Individuals claiming to belong to the Islamic State (ISIS) brought television broadcasts to a halt and hijacked TV5 Monde websites and social networks.
France24 (h/t Christian) TV5Monde’s Director General Yves Bigot told FRANCE 24 that the attack appeared to have targeted the network because it has such an international reach, being broadcast in more than 200 countries. “Obviously this sends a huge signal worldwide,” he said. “This very powerful cyberattack was so that everyone would talk about it.”
The hackers posted documents on TV5Monde’s Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-IS group operations, along with threats against the troops.
“Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it,” read one message on TV5Monde’s Facebook page. “The cybercaliphate continues its cyberjihad against the enemies of Islamic State,” the message added.
Bigot said that the network itself did not appear to have been targeted in the message. “[It’s] about French policy in the Middle East,” he said.
Wassim Nasr, FRANCE 24’s expert on jihadist movements, noted, however, that the message – written in Arabic – contained plenty of spelling and grammar mistakes, indicating that “the authors are not Arabic”.
David Thomson, a journalist at FRANCE 24’s sister radio station RFI and author of a book on French jihadists, added that the so-called “cybercaliphate” that the hackers had referred to in the attack “is not an official arm of the IS group”.
The Paris-based company was able to partially resume television broadcasts by 1:00am local time (2300 GMT) after a three-hour blackout, Bigot said, but added its systems had been “severely damaged” by the “unprecedented attack”. “We’re still not able to produce our news programmes,” he told FRANCE 24, adding documentaries and other pre-produced programmes were being shown instead.
TV5Monde regained control of its social networks by 2:00am Thursday, the director-general said, but television broadcasts were likely to take hours, if not days, to return to normal. The attack would have required weeks of preparation, he added. The hackers accused French President François Hollande of having committed “an unforgivable mistake” by getting involved in “a war that serves no purpose”.
“That’s why the French received the gifts of Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in January,” it said on the broadcaster’s Facebook page, referring to the twin attacks by Islamist militants in Paris that left 17 people dead over three days and deeply shocked the country.
France is part of a US-led military coalition carrying out air strikes against IS group in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadist group has seized swathes of territory and declared an Islamic “caliphate”.
More than 1,500 French nationals have left France to join the militants’ ranks in Iraq and Syria, where they represent almost half the number of European fighters present, according to a report released Wednesday by the French senate.
And we know he is having this desired effect because his liberal colleagues and former supporters on the left are ripping him to shreds.
FOX News and conservative bloggers/writers can spend all day, everyday, trying to inform the public about the growing threat that Islam poses to Christians, Jews, and all non-Muslims around the world, but we do not reach the audience that Bill Maher reaches. By opening their minds to a subject the left wing media avoids like the plague, Maher should be praised and emulated by those on the left, not vilified. You don’t have to agree with his politics on any other issue, I don’t, but his relentless and unapologetic criticism of Islam should be embraced by both the right and left.
Apparently his recent 10-second joke on ‘Real Time With Bill Maher,’ about the departure of musician Zayn Malik, a Muslim, from the popular British boy band One Direction was the last straw for the Left.
Several clips of Maher’s anti-Islam views are in the videos below:
After sarcastically dismissing the news blitz regarding Malik’s career move, Maher, who identifies as a “proud liberal,” placed a photo of the pop singer alongside an image of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and asked “Where were you during the Boston marathon?” See clip below:
But the Left didn’t stop there. In this hit piece from the far left rag, Think Progress, they ask, Has Bill Maher finally gone too far? We all know that had Maher made the exact same joke about a Christian, the Left wouldn’t have said a word. Seeing the pontificating and handwringing in the following article about Maher’s ‘Islamophobia’, one would think they are about to tar and feather the guy. These are the same liberals who don’t blink an eye when report after report shows how Muslims persecute and publicly execute homosexuals just for being homosexuals all around the Middle East.
Here’s what they say:
Think Progress Talk-show host Bill Maher stoked controversy again this weekend for making insensitive jokes about Muslims, a familiar story given his infamously callous views on Islam. But Maher’s detractors argue his most recent quip is just the latest in a sustained campaign against Islam, and progressives are beginning to speak out against the increasingly offensive rhetoric of the liberal pundit.
