April 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm (Anonymous, Scientology) (, )

A member of the hate group Anonymous, Mahoud Samed Almahadin, aka Matt Connor, was sentenced today in New York City Criminal Court in connection with a January 8, 2009, attack on the Church of Scientology of New York. (People vs. Almahadin, Mahoud; Criminal Docket 2009NY00410).

Almahadin smeared himself with a mixture of Vaseline, nail clippings and pubic hairs donated by other members of the Anonymous hate group, ran into the New York Church just off Times Square and desecrated the Church, including causing damage to Scriptural materials. Almahadin’s sentence, forbids him from going near the Church of Scientology for five years. He was also sentenced to pay the damages caused by his acts and to perform substantial community service as further restitution for the crime, Church of Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon said of the result, “The action against Almahadin is a victory for everyone’s right to peaceably practice their religion. It is a warning to others who desecrate houses of worship and commit hate crimes. It is also the latest blow against Anonymous.” “Anonymous” is a loosely connected hate group targeting Scientologists, Jews and other minority racial and ethnic groups and organizations.

Another member of Anonymous, Jacob Speregen, also charged in the same incident, will stand trial later this year.

The conviction follows the November 18, 2009, sentencing of a New Jersey man to one year and one day in federal prison on a felony conviction for his part in a cyber attack against Church of Scientology websites in January 2008. (Case No. CR 09-87-01) That attack was also carried out by Anonymous members.

Dmitriy Guzner, 19, of Verona, New Jersey, who in May 2009 pled guilty to one count of computer hacking, was sentenced for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs when a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at websites, overloading their capacity and making them unavailable to legitimate users.

Church websites were made unavailable to valid users for over 24 hours, with the attacks continuing for 12 days, requiring the Church to hire a computer security company to protect against the attacks and to reroute traffic. Due to the severity of the crime, Judge Joseph Greenaway in U.S. District Court in Newark sentenced Guzner to the 366-day prison term, plus two years probation following his prison term, and ordered Guzner to pay $37,500 restitution to the Church.

On October 31, another Anonymous follower, Brian Thomas Mettenbrink, 20, was indicted by a Grand Jury in the US District Court in Los Angeles, for his role in the same attack on Scientology websites, for conspiracy and “transmission of a code, information, program, or command to a protected computer.” The indictment states that he obtained a computer program from an Anonymous website and executed a DDOS attack from his dormitory at Iowa State University against the Church computers in Los Angeles. He is awaiting sentencing.

According to court documents, Anonymous is an underground hate group that, in addition to the cyber attack, targeted Churches of Scientology and members with death threats, bomb threats and fake anthrax mail. In addition to Scientology Churches and the Prime Minister of Australia, Anonymous has also targeted The Epilepsy Foundation, hip-hop music websites and others.

Scientology is a worldwide religious movement with more than 8,500 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups in 165 countries. The Church and its members dedicate their time and resources to numerous humanitarian programs that Scientology has become known for around the world, including combating drug abuse, immorality, illiteracy, and human rights violations.




  1. Tom Serino said,

    How many countries have banned the practice of scientology now?

    • Louanne said,

      Absolutely none.

      Are there any laws against the practice of Scientology? Has it ever been banned?

      No. While the Church of Scientology had to fight many legal battles in its formative years and its parishioners endured systematic official acts of religious discrimination in some countries, it is not now and never has been banned in any nation.

      In the 1960s, three Australian states enacted repressive legislation that essentially made it a crime to practice Scientology in those states. Once the false allegations against the religion were repudiated, these discriminatory laws became an embarrassment to the Australian government. Indeed, a former Australian senator and deputy premier of Western Australia actually traveled to the United States in 1976 to attend the Churches of Scientology International Prayer Day. Whereupon they apologized to all members of the Church, describing the discriminatory legislation as the “blackest day in the political history of Western Australia.” Subsequently, Scientology was fully recognized by the Australian High Court, which came to the “irresistible” conclusion that Scientology is a religion. Today, that landmark decision forms the basis for determining what is a religion in courts and governments throughout the Commonwealth.

      Thus, Scientology operates freely world over and has received hundreds upon hundreds of religious recognitions from courts and government administrative bodies. In fact, the Church of Scientology has been formally recognized as a religion in the following nations: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, United States, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

      The Church of Scientology is further distinguished as a religion for the fact that:

      On April 5, 2007, a landmark decision rendered by the European Court of Human Rights found Scientology constitutes a religious community entitled to be registered as a religious organization, enunciating a principle binding on all 47 Member States comprising the Council of Europe.

      On September 18, 2007, the Church of Scientology of Portugal was officially recognized as a religious organization under that country’s new religious registration law.

      And on December 3, 2007, the South African Revenue Service granted the Church of Scientology the status of a Public Benefit Organization as a religious entity with full tax exemption.

      There is substantially more:

      Spain is a land where Scientology battled for decades against official persecution and discrimination before gaining full vindication and religious recognition. In October 2007, the National Court in Madrid affirmed the rights of Scientology parishioners and Church organizations to religious freedom in Spain. The Church of Scientology was then officially entered in the National Register of Religions of Spain in December 2007.

      Today, while there still remain remnants of discrimination, nowhere is Scientology prohibited from practicing its faith. Moreover, even where religious intolerance still lingers, the bigoted acts of governmental officials must be placed in context. For the fact is, Scientology is growing at a rate unprecedented for any religion in modern times and while a few governments may try to impede it, the people certainly are not.


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