Many followed the "saga" of the Syrian woman behind the blog "A Gay Girl in Damascus," who was supposedly kidnapped last weekbut it turns out that it was all a fraud.
According to the Washington Post, Tom MacMastera 40-year-old U.S. man from Georgia working on his master's degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotlandhad been writing the blog for years under the pseudonym "Amina Arraf."
On June 6, a post on Arraf's website supposedly written by her cousin said armed men grabbed Abdallah while she was on her way to a meeting. "Amina was seized by three men in their early 20s," "Rania Ismail" wrote. "One of the men then put his hand over Amina's mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan." Thousands went on Facebook and Twitter to demand her release.
After "news" of Arraf's supposed arrest, fans found evidence that led back to MacMaster.
On June 12, MacMaster, a Middle East peace activist, apologized on the blog. "While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on thıs blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground," he wrote. "I do not believe that I have harmed anyoneI feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about."
The BBC reported that MacMaster said, "I really felt a number of years ago, in discussions on Middle East issues in the U.S., often when I presented real facts and opinions, the immediate reaction to someone with my name was: 'Why are you anti-American? Why are you anti-Jewish?'
"So I invented a name to talk under that would keep the focus on the actual issue." He added that the popularity of the blog surprised him.