Ever since we started our journey about five years ago, we have been under attack. First it was a series of hacking attempts. Then numerous attacks on our newsletter mailing system. Our site was once deleted from the server at a time when we were just not prepared for this. We didn’t have backups. However, we recreated and have been going on since then. Once we managed to provide the site with some security, though nothing online is ever completely safe, complaints to domain registrars and webhosts started pouring. All sorts of complaints from hate-mongering to spamming. One domain registrar even suspended our domain name without any notice. As propagation of this suspension throughout the internet takes a few days, what started happening was that some computers in some parts of the world will show NewAgeIslam.com, some others would say it did not exist. We had no idea for a couple of days what was wrong. We kept shifting from one domain registrar to another, one webhost to another.
So it has gone on. I was hounded out of India. I shifted my domain name as well as hosting to America. But our enemies have long arms. Businessmen of any country are only concerned with money-making, not even prepared to spend a minute glancing through the newsletters sent to them as “proof” of our “hate-mongering” or “spamming”. Now I have notice from my webhost that the site has been suspended and can be removed any moment. Another set of complaints. Notice came in my inbox 15 days after the suspension. During this time I was frantic not able to understand certain things that were happening with the site. I have not been able to send any newsletter for more than a week. Our mail server is not working. Other systems are functioning so far. Solution is to have a private server and manage it ourselves. But buying and managing a private server capable of handling a million or more hits per day is not easy for us, a group of professionals, somehow eking out an existence. We are thinking of various solutions. But I can assure you, that Insha Allah, we will be back, even if we do go offline suddenly. I thought I must warn you of this possibility, while I can. God has always helped. He will help again. I am certain. Do please bear with us, pray for us or send us good wishes, according to your belief systems, in the event of a sudden shutdown.
To give you some further perspective, I am quoting below a few paragraphs from a speech I made on issues of internet governance and cyber security at a parallel seminar in The United Nations, Geneva.
“The issue of global internet governance, however, is not only of concern to governments. Even individual users and website owners have to face a multitude of problems and threats to their existence. If I can speak from my experience as someone who has been managing a website for over four years, I can say that we live a very fragile existence. Like me, many bloggers and website managers take stands on some issues and may thus create opponents and even enemies who may want to bring their websites down. But why should it be so easy for them to do that? Threats come from many sides. New Age Islam has been hacked and brought down several times. Our enemies, presumably Jihadis, are particularly after our newsletter which goes to nearly three hundred fifty thousand subscribers every day. The email Ids of our newsletter subscribers can be deleted, sometimes, as happened with New Age Islam, thrice in a day. But these are security issues that individual website owners have to learn and find resources to tackle.
“However, there are also issues we have to face that directly concern internet governance. For instance, again as happened with New Age Islam, our domain names can be suspended without any notice or enquiry just because someone sends a patently false complaint to the domain registrar. Similarly the website host can suspend our operations, again as happened to New Age Islam several times, on similar patently false accusations. The argument the domain registrar or website hosts offer is this. They are business organisations and don’t want to get involved in unnecessary disputes. They also say that they do not have people who will evaluate complaints. So, they find it easier to take action and suspend websites when a complaint of whatever nature comes.
“When I asked my domain registrar to at least read the complaint that had come to him and which he had forwarded to me unread, he said simply: “I have no time to argue with you or read unnecessary mails. However, I am un-suspending your domain name for a few days, but please transfer your domain to another domain registrar in the meantime.” I did this but my website remained disturbed for several weeks.
“However, when I thought about it coolly, I couldn’t blame the registrar. If you see the economics involved, you will see, the registrar has a point. He leases the domain name to me for 12 to 15 dollars annually. He probably earns a profit of 5 to 7 dollars from me in a year. How can he afford to spend more time arguing with me or resources to investigate complaints against my website or endanger his business in any way? He has nothing to gain. Businesses are run on simple profit-loss calculations.
