Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wikipedia Muhammed Update

An article from Sunday's Observer provides further information on the Wikipedia Muhammed controversy:

The images at the centre of the protest appear on most of the European versions of the web encyclopaedia, though not on Arabic sites. On two of the images, Muhammad's face is veiled, a practice followed in Islamic art since the 16th century. But on two others, one from 1315, which is the earliest surviving depiction of the prophet, and the other from the 15th century, his face is shown. Some protesters are claiming the pictures have been posted simply to 'bait' and 'insult' Muslims and argue the least Wikipedia can do is blur or blank out the faces.

Such has been the adverse reaction, Wikipedia has been forced to set up a separate page on its site explaining why it refuses to bow to pressure and has also had to set up measures to block people from 'editing' the pages themselves.

In a robust statement on the site, its editors state: 'Wikipedia recognises 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. However, the prohibitions are not universal among Muslim communities, particularly with the Shia who, while prohibiting the images, are less strict about it.

(Emphasis added-DD)

You can read Wikipedia's statement here. As is pointed out by the Observer, offended users can alter their personal settings to avoid viewing the images. That seems a more than reasonable solution.

Wikipedia is to be commended for refusing to indulge Wahhabi-inspired iconoclasm.


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