Thursday, June 30, 2011


Lina Attalah,, VJ Um Amel hits ‘the social’ in media "R-Shief, which is the Arabic word for archive, is a digital lab based in Los Angeles that produces real-time analysis of online social media content in the Arab world, most notably on the revolutions. It aggregates the web, Facebook, Twitter and blogs into a database archive, then provides different statistical analyses of all the data, posts with the most visits, etc. It also has been data mining Twitter by hashtag every two minutes since August 2010. R-Shief’s Twittermine tool allows users to access the data through multiple search criteria."

I have mentioned this in previous posts. Check out R-Shief, in particular Twitterminer.

Also see Liz Losh,, Digital Learning and the Arab Spring "Shereen Sakr claims that too much of how conventional information literacy is constituted overvalues “the idea of finding the source,” one that is authoritative, credible in all cases, and definitive as a point of origin. Says Shereen Sakr, “political speech online is not an epidemic; there is no methodology of Patient Zero; there are many sources speaking in simultaneity. They are echoing and keep changing each time they echo.” “If you have tools, that’s where analytics with digital technology is really helpful. Technology has created scales beyond human computability; we only have human filters.”"

I'd be interested in hearing from any prospective PhD candidate, wanting to do research in this area in relation to the study of Islam and Muslims in contemporary contexts.

'Feminism, Islamic style'

Alistair Campbell, ABC, The Drum, Feminism, Islamic style, 29 Jun 2011 "Younger generations have grown up in surroundings where their local sheikh and their parents are not the only source of religious inspiration. It poses opportunities and threats to moderate Islam across the region as young people can access the very best (and very worst) of religious teachings from the comfort of their local net café."

Germany Jihadi arrests

CRI, Germany Arrests Teenager Suspect Linked with "Terrorist Bodies" "German prosecutors said Wednesday they had arrested a teenager on suspicion that he helped "terrorist organizations" recruit suicide bombers through Internet.

"Harry M., alias Isa al Khattab, was arrested on Tuesday in the northern German city of Neumuenster, prosecutors said."

Also see Internet Haganah, Harry M., AKA Isa al-Khattab: cyber shaheed, 29 Jun 2011 for full details

‘Internet In A Suitcase’

RFE/RL, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps Warns Against ‘Internet In A Suitcase’ Project, 30 Jun 2011 "Iranian officials appear to be increasingly worried about the U.S.-funded "Internet in a Suitcase" project that aims to deploy shadow Internet and telecommunication networks in repressive countries."

Press TV, Iran ready to counter US cyber attack, 29 Jun 2011 "Iran's Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi says the Islamic Republic has developed ways to counter the United States' secret cyber project.

"“This is not a new movement, and the Americans, and in fact the intelligence services of US allies and even some regional countries, have invested heavily in cyber space since the 2009 sedition [in Iran],” Moslehi said on Wednesday, referring to the unrest following Iran's presidential election two years ago."

Summit Against Violent Extremism

CSM, Google Ideas's new 'think-do' tank takes on violent extremism, 29 Jun 2011

Michelle Shephard, The Star, Summit to fight extremism draws cheers, jeers, 28 Jun 2011

"There was little doubt the event had created considerable buzz. But some participants who specialize in Islamic radicalization — the most high profile issue at the conference, even if street gangs likely take more lives — questioned if the summit’s mandate was too broad or if ideas discussed here could affect change.

"“You cannot compare Islamic extremists to skinheads who come from abusive homes and terrible childhoods,” one participant scoffed privately."

Jared Cohen, Google, Google launches Summit Against Violent Extremism "In order to advance our understanding, Google Ideas is today convening the Summit Against Violent Extremism, bringing together former gang members, right-wing extremists, jihadists and militants in Dublin for three days of debates and workshops. All these "formers" have rejected violence and are working for groups recognized by governments and law enforcement that fight extremism. Extremists have taken advantage of new Internet technologies to spread their message. We believe technology also can become part of the solution, helping to engineer a turn away from violence."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Islamic Fashion Festival

Louisa Lim, The Daily Star, Islamic fashion with a modern twist showcased in Singapore, 23 Jun 2011 "According to the founder and chairman Datuk Raja Rezza Shah, however, staging the IFF [Islamic Fashion Festival] in a non-Muslim country in front of a predominantly non-Muslim crowd, was not about highlighting the superiority of Islam or converting anyone, it’s “to create a better understanding of the religion through fashion.”"

'Third Intifada' app, Apple removes 'Third Intifada' app, 23 Jun 2011 "Technology giant Apple has removed a pro-Palestinian mobile application from its roster of hosted programmes after Israel complained it incited users to violence.

"The "Third Intifada" application essentially reproduced the content from a website of the same name - - which posts news and opinion articles about Israeli aggression and the Palestinian cause."

