Saturday, December 31, 2011

'Rafsanjani Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order '

RFE/RL, Rafsanjani Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order, 30 Dec 2011 "Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's office manager and younger brother, Mohammad Hashemi, confirmed today in an interview with Iran's ILNA news agency that the website of the former president and head of the Expediency Council has been blocked after officials intervened over the site's content."

Qur’an project for Filipinos launched, Qur’an project for Filipinos launched, 30 Dec 2011 "The Industrial City Dawa Office will print 20,000 copies of the Qur'an translation and commentary in Tagalog for distribution among the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world, said Fuad Kawther, general manager of IDCO. "“We'll also set up a website on the Internet for this Qur'an project, so that Tagalog speakers all over the world can access this great work,” Kawther told Arab News."

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Dogged Syrians film Arab monitors' every move", Dogged Syrians film Arab monitors' every move, 30 Dec 2011 "Arab peace observers touring crisis-hit Syria have been closely tracked by intrepid activists who, armed with camera-equipped mobile phones, provide the only glimpse into spiraling violence."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Egypt: Female blogger asks women to unveil themselves

EnerPub - Energy Publisher, Egypt: Female blogger asks women to unveil themselves, 27 Dec 2011 "The young Egyptian blogger who set off a firestorm because of the nude photographs of herself that circulated on the Internet is now demanding that Muslim men should cover themselves with the hijab: the veil traditionally worn by devout Muslim women."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cambridge Digital Library, Islamic Manuscripts

New and noted: Cambridge Digital Library, Islamic Manuscripts (includes several examples of Qur'anic manuscripts)

Tarek Mehanna case

AP, Mass. man convicted of conspiring to help al-Qaida, 20 Dec 2011 "Prosecutors said Mehanna and two friends conspired to travel to Yemen so they could receive training at a terrorism camp and eventually go on to Iraq to fight and kill U.S. soldiers there.

"When the men were unable to find such a training camp, Mehanna returned home and began to see himself as part of the al-Qaida "media wing," translating materials promoting violent jihad and distributing them over the Internet, prosecutors said."

Also see the comments of  Andrew March in this article.

German man charged with spreading Islamist internet propaganda, German man charged with spreading Islamist internet propaganda, 19 Dec 2011

'Gay Marriage Sparks Malaysia Uproar'

OnIslam, Gay Marriage Sparks Malaysia Uproar, 20 Dec 2011 "The controversy also dominated the virtual world on the micro-blogging site Twitter with many tweets condemning the Malaysian student for straying from Islam and dishonoring his family."

Alwaleed bin Talal - Twitter

Brian Whitaker, Guardian, Alwaleed bin Talal: from Saudi prince to king of Twitter?, 20 Dec 2011 "The $300m deal has caused some alarm, but this royal family member is much more progressive than his relatives."

Pioneer Bloggers in the Gulf Arab States

Sultan Al-Qassemi,, Pioneer Bloggers in the Gulf Arab States, 20 Dec 2012 "Long before Facebook updates and 140-character tweets, a number of cyber activists defined the landscape of non-government led opinion in the Gulf Arab states. In less than a decade, a group of bloggers—many of whom have never met—has paved the way for the emergence of the “other opinion” that was and continues to be largely missing from the government controlled Gulf Arab media. The shake-up to traditional media that these blogging pioneers caused was no less significant than what Al Jazeera’s arrival did to the moribund government-controlled television channels of the Arab world." Useful article [posted retrospectively]

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Bringing London’s “Christmas Bombers” to Trial'

Raffaello Pantucci, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 9 Issue: 46, Bringing London’s “Christmas Bombers” to Trial, December 16, 2011 "Five of the men are also accused of possessing material useful in the preparation of terrorism, and four are charged with owning two editions of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine and a copy of Saudi ideologue Muhammad bin Ahmad as-Salim’s famous tract “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad”"

Writer is the author of a forthcoming book We Love Death as You Love Life: Britain’s Suburban Mujahedeen (Hurst/Columbia University Press)

Also posted in my Islam in Britain blog

Media conference

Arab News, Muslim media’s balancing power stressed at Jakarta conference, 16 Dec 2011 "The second international Islamic media conference held at Jakarta’s Sultan Hotel from Dec. 12 to 15 has called on Muslim media organizations around the world to strengthen their cooperation in defending Muslim causes, spreading the message of Islam and promoting world peace and stability."

'Why the Arab Spring Is Here to Stay'

Newsweek, Why the Arab Spring Is Here to Stay, 18 Dec 2011 "The level of contact and communication these Arabs enjoy was inconceivable to their parents. And yet the young people take it for granted, as part of the natural order in which they’re growing up."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Al-Shabab's tweets [@HSMPress]

Jason Burke, Guardian, Al-Shabab's tweets won't boost its cause, 16 Dec 2011

"Somalia's al-Shabab militants are now using Twitter. You can follow the account @HSMPress – derived from the Shabab's full name, Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen, or Movement of Freedom Fighter Youth – for pithy updates on their violent campaign to bring a rigorous version of conservative Islam to east Africa and beyond, all in 140 characters or less. The account already has more than 3,000 followers. Are the al-Shabab tweeters jealous of their Afghan Taliban counterparts whose own account @alemarahweb has 6,000 followers? Like all Twitter users they'd deny it, of course – and probably be lying."

'Hackers Take Down Anti-Muslim Website', Hackers Take Down Anti-Muslim Website, 15 Dec 2011 "The hacktivist group Anonymous shut down a website rallying against the show "All-American Muslim," as political protest shifts to the online arena."

'Iran says Internet now a 'battlefield''

Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin/WorldNetDaily, Iran says Internet now a 'battlefield': New army of 'cyber-jihadists' working on disruption strategy, 16 Dec 2011

'Tunisia: An ongoing experiment in the revolutionary lab'

Anshel Pfeffer, Ha'aretz, Tunisia: An ongoing experiment in the revolutionary lab, 14 Dec 2011 "A year after the self-immolation of a vegetable vendor in Tunisia sparked a political tidal wave across the Arab world, it's hard to point to much positive change in the North African country. Unemployment remains high, Islamists won a plurality in elections, and women fight to wear the niqab in public."

Tarek Mehanna trial (USA)

Adam Serwer, Mother Jones, Does Posting Jihadist Material Make Tarek Mehanna a Terrorist?, 16 Dec 2011 "Civil liberties advocates say the case represents a slippery slope. In the 2010 case Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which decided whether or not providing nonviolent aid (such as legal advice) to terrorist groups constitutes material support for terrorism, the Supreme Court ruled that even protected speech can be a criminal act if it occurs at the direction of a terrorist organization. Based on that ruling, you could be convicted of materially supporting terrorism merely for translating a document or putting an extremist video online, depending on your intentions."

Veena Malik, Outcry over actress Veena Malik’s revealing FHM cover dominates Pakistani news, 14 Dec 2011 "The Web editor of a local newspaper said the popular actress’s latest coup has already surpassed Osama bin Laden’s death in terms of the site’s Web traffic."

Baby Named ‘Facebook’ in Egypt, Baby Named ‘Facebook’ in Egypt After Social Network Used in Support of Uprising

Egyptian bloggers

Care2, Bloggers in Egypt and Syria Face Prison Terms, 14 Dec "Blogger Maikel Nabil has been sentenced to two years in prison and fined 200 pounds ($33) for criticizing the SCAF on his blog and conscription."

"Al-Azhar Message on Satellite, Internet", Al-Azhar Message on Satellite, Internet, 16 Dec 2011 "Bound by tradition and overshadowed by the state, al-Azhar missed the boat when new communications options opened up and Islamists seized them to challenge its mainstream view of Islam. ""We have not adequately coped with the changing modern means of communication and information technology,” Ibrahim Negm, senior adviser to Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Egypt's second-highest religious authority after Tayeb, said."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'The Role Of New Media And Communication Technologies In Arab Transitions', Manuel Manrique and Barah Mikail, The Role Of New Media And Communication Technologies In Arab Transitions - Analysis

'American chain faces backlash over boycott of Muslim TV show

Independent, American chain faces backlash over boycott of Muslim TV show, 14 Dec 2011 "Its adverts urge Americans to "never stop improving". But if the good people at Lowe's, one of the nation's largest DIY chains, are true to their word, they may want to take a long, hard look at their chief executive's grasp of PR."

