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Muslim Groups Attempt to Censor Wikipedia 1730

Posted by Zonk
from the where-free-speech-meets-the-road dept.
Nom du Keyboard writes "The New York Times is reporting that Muslim groups are attempting to censor Wikipedia because of images of Muhammad contained in the article about him. 'A Frequently 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." The notes left on [online petitions against the page] come from all over the world. "It's totally unacceptable to print the Prophet's picture," Saadia Bukhari from Pakistan wrote in a message. "It shows insensitivity towards Muslim feelings and should be removed immediately."'"
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Muslim Groups Attempt to Censor Wikipedia

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  • Go jump in a lake (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:27PM (#22336982) Homepage Journal
    I am soooooooo tired of the muslem community pushing their views on everyone else.
    Yes it may be an insult in your culture to publish a pic of the dude, which is why you should complain if it was a muslem run website, however it isn't so you shouldn't complain, learn to live with others, if everyone had the same mentality as these extremists, the pedos would say it is mentally unacceptable NOT to see naked children on all their favorite websites.

    Just cause you believe in something doesn't make it right, right?!?

    "I believe the world is flat and get away with murder" : (
  • Re:I am offended (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:28PM (#22337016) Homepage
    Thank you! I don't understand how they can do some of the things they do (like denouncing christianity) then going and saying "How dare you insult my religion!" Eat your own shit.
  • by MenTaLguY (5483) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:29PM (#22337036) Homepage
    It's worth noting that a number of those pictures were made by Muslim artists, too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:30PM (#22337058)
    Wikipedia Islam Entry Is Criticized

    By NOAM COHEN
    Published: February 5, 2008

    An article about the Prophet Muhammad in the English-language Wikipedia has become the subject of an online protest in the last few weeks because of its representations of Muhammad, taken from medieval manuscripts.

    In addition 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 who submitted them to ThePetitionSite.com, remained anonymous.

    "We 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 encyclopedias in more than 250 languages.

    A Frequently 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."

    The notes left on the petition site come from all over the world. "It's totally unacceptable to print the Prophet's picture," Saadia Bukhari from Pakistan wrote in a message. "It shows insensitivity towards Muslim feelings and should be removed immediately."

    The site considered but rejected a compromise that would allow visitors to choose whether to view the page with images.

    Paul M. Cobb, 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." He added, "Some of the most beautiful images in Islamic art are manuscript images of Muhammad."

    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."
  • Re:Ok, I'll bite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thewils (463314) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:30PM (#22337060) Journal
    But you can't explain religion, it's correct by axiom and any proof is superfluous.
  • Um... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by amuro98 (461673) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:35PM (#22337162)
    If the image of Mohammed is sacrilege, how do Muslims know what he looks like if no one can ever create a picture of him?

    Just saying things like "Don't draw Mohammed!" is rather impossible if you've never seen a picture of him in the first place.
  • by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:39PM (#22337248) Homepage
    What's more interesting is to note that these "no-Muhammad-images!!!" iconoclastic idiots are not followers of any traditional branch of Islam. If you look at centuries old Islamic books, in lots and lots and lots of them you'll find drawings of Muhammad and other people, meaning such drawings were never, ever forbidden.

    In the end, these Islamic iconoclasts are roughly similar to those Christian Puritans who, finding mainstream Christianity too relaxed, invented tons of new, very strict rules that no one but themselves think everyone else must follow.
  • Re:Easy solution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by weyesone (1216104) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:47PM (#22337426)
    The name itself has become the idol.
  • by Surt (22457) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:48PM (#22337446) Homepage Journal
    You can draw a minimum bar at around 12, the age of reproductive functionality. Falling below that bar is pedophilia no matter what the calendar year.
  • Re:Good luck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:54PM (#22337570) Journal
    The Reformation hardly made Christianity more liberal. The Puritans were a horrible lot. The English finally managed to get rid of them, a good many ended up in the Colonies, and are the forefathers of the mouthy evangelistic types who attack the greater society with much zeal.
  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IPFreely (47576) <mark@mwiley.org> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:56PM (#22337584) Homepage Journal

    People all around the world of all religions and beliefs need to learn that not everyone in the world will bend your views all of the time.
    I'm pretty sure that should apply to you and me as well.

    Just an observation, but do the admins at Wikipedia allow casual profanity in articles? I haven't seen any. I doubt that they take that lightly. It's probably scrubbed out pretty carefully.