The image on the left is from (who may have received substantial extra publicity from this incident)

'The Sexual Harassment File: Harassment debate lights up blogosphere', The Sexual Harassment File: Harassment debate lights up blogosphere, 22 Jun 2011 "Bloggers and tweeters in Egypt and across the Middle East joined together on Monday to raise awareness about the issue of sexual harassment and gender-based violence. The initiative resulted in more than 12,000 tweets using the hashtag #EndSH and more than 150 blog posts."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Iran to test 'National Internet'"

Press TV, Iran to test 'National Internet', 22 Jun 2011 "In an effort to provide Iranians with higher-bandwidth internet access, Iran is set to test its “National Internet” with the help of a limited number of users.

"On Wednesday, Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Reza Taqipour said the project's “Phase Zero” would be launched and become operational within the next two weeks, IRNA reported."

Bandwidth is applied as one justification of this policy.

Bahrain sentences

Tanya Nolan, ABC, Bahraini activists sentenced to life in prison, 23 Jun 2011 "Eight Bahraini activists have been handed life sentences for their roles in the March uprisings against the regime. The Bahraini regime brought in troops from neighbouring Gulf States to quell the month-long uprisings that coincided with the Arab Spring protests." Others were also sentenced.

Reporters Without Borders, One blogger sentenced to life imprisonment, another to 15 years in jail "Reporters Without Borders is shocked by the long jail sentences that a military court passed today on 21 activists accused of belonging to terrorist organizations and trying to overthrow the government. Eight of them, including human rights activist and blogger Abduljalil Al-Singace, got life sentences. Thirteen others received sentences ranging from two to 15 years in prison. Ali Abdulemam, a blogger who was tried in absentia, was given 15 years."

Guardian, Bahrain rights activists jailed for life, 23 Jun 2011 "Hopes of dialogue between Bahrain's Sunni leaders and the country's restive Shia majority have been dashed when 21 civilian activists were given lengthy prison sentences as a crackdown against protesters continues unabated."

7 Arabic Tools From Microsoft Afkar, 7 Arabic Tools From Microsoft Afkar Innovated by Cairo Microsoft Innovation Lab useful review. Maren Morph looks handy for specialists.

"Maren Morph is a powerful, highly-accurate and comprehensive Arabic morphological analyzer, made to help Arabic users enrich their Arabic language experience."

Middle East Youth Rising

Jeffrey Bartholet (text)/Michael Brown (photos), National Geographic, Middle East Youth Rising, July 2011 "Armed with cell phones, social media, and sometimes just sheer determination, youth from North Africa to the Middle East are struggling to take ownership of their future."

Thanks to Chuck for the tip.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Ahmed Shihab Eldin, Al Jazeera English, The Stream: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood - Opinion, 20 Jun 2011 "The Brotherhood's youth may still be part of the organisation, but they are first and foremost part of a generation that, like the #TweetNadwa participants, interacts with a wide range of individuals and groups through the internet and social media as well as books and satellite television."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

'Solehah' Malaysian Islamic reality TV

Reuters, Islamic reality TV show in Malaysia seeks best women preachers, Jun 18 2011

"The 13-episode prime time program titled "Solehah," an Arabic word meaning "pious female," is a talent contest that will feature charismatic young Muslim women judged by clerics on their religious knowledge as well as their oratory skills and personality."

Clips from 'Imam Muda' were popular online, so expect this series to be similarly followed through the net.

There are some good audition photos available here:, 'Solehah', 18 Jun 2011

Libyan Satellite TV Website Hacked

Mathaba, Libyan Satellite TV Website Hacked, 18 Jun 2011 "It is a common and frequent occurrence for Libyan government web sites to be defaced, taken over, hacked, or shut down since the war on Libya began over 3 months ago, making a mockery of western allied NATO countries claims to freedom of information." Opinion piece.

Domain names

LA Times, ICANN to let thousands of domain names bloom, 21 Jun 2011 "The group that governs Internet domain names is opening up the system far beyond the 22 existing suffixes so that companies and organizations can apply to create their own versions of .com, .org or .gov."

So, what price .islam or .quran? I'd imagine there would be an intense contest for these suffixes, if they ever became available.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cyber Culture Studies: Palestinian E-Resistance

Ghada Alakhdar, Cyber Culture Studies: Palestinian E-Resistance: New Scopes for Cultural Political Intervention (9783639357905): Books "The Internet has evidently helped unearth dictatorships in the Arab-Islamic world by empowering the "silent and passive" masses. Restrictions on information spread and exchange such as borders, distance and time have become insignificant. The book zooms in on Palestinian e-resistance strategies. It reads the Deleuzo-Guattarian "rhizome", theoretical model of mobility and change, to chart out a diversity of dynamic agendas and arguments which develop and diversify online. This strategic mobility works in coherence with the quick economic and demographic changes that take place on the Palestinian territorial map itself. The book, therefore, provides inspiring theoretical tools and analysis for understanding the dynamics of e-resistance exploring how the Palestinian cause is related to diverse aspects of life, inviting a deeper understanding and expanding its chances for getting international support. This book should be useful for professionals in areas of social media and culture, resistance literature, Middle East studies and cyber philosophy, or anyone interested in exploring e-resistance and cultural-political e-empowerment."

