The Calgary Street Church website has been under continuous attack since February 1 by a group claiming to be Anonymous, says head pastor and street preacher Artur Pawlowski.
“They are overflowing our servers by coming to our website’s front page,” says Pawlowski. “We had 40,000 visits within a very short amount of time.”
Anonymous is a vast online “hacktivist” group recently known for instigating mass online protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the United States, as well as shutting down the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and several major entertainment industry labels.
A screen grab of the alleged threat as posted on the Street Church website.
The Street Church website, which was down for several days, was up again Saturday.
Pawlowski claims to have received a threatening email from the supposed Anonymous group, ordering him to cease and desist all legal battles with the City of Calgary. The street preacher has been the source of several conflicts with the city, such as his use of loudspeakers to preach on the streets. Last month, Pawloswski was slapped with a one-year ban barring him from city hall after refusing to fill out a permit to conduct Christian services in the city hall atrium.
When the alleged website assault started, Pawlowski filed a report with Calgary police, which confirms the report but could not release the status of any investigation.
Pawlowski believes city hall and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi are connected to the cyber the attack, though he concedes to having no evidence to back up his claim. “These people that are attacking us are doing it for the mayor because we dare to speak against the mayor,” he says. “The mayor is ticked off and he’s using anybody he can muster to destroy us.”
The mayor’s office said Mayor Nenshi was unavailable to comment on the allegations.
Pawlowski says the Street Church does not generate any funds through the website and remains undeterred in his fight against what he views as city hall’s oppression of free speech. “If I never had a website for my entire life, for the rest of my life, I would not stop doing what I am doing,” he says.
Blog photo: A screen grab from a Youtube video featuring street preacher Artur Pawlowski.