Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kyoto III

I'm currently in Amsterdam airport, hoping to connect to Cardiff *soon* having managed (unexpectedly) to get back earlier than planned from Japan. It was a useful trip to Kyoto: there's a lot of interesting research going on, including in relation to Islam and the net, and I made some good contacts which I hope to build on. I'll be posting some related links in due course. Some of the work I heard going on in Japan would benefit from a wider audience. I'm hoping to prepare a paper for publication in Japan, based on my presentation. We'll see whether a Japanese version of iMuslims comes together as well ...

'Burka Woman'

Telegraph, Comedian under fire for Burka Woman version of Pretty Woman, 21 Dec 2010 "Saad Haroon has been accused of mocking Islamic values prompting bloggers to call for him to be stoned to death.

"The video follows his tongue-in-cheek efforts at serenading a "sexy ninja" or "mystery prize" hidden beneath a black niqab, with only her dark eyes visible through a narrow slit.""

Saad Haroon's website has more background (and videos (including stand-up clips)) on his work. There's also a blog. 'Burka Woman' is on YouTube.


thestar.com, Al Qaeda-affiliated website targets Arab Christians in Canada - 21 Dec 2010: "More than 100 Canadian-Arab Christians are listed on an Al Qaeda affiliated website, apparently targeted because of their alleged role in attempting to convert Muslims."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Indonesian Islam

The Jakarta Globe, The True Heart of Indonesia's Islam, 13 Dec 2010: "Four episodes will be shown during the exhibition, and Indonesian Muslim leaders and intellectuals have been invited to lead discussions of the episodes and how they apply to people’s lives.

“For decades, Islamist radicals have been propagating their virulent ideology of hatred, supremacy and violence throughout the Muslim world — fueled by a potent combination of petrodollars and missionary zeal,” [Holland] Taylor said.

“This flow of radical ideas includes a massive effort to translate and disseminate extremist texts and to produce extremist programming for television and the Internet.

"'This type of programming has started taking up a more and more significant chunk of the public discourse in many Islamic countries, as well as among Muslim communities in the West.”""

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kyoto II

Gave my paper today on e-Jihad. It was very introductory in nature, and compressed (30 minutes including a video), so could have done with more time to unpack the detail (I guess that's what the book is for) or could have spoken quicker (not so good). Some useful questions, on defining iMuslims, defining e-jihad (and historical precedents), and on comparative approaches between different forms of activism online. There's plenty of scope in all these issues, but - as many readers of this blog will know - also the need for more researchers. There's some very interesting work going on in Japan in relation to studies of the net - as well as Islamic Studies in general - which I may link into in a future post. The conference itself is very well organised, and has a good range of speakers on its programme.


As I'm presently in Japan, I've been finding out a little more about resources useful to readers to this blog. One in particular is alyaban.net. This is a project promoting news from a Japanese perspective. It is linked to the Sasakawa Middle East Islam Fund. The news and commentaries are regularly updated, and can be obtained via RSS.

Kyai Gaul

Arlina Arshad, AFP, Indonesians embrace new media for old debates, 18 Dec 2010 "To most Indonesians, Ahmad Mustofa Bisri is an influential Muslim cleric and a respected figure from the country's biggest Islamic organisation, the moderate Nahdlatul Ulama.

"But to his 7,000-odd followers on Twitter, the 66-year-old is "Kyai Gaul", or the Trendy Cleric, who thumbs daily Islamic greetings on his iPad and Blackberry."

Friday, December 17, 2010


Today's blog comes to you live from Kyoto, where I am participating in a conference.

New Horizons in Islamic Area Studies.

My paper tomorrow is part of the Islamist Discourse in Media: Papers, Computers, and Satellites session. I'm providing a version of my E-jihad: a Brief History presentation. Every time I give this, I end up re-writing it, and this time is no exception. There's no shortage of material. I'm presently wondering how to fit hundreds of screen shots into a short amount of time ...

If any material relating to the central theme of this blog emerges, I'll post it. I'm not sure if others are posting or tweeting from here.

'Fighting bad guys with good tech'

Jessi Hempel, CNN, Fighting bad guys with good tech - Fortune Tech, 16 Dec 2010 saw this today, some useful points made

Jaish al-Hacker al-Islami

Nigel Stanley, it-director.com, Cybercrime, Cyberwars, Cyberterrorism and Hacktivism - Part 2: "One member of the forum called for the creation of an Islamist organisation, which he dubbed "Jaish al-Hacker al-Islami," or the Islamic Hacker's Army." Some of this is covered in my writing, particularly 'Islam in the Digital Age' (on hacking).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sudan arrests

Reuters, Sudan police arrest women protesting at flogging video, 14 Dec 2010: "Sudanese police arrested dozens of women protesting on Tuesday against laws they say humiliate women after a video of a woman being flogged in public appeared on the Internet."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly

Thomas Hegghammer, jihadica.com, Stockholm, 12 Dec 2010 "The jihadi internet forum Shumukh has several threads devoted to the incident (see e.g. here, here, here, here, here and here). The bomber is referred to by other forum members as “our brother“, but this is a standard phrase and does not necessarily indicate a prior connection. So far there are no claims of responsibility by a known organization or jihadi media entity." [direct links excluded here, go to Dr Hegghammer's original article for the links]

Robert Mackey, The Lede, Audio of Threat ‘to Sweden’ Sent Before Bombing, 13 Dec 2010 "Here is the audio and a complete transcript of the portion of the message that was in English, which was obtained from the Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyra." Goes to direct link of audio, and transcript.

Guardian, Stockholm suicide bomber confronted by Luton mosque leaders, 13 Dec 2010 "Abdaly has been hailed as a martyr on the Islamist website al-Hanin. A photomontage on the site suggests he was a member of an al-Qaida-linked organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq."

Also see Guardian, Stockholm bombing: Iraqi group linked to al-Qaida praises attack, 13 Dec 2010 "The al-Hanin website today published a photomontage including a photograph of Iraq-born Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly suggesting he was a member of the group and had carried out the Stockholm explosion. It does not directly claim responsibilty for the attack but expresses clear approval."

Caroline Gammell and Richard Spencer, Telegraph, Sweden suicide bomber: terrorist who dreamed of Judgment Day on Facebook, 13 Dec 2010 "The suicide bomber who tried to cause carnage in Stockholm followed a series of fundamentalist Islamic websites including one preparing for the Day of Judgment."

also see Views from the Occident, Tribute Facebook Page Dedicated to Stockholm, Sweden Kamikaze, Bomber Taymour 'Abdel Wahhab al-Abdaly, 13 Dec 2010

The Facebook page in question is still up.

MENA Ad Spending

arabcrunch.com, Google: MENA Ad Spending is Between 110-130 Million USD in 2010, 100 Million Arab Users will be Online in 2015 - ArabCrunch, 12 Dec, 2010 "During his speech at google’s first organized event in Egypt coined G Days Ari Kesisoglu – Regional Manager, Middle East North Africa said that online ad spending in the MENA region is between 110 to 130 Million USD annually. Although there is no real projections of online ad spending, last year it was estimated below 100 million USD, thus annual growth rate is estimated between 20-40 %."

"Reform in Saudi Arabia: A Battle of the Fatwas"

James M Dorsey, mideastposts.com, Reform in Saudi Arabia: A Battle of the Fatwas, 11 Dec 2010 [posted retrospectively]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stockholm blasts

BBC News - Stockholm blasts: Sweden probes 'terrorist attack', 12 Dec 2010: "The e-mails, with MP3 audio files in Swedish and Arabic, were sent to the Swedish security service and the TT news agency.

"They called for 'mujahideen' - or Islamist fighters - to rise up in Sweden and Europe, promising Swedes would 'die like our brothers and sisters'."

'The Jihadist Social Network Underworld'

The Investigative Project on Terrorism, The Jihadist Social Network Underworld, 10 Dec 2011 ""When are these crusaders gonna realize they can't win?," Baltimore bomb plotter Antonio Martinez boasted on his Facebook page on August 4th. "How many more lives are they willing to sacrifice. ALLAHUAKBAR." As details emerge about the plot to bomb a military recruitment center in Baltimore, MD, one thing is clear—Facebook is having a coming out party as the new go-to place for Jihadi recruitment, radicalization, and planning."

Friday, December 10, 2010

'Living in the hands of God. English Sunni e-fatwas on (non-)voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide'

Stef Van den Branden and Bert Broeckaert, Living in the hands of God. English Sunni e-fatwas on (non-)voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 10.1007/s11019-010-9280-1

I'm always interested to see how my research is used:

"This study analyses Islamic views on (non-)voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide as expressed in English Sunni fatwas published on independent—i.e. not created by established organisations—Islamic websites. We use Tyan’s definition of a fatwa to distinguish between fatwas and other types of texts offering Islamic guidance through the Internet. The study of e-fatwas is framed in the context of Bunt’s typology of Cyber Islamic Environments (Bunt 2009) and in the framework of Roy’s view on the virtual umma (Roy 2002)."