Maher has been bashing Muslims since at least 2010:
Maher’s joke immediately set off a firestorm of criticism on Twitter, where Zain’s fans — including many British and American Muslims — chastised Maher using the hashtag #RespectForZayn. Thousands of Zain’s supporters have already signed a Change.org petition insisting Maher apologize for the segment. (Not in the cards, Maher NEVER apologizes for his views on Islam)
Ibrahim ‘Dougie’ Hooper, the spokesperson for (designated terrorist group)Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), echoed the disapproval of Zain supporters, saying Maher’s joke promotes racism and Islamophobia. “This is just another example of [Maher’s] casual racism and anti-Muslim bigotry,” Hooper told ThinkProgress. “It has become part of his public persona, and that’s unfortunate.”
But Hooper also argued that the segment, while offensive on its own, is part of Maher’s unsettling tendency to drum up anti-Islam sentiment within progressive circles — something he said liberals should reject. “He legitimizes Islamophobia on the left,” Hooper said. “I don’t view bigotry or intolerance as liberal or progressive.”
Indeed, while this weekend’s sketch riled a group largely unfamiliar with Maher’s show (Zain fans), he has made bashing Muslims — or Islam in general — a recurring part of his act in recent months. In October of 2014, he called Islam “the only religion that acts like the mafia — that will fuckin’ kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.” Maher and another guest, prominent author and “New Atheist” Sam Harris, insisted this position was the “liberal” stance, but actor Ben Affleck, another guest on the show who claims to be a “moderately liberal guy,” defended Islam, saying Maher’s comments were “gross” and “racist.”
A month prior, Maher frustrated journalist Charlie Rose (below) by claiming that all of Islam was complicit in the actions of ISIS, the terrorist group currently committing atrocities across the Middle East. Maher said there was “connecting tissue” between ISIS and the broader Muslim world, noting “The Qur’an absolutely has on every page stuff that’s horrible about how the infidels should be treated.”
Maher singled out Islam again in January after the tragic killing of Charlie Hebdo journalists by terrorists who claimed to be acting in the name of Islam. Referencing remarks he made earlier that week on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show, Maher said of Islam, “what we’ve said all along, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”
His criticism of Islam has become so common that students at the famously liberal UC Berkeley campaigned last December to have Maher removed as their college’s commencement speaker, saying his views did not represent those of the graduating class.
The school ultimately allowed him to speak (although several groups protested the administration’s decision), but many progressives remain uncomfortable with Maher’s treatment of Muslims: over the past few months, Maher’s comments about Islam have been criticized by left wing writers at the New York Times, the New Republic, Salon, Daily Kos, and Vox, among others.
“While Maher isn’t just the loudest and most candid voice on the left in his bigotry toward Muslims, he is the ideological counterpart to Fox News that helps make hate bipartisan,” Max Fisher wrote at Vox.
Progressives are also concerned about the growing popularity of Maher’s perspective among liberals. Last week Cenk Uygur, speaking on his popular left-wing show The Young Turks, railed against what he called the “Sam Harris, Bill Maher” wing of progressivism for their anti-Islam views. He compared Islamophobia to McCarthyism, or the anti-communist paranoia of the 1950s, explaining that while he shares Maher’s distaste for religion (Uygur, like Maher, is a proud atheist), he cannot abide mistreatment of Muslims in the name of liberalism. (Probably because his background is Turkish)
“They think that they’re liberals, this whole Sam Harris, Bill Maher wing,” Uygur said. “You want to call yourself a liberal? You don’t know what a fuckin’ liberal is. You want to call yourself a progressive? You’re not remotely progressive … You’re a foaming at the mouth neoconservative, and, yes, you’re discriminating against [Muslims].”
The Left’s criticism of Maher isn’t limited to his disparagement of Islam, as his fellow progressives have long accused him of of being insensitive, racist, and ultimately self-defeating as a liberal. In 2010, he drew fire for joking that President Barack Obama was not acting like a “real” black president, wishing aloud that he would “[show up] in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt so you can see the gun in his pants.”
In almost all of these instances, as with his anti-Islam comments, Maher defended himself by citing free speech, a closely-held liberal value. But his critics — especially those on the Left — are becoming less and less enthused with his exclusionary brand of humor, and many are determined to fight fire with fire.
“The only way to challenge hate speech is with more speech promoting tolerance,” Hooper said. “He has a right to be a bigot if he wants, but we have the right to speak out against his bigotry.”