Responses to Osama Abdallah's site

Yet Another Email Fraud

It seems to become fashionable these days to send forged emails in the name of Answering Islam. Another recent incident is exposed in the article Muslim Desparation Leads to E-Mail Fraud. Most of the comments and observations made in that article hold for this new fraud as well, so that there is no need to repeat them here.

The motivation and approach is obvious: "If we cannot prove Answering Islam wrong in what they publish, i.e. if what they write is not bad enough, then we have to publish something in their name that will make them look bad." Since Muslims do not have access to our site, i.e. they can't smuggle anything into our website, the only other way is to create forged emails in our name, and publish those on their site claiming that they received them from us.

This time, after the first attempt didn't work out all that well, the Muslim forgers decided they have to think one step ahead: "What if they just deny they sent it? We need to make that difficult, or sounding not credible." Well, let's see what they came up with.

On 07/04/2003 Osama Abdallah published the following accusation on his site (at the bottom of this page):

A rude email from the "Answering Islam" arrogant Christians sent to me:

The following is an email I received. I have bolded, colored and underlined in dark green the ridiculous remarks they made in the "PS" section. Please be advised that I have left the contents of the email as is. I did not alter it or modify the words in the email in anyway!

Also, please be advised that I don't have a definite proof that this email was indeed from them. Some people can send emails covered with different aliases. So in other words, a person can send a bad email under the sender "Osama Abdallah". ...

[... various irrelevant polemics deleted ...]

Subj:    Request from Answering-Islam.
Date:    6/30/03 5:34:45 PM Central Daylight Time
From:    [forged Answering-Islam feedback email address was placed here]
To: (

Dear Osama Abdallah,

The Answering-Islam Team would like to ask you to remove the following false-informative articles from your web site;

It offends many Christians as it provides lies and false information. Thank you for your understanding.

Politely and respectfully yours,
The Answering-Islam Team

PS: Please do not decide to ignore our request and/or post this e-mail on your idiotic website. You will only make yourself look very stupid as we deny the whole incident.. especially if you post the PS along with it.

I have to admit, that announcement of denial in the postscript (PS:) was a clever move. However, after the fog clears, and the emotional impact of it vanishes, one thing is clear: Whatever is written, it is still only a claim, even if the claim was constructed in a tricky way.

I do not usually read Osama's site, but after being made aware of his posting and looking at it carefully, I immediately informed Osama Abdallah that this was a forged email (using the above address "" that was in the forged email). This was early on Friday, July 11, 2003. No response. On July 22, 2003, I sent the same message to his official feedback address, "". Again, no response.

Even though Osama admitted in his posting that emails can be forged, he is obviously not interested in knowing the truth and acting according to it. Therefore, now my public response to his accusation.

First, the feedback email address for Answering Islam is technically set up only for receiving emails. The system has been this way for at least two years now. It is impossible to send emails from that account (even for me). Every email appearing to originate from this address is without doubt forged.

In addition, the header of this message (as provided by Osama) has the common features of forged emails:

Return-Path: <>
Date: 30 Jun 2003 22:34:17 -0000
Message-ID: <>
From: "" <>

Even though the "From:" line was forged (and that is very easy to do), the lines "Return-Path:" and "Message-ID:" betray that it came the domain "". Until I came across this forged email on Osama's site, I had never before seen this domain name. None of our team members of Answering Islam has an account on this domain. "" is an Internet Service Provider where anyone can rent their own servers (physical or virtual) with full root access (see The "Return-Path:" shows that a person with root access on one of the servers of "" sent this message. I tried to send a message to the address "", but it cannot be delivered, which is yet another sign that the email is a forgery.

Second, nobody of our team would send out emails in the name of the team, certainly not without consulting with me. And there is no chance at all, that I would ever approve an email as nonsensical and incoherent as the above.

Outgoing emails from Answering Islam members always come from a personal account, whether it is my account when I answer myself, or the private account of the person to whom I delegated answering a particular question or inquiry, but never directly from the general feedback address or any other address ending in (again: It is not even possible).

Third, I am the only person who has access to the Answering Islam feedback email account.

Fourth, I nearly always sign with my full name, Jochen Katz, sometimes with only my first name, but never in my life have I signed an email with "The Answering-Islam Team".

So far the technical side of it. Let's have a look at the content of the message. The expression "false-informative" betrays a non-native speaker, not yet very proficient in English. If something is false, then it is not informative. No native speaker of English would write that way.

Many Muslim websites are full of misinformation and often enough even outright lies. However, we have never asked a site to remove false claims about matters of religious discussion. Instead, we expose these false claims by discussing them in a public rebuttal if they are worth bothering about at all. We do not shy away or hide from hard questions. See our Rebuttal section.

