There are hundreds of hacking attempts daily to close down our website. This time, an Islamist group tried to shut us out by going to our host, SingleHop. Thanks to SingleHop's stand for the freedom of speech, we may have survived the scare for now. Below is a brief on the issue by Dan Zaremba of Australian Islamist Monitor, hosted jointly with Islam Watch.
Living next door to Islam
This post is to let our readers and supporters know that recently there was a serious Islamist attempt to close our operations.
Do not get me wrong - there are hundreds of daily hacking attempts to close us down permanently but these clumsy attempts are nothing but an inconvenience, a nuisance.
We can deal with it and the most "dramatic" product of such attempts resulted in a 2 day downtime of our site (big deal).
The latest attempt was different.
The latest attempt to silence us was a direct assault on our democratic freedom of speech and expression.
An Islamist group hidden under a name of an individual (whose name for a legal reasons I do not wish to disclose ) has been trying to force our Internet provider to get us out of cyber-space.
Here is an excerpt of his e-mail:
I cannot believe that SingleHop is supporting websites that are used in defaming, accusing, harassing, invading and threatening Religious groups, Doctrines, Communities, Cultures, Values and Teachings. We were recently informed islam-Watch is conducting in anti Islam propaganda activities and is engaging in hatred speeches especially targeting Prophet Muhammad. Please have a look at the content of the website and articles posted on it and you would notice that the groups operation is to propagate misinformation and hatred.
I am not sure if our readers are aware but Australian Islamist Monitor and Islam-Watch web sites are technically looked after by the same person -yours truly, otherwise known as - Dan Zaremba.
Also both sites are set up on one physical server hosted by SingleHop.
While far from being a top expert on all web-based technologies I provide basic technical support for both sites.
And so although, technically speaking, the attack focuses on Islam Watch and my dear friend M.A.Khan , who is the chief editor of Islam-Watch , shutting down of the server would mean death to us all.
At this stage I have to praise our current host SingleHop, whose representatives behaved in the most professional manner.
After the initial routine check for computer security loopholes our host communicated my message to the Islamist accusers:
The actual complaint is about the CONTENT of one of the sites hosted
The complaint you have received from an individual calling himself YYYYYY is not about any malicious cyber threat but about the content which he doesn't like - I quote:
We were recently informed that islam-watch.org is conducting in anti Islam propaganda activities and is engaging in hatred speeches especially targetting Prophet
I would like to stress here that our group has never been engaged in any ILLEGAL activity and I strongly believe criticism of any religion and/or political ideology/movement is our right which we are prepared to defend by ANY legal means.
The response of the Islamist was predictable, but NOT very specific:
This email was sent for Single Hop to investigate the matter. My name should] not have been mentioned. My concern should have been investigated and my name should not have been forwarded. This is definitely a site that is promoting hate speech, propoganda, and anti Islam activities based on lies and is promoting for the muslims to be punished, harmed and alienated. Single Hop platform is being used and unfortunately we believe that Single Hop is a contrbutor in this cause. Please note that if this issue is not resolved then our group would sort legal remedy as we believe Single Hop is failing to fulfill its own guidelines as mentioned in the TOS. Please allow me to discuss this matter with your legal team and inform them of potential legal issue in this regard. We have several postings from the website that we believe are considered harrasing, invading and threatening and we are ready to prove them in court of law.
To which (beautifically crafted) statement SingleHop responded:
I'm afraid that what you have here is a case of someone exercising their first amendment right to free speech. This is not an abuse case and not something we in support or abuse can directly act upon. While it would be one thing if the website were blatantly stating advocating violence against a person, race, or creed, then maybe this could be acted upon, but there is no obvious incitement of hatred or violence that I can see from reading a few of the articles. If you want I can forward this to our legal department and they can handle the matter but this is something that is beyond our ability to act upon. This is something you will likely need to discuss with a lawyer in order to proceed further on.
Again, as stated before, if you can provide *direct links* to the content in question that directly advocates violence against Muslims or people of Arabic descent in general, then we can do something about it. Someone simply speaking his/her mind about the topic of religion or politics in general is not something we can deem inappropriate or against our terms of service.
Please let us know how you wish to proceed.
I am not sure this is the end of the Islamist harassment but I'd like to stress here that AIM is not here to promote HATE but simply to stop Islam. We are a group from many ethnic backgrounds and representing many faiths who are deeply concerned with the Ideology of Islam.