I look forward to reading this.

KSA Comedy

New York Times, In Saudi Arabia, Comedy Cautiously Pushes Limits, 12 Jun 2011 another one picked up from the Observer

"Two have established wildly popular shows on YouTube — not least because the Web has emerged as the one public space in the kingdom where it is O.K. to endorse the Arab uprisings. Comedy nights have just switched to Arabic from English, broadening their appeal, and comedians have even been asked to entertain at Koran conferences."

Here's a sample (plenty more on the YouTube page):

iMuslims Arabic version

I learnt at the weekend that the Arabic version of iMuslims has now been printed. I will provide full details and links as they arrive (haven't seen it yet!).

'U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors'

NY Times, U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors, 12 June 2011 [picked up via yesterday's Observer]

"In one of the most ambitious efforts, United States officials say, the State Department and Pentagon have spent at least $50 million to create an independent cellphone network in Afghanistan using towers on protected military bases inside the country. It is intended to offset the Taliban’s ability to shut down the official Afghan services, seemingly at will.

"The effort has picked up momentum since the government of President Hosni Mubarak shut down the Egyptian Internet in the last days of his rule. In recent days, the Syrian government also temporarily disabled much of that country’s Internet, which had helped protesters mobilize."

In relation to this, I found Deutsche Welle, Austrian 'FunkFeuer' helps American 'Internet-in-a-suitcase' project, 17 Jun 2011 "An Austrian wireless networking project that plants Wi-Fi antennae across rooftops is a key element in an American government "liberation technology" project designed to circumvent and thwart Internet filters, censorship and surveillance."

Sounds interesting. When I've got more time, I'll provide some further information.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Brave young Syrians report on repression

AFP: Brave young Syrians report on repression, 18 Jun 2011

A Very Odd Al Qaeda 'Hit List'

The Atlantic Wire, A Very Odd Al Qaeda 'Hit List' - Global, 17 Jun 2011 "On Thursday, ABC News reported that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were alerting various government officials about a terrorist "hit list" posted on jihadi websites targeting prominent U.S. politicians, military officials and members of the media."

Here's the ABC News report

"Why is Indonesia so in love with the Blackberry?"

BBC News - Direct, Why is Indonesia so in love with the Blackberry?, 15 Jun 2011 "Internet guru Onno Purbo believes Indonesian fans see the Blackberry as the trendier, flashier gadget."

'The Taliban's Media jihad'

Christopher Anzalone, The AfPak Channel, Foreign Policy, The Taliban's Media jihad, 17 Jun 2011 "Differences in media distribution also highlight that there remain significant ideological and tactical differences between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban. Although both the TTP and Afghan Taliban network centered, at least symbolically, on Mullah Muhammad Omar maintain independent media capabilities, the latter has held onto a much more thoroughly independent media apparatus and has not formed a close relationship with or released media through As-Sahab. The Afghan Taliban's media network includes several regularly-updated web sites and monthly Internet magazines, as well as in-house media production organs, chief among them Al-Emarah (The Emirate) Studio."

Useful article, well worth reading.

"Tunisian Islamists challenge open internet", Tunisian Islamists challenge open internet, 19 Jun 2011: "A recent court ruling in Tunisia ordering internet filtering is raising concerns of a potential return to censorship."

Pakistan internet filtering

Daily Times - Plea to control circulation of obscene literature on Internet: "Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmed Khan of the Lahore High Court (LHC), on Friday, issued notice to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Ministry of Religious Affairs on a petition filed in LHC requesting to direct the minister of telecommunications to control circulation of obscene literature on Internet."

Activists Using Video to Bear Witness in Syria

Liam Stack, NYT, Activists Using Video to Bear Witness in Syria, 18 Jun 2011 "or many, their cameras started to roll at the dawn of the protest movement in mid-March. Mr. Saeb used to record protests and uploaded the video using a dial-up modem. That was until he lost Internet service several weeks ago when the government cut it off in Jisr al-Shoughour and the surrounding countryside, he said.

"He and the others then moved to the border zone. Here, people are as likely to speak Turkish as Arabic, and cellphones are as likely to pick up a signal from Turkcell as from Syriatel, a telecom giant owned until recently by a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad, which cut off mobile Internet 3G service here weeks ago."