I haven't read this study yet (subscription is required), but it looks very interesting. The MA Islamic Studies I run has a section on medical ethics.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani update

Robin Pomeroy, Reuters/montrealgazette.com, Iran says stoning woman still in jail, quashes rumour, 10 Dec 2010

"Talk of Ashtiani's release appears to have been sparked by photographs of her at home released to the international media on Thursday by state-run Press TV ahead of an interview with her to be broadcast later on Friday.

"Rumours spread quickly on the Internet, with thousands of joyful messages appearing on the Twitter website after the International Committee Against Stoning, based in Germany, said "sources in Iran" had word of her freedom."

Hossein Derakhshan gets 'temporary bail'

oneindia.in, Iran blogger Hossein Derakhshan released on temporarily bail "The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) said that Derakhshan had requested a prison furlough, or temporary release."

cultureclashdaily.com, The Man Who Opened Iran To The World, The Blogfather, Released On Bail

"The man known as the Blogfather of Iran, Hossein Derakhsah, has been released from an Iranian prison on bail of $1.5 million.

"The 35 year old former journalist rose to fame around the world for beginning an internet revolution that challenged the tightly controlled theocracy, under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Bowe Bergdahl

mtexpress.com, Bergdahl shown in new Taliban video: Reports conflict as to who is holding soldier captive, 10 Dec 2010 "A new video that has not been widely distributed on the Internet has been reported by international news media to include four seconds of footage of Hailey-area native Bowe Bergdahl, a missing U.S. Army soldier captured in June 2009."

"Terrorist Use of Social Networking Sites: Facebook Case Study"

Jana Winter, Fox News, Al Qaeda Looks to Make New 'Friends' -- on Facebook, 9 Dec 2010 "The DHS report, "Terrorist Use of Social Networking Sites: Facebook Case Study," notes while terrorists have been using social networking sites for quite some time, their strategies for exploiting Facebook have evolved and that they have learned "the inherent value in exploiting a non-ideological medium.""

This report has been widely covered elsewhere (sometimes more sensationally than others), for example:

David Gardner, Daily Mail, Facebook used by Al Qaeda to recruit terrorists and swap bomb recipes, says U.S. homeland security report, 10 Dec 2010

Also see The Australian, 'Al-Qaeda seeking friends on Facebook' says US Department of Homeland Security study, 10 Dec 2010

Mohamed Mohamud

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, religiondispatches.org, For God or for Fame? The Making of a Teenage Bomber, 9 Dec 2010

"The discrepancy in Mohamud’s mind between reality in the media and reality of actual events speaks to McLuhan’s assertion that media are extensions of man. There is, of course, no real equivalency between the actions of a teenager seeking to become operational through the Internet and the actions of the most powerful army the world has ever known, except perhaps in the 24/7 media defined reality that envelops us."


Claudia Genzano, medarabnews.com, L'Islam virtuale: l'idea del sacro e del diritto nella rivoluzione digitale discusses CIEs and fatwa production, refers to iMuslims

"A Politics of Place: How Young Muslims Frame Global and Local Events in Online Communication"

Center for Global Studies, George Mason University, Global Migration and Transnational Politics Series Working Paper no. 11: Dorthe Possing, "A Politics of Place: How Young Muslims Frame Global and Local Events in Online Communication" [pdf file]

"Drawing on empirical material from a broader study that focuses on computer- mediated communication and activism among young, well-educated Danish, American and British Muslim women the paper offers a preliminary analysis of how certain events are used by Muslims to express their sense of belonging. The paper argues that the concept of ”place” and the notion of ”politics of place” are crucial in addressing questions of how we are to understand ideas of belonging among young Muslims living in non-Muslim societies and how such ideas are affected by widespread patterns in communication."

Came across this, not sure if I have blogged it before - haven't read it fully yet.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

KSA arrest: Mohammed Abdallah Al-Abdulkarim

bikyamasr.com, Saudi professor held over Internet article about royal family, 8 Dec 2010 "Reporters Without Borders condemns law professor Mohammed Abdallah Al-Abdulkarim’s detention in Riyad since 5 December for writing an article for a website about splits within the Saudi royal family."

middle-east-online.com, No country for criticism: Saudi professor arrested after writing about conflict within royal family, 8 Dec 2010 "Abdulkarim, 40, teaches jurisprudence at Imam Mohammed bin Saud University, the country's leading Islamic university, according to HRFS [Human Rights First Society of Saudi Arabia] and a Facebook page set up to defend him.

""His arrest was illegal on two counts," said HRFS head Ibrahim Mugaiteeb."

Ahmed Al-Omran, mideastposts.com, Twitter is Big in Saudi. The Professor Detention Debate Shows Why "As usual, the local media in Saudi Arabia has ignored the story, but the social web was quick to pick it up. Not too long after the arrest, the news was flying all over Twitter and Facebook. Users on Twitter used the hashtag #FreeDrAbdulkarim to denote their reactions. Most of them expressed anger and frustration at the arrest. “I, and many others, believe in every word Dr. al-Abdulkarim said in his article. Are you going to arrest us too?” Abdulrahman Alnasri said.

"However, the most intense exchange of the day on Twitter was between Abdulrahman al-Enad, member of the Shoura Council, and Waleed Abulkhair, the lawyer of Mohammed al-Abdulkarim. Al-Enad said al-Abdulkarim has made a mistake and should be punished. Some of what al-Enad said did not set well with Abulkhair, who demanded the Shoura Council to apologize for what he considered impoliteness."

Ahmed Al-Omran is, of course, best known for his work on Saudi Jeans (where you can also track this story)


Opinion piece:

Theo Padnos, huffingtonpost.com, Love and Healing for Muslim 20-Somethings: Anwar al-Awlaki's Moment, 7 Dec 2010 "When I was a student in an Islamic school, the thing that most discouraged me about the system to which my fellow students were entrusting themselves was that it gave them terrible advice."

'Twenty Guidelines for Jihad'

Syed Saleem Shahzad, AsiaTimes, Broadside fired at al-Qaeda leaders, 10 Dec 2010

"A number of senior al-Qaeda members who had earlier opposed the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and some of whom were recently released from detention in Iran, have produced an electronic book critical of al-Qaeda's leadership vision and strategy ..."

" ... On November 15, some members of this group released Twenty Guidelines for Jihad on the Internet site www.mafa.asia. The author is cited as Suleman, saying he was "al-Qaeda's official spokesperson in 2001," indicating a distancing from al-Qaeda's organizational structure."

This is a very interesting article, with lots of detail. Syed Saleem Shahzad is author of Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban 9/11 and Beyond which is to be published by Pluto Press next year.

Perspective on WikiLeaks

Opinion piece: WikiLeaks Yoram Ettinger, YNet, Israel Opinion, Op-ed: WikiLeaks exposes Obama, Leaked documents refute US President Obama’s fundamental assumptions 9 Dec 2010

"The worldwide proliferation of Islamic terrorism is orchestrated and executed, also, by multi-lingual graduates of Western universities, who proficiently use the Internet, Blackberry, iPod, Twitter and Facebook. Contrary to Obama's assumption, modern-day Islamic terrorists do not reject modernity. In fact, they leverage modernity in order to advance Islam's historical values and goals."

opinion piece: WikiLeaks

A Pakistan perspective:

Burhanuddin Hasan, Random Thoughts, Pakistan Observer, The WikiLeaks bonanza "Some religious party leaders as well as TV anchors of Pakistan are claiming that the US government itself is behind the leaking of its secret embassy cables to malign some political leaders in Pakistan and in some other Muslim countries."

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Islamic 'Pipeline to Extremism'

Francis NJubi Nesbitt, AlterNet, Islamic 'Pipeline to Extremism' Turns Out to Be Mostly FBI Set-Ups, 7 Dec 2010 "The recent rash of charges against Somali-Americans on “conspiracy to provide material support” to al-Shabaab, a Somali rebel group on the U.S. terrorism list, seems designed to send a clear message that any support for the militants will lead to criminal prosecution. It also demonstrates the ubiquitous presence of law enforcement in these communities."

Cut and paste khutbah

Cut and paste culture isn't just an education phenomenon:

Qantara.de - A Battle of the Fatwas, 8 Dec 2010: "Another scholar accused some clergy of copying and pasting Friday sermons from books or the Internet and reading them out loud without even understanding what they're saying. Yet others suggested that clerics needed to improve their writing skills. 'Some of them elaborate on the topic by repeating themselves and going around in circles,' Ahmad Mawrai, a Saudi professor, told the Gazette. 'In many cases they jump from one topic to another. This is why their sermons are tedious and boring.'"