    Why would profanity be actively cleansed? Because the admins believe it is not appropriate? Because a large enough group of people using Wikipedia believe it is inappropriate? Who is the judge?

    Profanity in language is just as much a subjective measure of acceptability as these pictures. Some people don't care about profanity and use it as casually as any other word. They get all uppety when someone tells them not to use it in public or something. I've certainly met people like this.

    So ultimately, Wikipedia can't really claim thay are neutral if they choose one form of censorship due to one measure of public acceptibility but not another. It does not really matter what that other is or where it is from.

    But it probably feels easier for them to swallow the hypocracy if they can call one "religion" and the other "social", as if that makes a difference. People are people and it should not matter that much when it comes down to it: offensive material is offensive to someone. If Wikipedia only censors what is offensive to them and not what is not, they are not neutral.

  • by owlnation (858981) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:59PM (#22337634)
    after all everyone else does...

    Including, and most especially, those who work for it. For example [theregister.co.uk]. Just another scary example of the lack of ethics at the heart of wikiality.

    Or you could chose this [theregister.co.uk] further example of its integrity.

    Wikipedia is perfect for everyone with an axe to grind or an agenda to push. It's just the best site in the world for fundamentalists. Why should Muslims be exempt from that opportunity?
  • Re:Good luck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by operagost (62405) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:03PM (#22337690) Homepage Journal
    You just gave the advocacy of intelligent design, moral equivalence to murder. Nicely done!
  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:10PM (#22337828)
    > it's important that we realize that religion makes people nuts.

    You're blaming the symptom and ignoring the cause.

    Most people don't understand the TRUE purpose of religion -- EVERY religion is kindergarten in the grades of spirituality. i.e. providing the basics, but woefully incomplete in any depth of true knowledge.

    Usually the biggest problem is fundamentalists not being able to understand anything more then a literal interpretation of "scripture", and being completely oblivious to the fact that all of the You-niverse is scripture.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phoenix321 (734987) * on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:24PM (#22338074)
    I am from Europe, but the blame-America-first crowd annoys the hell out of me, to be honest.

    Come on, don't portray things as equal that are obviously not.

    It is not the same to "forbid denying the holocaust by law" or "killing people the worst imaginable way for laughing at the Koran", no no and no.

    -The first is an actual tragedy from not-too-long ago, the other is just some paper with ink on it.
    -The first is an offense punishable by law, yielding a monetary fine or at worst a sentence on probation, the second means instant death or being a fugitive for the rest of your life, just ask Mr. Salman Rushdie.
    -The first is gets the most severe punishment only in France and Germany and is over after a few years. The second will follow you everywhere, just ask Mrs. Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
    -The first can easily be avoided: just don't mention the holocaust and you'll be fine. It's over for sixty years, anyway. The second is hard to avoid because there's a clash of cultures raging around the world that could emerge into a third world war, if you haven't noticed. Oh, and the Koran isn't laughable, it's sad, just read it if you have the time.

    The principle is the same, prosecuting people over the denying of an idea. But everything else is totally utterly incomparable in severity and proportion.

    You can show the Hitler sign on any German marketplace and publicly deny the holocaust and passer-bys will show you the finger and call the police. Then two friendly-but-serious German officer will come to handcuff you, take your name, put you in jail for two days, release you on bail until the trial.

    Now imagine what happened if you publicly mocked Mohammed when there are able-bodied muslim males in the vicinity. Just. Imagine.

    Oh and if you mess up, everyone you know will suffer, too. And that means you, your family, your country, the embassies of your country and all well-known corporations and brand names from your country as well.
  • List of Comments (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomcircuit (938963) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:27PM (#22338138) Homepage
    Quote Collection

    # 25: Dec 4, 2007, Syed jalal Akbar, India tell the infedels and kafirs not to publish,host or carry images of our prophets...if so be prepared to face the wrath of god...and cosequences

    # 24: Dec 4, 2007, Sajid Qureshi, India please do not test our patience.

    # 15: Dec 4, 2007, Vaseem Muhammad, India To undo the wrong, please remove the images of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(Peace be Upon Him) as it hurts our religious feelings and its blasphemous.

    # 98: Dec 9, 2007, Pir Ghulam jeelani, Germany I request all my muslim brothers to come out of the deep slumber and prevent such intolerant abuses to our religion.