Friday, June 17, 2011


AP/Daily Star Lebanon, Saudi women begin challenge to driving ban, 17 Jun 2011 "A campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving opened Friday with reports of some female motorists getting behind the wheel amid calls for sustained challenges to the restrictions in the ultraconservative kingdom." See #women2drive for updates

Also check

Radhika Marya, Mashable, Saudi Women Ready To Defy Driving Ban, Fueled by Social Media, 17 Jun 2011

'Young Pakistanis using the Web to push for change'

Nahal Toosi, AP/ArabNews, Young Pakistanis using the Web to push for change, "Meet Pakistan’s “Teeth Maestro,” a dentist who uses his blog to get to the root of the country’s many pains. One day it might be trigger-happy soldiers. Another day it’s corrupt bureaucrats. Sometimes, it’s US meddling.

"The Teeth Maestro is among a growing group of bloggers, tweeters and others using the Web to influence Pakistani society and government."

"iRevolution: Online Warriors of the Arab Spring"

Scott Bronstein, CNN Special Investigations Unit, For Egyptian online warrior, father's torture fueled activism, 16 Jun 2011 "CNN correspondent Amber Lyon traveled to Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain to interview some of the young Internet activists who have fueled the recent revolutions and protests there. The result, the hourlong documentary "iRevolution: Online Warriors of the Arab Spring," premieres Sunday, June 19, 8 p.m. ET & PT. It will re-air Saturday, June 25, at 8 p.m. and 11p.m."

Refers to Tahrir Diaries

Ghana: sermon from Sheikh Hussein Idris Molah

Ghana News Agency, Muslims enjoined to desist from usage of drugs, 12 Jun 2011 "Sheikh Idris Molah advised Muslim parents not to close their eyes against the negative practices of Muslim youth, who indulge in ‘Sakawa’ (Internet Fraud), get rich quick attitude, western cultures and indecent dressing but rather to continue to admonish them to lead decent lifestyles. "

Syria: Crackdown Continues

Amira Al Hussaini,, Syria: Crackdown Continues Despite International Outcry, 15 June 2011 "On Twitter, netizens continue to follow and react to developments on the ground."

'After ‘Amina’: Thoughts From Cairo – OpEd'

Scott Long/Mondoweiss,, After ‘Amina’: Thoughts From Cairo – OpEd "It’s worth wondering, then, what underlies the reception of Amina’s story. That individual disappointment may be the point to start. It has a long resonance."

Philippines: Facebook helps education, Facebook helps send Zamboanga kids to school, 16 Jun 2011

"THANKS to Facebook -- coupled with concerned netizens of the World Wide Web, 34 poor Christian and Muslim kids in Zamboanga City are going to school as scholars this year and thousands more will get to read books, use free computers and study in a private library in a far-flung place hardly reached by the Internet."

BBC Arabic online traffic

ArabCrunch, (List) 10 Insights: How the Arab Spring Affected BBC Arabic Online Audience Growth & Behavior #AAMT2011 just picked up this traffic analysis/summary

Thursday, June 16, 2011

KSA: Women2drive

SMH, Saudi women to break driving ban en masse, 15 Jun 2011

"Their Facebook campaign, dubbed Women2drive, says the action will start on Friday and keep going "until a royal decree allowing women to drive is issued" in the ultra-conservative kingdom -- the only country where women face such a ban."

Also see Mai Yamani,, Will Saudi women be the next driving force?, 15 Jun 2011 "Saudi rulers have announced that demonstrations are haram - a sin punishable by jail and flogging. Now some clerics have pronounced driving by women to be foreign-inspired haram, punishable in the same way.

"Yet, despite such threats, thousands of Saudi women joined "We are all Manal Al Sharif" on Facebook, and countless other videos of women driving have appeared on YouTube since her arrest."

Tajikistan: BBC reporter detained for membership of 'extreme Islamic group'

Richard Orange, Telegraph, Tajikistan: BBC reporter detained for membership of 'extreme Islamic group', 16 Jun 2011 ""BBC radio correspondent Urunbay Usmonov, 50, was detained for membership in the illegal movement Hizb ut-Tahrir," Makhmadullo Asadulloyev, a spokesman for the interior ministry in the former Soviet republic, confirmed on Wednesday.

"Mr Usmonov "was engaged in extremist propaganda and campaigning for the movement on the internet," he added."

Abu Bakar Bashir

CNN, Radical Indonesian cleric sentenced to 15 years in prison, 16 Jun 2011 "An Indonesian court sentenced radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to 15 years in prison on Thursday.

"Bashir was convicted of influencing others to provide funds with the objective they be used or likely to be used for terrorism acts."