Tajik Youth + Digital divide

Farangis Najibullah, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Tajik Youth Look To Mosque For Outlet, 8 Dec 2010: "Farhod Hasanov has never heard of e-mail, or Facebook, or other social-networking tools teenagers in other parts of the world take for granted in this digital age."

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Islamic Studies Pathways - an Academic Guide to Islamic Studies Resources on the Internet

Islamic Studies Pathways - an Academic Guide to Islamic Studies Resources on the Internet: the old url is no more. Please point your browsers to Islamic Studies Pathways' more recent home (linked here). It is also linked directly into virtuallyislamic.com. Islamic Studies Pathways has been running since 1996, and was the foundation for much of my subsequent research. There will be a major update next year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

WikiLeaks on Hizbullah's fibre optics

Guardian, Lebanon told allies of Hezbollah's secret network, WikiLeaks shows, 5 Dec 2010 "Lebanon's western-backed government warned its friends that "Iran telecom" was taking over the country two years ago when it uncovered a secret communications network across the country used by Hezbollah, according to a US state department cable."

Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe - Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center, Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe, 6 Dec 2010: "On Sept. 15, 2010, a group of scholars discussed key findings of a new study, 'Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe,' published by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life.The study examines several of the oldest, largest and most influential Muslim groups operating in Western Europe today, many of which are virtually unknown to non-Muslims."

'How to get better Muslim preachers'

Tehmina Kazi, Comment is free, Guardian., How to get better Muslim preachers, 6 Dec 2010 discusses Facebook, Young Imam, Malaysia, and much more. "The scarcity of universal qualifications for Muslim religious leaders is part of the problem."


Islamic website tied to MP's stabbing resurfaces under new name - Telegraph: "Younus Abdullah Muhammad, a founder of both sites, told The Daily Telegraph that IslamPolicy.com was the direct successor to RevolutionMuslim.com which was closed amid the furore over its role in the attack on Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham."

Friday, December 03, 2010

Iranian blogger jailed for 15 years

eurasiareview.com, 15 Years In Prison Confirmed For Iranian Blogger, 3 Dec 2010

"Iranian blogger, Hossein Ronaqi Maleki’s 15-year prison term has been approved by an Islamic Republic appellate court. RAHANA website that covers human rights news in Iran reports that Ronaqi has been kept in solitary confinement for over 11 months and was given 15 years in prison by a preliminary court.

"The blogger known as “Babak Khoramdin” is charged with “membership in Iran Proxy, an internet group, propaganda against the regime, insulting the leader and the president.”"

Impact of Mobile Phones in Pakistan

Asmaa Malik, The Gazette, Mobile phones help transform Pakistan, 3 Dec 2010 "Alongside the swift arrival of KFC and McDonald's logos to Lahore's dusty, cluttered cityscape, billboards for Pakistan's emerging telecommunications and technology companies have kept pace.

"In big cities, the Internet has become ubiquitous. You can get unlimited broadband access for as little as 500 rupees (about $6) monthly in this country, where a comfortably middle-class household runs on about 50,000 rupees ($600) a month.

"Like their counterparts around the world, Pakistani teens spend hours in front of their laptops checking out their friends' profiles on Facebook and watching videos on YouTube."

review: Zahid Hussain's The Scorpion's Tail

Joshua Foust, foreignpolicy.com, O&G Book Review: Zahid Hussain's The Scorpion's Tail "In The Scorpion's Tail: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan-And How It Threatens America, the Wall Street Journal correspondent Zahid Hussain charts a sobering history of the Pakistani state's relationship to Islam, Islamism, and Islamic radicalism. While the radicalist form of Islam -- the kind America really cares about -- didn't take root in Pakistan until the 1980s during the war between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, it was, Hussain argues, the result of decades of Pakistan's elites politicizing Islam to shore up their rule of the country. Starting with the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, and moving through the tumultuous history of coups, countercoups, and new constitutions, Hussain walks the reader through Pakistan's steady Islamization."

Sounds like a useful book...

Portland bombing issues

Thom Jensen, KATU News, Terrorism expert: Radicalization can begin on Internet, 1 Dec 2010 "While it’s not clear why the man accused of plotting to bomb Pioneer Courthouse Square may have turned to terrorism, research shows that for many it usually begins on the Internet, according to an expert on terrorism."

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Call for chapters: Muslim Women's Digital Geographies

Here's a call for chapters from Anna Piela. Please send responses to Dr Piela, and not to myself:


"I would like to announce a call for chapters for an edited collection "Muslim Women's Digital Geographies". The collection aims to bring together research on Muslim women's diverse activity on the Internet that may span personal writing, debates in discussion groups, political activism, networking and other forms of interaction with other people and audiences. The collection is interdisciplinary, and welcomes perspectives from all disciplines, be they Islamic studies, social sciences, technology studies, gender studies, fashion studies, linguistics, art, politics and many others.

Context of the book:

"As I synthesised and analysed existing research relevant to my PhD topic, which was, incidentally, "Muslim Women's Online Discussions" and which focused on religious interpretations produced by Muslim women in online discussion groups, I came across interesting bits of research related to Muslim women’s online activities and creative work. With the PhD now done and dusted, I realised that it would be a good idea to create an edited book that would bring together current research in what I have called “Muslim Women’s Digital Geographies” a definitely growing subject area ...

"I would like to ask anyone interested to send me a 150-word abstract of their proposed chapter by 30 March 2011."

Contact details:

Dr Anna Piela



Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wired on the hajj

The new print edition of Wired (UK edition) has an interesting article on crowd-control for the hajj. I don't recall very much coverage on Islam-related issues in Wired (I've been reading it since the early days).

Unfortunately, the article is not online yet - Wired UK's print edition is ahead of its online equivalent. I'll link into it when it becomes available.

Zachary Adam Chesser

New article: Christopher Anzalon, Perspectives on Terrorism - Zachary Chesser: an American, Grassroots Jihadist Strategist on Raising the Next Generation of Al-Qaeda Supporters: "Zachary Chesser, the 20-year-old Virginia man best known for issuing thinly-veiled threats to the creators of the Comedy Central TV show South Park earlier this year, was a prolific writer and self-styled grassroots jihadist strategist. He was a regular poster on several major jihadistInternet forums, including Al-Qimmah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Summit), a Somali-English-Arabic forum dedicated to covering the activities of the Somali jihadistgroup Al-Shabab. It is this group that Chesser was accused by US authorities of attempting to join. He signed his online writings with his nom de guerre Abu Talhah al-Amrikee, which combines the name of a prominent historical companion of the Prophet Muhammad with the geographical marker “American.”"

Useful overview.

Portland's bomb plot and the net

KATU.com, Did the Internet incite Portland's bomb plot?, 3 Nov 2010: "In the year before the bomb plot, authorities say Mohamed O. Mohamud reached out to websites promoting violent jihad. And they were easy to find."

Also see

Nancy Haught, The Oregonian, Muslims respond to criticism of Islam stirred up by Portland bomb plot, 30 Nov 2010 ""There's no part of the Quran that says killing people is okay," says Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, professor of Islam at Reed College in Southeast Portland. But it's also not that simple."

Helpful article

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Egyelection tweets

Ahram Online - Egyelection tweets, 28 Nov 2010 "Some have branded it “the only good thing” to come out of Egypt’s elections while others declared it “hero of the day.” Whatever you think of it, Twitter was brimming with a near overdose of instant information for those following Egypt’s parliamentary elections on it. Just blinking often meant that some 20 new Tweets tagged as “Egyelections” popped before your weary eyes."

Al Ahram’s New English Portal

mideastposts.com, Al Ahram’s New English Portal ‘gets bookish’, 29 Nov 2010

and here it is Al Ahram

Samir Khan profile

ABC News, Samir Khan, Al Qaeda's Sarcastic New American Mouthpiece Al Qaeda's Sarcastic New American Mouthpiece: Samir Khan Loves iPhones, Cargo Bombs and Jihad Against America, 29 Nov 2010

'Iran outraged as Star of David revealed on airport'

alarabiya.net, Iran outraged as Star of David revealed on airport, 29 Nov 2010 "A satellite image of Tehran airport taken by Google Earth service outraged Iranian government officials as the Star of David appeared on the roof of the headquarters of the national carrier Iran Air." thanks to Google Earth

'Taking the Middle East conflict online'

Netta Ahituv, European Journalism Centre, Taking the Middle East conflict online, 29 Nov 2010 discusses blogging in Israeli and Palestinian contexts - and dialogue between diverse parties online.

"Despite the substantial presence of pro-Israeli organisations and activity on the web, there is a general feeling among the Israeli public that the Palestinian side is ‘winning’ this virtual battle. There are many more anti-Israeli blogs and websites than pro-Israeli ones."

article refers to middleastpost.com

WikiLeaks opinion

alarabiya.net, US friends, foes savage WikiLeaks for secrets release, 30 Nov 2010 "Friends and foes of the United States turned on WikiLeaks over its release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, with some saying the revelations undermined diplomacy, while others dismissed them as worthless."

