Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Muhammad, Wikipedia and Media

After a month long break today I decided to write something more about this bowling issue that is made global by my petition.
I stop taking any action when I was blocked by Wikipedia to edit and then failure the negotiations between me and Wikipedia about unblocking me.
In this duration I receive many comments and suggestion from peoples. And that is why I decided to keep this petition open for signatures. But one thing I notice and like to share is that almost all comments through private messages or through signatures was peaceful.
I personally think that is due to the negative propaganda in international media that Muslims are violent and only know aggression.
I favorite TV channel is Peace TV now a days. And that help me lot to stay calm in this tense moment when both my nation Pakistan is the hottest issue in world media and my efforts about Wikipedia are going forward. That TV channel helped me to answer so many questions raised by media.
Why I decided to write today?
Today I receive an email from NOAM COHEN a writer from The New York Times, asking for an interview about this. But unfortunately I read that email after 8 hours and i replied him/her and also give a call but only reach voicemail. After that i decided to Google this thing and when i search Google news about Muhammad I was surprised that my voice is now reaching the newspaper. And i find 2 entries about this. One form a EuropeNews, Denmark Wikipedia defends its right to publish Muhammad images
This article is about the defiance by Wikipedia to publish images. And it just copy past some discussion from Wikipedia Talk page.
And the second is published in New York Times, United States Wikipedia Islam Entry Is Criticized by NOAM. He gives a break introduction about this issue and then goes to explain the relation between petition and Wikipedia. And then explain the view of Wikipedia. And at the end give a view from Paul M. Cobb on this issue.
But one thing was missing my view and the original view of Islam about this.
So I decided to write my view on this issue in great detail.
The first question is. Is pictures or illustrations of humans are allowed in Islam?
And the answer is NOT. And this is exactly opposite to Paul M. Cobb. This Islamic Law is derived from Quran and authentic HADITH, and both Quran and Hadith belong from the life of Muhammad to its not a 20th century Law. I know before 20th century there was no Fatwa about this but there was a common understanding between Muslims on this issue. The art of pictures and illustration of Muhammad (PBUH) was only practiced in Iran or Shia Muslims. One thing is very important in this issue, not all Shia practice this. Even then painting of face was not allowed in Shia community. That is why you will find majority of illustrations with a white blank face or a face covered with Vail. But in 20th century some illustrations showing face were discovered and then Muslim scholars decided to put a Fatwa or Islamic Law in place to block this move.
The second question is why I am trying so hard to remove them from Wikipedia?
Wikipedia as an open source of information is highly popular between all kinds of peoples, especially kids, who are growing up in an age of Google. And Wikipedia is the top destination for information because of many reasons. It’s free and it’s available to edit. When you search for word “Muhammad” in Google it’s the first result, in it’s the 7th and that is just wiki commons Original article in on the 4th page. In Yahoo search it’s the 1st result. On it’s the 9th result. On it’s the 3rd ... that simply mean that almost 98% who search for Muhammad read Wikipedia’s view on Muhammad. I deliberately use the word view because I know that is not actual reality.
The third question is who are the editors of this Article about Muhammad on Wikipedia?
Through my personal experience while editing Wikipedia, reading the profiles and edits by these editors. I find that majority of them are non-Muslims, in a rough estimate about 85% of them. Majority of them are Atheist living in Western Europe. Where religion is vied as an evilest thing happened to humanity. They already has removed religion from there social and personal life and now targeting other religious communities. One fact about this is majority of anti Islamic literature originate from Denmark. Even this time the whole cartoon issue, and the first news to defend Wikipedia on this issue was from Denmark.
I will complete this topic in few days so keep browsing.....


Henning said...

Dear friend

I've read your entry and I can follow you and your thoughts.

I am living in the UK and my best friend here is from Pakistan. Not many westeners have a friend from Pakistan and I consider myself honored to be able to speak to him about his and my beliefs, his thoughts and anxieties and everything else which accompanies our lives in a foreign country (I am from Germany).

One day I was trying to understand his view on fundamentalist islam and I was asking him and I realized - this most peaceful, most generous and most loving friend at my side is not able to describe in clear words what is going on within his belief - within his religion, among his people. Him my friend, which I am consider as one of the most honest, reliable and caring persons I've met on this planet so far, wasn't able to separate his strong beliefs and deep trust in Muhammad (PBUH) and Islam - which is indeed one of the graceful, powerful and peace loving monotheistic religions - from those extremist views many people in islamic societies share.

He was not able to explain 'Jihad' - me asking him for the original, plain meaning of it. From my understanding, jihad ... is great! It is first of all the inner human struggle, the struggle for life and belief, the struggle for a rightful life following the prophet and following ... the good. As far as I know, we do not have a similarly strong 'concept' in christianity. I think that this is a very strong part of the Quran and Islam, revealing the modesty and self-conception islam teaches its followers and which I see inherent in my friend and other muslims everyday. If everybody were as modest and helpful as my friend from Lahore!

All my friend was talking about was the fighting of non-believers who have invaded one's country. That is, as far as I know, another meaning of jihad, yet far less important than the other one.

