DUBAI (Reuters) – Pan-Arab television station Al Arabiya said Friday that hackers who identified themselves as shi’ites had attacked its Internet website, forcing it to change its domain.
The hacked website www.alarabiya.net showed an Israeli flag set on fire and a statement that read: “Serious warning: If attacks on Shia websites continue, none of your websites will be safe.”
Al Arabiya is based in Dubai, the financial and commercial hub of the Gulf Arab region. Shi’ism is one of the two main sects of Islam.
“Hackers have seized Al Arabiya’s domain shortly after midnight yesterday through a security loophole in the domain,” Anas Fouda, editorial manager of the website, told Reuters.
“They claim to be shi’ites but there is no proof of that.”
The content of the website has not been affected and investigation into the identity of the hackers was underway, Fouda said.
No shi’ite group had immediately claimed responsibility for the hacking.
With the exception of Iraq, the majority of Muslims in Arab countries are Sunnis. Shi’ite communities exist in Lebanon, Yemen and Gulf Arab countries, while non-Arab Iran has a majority shi’ite population.
The Sunni-Shi’ite schism appeared soon after Prophet Mohammad’s death in 632 AD, due to a dispute over the succession to the leadership of the Muslism community.