    # 116: Dec 10, 2007, Nazia Qidwai, Pakistan Values of every religion have to be respected. It is not new to anyone that the picture of THE HOLY PROPHET MOHAMMAD (P.B.U.H.) cannot be made, whatsoever.NOTHING can mimic him, in looks or voice. It comes as a liability on Wikipedia to instaneously remove this pic.
    Is that a threat?

    # 140: Dec 10, 2007, Shima Fadzil, Malaysia only 1952 more to go.
    HUH?

    # 185: Dec 11, 2007, Abdul Hameed Mangrio, France We approx.1500000000 Muslims of the world take strong exception to pics of our Holy Prophet(pbuh)and and Wikipedia should remove them immediately
    Funny I only see 60K signatures so um %0.004 of Muslims care as strongly as you?

    # 152: Dec 11, 2007, Ahmad hafiz Hussin, Malaysia Wikepedia crews, u near urself to HELL!

    # 203: Dec 11, 2007, Ahmad Firdaus, Malaysia please respect my prophet. this is warning from one of the billion.. trillion.. super duper trillion muslim in the world. i hope ALLAH will give hidayah to owner of wikipedia.. amin.

    # 108759: Feb 7, 2008, Mark Globocnik, Germany Please remove all Muslims from Europe. Start with their ugly and hairy women. I beg you. It offends us.

    Feb 7, 2008, Osama Bin Laden, New York Islam is a religion of peace. If you do not remove the images of Muhammad from Wikipedia we will kill you all! Millions of innocent lives will perish because of your choice. We will kill everyone because it is forbidden to show an image of the greatg Muhammad. The only other choice is that everyone dies. EVERYONE. We are peaceful. All praise Allah.

    # 108791: Feb 7, 2008, Bernard Kutz, France Please expel all Muslims from Europe and North America, and in return we will remove the pictures of some bearded guy from the Wikipedia's entry on Muhammad.
    I cant read this crap anymore. My eyes are burning.
  • Re:Good luck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:29PM (#22338186) Homepage
    But, in Europe, try to suggest that 6 mil jews were killed in the holocaust and you'll be in a sticky situation.

    What's wrong with saying that? (speaking as a european). AFAIK that's the official historical position.

    Some have questioned the 6 million number (seems an awful lot given the timescales involved) but not that the holocaust exists.. indeed the act of denying it happened is likely to get you in a lot of bother (not with the law.. you've got a legal right to free speech under the human rights act... but everyone else is also free to disagree, loudly).

  • Re:I am offended (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prlawrence (671855) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:33PM (#22338278) Homepage
    It's been done:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fumie [wikipedia.org]

  • by flitty (981864) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:42PM (#22338462)
    To bastardize Ghandi: I like Christianity, I dislike your christians, they are so unlike your christ.
  • Re:My faith... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by afabbro (33948) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:44PM (#22338488) Homepage

    I'm an American Muslim who was born and raised here. While I choose to reserve my opinion over the images of the Prophet I do find a lot of the comments on Slashdot to be disappointing. I've been a part of this community since its very inception and have done my best to contribute my expertise to relevant topics. However, its troubling to see that whenever anything Islam-related is posted, there are endless tirades painting my faith with a broad brush of extremism and ignorance.

    Within an hour of the SlashDot article, news broke [cbsnews.com] than an American businesswoman in Saudi Arabia had been arrested because she'd sat at the same table as a man at a Starbuck's. She spent a night in jail, was forced to sign a false confession, and was informed by the "judge" that she was going to burn in hell.

    Muslims do not need any tirades to paint their faith with a broad brush of extremism and ignorance. They're doing a fine job by themselves.

  • Re:Good luck (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hagnat (752654) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:59PM (#22338868) Homepage

    Oh wait -- Christians didn't set anything on fire over Piss Christ.
    Spanish Inquisition ?

    Christian fundie violence occurs about 0.000001% as often as Islamist fundie violence.
    Goa Inquisition, Crusades, KKK, Ireland?

    Most of these were things in the past, the same way islam was a peaceful religion in the past. Things changed, and people corrupted the original message of their beloved prophets. Fanatics christians corrupted the words of Christ, and fanatic islams corrupted the words of Muhammad. The key difference is that most christians stopped believing that much in their prophets words, to the point they dont give a shit about who says what about him, while some muslins with power abused the faith of the people and used them to wage war for their own profit.