The westeners only understanding of jihad is the one zawahiri has given it middle of the nineties - killing innocent westerners as revenge for islam's suffering over centuries and till today. This is rubbish as we should all know - but it prevails as dead people simply prevail in the mind despite other things important. As soon as people get killed, innocent people, everything else seems less important. That might be the reason why there is no middle east progress, because people get killed every day. You can't make no reasonable politics if your brother has died yesterday and all of your family members have lost at least one beloved one.

My point is, my friend from Pakistan has lost himself a bit while being abroad. He lost his belief in the power, the truth and the grace of islam while being among all these non-believers here in the UK. All he sees is the western view on his religion - the supposedly western view. There is no western view! Only there is a lot misunderstanding. That's it. A lot misunderstanding as the interest is low because of people getting killed in the name of your religion. No surprise. The only one's to blame are fundamentalists - on both sides, of course.

And, here is my point, regarding your entry and why I am telling you all this: You're simply adding to the misunderstanding.

It is time for somebody in your community to speak up and show the real heart of islam and not trying to defend fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is not part of your belief. You cannot change it, it is there but you can avoid further misunderstanding by simply saying 'It's there! We have to cope with it. It's terrible'.

Your letter reads good and reasonable. But in the end, you are losing yourself to stupid and unnecessary comments which are simply adding to the misunderstanding of Islam by westeners.

I think you are wrong in one point and at that point you are losing me as a listener, too - a patient and understandable listener who is more than many others enthusiastic about Islam and its people, you are losing me when you are saying that wikipedia is written by westeners who do not believe, written by atheists. What a nonsense and you cannot say something like that. And you are losing yourself and your honorful approach to bring up this matter in a peaceful way when you are saying that wikipedia is trying to diminish the power of religion. You simply cannot state this and think anybody with a bit of a brain will ever believe you any more word you are writing or saying.

You have to ask yourself for whom are you writing? I know who I am writing this letter for. For muslims. For my friend Kamran Javed.

سَلام أَمَان

Kaba62 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

if you can leave feedback on the petition site with a valid email id i can answer all ur questions.

Anonymous said...

Every so often the non-muslims will do something outrages against islam. This is to see if we still have the love for the Prophet. Dont forget what in Spain many years ago.
The non-muslims will attack when the muslims will be weak.

Hamid said...

The realization of some ones religion and faith is actually commonsence, and if this is called freedom of expression and thougths by hurting millions of people of human being is insult of their religion and faith. i think this freedom should be avoided once and for all. because saying that you Europians and Americans respect other religion, i think its fack because you do some think else and pretend some think else. Actually you peole are like pigs For Example: As pigs get in line to fuck their female pig and the behaviour of pig is addopted by you people as one women spends alot of nights with different men and at the end she even don't know thw name of his father that whose kind is it. So we always expect the animal behaviour from you pople. As you don't know human language you people only know animal language. You people are white but you are dark from you heart. And don't hurt the feelings because it is bruning like a volcano in the hearts of muslims and one day it will brust if you don't have stopped practising this fredom again.

hfxgirl said...

I am a non religious Canadian with an interest in understanding other peoples beliefs. I am trying to understand the issue on the picture of Mohammad from the petition site, and I am hoping you could clarify a few things.

Does it actually, clearly, state in either the Qur'ân or the prophets book (sorry I don't remember the name) that pictures of Mohammad with other people are strictly forbidden? Have you personally read the passage that says so? If it is in the Qur'ân, could you tell me where? I have an English translation of the book and would like to read the passage myself.

It seems to me, based on passages I have read so far, that the meaning of the Qur'ân seems to depend upon the interpretation of the reader. The passages seem a bit vague, similar to the Christian Bible.

I ask not to be disrespectful but because I have met so many Muslims who, like many Christians, have not read their religious texts, yet claim to know their contents.

I have done some searching online & noticed there are 2 pictures shown on wikipedia:

But it says they are actually from an ancient manuscript written by "The celebrated 10th century Moslem scholar Abu Al Rayhan Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al Biruni" source:

So now I am left even more confused, that if is indeed against your beliefs and so offensive then why would the pictures be included in a transcript originally created by a Muslim so long ago?

United Muslims said...

In Islam it’s absolutely clear that pictures of living things are forbidden. And there is no dispute between Muslims bout this issue. Only some Shia groups think that images are allowed. I personally conformed from Shia leader here in Glasgow and contact Cultural ministry of Iran on this issue and they supported my stand. Shia Muslims think that only if some body has seen somebody and then draw an exact image of that personality then it’s allowed. But as everybody knows Illustrations on Wikipedia are just imaginations and not following the standards of Shia Islam. I also know the fact that some of these images are created by Muslims in History. But every part of world every kind of peoples live. Some follow religion and some just call them to belong to some religion. What we have to do is to follow what a religion says not what person says about it. Person can be wrong but not a true religion. Quran is book to follow in Islam and its practical examples can be found in Prophets Life and that is written in books of Sunnah. For a true Muslim there is no contradiction between them.