Iran cyber command, Iran's armed forces to launch "cyber command": commander, 15 Jun 2011

"Deputy head of Iran's Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri announced Iran plans to establish its first cyber command for the country's armed forces in order to counter soft warfare against the Islamic Republic, the English language satellite Press TV reported on Wednesday."

Twitter arrests

Arab Times, Bahrain royal sues a Kuwaiti man for twitter comments, 12 Jun 2011 "A member of the Bahraini ruling family Sheikh Abdullah Mohammad bin Ahmad Al-Fatih Al-Khalifa has announced that he is suing a Kuwaiti man, Nasser Abul, for slandering and defaming his family. Abul allegedly posted unflattering remarks about the Bahraini ruling family on his Twitter homepage."

TG Daily, Kuwaiti man arrested for anti-Saudi tweets

Ayman al-Zawahiri

CNN, Jihadist websites: Ayman al-Zawahiri appointed al Qaeda's new leader, 16 June 2011 "The statement cannot be authenticated by CNN, but it appeared on radical Islamist sites known for posting similar statements and recruitment videos by other al Qaeda figures.

""Hereby the General Command of the Qaida al-Jihad -- and after the end of the consultations -- we declare that Sheikh Dr. Abu Muhammad Ayman al-Zawahiri (May God bless him) will take over the responsibility of command of the group," the statement said."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

‘Cyber warfare against Iran will inflict heavy defeat on West’

Tehran Times, ‘Cyber warfare against Iran will inflict heavy defeat on West’, 15 June 2011 "Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast has said that the United States will suffer a heavy defeat if it wages a cyber warfare against Iran. "

'A Gay Girl in Damascus' - hoax exposed

Kira Cochrane, Guardian, The weird world of the lesbian hoaxers, 14 June 2011 "Why did a heterosexual, married man pose as a lesbian online on the blog A Gay Girl in Damascus? It's more about power than sexual kicks."

For the record, the above is a summary of the case of 'A Gay Girl in Damascus' - which I posted about last week. 'Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari' turns out to be Tom MacMaster, a man from Scotland. I'm sure that this fictionalised blog has done a great deal of damage to causes in Syria and beyond. Kira Cochrane provides a good summary of the complexities of this. There's plenty of commentary elsewhere. For example, Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Walkom: Damascus hoax shows how easy it is to manipulate new media, Telegraph, 'A Gay Girl in Damascus': how the hoax unfolded, 13 June 2011, and Brian Whitaker, Guardian, Gay Girl in Damascus was an arrogant fantasy, 13 June 2011, in which Mr Whitaker makes this valuable point: "However MacMaster tries to justify it, he should have called a halt as soon as it started to get out of hand. Living a fantasy life on your own blog is one thing, but giving an interview to CNN while posing as a representative of the region's gay people appears arrogant and offensive, and surely a prime example of the "liberal Orientalism" that MacMaster claims to decry."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

al-Jazeera report on Syria

[إستمرار التظاهرات في عدة مدن سورية]

UN silent in protecting Syrians from government | Full Comment | National Post

Peter Goodspeed: UN silent in protecting Syrians from government | Full Comment | National Post: "While diplomats dither over the correct way to admonish the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Internet has been filled with pictures of corpses, mutilated teenage torture victims and panicked crowds seeking shelter from snipers."

Syria, Report: Military vehicles storm Syrian town, 12 Jun 2011 "Many have fled "the Syrian government's military offensive" in Jisr al-Shugur, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement condemning the violence Sunday. In an earlier interview, he called on the U.N. Security Council to take a stand.

""I do believe it is time for the Security Council to make a clear statement of the kind that we're advocating calling on the Syrian Government to respond to legitimate grievances, to release prisoners of conscience, to open up access to the Internet and to cooperate with the U.N. high commissioner on human rights," he told Sky News Sunday."

KSA Surfers

Arjuwan Lakkdawala, Arab News, Net gain: Surfers counter online anti-Islam propaganda with facts, 10 Jun 2011 "Many Internet surfers say that there is an online propaganda to taint Islam by spreading lies, with many non-Muslims being misguided.

"In response to this, they try to rectify lies posted about Islam in online forums, blogs, chatrooms and on newspaper sites."

Friday, June 10, 2011

"A Conversation With Saudi Women's Rights Campaigner Wajeha al-Huwaider"

Katha Pollitt, The Nation, A Conversation With Saudi Women's Rights Campaigner Wajeha al-Huwaider, 8 Jun 2011 "Wajeha al-Huwaider is perhaps the best-known Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She has protested energetically against the kingdom’s lack of formal laws (the Koran is it) and basic freedoms and in particular against the guardianship system, under which every female, from birth to death, needs the permission of a male relative to make decisions in all important areas of life—education, travel, marriage, employment, finances, even surgery. In 2008 a video of her driving a car, which is forbidden for women in Saudi Arabia, created a sensation when it was posted on YouTube. Al-Huwaider is a strong supporter of the June 17 Movement, which calls on Saudi women to start driving on that date, and made the celebrated YouTube video of its co-founder, Manal al-Sherif, jailed for nine days in May for driving."

