Wednesday, February 6, 2008

News coverage about this petition

Wikipedia Islam Entry Is Criticized

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By NOAM COHEN

Published: February 5, 2008

An article about the Prophet Muhammad in the English-language Wikipedia has become the subject of an online protest in the last few weeks because of its representations of Muhammad, taken from medieval manuscripts.

In addition to numerous e-mail messages sent to Wikipedia.org, an online petition cites a prohibition in Islam on images of people.

The petition has more than 80,000 “signatures,” though many who submitted them to ThePetitionSite.com, remained anonymous.

“We have been noticing a lot more similar sounding, similar looking e-mails beginning mid-January,” said Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco, which administers the various online encyclopedias in more than 250 languages.

A Frequently Asked Questions page explains the site’s polite but firm refusal to remove the images: “Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with the goal of representing all topics from a neutral point of view, Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of any particular group.”

The notes left on the petition site come from all over the world. “It’s totally unacceptable to print the Prophet’s picture,” Saadia Bukhari from Pakistan wrote in a message. “It shows insensitivity towards Muslim feelings and should be removed immediately.”

The site considered but rejected a compromise that would allow visitors to choose whether to view the page with images.

Paul M. Cobb, who teaches Islamic history at Notre Dame, said, “Islamic teaching has traditionally discouraged representation of humans, particularly Muhammad, but that doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent.” He added, “Some of the most beautiful images in Islamic art are manuscript images of Muhammad.”

The idea of imposing a ban on all depictions of people, particularly Muhammad, dates to the 20th century, he said. With the Wikipedia entry, he added, “what you are dealing with is not medieval illustrations, you are dealing with modern media and getting a modern response.”

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Wikipedia Prophet Images Irk Muslims

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CAIRO — More than 90,000 people are asking Wikipedia, the biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet, to remove medieval images it says are of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

"We Muslims respect all religions and expect the same respect from all," Nayyar Iqbal, Pakistan, wrote on Tuesday, February 5, adding his name to the online petition.

"Kindly remove the illustrations of our beloved prophet from the Wikipedia."

The petition, posted on ThePetitionSite.com, was created on December 4 by Faraz Ahmad from the United Kingdom.

When IslamOnline.net last checked it at 18:30 GMT, it was signed by 90,245 from 83,691 a day earlier.

Check Petition

Skimming through the entities, which are both dated and serially numbered, suggests the petition has been signed by people from almost every world country.

Many just write their names and country while others add their own comments but all agree on thing; Wikipedia must remove the photos.

"Please remove the false photographs of Prophet Mohammad as he himself in his own life had prohibited for his portraits," wrote Samad Ahmad, Albania.

Some of images, which are believed to be drawn in the 12th century, are not merely illustrative, but offensive.

One of them portrayed the Prophet as an idol to whom Muslims prayed for aid in battle. Another represents the Prophet as a monk and cardinal.

Prophet Muhammad forbade Muslims to make images of living beings whether human or animals let alone himself.

He feared that these images would lead to idolatry as images of pious and religious figures were often worshiped by many people in Arabia at the time as well as in other cultures and societies.

No Compromise

The San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation has been inundated by emails, urging it to remove the imagery.

"We have been noticing a lot more similar sounding, similar looking e-mails beginning mid-January," Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation, told The New York Times.

Wikipedia considered but rejected a compromise that would allow visitors to choose whether to view the page with images.

"Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with the goal of representing all topics from a neutral point of view, Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of any particular group," it explained the refusal.

But the petitioners are not satisfied with this response.

"I strongly condemned this act by wiki and I demand immediate removal of the picture from wiki pages," Pakistani Hassaan Mustafa wrote Tuesday.

"Freedom of Speech doesn't mean that u start hurting millions humans personal feelings. Respect Every One."

In September 2005, Danish mass-circulation Jyllands-Posten published 12 drawings including portrayals of a man the daily called the Prophet, wearing a bomb-shaped turban and another showing him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.

The cartoons, considered blasphemous under Islam, triggered mass protests across the world and strained Muslim-West ties.

