Wikipedia, the free on-line encyclopedia, contributed by netizens and the most accessed information resource on the web, has stood firm in retaining the 25th century illustration of Muhammed, in spite of an on-line petition by Islamic zealots.
Here is the report from the Digital Journal:
A group of Muslims have started a petition against Wikipedia because on the Muhammed entry page, there is a 15th century illustration in a copy of a manuscript by Al-BÄ«rÅ«nÄ«, depicting Muhammad preaching the Qur’Än in Mecca.
The petition can be found here and it states:
“In Islam pictures or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other holly figures are not allowed, but on wikipedia they has published some pictures that are showing not only a body with white face but an image that has a complete face.. that is even not allowed by SHITAT fact of Islam.
i request all my brothers and sisters to sign this petition so we can tell wikipedia to remove them.”
The petition lists the URI of the impugned image. Ironically the image of Muhammed, depiction of which they are protesting against, is appearing on the protest page itself!!
Another interesting fact is that not all signatories of the petition support the call for the removal of the image!
And the Wikipedia authors have put their foot down firmly and have refused to remove the image. Here is their clearly-stated stand on this issue:-
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. However, the prohibitions are not universal among Muslim communities, particularly with the Shi’a who, while prohibiting the images, are less strict about it. 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. So long as they are relevant to the article and do not violate any of Wikipedia’s existing policies, nor the law of the U.S. state of Florida, where Wikipedia’s servers are hosted, no content or images will be removed from Wikipedia because people find them objectionable or offensive. (see also Wikipedia:Content disclaimer)
The traditional reason given for the Islamic prohibitions on images of prophets is to prevent the images from becoming objects of worship as a form of idolatry, where the image becomes more important than the subject it represents. However, Wikipedia uses the images of Muhammad as examples of how Muhammad has been depicted by various Islamic sects through history and not in a religious context. Therefore, there are no concerns that the presence of the images on the articles will result in the practice of idolatry among Muslims.
I wish to ask these protesters, “Why didn’t you voice your protests when the goods and goddesses worshiped by the millions of Hindus were obscenely depicted by M.F Hussain, the renowned painter. You can view the way he has debased the Gods here. Is it not defamatory and blasphemous? Why this kind of double standards? Why not this Hussain show Muhammed in such obnoxious postures? Simple! He would have to run for his life fearing an imminent fatwa!
“No”, avers David Frawly in his book, Awaken Bharatha : A call for India’s rebirth.
He dispels many myths and misconceptions about Sufism in his well-written book. The gullible Hindus of India tend to be too credulous about the bona-fides of Sufi mystics as moderating influence on Islam. But unfortunately this is not true. Islamists of any hue cannot change their basic tenets like annihilation of infidels and spreading of pan-Islamism.
You may read excerpts from his book in this web site.