Even though much of the anti-Christian polemic produced by Muslims is indeed offensive, whining about offensive articles is not and never was our approach (though we may call Muslim writers to account for being deliberately insulting). The issue is whether something is true or false, not whether somebody is offended by it. We prefer the hard truth over the politically correct distortion. In fact, we desire that more Christians begin to realize how offensive Islam really is. We want the Christians to be shaken up from their complacency by recognizing this, so that they will no longer ignore Islam, but begin to educate themselves and become equipped to defend their Christian faith, to speak for truth and stand against what is false. Far be it from us to beg that any Muslim site would remove anything. These issues need to be public and to be addressed publically. We fully support the freedom of speech, including the freedom to propagate wrong convictions. It is the Muslims that seek to forbid what they don't like, and in nearly all Muslim countries there is an oppressive censoring of the press. Anything that is critical of Islam is in danger to be confiscated, and those who dared publish it have to fear hefty penalties.

Muslims constantly protest that people offend them if they do not speak with the utmost respect about Islam. To ask for removal / withdrawal of arguments because they are offensive betrays a Muslim writer of the message. The fundamentalist Muslim pressure group CAIR focuses much of its efforts on forcing people (journalists, politicians, ...) to apologize for their offensive remarks about Islam. This approach of threatening those who speak what they do not like to hear again betrays a Muslim hand in the design of this message as this is the common way of dealing with religious critique in Islam. (Although, sadly, some immature Christians may act similarly at times.) The Muslims who wrote this message just projected their thinking on us because they have not understood how fundamentally different our world view is from theirs.

Much more could be said regarding the text of this forged email, but the above should suffice.

As a child, I loved reading detective stories. Every crime needs a suspect and a motive. So far I have explained that it is a forgery for various external and internal reasons, and I have supplied a possible general motivation for Muslims to forge emails from Answering Islam. However, there is one particularly interesting observation.

Osama Abdallah is an outsider in Islam. Not many Muslims support his heretical ideas. Why then would both of these forged emails be addressed to Osama, and directly or indirectly promote his website

Whatever the identity of the person who technically performed the mass mailing scam in May 2003, the person who "profited" from this spam scam using the Answering Islam feedback address was Osama, since it promoted his website.

Here again, the only one benefitting from scam is Osama, as this forged email gives more promotion to three of his articles: Anything that is supposedly so bad that ‘the most infamous Christian site on Islam’ requests it to be taken off must therefore be SO GOOD that people just have to read it.... What is forbidden becomes attractive. Whatever people are warned about and are asked to avoid, that they want to know, etc. That is Psychology 101. Osama would have a motive to be the forger, and his motive is stronger than that of any other Muslim. His ‘outrage’ about this rude email would just be part of the plan.

I can't prove that he did it. Probably he did not do it all by himself, but he may have asked some friends to do it for him.

Another possible scenario is that a more clever Muslim did not care who got promoted, as long as the credibility of Answering Islam received some damage. Because he was clever, he knew that such a scam would not work with highly intelligent Muslims like Shibli Zaman or Dr. MSM Saifullah and their sites seeking to rebut ours. As opposed as they are to Answering Islam they would never be fooled by such an obvious forgery. Osama Abdallah, on the other hand, would swallow it and play the role that was intended for him. However, he was informed two weeks ago that this email is a forgery. By continuing to display the above message despite knowing this, he becomes guilty of slander and promoting forgeries, even if it did not originate with him.

Whatever the real motivation and identity of the forger, these are my thoughts on the matter, and it is now up to the reader what he will make of it.

Jochen Katz

Though Osama Abdallah had ignored my emails, he decided to react to my public answer to his false charges. Most of his reaction was absolutely irrelevant. The only important statement in his lengthy diatribe of insults and incoherent arguments was this:

Mr. Katz, here is where I will prove you to be a double-faced hypocrite! First of all, I don't care whether this email is forged or not. ...

Looking at the second of the quoted sentences, one does not need to wonder for long who really is the hypocrite! Since Mr. Abdallah does not care about the very topic of discussion, there is really nothing I or anyone else could say that would make any difference. He will just use it as a further occasion for more insults. I am a man of my words. Everthing I have stated about the procedures at Answering Islam is true.

It is is my personal policy to discuss matters only with those who actually care about determining the truth of an issue. Since he does not care about the truth, there is no basis for discussion and I will not waste my time on him. Abdallah introduces theological controversies like the Trinity, his claims of pornography in the Bible, the behavior of other people, and many more issues into his response which have NOTHING at all to do with this issue (he even challenges me to debate his paper about polygamy). The topic was ONLY the question whether this email was genuine or a fraud. I have answered that question. Period.

Had there been any genuine interest on his side to rectify the current issue, there may have been a basis to talk about whatever other grievances he has. But he has now made it unmistably clear, that he is not interested in truth.

