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'Gay Girl' blogger defends hoax

The hoaxer behind a fake blog that claimed to be written by a lesbian Syrian-American living in Damascus, and which caught worldwide attention, has defended the stunt.

A writer giving his name as Tom MacMaster, and apparently a US student studying at Edinburgh University, admitted the narrative was fictional but insisted it "created an important voice for issues I feel strongly about."

He said he never expected so much attention.

Last week a blog post at the same site, "A Gay Girl in Damascus," supposedly written by the woman's cousin, said she had been detained in Damascus after weeks on the run.

The story unravelled quickly after a woman in Britain said the photos on the Facebook account of the blogger known as Amina Arraf were actually of her.

The author of the latest blog post titled it "Apology to readers" but wrote "I do not believe that I have harmed anyone.

"I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in this year of revolutions," MacMaster wrote. "The events there are being shaped by the people living them on a daily basis. I have only tried to illuminate them for a western audience."

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