'Kenya soldier and Somali militia battle on Twitter', Kenya soldier and Somali militia battle on Twitter, 14 Dec 2011

'The New Arab Journalist'

Arab News, The New Arab Journalist, 14 Dec 2011

Good review of 'The New Arab Journalist'. Some of the content of the book is derived from Lawrence Pintak's PhD, which I supervised.

Tarek Mehanna case, Mehanna defense focuses on language in terror case, 14 Dec 2011 "Defense lawyers for accused terrorist supporter Tarek Mehanna sought to establish yesterday that materials he allegedly distributed in support of Al Qaeda had already been translated by someone else.

"Thomas F. Connolly, a professor of English at Suffolk University who also teaches at Tufts University, testified in US District Court in Boston that subtitles for a propaganda video Mehanna allegedly distributed in support of Al Qaeda appear to be translated by someone trained in British English, not American."

Alaa Abdel-Fattah

Bikya Masr, Case for Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah transferred, 14 Dec 2011 "Egyptian authorities transferred the case of Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah from a state security court to a panel of two investigative judges, as investigations into the controversial case continue."

Maikel Nabil Maikel Nabil sentenced to 2 years in jail, 14 Dec 2011 "A military court on Wednesday sentenced Maikel Nabil, a blogger charged with insulting the military, to two years in prison and a fine of LE200, said activist Noor Ayman Nour from the advocacy group No to Military Trials for Civilians."

Friday, December 09, 2011

OnIslam, US Imam Sets Muslim Role Model "Returning from Cairo, he preached at several mosques at San Francisco as he established, a “virtual mosque’’ that showcases writings from him and about 20 Muslim scholars."

aQ Africa

Time, Threat Level Rising: How African Terrorist Groups Inspired by al-Qaeda Are Gaining Strength, 19 Dec 2011 "The moment Nigeria's Islamists graduated from local to international threat can be dated almost precisely, to just before 11 a.m. on Aug. 26."

OBL Facebook status

MSNBC Technolog, Osama bin Laden's death tops 2011 Facebook status updates, 7 Dec 2011

Reading the Riots

I've written on my Islam in Britain blog about the reports to the riots [Guardian, Readling the Riots]. In the context of this blog, there are some interesting elements relating to methodology, for example in:

Guardian, How Twitter was used to spread – and knock down – rumours during the riots, 7 Dec,

Guardian, Technology has always been blamed in times of unrest, and

Guardian, Riot Rumours, how misinformation spread on Twitter during a time of crisis

'Social media: Don’t donate online, Saudis urged'

Arab News, Social media: Don’t donate online, Saudis urged, 9 Dec 2011 "In the aftermath of the Jeddah school fire back in November, which left four people dead and dozen others injured, social networking websites Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube played a significant role in exposing the case to the world."

'The Islamic world’s Nude Spring'

Joseph Mayton,, The Islamic world’s Nude Spring, 6 Dec 2011 opinion piece: "So when Mahdy removed her clothes, she undressed the liberals and their calls for freedom. Obviously, in their mind, she made a mistake. She was wrong. Nudity has no place in Egypt. But for the millions of women, who on a daily basis face sexual harassment, assault and categorical oppression from all sides, she did what no activist has been able to do. She won. She told the world that her body is owned by nobody other than herself. Disagree with the tactic, fine, but one must, if they truly espouse the idea of freedom of expression, support her in her cause."

'Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas ...', Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas, cucumbers for sexual resemblance, 6 Dec 2011 "One reader said that these religious “leaders” give Islam “a bad name” and another commented said that he is a “retarded” person and he must quite his post immediately. "Others called him a seeker of fame, but no official responses from renowned Islamic scholars have been published on the statements." Allegations widely circulating online ...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Apps: Islamic Architecture Wallpaper, Islamic Architecture Wallpaper Haven't tried this one yet


National Post, Charlie Sheen and Egypt top Twitter's top hashtags of 2011, 7 Dec 2011 "Twitter has released a list of the top hashtags of 2011 and the results fluctuate between the most trivial and serious, with the top two being #egypt and #tigerblood"

Rajasthan Music

BBC, Imagine, Winter 2011, The Lost Music of Rajasthan "Imagine takes a road trip round the desert state of Rajasthan." Very interesting programme.

Jihadists' Social Media, Jihadists' Use of Social Media 'Not a Game Changer,' Experts Tell Congress "Islamic militants may use the Internet to keep connected but it’s not a big terrorist recruitment tool, experts told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on Tuesday."

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Afghan shrine blasts

BBC News, Shias targeted in deadly Afghan shrine blasts, 6 Dec 2011 "At least 60 people killed in twin attacks targeting Shia Muslims marking Ashoura in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif."

'Congress tries to counter terrorist social media propaganda'

AHN/, Congress tries to counter terrorist social media propaganda, 5 Dec 2011 "So far, U.S. government efforts against online recruiting by jihadists have involved tracking the information to see who is publishing it. Government public relations personnel also counter extremist propaganda with public information campaigns. "The subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence wants to know what more can be done without trampling free speech."

'No more virginity in Saudi if women drive, says council'

Sharifa Ghanem,, No more virginity in Saudi if women drive, says council, 2 Dec 2011 "If women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, the result would be catastrophic and lead to “no more virgins,” said clerics from the Majlis al-Ifta al-Aala, the country’s highest religious council."

Friday, December 02, 2011

'Egyptian cameraman at the heart of the Tahrir Square clashes'

Guardian, Egyptian cameraman at the heart of the Tahrir Square clashes, 2 Dec 2011 "A jerky six-and-a-half minute video by a local journalist could be the most important document of the recent violent conflict."


EUObserver, EU lacks will for Iran oil ban, Syria intervention, 1 Dec 2011 "The bloc also added 12 people and 11 entities to its Syria blacklist. The new measures will block Damascus from trading bonds, buying insurance, opening bank branches in the EU, buying oil and gas equipment and buying internet and phone snooping kit (an Italian firm was up until two weeks ago installing email interception equipment for Syrian intelligence in Damascus)."

Net filtering issues, New Internet filtering system condemned as backdoor censorship, 2 Dec 2011 "An Internet content filtering system that Turkey’s Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) introduced on 22 November is proving controversial both domestically and abroad. The outcry has coincided with a conference on the Internet in Turkey that began in the southwestern city of Izmir on 30 November."

AFP/, Businessmen unveil plans for ‘Muslim Facebook’, 1 Dec 2011 "Based in Istanbul, with offices in Moscow and Cairo and coordinators in 30 countries, the site hopes to attract 50 million users within three years, Azimov told about 150 journalists from Muslim countries at the company’s luxurious Istanbul offices.

"“The heart of the project is to create a network without any content that is prohibited by religion,” said [Akhmed] Azimov, a Dagestan native. “To achieve this, we will have a big team of moderators and there will be filters.”"


Jim Finkle, Reuters/, Conficker worm could be key to Stuxnet attack on Iran, 1 Dec 2011 "A cyber warfare expert claims he has linked the Stuxnet computer virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 to Conficker, a mysterious “worm” that surfaced in late 2008 and infected millions of PCs. "Conficker was used to open back doors into computers in Iran, then infect them with Stuxnet, according to research from John Bumgarner, a retired U.S. Army special-operations veteran and former intelligence officer."

Al-Qaeda says group kidnapped American in Pakistan, Al-Qaeda says group kidnapped American in Pakistan, 2 Dec 2011 "Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of an American man in Pakistan and demanded the release of prisoners and an end to air strikes in Muslim countries in exchange for his freedom, according to an Internet statement.

"Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, also said in an audio recording issued on Islamist websites late on Thursday that a senior Qaeda leader based in Pakistan known as Attiyatullah had been killed in a U.S. air strike in August."

Egypt updates

AlJazeera Live Blog Egypt updates on current situation

GCHQ spy recruitment code solved

Telegraph, GCHQ spy recruitment code solved, 1 Dec 2011 "The code which GCHQ, the intelligence agency, posted online to recruit a new generation of tech-savvy spies has been solved within hours of going online."

'Lebanon's intelligence war', Lebanon's intelligence war "With reports of the CIA shutting down in Beirut, Al Jazeera explores the extent of intelligence infiltration in Lebanon."