    Like many americans tell me when we talk about why the rest of the world hates the USA: "dont hate the common people, hate those whom have the power to lead them"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:12PM (#22339114)
    I am a Moslem and I've lived in the west for long enough to see both points of view, and I can see how the ignorant on both sides easily claims knowledge and goes on the offensive.

    First no one ever talks about why do Moslem's say you shouldn't draw the prophet, and the reason was very simple, back in the old days (when idol worshiping was "hip") it was forbidden to make statues of any prominent figure so people don't go back to worshiping inanimate. Moslem's believe that Mohammed (PBUH) was just a regular man, with faults and a gift of a message. He didn't split no sea, heal the sick, or perform any miracles, his miracle was his message, and thus should not be worshiped since he is not the son of god, or divine as Jesus (PBUH) is considered.

    Extremists have hi-jacked the religion and have used it to wage warfare, what the west isn't aware of, is that the war is largely fought outside and has nothing to do with "Our Freedoms". The war is being mainly fought between the Moslems and their rulers/occupiers, and since most of the rulers are backed by western influence (Mubarak of Egypt, Musharaf of Pakistan, Royal Family of Saudi, etc..) the west becomes automatically a target in the fight (the friend of my enemy is my enemy), Osama and his followers enjoy a lot of support in Pakistan and Afghanistan not because of their charisma, but mostly because they fall under the category - the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Rulers in the Moslem dominated countries have oppressed their people for quite some time (close to 100 yrs now), and they kidnap and kill all the moderates, and only "curb" the extremists in their attempt to show the "west" that if support stops, the western countries will have to deal with the Osama's of the world.

    The images don't offend the true moderate Moslem, he/she just sees them as crude, and that is where it stops. The moderate true believer never thinks that faith needs to be defended against those that bad mouth it.

  • by Joey Vegetables (686525) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:16PM (#22339192) Journal

    I am an aspiring Christian, and I would agree with this, but the lamentable fact is that by this standard most people, including most Christians, have not passed kindergarten yet. :( Witness all those folks who claim to be Christians, yet hate other people, while the Bible makes it clear that to love God *and* our neighbor are the greatest commandments, and also that we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love our neighbor, whom we have.

    The ultimate goal of Christianity as I understand it is a restored relationship with God and with the rest of creation (and particularly our fellow human beings). There are rules we are supposed to follow, which exist not for their own sake, but because they are an essential part of the means to this ultimate goal. For instance, we cannot love our neighbor by lying about him, killing him, and taking his wife. We cannot love God by ignoring Him or using His name as a swear word. But too many people get hung up in the rules and regulations - especially the ones that they see others break, not so much the ones they break themselves. So they find in them excuses to dislike, dishonor, and even hate other people who don't have the "right" religion or skin color or economic beliefs or whatever. :(

    We are created in God's image and thus of infinite worth . . . yet we act in ways that fall short of that image, and as a result manage to infinitely mess things up. This is an infinitely big problem that takes an infinitely big God to solve. What you learn in the "kindergarten" version of Christianity is that Jesus Christ, who was both God and man, has made a way for us to be reconciled, both with Him, and with one another.

    Once I'm a little better at living as though I truly understood all this, I hope to be able to graduate from "kindergarten," and explore a little bit more the wonders of life that become possible when you don't spend it hating and messing things up. And I hope others would do likewise.

  • by homer_s (799572) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:16PM (#22339214)
    "It's totally unacceptable to crash airplanes into buildings and commit suicide bombings," Saadia Bukhari from Pakistan wrote in a message. "It shows insensitivity towards innocent people and should be openly condemned by all Muslims immediately."'"

    Completely agree with you. You should also add "It is totally unacceptable to kill muslims for oil, take their land and install dictators".

    You know, just to be fair. And no, I'm not a muslim or a christian.
  • by Maudib (223520) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:20PM (#22339268)
    W/r/t to those reformations that "Christianity has promoted" I will refer you to the Christopher Hitchens challenge. The flaw in your argument is that is asserts that religion was in someway responsible for these good things you list, when in fact in every case they could have been done absent a component of religion. In any good thing religion is never a prerequisite, while for many bad things it is.

    From a Hitchen's op-ed:

    "Here is my challenge... Name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever. And here is my second challenge. Can any reader of this column think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of religious faith?"

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/13/AR2007071301461.html [washingtonpost.com]
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:45PM (#22339726)

    Here's a simple question to ask yourself. What religion do most(I dare say close to 99.999%) of the world's suicide bombers subscribe to? Statistically speaking, it doesn't look good for Islam.
    What's so special about suicide bombers? Isn't it the killing that matters? In fact, if you can kill a bunch of people and the walk away unscathed, isn't that worse than becoming a victim of your own handiwork?

