Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thank You !

I started Views from the Occident nearly five years ago in March 2005. The purpose of the blog back then was primarily to post editorials and articles that I wrote for George Mason University's college newspaper, Broadside, where I worked throughout my years as an undergraduate. I soon branched out, however, to include pensées about topics of academic and personal (often one and the same) interest, chief among them the Middle East, Muslim societies, and world religions. From that point, Occident has gone through several "phases," with some seeing more original writing and others seeing more linking of articles and other writings on issues of importance which many of my regular readers may not otherwise run into online.

Recently, Occident has been at the forefront on several stories, breaking a few, including news of the release of a major al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghrib video (Ushaq al-Hur, #2) and the release of the statement from the Islamic State in Iraq denying that its leader, Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi, was captured as claimed by the Iraqi government of prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.

I want to give a big thank you to the readers of Occident, particularly the small but dedicated group of subscribers and regular readers, for your indulgence of my soap box moments. Thanks for continuing to read and comment on my posts, either on the blog or privately. Thanks also for spreading the word about Occident to your friends and colleagues. Occident's readership has expanded by leaps and bounds since the early days.

Please continue to feel free to contact me with suggestions or critiques. All are sought and welcome.

Finally, I would like to share some statistics about site traffic to Occident since I embedded Sitemeter in late December 2008:

*Nearly 4,000 unique visitors since late December 2008
*Nearly 7,300 unique page views

*Occident's most successful month (May 2009), with over 1,000 unique visits and 1,855 unique page views. These numbers were accurate as of 9:53 p.m., May 31.

*Currently, at least 50% of Occident's readers/visitors daily are from outside the United States, a remarkable shift from even January 2009 when almost 90% of the readers/visitors were from the United States.

*The highest percentage of visitors, on average, come from (in order): the United States, the Arab world (including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Damascus, Yemen, Algeria, and Morocco), Great Britain, Spain, Germany, and France.

*In addition to the above countries, recent readers have also come from India, Pakistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israel, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Indonesia, Hungary, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Brazil, Russia, Portugal, Japan, and Lithuania.

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