Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Sunni and Shia Hackers Battle it Out Online | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Hackers, believed to be of Iranian origin have destroyed a number of Sunni Internet websites, including the alislamnet.com website, which belongs to Dr. Aaidh al-Qarni, a Saudi preacher, and another website that specializes in the prophet’s Sunna [line of conduct] and its sciences, in addition to other websites. This campaign is believed to be in retaliation for a similar campaign that was led by Sunni hackers against Shiite websites.

The hackers drew the Iranian flag on an unidentified face and wrote at the top of the website’s main page in both Arabic and Persian the following Koranic verse: “If then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him [Koranic verse, Al-Baqarah, 2:194],” which indicates that this campaign falls within the framework of “retaliation.”

The Iranian hackers posted on each of the destroyed electronic websites an Israeli flag divided in half next to a picture of the Arabian Gulf on which they wrote: “The Persian Gulf.” They also drew on the right cheek of the face, which is painted in the colors of the Iranian flag, a logo that is similar to that of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], which has often criticized Tehran for its no cooperation on the nuclear issue. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat over the telephone, Aaidh al-Qarni condemned the destruction of his website by Iranian hackers. He said that “alislamnet.com has been completely destroyed and has lost all its contents.” The Saudi preacher described the destruction of Internet websites as “an odious and aggressive act.” He said that “such behavior is inconsistent with all of Tehran’s calls to build bridges of cooperation and peaceful coexistence between Sunnis and Shiites.”

Al-Qarni had supported Sheikh Yusuf al-Qardawi’s stand against the rising Shiite tide, which has started to invade countries with a Sunni majority. Preacher Al-Qarni believes that his Internet website was destroyed because he “defended Sheikh Al-Qardawi against those who accused him of being a Mosad agent on one of the television shows that are being broadcast during the holy month of Ramadan.” He said: “I received calls from Iraq during the ‘Our Life [Hayatuna]’ program, which is aired on the MBC Satellite Television Channel, asking me about my position on what Al-Qardawi had said about the Shiite tide. This was before one of the callers accused the sheikh of collaboration with the Jews.”

Dr Al-Qarni strongly defended Al-Qardawi. He said that “Sheikh Al-Qardawi is not against dialogue with Iran and the Shiites; instead, he supports such dialogue. However, he is against the ongoing attempts to turn Sunnis into Shiites in some Sunni Islamic states.” He added: “I do not believe that anyone disagrees with Sheikh Al-Qardawi’s view in this regard.” He said: “Is it conceivable to turn Egypt, which stood firm in the face of the Fatimites who had ruled it and which confronted the triple aggression against it, into a Shiite state so easily?”

Al-Qarni spoke of “the continued dispute between the Sunnis and the Shiites, particularly at this stage, and the use of aggressive means in attacking one another.” He said that “this will exacerbate wounds and please the followers of world Zionism.”