Rackspace Unplugs Florida Pastor's Website - InformationWeek

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Rackspace Unplugs Florida Pastor's Website

The sites owned by Terry Jones, who threatened to burn the Quran on Sept. 11, violated the hosting company's policy against "hateful speech," said a spokesman.

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Website hosting company Rackspace says it has shut down the sites of a Florida pastor who threatened to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, sparking international protests and criticism from President Obama.

Company spokesman Dan Goodgame told InformationWeek that Rackspace took the unusual step after determining that the two sites of pastor Terry Jones violated the company's policy against "hateful speech." Goodgame insisted the company wasn't acting as a censor.

"Our business relies on freedom of speech and we're staunch defenders of that," Goodgame said. "What we have here is not a constitutional issue; it's a contractual issue. We don't think it's censorship of any kind."

Jones drew international condemnation by announcing that he would burn the Quran on Sept. 11, the nine-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. The Obama administration and military officials also criticized Jones' plans, saying that burning Islam's most sacred book would boost the recruitment efforts of terrorist groups and would increase the dangers faced by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Goodgame declined to discuss the offensive content on Jones' sites, but pointed out that the name of one site was "Islam Is Of The Devil." "That right there tells you a fair amount," the spokesman said. The second site is for the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., which Jones heads.

Rackspace took the unusual move after receiving complaints about the sites. The Pentecostal pastor was notified Wednesday of the contract violation and was told he needed to find another hosting company, Goodgame said. When Jones failed to make arrangements to move the site, Rackspace pulled the plug.

On Thursday, Jones, who has a congregation of fewer than 50 people, cancelled plans to burn the Quran, saying that he would meet with the imam planning to build an Islamic center near the site of the N.Y. attack by Muslim extremists, The New York Times, reported. Many Americans and political leaders have condemned the center for being inappropriately close to ground zero.

However, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said in a statement that he had not spoken to Jones, the newspaper reported. While the reasons for the cancellation remained unclear, Jones had been under intense pressure from the Obama administration and religious leaders.

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