Qom: print v. digital media

Iran Book News Agency, 14000 titles annually printed in Qom, 10 Jun 2011

""The first print industry exhibition of Qom is in pursuit of reveal the province's print industry potentials to other provinces and neighboring countries as well," he further added.

"Head of the organization of industries and minds of Qom province also addressed the audience in the ceremony saying that the province is the mother of the world of Islam and Shi'ism and that it should be a exemplary in all dimensions.

"Majid Avarifard expressed hope that the province will find its real foothold in the print industry of the country where internet websites tend to marginalize print industry and those involved in it should be cognizant of their progress lest the industry's doom is eminent."

"A gay girl in Damascus – or a cynical hoax?"

Esther Addley, Guardian, A gay girl in Damascus – or a cynical hoax?, 8 Jun 2011 update on previously blogged story

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Syria: Mystery surrounds 'Gay Girl in Damascus' blogger abduction

The Guardian, Syria: Mystery surrounds 'Gay Girl in Damascus' blogger abduction, 8 Jun 2011 "US embassy officials in Syria are urgently seeking to establish further details about Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari – who according to a post on her blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus, was abducted by security forces on Monday evening – as questions emerged over the identity of the blogger."

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Brian Ross, ABC News, Al Qaeda Deputy Surfaces: New Terror Leader?, 8 Jun 2011

"Appearing to assume the role as the new leader of al Qaeda, the former number two Ayman al-Zawahiri vowed to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden "blood for blood" in another day like 9/11, in a video posted on the internet Wednesday morning."

Arab Social Media Report issue 2 - update

As previously posted, the Arab Social Media Report issue 2 is now available as a pdf.

Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, Egypt From Tahrir to Transition

Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, Egypt From Tahrir to Transition new research, includes poll finding "Egypt's uprising was not a Facebook revolution".

Amina Abdallah Araf update

Esther Addley and Nidaa Hassan, The Guardian, Gay Girl in Damascus blogger joins ranks of Syria's detained, 7 Jun 2011 update


Fadwa al-Hatem | Comment is free |, A new opposition for Syria, 7 Jun 2011

Iran’s plan for a second web

Martin Carstens, memeburn, Iran’s plan for a second web, 6 Jun 2011 "Pop quiz: As an internet user, what is the world’s worst country to live in? China with its Great Firewall comes to mind. Or perhaps Cuba, a country that until the end of Fidel Castro’s reign in 2008 outlawed laptop computers and mobile phones. But it is in fact the Islamic Republic of Iran — a country that is the biggest hellhole of internet censorship on the planet." Opinion piece.

Anwar al-Awlaki profile

Telegraph, Online preachers of hate: Anwar al-Awlaki, ‘bin Laden of the internet’, 7 Jun 2011 "Operating from Yemen, the US-born Islamic preacher has been dubbed the ‘bin Laden of the internet’ having been linked to numerous extremists charged with terrorism offences in Britain and elsewhere."


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

'Syrian blogger Amina Abdallah kidnapped by armed men'

Guardian, Syrian blogger Amina Abdallah kidnapped by armed men, 7 Jun 2011 "A blogger whose frank and witty thoughts on Syria's uprising, politics and being a lesbian in the country shot her to prominence was last night seized by armed men in Damascus.

"Amina Arraf, who blogged under the name Amina Abdallah, holds dual Syrian and American citizenship and is the author of the blog A Gay Girl in Damascus, which has drawn fans from Syria and across the world."

See 'A Gay Girl in Damascus' for the latest update. Also support Free Amina Abdalla on Facebook.

Mona Eltahawy at the Personal Democracy Forum 2011

Social media influences documentary-makers

Meg Carter, Guardian, Social media influences documentary-makers, 6 Jun 2011

"With built-in video cameras now the norm for mobile phones, anyone can be a film-maker – a fact proven by the role social content played in TV news coverage of the recent uprisings in the Middle East. As the dust settles, however, social media is influencing documentary-makers, too."

Not sure the dust has settled yet, but it's an interesting article. Reference is made to #18DaysInEgypt and One Day on Earth.

Twitter and the Arab world

Two useful articles based on the Arab Social Media Report (which I blogged yesterday):

Carol Huang, The National, Hashtags are telltale sign of Twitter revolution, 7 Jun 2011

Carol Huang, The National, Gulf region out-tweets rest of the Arab world, 7 Jun 2011

The U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right

Adam Clark Estes,, The U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right "The United Nations counts internet access as a basic human right in a report that bears implications both to on-going events in the Arab Spring and to the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers."

