about the Prophet Muhammad in the English version of Wikipedia
has become the subject of an online protest, for its representations
of Muhammad, taken from medieval manuscripts.
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 of those who submitted them
to ThePetitionSite.com remained anonymous.
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
encyclopaedias in more than 250 languages.
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.”
left on the petition site have come from all over the world. “It’s
totally unacceptable to print the prophet’s picture,” Saadia Bukhari
from Pakistan wrote.
rejected a compromise that would allow visitors to choose whether to
view the page with images.
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.” 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.” - New York Times