    PS, what religion are the Tamil Tigers? Or the Basques separatists? Or the IRA?

    Statistically speaking, all you can say is that the muslims get more TV time than the other groups.
  • by ynososiduts (1064782) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:54PM (#22339876)
    I'm sure the religious right of the U.S. wouldn't mind seeing homosexuality being a crime punishable by law. If the West was so tolerant of homosexuality then there would be no question on the legality of gay marriage. Trust me, if the born again Christians broke off and formed their own country, it wouldn't be that much different from Iran or any other Muslim state. This is why the founding fathers of the U.S. really made it a point to seperate the church from the state.
  • Re:Here's my 2 cents (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:02PM (#22339986) Journal
    First of all, either principals mean something or they don't. In the West, we find censorship abhorent, a crime against liberty. Capitulation simply to avoid controversy is the very antithesis of free exchange of ideas. This is essentially giving in to a mobocracy kind of situation, where a militant group successfully bullies someone into their way of thinking.

    Second of all, this prohibition against showing Muhammed's face has not even been universal throughout Islamic history. There are plenty of depictions of the man from Islamic artwork and manuscripts, so, in fact, this group is, whether they know it or not, lying.

    In the West, we have the right to express ourselves freely, and are in fact protected. The solution for these Muslims is simple. Don't go to Wikipedia. It's no different than if it was a printed encyclopedia. If you don't like the pictures, don't open the book. No one is forcing any of these people to go to that site. It's simply an attempt to bully, and that should always be fought. Some of their compatriots have already killed a Dutch director, so I think it is important that we, as a society, send the message to these people that they're cultural taboos are not license to become abusive bullies. Freedom means something, or it means nothing.

    Besides, the Pakistani ringleader should be spending more time trying to clean up his corrupt and dangerously unstable country and less time trying to score idiotic rhetorical points by attacking an online encyclopedia.
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:21PM (#22340330) Homepage

    The problem is that when some nutjob says "let's kill Joe Smith because our religion says so", other people agree with the nutjob.

    Article 34 of the current Constitution of Afghanistan (2004) [president.gov.af] protects freedom of expression:

    Freedom of expression shall be inviolable. Every Afghan shall have the right to express thoughts through speech, writing, illustrations as well as other means in accordance with provisions of this constitution. Every Afghan shall have the right, according to provisions of law, to print and publish on subjects without prior submission to state authorities. Directives related to the press, radio and television as well as publications and other mass media shall be regulated by law.

    That sounds great, but this year (2008), a man was sentenced to death for printing and distributing a copy of a website that criticised Islam for its treatment of women. The Afghan senate has affirmed the death sentence [bbc.co.uk].

    In 2006, another man was almost sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity [wikipedia.org].

    How is this constitutional? Article 2 of the same constitution states:

    No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.

    This is basically a free pass to use religion as an excuse to infringe upon what would otherwise be constitutionally-protected freedom of expression, and people tolerate it. They wanted it so much, in fact, that they put other provisions into the constitution to prevent Article 2 from ever being removed. Article 149 starts with:

    The principles of adherence to the tenets of the Holy religion of Islam as well as Islamic Republicanism shall not be amended.

    An atheist state would not have this cop-out. An atheist populace would not tolerate this cop-out.

    Another thing: Joseph Stalin in a red herring. Being atheist doesn't necessarily make a good person, but it takes away a ton of excuses for being a bad person.

  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:28PM (#22340480) Homepage Journal

    Trust me, if the born again Christians broke off and formed their own country, it wouldn't be that much different from Iran or any other Muslim state.


    That, IMO is the distinction between the two religions. There IS no Christian country ruled by Fred Phelps, or anyone like him. MANY Muslim countries are ruled by their equivalant of Phelps. It seems to be the norm for them.
  • by lixee (863589) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:39PM (#22340662)

    Whereas the nuts in Islam seem to be the ones in charge. When you have women getting arrested and charged for sitting with another man in a Starbucks, then you have some serious issues that need to be resolved. When you have women being stoned to death for... well, does it really fucking matter what it's for? It's barbaric and ridiculous.
    Can't argue with that. However, what you fail to perceive, is that those "in charge" in no way represent the will of the people. In fact, besides a couple of countries, none of the dozens of Arab countries are democratic. If the West wasn't backing up the Al-Sauds (which I assume you referred to with your Starbucks bit), they would have been toast long ago.