You'll find a copy of the report on the LA Times' website, United Nations report: Internet access is a human right

Royal Canadian Mounted Police report - Youth Online and at Risk: Radicalization Facilitated by the Internet

The National, Extremists using web tools to recruit kids: RCMP, 6 Jun 2011 "A new RCMP report says extremist groups — from Muslim radicals to violent animal rights activists to white supremacists — are employing increasingly sophisticated multimedia tools to attract a young, computer-savvy generation of followers."

Here's the link page for the report:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police report - Youth Online and at Risk: Radicalization Facilitated by the Internet 

I have yet to read this report.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Arab Social Media Report

Carol Huang, The National, Facebook and Twitter key to Arab Spring uprisings: report, 6 Jun 2011 discusses findings of second edition of the Arab Social Media Report by the Dubai School of Government.

Here's the link to the report:

Dubai School of Government, Arab Social Media Report, Edition 1 (Jan 2011)

Dubai School of Government, Arab Social Media Report, Edition 2 "Produced by the Dubai School of Government’s Governance and Innovation Program, the second Arab Social Media Report highlights and specifically analyzes usage trends of online social networking across the Arab region based on data collected in the first quarter of 2011. In this edition, the report analyzes data on Twitter and Facebook users in all 22 Arab countries, in addition to Iran, Israel and Turkey, highlighting the role they played in the civil movements that swept the region during that period. This is part of a larger research initiative focusing on social engagement through ICT for better policy in Arab states, which explores the use of social networking services in governance, social inclusion and entrepreneurship promotion. The initiative also studies the potential of social networking applications for increasing collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation, both between and among government entities, citizens and the private sector."

There's a pdf for edition 1. Update: I'm advised that the pdf for edition 2 will be on the website on 7.6.11

Yemen, Tenuous truce in Yemen amid uncertainty

Syrian Internet Restored, Syrian Internet Restored, Violent Videos of Street Protests Emerge, 4 Jun 2011 which points to Charlie White, Mashable, Syrian Internet Restored, June 4, 2011

Syria, 150 killed, dozens injured by Syrian security forces, activists say, 6 Jun 2011

"The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had said on Sunday that at least 35 civilians and 10 soldiers and police have been killed since Saturday in a military operation in and around a northwestern Syrian town, according to Reuters."

More information: المرصد السوري and the related YouTube channel and Facebook page

Vodafone Egypt controversy

Lina El-Wardani , Ahram Online, Vodafone loses face after taking credit for Egyptian revolution, 2 Jun 2011 "Vodafone Egypt denies it has any link with the advert, emphasising on its official Twitter account that it is only responsible for the videos on its official YouTube page. This official denial was to no avail as the advert was presented on the website

"Yesterday a website and a Twitter account were launched in the name “I hate Vodafone Egypt.” The website, using the same logo and colour scheme as Vodafone, asks visitors why they hate the telecommunications company and to describe their experiences with it.

"The website also includes blogs, of which is called “Vodafone’s biggest mistake yet.”"

Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times, Anger over Vodafone Egypt link to revolt "A promotional video featuring Vodafone Egypt made by JWT, a WPP advertising agency, has sparked outrage online among Egyptians who took offence at what they believed was an attempt to connect a mobile phone marketing campaign with the country’s recent revolution."

See, Vodafone Egypt JWT Ad Taking Credit For #Jan25 Revolution

Malaysian tweet apology

Isabelle Lai, Star Online, A 'tweet' ending for activist, 3 Jun 2011 "Fahmi, who is also PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar's political secretary, had tweeted an apology on the same day saying: “I would like to formally & unequivocally apologise to Blu Inc and Female mag for my tweets earlier today. All inconveniences are regretted.”"

AFP/, Malaysian to tweet apology 100 times in defamation deal, 3 Jun 2011 "A Malaysian social activist said Thursday he will post an apology on Twitter 100 times over the next three days in a novel settlement to a defamation row."

widely covered (and tweeted); also see the related Isabelle Lai, Star Online, Apologising activist gains 1,000 followers, 5 Jun 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Adam Gadahn

ABC News, New Al Qaeda Video: American Muslims Should Buy Guns, Start Shooting People, 3 Jun 2011 "In a new video message released on the internet Friday, American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn calls on Muslims living in America to carry out deadly one-man terrorist acts using fully automatic weapons purchased at gun shows, and to target major institutions and public figures."

Friday, June 03, 2011

'Jihad in the Digital Age'

Steven Emerson,, Jihad in the Digital Age, 2 Jun 2011 "Al-Qaida has long embraced the Internet and modern technology, but loosely-affiliated jihadists are hunting for new ways to fight the West in the Information Age. At the cutting edge of technology, from Apple IPad 2 to using new internet protocols, jihadists are carrying the 7th century idea of an Islamic Caliphate well into the 21st century."

