Wikipedia Refuses To Delete Picture Of Muhammad - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News
News
2/7/2008
04:35 PM
50%
50%

Wikipedia Refuses To Delete Picture Of Muhammad

About 100,000 people have signed a petition asking Wikipedia "to respect the religion," taking issue with the images posted for the site's Muhammad entry.

Wikipedia has disabled new and unregistered users' ability to edit an entry on Muhammad, while petitioners try to get the online encyclopedia to remove depictions of Islam's most important prophet.

The online encyclopedia includes an image from 1315, said to be the earliest artistic portrayal of the prophet. The entry explains that most Muslims object to visual depictions, although the practice was better tolerated in medieval times.

About 100,000 people have signed a petition asking Wikipedia "to respect the religion" and taking aim at the images with the Muhammad entry. But many signatures support the images.

Wikimedia Foundation spokesman Jay Walsh said during an interview Thursday that the decision to "protect" edits from new and unregistered users -- and the decision to leave the images of Muhammad -- are made by editors and administrators. They make those decisions based on the values, principles, and policies of Wikipedia, which prides itself on not censoring people, he said.

"Noncensorship is an important tenet of the user community and the edit community," he said, adding that some images under anatomical entries can be considered offensive by some people.

Most pages can be edited by anyone, without requiring registration or prior experience. A section for Wikipedia's "frequently asked questions" explains various levels of protection assigned to pages where new user edits are blocked.

The site welcomes and encourages discussion among users and is always evolving, Walsh said. That means the protected status of the page could change.

"People have the ability to discuss whether or not an image should stay or go depending on the principles," he said.

Several pages of the online encyclopedia include depictions of the Muslim prophet.

An article on controversies surrounding depictions of Muhammad explains in detail several requests to remove art from public places. The final sentence of the article explains that the online petitions have requested removal from Wikipedia. The article also contains several images of Muhammad referred to within the text.

An entry explaining controversy over cartoons that portrayed Muhammad negatively shows those images.

The site's answers to frequently asked questions says Wikipedia does not censor itself for the benefit of any group.

The request for removal of the images has been aimed at versions of the online encyclopedia in several languages.

Wikimedia Deutschland explains that some Muslims oppose such depictions and feel offended by them. It points out that Shia aren't as strict as other groups on the issue. Mathias Schindler, who works for the German-language version, said "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a venue for an inner-Muslim debate."

Walsh said that he doesn't recall the site drawing similar petitions from other groups, although there may have been similar requests regarding the Danish cartoons. There definitely was discussion of the topic and there continues to be discussion of the main Muhammad entry, he said.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2019 State of DevOps
2019 State of DevOps
DevOps is needed in today's business environment, where improved application security is essential and users demand more applications, services, and features fast. We sought to see where DevOps adoption and deployment stand, this report summarizes our survey findings. Find out what the survey revealed today.
Commentary
Will AI and Machine Learning Break Cloud Architectures?
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/10/2019
Slideshows
9 Steps Toward Ethical AI
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/15/2019
Commentary
Humans' Fascination with Artificial General Intelligence
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  6/6/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
A New World of IT Management in 2019
This IT Trend Report highlights how several years of developments in technology and business strategies have led to a subsequent wave of changes in the role of an IT organization, how CIOs and other IT leaders approach management, in addition to the jobs of many IT professionals up and down the org chart.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll