At a critical juncture when the world powers are being challenged by Islamic extremists over the Innocence of Muslims film, a band of "digital extremists" has come up with a new weapon to take the war into cyber space.
Islamic digital hackers have formed an "Arab Electronic Army", the Islamic equivalent of the hackers group Anonymous. Some may even call it "Digital al-Qaida".
The newly formed group which is thought to be based in Morocco has already started taking down Western websites in what they claim as retaliation for the anti-Islam film and Mohammed cartoons. The group has vowed to wage a digital war against Western targets.
It is not yet sure whether the websites from the US, France, Germany or Britain have been attacked so far.
Nearly a dozen websites, mostly in Brazil, have already been hacked including www.itamixfm.com.br, www.clickboahora.com, and www.handmet-military.net replacing them with verses from the Koran, said the group. Some of the websites have not reported any problem and appear normal.
A member of the group named Ridouan (hacker Red-Zar) sent an email to al-Arabiya, saying the hacking was part of the campaign to defend the prophet.
"The army was recently formed and we have started to work as a team after we used to work individually. The hacking operations are of course a response to the offence against the prophet, peace and blessing be upon him," the hacker wrote.
Ridouan, who styles himself as the spokesperson of the group, also revealed the names of some of the other members. Abdel Haq from Morocco (pro-psd), Saudi Hacker (wesker Hacker) Alaa from Syria (Alaa Alsory), and Khaled from Syria (Connect-r Syrian) were all working for the group, according to the hacker.
He claimed that although the proposal for an Islamic hackers group was mooted long ago, it has taken shape now as restless young Muslims are bent on defending their religion from the kind of recent perceived insults.