    Take Iraq for example. Women in the country were the equal of men. Now, after a war of aggression and countless innocent deaths, their fate is essentially no better than that of the ones in Saudi Arabia. Take Kuwait; the darling of Washington. Women were allowed to vote their in 2004. Do you see nothing wrong with that? The Saudis are not even allowed to drive a car.

    If you really want the situation to change in any of those places, quit supporting the tyrants. I've lived my whole life under a dictatorship in a majority-Muslim country, and I can tell you from experience that Western support is the biggest hindrance to progressists. You are mistaken what is political for religion. Amalgamating the two is a sure way to misunderstand the situation.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:53PM (#22340900)

    While I agree and understand your position, it's certainly the case that the "few" is actually "a great many". Furthermore, it's also there to a greater degree.

    If you attribute all violent acts by muslims as "muslim extremism," but do not count all violent acts by christians as "christian extremism" then you get a very skewed picture of what is happening. If muslim soldiers invaded the US and the people fought against them for their own freedom and for vengeance for the slain, would all those acts of violence qualify as "christian extremism" in the eyes of the invaders? Do the people of Iraq consider all the people killed by the US military in Iraq to be victims of "christian extremism"? Is the reason we invaded Iraq that we're mostly christians? Is the reason people are setting bombs to kill the invaders that they are muslims?

    I mean, sure, christianity has its share of nuts, but for the most part those nuts are rather lame... Whereas the nuts in Islam seem to be the ones in charge.

    So the violent, christian extremists named George Bush and Dick Cheney are lame and have not managed to create a lot of pain and suffering? Bush stated that he believes it is "god's will" that we invade Iraq and a lot of death has resulted from that. Should people of other religions around the world consider christianity to be dangerous cult because of this?

    Only occasionally does somebody try to kill an abortion doctor or some such nastiness. And when they're caught at it (and they usually are), then they're arrested and put in a small room and looked at for the rest of their lives.

    I think you're missing the point. In well ordered societies with reasonable qualities of living people are murdered a lot less than in the US, but in places with even more stable governments and even better quality of life people are killed less than in the US. Why then, would you consider religion to be an important causative factor?

    When you have women being stoned to death for... well, does it really fucking matter what it's for? It's barbaric and ridiculous.

    Every society has its taboos. In the US, a few miles from where I am now and a few months ago, three men were tortured and murdered because they were suspected of being homosexual. In Ohio a man had his penis cut off and then was beaten to death because he had briefly exposed his naked body to high school girls... who were not really harmed in any meaningful way. These are not rare occurrences compared to the rate of violence in our society as a whole. The US has been reviled by countries around the world for executing or imprisoning for life, people who were only children when they committed a crime. Likewise for people with mental problems. In fact many countries consider any execution to be barbaric and ridiculous, especially when we have such a high rate of error in our court system. Many countries consider letting people suffer and die of curable diseases, because they don't have enough money to be barbaric. Many countries consider forcing people to suffer from painful and incurable ailments by forcibly preventing them from committing suicide; to be barbaric.

    Cultural beliefs differ in different parts of the world. I don't see that differences in religion correlate very accurately with the violence in society.

    Sure, you can claim that these nuts are not "true muslims" or what have you, but that doesn't change the fact that they claim they are and so me, being an outsider, will judge them as such and judge the religion as a whole based on their actions.

    Just as the people of the middle east judge christians and Americans based upon the actions of George Bush and the US military?

    I'm no christian either, but even I can see that its crazy people are far less crazy (and far less dangerous) than those of the islamic faith(s).

    Really? You objective, scientific analysis has concluded that r

  • "a cyber-attack against the Wikipedia servers"

    *cough* Rotsa ruck with that one. You realise as #9 site in the world, we could slashdot Slashdot?

  • by assassinator42 (844848) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:59PM (#22341004)
    I'm assuming this is the page [wikipedia.org], although I don't speak Arabic. It has no pictures of Muhammad. It also appears to always use 'peace be upon him' after after mention of Muhammad (at least if the SVG name is names accurately).
  • by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:46PM (#22341762)
    Radical Islam is best summarized by someone who has lived
    near it for many years of their life and became an educated person,
    and can clearly and concisely point out its fallacies.

    The amazing part is this person is Muslim ... to a point.

