Rackspace Shutters Pastors' Web Sites Amid Quran Burning Controversy


Rackspace this week shut down a pair of Websites it hosted for controversial Christian pastor Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Center church as Jones teeters with his on-again off-again plans to hold a Quran burning demonstration on the anniversary of 9/11.

Rackspace, a Web hosting and cloud computing company, which hosted the site for Jones' church and another site with the domain name "Islam Is The Devil," didn't respond to a request for comment.

The Dove World Outreach Center Website indicates that it is currently under construction.

Gainesville, Fla.-based Jones and his 50-member church made national headlines with Jones' plan to burn the Quran on the nine-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands at the World Trade Center in New York. President Obama's administration and military officials warned that if Jones carried through with burning Islam's sacred tome it could fuel terrorist efforts against the U.S. and put U.S. troops in Afghanistan in greater danger.

Earlier this week, Jones, who has received countless threats since unveiling his Quran-burning plan, said he canceled the demonstration. But reports from early Friday indicate that Jones has changed his decision and plans to carry on with the burning as originally planned. Jones has said he planned to burn the holy book because "it's full of lies."

Jones called Rackspace's move to shut down his site "an indirect attack on our freedom of speech," according to the Christian Science Monitor.

But San Antonio-based Rackspace said that Jones' threats to burn the Quran were in direct violation of the company's acceptable use policy, and shuttering Jones' and Dove World's Website was not an act of censorship, but a breach of contract. Dan Goodgame, a Rackspace spokesperson, said Jones and Dove World violated the Offensive Content section of its Acceptable Use policy.

"What we did was to terminate them as a Rackspace customer because they had violated the contract," Goodgame told Reuters, adding that Rackspace had received a complaint about content posted by Dove World Outreach Center. "We looked into it and made a determination that the two sites were in violation of the hate-speech provisions of our acceptable-use policy," Goodgame continued.

The acceptable use policy, which Rackspace makes visible on its corporate Web page, states that customers "may not publish, transmit or store on or via Rackspace's network and equipment any content or links to any content that Rackspace reasonably believes is excessively violent, incites violence, threatens violence, or contains harassing content or hate speech." It goes on to state that Rackspace prohibits "any conduct that is likely to result in retaliation against the Rackspace network or web site, or Rackspace's employees, officers or other agents, including engaging in behavior that results in any server being the target of a denial of service attack (DoS)."

"We're not trying to restrict anyone's free speech rights We just feel that as a business we have the right to set rules," Goodgame concluded.