Monday, September 30, 2013

Bergen on Twitter

Peter Bergen, CNN, Are mass murderers using Twitter as a tool? "The next logical step will be for terrorists to cover their deadly operations using their own real-time live video feeds linked to sites such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube."

First Anonymous Attack against the Regime in Jordan

ArabCrunch, First Anonymous Attack against the Regime in Jordan, The Group Hacked Briefly Jordan’s Prime Ministry Website, 29 Sep 2013 " Anonymous hacker group have defaced briefly a webpage on Jordan’s prime ministry website in objection to government plans to raise taxes and prices. and left a message in Arabic to Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur."

Jihad Twitter research

Jihadica, The ‘Who’s Who’ of the Most Important Jihadi Accounts on Twitter? "In this part of our series for Jihadica on the Jihadi Twitter phenomenon, Ali Fisher and Nico Prucha take a closer look at 66 Twitter accounts recommended by a Jihadi online forum user." Jihadica, 66 Important Jihadist Twitter Accounts (part 2) I haven't read this yet (just catching up), but it looks interesting.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Saudis tweet anger at religious police following car chase death, Saudis tweet anger at religious police following car chase death "A Twitter user named @talal tweeted: “The religious police had killed people in al-Madina, and killed in Tabuk, and Baljurashi and today they killed in Al-Riyadh and on National Day. The Haia are blood thirsty.”"

'Saudi Women Ready To Take To The Streets', Saudi Women Ready To Take To The Streets  Tip: The uprising of women in the Arab world انتفاضة المرأة في العالم العربي‎ on Facebook (well worth checking)

“I will drive on #Oct26, even if I have to run over every bearded man in my way,” said Fatima al-Faloul, a 31-year-old Saudi mother of three. “I have two young daughters, I will not allow them to face the same frustrations I have faced.”

The article refers to the following YouTube video

Religious authority, state power and revolutions

Hatem Bazian,, Religious authority, state power and revolutions "The current conflicts and competing fatwas from Sunni religious authorities in response to events in Egypt and Syria, point to a deeper problem, the clear intellectual and institutional fragmentation witnessed among scholars (Ar) at the highest levels." Opinion/analysis by Hatem Bazian, who is editor of the Islamophobia Studies Journal The 2012 inaugural issue is still available for download (haven't read it yet)

New and noted: 'Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach', New Book: Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach "Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach, written by experts on the front lines, gives you an insider's look into the world of cyber-warfare through the use of recent case studies. The book examines the issues related to cyber warfare not only from a computer science perspective but from military, sociological, and scientific perspectives as well. You'll learn how cyber-warfare has been performed in the past as well as why various actors rely on this new means of warfare and what steps can be taken to prevent it."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Morocco journalist charged, Morocco journalist charged with inciting 'terrorism', 25 Sep 2013 "Ali Anouzla, director of the Arabic version of independent news website Lakome, was arrested on September 17 after his website posted a link to the video attributed to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the jihadist network's North African affiliate."

QueerPK blocked

CNN, Pakistan's gays in dark after Muslim nation's first gay website blocked, 26 Sep 2013 "Queer Pakistan, which just went online in July, confirmed it had been blocked September 24 with a Twitter post saying, "It's official! QueerPK is banned from viewership in Pakistan.""

Also see, Pakistan blocks ‘un-Islamic’ gay website 

Net cut in Sudan, At least seven killed in Sudan as anti-government violence flares article also discusses internet cuts

In Post-Revolution Egypt, Business Picks Up Online

WSJ, In Post-Revolution Egypt, Business Picks Up Online "The internet played a big role in the Arab Spring as people took to social media to plan and organise protests, inspiring a whole new generation of activists. It is now helping an increasing number of people to meet their financial aspirations in the Arab country."

al-Shabaab "recruitment drive"

Jon Swaine, Telegraph, Al-Shabaab's American recruitment drive: 'Betray the US and join "the real Disneyland" of African jihad' "Teenage boys in America's biggest Somali community are being urged to betray the United States and join "the real Disneyland" of African jihad, in a recruitment drive by al-Shabaab."

