The Jerusalem Prayer Team (JPT) Facebook page, established in 2002 with more than 75 million followers, was shut down by Facebook in May.
The pro-Israel, evangelical page for prayer and worship was banned after it claims to have been inundated by a cyberattack of more than two million comments, many of which were anti-Semitic in nature.
Mike Evans, an American pastor and founder of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center and the Jerusalem Prayer Team, says that the JPT Facebook page was the largest online church in the world at the time it was shut down.
“There was an organized attempt by radical Islamic organizations to achieve this objective. They posted over a million comments on our site and then had the people contact Facebook saying that they never posted to the site. That was a complete scam and fraud. It was a very clever, deceptive plan by Islamic radicals,” he explains.
The attack came during the midst of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and other Islamic groups in the Gaza Strip. Evans had been leading thousands of people in prayer daily for Israel and about the crisis in the Middle East.
Evans contends nothing was done about the attack and JPT’s requests for assistance were ignored.
Facebook told The Washington Times that it removed the JPT page for “violating our rules against spam and inauthentic behavior.” A company spokesperson added that “we are not seeing any evidence that this page was a victim of a cyberattack.”
The group filed an appeal to Facebook on May 16, which was rejected. They were told the decision was final.
Jerusalem Prayer Team’s Facebook page had a weekly engagement of around three million users per week. The organization was founded in 2002 and was inspired by Corrie ten Boom (who helped save Jews during the Holocaust) and the biblical command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Update Note: In September, Facebook reinstated the page.