I had no intention to make this thing a big issue. I emailed him privately for the very reason that we may resolve the issue amiably and don't have to start a public debate about it. Abdallah's appeal to pity regarding how many and what kind of spam emails he receives is irrelevant. His excuse that he may have accidentally deleted my two personal emails sent to him is silly. None of mine looked like spam. They came under my name, from my personal email account, and they both had the subject line: "Forged email", certainly not a line I have ever seen spammers using. They did not bounce, so they were delivered. Should I have sent him five more, one every other week, so that he can delete those as well and still claim I sent him none? Or should I have sent him a 100 of them at once so that he can attack me for flooding his mail box?

[ Update: Abdallah went so far as accusing me being a liar in regard to sending these messages:

I very carefully read the subject headings of my emails. I normally received at least 50+ emails every single day! Most of them are junk and porn emails (similar to the porn in your Bible ... ). I honest to Allah Almighty have not seen any of the emails you claimed to have sent. They either have slipped under my eyes, or you are a complete liar (since we did not see the contents of these emails posted on your site as further proof and elaboration to your claim). (bold emphasis mine)

The thrust is clear: Though not impossible, it is highly unlikely that he would have overlooked these emails IF they had been sent. After all, Abdallah very carefully reads the subject headings of his emails. However, some months later we find an administrative posting on his message board, in which he admits that emails to his regular feedback address will most likely get lost:


Please don't email me at because I receive at least 50 to 100 emails everyday, most of them are porn and junk mail. Your email would get lost. (Source, 14 March 2004; bold emphasis mine)

Perhaps Abdallah should consider creating a new feedback email address for his website? What good is it to offer his readers an address when messages to this address will most certainly get lost? {And then accusing them of having lied when they said they sent one.} Despite the above admission, Abdallah still keeps the page with his accusation of me being a liar. This is no contradiction for him. ]

Nor was the question whether Abdallah has the ability to block email accounts from sending mail. Our system is set up that way. Maybe there are actually people who know more about operating systems and programming than he does. There will never be emails originating from any of the various feedback addresses on our server. This decision was made years ago, and the system was designed that way. Obviously, the system admin with root access to this machine (not me) could change the installed system, and then emails could be sent, but that was not the point.

The particular email under discussion was proven to be forged since the lines "Return-Path:" and "Message-ID:" show that it originated on a domain by the name of "" and that therefore the "From:" line was forged. I have no time to write a detailed response to every such email fraud. My comment about the set up of the system was intended mainly to counter possible future attempts of such forgeries, in order to make it clear once and for all that there will never be a genuine email coming from the domain "" because no emails are sent out from there.

Abdallah may not care whether the email was forged or not, and whether he promotes lies or not. I have done my part and clarified the issue. If he will continue to claim what he knows is wrong, then this is his problem alone. I will leave the judgment to God who will surely take care of those who are willful liars.

P.S.: On 28 August 2003, O. Abdallah makes yet another attempt of wasting everyone's time by beating this dead horse. He now claims there is a contradiction between my above claim that no emails can be sent from the feedback email accounts on the Answering Islam server, and the fact that I created some fake emails to prove him wrong regarding one of his other claims. No, I have not contradicted or refuted myself. These forged emails did not come from our server. Our server is in a different country under a different ISP, more than a thousand miles from where I live, and it is used only for uploading new webpages to Answering Islam via ftp and retrieving feedback emails from it via pop3. As stated before, all emails that I am sending out, come from my personal email account which has nothing to do with the domain. These particular forged emails were created using my personal email account on my German ISP. The Answering Islam server only received these forged emails. I never said our server cannot receive emails. After all, that is what a feedback email address is for.

After making many words that only show that Abdallah has not understood what I had said, he concludes with this ‘challenging question’:

Mr. Katz, you have refuted yourself!

And since Mr. Katz can change his server, I have one question for him:

Did you also forge the original email that was sent to both of us?

As explained, (a) I have not refuted myself, (b) we have not changed our server — nor do we have any intention to change our server — and, as stated before, (c) this email under discussion was not sent from anyone of Answering Islam in general, or myself in particular. It originated from the domain "" which I had never seen in my life until I was confronted with this forged email on O. Abdallah's site. Obviously, I could not use this domain for forging an email if I didn't know this domain even existed. Kind of logical, isn't it?

Since calm and factual explanations seem not click with O. Abdallah, let me introduce some sarcasm and state it very explicitly for the comprehension-impaired: No, I have not sent that email.

One last correction to Abdallah's above posed question: This email was not sent "to both of us". I only found out about its existence because someone sent me an email asking about these accusations against Answering Islam made on Abdallah's site. This email was not sent TO us. The point of the forgery was making it appear to originate FROM us, not being sent TO us.

Any more such stupid questions, Mr. Abdallah? Grow up, and stop getting on my nerves with this childish stuff; you are quarrelling for the sake of quarrelling. Everything necessary has already been stated. Therefore, the above was definitely my last response on this issue, although Abdallah is most likely going to write another 15 pages on how I contradicted myself again, and that he has irrefutable proof that I am a double-faced hypocrite. If it makes him happy to fill his site with these essential topics, so be it. Glady, even bad, boring and tasteless movies have one good feature, they eventually reach


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