'Wish You Waziristan'

AP/, UK delays release of anti-terror cartoon movie, 1 June 2011

"The six-minute movie follows two England-raised Muslim brothers as they travel to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and back to Britain -- where they're taken into custody.

""It's a cautionary tale," said Martin Orton, whose company Bold Creative made the animated short with funding from the British government."

The clip has been taken down from YouTube, but you get a sense of the perspective from this SkyNews report ...

Reading List: 'Tweets from Tahrir'

I haven't read this one yet:

Independent, Tweets from Tahrir Edited by Nadia Idle and Alex Nunns, Reviewed by Arifa Akbar

AhramOnline, New release: 60 bloggers recount their revolutionary stories in 'Tweets from Tahrir'

OR Books, Tweets From Tahrir

Online advert:

The Inspire magazine hack

Daily Mail, Sugar hit: MI6 brings down Al Qaeda website full of bomb making instructions with CUP CAKE RECIPES, 3 June 2011

Guardian, British intelligence used cupcake recipes to ruin al-Qaida website, 2 Jun 2011 "The officers, understood to be based at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, attacked an online jihadist magazine in English called Inspire, devised by supporters of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

"A pdf file containing fairy cake recipes was inserted into Inspire to garble most of the 67 pages of the online magazine, including instructions on how to "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom"."

Another version of the magazine was uploaded, however. The file was distributed on numerous upload sites.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Facebook: "We are all Hamza el-Khatib"

Extensive social networking campaigning is ongoing in relation to Hamza el-Khatib, the boy killed in Syria. For example see, on Facebook,

كلنا الشهيد الطفل حمزة علي الخطيب
The image on the left comes from this site.

BBC News, Syria unrest: Hamza al-Khatib a symbol of uprising, 1 June 2011

Jadaliyya links to funeral coverage.

Also see Egyptian Chronicle's coverage

Plenty of updates are available on Twitter: #Hamza and Facebook: Syrian First

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Future of Islam in the Age of New Media

The Future of Islam in the Age of New Media event took place yesterday. You can receive the MP3 via registration. Haven't heard it all yet. My 60 seconds was around the 25 minute mark

aQAP speech

ICSR, Translation of al-Qaeda Sheikh's Online Lecture, 26 May 2011 "ICSR has obtained and translated a recent talk given online by Abu Zubair Adel al-Abab, a Shariah Official for al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)"

Anwar al-’Awlaqi

Ibn Siqilli, al-Wasat, The Global Jihad Internet Forum Launches New Sub-forum Dedicated to Anwar al-’Awlaqi: A Sign of His Growing Influence?, May 30, 2011

post by 'Ibn Siqilli', now also to be found at new blog al-Wasat

Afghanistan and Pakistan

Kristin Deasy, Farishta Jalalzai, RFE/RL, Kids With Bombs: In Afghanistan And Pakistan, A Child With A Dream Can Be Deadly "An alarming number of children in Pakistan and Afghanistan believe immortality is at their fingertips -- provided they're pressing a button detonating the bombs strapped to their bodies.

"And while most people associate a bomb blast with the finality of the grave, one young would-be suicide bomber told RFE/RL that he associates it with "heaven.""

Manal al-Sharif: update, Saudi Women's Rights Activist Drops Driving Rights Campaign

Muslim social networking sites

Mohamed El Dahshan, Guardian, CIF, Facebook has little to fear from Muslim social networking sites 31 May 2011 "All things being equal, it is doubtful these websites are hoping to be the next big thing in social networking; the weak membership numbers make it quite obvious. Besides the lack of innovation – the only "new" aspect is the stricter moderation – the demand for "clean" social networking hasn't produced the kind of site the creators may have hoped for. Most users are quite happy to be part of a more open and less monitored social network such as Facebook, even if they are offended by some of the content."

Iran Unplugged (?)

Christopher Rhoads & Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ, Iran Vows to Unplug Internet, 28 May 2011 "The unusual initiative appears part of a broader effort to confront what the regime now considers a major threat: an online invasion of Western ideas, culture and influence, primarily originating from the U.S. In recent speeches, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top officials have called this emerging conflict the "soft war.""

The Week, Iran's alternate internet plan: Will it work?

Satirical video: The Young Conservative's Hip Hop Guide to Muslims

The Young Conservative's Hip Hop Guide to Muslims is a satirical video, which links to The Young Con. The website states: "This music video is social commentary through satire on the gross, yet common misconceptions perpetuated about Muslim people. It’s good music, good video, funny, and educational." The website also links to other resources. It's an interesting approach - make up your own mind: