Monday, March 31, 2014

Turkey’s online censorship just took a sinister Orwellian turn

Turkey’s online censorship just took a sinister Orwellian turn – Quartz "Over the weekend, Google reported that Turkey had intercepted traffic to its public domain name system (DNS) service—part of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly draconian crackdown against the social media networks that are being used to distribute damaging information about him."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Real-time Tracker: #انتخبوا_العرص - Keyhole

Real-time Tracker: #انتخبوا_العرص - Keyhole:

Tracking the viral hashtag #انتخبوا_العرص - which relates to al-Sisi (other hashtags are available).   Also see, Anti Sisi hashtag goes viral

French and Belgian Jihadists Boast About the Syrians They Slaughter

French and Belgian Jihadists Boast About the Syrians They Slaughter - The Daily Beast "A cable news station in Paris has aired shocking video of French-speaking jihadists at work in Syria. The footage broadcast Thursday night on BFMTV played like a macabre postcard home, only the latest reminder that hundreds of French and thousands of European jihadists are waging war against Bashar al-Assad. The news channel has called it evidence that France’s own are “direct actors in the atrocities committed in Syria.”"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Radicalisation online

Social media is new weapon in war on British jihadis - UK Politics - UK - The Independent "Diplomats have quietly opened a new front in efforts to stem the flow of Britons travelling to fight in Syria by spending nearly £200,000 on "social media activity" to deter would-be jihadis from leaving the UK, The Independent on Sunday can reveal."

Friday, March 28, 2014


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Iran condemns Muslim shrine desecration in Syria, Iran condemns Muslim shrine desecration in Syria "Photos of the mosque posted on the Internet on Wednesday showed extensive damage to the exterior walls and roof of the building. The pictures also depicted concrete and twisted metal strewn on the street outside the mosque with an interior wall collapsed inward."

'Jihad by social media'

Sam Jones,, Jihad by social media " How thousands of young Muslims are being radicalised through social networks and propelled towards violence in Syria."


I am presently pulling together a paper, on #Islam, Social Media and the Cloud. I have trying to compress thousands of archived images, assembled over a number of years, into something suitable for a 45 minute presentation! I shall be giving versions of this paper in a few locations this year. Details to be posted on this page in due course. I may put a version of this online sometime.

'Saudi teacher whipping 13 students caught on camera', Saudi teacher whipping 13 students caught on camera "The video footage, aired on Al Arabiya News Channel this week, shows the teacher hitting the boys as they walk past him. In response, the education ministry announced that it had begun an investigation, Okaz newspaper reported."

Twitter and YouTube bans in Turkey: round-up

I have collected some of the stories associated with Twitter and YouTube bans in Turkey from the past week:, Turkey widens Internet censorship, Far from succumbing to 'the ban', Twitter usage SOARS in Turkey

BBC News, Turkey Twitter ban is 'a losing battle', expert claims

Guardian, Turkey blocks YouTube amid 'national security' concerns

BBC News, Turkey moves to block YouTube access after 'audio leak'

Friday, March 21, 2014

Al-Qa'ida, the second act

Al-Qa'ida, the second act: The hate preachers fuelling sectarianism - Comment - Voices - The Independent final part of a series by Patrick Cockburn contains information on 'e-jihad'

Spain: 'Kebab Shops Financing Global Jihad'

Soeren Kern,, Spain: Kebab Shops Financing Global Jihad:

"Elmedjeri, a specialist in forging documents, is also known for operating one of the best kebab shops in Málaga. Terrorism analysts say this points to another problem: many of the tens of thousands of kebab and shawarma shops operating in Spain and other parts of Europe may be using their business proceeds actively to finance global jihad in Syria and elsewhere." Some conjecture in this report.

Hijabers: How young urban Muslim women redefine themselves in Indonesia

Annisa R Beta, International Communication Gazette, Hijabers: How young urban Muslim women redefine themselves in Indonesia:
"This paper analyzes the dissemination of ‘Hijaber’ style through different forms of cyber media (blogs and social network sites) in order to determine how young, computer savvy Muslim Indonesians explore their gender and religious identities while working in the ‘creative economy’ through cyberspace. This article shows the plurality and flexibility of the Hijaber trend—compared to more conventional forms—and explores its significance for urban Indonesian youth."

'American Sharia'

Trailer for forthcoming comedy, crowd sourced - full details here

'After the Protests'

Zeynep Tufekci, NY Times, After the Protests, 19 Mar 2014 "Media in the hands of citizens can rattle regimes. It makes it much harder for rulers to maintain legitimacy by controlling the public sphere. But activists, who have made such effective use of technology to rally supporters, still need to figure out how to convert that energy into greater impact. The point isn’t just to challenge power; it’s to change it."