Mehanna trial

The Boston Globe, Mehanna did not regret trip to Yemen, US alleges, 1 Dec 2011 "Tarek Mehanna did not regret the trip to Yemen in 2004 that became the center of the terrorism case against him. He told his close friend, Kareem Abuzahra, that he would do it again, according to evidence introduced yesterday in Mehanna’s trial in US District Court in Boston."

Shi'a Muslims Muharram online discourse

The Times of India, Thousands take part in Muharram discourses in city, 1 Dec 2011 "For the Shias, attending Muharram majlis is part of faith and those who cannot be physically present in mosques for majlis either catch the discourses on channels like the World Islamic Network (WIN) TV or on iPhones internet and YouTube."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'The battle of Cairo's Muhammad Mahmoud Street'

AlJazeera, The battle of Cairo's Muhammad Mahmoud Street, 30 Nov 2011 "The street battles taking place in Cairo are emblematic of its Second Revolution: tear gas, hair gel and tramadol."

Culinary Diversion: Gaza's Food Heritage

Saudi Aramco World : Gaza's Food Heritage non-tech, interesting and beautifully photographed article by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt ...

'How Will Facebook and Twitter Impact Islam?'

Nidhal Guessoum, Huffington Post, How Will Facebook and Twitter Impact Islam?, 29 Nov 2011 "During a recent Friday sermon, a young Muslim sitting next to me took out his Blackberry and started to check his messages (while the Imam was giving his speech). I was quite stunned. The young man then put away his smartphone, but 10 minutes later took it out again and typed a few things. That gave me a good indication of both his (short) attention span and the addiction to cyberspace that youngsters have fallen victim to these days."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tahrir Sq doctors

Egyptian newspapers

Mustafa Suleiman,, New independent newspapers see the light in post-revolution Egypt, 23 Nov 2011 "Despite the economic crisis Egypt has faced since the eruption of the January 25 revolution, print media outlets are currently enjoying a boom and the launch of several independent newspapers bears witness to a new era that wants to do away with official and businessmen’s press."

Opinion piece on Muslim Brotherhood

Amira Nowaira, Guardian, Comment is free, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood continues to alienate itself from the people, 25 Nov 2011 "In deciding to stay away from these protests, the Brotherhood may have committed its gravest mistake to date. The footage showing a dead protester being dragged by a security officer and dumped near a rubbish heap, appearing on many satellite channels and the internet, has not only shocked and enraged Egyptians, but it has sent them out on to the streets in their thousands to protest against this outrage."

Opinion/analysis piece on 'Cyber-Hezbollah'

Opinion/analysis piece Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, European Foundation For Democracy, Iran And Cyber-Hezbollah Strategies: Killing Enemies In Hyperspace – Analysis "Last September, Jihadists who call themselves “Cyber-Hezbollah” organised their second conference in Teheran. Islamist hackers and cyber-jihadists gathered there and decided to fight the U.S. and Europe."

Mehanna trial

Boston Globe, Mehanna posted on radical site, 24 Nov 2011 "Tarek Mehanna was committed to translating and distributing pro-jihad materials on the Internet, including on a website promoting radical ideology, according to testimony by an FBI agent yesterday in Mehanna’s terrorism trial in US District Court in Boston. "

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tahrir Sq

First Post, Social media in Tahrir square: How #FreeMona resulted in freeing Mona, 24 Nov 2011. "What is that one thing that united Egypt with Tunisia, Tunisia with Bahrain, Bahrain to Libya—and theses countries with the rest of the world? Social media. Tweets shrieking out for help, an image of a man with a head injury from missiles fired by Egyptian forces, or a jerky video showing people protesting when suddenly a youth is shot through the head.  Social media helped the world to witness and participate in the Egyptian revolution not by fighting tear gas in Tahrir Square but simply through the web." Useful article by Adrija Bose.

Arabic on Twitter

Dana Khraiche, Arabic fastest growing language on Twitter: study, 24 Nov 2011. "The Paris-based Semiocast released an analysis on the language shares on Twitter, surveying 5.6 billion public messages gathered between July 1, 2010 and Oct. 31, 2011. ""More than 2 million public messages were posted ever day on Twitter in Arabic, from about 30,000 in July 2010 [out of 5.6 billion tweets]," the study said."

Mona Eltahawy's tweets

Storify, Shiv Malik, Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy tweets her assault, 24 Nov 2011 Disturbing series of tweets

Mona Eltahawy

Guardian, Journalist Mona Eltahawy alleges sexual assault in Egypt detention, 24 Nov 2011 . "The US-based Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy has been released, according to her personal Twitter account, after 12 hours in detention at the hands of Cairo security forces. A later tweet from the account @monaeltahawy said that she was sexually and physically assaulted while being held inside the interior ministry in Cairo, in the early hours of Thursday morning."


Guardian, Ahdaf Soueif in Cairo: 'By early evening it was clear that this was Revolution II', 23 Nov 2011 "Eat a good breakfast. Take a rucksack with a gas mask and swimming goggles. Write your name on your arm. Write your details into a message on your mobile. And go to the Square." The tweet appeared after three of the (at least) 38 people killed in the streets of Egypt over the last three days proved impossible to identify. It was picked up by the well-respected Egyptian daily al-Shorouk and published to #Tahrirsupplies – the hashtag that collates what you can bring in to the square if you want to help." One of the best pieces from Tahrir Sq

Monday, November 21, 2011

Al-Qaida advises the Arab Spring: Syria

Joas Wagemakers,, Al-Qaida advises the Arab Spring: Syria, 19 Nov 2011 "With the Arab Spring going strong in several countries, al-Qaida (in a broad sense, so including ideologues and scholars supportive of the organisation) still finds it necessary to comment on what is happening. In a series of posts, I will deal with the advice al-Qaida is giving the people of several countries, starting with Syria."


Christopher Anzalone,, The rapid evolution of Al-Shabab’s media and insurgent “journalism”, 16 November 2011 "The evolution of Al-Shabab’s media arm provides a window into the group’s overall maturation as an insurgent movement that has endorsed key elements of Al-Qaeda Central’s ideology while still focusing primarily on waging a domestic insurgency inside Somalia."

Cairo update

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Libya update

CNN, Who is Saif al-Islam Gadhafi?, 19 Nov 2011, "Once seen as a potential successor to his slain father, Moammar Gadhafi, Saif al-Islam 's capture may mark the end to hopes held by loyalists that the Gadhafi family might seize power again."

Egypt update

Guardian, /Egypt: violent clashes in Cairo leave hundreds injured "Egypt has been hit by another wave of major violence ahead of parliamentary elections after security forces opened fire on thousands of protesters demonstrating against the military junta."

Revolutionary app

Daily Beast, Syria's Revolutionary iPhone App Helps Fight the Assad Regime. "Amid a brutal crackdown, rebels are fighting back on their iPhones. Babak Dehghanpisheh on how the Arab Spring’s newest weapon keeps the opposition informed—and the regime in check." Impressive app.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mohamed Mahmoud profile

Souad Mekhennet, NYT, Austrian Returns, Unrepentant, to Online Jihad, 16 Nov 2011

"According to interviews with Arab, American and European intelligence officials, as well as investigative files, Mr. Mahmoud combines a gift for inspiring followers, a knack for tapping into the power of the Internet and a virtual Rolodex of Qaeda leadership connections, many made in prison or in training camps.

"In short, these officials say, Mr. Mahmoud represents a wave of young heirs apparent to take over the role of Al Qaeda’s propagandist in chief from Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric turned militant leader who was killed by an American missile strike in Yemen in September."

'Of Militants and Boy Bands'

Huma Yusuf, Of Militants and Boy Bands, 16 Nov 2011 "Two videos have gone viral in Pakistan over the past few weeks. Both feature three young Pakistani men. Both flay the establishment. In one, the men wield Kalashnikovs; in the other, they brandish microphones. Such are the tools of change in a country that seems to have lost its way." Opinion piece.

And here's the (music) video from Beygairat Brigade [the other one is also linked into the above article]:

Also see:

NYT, Satirical Song, a YouTube Hit, Challenges Extremism in Pakistan, 7 Nov 2011 "A satirical song that takes a tongue-in-cheek swipe at religious extremism, militancy and contradictions in Pakistani society has become an instant hit here, drawing widespread attention as a rare voice of the country’s embattled liberals."

