Most people will know, that is very easy to forge the sender address of an email, making the message appear to originate from any valid or invalid address. Nearly all commercial spam messages have an invalid sender address.
On May 20, 2003 we received well over 3,200 bounce messages at the feedback email address of our website.
We are used to email attacks that have the sole purpose to annoy us, to clog up our system and waste our time. We have sophisticated custom software to delete thousands of similar messages within minutes, or to block specific domains from being able to send anything to us. We can always trace the i/p address of the machine that originated the spam and we always contact the network provider responsible. Network providers always respond quickly to complaints of electronic terrorism and take appropriate action. In all these years we have never bothered to talk about such attacks, but this case exhibits some interesting psychology. This one was not sent to us, but sent in our name to many others.
Extrapolating from the number of invalid addresses that produced these thousands of error messages, the following email was sent to probably several hundred thousand, maybe even millions of addresses:
hi , i am very sorry to all those who were misguided by our site
i accept that it was totally based on islamic enmity . i do believe that our team was working on anti muslim
agenda and it was just to oppose islam , by hooks or crooks.
i do believe that my dear friend osama 's site
is the best work of his tryings to defend his religion . ( but i do believe that the only truth is the faith i am following )
i still has no plans to change my religion but i do believe that we should now work for international peace and collaboration .
i am leaving the answeering-islam team now . i hope all the other members of the team will understand what i have understood.
we cannot create peace by this manner . i think it is enough . i hope dear osama will also understand this point.
take care and sorry again , to all those who were misguided and speacially to my friend osama.
Observations and comments:
The domain name found in the above Message-Id indicates that the emails originated from Pakistan, but Answering Islam does not have any team member living in Pakistan.
It is possible to forge also the message-ID of an email. However, enquiries to upstream providers confirmed that these emails indeed originated in Pakistan.
The sender claims to be part of the Answering Islam team, but the message is not signed with a name.
Nobody on our team has such poor English language skills as displayed in the above message.
Nobody on the team of Answering Islam has changed his mind about Islam.
Though we cannot look into the hearts and minds of the perpetrators to be sure about their motivation, the following conclusions seem to be difficult to avoid:
Apparently some Muslims are becoming very nervous about the fact that Answering-Islam.org has become a household name, and has gained a considerable readership all over the world, including in the Muslim world. Perhaps they thought: If only we can make the world believe that some of those who were the strongest in their opposition to Islam now repent and publically acknowledge how wrong they were, then this may reestablish confidence in Islam to those who have started to doubt it.
Did their plan work? Hardly.
What is the ultimate message that was communicated here?
Does it speak about the strength or the weakness of one's religion if one has to use deception to promote or defend its truth?
Even though deception has been explicitly permitted by the prophet of Islam, particularly for fighting unbelievers, lies and deception are never able to be sustained for long. These people have only managed to embarrass Islam and many fellow Muslims, since hundreds of thousands will now be reading this page that is exposing their fraud to the world.
In fact, we want to thank these anonymous Muslims who have given us free advertizing by bringing our site to the attention of many people who had never visited it before.
True, Osama's site "Answering Christianity" was also advertized this way, but does not bother us, since those readers visiting both, will easily see the difference between the two.
There is another deceptive trick that Osama has been employing for many years: He uses the domain name answering-islam.com in order to detract readers from the genuine Answering Islam site to his anti-Christian and pro-Islamic propagation site. [Some fourty days later, there is yet another incident of email fraud associated with Osama's site.]
The principles given to every true believer in the word of God are these:
None of us should ever want to come under the same condemnation that Jesus spoke of when he told some wicked men, "You are of your father the Devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar, and the father of lies." (John 8:44) Also we note that nothing unclean will be able to enter Paradise. After the Day of Judgment, "... the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murders and immoral persons and drug abusers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8 & 27; 22:15)
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