Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What WHOIS Can Tell Us About the Schermerhorn Mosque Hoax

Posted by on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Yesterday on Pith, Steven Hale posted about the hilarious kerfuffle over the weekend in which a lot of conservatives became convinced that the Schermerhorn was about to become a mosque.

Steven linked to the blog of Rod Williams, aka A Disgruntled Republican in Nashville, who described the situation thusly:

Maybe you never heard the rumor, but it [sic] you did, rest easy. The Nashville Symphony's beautiful Schermerhorn Concert Hall, which was rescued from a bankruptcy sale at the last minute will not become a mosque. Before being rescued from bankruptcy, it was not going to become a mosque. The symphony has not subleased the hall or part of the hall to a group to use as a mosque. Or, at least some of the people who were saying this are now saying it was all a hoax.

In emails and Facebook postings an alarm was being sounded that people needed to organize to stop The Schermerhorn from becomng [sic] a mosque. This rumor was starting to pick up steam even beyond conservative activist [sic] in Nashville. It was reported on Michelle Backman's [sic] facebook page and the Michael Savage facebook page and other sites.

The fake mosque has a lovely website and a Facebook page set up in opposition to it.

So, I thought I'd take a second to introduce folks to WHOIS. You go here and type in the name of the domain you're curious about — in this case, alhusseinmusiccityislamiccenter.info — and learn some stuff. In this case, because so much is set to private, you can't see who owns the domain, but you can see how long they've owned it.

Created On:27-Jun-2013 04:12:45 UTC
Last Updated On:27-Jun-2013 04:12:46 UTC

What's interesting about this — and why folks should have suspected this was a hoax earlier — is that this means the mosque website was created the same day as the anti-mosque Facebook group. (UTC is six hours ahead of us, putting the creation of the website at about 10 p.m. June 26.)

From the Anti-Mosque Facebook Timeline
  • From the Anti-Mosque Facebook Timeline

In real life, opposition to a cause or event doesn't typically erupt into a widespread social movement the very same day the cause or event comes into existence. I don't know what someone's motivations for perpetrating this hoax are — if I were judging by the complaints on the anti-mosque Facebook page, I'd say they just really don't like Kathy Griffin — but the truth of the matter is, we have enough folks riled up over things that are actually happening. Riling them up over stuff that isn't is stupid. We're lucky no one got hurt.

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