Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Calls to close Sudanese website for 'homo' blur"

"A renowned Islamist figure in Sudan has joined a campaign calling for shutting down one of the biggest Sudanese websites, following articles posted there describing Islamists of being homosexuals.

"Leader of the salafist group Ansar Al-Sunnah Al-Mohamadeya (Protectors of Prophet Muhammad's Teachings) Sheikh Abou-Zeid Mohamed dedicated his Friday sermon to condemning, dubbing it as 'insulting faith and the prophet'. The sermon came in the wake of a campaign launched 10 days ago by the Sudanese daily Akher Lahza against the most popular website among Sudanese in exile.The paper's Deputy Editor-in-Chief Al-Hindi Ezz El-Din said the website, launched from the U.S., calls God 'a big illusion'.

"Ezz El-Din launched a severe campaign against U.S.-based engineer Bakri Abou-Bakr, the website's owner who, he said, 'knows nothing about journalism'. Ezz El-Din told that he received over 2800 emails from politicians and religious figures calling for closing the website. On his membership in Sudaneseonline, Ezz EL-Din said it was given to him by Abou-Bakr, insisting that he resigned two weeks later after he had found out that the website did not tackle serious issues. Ezz El-Din alleged that some of the website's members have ties with Israel, specifying acitivist Taragi Mustafa who established the Israeli Sudanese Fellowship Association: 'This website is supported by external bodies'.

"But in a phone interview with, Abou-Bakr said that his website is the meeting point of all Sudanese regardless of their political, ethnic, or religious background.'The website's 6,000 members include the most prominent Sudanese intellectuals, writers, musicians, media people, and scientists. They are all chosen carefully and in accordance with specific criteria'.

"Abou-Bakr called for Sudanese members of parliament to check the website and 'to find out how the accusations leveled against it are false'. He also said that the member who mentioned God was fired in 2005 for that reason: 'And they only brought that up now.' Abou-Bakr added that any offensive material is removed from the website and its writer is penalized. [...]

"The website receives between 165,000 and 170,000 visitors daily. The Sudan Telecommunications Public Corporation is currently studying the possibility of shutting down the controversial website."
Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), November 23, 2007