'BSKYB Arabic'

alarabiya.net, BSKYB says plans Arabic language TV channel, 29 Nov 2010 "ADMIC, a private investment company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and BSkyB "have formed a 50-50 joint venture to bring a new, free-to-air Arabic-language news channel to viewers across the Middle East and North Africa region from 2012", the pair announced."

'Islamic' game rating system launched

The National, Islamic system will rate video games, 30 Nov 2010: "The rating a game receives will be determined by rules drawn up by the Iran National Foundation of Computer Games, in concert with Dubai-based Index Holdings. They have spent the past two years discussing the guidelines with Islamic clerics."

Some of those discussions would have been enlightening ... I'll be interested to see how some games I'm familiar with (it's a very short list) will be rated.

Also take a look at Iran National Foundation of Computer Game (sic), which has some examples of recent games. There's also a useful article Presenting 18 Iranian games in the main Middle East computer game Expo

Rushdie, Nintendo & Wii

Eurogamer.net, Rushdie: Nintendo can help liberate Iran News, 29 Nov 2010: "Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie believes Nintendo holds the key to bringing about ideological revolution in the conservative Islamic Republic of Iran."

Xbox and PS3 might 'help' too.

WikiLeaks opinion

Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy, WikiLeaks and the Arab public sphere, 29 Nov 2010 "One of the points which I've made over and over again is that Arab leaders routinely say different things in private and in public, but that their public rhetoric is often a better guide to what they will actually do since that reflects their calculation of what they can get away with politically."

New book: 'The Jihadis’ Path to Self-Destruction'

Thomas Hegghammer, Jihadica, The Jihadis’ Path to Self-Destruction, 28 Nov 2010 "Nelly Lahoud’s much-awaited new book, the Jihadis’ Path to Self-Destruction, is out ...

" ... A very impressive work."

Details: Nelly Lahoud, The Jihadis' Path to Self-Destruction. Columbia University Press

Sounds useful.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks US embassy cables (update)

Guardian, WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates, 29 Nov 2010

I'm still wading through the articles here and elsewhere

I'm particularly interested (in relation to this blog's core theme) in:

Guardian, Siprnet: where America stores its secret cables

Guardian, Datablog, WikiLeaks embassy cables: download the key data and see how it breaks down

Guardian, US embassy cables: Diplomats bemoan Bin Laden's 'folk hero' status

Guardian, US embassy cables: Washington requests personal data on Hamas

Guardian, WikiLeaks cables: Bin Laden's PR is better than ours, Americans complained

"The message urged Washington to consider a new raft of anti-Bin Laden propaganda through the Voice of America radio station, interviews with Bin Laden victims, "commissioned articles" in the local press and an anti-Bin Laden website.

""Although that would appear to be counterintuitive – that the masses don't use the internet – almost all Islamic and Islamist groups do indeed have internet access and use it extensively.""

Amr Khaled in Yemen (update)

Amr Khaled, The National, From podcasts and Friday sermons, a new start for Yemen, 28 Nov 2010 " ... we have selected 100 of the Muslim world's most respected and renowned preachers whom we will bring to Yemen. With the support of Yemen's Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf), they will be trained to broadcast true Islamic teachings. We will use the latest technologies - podcasts and the internet - as well as the most traditional - Friday sermons in the mosque."

The net is only one part of this. [Note: Internet World Stats, Yemen "420,000 Internet users as of June, 2010; 1.8% of the population, according to ITU."]

'Inspire' magazine

Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times, The 'Vanity Fair' of Al Qaeda, 26 Nov 2010 "An offshoot group in Yemen is producing Inspire magazine, an online propaganda periodical with color photos and interviews with celebrity jihadists. Experts say the target audience appears to be disaffected Muslims in the English-speaking world."

Egyptian Elections

Asharq Alawsat, The Egyptian Elections The Egyptian Elections, 29 Nov 2010: "This atmosphere has triggered unconventionally heated debates on the internet, as well as extensive and untraditional news coverage. However this internet coverage is also strained and tense for the memory of the Egyptian public is alive and well and nobody has forgotten what previously happened to a group of journalists, bloggers, and political activists whose punishment ranged from imprisonment to torture to death."

Hajj sermon

asianews.it, Grand Mufti condemns extremism and violence in sermon, experts discuss it, 29 Nov 2010 "The Hajj sermon delivered by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, at the Nmira Mosque in Makkah has raised interest levels among specialists because of its harsh condemnation of terrorism. Excerpts from the sermon, which condemns terrorism and urges moderation, were reprinted in hundreds of newspapers in the Arab and Islamic worlds. Some clips with English subtitles have appeared on the internet, posted on YouTube."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

'The internet's cyber radicals'

Aleks Krotoski, Observer, The internet's cyber radicals: heroes of the web changing the world, 28 Nov 2010

"A generation of political activists have been transformed by new tools developed on the internet. Here, a leading net commentator profiles seven young radicals from around the world."

Includes profiles of Walid al-Saqaf from Yemen Portal, and Ory Okolloh of Ushahidi (which I have previously blogged about).

Friday, November 26, 2010

'Killing those who disagree'

opinion piece Nazia Nazar, Pakistan Observer, Killing those who disagree, 26 Nov 2010

"The psyche of an extremist seems to work on the same line. This is what I gauged while randomly chatting with a so-called jihadi-minded individual on internet. What could be elicited from his conversation is that all the fanatics pass through a particular kind of conditioning which leaves far reaching effects on their minds. They are provided with a shortcut to enter the paradise forever."

Omar Bakri Muhammad

Daily Star, Omar Bakri released on LL5 million bail, 25 Nov 2010 "During the retrial attended by Sahly, Bakri categorically denied charges of belonging to Al-Qaeda, Fatah al-Islam group or any other fundamentalist or Salafi organization, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Bakri denied reports claiming that he was a spiritual guide of a fundamentalist group."

Stuxnet claims

Morag Lindsay, Press & Journal, Cyber-terrorists could use supervirus to attack Britain, 26 Nov 2010 "Reports yesterday suggested the Stuxnet worm – a computer virus which targets control systems found in industrial plants – had been traded on the black market and could be used by terrorists to target power stations, food distribution networks, hospitals, traffic lights and even dams."

aQAP: Ibrahim al-Rubaysh, 'Between Islamists and Liberals'

Views from the Occident, Twitter Specials, Ibrahim al-Rubaysh, 'Between Islamists and Liberals', 25 Nov 2010 "An English translation of an audio message from Ibrahim al-Rubaysh (Rubaish), one of Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula's chief ideologues, has been produced and released by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), a shadowy transnational jihadi-takfiri media outlet. The GIMF produces many translations. Entitled "Between (the) Islamists and (the) Liberals" the audio message was originally released in Arabic on September 18."

'Girl arrested for allegedly burning Qur'an'

Guardian, Girl arrested for allegedly burning Qur'an, 25 Nov 2010 "A 15-year-old girl has been arrested in the West Midlands on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after allegedly burning an English-language version of the Qur'an – and then posting video footage of the act on Facebook."

Kareem Amer

AP, Released Egypt blogger to keep writing after jail, 24 Nov 2010

"Abdel Kareem Nabil, known by his blogging name Kareem Amer, was arrested in March 2006 and convicted of insulting Islam and the president in his blog. He served four years in prison and was released on Nov. 16.

"Described by rights groups as a prisoner of conscience, Nabil was an outspoken secularist and sharp critic of conservative Muslims. He often lashed out at Al-Azhar — the most prominent religious center in Sunni Islam — calling it "the university of terrorism" and accusing it of encouraging extremism."

'The rise of Muslim innovators'

Christopher M. Schroeder, washingtonpost.com, The rise of Muslim innovators,

"This month's Celebration of Entrepreneurship 2010 was hosted not in San Francisco or New York but in Dubai. The participants weren't familiar U.S. Internet names but a new generation of entrepreneurs representing every Islamic country in the Middle East. The visionaries behind the gathering weren't famous Western tech journalists or futurists but Pakistan-born Arif Naqvi, founder of the Middle East private equity firm Abraaj Capital, and Lebanese Jordanian entrepreneur Fadi Ghandour, who built the region's largest logistics and transportation services company. Absent were debates on politics, religion and historic obstacles. The only question on everyone's mind was "Why not us?""

'The Taliban troop with an east London cab driver in its ranks'

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian, The Taliban troop with an east London cab driver in its ranks, 24 Nov 2010 "Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Afghanistan meets a growing community of part-time expat jihadists." Part 1 of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's excellent series.

Also see Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian, Five days inside a Taliban jail, 25 Nov 2010

"Special report: Guardian reporter Ghaith Abdul-Ahad was with a group of Taliban last month when US and Afghan forces attacked. In the second of a three-part series, he tells how, after the assault, he ended up being imprisoned by the fighters he had come to interview."