Shabaab finance squeeze

Reuters, Shabaab finances face squeeze after Kenya attack "Al Shabaab emerged as a regional threat funded by millions of dollars from activities ranging from extortion to taxing charcoal exports, but its attack on a Kenyan shopping mall is expected to provoke a counter-terrorism response aimed at crippling the Somali Islamist group's finances."

Samantha Lewthwaite

NBC News, Interpol issues 'Red Notice' for Britain's terror widow on behalf of Kenyan authorities "While the Interpol notice does not specifically cite the mall attacks, Lewthwaite was mentioned on al Shabaab’s Twitter feed before the post was taken down late Sunday.

 “@HSM-PRESSOFFICE2: Sherafiyah lewthwaite aka Samantha is a very vrave (sic) lady,” it read. “were happier to have her in our ranks #westgate #AlShabaab COWARDS!”"

Battle To Save US Youth From 'Jihadi Pipeline'

Greg Milam, Sky News, Battle To Save US Youth From 'Jihadi Pipeline', 26 Sep 2013 "Authorities in the American city regarded as the 'jihadi pipeline' for terror group al Shabaab say they are winning the battle to prevent young men being recruited." Includes reference to internet influence.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Al-Shabaab and Social Media

There's been a great deal of conjecture about al-Shabaab's use of social media during the phases of the Westgate siege in Nairobi, as events have played out. Some of that is reflected below, in opinions and analysis. This is a logical progression from use of diverse web tools by 'jihad' oriented groups over the years, many of whom integrate social media into their activities (representatives of al-Shabaab having been particularly proactive in this sphere, as evidenced in other posts in this blog - click the label below to see more). 

I shall be writing about this issue again in due course, for a forthcoming project (I've been gathering material in the interim). There's some reference to al-Qaeda (+ affiliates) and social media in my chapter for Jeffrey Kenney and Ebrahim Moosa's edited book "Islam in the Modern World" (Routledge, 2013) - as well as my earlier work. 

Here's a few links which discuss this particular aspect of events (content does not necessarily reflect my personal opinions).  

Mail & Guardian, Tweets stream in over Kenya's Westgate mall shooting

BBC News, Authorities and militants take Nairobi battle to Twitter

BBC World Service, Is There a Link Between Terror Attacks in Kenya and Pakistan?, 24 Sep 2013 includes podcast available for download (for 7 days after broadcast)  (which also includes a contribution by Lisa Curtis of the 'Heritage Foundation', who wrote a blog post entitled Pakistan and Kenya Terrorist Attacks: Is There a Link?)., The Western Voices of al-Shabaab's Twitter Account "The al-Shabaab, known for their pernicious recruitment of child soldiers, hand chopping and stoning of girls, opened their first Twitter account two years ago and has been shut down a number of times since. What is striking about their tweets is their native and even high-brow use of the English-language. Words and phrases like "minuscule in nature" and "sangfroid" do not seem to belong to the language of violent jihadists."

Update: MEMRI, List Of Nairobi Attackers, Including Westerners, Published On Social Media

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Report: Profiles in Blogging

CIMA, Report: Profiles in Blogging: How Bloggers Around the World Practice Their Craft tip: Digital Islam "Blogging, once a trendy new phenomenon in the early days of the World Wide Web, is now almost two decades old. But bloggers continue to fill information voids in countries where free speech is constricted or forbidden. Some bloggers play the role of citizen journalist, once scorned by the mainstream media, but now more often welcomed as a source of raw information, photos, videos, and eyewitness accounts from places where news organizations have no reporters or photographers on the scene." Report includes sections on Saudi Arabia and Yemen

The Online Project, Social Media in Ramadan

The Online Project, Social Media in Ramadan "Ramadan has a significant impact on people's behaviors and daily routine in the Middle East. In this report, we've explored the impact of the Holy Month on social media in the MENA region; specifically on Facebook and Twitter." PDF, available in Arabic and English.

Monday, September 16, 2013

aQAP leader killed, Al-Qaeda confirms death of Yemen leader Qaeed al-Dhahab "The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) confirmed on Saturday in an Internet posting, the death of senior AQAP member Qaeed al-Dhahab in a U.S. drone strike late last month."

