February 7, 2008
Protest About Images of Prophet on Wiki
by Rachael Grant
Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, has created controversy over a biographical entry on the prophet Muhammad. To date, over 100,000 people have signed a petition asking Wiki to remove all depictions of the prophet from its English language entry.
The creator of the petition, based at The Petition Site, requests ‘all brothers and sisters to sign this petition so we can tell Wikipedia to respect the religion and remove the illustrations’.
The Muslim opposition to the images are founded from one of the Ten Commandments, prohibiting graven images.
Paul M. Cobb, a Notre Dame history professor, told the New York Times that “Islamic teaching has traditionally discouraged representation of humans, particularly Muhammad, but that doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. Some of the most beautiful images in Islamic art are manuscript images of Muhammad.”
The pictures that can be found on the Wikipedia page are Persian and Ottoman miniatures from the 14th and 16th centuries. The first two show the prophet’s full face, and the second two depict him with his face covered in a white veil.
Wikipedia has multiple entries on Muhammad, each of them in a different language, and that on many of them there are images. Oddly enough, one of the versions that featured several images of the prophet, both with and without veil, is in a language that is overwhelmingly spoken by Muslims.
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