Thursday, November 25, 2010


eurasiareview.com, No Al Qaeda Groups Operating In Strip, Gaza Govt Says, 24 Nov 2010: "Al-Qaeda has no foothold in the Gaza Strip and reports suggesting it does only help Israel justify its crimes against the Palestinians living there, the Hamas-led government said Tuesday."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Twitter plans Arabic website

David George-Cosh, The National, Twitter plans Arabic website, 17 Nov 2010 "To keep up with the momentum of Twitter's growth and to help it generate more advertising revenue, the website plans to translate its service into Arabic, said Biz Stone, the creative director of Twitter and one of the website's three founders."

Makes sense, business wise. Research wise, yet another channel to monitor...

Musical break: 'Rap and Metal on Planet Islam'

Very interesting article:

James M. Dorsey from the December 2010 issue of Reason Magazine/GLG News, Rap and Metal on Planet Islam, 23 Nov 2010: "With the growing realization that the region’s authoritarian regimes and controlled economies are unable to offer opportunity to their predominantly young populations, metal and rap have been elevated as channels to express discontent. Their role is enhanced by the Internet and other technologies for mass distribution that make government control difficult and allow musicians and their fans to carve out autonomous spaces that shield them from intrusion by censors and other cultural scolds."

Original article here.

Worth checking out some of the music mentioned.

also on FB صوت لا يقهر

Navid Mohebbi: 'World’s Youngest Detained Blogger on Trial'

Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices Advocacy, Iran: World’s Youngest Detained Blogger on Trial, 20 Nov 2010: "The Iranian government is not only world-class when it comes to persecuting bloggers, they have also set numerous records: from the first jailed blogger in history, to the first blogger to die in prison. Unfortunately, a new record can now be added to the list of Iran's repressive achievements: the youngest blogger to be detained and put on trial."

The blog is here (in Persian)

Iran: “Law of Computer Crimes”

Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices Advocacy, Iran: We are all Computer Criminals, 23 Nov 2010 "Iran's government has a law at its disposal that make it possible to label almost any Internet user a criminal.

"The “Law of Computer Crimes” (one law with 56 articles) was approved by Iran's parliament in January 2009. It has been instrumental in the prosecution and repression of several cyber-activists and bloggers, but its articles have never received much public attention or scrutiny."

Amr Khaled in Yemen

Mohammed Mukhashaf and Mohamed Sudam, Reuters/Arab News, Egyptian TV preacher to fight extremism in Yemen, 24 Nov 2010 "Yemen has enlisted the help of a popular Egyptian television preacher to help it dislodge militant Islamists’ foothold within its conservative population."

'Cyber warriors' in Iran

NCR-Iran, In Iran, new Bassij unit set up to control cyber space, 23 Nov 2010: "The Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is using 1,500 of its paramilitary Bassij forces to control Internet use in Tehran.

According to the IRGC’s commander in Tehran, Hossein Hamedani, the group will be named “cyber warriors.” He added that they will increase their activities in the near future."

Jihadi Theory (Part 3)

Joas Wagemakers, A Crash Course in Jihadi Theory (Part 3) — jihadica, 24 Nov 2010

'Ansar Al Mujahideen' and Belgium

AHN, Belgian Investigators Bust Islamic Terror Network; 10 Arrested, 23 Nov 2010: "The Belgian prosecutor's office said that an international terrorist group used an extremist Internet site, Ansar Al Mujahideen, for this to plot the attack. The Belgian investigators had been suspecting the network, which is based in Antwerp, home to both Muslim and Jewish communities, since last year."

Hezbollah Allegations: Israel infiltrating mobile network

alarabiya.net, Hezbollah accuses Israel of infiltrating mobile network, 23 Nov 2010: "Israel bugged the mobile phones of members of Lebanon's Hezbollah, allowing it to send false text messages and to track the phones' movements, a senior Hezbollah MP and a government expert said on Tuesday"

'Taxi of Knowledge'

Arab Press House/alarabiya.net, Egypt bookstore launches 'Taxi of Knowledge': Commuters to read while stuck in Cairo traffic, 24 Nov 2010 "The streets of the Egyptian capital Cairo have witnessed in the past couple of weeks the introduction of a fleet of 50 cabs, each with a cloth rack attached to the passenger seat and containing books provided by Alef Bookstores, the sponsors of the project."
I think this is a cool idea, definitely transferable, and there are many possible suggestions for titles appropriate for sitting in the back of a Cairo cab ...

Alef Bookstores has more info on its FB

Crossing the UAE in a solar-powered wheelchair

Wired UK, Crossing the UAE in a solar-powered wheelchair, 24 Nov 2010: "In an attempt to promote the innovation behind renewable energy, and raise awareness for disability causes, Haidar Taleb has set off on a massive journey across all seven of the United Arab Emirates in a solar powered wheelchair."

You can follow Mr Taleb's epic journey here: bewithhaidar.com, also on Facebook and flickr

University of Hawaii, Muslim Societies in Asia and the Pacific

I came across this site from the University of Hawaii, Muslim Societies in Asia and the Pacific (mentioned in the previous link), which contains some useful resources. They also provide a newsletter, and have a Facebook page with a great deal of useful material.

'An ethnographic qualitative study of Muslim Pilgrims'

Mazen A. Melibari, University of Waterloo, An ethnographic qualitative study of Muslim Pilgrims [PDF]

Tip: Muslim Societies in Asia newsletter (e-mail only) who directed me to Google Scholar.

Includes some references to online resources relating to hajj, and brief references to iMuslims.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'The United States of Islam'

Donna Gehrke-White and Tim Collie, Newsmax magazine, The United States of Islam "A prosperous and fast-growing Muslim-American minority is making its voice heard. Some applaud this trend. Others worry that our traditional American Judeo-Christian culture is being undermined." Some references to the net in this piece, together with political perspectives and diverse opinion.


Andrew Brown, Foreign Policy, Sweden's Problem Isn't Immigrants, It's the Internet, 22 Dec 2010 "From the initial evidence, it seems most likely that he was really radicalized neither in Sweden nor in Britain, but in the place where we all nowadays live -- online. Most of what we know about Abdulwahab comes from his online life: a dating site where the suicide bomber advertised for a second wife, with the permission of his first, and his Facebook profile, where he liked both "the Islamic Caliphate" and his "Apple iPad." He posted videos of Iraqi prisoners being harassed by U.S. soldiers and sermons from radical clerics."

Berners-Lee: 'Facebook could fragment web'

Tim Berners-Lee, Guardian, Facebook could fragment web, 22 Nov 2010: "Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites represent 'one of several threats' to the future of the world wide web, its founder, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Egypt and Facebook

Shaimaa Fayed, Reuters, Egypt dissent yet to get from Facebook to the streets, 21 Nov 2010

"Internet campaigns for political reform in Egypt are losing traction because opposition groups have failed to channel online voices into a grass-roots movement capable of challenging the authorities."

Hajj tech impact

Arab News/zawya.com, Technology revolutionizes communication in Haj, 18 Nov 2010

""How can you focus on circling the Kaaba or concentrate on prayers when the guy in front of you is talking to his wife on his cell phone?" said pilgrim Imran Zahid.

""There can definitely be a disturbance. This is a spiritual journey, a journey to develop ourselves from within. All that Internet stuff can wait.""

Hajj online

Rahla Khan, saudigazette.com.sa, Journey of Haj through the eyes of non-Muslims, 22 Nov 2010 "Most prominent TV channels have special coverage of the Haj pilgrimage, and thousands of viewers from all over the world tune in to Saudi TV’s live broadcast of the pilgrimage through satellite channels and the Internet."

Canada: 'Muqawamah Al Islamiya' website

Stewart Bell, nationalpost.com, Hate crime unit probes fugitive's new website, 21 Nov 2010 "Police are looking into a newly launched Internet site, run by a wanted "jihadist" from Ontario, that urges terrorists to kill Canadians using dirty bombs.

"The website is registered to Salman Hossain, a 25-year-old Canadian extremist who is already sought by Ontario Provincial Police for advocating the genocide of Jews."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Maroc Telecom

Bikya Masr, Maroc Telecom reports $470 mil earnings, 17 Nov 2010 "Morocco’s largest telecommunications company Maroc Telecom reported consolidated earnings during the third quarter this year to over $740 million, up 6.6 percent from the same period last year."

Azerbaijan: Blogger freed

Bikya Masr, Azerbaijan: Blogger freed, but two reporters remain jailed, 19 Nov 2010: "The November 18, 2010 release of the blogger Adnan Hajizade was a positive step, but the Azerbaijani government should also immediately free the imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev and another blogger, Emin Milli, Human Rights Watch said today."

