Hackers close website of TV channel

TV execs confirm 'cyber piracy performed by extremists' after message posted.

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By  AFP Published  October 10, 2008

Computer hackers claiming to be Shiite shut down the website of Saudi-owned satellite channel Al-Arabiya on Friday, a month after Iran reported similar attacks on many of its websites by hardline Sunnis.

The website of the Dubai-based channel was taken over by the hackers who displayed a message which warned that "if attacks on Shiite websites continue, none of your websites will be safe".

The page also displayed a picture of an Israeli flag on fire.

Al-Arabiya issued a statement saying that its website had "come under organised cyber piracy performed by extremists".

The statement said that Al-Arabiya will continue to adhere to its policy of being "moderate, balanced and objective".

Iran's Fars news agency reported last month that Wahhabi hackers had attacked 300 Shiite websites, including Shia Islam's most popular site linked to the faith's Iraq-based spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

It was referring to the ultra-conservative doctrine of Sunni Islam that prevails in Saudi Arabia.

Tensions between the two main confessions of Islam have been aggravated by sectarian violence in both Iraq and Lebanon.

Prominent Sunni religious commentator Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi charged last month that Shiites are "invading" Sunni societies.

"I stick to what I have said about an attempted Shiite invasion of Sunni societies," the Egyptian-born cleric, who is based in Qatar, said.

Sunnis represent the majority of Muslims in the Middle East, but Shiites form the majority in Iran and Iraq and have a substantial presence in Lebanon.

3749 days ago

This quote is incorrect, "Shiites form the majority in Iran and Iraq". Bahrain also has a Shiite majority.

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