    I give you Wafa Sultan:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WLoasfOLpQ [youtube.com]

    Ex_MislTech

  • buddhists (Score:4, Interesting)

    by commodoresloat (172735) * on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:34PM (#22342366)
    Don't forget that the Japanese terrorists who released sarin gas in the subway in 1995 were Buddhists of a sort. And the mass murderer Pol Pot was a Buddhist. And despite the rise of Islamic terrorism in the 21st century, Christians have still killed far more in Christ's name in the Crusades than Muslim terrorists have killed under the flag of the prophet.
  • by LithiumX (717017) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:45PM (#22342498)

    Sadly, any religion that claims to be a religion of peace is lying through its teeth. When people abandon their faculty of reason and start to believe in the imaginary, they lose their means to negotiate with others. The only remaining alternative is the use of force, either directly (kidnappings, murders, bombings) or indirectly (using coercive power of government to enforce one's "divinely inspired" whims).

    Just a moment... wasn't it Judaism (in the western world, at least) that effectively pioneered the concept of goodwill for goodwill's sake? Or the idea of a deity that primarily wanted you to behave (if you read between the lines) rather than simply fall to your knees and worship? Wasn't Christianity the religion that replaced competitors that were primarily centered around appeasement and little else, and taught the powerful that simply killing the weak wasn't proper? Wasn't Islam the advanced moral framework that made the Pax Islamica possible? And if you head further east, wasn't Buddhism oriented primarily towards teaching you how to find peace through helping others find it themselves? There are others, but these are the dominant religions, and by no coincidence happen to focus heavily on morality itself.

    Humans are innately imperfect beings, regardless of the cause. Some believe it was a matter of our creation. Others blame it on demons. I blame it on a primate heritage, primates being one of the most violent, rage-driven, and spiteful branches on the tree of life. Either way, being imperfect, we can and often do warp any cultural heritage, any belief, any moral concept, into something that suits our basest desires. Even the most high-minded secular concepts, such as liberty, are more often than not converted into bloodthirsty rampages and bloodbaths, abused by those who seek power, and used as an excuse to kill by those who don't understand it.
  • Actual Islamic law (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Purple Grant (1229368) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:47PM (#22342528)
    What is actually forbidden in Islam is pictorial depictions of any living thing. eg Humans, horses, bumblebees or anything else as it is for god to create these things, not you. The "No depictions of Mohamed" rule is a more recent (historically speaking) tradition. Any Muslim with, cameras, TVs or paintings should be aware of that.
  • by w3woody (44457) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:56PM (#22342624) Homepage
    Within the context of Christianity, Deuteronomy has been aborgated (overridden) by Christ's discussion of the law in Matthews (Matthews 22:37-40: "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.") and by Galatians, which is a discussion of living by faith verses living justified by the law. (Short story: the New Testament (testament basically means covinenant or agreement between man and God) delivered us a new agreement which superceeds the old one in the Old Testament.)

    It's one of the reasons why Christians using Deuteronomy to justify hatred of homosexuality irritates me deeply: by what word of Paul or of Jesus did we decide to aborigate all laws of the Flesh except the ones we can use to bash each other over the head?

    Oh, and your Matthews quote? The Old Testament (agreement between God and man) was indeed fulfilled by Christ--and like any good contract that is fulfilled (and thus no longer relevant) it was time to write a new agreement (contract), which is why we have an Old Testament (for reference and historic value) and a New Testament (to document the current agreement). The deed was in fact "accomplished" with Christ's crucifixion. Which is why Christians today make a big deal at Easter.

    The biggest difference between Christianity and Islam is that Christianity has had several moments where the text of the Bible was either reinterpreted (through the delivery of a new Testament, through the reinterpretation of faith by Saint Augustine, through the various interpretations of Galatians by everyone from the Catholics and Protestants to the Gnostics) or outright reframed (such as during the Renaissance): the Bible is simply the "inspired" word of God and not the literal word of God.

    Islam, in contrast, has had no such reformation or reinterpretation: the Quran is not just the "inspired" word of God, it is the literal word of God--and worse, it is a third covenant which seeks to replace the Old and New Testament (which Islam teaches was rewritten by people jealous that it's (the Bible's) prophicies of Mohammed were fulfilled), and which ends with Sura 9--which demands that infidels should be subjugated by the sword until they convert or are turned into second-class servants.