Al-Qaida In Yemen

Dina Temple-Raston, NPR, For Al-Qaida In Yemen, Targeting U.S. Is Personal, 18 Nov 2010 "Counterterrorism officials are trying to solve the mystery of why AQAP — more than any other arm of al-Qaida — seems to have such a visceral dislike of the United States." [includes audio]

Jihadi Hebrew recording

Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Al-Qaida affiliated Gaza group issues Hebrew revenge threat, 18 Nov 2010 "The group, calling itself the Jemma Ansar al-Sunna (Community of Sunna Supporters), posted its message on jihadi forums, and the recording also found its way to YouTube on Thursday."

Criticism of the Brass Crescent Awards

Dawud Israel, Muslimology, My Criticism of the Brass Crescent Awards, 19 Nov 2010 "The Brass Crescent awards read like a filtered prolofeed of blogs. It’s pretty clear there is an agenda on part of AltMuslim media, one that is counter-intuitive to the “progressive” Muslim outlook which they supposedly advocate."

This makes some useful points about categories and nominations.

Hizbullah greetings

الآراء من الغرب Views from the Occident: Hizbullah Issues 'Eid al-Adha Greetings to Supporters, 19 Nov 2010

Anwar Al-Awlaki & Arkansas case

Knoxville News Sentinel, Muslim who shot soldier in Arkansas says he wanted to cause more death, 13 Nov 2010: "When [Abdulhakim Mujahid] Muhammad had been married about two months, he was arrested at a roadside checkpoint. He carried a fake Somali passport and lacked the proper government permissions to travel.

He also had videos and literature about the daily operations 'by our Muslim soldiers in different parts of the world,' literature from people such as Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American Islamic cleric who uses the Internet to spread al-Qaida's message, and explosive manuals that included tips such as how to make gun silencers, he said."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

YouTube and jihad

Neal Ungerleider, Fast Company, Despite Ban, YouTube Is Still a Hotbed of Terrorist Group Video Propaganda, 12 Nov 2010 "Last week, following government requests, YouTube removed videos of Anwar al-Awlaki urging Muslims to take up arms against the United States. But many of the videos are still available.

'Vodafone drops Muslim scientist ad'

AFP, Vodafone drops Muslim scientist ad after complaints, 16 Nov 2010: "The Egyptian unit of telecom giant Vodafone has dropped an advertisement depicting an early Muslim scientist, Abbas Ibn Firnas, as a dim man who fell off a cliff when trying to fly with feathered wings.

"The Britain-based company made the decision after receiving complaints from viewers, who took to the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to complain about what they said was an insult to the historic Islamic figure."

'Islamic Banking Hits the Web'

Internet Evolution - Marsha Weinstein - Islamic Banking Hits the Web, 16 Nov 2010 "A jaunt to now-Muslim-majority Bethlehem, in the Palestinian Authority, reveals a thriving city: renovated, bustling, affluent. When I remark on the profusion of late-model European SUVs, my Palestinian host shrugs: “Like in the West -- they live beyond their means.”"

New Book: 'Cultural Encounters in the Arab World'

Digital Islam, New Book: Cultural Encounters in the Arab World: On Media, the Modern and the Everyday announcement of Tarik Sabry's new book

Online Qurbani

hindustantimes.com, @Hindu Heartland, With Online Qurbani and Online Mantras, 16 Nov 2010 "There are websites that not only post pictures of the animals on sale but also take care of the entire ceremony – from sacrifice of the animal to the distribution of the meat among friends and family members or if they opt to the poor and the needy.

"And it is not un-Islamic. One of the websites has even listed a fatwa to remove any misgivings about the use of technology for observing pure religious ceremonies."

'Saudi Arabia blocks – then unblocks – Facebook'

digitaltrends.com, Saudi Arabia blocks – then unblocks – Facebook, 15 Nov 2010: "Saudi Arabia blocked access to Facebook, apparently citing moral concerns, but then restored access within a few hours with no explanation."

Kareem Amer Finally Released

allAfrica.com: Egypt: Blogger Kareem Amer Finally Released, 17 Nov 2010: "Reporters Without Borders hails the release of Abdul Kareem Suleiman Amer, the blogger known as Kareem Amer. He was finally set free on the evening of 15 November, 10 days after completing a four-year jail sentence, and is now reunited with his family. He has decided for the time being to make no statement."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Malaysia: Chatting online and divorce

toreksulong, allvoices.com, Divorce: Chatting are among of the contributors?, 15 Nov 2010: "Chatting or talking on the Internet are among the contributors to the increase in cases of divorce among Muslim couples in the country.

"Chairman of the Council of Islamic Amal Malaysia, Datuk Nakhaie Ahmad said, this is because chat is usually followed by a conference if known by the husband or wife may lead to divorce.""

'Muslim TSA Worker Frisks Catholic Nun (Photo)' 

John Romano, Yes, But, However!, Muslim TSA Worker Frisks Catholic Nun (Photo): "Matt Drudge has been running the following photo all day with the caption “The Terrorists Have Won” on the Drudge Report.  The picture, which has become an internet sensation, is purported to be from a security checkpoint at Detroit Metro Airport."

I've put this into the blog as a 'trending' online topic.

Monday, November 15, 2010

'Palestinian held for Facebook criticism of Islam'

The Associated Press: Palestinian held for Facebook criticism of Islam, 12 Nov 2010: "A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars — caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down."

'Pedalling to the pilgrimage'

Al Jazeera English, Pedalling to the pilgrimage - Hajj 2010 - 15 Nov 2010 "The idea began as a hypothetical situation - what would happen if a few friends attempted to bicycle from their home in South Africa to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia in time for the annual Hajj pilgrimage?"

You can check out their Facebook page here, which has pix from their journey. Sounds like they could write a book on this.

With all the talk of luxury hotels and high-tech developments in Mecca (including some of my posts today), this would seem to be a modern take on the traditional hajj journey.

AQAP statement re. Hajj

Oneindia NewsHajj 2010 | Hajj Pilgrimage Begins | Al-Qaeda Attack | Terrorist Attack, 14 Nov 2010 "AQAP, the Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen on Sunday, Nov 14 posted a statement on internet saying that they are against the attacks on Hajj pilgrims.

"'We assure our Islamic nation that we are against any criminal action aimed at the pilgrims,' AQAP said in the statement.""

Omar Bakri Muhammad

Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Analysis: Al-Qaida ideologue’s arrest blow to ME jihadis, 15 Nov 2010: "The arrest on Sunday of al-Qaida ideologue Omar Bakri Muhammad by Lebanese security forces in Tripoli is a blow to the al-Qaida network in the Middle East."

Journalist Yaakov Lappin's book Virtual Caliphate is out now. Details:

Yaakov Lappin, potomacbooksinc.com, Virtual Caliphate: Exposing the Islamist State on the Internet

I have yet to see this book.

Mina decoration

Saudi Gazette - Artists decorate Mina with colorful Islamic symbols, 15 Nov 2010 "Yasser Issa, an Egyptian artist working in Mina, said this was also a chance to show the world Islamic fine art. He said that when he was asked why he was working under the scorching sun, he replied that he was doing it for the sake of Allah. He said he specifically chose light colors to reflect the happiness of Muslims on Haj. He said they get their designs from the Internet."

I'd like to some some pix of this.

'Al Qaeda Has An App For That'

strategypage.com, Counter-Terrorism: Al Qaeda Has An App For That, 14 Nov 2010: "The spread of smart phones, and apps for just about anything, deliver more power. These devices are made for ease-of-use. Any clever, barely literate can figure out how to do things. The potential is there. Intel agencies, and even troops in combat zones, are making use of web based intelligence resources and smart phones to do their jobs better. The enemy can do the same, but it's comforting to know that, so far, they haven't been very successful in doing so."

Book: The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

crosscut.com, UW prof explores how internet is changing Muslim nations, 14 Nov 2010 Background to Philip Howard's book "The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy".

I have previously blogged on this. I have a copy on my desk - hope to read it soon.


ArabCrunch, Elcinema: IMDB in for the Arab World, 14 Nov 2010 "The site showcase latest Arabic and English movies with a video trial, users can rate the movie, add a review and even add basic info that pertain the movie. the site also maintains a news section about Movies and Cinemas. It has a video only section where you can see the latest trials of episodes, movies , their songs and Making."

Check out elcinema.com - looks very useful

KSA blocks Facebook

AP/Yahoo! News, Abdullah al-Shihri, Saudi Arabia blocks Facebook over moral concerns, 15 Nov 2010: "An official with Saudi Arabia's communications authority says it has blocked Facebook because the popular social networking website doesn't conform with the kingdom's conservative values."

SL hajj

Heba Afify, Daily News Egypt, On Islam offers Muslims, non-Muslims chance to go on 'virtual hajj', 10 Nov 2010 "In the virtual world Second Life, users can engage in many different activities such as building virtual property, trading, traveling, and this year, going on hajj is no exception.

"On Islam, an Islamic website, created a Hajj Island on the virtual world Second Life which allows anyone to perform the hajj rituals."

