hürriyet Daily News, Google new target of Turkish censors, 4 June 2010 "Turkey's web users again bear the brunt of heavy-handed censorship as the Telecommunications Commication Presidency indefinitely shuts off access to several Google services, including 'Google Docs.' The move follows the banning of the popular video-sharing website YouTube for alleged insults against Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk"

There's some commentary on Un:dhimmi, Turkey’s Censors Tighten Grip on Google, 5 June 2010

Here's a taxation related story: Thomas Seibert, newstilt.com, YouTube is asked to pay taxes in Turkey despite being banned, 9 June 2010 "Already under fire by rights groups for restricting Internet access for its citizens, Turkey’s government has opened itself to more criticism by saying YouTube owes Ankara millions of dollars in taxes – even though the website is banned in the country."

Also see Telecommunications Commication Presidency, which may have some updates in due course.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Op-ed on Facebook protests

Ramzy Baroud, ZCommunications, Facebook and Muslim Outrage: Gleaning the Wrong Lesson, Again, 6 Jun 2010 "The naïve depiction by Western media makes it easy for ‘freedom of expression’ enthusiasts to condemn Muslims for yet again failing the democracy test.

"The latest Facebook episode is a remake of the same old story. Some ill-intended ‘artist’, under the guise of freedom of speech, takes on a confrontational mission, knowing fully the response such an act would generate, and perhaps the lives that would be lost. Muslim masses, predictably, respond through angry protests, burning flags, denouncing America, Israel, Zionism, Facebook, Youtube and so on. Strangely, the very governments that are considered US allies tend to be on the forefront of condemning the ‘blasphemous’ provocations. Muslim masses are thus exploited on all fronts - by the media, by anti-Muslims, by rightwing forces in the West, and their own governments."

'Islam in Cyberspace: South Asian Muslims in America Log In'

Currently reading:

Smeeta Mishraab & Gaby Semaan, Islam in Cyberspace: South Asian Muslims in America Log In, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Volume 54, Issue 1 January 2010 , pages 87 - 101 "This study explores how South Asian Muslims in the United States use the Internet for religious purposes. In-depth interviews of 25 respondents show that they used the Internet to listen to religious lectures, look up information about prayer times, holidays, halal food, rules regarding the recitation of the Qur'an, and correct pronunciation of Arabic words. The anonymity offered by the Internet helped them seek Islamic answers to deeply personal questions. Many respondents made lifestyle decisions after accessing multiple opinions on an issue on the Internet. However, it was difficult to definitively conclude whether access to competing interpretations of Islam necessarily led to moderate or extreme lifestyle choices."

Details here

Wikileaks Inquiry

Robert Mackey, The Lede, NYT, U.S. Soldier Arrested in Wikileaks Inquiry After Tip From Former Hacker, 7 June 2010 "Wired’s Threat Level blog reported late Sunday that “an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks,” was arrested by the Pentagon."

'Iran's Hidden Cyberjihad'

Abbas Milani, Foreign Policy, Iran's Hidden Cyberjihad, 7 June 2010 "The Iranian government trains its cyberjihadists in everything from how to influence chat rooms to the "semiotics of cyberspace," according to a curriculum sent to me by a disgruntled regime member. The IRGC site Gerdab.ir features photos of demonstrators, seeking in effect to crowd-source surveillance. Since September, the IRGC has owned the telecommunications giant that controls all Internet access, cell phones, and social networking sites in Iran. But the story of Iran's cyberjihad has gone almost entirely unremarked in the Western media, despite its massive scale and relative effectiveness."

Bangladesh Facebook update

A.N.M. Nurul Haque, Daily Star (Bangladesh), Facebook furore, 8 June 2010

"The sacrilege committed by some global users through posting a few pages in Facebook, might have caused offence to religious sentiment, and the government sought to protest it openly. But the ostensible reason for blocking Facebook was the caricatures of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition posted on it. The person who drew the caricatures should be dealt with in accordance with the law, but there is no point in victimising all the users."