Mehanna trial update, Mehanna friend said to seek camps for training16 Nov 2011 "Mehanna is also charged with conspiring to support terrorist organizations by distributing and translating materials promoting jihad on the Internet, following Al Qaeda’s call to promote its ideology in the West. He does not deny translating documents, but said his views on foreign policy and opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were free speech protected by his First Amendment rights." Update on trial

Internet ‘Enables Open Debate Between Religions'

Common Ground News Service/, Internet ‘Enables Open Debate Between Religions’ | 

"Picture this: an Iraqi reporter becomes interested in the work of a Jewish student in Israel after reading an article about Jewish-Muslim relations in medieval Spain that the student published online."

"Djinn" in the machine (?)

The Star Online (Malaysia), Face it, you can be virtually spooked via Facebook, 14 Nov 2011

"Users of social media sites should not post their pictures online as they could be used for witchcraft, said Kelantan Darussyifa' Islamic Medicine Association chairman Zaki Ya.

"He said that djin (spirits) are able to “connect” with humans through the Internet, including Facebook, Sinar Harian reported."

Tunisia 'caliphate' discussion

Reuters Canada, Tunisia Islamist causes outcry with "caliphate" talk, 15 Nov 2011 "Footage posted on the Internet showed Hamadi Jbeli, the secretary-general of the Ennahda party, telling supporters that "We are in the sixth caliphate, God willing."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Media and Islam

Nidhal Guessoum, Huffington Post, New Media and Islam, 8 Nov 2011 "The importance of new media (YouTube and such), social networks (Facebook and such) and new tools that can be considered a little bit of both (Twitter and such) no longer needs any argumentation. Facebook is now the third largest "country" in the world, and YouTube and Twitter have redefined "communication." In 2011, in particular, the whole world has seen the power and impact of these tools in various events and revolutions, and indeed a number of institutions have taken note and started to investigate the usage and effect of these tools in less visible areas, such as the discourse of religious people within their communities and in interfaith dialogues." op-ed


IINA, Turkey/Islam-Internet: Islamic ‘Facebook’ to be launched in Istanbul, 15 Nov 2011 "Salamworld, an Islamic social networking website, is set to start its journey from Istanbul." SalamWorld has been discussed previously on this blog.


Gianluca Mezzofiore, IBTimes, Egyptian Blogger Poses Nude to Protest Islamic Extremism, 15 Nov 2011

"An Egyptian blogger posed naked in a series of pictures published on Twitter under her real name sparking mixed reactions among her followers. Some praised her move, while others left outraged comments."

Also see France24, Egyptian women’s group calls on men to try the veil, 14 Nov 2011

"An Egyptian student has created a Facebook page to launch an appeal to men: post photos of yourselves wearing the Islamic veil. This young woman believes it is unjust that a dress code is imposed only on women. It’s an amusing initiative but the message has not been well received by some."

Ongoing trial

Boston Globe, Witness says Mehanna sought terror training, 15 Nov 2011 "Masood was the second former associate of Mehanna to testify in his terrorism trial, and he told jurors that he often spoke of violent jihad and watched violent videos with Mehanna and his close friends."

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Alaa Abd El Fattah

Reuters, Egyptians protest, anger mounts over blogger arrest, 31 Oct 2011 "Thousands of Egyptians protested on Monday in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of an uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak this year, after a prominent activist was detained by military prosecutors.

"The military detained Alaa Abd El Fattah on Sunday, a high-profile blogger whose arrest by Mubarak's security forces in 2006 led to a big campaign to release him."

Profile: AhramOnline, Alaa Abdel Fattah: Portrait of a revolutionary, 31 Oct 2011

See ShoroukNews original article by Alaa Abd El Fattah:
عودة لسجون مبارك

There's an English translation here: Sultan Al Qassemi, Felix Arabia, Translation of article by detained Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah

Also read: Tarek Amr, GlobalVoices, Egypt: SCAF - The Last Pillar of the House?!, 2 Nov 2011

Follow the story on Twitter #Free Alaa

'Charlie Hebdo' offices burned

WSJ, Fire Guts Magazie Offices Amid Controversy Over Caricature, 2 Nov 2011 refers to the firebombing of 'Charlie Hebdo''s offices in Paris, after the publication of an edition of their satirical magazine which features the Prophet Muhammad.


The Standard, Eritrea "arming Al Shabaab", 2 Nov 2011 "The possible role of Eritrea in supporting Al Shabaab insurgents has come into sharp focus after the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) confirmed that two aircraft landed in Baidoa with a consignment of arms for the rebels. "Although KDF did not name the origin of the aircraft, chatter on many Somali Internet sites, quoting Al Shabaab, said they were Eritrean."

Also see this very interesting piece in the Guardian: Jamal Osman, Guardian, Al-Qaida targets Somalia drought victims with cash handouts, 1 Nov 2011 which has an accompanying video.

Palestinian net hacked

BBC News, 'Hackers' cut Palestinian phone and internet systems, 1 Nov 2011 "The main phone network in the West Bank and Gaza has suffered a sustained attack by computer hackers, the Palestinian Authority (PA) says."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Muslims combat radicalization with online tools

Washington Post, Muslims combat radicalization with online tools, 25 Oct 2011

"A Muslim organization is working to counter radicalization by providing the work of progressive Islam scholars online in simple, youth-friendly language. "Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), a nonprofit group that has established liberal Muslim communities in the U.S. and Canada, created the

“Literary Zikr' website to provide an alternative to the fundamentalist versions of Islam that pervade the Internet."

More info: Muslims for Progressive Values

'Iran cyber police cite U.S. threat'

Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, Iran cyber police cite U.S. threat, 29 Oct 2011 "An Iranian police unit that was formed this year to counter alleged Internet crimes is playing a key role in an escalating online conflict between the United States and the Islamic Republic."

Monday, October 24, 2011


Sihem Bensedrine, Guardian CIF< Tunisian elections: There can be no risk-free democracy, 23 Oct 2011

'Egyptian jailed over 'insulting' Facebook posts'

ABC Australia, Egyptian jailed over 'insulting' Facebook posts, 23 Oct 2011 "An Egyptian court has sentenced a man to three years in jail with hard labour for insulting Islam in postings on Facebook, the official MENA news agency reported. "A Cairo court found that Ayman Yusef Mansur "intentionally insulted the dignity of the Islamic religion and attacked it with insults and ridicule online"."

'The bottom line for the online generation: Internet and cyberspace in Iran'

Maryam Ala Amjadi, Tehran Times, The bottom line for the online generation: Internet and cyberspace in Iran, 23 Oct 2011 "The internet has not only impacted the overall dimensions of Iranian youth and their lifestyle but has also contributed to the definition and the making of youth culture. It has been so deeply integrated into the everyday life of the young generation that it seems impossible to imagine them and their days sans internet. Perhaps this is one of the reasons as to why a good number of social experts in Iran of today believe in the potential power of internet in promoting cultural values and issues and expanding them to the families via their young members. "

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi 'killed', Muammar Gaddafi killed in Sirte, 20 Oct 2011 "Al Jazeera has acquired exclusive footage of the body of Muammar Gaddafi after he was killed in his hometown, Sirte.

"Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured near Sirte on Thursday."

Coverage on Facebook, Libya Youth Movement contains the latest pictures

Also see BBC News, Gaddafi 'captor' brandished golden pistol, 20 Oct 2011

Khamenei discusses Facebook

RFE/FL, Iran's Supreme Leader Issues Ambiguous Fatwa Regarding Facebook, 14 Oct 2011 ""Since Facebook has been filtered in Iran, is logging on to such a website to stay in touch with friends, without having any activity against the national interests of the Islamic republic, wrong?"

"This question was recently put to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reportedly by an Iranian via mail.

"Ayatollah Khamenei's written response, posted on Iranian websites, was ambiguous:

""In general if it requires engaging in [immorality and evil acts] (such as spreading corruption, lies, and false materials) or if there is concern that it is sinful, or it strengthens the enemies of Islam and Muslims, it is not permissible. Otherwise it's fine," he wrote."

"Internet clubs of Muslim women", New Vol. of Muslim woman Journal Published in Moscow, 20 Oct 2011 announcing a magazine: "Introduction of the models for Muslim women, Hazrat Zeynab (SA), interview with a Russian Muslim female activist, Quranic school, teachings of Haj, reality of piety, internet clubs of Muslim woman and Persian miniature are some of the articles of the issue."