Twitter in Turkey

NPR, 'We'll Eradicate Twitter,' Turkey's Prime Minister Vows
"Reeling from the anonymous release of audio that seems to implicate him in a corruption scandal, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would ban Twitter, no matter what the international community says."
BBC News, Twitter website 'blocked' in Turkey, 21 Mar 2014  "Some users trying to open the website are apparently being redirected to a statement by Turkey's telecommunications regulator."

Syrian jihad, from Antwerp

Øyvind Strømmen,, Syrian jihad, from Antwerp, 20 Mar 2014 "At least 100 people have left the Netherlands to fight in Syria. In neighbouring Belgium, the number is even higher. Family members and researchers point to the Belgian group Shariah4Belgium as part of the explanation." Strong social media emphasis in this report from Øyvind Strømmen. Recommended.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

BBC Radio 4 - Russia: The Wild East - Episode guide

BBC Radio 4 - Russia: The Wild East - Episode guide:

Timely repeat of Martin Sixsmith's series. The first part discusses the religious foundations of Russia, including why Russia became Christian (rather than Muslim).

Al-Qa’ida, the second act

Al-Qa’ida, the second act: Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong - Comment - Voices - The Independent:

commentary from Patrick Cockburn

Liking Facebook in Tehran: Social Networking in Iran

Liking Facebook in Tehran: Social Networking in Iran | Iran Media Program: "Liking Facebook in Tehran: Social Networking in Iran

This report, based on an online survey of Iranian Facebook users, contributes to a small but growing body of scholarship on social and new media use in Iran. Our findings offer new insights into the Iranian Facebook ecosystem, including patterns of Facebook usage among Iranians, why and how Iranians are using Facebook, what types of content they are sharing, as well as perceptions of privacy and security associated with using Facebook. In addition, the survey addresses the key question of whether Facebook is being used as a tool for political engagement and civic activism among Iranian internet users, as initial assessments suggested."

This is a useful resource from the Iran Media Program.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Inspire 12

Chicago targets in terrorist crosshairs, new al Qaeda magazine Inspire says | ""America is our first target" are the un-minced words in the Spring 2014 edition of Inspire, the first publication from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in nearly one year."

Friday, March 14, 2014

'Super flagger' status for government

Google gives UK government “super flagger” status for YouTube - 13 Mar 2014 - Computing News: based on the FT story (which is paywalled).  "

"Google has granted the UK security services privileged 'super flagger' status over YouTube videos, enabling the government to demand instant screening of videos it deems threaten national security." I am not sure whether this will make much of an impact - there are numerous alternative channels for distribution, or ways around the system. Such online sources have also been a source of 'intelligence', and could act as honeypots for gaining information on followers.

New Report: Whither Blogestan

New Report: Whither Blogestan: Evaluating Shifts in Persian Cyberspace | Digital Islam: The link to the PDF requires some registration for Annenberg School for Communication's Iran Media Program(me). So I haven't had a chance to take a look yet.

Couple jailed for YouTube videos

Couple jailed for YouTube videos glorifying Lee Rigby murder | UK news | The Guardian: "A couple were jailed on Friday for glorifying the murder of the soldier Lee Rigby in videos posted on YouTube that were "offensive in the extreme". Royal Barnes, 23, and his wife Rebekah Dawson, 22, of Hackney, north-east London, recorded and uploaded three videos shortly after the murder in Woolwich, south-east London, last May."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Zawahiri, The Clairvoyant: The Guidelines: Measuring Zawahiri’s Influence "Over the past few years since the American operation against Usama bin Ladin in Pakistan, there has been much debate over the leadership capabilities and influence that Bin Ladin’s successor Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri still has over the global jihadi movement generally and al-Qaeda branches in particular. Endowing al-Qaeda franchise-status upon Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin in Somalia, slow response to the Arab uprisings, and inability to resolve the conflict in Syria between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra highlight how many have become skeptical of Zawahiri’s importance or relevance. And while this is all certainly true, those within the movement that are still true believers in the cause and view Zawahiri and al-Qaeda’s general command (AQGC) in Pakistan/Yemen as the fountainhead of the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders still heed Zawahiri’s advice."

Turkey unrest and social media

Reuters, Death of Turkish boy hurt in protests triggers fresh unrest, 11 Mar 2014 "Istanbul and Ankara have both seen protests in recent weeks against what demonstrators see as Erdogan's authoritarian reaction to the graft scandal, which has included new laws tightening Internet controls and handing government greater influence over the appointment of judges and prosecutors." social media is driving these protests.

