Information Warfare: Islamic Radicals Shut Down Al Qaeda

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October 23,2008:  Shia and Sunni radicals are attacking each other's web sites for the past six weeks. It began with a Shia attack on the two main web sites for Sunni radical religious propaganda (including al Qaeda) on September 11, 2008. Sunni hackers retaliated shortly thereafter by defacing 300 web sites belonging to Shia clergy and religious organizations. Shia hackers then came back with more attacks on Sunni clergy, media and religious sites. The two main Sunni radical propaganda sites, Al-Ekhlaas.net and Alhesbah.net, have been down most of the time since September 11. 

Arab media and religious leaders have been pleading for the hackers to stop. Some have chastised the hackers for fighting fellow Moslems, rather than going after infidels (particularly Israel.) Moslem hackers don't like tangling with the Israelis, who have a much deeper bench in the hacking department.

This particular Cyber War seems to have attracted Arab and Iranian hackers who do not normally get involved in Islamic radicalism. The animosity between the Shia and Sunni sects goes back nearly a thousand years, and has led to much bloodshed in that time. While Sunni and Shia leaders try to play down this feud (over who should have inherited the leadership of Islam over a thousand years ago), grass roots hatred is tolerated. Thus lower ranking religious leaders in Iran and the Arab world spew hatred for each other's religious beliefs. This has little to do with the current plague of Sunni terrorism (al Qaeda and so on), but is more of a deep seated cultural dispute.

Western counter-terrorism organizations are sitting this one out.

 


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