‘Internet assassin’ joins swap arrivals in Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News, ‘Internet assassin’ joins swap arrivals in Turkey, 19 Oct 2011 "Eleven former Palestinian released by Israel arrived in Ankara yesterday. Amina Muna, known as the ‘Internet assassin,’ unexpectedly joined the group at the last minute after she refused to go to Gaza."

Op-ed: "Why Muslim women in the Middle East are doing Better than their Peers in UK?"

Iqbal Tamimi, Director for Arab Women Media Watch Centre in UK, Middle East Online, Why Muslim women in the Middle East are doing Better than their Peers in UK?, 17 Oct 2011

"Alriyadh, the national Saudi newspaper published an interesting story on December, 18, 2008, about an unusual marriage condition requested by a Saudi woman at the court of the city of Qatif, where she demanded that her future husband should provide her with 3 personal computers as part of her Dowry, and that he should guarantee her a lifetime access to internet. The groom refused her request, claiming that “internet has bad influence on women and facilitates 'virtual' mixing between men and women”. This incident indicates how important the internet has become in the life of Muslim women especially those who are isolated for social or health reasons. But this incident also shows that internet flirting is a major concern for Saudi men who are living in a segregated society, even though they make the highest percentage of subscribers on dating websites in the Arab region."

Reading list: 'Rock the Casbah'

Alas, 'Rock the Casbah' is not a reference to the Clash, but a review of an intriguing new book:

Nomi Morris,, Welcome to the counter-jihad, 20 Oct 2011 "In Rock the Casbah, veteran journalist and Middle East analyst Robin Wright seeks to ease these worried minds. A “counter-jihad” movement has arisen in recent years that preceded – and continues to inspire – the reformers who took to the Arab street, Wright says. This counter-jihad can be felt across all 57 predominantly Muslim countries and includes the powerful constituencies of clerics, women and youth under 30, who make up more 60 per cent of the globe’s 1.57 billion Muslims."

I haven't read this one yet.  The book's webpage is here: Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, by Robin Wright, Simon & Schuster

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tunisian election 2011: protesters demand freedom of speech - video

Guardian, Tunisian election 2011: protesters demand freedom of speech - video


'In Egypt, young and tech-savvy Islamists try to project new image'

Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, In Egypt, young and tech-savvy Islamists try to project new image, 13 Oct 2011 ""Where's My Ear?" is a satire on the colliding passions and deep suspicions between liberals and ultraconservative Muslims like him, known as Salafis, who have become a pronounced political voice in the new Egypt. The short film has gotten more than 80,000 hits on YouTube and has made [Mohamed] Tolba a celebrity and a curiosity among the Koran set." Mohamed Tolba's video is here


Amir Karimuddin,, Salam World is “Facebook” with Islamic Content. Seriously?, 18 Oct 2011  "When I heard the information about yet another social network site with Islamic content, honestly I accept it skeptically. Moreover when I read the information about Salam World that is projected to be “Facebook” with Islamic concept. As cited from some media, the “Salam World” management is now visiting Indonesia, including to Majelis Ulama Indonesia (Indonesian Ulema Council), the Ministry of Religion, Bank Muamalat to promote its product that will be launched in April 2012." The site will be here, but only has a splash page at present:

Arab Media: Globalization and Emerging Media Industries

Book announcement Khalil Rinnawi, Muhammad Ayish, Noha Mellor and Nabil Dajani, Arab Media: Globalization and Emerging Media Industries (Polity, 2011) [thanks to digitalislam for the tip!]

I haven't seen this book yet

Report: In the Name of God: Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries, Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries Report "The OpenNet Initiative published its report In the Name of God: Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries authored by Helmi Noman. The paper "analyzes the Internet censorship policies and practices of majority Muslim countries and finds that in many of these countries online information controls are primarily based on the Islamic faith and interpretations of its instructions."" Here's the pdf link: ONI, Report: In the Name of God: Faith Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries

Malaysia: 'Muslims need to counter Islamophobia on the net', Muslims need to counter Islamophobia on the net: Ahmad Shabery, 19 Oct 2011 "Muslims need to have knowledge and expertise on information technology (IT) to counter Islamophobia in cyberspace, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek."

'Intel alliance offers sharia-compliant laptop loans', Intel alliance offers sharia-compliant laptop loans, 18 Oct 2011 "Intel is working with an Islamic bank to offer consumers Pakistan’s first large-scale hire purchase scheme for personal computers, aiming to increase its market share in the country."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Maikel Nabil Sanad, Detained blogger Maikel Nabil to be retried, 11 Oct 2011 "A military court decided Tuesday to drop a three-year prison sentence handed down to Maikel Nabil, who he will be retried in another district."

NPR, Egyptian Blogger To Face Retrial; His Hunger Strike Approaches 50 Days, 11 Oct 2011

Shahira Amin, CNN, Egyptian blogger, imprisoned and hungry, is steadfast in his protest of regime, 6 Oct 2011

Egyptian protests

Guardian, Middle East Blog, Egypt violence - Monday 10 October as it happened

The Atlantic, Egypt's Anti-Christian Violence: How Things Got So Bad, 12 Oct 2011 "The specific rights and wrongs of this disturbing episode will be litigated on Twitter, Facebook, and Egypt's lively talk shows, but largely to no real good or progress."

AhramOnline, Outrage over state TV's misinformation and anti-Coptic incitement, 12 Oct 2011, Video exposes military abuse of Coptic protester, 12 Oct 2011

'NYPD secretly probed Muslim student groups'

AP/Detroit Free Press, NYPD secretly probed Muslim student groups, 11 Oct 2011 "Investigators have been infiltrating Muslim student groups at Brooklyn College and other schools in the city, monitoring their Internet activity and placing undercover agents in their ranks, police documents obtained by the Associated Press show. "

'Malaysia's youth energises political landscape'

Radio Australia, Malaysia's youth energises political landscape, 11 Oct 2011 "Malaysia's youngest sitting politician says his generation of leaders is ready to move away from race-based politics. "Politics in Malaysia is centred on race and religion, with the Malay UMNO dominating a multi-racial political coalition." Refers to blogs, and the impact of the internet in this audio interview with Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

Ayman al-Zawahri on Libya, New Qaeda chief urges Islamic rule in Libya, 12 Oct 2011 "Al-Qaeda’s new leader is calling on Libyan fighters who overthrew Muammar Qaddafi to set up an Islamic state and urges Algerians to revolt against their longtime leader in remarks in a new Internet video."

'New statement from the Anṣār al-Mujāhidīn English Forum'

Aaron Y. Zelin,, New statement from the Anṣār al-Mujāhidīn English Forum: “Marking the Martyrdom of Imām Anwar al-’Awlaqī and Samīr Khān”, 11 Oct 2011

'Putting a Spin on the Arab Spring'

R. Green, MEMRI, Putting a Spin on the Arab Spring: Al-Qaeda Struggles to Prove Its Relevance in the Era of the Arab Revolutions

"Not only did the uprisings marginalize Al-Qaeda's role in the actual political scene, they also brought to the fore ideas that marginalize Al-Qaeda's own ideology, such as the Arab peoples' public commitment to greater freedom and democracy. Moreover, Al-Qaeda was forced to lay out a new strategy for an Arab and Muslim world dominated by new, more pluralistic and democratic rules and values."

Analysis and opinion.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blackberry down

BBC News, Blackberry services down in Europe, Middle East and Africa, 10 Oct 2011

'Iranian star of Australian-produced film to be lashed', Iranian star of Australian-produced film to be lashed, 11 Oct 2011 "An Iranian actress will be jailed for a year and lashed 90 times for starring in an Australian film production about the Western influence on life in the Islamic republic." Refers to Marzieh Vafamehr from the film 'My Tehran for Sale'. There are several internet references in this story. I haven't seen this film: IMDb has details, and here's the trailer:

Hip Hop UK/USA, Hip Hop Link between Culture and Faith for Filmmaker "San Francisco filmmaker Mustafa Davis wanted to see how music became a link between Muslim identity and Western culture."

Hope this one gets shown in the UK - it sources UK and US artists.

'Fear Inc.'

