Internet blogs are giving rise to a new breed of Arab activist as ordinary residents increasingly use them to press for more political rights and civil liberties in conservative Gulf states.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has the region's second biggest weblog community, an Emirati male blogger writing in Arabic was censored one week after launching "The Land of Sands" in 2004.
But he has found a way to circumvent the Internet servers of Etisalat, the state telecommunications monopoly, and continues posting his writings in which he attacks clerics and charges their influence is rising in the UAE.
"They follow a systematic plan to penetrate the government, media, schools and the laws. They are 'Islamising' our world, mind and life," he told AFP in an email interview.
"Civil liberties and freedoms are definitely restricted... some emirates turn a blind eye on personal freedom in places like Dubai for business reasons only," he said, referring to the thriving commercial center and most tolerant member of the UAE federation.