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Egypt: Jihad Hackers

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Egypt, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Religion, Technology

Is Jihad [1] spilling from the ground on to the virtual world? Egyptian blogger Marwa Rakha [2] writes here [3] (and here [4]) about how the internet has affected the ongoing debate between the secular and Islamic camps in Egypt.

She writes:

It is no big secret that the number of Egyptians who believe that Egypt should become a secular nation are increasing. Mainly, intellectual bilingual well-educated people have realized that inter-faith strives are holding the country back.

And for sure both Secular and Religious Egyptians along with their debates and struggles have made their presence felt in the blogosphere and on Facebook groups. Rakha explains:

On the other hand, the number of Islamic fundamentalists and Muslim Brothers is increasing. Their jihad methods have evolved from swords, bombs, banners, stickers, and tapes to invade the world wide web.

And for sure there are more weapons both camps can use besides arguments and discussions on the internet battlefield. Rakha explains:

Facebook's liberal activists were the main target of hackers who took over accounts, changed the name of the owner, sent out messages to his or her friends, deleted the account altogether, sabotaged his or her groups, and used obscene pictures and words to totally defame that person.
Groups that were hacked began posting offensive messages about the admins who lost control over the group and the hackers had more access to more people who do not think that Egypt is an Islamic country. Other than hacking, they created fake accounts that mimicked those of known liberal writers and activists.
One of the activists said “my account was hacked which is painful, especially that I had previously lost all my content while joining a network and I had to start all over”
Another activist said “I personally suggest for group owners to have always a backup account as well and both of them admins; I learnt this tip from other group owners. As for not using my own self I don't like the idea. I prefer being me, if there are sick people out there its their problem. Facebook was meant for us to get together decently and to get to know each other normally; if I need to go through all this hassle I'd rather then not use it at all.”