Opinion piece: Farha Khaled,, Fear Inc. exposes the recession-proof Islamophobia industry, 9 Oct 2011 "A six-month research project by the prominent think tank, Center for American Progress has resulted in a 130-page report appropriately named Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America. This is the first in-depth investigation into Islamophobia, and it sheds lights on how a small group of bigots linked to conservative and Zionist causes each play a role in the seemingly lucrative industry of Muslim hatred and bashing Islam." The report is here:, Fear Inc.

'Dead cleric’s videos may find eternal life online'

Omar Sacirbey| Religion News Service, Washington Post, Dead cleric’s videos may find eternal life online, 6 Oct 2011 "The threat is compounded by al-Awlaki’s continuing online presence. His writings and lectures can be viewed on websites with names like (The Strangers), (Prayer time),, and, as well as blogs devoted to spreading his videos and writings. "Several al-Awlaki videos have received more than 100,000 views, including one titled “Major Signs Before the Day of Judgment,” with more than 260,000 views."

Friday, October 07, 2011

'Iran Warns of Facebook's Soft Power'

Hossein Aryan, RFE/RL, Iran Warns of Facebook's Soft Power, 6 Oct 2011 "An Iranian official warned this week that the expansion of social-media networks is harming society and called the country's 17 million Facebook users a threat to the country's Islamic values.

"Mehdi Jafari, who heads the technology and intelligence section of the Pupil's Basij militia -- which runs programs for 12-17 years olds -- told a gathering of teachers in the northern town of Amol on October 3 that the effects of the blogosphere on Iranian society can no longer be ignored."

Anwar al-Awlaki

Middle East Online, ‘Mowing the grass’ in Yemen, 7 Oct 2011 opinion piece "Claims that Awlaki was an Al-Qaeda leader or that he was directly involved in any terrorist action have never been substantiated. His murder was clearly just another feather in Obama’s warrior headdress as he launches his re-election campaign this autumn, notes Eric Walberg"

'Taliban Using Modern Means to Add to Sway'

Alissa J. Rubin, NYT, Taliban Using Modern Means to Add to Sway, 5 Oct 2011 "Punctually, at 8 o’clock every evening, the cellphone signals disappear in this provincial capital. Under pressure from the Taliban, the major carriers turn off their signal towers, effectively severing most of the connections to the rest of the world. "

Email scammers becoming increasingly creative

Luiz Sanchez, Email scammers becoming increasingly creative, using Arab leaders, 5 Oct 2011 "Emails posing as close aides of deposed Arab leaders such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi have offered recipients an amazing deal: give them your full bank account details and they will transfer millions of dollars from the corrupt regime’s offshore accounts in order to safeguard it."

'Wrong interpretations of dreams cause family chaos: Grand Mufti'

Saudi Gazette, Wrong interpretations of dreams cause family chaos: Grand Mufti, 7 Oct 2011 "The Grand Mufti denounced the false innovation of dream interpretation and the proliferation of TV channels and Internet websites which are approached by gullible viewers with a request to interpret their dreams.

"“All these are based on intentions to make money from innocent viewers. The so-called dream interpreter, satellite channels and telecommunication companies divide among themselves the ill-gotten profits they gather from people,” the Grand Mufti was quoted by Al-Madina Arabic newspaper as saying.

"“Dream interpretation has become a lucrative trade. Actually, many of the interpretations cause only concern and harm,” he was quoted as saying."

'Iran's digital media fair kicks off'

PressTV, Iran's digital media fair kicks off, 6 Oct 2011 "“Iran's Digital Media Fair is the biggest exhibition in the field of digital media in the Middle East,” IRNA quoted Head of the Digital Media Center of Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Isa Zarepour as saying on Thursday. "Zarepour also said this year's exhibition features a special section on the Islamic Awakening and digital media whose goal is to deepen focus on the Islamic Awakening in the region."

'The Life Cycle of a Refugee Camp Along the Tunisia-Libya Border'

Emily Parker,, The Life Cycle of a Refugee Camp Along the Tunisia-Libya Border, 5 Oct 2011 "Satellite dishes adorn dozens of tents, and one refugee that we encountered was checking his Facebook page using an “Internet Everywhere” USB key— apparently “everywhere” extends to refugee camps in the middle of the desert. "As we wandered among the rows of tents, melodies of Lady Gaga blasted from some and mixed with regional music booming from others."

'Iran: Internet Access Limited Further', Iran: Internet Access Limited Further, 4 Oct 2011 "Iran has widely blocked the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to keep Iranian web users from circumventing the government’s filters."

Steve Jobs

Guardian, Steve Jobs obituary, 6 Oct 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Media coverage of Islam

Get Religion, Anwar al-Awlaki’s many faces, 3 Oct 2011 opinion: "Anwar al-Awlaki was reportedly killed by a U.S. drone strike on Friday morning. He was as the New York Times describes him “the American-born cleric whose fiery sermons made him a larger-than-life figure in the shadowy world of jihad.” "But that is not how the New York Times always described him. It’s interesting to review the coverage he received over the years and what, if anything, that can tell us about media coverage of Islam in America."

'Beyond Yemen'

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, CSM, Beyond Yemen, Awlaki: Look for core Al Qaeda members outside the hot spots, 3 Oct 2011

"Awlaki's Killing No Interest for Arabs", opinion, Awlaki's Killing No Interest for Arabs, 3 Oct 2011 "The killing was heavily covered in the US with American analysts involved in lengthy discussions about the fallout of his death. "But the impact of Awlaki's death was much less in the Arab countries. ""I don't think this will really get people's interest, I can't imagine why it would,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center."

'Iran's War On Fun'

Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL, 2 Oct 2011 "A woman in the Iranian city of Mashhad has become the latest victim of Iran's longest-standing and most unconventional war -- the war against fun."

The Egyptian Revolution: Women, Islam And Social Change

Karen Torjesen,, The Egyptian Revolution: Women, Islam And Social Change

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan

Plenty of coverage relating to Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. I had been writing about al-Awlaki for a forthcoming chapter; both al-Awlaki and Khan are referred to in iMuslims. Click on the labels for back stories on Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan.

Here's a round-up:

AP, 2 US citizens dead in Yemen airstrike, 30 Sep 2011 "U.S. officials say Samir Khan and al-Awlaki were killed early Friday in a strike on a convoy in Yemen. The strike was carried out by the CIA and U.S. Joint Special Operations Command. Khan edited the slick Western-style Internet publication "Inspire Magazine" that attracted many readers.", Anwar al-Awlaki was typically modern and charismatic, say experts, 3 Oct 2011 "The real danger lay in his being a modern terrorist who mastered a variety of skills that facilitated the operations he commanded, said Nabila Ramadani, a journalist and an expert on Islamist movements. 

"“Awlaki spoke fluent English and excelled in using modern technologies like the internet and especially websites like You Tube, as well as social networking websites,” she said on Al Arabiya’s Panorama."

ABC News, American Jihadi Samir Khan Killed With Awlaki, 30 Sep 2011 "A young American who edited al Qaeda's English-language magazine, and had urged Muslims to mount deadly attacks on U.S. targets, was killed in the same CIA drone strike that eliminated Anwar Awlaki in Yemen Friday, U.S. officials said."

Will McCants,, English-Speaking Jihadis Lose Principal Propagandists, 30 Sep 2011

Suzanne Kelly, CNN Senior National Security Producer, Samir Khan: Proud to be an American traitor, 

CBS News, NC Muslims tried to change al-Qaida supporter

USA Today, At Islamic center, relief Awlaki can no longer 'spread hate', 3 Oct 2011 "Members of the suburban, Washington D.C., Islamic center where Anwar al-Awlaki once served as Imam condemned his terrorist activities following his death Friday."

Aaron Y. Zelin, Foreign Policy, American Jihadi: The death of Samir Khan in Yemen marks the end of a key figure in the Internet jihad, 30 Sep 2011 "Although Khan was never in the same league as Awlaki in terms of religious stature and oratory skills, Khan made up for it in his ability to connect disparate groups online and facilitate information not necessarily readily available in English. For thousands of would-be radicals, he made the jihadi cause accessible. As such, if Khan indeed is dead, he will go down as one of the most important pioneers and influential figures in the history of the American jihadi movement."

Then there's this:

Yemen Post, Al-Qaeda Claims al-Awlaki is Still Alive, 3 Oct 2011 "As the U.S government is relishing its victory over al-Qaeda with the alleged death of several of the group's top leaders, amongst whom well-known cleric and mastermind in al-Qaeda in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki; the terror group has announced that the allegations were false and that al-Awlaki was still very alive."