Detailed article/update

Somalia in focus

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian, How Somalia's civil war became new front in battle against al-Qaida, 7 June 2010 "Al-Shabab's success – like other Islamist organisations – can partly be attributed to their "modern structure", based more on merit rather than tribal loyalties. Beliefs, rituals and loyalty to the commander of the faithful replace the traditional loyalties."

Excellent detailed report by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, which includes some reference to the impact of technology on recruitment for al-Shabab and Hezb al-Islam.

Also see Xan Rice, Guardian, Somalia: Roots of war, 8 June 2010

AQAP: "America & the Final Trap"

Views from the Occident, Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula: "America & the Final Trap" features Military Chief, a USS Cole Bombing Suspect, & Former Saudi GITMO Detainee, 2 June 2010 "Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen, released a major video production, America and the Final Trap, via its media wing, the Al-Malahim (Epics) Media Foundation on May 26. This video comes closely on the hells of Al-Malahim's "exclusive" interview with the wanted radical American Muslim ideologue and preacher Anwar al-'Awlaqi (Awlaki), which was released on May 22."

Monday, June 07, 2010

Facebook in Middle East

arabnews.com, Facebook frenzy beats out newspapers in ME, 1 June 2010 "The Middle East has more Facebook users than newspaper readers, a new study has found. Spot On Public Relations, a Middle Eastern PR agency specializing in social media, found that as of May 2010, Facebook has more than 15 million users in the Middle East and North Africa, easily surpassing for the first time the region’s newspaper sales of just under 14 million."


Mohamed Marwen Meddah, startuparabia.com, AppsArabia, An Arabic Mobile Applications Development Fund, 7 June 2010 "Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 has recently announced it will be launching a new investment fund called ‘AppsArabia‘, which promotes and supports mobile app development throughout the Middle East and North Africa using the Software Development Kits (SDKs) of all the major mobile and online platforms (e.g. Android (Google), iPhone OS (Apple), BlackBerry, Facebook, OpenSocial and Ovi (Nokia))."

More info:


ME/Africa net traffic growth

bi-me.com, Middle East and Africa region to top global mobile data traffic growth at 133 % CAGR, reveals Cisco forecast, 3 June 2010

"• IP traffic in the Middle East and Africa will reach 1 exabyte per month by 2014 at a rate of 45%. Monthly Internet traffic in the Middle East and Africa will generate 182 million DVDs worth of traffic, or 727 petabytes per month.

• "The Middle East and Africa will have the strongest mobile data traffic growth of any region at 133 % CAGR, followed by Asia Pacific at 119% and North America at 117%."

Neda Agha-Soltan film

Ian Black, Guardian, Film about Iranian protest victim Neda Agha-Soltan beats regime's censors, 4 June 2010 "Iran is jamming satellite broadcasts in attempts to stop people seeing a new film telling the story of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot dead during the mass protests that followed last summer's disputed presidential election."

Download the film (Arabic, Farsi, English versions) via For Neda

Or see it on YouTube (this is the English version):

I haven't viewed this fully yet, but the first five minutes are powerful ...


Peter Finn and Jerry Markon, The Washington Post/Seattle Times, N.J. men accused of trying to join Somali terrorists, 6 June 2010, "According to the criminal complaint, the two New Jersey men listened to several U.S. citizens who have used the Internet to trumpet al-Qaida and violent jihad, including Anwar al-Aulaqi, the Yemen-based cleric linked to the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings and the Christmas Day attempt to bomb a U.S. airliner, and Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman in Pakistan. Almonte kept audio recordings of Aulaqi on his cellphone. The men also watched a video featuring Omar Hammami, a U.S.-born fighter with al-Shabab, the group they planned to join in Somalia, according to the complaint."

Facebook 'unblocked' in Bangladesh

Press Trust of India, Bangladesh lifts ban on Facebook, says will monitor it, 7 June 2010 "A week after it blocked Facebook for hosting a page with blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed and “obnoxious” images of its leaders, Bangladesh Sunday lifted a ban on the popular social networking website.