SL is discussed in iMuslims

'Facebook is Not Where You Want to Hide'

Ahmad F Al-Shagra, The Next Web, Facebook is Not Where You Want to Hide, 15 Nov 2010 "It appears this week has been a busy one for both Islamic regulators and Facebook alike that with the arrest of an outspoken atheirst Palestinian blogger, temporary shutdown of Facebook in Saudi, and the removal of anti-Islam Facebook pages."

'Mecca makeover'

Riazat Butt, The Guardian, Mecca makeover: how the hajj has become big business for Saudi Arabia, 14 Nov 2010 "Hadi Helal, a marketing agent for Abraj al-Bait, says that different nationalities seek different styles of accommodation when they perform the pilgrimage, which is the fifth pillar of Islam and a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for Muslims who can afford to do it.

""Moroccan, Tunisian, Turkish, British, Algerian and South African – they like comfort and luxury. People who patronise these hotels tend to be richer. Pakistanis don't patronise high-end hotels. The closer you are the more you pay.""

Majaliss vol. 4

UNESCO Digital Library Majaliss continues to expand
Majalis: CD cover 

UNESCO, UNESCO Digital Library Majaliss continues to expand, 11 Nov 2010 "UNESCO's Rabat Office launches the fourth Volume of Majaliss, the Digital Library of classical Arabic literature. Accessible online and on CD-ROM, Majaliss offers free access to hundreds of books in the public domain, thus illustrating the innovative use of ICT for learning."

Friday, November 12, 2010

aQ media

Robert Lambert, Al Jazeera English, Tackling al-Qaeda's UK propaganda - Opinion, 11 Nov 2010 "Preliminary research findings suggest that success in tackling the influence of al-Qaeda propaganda and violent extremism in the UK has sometimes been achieved by mosques and Muslim organisations most regularly stigmatised by Quilliam, Centri and their sponsors as being part of the problem."

Robert Lambert is the co-director of the European Muslim Research Centre at the University of Exeter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kareem Amer

al-Bab, Blogger completes sentence ... re-arrested, 11 Nov 2010 "More information has emerged about Kareem Amer, the Egyptian blogger who remains in detention despite completing a four-year jail sentence last Friday."

Amr Khaled interview

Qantara.de - A Call for Muslims in the West to Serve Their Societies, 11 Nov 2010 Amr Khaled interview

Russian-language study of net

Paul Goble, georgiandaily.com - Internet Helping to Define Identity of Russia’s Muslims, New Study Says, 9 Nov 2010 "Aynur Sibgatullin, the author of the widely-respected study on the role of the Internet in the development of the Tatar national movement, has now published a virtual guidebook to the Muslim segment of the Russian-language Internet, “The Islamic Internet” (in Russian; Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod: Medina Publishers, 2010)."

This points to Larissa Usmanov's review in islamrf.ru, Лариса Усманова о книге Айнура Сибгатуллина «Исламский Интернет», Nov 2010 - I used Google Translate to take a look

ИллюстрацияObviously, this one is of interest to me and there are some familiar themes - although I am not a Russian speaker. I'd be interested to see any further reviews, etc.

I've found the publisher's page and description here: idmedia.ru, Вышло в свет исследование Айнура Сибгатуллина «Исламский интернет»

Paul Goble's blog is here: Window on Eurasia

Update: I now have a copy of this book, which I am started to look at (using translation software)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Seventh Annual Brass Crescent Awards

The Seventh Annual Brass Crescent Awards - Honoring the Best of the Muslim Blogosphere vote for the nominated blogs here

Online map to track sexual harassment

Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times, EGYPT: Activists plan online map to track sexual harassment, 10 Nov 2010 "A group of activists has decided to fight the leering and groping with a new private venture that, beginning in the near future, will use open-source mapping technology to identify harassment hot spots in Cairo and allow women to instantly report incidents of sexual abuse through text messaging and on social media sites."

Hajj app

AMEinfo.com, Mobily unveils special Hajj application for iPhone users, 6 Nov 2010: "Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) announced the launch of Al Hajj Application to guide pilgrims on how to perform the Haj rituals using their iphone devices, in a step to enrich the Islamic and Arabic applications and software on internet."

Full details/screenshots are here

Uighurs in Pakistan

Adrienne Mong, msnbc.com, Behind The Wall - Uighurs – precariously caught between two powers, 9 Nov 2010: "The community closely monitors developments in Xinjiang, relying mostly on word of mouth and occasionally through the Internet."

Anonymity online

Tina Salameh, The Link, Anonymity on the Net, Opinion, 9 Nov 2010: "Iranian Internet censorship was called “the most sophisticated in the world” by the OpenNet initiative, a coalition of university research departments whose goals are to “investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and surveillance practices.” Internet users in the Islamic Republic are not allowed to access social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr or blogs from abroad."

Matchmaking online

Jawd Mohamed, alarabiya.net, UK Muslims prefer internet matchmaking, 10 Nov 2010 "A considerable portion of Muslim men and women in Britain resort to a popular matchmaking website to look for spouses amid debates over the validity of internet marriages"

Iran rap crack down

Leyla Ferani, Telegraph, Why Iran is cracking down on rap music, 10 Nov 2010 "The Iranian diaspora will no doubt continue to upload amateur music videos onto the internet; those in Iran will soon not have that luxury. Significantly, the arrested rappers were accused of spreading their music virally. The underground Iranian music industry is using one of the most contentious – and what is fast becoming the most dangerous – tools in order to transcend borders of the Islamic Republic: the internet. They are no longer safe. The regime’s repression of talented musicians seeks to drive undesirable young Iranians out of the country, or destroy their lives within it."

"Prevent' review

The Register, Counter-terror review to consider net jihadis, 9 Nov 2010 "The government has today launched a review of its controversial "Prevent" counter-terrorism strategy, which includes measures to tackle extremist material online."

Review: iMuslims

Jens Kutscher, HSK [hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de], Europäische Ethnologie und Hist. Anthropologie, Review of G. Bunt: iMuslims, 1 Nov 2010 " ... the book can be recommended for the general public because it explains Islamic terms from the outset without requiring prior knowledge, for security authorities interested in the development and range of e-jihad, and for scholars who need a reliable survey of and information on the broad spectrum of CIEs in the early twenty- first century."

Note to readers of the review: a bibliography for iMuslims can be found online here (in PDF and web formats, click on Bibliography).

Friday, November 05, 2010

"Iranian Cyber Army"

Dan Kaplan, scmagazineus.com, "Iranian Cyber Army" cons fellow crooks with honeypot, 4 Nov 2010 "Maybe the "Iranian Cyber Army" hasn't created a botnet as potent as first believed and simply is trying to put one over on white hats and fellow criminals."

Qassim Al-Raimi

Hamza Hendawi, AP/arabnews.com, Atop Yemen Al-Qaeda, a militant who vows to hit US, 4 Nov 2010 "Only four years after he and a band of militants made a daring escape from a Sanaa prison, Qassim Al-Raimi has become the dominant figure in Al-Qaeda’s most active franchise — the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."


Christopher Anzalone, Foreign Policy, AFPAK Channel, Al Qaeda's media plays follow the leader, 25 Oct 2010 "In the span of a few days earlier this month [Oct 2010], al Qaeda Central's (AQC) Al-Sahab (Clouds) Media Foundation released a series of video and audio messages from Osama bin Laden and prominent U.S.-born spokesman Adam Gadahn on the severe flooding and resulting humanitarian crisis in Pakistan. This spate of releases strongly resembles the strategic response of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to severe flooding in 2009 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the year before in the eastern Hadramaut region of Yemen. This response leads the reader to question whether AQC's current media response to the flooding in Pakistan is perhaps even modeled after AQAP's earlier response, which in turn raises the larger question of to what degree, if any, AQC is still the model to follow, particularly in terms of media production, or whether it has instead begun to copy successful media campaigns by its regional affiliates like AQAP. "

Shahid 2010

Egyptian Chonicles, The MB Launches Its Parliamentary elections Online Monitor Website, 4 Nov 2010 "The Muslim brotherhood has launched its parliamentary elections online monitor website “Shahid 2010” which people can report any irregularities during the elections."
Shahid2010 - 5.11.10

There's also an English language version

Moroccan blogger makes TV

magharebia.com, Moroccan blogger reaches Tunisian TV stardom, 4 Nov 2010

"When Oussama Benjelloun was a child, he wrote to Majid magazine about his ambition to become famous. He never heard back. Now the 26-year-old has realised his childhood dream by entering the world of media. His gateway to fame came by starting a blog. Today, Maghreb viewers can find him on Nessma TV, where he hosts a segment on new developments concerning the internet. He is known for his creative and humorous style of presenting facts. Magharebia sat down with Benjelloun in Tunis to talk about his new projects and his media experience. "


Jenny Cuffe, BBC News, My brother and the deadly lure of al-Shabab jihad, 2 Nov 2010"If young people are being radicalised, it is likely to be happening via the internet and chat rooms.