'Shiny nails may be halaal', Shiny nails may be halaal "Cosmetics company Inglot has applied to the Muslim Judicial Council for its 02M "breathable" nail enamel to be certified halaal .

"Sheik Moosa Titus, chief of operations at the council's Halaal Trust, said the council was considering the application."

Pakistan YouTube Filtering Plan

Mahesh Sharma,, Pakistani Activists Smell A Mole In Government’s Proposed YouTube Filtering Plan "After ignoring repeated requests to appear in a court case challenging the Pakistan government’s year-long YouTube blackout, the country’s elusive IT minister is expected to appear at a hearing later this month to outline plans to drop the blanket ban — and instead selectively restrict “blasphemous” and “offensive” material on the video-sharing site. However, activists have decried the move as a Trojan Filter that will precipitate a far-reaching internet surveillance regime."

MSA, MSA celebrates 50 years on campus: The Muslim Student Association helped bring Halal food into Penn dining halls "1992-1996: Over the course of these years, the MSA set up QIBLA — Quran and Islamic Books Library — the first Islamic database on the internet. This project was led by 1997 Engineering graduate Wuqaas Munir."

Alwaleed's Twitter stake

Telegraph, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed won't sell Twitter stake in IPO " Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says he will not sell any of his shares in microblogging site Twitter when it goes public, and expects the firm's IPO to hit the market later this year or in early 2014."

Friday, September 13, 2013

al-Shabaab attack (follow-up)

Daily Mail, Ally of world's most wanted woman the White Widow is shot dead in Somalia raid: Briton killed by rival Islamic militants, 13 Sep 2013 "A British bomb-maker on the run with the widow of a London 7/7 bomber is believed to have been killed in a gun battle in Somalia.

"Habib Ghani, 28, was ambushed along with one of America’s most wanted terrorists in a dawn raid after falling out with commanders from militant group al-Shabab."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"#Islam, Social Networking, and the Cloud"

"#Islam, Social Networking, and the Cloud", my chapter in Islam in the Modern World, Edited by Jeffrey T. Kenney, Ebrahim Moosa (Routledge, 2013), is out now. The book has a useful accompanying website. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Abu Mansoor al-Amriki killed (?)

US-born 'jihadist rapper' Omar Hammami reportedly killed in Somalia | World news | "A rapping jihadist from Alabama who ascended the ranks of Somalia's al-Qaida-linked militant group and was on the FBI's most wanted list with a $5m (£3.2m) reward for his capture was reportedly killed on Thursday in an ambush ordered by the militant group's leader." Click on the tab below for more reports about Hammani from over the past few years.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel | World news |

"The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals."

"The 'diamond' suit of terrorists"

The 'diamond' suit of terrorists: Hamas, Hezbollah and Lashkar-e-Taiba | Andrew Scarpitta, Washington Times Communities opinion/analysis

'Minister of Facebook'

RFE/RL, Iranian Ministers Join Facebook En Masse, Sparking Debate About Online Censorship "Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, was the first. In August, after his Facebook page began showing activity, Zarif announced that it was being updated by him and his children. He quickly gathered 160,000 "likes" and became jokingly known as the "minister of Facebook.""

New Report: Mapping Digital Media

New Report: Mapping Digital Media: Egypt | Digital Islam  "The Open Society Foundations released its report Mapping Digital Media: Egypt written by Rasha Abdulla. "The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.""

Monday, September 09, 2013

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Palestinian Hacker who posted on Facebook CEO’s Wall Hired

Palestinian Hacker who posted on Facebook CEO’s Wall Hired - ArabCrunch:

The Backlash Begins - "In Syria, a second war is rising between the Islamists and more moderate rebel groups"

Hannah Lucinda Smith, Asharq al-Awsat, The Backlash Begins: "The Islamists’ civilian PR offensive is proving all the more successful because there is a dearth of independent news and information in the opposition-held areas. The Internet connections were cut long ago and only the rich can afford to install and maintain satellite connections. In Menbej, people crowd into the Internet cafes to check their emails on painfully slow connections, but even this is outside the budget of the poorest – one hour of Internet time costs SYP 75, as much as two packets of precious bread. “When the revolution started, people were selling their valuables so that they could buy a laptop and find out about everything that was happening,” a local activist tells me. “But now the laptops are useless because they can’t connect to the Internet anymore.”"

