Task Force on Arabic Script IDNs

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The Task Force on Arabic Script IDNs, or TF-AIDN, is an initiative of the Middle East Strategy Working Group (MEWSG]]. It focuses on technical issues and solutions to promote the definition of Arabic IDNs, as well as secure their deployment and ease of use for the larger community.[1] It first meeting was held during March 2014.[2]

The task force currently consists of sixteen experts from twelve countries and representing more than nine languages using Arabic script, including Arabic, Malay (Jawi), Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi, Torwali, and Urdu. These experts have a diverse set of experience related to registry operations, IDNA/DNS, Unicode, law enforcement, and policy, and come from private, public, academic and community-based organizations.[1]

Areas of Work

While the TF-AIDN's technical focuses are likely to change over time, they currently are centered around:[1]

Arabic Script Label Generation Ruleset (LGR) for the Root Zone
Arabic LGR would contain the rules that identify the valid repertoire of code points for IDN TLDs, as well as the rules for identifying and possibly delegating any IDN variant TLD. The work is to be carried out as specified in the Procedure to Develop and Maintain the Label Generation Rules for the Root Zone in Respect of IDNA Labels, laid out by ICANN. The Arabic part of the LGR is to be developed by a Generation Panel (consisting of volunteers). See Announcement (EN) 11 Jul 2013 for further details.

Second level LGRs for the Arabic script
Similar to the LGR for the Root Zone, LGRs may also be developed for use at the second and higher levels. Though each registry may define its own LGR, a recent report published by ICANN on Examining the User Experience Implications of Active Variant TLDs argues that consistency of approach at these levels may also contribute positively to the end-user experience. Arabic language community has already developed Linguistic Guidelines for the Use of the Arabic Language in Internet Domains. It needs to be investigated how LGRs for other languages and communities may be developed, using similar underlying principles, to provide consistency of experience for all users of Arabic script.

Arabic script Internationalized Registration Data Protocol and Practice
As part of the process to implement WHOIS review team recommendations and feedback from the community related to Internationalized Domain Name registration data requirements, ICANN is working to determine appropriate Internationalized Domain Name registration data requirements and data model for Registration Data Directory Services. For example, see Announcement (EN) 8 Jul 2013. There is already experience in the Arabic script ccTLD community in using internationalized registration data. The task force may determine any specialized requirements for registration data for Arabic script and inform ICANN.

Universal acceptability of Arabic script IDNs and variants
Even though Arabic IDNs are now delegated and deployed, there are still many issues in displaying and accessing them. The recent Report on Universal Acceptance of IDN TLDs by ICANN community (see Announcement-2 (EN) 25 Jun 2013) brings up issues and relevant recommendations for assisting the adoption and use of IDNs. Similarly, the report on Examining the User Experience Implications of Active Variant TLDs also identifies issues and recommendations in the context of IDN variants. The task force would look at these recommendations and undertake any follow up work needed for promoting the use and adoption of Arabic IDNs.

Technical challenges around registration of Arabic IDNs and variants
With the advent of IDNs, it is not possible for the registrants to register domain names wholly in Arabic. Registering a domain name is a much more complex process than just using it, as it requires understanding the relationship between U-labels and A-labels, understanding how variants may be formed and which ones should be delegated, submitting registration data in local script and then correctly communicating this information to end-users. Registries also need to be engaged to be able to provide appropriate interfaces. Such challenges need to be explored and both technology and training material need to be developed to address these challenges.

Operational software for Arabic script IDN registry and registrar operations
With many registries and registrars now intending to offer Arabic IDNs, it would be useful to document the current technological challenges and solutions for their operations. The Arabic script ccTLD community already has some experience in these areas, which can be very useful for other ccTLDs and gTLDs. This work intends to document these challenges and solutions, and provide the platform to further develop these discussions.

DNS security matters specifically related to Arabic IDNs and variants
Adding Arabic IDNs may result in new security challenges, introduced due to user inexperience, inadequate system configurations, using untested new technologies or any other reasons. The community needs to watch out for such issues and address them as they arise.

Technical training material around Arabic script IDNs
Training material is urgently needed to use Arabic IDNs for a variety of user groups, including end users, registrants, system configuration and security personnel, etc. in English and local languages. Though the need has been identified by many reports being published by ICANN and its community, there are no dedicated efforts to produce such materials. The task force may assist ICANN in this process, to better serve the Arabic script community.

TF-AIDN Members (2015)

Name Designation Organization Country Languages
Abdelaziz Hilali Professor and CHair of ISOC Morocco Moroccan Telecommunicatiosn Graduate Institution (INPT) Morocco Arabic
Adel Riyad Senior System Administrator NTRA Egypt Arabic
Alireza Saleh Director of IPM/IRNIC .ir Internet Registry Iran Persian
Allan Ghazi Director Ministry of Telecom and IT Palestine Arabic
Ammar Hussain Jaffri Chief Executive Pakistan Information Security Association Pakistan Urdu
Behnam Esfahbod Research Assistant Stevens Institute of Technology US Persian
Hago Elteraifi Mohamed Dafalla System Administrator and Network Manager Faculty of Engineering and Technology, University of Gezeira Sudan
Hania Sabbidin-Dimassi Research Assistant ICT Division, UN-ESCWA Lebanon Arabic
Hazem Hezzah IT Expert for ICT Development League of Arab States Egypt Arabic
Inam Ullah Chairman Mother Tongue and Heritage for Education and Research (MOTHER) Pakistan Pashto, Torwali, Urdu
Mohammad Ismail Nofal System Administration Team Lead Zain Jordan Jordan Arabic
Nadhem Al-Fardan Senior Security Architect Cisco Systems Saudi Arabia Arabic
Rinalia Abdul Rahim Managing Director Compass RoseSdn Bhd Malaysia Malay
Sarmad Hussain Professor Al-Khawarizmi Insitute of Computer Science, UET Pakistan Urdu, Punjabi
Syed Iftikhar Shah Director ICT Ministry of IT Pakistan Seraiki, Urdu
Tariq Rahim Soomro Assistant Professor College of Engineering and Information Technology, Al-Anin University of Science and Technology UAE Sindhi, Urdu, Arabic


Meeting 1: 2014 March 20 to 22 - Singapore - Prior to the ICANN 49 Meeting[3]
The three-day agenda revolved around such topics as: Inclusion/Exclusion/Deferral of Code Points, Arabic Script Variants, and Review of Maximal Starting Repertoire (MSR).

Meeting 2: 2014 June 8 to 12 - Istanbul, Turkey[4]

Meeting 3: 2015 February 6 to 8 - Singapore[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Task Force on Arabic Script IDNs, ICANN.org. Updated 2013 October 22. Retrieved 2015 November 14.
  2. TF-AIDN Work Space, ICANN.org. Retrieved 2015 November 24.
  3. What is the Task Force on Arabic Script IDNs (TF-AIDN) Up To?, ICANN.org. Published 2014 May 23. Retrieved 2015 November 24.
  4. TF-AIDN 2nd F2F Meeting Agenda, ICANN.org. Retrieved 2015 November 30.
  5. Third Face-to-Face Meeting for the Task Force on Arabic Script IDNs (TF-AIDN) to Convene in Singapore, ICANN.org. Published 2015 January 30. Retrieved 2015 November 30.