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Turkish Hackers Target ‘Pitiful, Pathetic’ French For Armenian Genocide Vote

The French National Assembly’s decision last week to approve a bill criminalizing public denial of the 1915-16 Armenian Genocide in Turkey triggered a stiff rebuke from Ankara. Over the weekend, Turkish hackers took down the French Senate’s website.

Armenian civilians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Ottoman soldiers (Wikipedia)
Armenian civilians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Ottoman soldiers (Wikipedia)


PARIS -- Hackers have followed the Turkish government's lead in lashing out at the French parliament for its approval last week of a measure criminalizing public denial of Turkey's Armenian Genocide.

As of Monday afternoon, the website for the French Senate remained offline following a cyber attack attributed to a Turkish hacker group called Iskorpitx. The hackers also claimed responsibility for a Sunday attack on the personal website of Valérie Boyer, the conservative French deputy who drafted the bill making denial of the World War I-era Genocide a criminal offense.

On the homepage of Boyer's site, the hackers posted an image of the Turkish flag accompanied by a message written in both Turkish and English. "You, the diaspora Armenians, are such cowards that you don't have guts to open up the Armenian archives and face the truth," the message read. It went on to describe the French as "pitiful and pathetic" for "disregarding the truths."

Dep. Boyer, a member of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for the Popular Movement (UMP) party, told reporters she has also received death and rape threats. She said her parents and children have been threatened as well.

Boyer and other members of France's National Assembly passed the controversial bill last Thursday. It will still need Senate approval before going into law. The bill proposes that anyone found guilty of publicly denying the Armenian genocide face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros. An estimated 500,000 ethnic Armenians reside in France.

Furious about the move, Turkish authorities immediately recalled the country's ambassador to France. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said he was freezing all political visits and joint military projects.

Armenians claim Ottoman Turks massacred up to 1.5 million people between 1915-16. The Turkish government puts the number at 300,000 and insists the Armenians were not victims of genocide, but rather causalities – along with some Turks – of a failed revolt against the Ottoman Empire.

Read the full story in French on Le Monde

Photo - Wikipedia

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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