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Saturday, May 22, 2004

NEWS: France: Hackers silence a leading Islamic website

The Islamic website Oumma.com was wiped off the Internet for over ten days following an attack by hackers, announced its chief editor Said Branine.
The website posted on its forum an anti-Semitic fatwa, a religious writ, allegedly from the Al Azar University of Muslim theology in Cairo, sent in by a "Muslim web surfer". The fatwa listed the "twenty fundamental faults" of the Jews as enumerated in the Koran. The forum is moderated after the texts are posted, explained Branine, and the incriminated message was erased only four hours after it was put on line.
In remained however on the Islamic website long enough to be spotted by a French reporter with the weekly newsmagazine Marianne. She wrote an article wondering whether the posting of such material was consistent with the site's declared goal of "promoting dialogue between religions".
Hours before Marianne was even printed, Oumma.com went under the fire of an unprecedented attack of hackers, said Branine. Millions of requests were sent out to the Oumma server, triggering the well-known "Denial of service" answer. "We tried to switch service providers, but the hackers were really too strong," said Branine. "Our site is bothering lots of people because of our freedom of speech," went on the site's editor who was very careful not to incriminate anyone for the wrongdoing.
Friday, following a report on the hackers' attack in the leftist daily Liberation, the site was reachable again.
Oumma.com was created in 1999. It boasts a membership of 120,000 web surfers and over 10 million hits per month. A constant propaganda tool against Israel in general and its "bete noire" Ariel Sharon in particular, Oumma.com is the mouthpiece of Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic new wave extremist theologian and a proven anti-Semite. Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al Banna, the founder of the Islamic Brotherhood, is the darling of the French-speaking left and the guru of the young Muslim generation. Soft spoken, good-looking and neatly dressed, Ramadan is being used by the Leftists as a gateway to the otherwise non-politicized Muslim youths.
He outraged some French intellectuals when he wrote on Oumma.com that when it comes to the Middle-East conflict, French philosophers are driven by their community affiliation rather than by their brains. All the listed writers were supposed to be Jews. One was not. Pierre-Andr Taguieff, the non-Jew, wrote back that in Ramadan's mind, one had to be Jewish to support Israel.
French law forbids to list people according to their religion or race or creed. Ramadan was accordingly sued by anti-racist organizations.
The self-promoted modern Ramadan was also caught off base when it was revealed that he refused to condemn the stoning of adulterous women. In his latest book, he pronounced himself for a "moratorium" on the issue.

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