Islam Online

06 September 2008

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Wikipedia defends its right to publish Muhammad images

Wikipedia February 04 2008

Please note that discussion on this talk page has determined that pictures of Muhammad will not be removed from this article and any removal of the pictures without discussion here first will be reverted on sight. If you wish to discuss the inclusion of pictures in the article, please read over previous discussions here, here, and here and the Muhammad article FAQ at this page.

(Debate from the Wikipedia Talk page)

Notice to all those who wish Wikipedia to remove pictures of Muhammad

Please place your requests for Wikipedia to remove pictures of Muhammad in this dedicated page or they may be removed. TharkunColl TharkunColl (talk) 09:51, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Note: if this is the page now in use for these particular topics, we may want to change the banner near the top which explains that no changes will be made without discussion on this page.--C.Logan (talk) 10:09, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

most people are never going to read it - it would actually make more sense for the rest of us to leave this page to the "please remove" crowd and do all of the real work on a sub-page. --Fredrick day (talk) 10:57, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Sadly, this may be the case if the reaction to the FAQ is any indication.--C.Logan (talk) 11:16, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Note to TharkunColl: I'd reverted your removal of the "a new suggestion" topic, because I feel that this is a topic which is mostly productive and should not be included along with the rest of the "request" posts, which are typically by anonymous or new users with little or no knowledge of Wikipedia policy. As far as I can see, this is not a "request" which would justifiably need to be moved to the new page for such posts- doing so would "drown out" the points raised by Aminz, because I can't help but feel that this new page will be one that is afforded little real attention or concern (though one can't be blamed for this attitude considering the route the discussion has taken).--C.Logan (talk) 11:16, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

though the images are not yet removed, but i have to thank everyone who took the time to participate in this discussion. Those who are in favor of the removal or not, I thank everyone.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.60.81.12 (talk • contribs) 06:48, February 4, 2008 (UTC-5)

There is no "yet" my friend. Jmlk17 11:50, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

I have moved your page to Talk:Muhammad/images whic is the original title under which we did image discussions. I'm sure you realize what you were doing when you called it "censorship requests" but our goal is to make this a manageable issue that does not clog the talk page, not belittle the people making these requests. gren グレン 17:37, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

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Muslims Protest Wikipedia Images of Muhammad

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has again stirred up controversy — this time over a biographical entry on the prophet Muhammad.

Nearly 100,000 people worldwide have signed a Web-based petition asking Wikipedia to remove all depictions of the Prophet from its English-language entry, viewable here.

"I request all brothers and sisters to sign this petitions so we can tell Wikipedia to respect the religion and remove the illustrations," the creator of the petition at The Petition Site asks.

Opposition among Muslims to images of Muhammad has its roots in the prohibition of "graven images" in the Ten Commandments, but has varied over time.

"Islamic teaching has traditionally discouraged representation of humans, particularly Muhammad, but that doesn't mean it's nonexistent," Notre Dame history professor Paul M. Cobb told the New York Times. "Some of the most beautiful images in Islamic art are manuscript images of Muhammad."

All four images on the English-language Wikipedia page are rather lovely Persian and Ottoman miniatures from the 14th through 16th centuries. The two later ones depict Muhammad's face as covered by a white veil, but the earlier pair show his full face.

"Please take off those pictures or leave only the digitally blanked out faces please," writes one anonymous petitioner from Belgium several times on the petition site. "Thanks for respecting Muslims beliefs. Peace and Light."

Wikipedia has entries on Muhammad in several dozen languages. A quick survey found images of the Prophet on the Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Russian versions, but not on the Arabic, Turkish, Chinese, Albanian, Urdu or Bahasa Indonesia versions.

The Croatian edition depicted Muhammad, but the version written in the nearly identical Bosnian dialect did not, reflecting Bosnia's Islamic identity.

Surprisingly, one version in a language spoken overwhelmingly by Muslims had several images of Muhammad, both veiled and unveiled — the Farsi edition, legible to Persian-speakers in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and in the Iranian and Afghan diasporas worldwide.

