Hezbollah Web Sites Forced to Relocate
Posted: March 14, 2005
At least ten Hezbollah-associated Web sites have moved from or been shut down by Web-hosting companies in the United States and Canada so far in 2005.
Web-hosting companies, which physically store hundreds of thousands (even millions) of Web sites, have taken steps to shut down many Hezbollah sites because the materials on them violate most Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policies.
By shutting down the sites and forcing them to move, Web-hosting companies have forced Hezbollah to operate sites in countries with inferior internet infrastructure; sites are now less responsive, slower and may become less sophisticated than when they operated in the U.S.
Many of the Hezbollah sites that have been forced to move have reappeared using servers based in Middle Eastern countries. For example, sites dedicated to Hezbollah's Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Kassem and the "Moqawama" site, which includes links to information on how to contribute funds to Hezbollah, have moved to servers based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
A number of other sites, including those dedicated to Hezbollah "Supreme Leader of Moslems" Sayyed Ali Khamenei, are now located on servers controlled by the Computer Research Center of Islamic Sciences, an Iranian organization based in Qom that was created in 1998 to enable the spread of Islam using new technologies.
In March, Hezbollah's site for the Al Manar television station moved from a server in Hoboken, New Jersey, to a server in the United Kingdom. The site, which had included information on how to contribute funds to the "resistance" in "Israeli occupied lands," allows a viewer to read news releases and view streaming video over the Internet.
Some Hezbollah sites continue to run from U.S. and Canadian-based servers, or utilize American companies for other Internet-related services that are necessary to maintain a Web site (such as name registration). These sites include Intiquad, a weekly newsletter; sites of charities established by Hezbollah such as al Jarha and Hayaa; and the Al Nour radio site, which is currently using services in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
Increasingly, however, nongovernmental organizations and private citizens are playing a role in alerting Web-hosting companies that they are playing host to terrorist-associated Web sites. Many of these companies consequently refuse to do business with sites designed to support terrorist organizations.