Thursday, 16 Oct, 2008 Current Events
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YouTube-Like Website of Hamas Hits the Web

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Islamic Hamas movement recently introduced a "clone" of YouTube. The website includes different clips, which however have a common topic. Users can view a somewhat conservative Syrian social drama, videos that praise al-Qaeda and the like.

The website is called AqsaTube. It features real-time clips that tell about the Islamist movement. The introduction to the website states: "the first Palestinian website specializing in Islamic and jihad audio-visual productions."

In the "About Us" section it is written: "This site shows the latest Palestinian and Arab audios and videos about the politics, sport, jihad and many things that it would take so long to list here."

The website also includes Bab al-Hara (The Neighborhood Gate), which is a popular Syrian television drama related to Osama bin Laden. There are also videos of the ex-president of Palestinia, Yasser Arafat, who, together with his Fatah movement is involved in a conflict with Hamas. The statistical data of the website shows that 2,143 users registered simultaneously in the middle of August.

Previously the website remained unpopular, being known only to the supporters of Hamas, but the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre (ITIC), an Israeli research center, ran across AqsaTube and issued a warning saying that the site was developed to spread propaganda against Israel.

ITIC reported a connection between AqsaTube and al-Aqsa TV, a satellite channel of Hamas, with its center located in Gaza. Information center representatives say that the channel "increases the number of its viewers and enables it to bypass restrictions on its broadcasts."

Different Hamas forums in their common campaign ask users to support the website while European reports accuse AqsaTube of supporting terrorism.

"Where is the freedom of expression that the West used to call for? This exposes the West's blemishes" wrote in a message on a Hamas forum a member of the Palestinian Dialogue Network.

Shortly after an Italian report blamed AqsaTube of backing terrorism, a user called Mohammed Ali, in one of the forums wrote that European reports "were part of the war against Islam."

According to ITIC the Internet service provider of AqsaTube, which is listed as Abu Nasser Skander from Dubai, is a French firm called OVH. Earlier the French company denied the fact that Hamas' website was hosted by them. Later, however, the firm confessed and currently AqsaTube is offline.

Source: Earth Times

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