"The organisation has a sophisticated propaganda machine, broadcasting images of the destruction in the Somali capital Mogadishu, and portraying its militia as a band of brothers fighting against a puppet government propped up by the West, and against African peacekeepers, described as "crusaders"."

Germany and 'radicalisation'

David Rising (CP), Convicted terrorist's wife on trial in Germany on charges of supporting terror organization, 5 Nov 2010 "The wife of a German convert to Islam who was convicted of plotting a thwarted attack on U.S. targets in Germany went on trial herself Friday on charges of supporting terrorist organizations."

aQ threats online

VOA News, Al-Qaida Threatens Christians in Egypt, Elsewhere in Middle East, 3 Nov 2010

"Al-Qaida in Iraq posted a internet statement saying "the killing sword will not be lifted" from the necks of Christians, in Iraq and across the region."

Khadija Abdul Qahaar

The Gazette, Canadian journalist in Taliban custody has died: report, 3 Nov 2010

"Her unidentified captors demanded ransoms and released video footage of her pleading for her life. Intermittent, worried phone calls she made to close friend Glen Cooper of West Vancouver stopped in August 2009 and she had not been heard from since.

"She changed her name and converted to Islam in response to the "war on terror" that followed 9/11. She gave up her career as a magazine and Internet publisher, sold all her assets and started up the website Jihad Unspun, focusing on news in the Islamic world."

also see IFEX, CJFE concerned by reports of Canadian journalist Khadija Abdul Qahaar's death, 5 Nov 2010


msnbc.com, Website puts U.K. lawmakers on death list, 5 Nov 2010: "A radical Islamist website linked to the stabbing of a British lawmaker has published a list of politicians targeted for death because of their votes in favor of the Iraq war." allegations re RevolutionMuslim.com

Thursday, November 04, 2010

YouTube axes al-Awlaki videos

Duncan Gardham, Gordon Rayner and John Bingham, Telegraph, YouTube begins removing al-Qaeda videos, 3 Nov 2010 "A number of clips by Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to have been the mastermind of the cargo bomb plot, were deleted from the video sharing site last night. However scores more, including incendiary calls to wage war on non-Muslims, remain."

Expect to see them elsewhere...

There's plenty of material available at present.

Quran Printing Center

abna.ir, Al-Azhar to Establish Quran Printing Center, 1 Nov 2010: "According to university spokesman Muhammad Rifa’a Al-Tahtawi, the decision was made following reports that some Quran copies printed in Egypt contain printing problems and errors."

@Twitter-security issues

ArabCrunch, @Twitter Giving Admin Access to the CIA/FBI/Mossad/NSA and Other Agencies to Our Twitter Accounts?, 27 Oct 2010

I've been following this one, which has now been updated:

"Sean replied to our question if twitter gave admin access to the CIA/FBI/Mossad/NSA and Other Agencies to Our Twitter Accounts? “um no. just as much chance of this as Twitter being the gunman that killed JFK.”

"which is a great news, but we still waiting for him to answer if these agencies asked/have/had any type of access to our accounts."

watch this space

"Unbanning" of YouTube update

OpenNet Initiative, Turkey: "Unbanning" of YouTube Short-Lived Indeed, 3 Nov 2010: "Less than a week after the media declared YouTube accessible in Turkey, the country has again blocked the site, this time in response to a video purportedly showing former opposition leader Deniz Baykal in a hotel room with a woman who is not his wife."

Choudhry, al-Awlaki & YouTube

The Guardian, Roshonara Choudhry: I wanted to die … I wanted to be a martyr, 4 Nov 2010 transcript, with an indication of the role of al-Awlaki's sermons on Choudhry's stabbing of Stephen Timms. The transcript also refers to RevolutionMuslim.

"She began listening to his sermons in November 2009, and finished the last in the first week of May, days before she carried out the attack. "I downloaded the full set of Anwar al-Awlaki's lectures," Choudhry told police, saying that she listened to more than 100 hours of them."

I'll be writing about this in due course.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Net 'radicalization'

Telegraph, Stephen Timms stabbing: how internet sermons turned quiet student into fanatic, 2 Nov 2010 "But what makes Choudhry’s crime all the more disturbing is her transformation over a period of just six months from a moderate Muslim enjoying her English degree studies into a fully-fledged al-Qaeda operative, as a result of simply sitting in front of her computer and listening to the sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, readily available on YouTube."

Zachary Chesser update

washingtonpost.com, Internet helped Muslim convert from Northern Virginia embrace extremism at warp speed, 2 Nov 2010 "For months, the radical young Muslim convert had been waging war online, championing violent jihad from his computer in Northern Virginia."

Islamic State of Iraq claim attack

Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, Al Qaeda in Iraq claims massacre at Christian church in Baghdad, 1 Nov 2010: "The Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda's front organization, claimed credit for last night's massacre at a Baghdad church that killed 52 Iraqis. Al Qaeda stated that the attack at the church was launched to avenge the treatment of Muslim women in Egypt ...

" ... Al Qaeda released a statement on the Internet claiming the attack."

Iran Book Week

Iran Book News Agency (IBNA) - National Library's plans during Book Week, 1 Nov 2010 " ... an internet-based site will be launched about Iran and Islam in English.

"The 10th ceremony celebrating manuscripts' devotees will be held during the week as one of the major programs of the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran ..."

Talaq on net 'joke'

IBN Live News, Talaq joke during internet chat may cost youth his marriage, 27 Oct 2010 "A Talaq joke to his wife on the internet may cost an e-savvy youth his marriage. The youth, a resident of Qatar, had spelt talaq three times while chatting with his wife but little did he realise that his humourous intention in cyberspace will nullify his marriage in reality. Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband has ruled that saying talaq thrice even casually without any serious overtone is valid as per the Shariyat (Islamic Law) and the marriage stands nullified. The nationality or the identity of the youth was not revealed. The ruling was given by Deoband' fatwa section Dar-ul-Ifta in reply to a query posted by a youth from Qatar. The youth in his query (question number 26075) had stated that while chatting with his wife over net he jokingly spelled talaq thrice. Claiming to have less knowledge about Islam, the youth said that he didn't know how Talaq is taken."

Saudi blogging

Chiara Bernardi, arabmediasociety.com, Saudi bloggers, women’s issues and NGOs, Arab Media & Society, Issue 11, Summer 2010"This paper examines how women’s issues in Saudi Arabia have been articulated in several parts of cyberspace and how they have been ‘rendered public’ (this research will use the term ‘public-ise’ as defined by Noortje Marres1) by Saudi women’s blogs, news media outlets and regional or international organizations that cover women’s issues ."


Israel Defense Forces, ISA: Hamas Turning Gaza into Islamic Sharia Law State, 1 Nov 2010: "The Israel Security Agency (ISA) reported last week that Hamas began to intensify its use of the Internet for spreading Islamic values and religion, in an effort to shape the Gaza Strip as it wants it, according to the spirit of the strategic Islamization process plan gradually imposed, in order to turn Gaza into a state governed by Islamic religious law."

Turkey allows YouTube access

CNN.com, Turkey lifts YouTube ban, 1 Nov 2010 "For the first time since 2007, internet users in Turkey have access to YouTube.

"The Turkish government blocked the popular video-sharing website nearly two and a half years ago. That decision stemmed from complaints about videos on the site that ridiculed Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the much-revered founder of the Turkish republic. According to Turkish law, it is illegal to insult Ataturk."

Monday, November 01, 2010

iMuslims book review

Gary R. Bunt. iMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam 73 (Roxanne D. Marcotte), MESA Review of Middle East Studies Volume 44 Number 1 Summer 2010 - PDF of table of contents [subscription required for Review access]

Man accidentally divorces wife during Skype chat

searchengineoptimisation.eu, Man accidentally divorces wife during Skype chat, 1 Nov 2011 "A Muslim man is paying a high price for a joke he made while chatting to his wife on a messenger conversation on Skype.

"The man in question jokingly typed “talaq”, which translates as “I divorce thee”, three times in a row during a conversation with his wife on the internet messenger. Worried about his joke, the husband decided to seek the advice of the Islamic authorities in case his actions invalidated his marriage." [posted retrospectively]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New JLA/The 99 comic

out today: JLA/The 99 #1 (OF 6)

I've been following this for a while, as The 99 has a presence online, with comics available to download.

Also see last weekend's Carole Cadwalladr, Observer, The 99: the Islamic superheroes fighting side by side with Batman, 24 Oct 2010

Omar Khadr

Paul Koring, theglobeandmail.com, Khadr a ‘rock star’ in Guantanamo, psychiatrist testifies, 26 Oct 2010 "Mr. Khadr’s deeds made him a “rock star” at the camp [Guantanamo], said the psychiatrist, who studied the Khadr family by searching for videos on the Internet, questioned guards at the Guantanamo prisons and spent two days interviewing Mr. Khadr."