Book review - 'Startup Rising'

Book review of Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East by Christopher M Schroeder Martin Fletcher,, Books: A new golden age for Islam?: "His protagonists have built successful websites such as, and Ideal Ratings that tell investors which companies are Sharia-compliant. They have developed apps to bypass Cairo's appalling traffic congestion or to track the user's daily prayers. Some Yemeni schoolgirls went online and learnt how to make solar-power lanterns to end the fire risk to tents.

Interesting review by Martin Fletcher. I'd like to see this book sometime.

African Religious Studies Center in Iraq, Al-Abbas holy shrine founds an African Religious Studies Center in Iraq: "The center is going to build a website on the internet in order to post all the activities and programs of the informers of Islam."

Mobily unveils app store within BlackBerry World platform

Mobily unveils app store within BlackBerry World platform | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.: "Mobily has launched its Mobily App Store) within the official platform of BlackBerry World in an initiative considered to be the first in the telecom sector in the Middle East."

First cyber defence centre in Middle East opened

First cyber defence centre in Middle East opened - Technology - "Based in Dubai, the centre aims to collate information on potential threats, the perpetrators and their motivation, as well as general data that can help governments, institutions and companies prevent and quickly respond to cyber attacks."

The Assads: the family from hell

The Assads: the family from hell | The Australian refers to social media use by the Assad family

Monday, September 02, 2013

The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart, The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart:

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi Twitter Hacked?

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi Twitter Hacked? | Ibn Percy: I picked this up via Facebook

Mullah Najibullah: Too Radical for the Taliban

Mullah Najibullah: Too Radical for the Taliban - Newsweek and The Daily Beast "His movement recently published its “policy statement” on the Internet. The 26-point program emphasizes the “permanence of the jihad,” making clear that the fight won’t “be limited only to Afghanistan ... but will continue until Muslims have been freed from the atrocities of non-believers.”"

Bin Laden's Identity Verified By DNA Test After Deadly Raid, Report Reveals, Bin Laden's Identity Verified By DNA Test After Deadly Raid, Report Reveals:

Al-Qaeda group claims wave of Baghdad attacks

AFP/, Al-Qaeda group claims wave of Baghdad attacks: ""The new wave organised by the lions of the Sunni people... was a response to the crimes of the Safavid government with the executions of a group of Islamists from the Sunni people in Iraq," said the statement posted on jihadist Internet forums."

“Your fatwa does not apply here”

“Your fatwa does not apply here”: Muslim artists battle fundamentalism -

refers to the impact of 'cyber imams' in this piece by Karima Bennoune

Sermon from JAKIM (Malaysia)

Islam before all else, Muslims told in crackdown on minority beliefs | Malaysia | The Malay Mail Online: "The sermon accused these “enemies” of using “new innovations” such as the mass media, Internet, Facebook, emails, and text messages to spread lies, cultural pollution, and poison the faith of Muslims."

Iran soon to see a revolution – in technology

Iran soon to see a revolution – in technology | The Journal Gazette: "So I’m not sure that the introduction of iPhones and MacBooks is really going to tip the political balance in the Islamic Republic, but it’s not as if the embargo was really helping either. How about Cuba, next?"

Nigeria's child brides:

Nigeria's child brides: 'I thought being in labour would never end' | Guardian, Global development | "The storm of Twitter and online commentary has translated into a handful of protests in the more liberal south, which is predominantly Christian but also home to millions of Muslims."

Of mediums and messages

Of mediums and messages - Listening Post - Al Jazeera EnglishOf mediums and messages profiles Marshall McLuhan

Syria’s largest city just dropped off the Internet, Syria’s largest city just dropped off the Internet:

Syrian Electronic Army

Syrian Electronic Army seen as 'nuisance,' not a serious cyberthreat - Investigations, NBC News