Aga Khan on social media, Aga Khan, speaking at Brown, sees virtue in social media, Internet, 10 Mar 2014 "Speaking at Brown University on Monday, the Aga Khan — the spiritual leader for some 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims worldwide — focused on the potential of social media and Internet-based technology to bridge cultural divisions."

Saudi man jailed for 10 years over Twitter messages

Reuters, Saudi man jailed for 10 years over Twitter messages, 10 Mar 2014 "A Saudi court sentenced a man to 10 years in jail and a 100,000 riyal ($26,700) fine for joining protests against the kingdom's rulers and using Twitter to urge people to do the same, state news agency SPA said on Monday.

 "SPA quoted Justice Ministry spokesman Fahd al-Bakran as saying the unidentified defendant had also retweeted messages against the monarchy, Muslim scholars and security services."

Killing of Palestinians strikes nerve online

AlJazeera, Killing of Palestinians strikes nerve online "As many mourn the deaths of six Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, supporters are taking to social media to express concern and outrage over the treatment of Palestinians by Israeli forces."

The Shaykh and the F Word

Sana Saeed,, The Shaykh and the F Word "Niamatullah (who prefers to refer to himself as a teacher, not Shaykh or anything else) proudly boasts of his dark sense of humor. In fact, for those who follow his Facebook page (myself included), there’s nothing surprising about his penchant for sardonic perspectives and pushing the comfort parameters of those following him. His Facebook page is often filled with insightful commentaries on socially and politically relevant and poignant topics that offer spiritual frameworks – a approach that is often a refreshing departure from ideological and essentialist discussions (i.e. his recent commentary on activism and silence of scholars on political issues). Niamatullah often has received flack for his sense of humor which is often, in his own words, “subtle, dark, dry British”. At the same time, he’s been a bit irresponsible of his social media, seemingly unaware of the stature he’s been given through his work and his affiliations." Useful commentary on this issue

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Social media is new weapon in war on British jihadis

Social media is new weapon in war on British jihadis - UK Politics - UK - The Independent "Fighters for al-Qa'ida-linked groups in Syria's civil war have proved adept at using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to recruit foreign fighters, with messages and images exhorting young Muslims to join a holy war against Bashar al-Assad's brutal regime."

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Gulf atheism in the age of social media

Gulf atheism in the age of social media - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East "

"In a rare interview, a self-confessed Saudi atheist spoke of the need to maintain a semblance of belief in religion in front of others, telling the interviewer that he was “shocked by the number” of atheists. The interviewee went on to cite social media as tools that made it easier for atheists to find each other. Indeed, the advent of Twitter and Facebook saw a proliferation of self-professing Gulf atheist accounts usually with the word “atheist” or “humanist” in the name, virtually all of them anonymous."

First Ever Fatwa Issued Against Wildlife Trafficking, First Ever Fatwa Issued Against Wildlife Trafficking:

Let's hope others follow this initiative. "This unprecedented step by the Indonesian Council of Ulama, in the country with the world's largest Muslim population, declares illegal hunting or illegal trading of endangered species to be haram (forbidden)."

Anwar Ibrahim jailed

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim jailed for five years on sodomy charge | World news | "A Malaysian court has sentenced the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail on sodomy charges, overturning an earlier acquittal and ending his hopes of contesting a local election this month."

Turkish PM threatens to ban Facebook, YouTube

AP, Turkish PM threatens to ban Facebook, YouTube "Turkey's prime minister has threatened drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shutting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption have been leaked in the past weeks, dealing him a major blow ahead of this."

Jail Sentence in France Over ‘Cyber Jihad’

Jail Sentence in France Over ‘Cyber Jihad’ -

How Mars Became Haram

How Mars Became Haram: A Guide to Freaky Fatwa News | "I know what you're thinking- come on, it's just another one of those made-up fatwas, like last year's Great Syrian Sex Jihad and the Erotic Fruit and Vegetable Fatwa of 2011. Those were great fun for the media, and in all their journalistic glee, they forgot to check their stories. There is something to be said for journalistic integrity, unless there's a funny fatwa story. Then it's a free for-all."

Opinion piece

From fantastic to fanatic

From fantastic to fanatic: Radicalized Arab pop star Fadel Shaker - Al Arabiya News:

Top Saudi cleric calls for suing Google over anti-Islam Youtube film

Top Saudi cleric calls for suing Google over anti-Islam Youtube film - Al Arabiya News "Khaled al-Shaya, a top Saudi cleric, recently called on Islamic countries to ban and legislate against Google, after the internet search giant’s apparent “disrespect of Islamic beliefs” in continuing to display an inflammatory video against Islam, news website CNN Arabic reported on Saturday."

Egypt policemen sentenced to 10 years for Khaled Saeed's death

Egypt policemen sentenced to 10 years for Khaled Saeed's death - Al Arabiya News: