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Islamist Website Presents First Issue of Technical Mujahid Magazine
On November 28, 2006, the Al-Fajr Information Center released the first issue of the Technical MujahidMagazine. The magazine discusses various technical topics, such as security for electronic data and databases, using GPS, and video editing and production. Some articles are aimed at professionals, and others for laymen.
The magazine's self-proclaimed purpose is "to help prevent acts of aggression against Muslims [in cyberspace], and to assist the mujahideen in their efforts." The introduction explains that "the Internet provides a golden opportunity... for the mujahideen to break the siege placed upon them by the media of the Crusaders and their followers in the Muslim countries, and to use [the Internet] for [the sake of] jihad and the victory of the faith." Since the Internet also renders the mujahideen vulnerable, however, the magazine deals with issues of computer and electronic data security.
It should be noted that the magazine is just one example evident on the Islamist websites of the growing interest on the part of the mujahideen in information technology, electronic data security, and hi-tech matters. This will be the topic of a future MEMRI Islamic Websites Monitor report.
Ken Livingstone, the current Mayor of London, has accused MEMRI of "outright distortion"
Hussein Ibish, a spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee comments that "There is of course some horrific stuff in the Arab press, but one tends to forget that the American press can also be very nasty. Memri performs a useful function but unfortunately they have a pro-Israel, right-wing agenda."
Much criticism against MEMRI is based on a pair of articles written in 2002 and 2005 respectively by Brian Whitaker, the Middle East editor for the UK Guardian newspaper who wrote that "the stories selected by Memri for translation follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel."
Ibrahim Hooper, a director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, claimed in Washington Times that "Memri's intent is to find the worst possible quotes from the Muslim world and disseminate them as widely as possible."
MEMRI is funded to the tune of $60 million a year by someone, and it is a sophisticated anti-Arab propaganda machine. The organization cleverly cherry-picks the vast Arabic press, which serves 300 million people, for the most extreme and objectionable articles and editorials. It carefully does not translate the moderate articles. I have looked at newspapers that ran both tolerant and extremist opinion pieces on the same day, and checked MEMRI, to find that only the extremist one showed up. It would sort of be as though al-Jazeera published translations of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Jerry Falwell on Islam and the Middle East, but never published opinion pieces on the subject by William Beeman or Dick Bulliet.