Adam Bates, Washington Post, Letters, No jury for Mr. Awlaki

Thursday, September 29, 2011

GIMF: convictions

The Local, Men convicted for radical internet posts, 29 Sep 2011 "Three German men have been convicted in Munich on Wednesday of supporting terrorism for posting radical propaganda videos online."

'Debating the Global Jihad in Cyberspace'

Aaron Y. Zelin, al-Wasat, Debating the Global Jihad in Cyberspace, 16 Sep 2011 "Since 9/11 and increasingly over the past several years, online jihad has become just as important to the global jihadi movement at the grassroots level as its military operations. There have been vigorous debates in the past decade amongst jihadis in forums and via official communiqués released online from popular ideologues as well as leaders. However, there have been instances where such debate was purposely shut down by administrators at forums to keep a sense of ideological cohesion. As a result, because of a lack of mainstream coverage the global jihadi movement is viewed in monolithic terms even though there are indeed cleavages that arise every so often, although they do not create big enough rifts to endanger the movement."

Inspire magazine #7

Aaron Y. Zelin, Jihadology, al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula’s al-Malāḥim Media releases Inspire Magazine Issue #7, 27 Sep 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

'Morocco smashes three-member Al Qaeda-linked network'

Oman Tribune, Morocco smashes three-member Al Qaeda-linked network, 28 Sep 2011 "Morocco said on Friday it had broken up a three-man cell with links to Al Qaeda, while Mali’s intelligence officials say the group is seeking to infiltrate into Morocco to facilitate attacks inside Europe."

Syrian cyber warfare

Zeina Karam, Associated Press/SFGate, Syria wages cyber warfare as websites hacked, 27 Sep 2011 "Pro- and anti-government activists in Syria are increasingly turning to the Internet, hacking and defacing websites in an attempt to win a public relations victory."

Germany brings out the intelligence against “Islamophobia"

Islam Online, Germany brings out the intelligence against “Islamophobia”, 28 Sep 2011 "In a positive development, the German daily newspaper Der Spiegel reported on Wednesday 28 Sep that “Islamophobes” could be placed under surveillance by the BfV, the German equivalent of Britain’s MI-5. There are concerns that the anti-Muslim scene is becoming increasingly dangerous, and some intelligence officials want it to be subject to greater scrutiny, despite stringent German privacy laws."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'Delayed Win for Saudi Women' opinion piece

opinion piece: David Keyes, Daily Beast, Delayed Win for Saudi Women, 25 Sep 2011 "A Saudi diplomat recently told me, “With the Internet, there is no such thing as a closed society anymore.” Indeed, a steady flow of pictures, videos, and heartbreaking stories of women being arrested for driving has reached the West." refers to the impact of the internet, and draws on online opinoin

Muslim-Science.Com, “WTN” award nomination for Pakistani Scholar, 23 Sep 2011 "Pakistani scholar Dr. Athar Osama has been nominated for the prestigious World Technology Network (WTN) award and has also been elected as a fellow of the WTN."

See Muslim-Science.Com

'Activists hack official Syrian websites'

News24, Activists hack official Syrian websites, 27 Sep 2011 "Two online activist groups said they hacked several official Syrian websites in the latest tactic to oppose President Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime."

Indonesian internet

Reuters India, Indonesian church bomber linked to radical Islamic group, 27 Sep 2011 "In a sign of the government's struggle to contain militancy, authorities have blocked 300 Internet sites this year suspected of promoting terrorism and hatred, a state news agency quoted a government minister as saying on Tuesday."

Syria: Inside the Secret Revolution

Jane Corbin, BBC News, Syria: 'Our weapon is the camera' in bloody revolution, 26 Sep 2011 refers to Corbin's programme for Panorama, available for UK viewers on iPlayer, Syria - Inside the Secret Revolution, BBC One, Monday, 26 September It's recommended (but disturbing) viewing, with some clips that hadn't been circulated on the net. There are references to Facebook, and the film also shows material that has been circulating on the net. Hopefully this documentary will have a wider international distribution. It was good to see it at a prime time slot (830 pm).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reading list: 'Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post-Al Qaeda Generation'

Philip Seib, Dana M. Janbek, Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post-Al Qaeda Generation (Routledge, 2010) This book seems to have passed me by: I'm looking forward to reading it in due course.

KSA media

Angus McDowall, Reuters, Analysis: Saudi media bypass stricter rules after Arab Spring, 21 Sep 2011 "Saudi Arabian bloggers and journalists say the arch-conservative Islamic kingdom will find it hard to douse glimmers of more open reporting despite a tightening of media rules after the spread of popular revolts through the Arab world."

'Religiosity or Commercialization?'

Alia Raffia Ullah, Islam Online, The British “Islamic” Lifestyle Experience (1): Religiosity or Commercialization?, 20 Sep 2011 "This article explores the ideology of buying into Islam on the British high street, online and over the British Muslim media. It examines whether these recent developments are benefitting Muslims in Britain, or commercializing Islam; turning it into a profitable business."

Journal abstract: "Piety as a concept underpinning Muslim women’s online discussions of marriage and professional career"

In the latest issue of Contemporary Islam, Volume 5, Number 3, 249-265, "Special Issue: Islamic Piety and Gender Relationships among Contemporary Muslims: Anna Piela, Piety as a concept underpinning Muslim women’s online discussions of marriage and professional career "In this article, I address piety as a concept shaping Muslim women’s online discussions about gender roles, marriage and professional careers." [links to abstract]

There are several other interesting articles in this edition.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Libya: 'Internet spy room'

Two pieces relating to Libya, which I have caught up on today:

Paul Sonne and Margaret Coker, Wall Street Journal, Firms Aided Libyan Spies: First Look Inside Security Unit Shows How Citizens Were Tracked, 30 Aug 2011 "The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: "Help keep our classified business secret. Don't discuss classified information out of the HQ.""

There's also this: Peter Murray, Singularity Hub, Internet Spy Room Found In Tripoli – Packed With Western Technology, 12 Sep 2011 which contains some further links and comments.

Yemen news

A reminder about internet news on Yemen. It's difficult to keep up with everything, so a few useful entry points are listed here. As well as numerous twitter sources via  #Yemen (such as Yemen Watch), I'm checking BBC Arabic, the Live Yemen blog and CNN on Yemen.

Opinion piece on NYPD Mapping

Amna Akbar,, Blueprints: Mapping US Muslim Communities, 19 Sep 2011 "The NYPD method for mapping home-grown terrorism is flawed and infringes on First Amendment rights, scholar argues. Without any rigorous data or reliable methodology, the report provides justification to spy on almost any Muslim in the United States. Perhaps even more troubling, it invites focused law enforcement surveillance on places where Muslims gather, on political opinions associated with Muslim communities, and on Muslim religious practice."

"Key cleric calls for more prayer, less Web surfing"

LA Times, Babylon & Beyond, IRAN: Key cleric calls for more prayer, less Web surfing, 20 Sep 2011 "An influential Iranian ayatollah is telling his students to spend more time praying and less time clicking through cyberspace. "Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, a conservative Islamic cleric and chairman of the Imam Khomeini Research and Education Institute in Qom, said the Internet is rife with dangers and temptations that lead to family problems. He urged seminaries to be vigilant, according to the Mehr news agency."

Steve Jobs

Palash R. Ghosh, International Business Times, Steve Jobs: The Most Famous Arab in the World, 25 Aug 2011 "Jobs' biological father is a man named Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian who was a political science graduate student when he met Jobs’ biological mother, an American named Joanne Simpson."

This 'news' has generated substantial discussion on fora and elsewhere, for example:

Farrukh I. Younus, OnIslam, Apple: A Reminder on Innovation, 30 Aug 2011

"Numerous articles across the internet suggest that while he may not have been raised by Muslim parents, his Muslim-ness is in his genes. Ironically, the Qur’an is quite clear on the value of individual merit, shunning the view that recognition is based on a person's heritage. In a society increasingly confused between their wants and their needs, many of us have misunderstood the measure of productivity, with the knock-on impact being placed on how we measure value."

(Somehow, I missed this thread from a few weeks ago ...)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Arab Spring 'punditry'

Tabsir,, Arab Spring’ Is All About Sex, Apparently "Now that we are about to officially head into the Autumnal paradox of the Arab Spring, there is no limit to the excess of punditry about why it happened, is happening and will continue to happen."