“So, I hope, when United Nations committees discuss larger issues of internet governance, they would also look at issues that face millions of individual users and website owners. After all it is us netizens that make internet the information highway that it is. We too need to be protected.”
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
20 Dec 2012
Thanks very much indeed for your support. I must update you with what is
I was trying to
stay where we are now for a few months more at least, so I get the time to
learn the mechanics of managing our own private server, organize funding for
the hardware etc. required, and then shift. But our present hosts have been
flooded with complaints for several months. They say, rightly, that they had
warned me several times before and I should have utilized the breathers I got.
But once they accepted my renewal request for a year, I thought I had convinced
them that we do not mean any harm to any one and that would be enough for the
time being. They, of course, will not investigate. They see no reason why they
should waste any time on learning about our work. As a token of their good
faith, however, they have agreed to return the entire amount I had paid
recently as annual renewal fee.
Now I have
rented another virtual private server. I took the opportunity to double the RAM
and disk space, which means that on our new server, the site will open much
faster than before, and help those in particular who still use dial-up
However, this also means that during the
migration process, there may be some minor disruptions, though of course, we
will try our best that readers are least inconvenienced. But any shifting
entails a mess and headaches for the residents for some time. So, do please
bear with us if there are any problems.
Since we have
had to shift several times before, I now have the experience to deal with this situation
better. Nevertheless, every new hosting environment presents fresh challenges
and it takes some time before one feels quite comfortable.
particularly grateful for the offer of financial support from some readers. We
will set up proper donation links with PayPal and other arrangements, once New
Age Islam Foundation gets 12A and 80G statuses.
This is likely to happen soon as our applications have been accepted and are being
processed. However, we can still accept
donations in the form of cheques from Indian Bank accounts. But we cannot
accept foreign money for a few months as we do not have FCRA permissions yet. Any
cheque can be made in the name of: NEW AGE ISLAM FOUNDATION and sent to our
registered address: E-22, Indra Prastha Apts., 114, I P Extension, DELHI -
How innocent are you and your co partner, Muslim brain force is being utilized in the best interest of the west as its physical strength was utilized for capitalism against communism in seventies of 20th century and the game is still on. War lords were organized in the name of Taliban by US in the Time of PM Benazir Bhutto, supported to conquer Afghanistan. They got assembled and were dethroned by the same force.
All of them are not Taliban but terrorists and almost most of them are non-Muslim and try to defame Islam.
Besides, in case of Taliban, their country is in war for the last 4o years and almost in stone age how do they control electronic media, people and other influentials. They are almost product of the war and hardly understand what to do but to find ways and means to throw alien out of their soil irrespective of fatwas etc and EVERY THING IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR.
Dear Sultan Shahin,
If you want to lead Muslaim Umma
towards 21st century through the medium of electric media, you need to become
objective instead of declaring himself enemy of Jihadis. Stop war against
Jihadis and assume a journey like Tableeghi Movement without interfering
in any Muslim sects and you will achieve your goal soon. Learn to respect
others and try to live in harmony with all sects. If you can’t live in harmony with n Islam,
how will you motivate umma to live in harmony with other religions?
I, as being
one of the readers well-guided admirably by the New Age Islam, am terribly
shocked at the news of a great barrier in the pious field of this site.
widely known for its peaceful messages, guidance, mutual harmony, better
understanding and what can or may be done for the sake of the entire humanity
in an attempt to root out misconceptions, misunderstandings of the mankind in
all respects, gives no chance to anyone else to go against it.
who are stuck with hate-mongering and heart-wrenching events in case of
their selfishness, egoism and exploitation of others, will
continue to do their jobs by hacking attempts and deep-rooted conspiracy for
stopping the work of New age Islam, is the only situation we have to bear
always with those who, whatever difficulty may pop up, have patience and perseverance.
I want to say to all those who want to stop it "Let the peace work go on,
and if you have any doubt and problem, let us come to the negotiating table and
find out the suitable way-out to the problem.