"The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) ordered the country’s international Internet gateway providers to unblock the site after the company agreed to remove the obnoxious images and content."

'Gaza flotilla' round-up

As I've been offline during the past week (although monitoring stories closely), this is a round-up of the Gaza flotilla issues as they relate to this blog:

arabcrunch.com, Updated: Now Trending #freedomflotilla 16,761 Tweets #Flotilla #Gaza on Google Maps -Social Media Guide apps, stats, maps, tweets


This contains a video archive, blog posts and associated materials.

Telegraph, Gaza flotilla attack: Israel sorry for spoof video, 7 June 2010 "In the clip, which was distributed by the Israeli government press office, the Israelis sing: "We con the world, we con the people. We'll make them all believe the IDF (Israel Defence Force) is Jack the Ripper.""

The Israeli clip is here.

Amira Al Hussaini, globalvoicesonline.org, MENA: Question Time Following Gaza-Bound Flotilla Attack "As the dust settles, and some of the ‘truths' come out, a new wave of tweets on Israel's attacking the Gaza-bound flotilla take over the Internet. Here are a few reactions from the Twittersphere summing up reactions of users around the world, some asking questions we are yet to learn the answers for."

examiner.com, Murder on the high seas sparks global outrage, 2 June 2010 "Four of the nine killed by Israeli commandos aboard the Mavi Marmara were Turkish citizens. Three of the six ships in the Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla were Turkish. Some of those who were on board the vessels included a Holocaust survivor and a survivor of the U.S.S. Liberty. The journalists aboard the ships were armed with video cameras, cell phones, and Internet connections."

AFP, Flotilla raid goes viral as Israel floods YouTube, 5 June 2010 "Days after the botched attack which killed nine Turks, the fight over what exactly happened on board the ferry is still raging on YouTube, with both sides posting more and more clips on the video-sharing website to support their case."

ikhwanweb.com, Greek witness: Israeli forces killed Turkish activist to stop media broadcast, 7 June 2010 "An activist from Greece who was on board the Freedom Flotilla which carried aid to the Gaza Strip and later became subjected to Israel's acts of piracy, accused Israel's naval forces of killing one Turkish citizen for broadcasting images of the attacks on the Internet."

Gregg Carlstrom, Al Jazeera English: The Middle East Blog, Live coverage: Israel's flotilla raid


 Here's a compilation report on the events, posted on YouTube (other perspectives are available):

Wall Street Journal, Reclusive Turkish Imam Criticizes Gaza Flotilla, 7 June 2010, "Imam Fethullah Gülen, a controversial and reclusive U.S. resident who is considered Turkey's most influential religious leader, criticized a Turkish-led flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel's consent."

Conference announcement: 'Covering Iran

Covering Iran: the role of conventional and non-conventional media.

Centre for Media and Film Studies at SOAS
One-Day Conference

"The Conference will address how the 2009 presidential election in Iran and its aftermath provided conventional international media channels with great challenges in covering events and will look at how with further controls brought to bear on the foreign press, many channels turned to use mobile phone footage and Twitter messages in television coverage."

9.00am-6.00pm, Wednesday 16th June 2010
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS

Details SOAS, Covering Iran: the role of conventional and non-conventional media

Pre-registration required.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Babcom profile

Karin Kloosterman, bikyamasr.com, A unique Arab enterprise in Israel’s high-tech community, 4 June 2010 "He rolls with some of Israel’s most illustrious millionaires, businesspeople and entrepreneurs, making Imad Telhami—the CEO of Babcom IT outsourcing and call centres in Israel’s Galilee—not your average Israeli Arab businessman ...

" ... Babcom currently employs almost 300 people, most of whom are minorities including traditional Israeli Arab Muslim women. They also hire Jewish people from the peripheries who are socio-economically disadvantaged. Telhami knows how to work with the diverse cultural and religious rifts that sometimes exist:"

The article discussed many aspects of this tech company, including outsourcing, and the diverse workforce of Babcom (Telhami is a Christian Maronite, living in a Druze village near Haifa).