KSA e-gov, E-government ‘falls short of aspirations’, 14 Sep 2011 "The electronic government program, which was introduced in the Kingdom back in 2003, has so far not been able to satisfy the ambitions of citizens and only made slow progress, officials involved in the project said Wednesday. "

KSA phone subs up, Cell phone subscriptions cross 54.8m, 14 Sep 2011 "The number of mobile phone subscriptions in the Kingdom reached about 54.8 million by the first half of this year, according to an electronic bulletin published by the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC)."

'Iran bans ‘love triangles’ and ‘half-naked men’ on TV Special', Iran bans ‘love triangles’ and ‘half-naked men’ on TV Special, 13 Sep 2011 "One young blogger from Tehran, who has written in English since his Persian blog was filtered, thinks the bans on love triangles and half-naked men will have no impact on content. “Who does this affect? Swimmers? I have never seen much flesh in TV except during sports.”

Houston's Muslims: 'Offering competing messages via YouTube'

Zain Shauk, Houston Chronicle, Offering competing messages via YouTube, 10 Sep 2011 "The script is a familiar one: A Muslim, inspired by radical online videos, turns to violent extremism. "It is a reality that, although confined to a small minority of Muslims, cannot be ignored, community members say. So Houston Muslims this week - 10 years after a group of extremists unleashed the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history - decided to do something about it: They turned to YouTube."

The Taliban's Internet Strategy

Useful article/op-ed:

Bashir Ahmad Gwakh, RFE/RL, The Taliban's Internet Strategy, 10 Sep 2011 "Although the Taliban has numerous blogs and websites, two of their official websites, and (mostly videos), are their main official tools of propaganda. "Along with pictures and videos, they provide text materials in Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Persian, Urdu, and English."

I've been looking at Taliban sites for several years - there has been a long-term presence online (I wrote about them in Virtually Islamic).

'Tehran rocks, but only under ground'

Reuters, Tehran rocks, but only under ground, 14 Sep 2011 Angband profiled along with other bands:

"Clad head-to-toe in black -- the international uniform of heavy metal -- Mahyar Dean looks the archetype hard rock guitar hero. "But along with the mandatory Marshall amplifier and out-sized drum kit, his group, Angband, also boasts a couple of goatskin percussion instruments that have been a familiar part of Persian music for centuries."

I'm now listening to Angband on, with my speakers turned up to 11 (this may alarm my colleagues).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Student in al-Qaida raid paid £20,000 by police"

Guardian, Student in al-Qaida raid paid £20,000 by police, 14 Sep 2011 "Police say sorry and pay damages to student held for seven days after downloading al-Qaida manual for his masters degree"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

aq 9-11 Video

AFP, Al-Qaeda releases 9/11 anniversary video, 13 Sep 2011 "Al-Qaeda has released a video marking the anniversary of 9/11 which includes a message from its slain leader Osama bin Laden to the American people, monitoring group SITE Intelligence said Tuesday."

Syria: poetry and film montage relating to protests

سورية بصوت الأدان

Compilation of film clips relating to Syrian protests (contains violent images), together with poetry.  Sourced via Facebook Syrian Revolution

'Al Qaeda and 10 years of e-jihad'

Khaled Wassef, CBS News, Al Qaeda and 10 years of e-jihad, 9 Sep 2011 "Alarmed by the decline in members' contributions, a recent posting by blogger "al-Assad al-Tha'er" at the Shumukh al-Islam forum addressed the "reasons that led to the decline of activity on the jihadi blogs." ""The main section on the forum which used to be abuzz with messages, now could stay for hours without a single response posted," al-Tha'er said, "and the same goes for Ansar al-Mujahideen and al-Fidaa forums."" Opinion. Perhaps there is also migration to other online tools ...

'Captain Jihad'

Robin McDowell, AP, Captain Jihad: Ex-terrorist is now comic book hero, 9 Sep 2011 "The real life adventures of former al-Qaida-linked militant Nasir Abas have become a comic book in Indonesia, chronicling his transformation from foe to invaluable ally in the fight against terrorism."

'Al-Qaeda vulnerable but Yemen branch growing threat: US'

Dan De Luce, AFP, Al-Qaeda vulnerable but Yemen branch growing threat: US, 13 Sep 2011 "Al-Qaeda's core leadership has been severely damaged but the network's affiliate in Yemen has exploited unrest there and poses a growing danger, US intelligence chiefs said Tuesday."

'AlJazeera Deletes From its Website Content that Disturb the US Government', Wikileaks: AlJazeera Deletes From its Website Content that Disturb the US Government, 11 Sep 2011, "A confidential US cables from US embassy in Doha, Qatar where Aljazeera head quarter is located and was published recently on Wikileaks, reveals that Al Jazeera Managing Director Wadah Khanfar has agreed to US government request to delete and altar website content that “disturb” the US government."

Wikileaks on Jordan, Wikileaks: Jordanian government officials envision Jordan as the “India of the Middle East”, 7 Sep 2011 "A US diplomatic cable sent from US embassy in Amman and published on Wikileaks this week discussed Jordan’s IT sector status and plans after Yahoo acquisition of Jordanian portal Maktoob."

Jordanian Youth Movement Launches Online Petition, Jordanian Youth Movement Launches Online Petition Against “Constitutional Patches”, Faces Cyber Attack, 8 Sep 2011 "Jordanian youth movement has launched online petition rejecting the proposed Jordanian constitutional amendments and in demand for a comprehensive reform."

Monday, September 12, 2011

The 99 - update

The 99 Newsletter mentions the forthcoming film, TV series and documentary. The film premieres in New York. See, The 99 - Unbound

Ghalia Mahmoud

The Observer, Egyptian television chef hailed as the 'cook of the revolution', 11 Sep 2011 "Ghalia Mahmoud gains huge following with her mix of thrifty cuisine and all-inclusive message for a new Egypt."  Also see other reports, including:

'10 Years After 9/11' opinion piece

Brian Levin, Huffington Post, 10 Years After 9/11: A Degraded Yet Dangerous Al Qaeda Adapts & Inspires opinion piece "Ten years ago a much more potent al Qaeda organization still had a virtually complete inability to harness the Internet to reach disaffected youth in the United States in English in a compelling manner that actually presented a tangible threat. That has now changed, and has made more autonomous small cells and loners more of a threat than they have previously been."

Archive postings on 9/11

I've been looking at some of the material I posted 10 years ago, in relation to 9/11. Many of the links have expired, but here's a few interesting articles: Newsweek, Did Encryption Empower These Terrorists? CAIR, CAIR's Anti-Terror Campaign MSNBC, Anti-Arab sentiment festers online, 11 September 2001 (link deleted) Cosmiverse, Did Echelon Overlook Terrorist Threat?, 14 September 2001 Take a look at my archive listing for more related links: Virtually Islamic, Archive: News about Islam, Muslims and Cyberspace.

'The 9/11 Wars'

Huffington Post, Jason Burke: 'The Problem Is Not Islam But A Fusion Of The Secular And The Religious' Relates to Jason Burke's new book/opinon, 'The 9/11 Wars' (which I haven't read!).


OnIslam, Decade After 9/11, Al-Qaeda in Shambles, 11 Sep 2011 opinion piece

'US Professor Argues Muslim Support For Al-Qaeda Is Only Skin-Deep'

RFE-RL/, US Professor Argues Muslim Support For Al-Qaeda Is Only Skin-Deep, 12 Sep 2011 "Ever since New York’s twin towers fell, one widespread view of the 9/11 attacks has drawn on the idea of a “clash of civilizations,” a term popularized by Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington. In this interpretation, Al-Qaeda’s war on the West is merely part of a larger and essentially unavoidable fight between two opposed cultural realms defined by Islam and Christianity. It’s basically a tale of two irreconcilable worldviews fighting to the death. "Now, just in time for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, eminent University of North Carolina sociologist Charles Kurzman is weighing in with a contrary take. The title of his provocative new book puts it right out there: “The Missing Martyrs: Why Are There So Few Muslim Terrorists?”"

Book details are here: OUP, Charles Kurzman, “The Missing Martyrs: Why Are There So Few Muslim Terrorists?” I've not read this one yet.