Hackers infiltrated several Shiite websites, mainly related to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and many scholars from the Iranian city of Qom under the pretext that they posted sexual fatwas, Iranian media reported.
The hackers posted a video on the website of Ahl al-Bayt, an association affiliated with Sistani, featuring American comedian Bill Maher making fun of the Shiite spiritual leader and his alleged "sexual fatwas."
According to the Iranian news agency Fars, the group Ghoroub X.P. hacked into about 300 Shiite websites, including Sistani’s Ahl al-Bayt, the largest Shiite website in the world.
The agency added that the group is based in the United Arab Emirates and that it has carried out the hacking operations against Shiite websites over the past few years. The UAE is home to a large Iranian community, some of whom oppose the clerical rule in the Islamic Republic.
Qom scholar Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi condemned the attacks and told Fars that the hackers are fanatics who don’t want the voice of Shiites to reach the rest of the world. He said that the hacking attacks prove Shiites are right.
"We will re-construct our websites and the hackers have to know that young Sunnis will gradually move towards Shiite Islam," he was quoted as saying.
Qom, a holy city in Shiite Islam about 100 kilometers south of Tehran, has been the launching base of many websites in the past few years.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)