[ISN] Recent Rise in Sunni - Shi'ite Tension (Part I): Sunni - Shi'ite Hacker War on the Internet

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 00:15:47 -0600 (CST)

By L. Azouri 
The Middle East Media Research Institute
December 16, 2008


The conflict between Iran and Sunni countries - especially Saudi and 
Arabia Egypt - has escalated the tension between Sunnis and Shi'ites in 
the Muslim world. This escalation has had several manifestations:

I. Anti-Shi'ite Statements by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi

Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union for Muslim 
Scholars, made harsh anti-Shi'ite and anti-Iran statements in the 
Egyptian and Saudi press. He warned against the danger posed by the 
spread of the Shi'a in Sunni countries, characterizing it as part of 
Iran's campaign for regional hegemony. He added that there was no 
possibility of rapprochement between Sunnis and Shi'ites, since there 
were fundamental principles of the Shi'ite faith that the Sunna could 
not accept. Despite strong criticism of his statements by Iranians and 
Shi'ites in the Gulf, Qaradhawi only reiterated them, refusing to either 
retract them or apologize.

II. Cyberwar between Sunni and Shi'ite Hackers

The sectarian tension is also mirrored on the Internet. Hundreds of 
websites associated with either the Sunna or the Shi'a - including sites 
of clerics, papers and government ministries - have been hacked, and 
defaced with offensive messages and images. Among the prominent Sunni 
websites that have been attacked are the Saudi Al-Arabiya website, the 
website of former Saudi mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin Baz, the website of the 
Kuwaiti Ministry of Religious Endowments, and a website of the Saudi 
Higher Education Ministry. The Shi'ite websites that have been targeted 
include those of the supreme Shi'ite religious authority in Iraq, 
Ayatollah 'Ali Hussein Al-Sistani, a website of the Shi'ite community in 
Egypt, and many others.

III. Sunni-Shi'ite Tension in Saudi Arabia

The Arab press reports that the Saudi authorities have been 
discriminating against Shi'ites in the country, e.g., by preventing 
Shi'ite representatives from participating in the June 2008 Interfaith 
Dialogue Conference in Mecca, closing Shi'ite mosques, arresting senior 
Shi'ite clerics, and persecuting Shi'ite pilgrims from Iran. In 
addition, Saudi Sunni clerics have made anti-Shi'ite statements, 
accusing the Shi'ites of heresy and of trying to take over the Muslim 
world. Some clerics have even condemned initiatives for Sunni-Shi'ite 
rapprochement aimed at easing the tension between the two sects.

The following report deals with the Sunni-Shi'ite cyberwar. Reports 
about the other two manifestations of Sunni-Shi'ite tension will be 
published in the next few days.


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Received on Tue Dec 16 2008 - 22:15:47 PST

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