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Dispute about images of Mohammed at Wikipedia

The iconoclasts are once again taking the foreground at the free online Wikipedia encyclopaedia. In an online petition, more than 90,000 Muslims demand that images of the Prophet Mohammed be deleted. The Wikipedia community refuses to do so.

The bone of contention is a miniature from the 15th century showing the face of the Prophet Mohammed. The petition states, "In Islam picture of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other Humans are not allowed." Although most images do not show the face of the Prophet, the petition states that the mere representation of him is an affront to Muslims. While those who signed the main petition have only issued urgent appeals, some individual hotheads on other websites have not shied away from threats of violence.

In a dedicated FAQ, the staff of Wikipedia say why they are going to keep the image online: while "Wikipedia recognizes that there are cultural traditions among some Muslim groups that prohibit depictions of Muhammad and other prophets and that some Muslims are offended when those traditions are violated.", the tradition is nonetheless not a ban that applies for all Muslims. In particular, Wikipedia points out that the Shia are less strict on this issue. "Wikipedia is a project for the establishment of an encyclopaedia, not a venue for a debate between Muslims", Wikimedia Deutschland's Mathias Schindler explained in a conversation with heise online.

Unlike the dispute about Danish caricatures of Mohammed, the debate at Wikipedia does not concern insulting representations of the Prophet, but merely medieval depictions of the founder of Islam. Islamic tradition prohibits representations of the Prophet for the purposes of idolatry. However, some interpretations of traditions go so far as to reject all images of living beings. The images at Wikipedia are medieval works by Muslim artists created long after the Prophet died. The online encyclopaedia explains the concerns about depictions of Mohammed in detail in several places.

Indeed, disputes about images are nothing new for the free internet encyclopaedia. Just last December, the vice-chairwoman of Germany's leftist party Die Linke file charges against Wikipedia for publishing symbols of organizations that are declared enemies of the German constitution. The politician retracted the suit when Wikipedia reduced the numbers of images published in the German article on Hitler Youth. Wikipedia continues, however, to document the symbols used by Nazi organizations. (Torsten Kleinz) / (jk/c't)

'Muslims should boycott Wikipedia'
Mon, 18 Feb 2008 01:19:30

An Iranian official has urged Muslim states to boycott Wikipedia after the encyclopedia published a series of blasphemous cartoons.

An informed cultural official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Sunday that the web site's moderators are well aware of the insulting nature of the cartoons of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and their refusal to remove them is a deliberate and offensive move against Muslims.

They refused to unpublish the cartoons although more than 180,000 letters of protest had been sent to Wikipedia, he added.

The official called on Muslim states to boycott and block the web site to counter 'the divisive and anti-Islamic move.'

BGA/RE


5 comments:

islaminhistory said...

salaam
what happens if wikipedia still say no, all you have done is give them lots of free publicity.

I suggest you recommend to your petitioners that they contact their service providers and ask them to ban wikipedia (will work in muslim countries) until they remove the offending pictures

then wikipedia will listen

said...

Pretty sure that those images of Mohammed were created BY muslims. Did you kids just decide after the fact that it wasn't cool anymore?

Hans said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Muslim Unity said...

@ ‽
yes Muslims created them but there are black seeps in every community and blocked by Muslims. but wikipeia deliberately publish them to provoke Muslims. so who is extremist?

Anonymous said...

Salam,
I think that the petition is a great idea, but we need to understand that every thing we do, everything we say... Is under the scope of people everywhere and it reflects onto all muslims. If and when you sign the petition you should do it in a peaceful manner. Threats and such as I have read in the petition are not neccessary. Im sure that we can do this in a peaceful manner and accomplish our goals, because THATS what Islam is all about.
By showing aggression we are only giving more reason to be attacked.
We should do what we can to get these images removed, but if we cannot, its not our faults, we've tried and in the end, its the people who've posted it that will face Allah (GOD) and then it will be between them. Until then, lets peacefully do what we can without further harming people's ideas of our faith. ~Farooz