Today eTN received a number of emails from a Chengdu, China-based server with the IP address of 188.8.131.52.
The emails appear to originate from email addresses in Brazil, Italy, the USA. I would venture to guess that it is likely these email addresses are knowingly falsified, but the server for all them is stamped with the same IP address based in Chengdu, China.
I personally find the content of the email dangerously offensive and have chosen not to duplicate it.
What is important is that in the email, there is a link to a paper book which goes to an existing page on Amazon.com, and the book, “How Fatima Started Islam,” is for sale for US$9.99 with discounts for buying large numbers.
Amazon prominently repeats the extremely offensive part of the description of the anti-islamic hate book in graphic detail on their website for anyone to see.
The writer stated after he concluded the most offensive part of the spam email:
“There is a concerted and subtle effort to manipulate Americans from buying or reading the parody. A foreign-based group, I’ll call them ‘the friends of Islam’ are pressuring Amazon.com to cease selling the book and also to flood Amazon.com with bogus ‘reviews’ to dissuade Americans from purchasing it. In a two-week period, 40 ‘reviews’ rushed in, mostly with non-Arab names, telling people how horrible, petty, stupid, poorly written, etc. the book was and not to buy it. All 40 unanimously gave it the absolute lowest rating. It was obvious that each of the ‘reviewers’ had not bought or read the book, many proclaimed that they would not under any circumstances read an anti-Islam tome. From George III to Adolf Hitler many foreigners have tried to limit what Americans should be allowed to read. Protect the First Amendment and do not be dictated by the Ayatollahs of Damascus, Bagdad, and Tehran.”
My humbled opinion: Promoting and selling this book is a danger to our national security in the United States, and even beyond that, international security. It appears the email is spam, but seeing the book listed on a real international store website with a high reputation is disturbing and validates this email.
I contacted Amazon security, and they had no interest in getting involved, nor did a supervisor return a phone call.
Amazon headquarters is based in Seattle Washington, USA, but it also has operations in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Brazil, the Netherlands, Sweden, and, yes, China.
I went so far as to contact the FBI. They directed me to their website and did not return calls as well.
Having these emails go out two days after the US ambassador to Libya was killed by a deliberate attack is offensive. Violent protests in front of US Embassies in several Middle East countries are currently erupting.
As a publisher I value our first amendment, but this is not a matter of free speech, but a hate crime.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
This book has been listed on Amazon since April 2009, yet the offending YouTube video was just uploaded. How can it be that no one in the Middle East seemed to be offended by this book for the past 3 years, yet this video became the reason for the current extremely dangerous Anti-American situation in the Middle East.
Since these emails had been circulated from China, why would the highly-regulated Chinese Internet authorities not know people in the US would to be spammed with such offensive mails from a server registered in the People’s Republic of China? Is this perhaps a case of IP spoofing?
It feels like this is just the tip of the iceberg in this extremely sad and distasteful story. It definitely feels like less than a sporadically-inflamed incident.