    In the West if you see local terrorism (such as people killing others or blowing shit up), it's environment terrorism or anti-abortion fanatics or just plain nutbars: killing others for a cause is simply not seen in the West as justified by the Bible. In Arabia, however, local terrorism is religious--and seen as scriptually justified--and not justified in a round-about way, but pointedly justified by Sura 9 Verse 5.
  • Re:I am offended (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @08:01PM (#22342694) Homepage Journal
    "Lack of any perceivable weaknesses is in itself a weakness, since it makes you vulnerable to pride" I think you are a little bit exaggerating the scope of applicability of this. First of all, Islam is not my invention, my Faith is not my merit, but a Mercy bestowed upon me, my knowledge about it so limited that any pride will sound ridiculous and vulnerability to pride is surely a danger of all people, not only Muslims.

    I have enough weaknesses in myself to be not proud of anything. Not seeing weaknesses in my faith, in the basis of all that I am trying to do, in the set of axioms is not a weakness. It's strength.
  • I am a Muslim... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mahjub Sa'aden (1100387) <msaaden@gmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @08:21PM (#22342890)
    I am a Muslim living in Canada, and I know many Christians who are very much like their Christ, and very interested in the world at large and how to make it a better place. Many of them are very conscious that the Crusades, for instance, were perpetrated by people who called themselves Christian, and most of them will readily admit the Crusades were evil. They are also very conscious that the nation to Canada's south currently crouches its wars and politics in Christian terms as well. They are extremely uncomfortable with that.

    I should perhaps spend more time defending my own religion, as I am extremely uncomfortable with the state of Islam in the world. I will only say, however, that one day Muslims will look back on this period of history with the same sort of shame the Christians I know feel about the Crusades.
  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @08:23PM (#22342920)
    "In the US, a few miles from where I am now and a few months ago, three men were tortured and murdered because they were suspected of being homosexual. In Ohio a man had his penis cut off and then was beaten to death because he had briefly exposed his naked body to high school girls... who were not really harmed in any meaningful way."

    You neglect to mention that those acts were by individuals, not the government. You also purposely spin it to sound like US society condoned it, when those individuals were sought and tried as criminals.

    Your comparison is bad. In the US, individuals enacting murder in the name of religion are considered criminals.

    "These are not rare occurrences compared to the rate of violence in our society as a whole. "

    Uh yes, vigilante acts such as that are pretty rare. More spin.

    "Many countries consider letting people suffer and die of curable diseases, because they don't have enough money to be barbaric. "

    Yes, I agree. Socialized medicine is an abomination. Here in the US, it's law that hospitals treat people regardless of income.

    "Just as the people of the middle east judge christians and Americans based upon the actions of George Bush and the US military?"

    Like the Iraqis? By a majority of 68%, they don't want US forces leaving before a year. That was 2006, the numbers are now in favor (by 57%) of the US leaving only as security improves.
  • Wafa Sultan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by six11 (579) <johnsogg@@@cmu...edu> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:09PM (#22343850) Homepage
    Hey, thanks for that link. I was amazed on several levels.

    First, the camera setup and the scrolling text at the bottom reminded me of CNN or Fox News, or whatever. I was expecting the content would match my expectations. But, instead of a bunch of people speaking in sound bites and talking over one another, I saw a rational human being giving a reasoned, articulate perspective. Even though that perspective was found to be repulsive by the interviewer (he calls her a heretic and that her opinion does not matter), she was allowed to continue speaking. This would never happen on CNN.

    Second, I was impressed by the amount of knowledge she (and the interviewer) have about things that to most Americans would seem subtle. She talked for a while about a 'clash of civilizations', a term made popular by Huntington's book. (I recommend you look for it if you don't know what I'm talking about). At the end she said something that reminded me of JFK's famous "ask not" quote. She said, "the Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."
  • by jc42 (318812) on Friday February 08, 2008 @01:17AM (#22345216) Homepage Journal
    Let's face it, nobody has the slightest idea what Mohammed looked like, no more than anyone knows what Jesus looked like.

    So pictures of Mohammed should be removed because they can't possibly be accurate. The only place where it might be appropriate to keep them would be in an article specifically about images of Mohammed.

    Similarly for pictures of Jesus and other such ancient characters. Unless we actually have an image created during their lifetime, they have little value in anything claiming to be historically accurate.

    OTOH, if it's a history of art, then I suppose anything goes. (Though recently we have had a few problems with museums showing "artistic" images of Jesus. ;-)

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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