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Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

Muslim Groups Attempt to Censor Wikipedia 1730

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:26PM (#22336976)
    here's the article, but it's not asking me to register. maybe because i'm in canada.

    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."
    anon as i don't want to karma whore. my karma is already maxed out anyway.
  • Censor Yourself! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:29PM (#22337028) Journal
    Five seconds on Google got me this:

    http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/islamic_mo_full/ [zombietime.com]

    These are pictures from Islamic illuminated manuscripts showing pictures of Mohammed. These pricks are as ignorant of their own history as they are of the notion of liberty and free exchange of ideas.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:35PM (#22337158) Homepage

    Zombietime's Mohammed Image Archive [zombietime.com] has a collection of most of the available images of Mohammed. The oldest dates from 67 years after his death, and is from a coin in the British Museum.

    The site also has an archive of their incoming hate mail on this subject [zombietime.com], some of which is quite funny.

  • by Lucas123 ( 935744 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:35PM (#22337172) Homepage
    While I'm not a Muslim, I have looked into this issue out of curiosity and found a few interesting similarities between Judeo-Christian and Muslim religious laws. And, Muslim "outrage", like all legalistic religious outrage, seems quite misguided. There is no verse in the Koran, per se, that forbids images of Mohammad or Allah. In Chapter 42, verse 11, the Koran does say: "[Allah is] the originator of the heavens and the earth... [there is] nothing like a likeness of Him." So the interpretation is that to try to reproduce Allah in whatever form you choose -- and by extension His prophet Mohammad -- is an insult to God. The Koran also states in Chapter 21, verses 52-54 that "[Abraham] said to his father and his people: 'What are these images to whose worship you cleave?' They said: 'We found our fathers worshipping them.' He said: 'Certainly you have been, you and your fathers, in manifest error.'" This verse is probably far more applicable to this modern outrage we're experiencing, and it mirrors the Judeo-Christian law (in the Ten Commandments) that forbid "graven" images of God. The reason behind it is quite simple: Man is prone to worshiping idols, which takes his attention off the creator and places it on the created. Religion is about creating a relationship with God. The first chapter of Romans in the New Testament of the Bible also addresses this. Much like Christian's have tradition, Muslim tradition, or Hadith, points to Muhammad and his companions explicitly prohibiting images of Allah, Muhammad and all other major Christian or Jewish prophets, but it doesn't explain why. So, at least on the surface, Muslims appear to be taking to a legalistic extreme both law and tradition by threatening death to anyone who might break such a law, when, like all Biblical laws, they were created for our own good, not God's. And, perhaps this is the greatest mistake of all that religious zealots make: God doesn't need a defender; He's quite able to defend Himself.
  • Re:Ok, I'll bite (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:42PM (#22337314)

    I gotta know, why is it so disrespectful to show a picture of Muhammad?
    It is not disrespectful of Muhammad at all. It is exactly the opposite. Muhammad feared that people could be misled to believe that he is more important than he should be; he is just a prophet, not a god. Muslims should pray to Allah, not Muhammad. So by having no pictures of him, the danger of a cult developing is much reduced. You could say that he just didn't want to end up like Elvis. In Christianity, in some parts of Europe there are a few people who are a bit too much in love with Mary (for my taste), that wouldn't have happened if there were no pictures of her around. So from his point of view, it is a very sensible thing not to want any pictures. Muhammad wouldn't be insulted if you had his picture on your wall, he would be worried that maybe your beliefs are going off into the wrong direction and he would say that it is in your own best interest to remove it.
  • link to the article (Score:3, Informative)

    by Surt ( 22457 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:50PM (#22337492) Homepage Journal
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad [wikipedia.org]

    Why don't they include this in the summary?
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:56PM (#22337592) Journal

    Oh yeah! Thanks for pointing it out. Obama is muslim. So US needs to be involved.
    Well, from his website [barackobama.com]:

    It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.
    You seem to be confused. Obama is not a Muslim. Did you mean Osama Bin Laden?
  • Re:Good luck (Score:3, Informative)

    by JeanPaulBob ( 585149 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @02:59PM (#22337644)

    While I have many issues with the Xians in this nation, they are no where close to having the issues Islam has. Christianity has had it's reformation.

    Minor comment on the history, here. The Reformation didn't really have much to do with the kinds of issues you're talking about--nothing to do with moral & theological problems involved with the Inquisition and the Crusades, for instance. As far as I can recall, the closest you could get would be Luther's dislike of the practice of selling indulgences to reduce time in hell.
  • by sky7i ( 1067592 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:08PM (#22337790)
    It is very misleading to say that "Muslim groups attempt to censor Wikipedia".

    First of all, we are not talking about Muslim "groups" like CAIR, or the OIC, or the like. The article only mentions a lowly internet petition-- one with just 80,000 signatures, many of them anonymous, most of them probably just kids. Who takes these petitions seriously? This is not even a noteworthy protest, let alone a fearsome act of censorship.

    Second, even if you do accept the use of the term "Muslim groups", it should read "*some* Muslim groups". Although many ill-informed Westerners look at every wacky thing that emanates from the Muslim world as being typical of the whole 1.3 billion-strong community, the reality is that there is a heck of a lot of diversity in the Muslim world. 99% of the actual Muslim world thought the whole teddy bear thing was an idiotic fiasco, but people took it as being representative of Muslims generally.

    The reality is that there are no established, representative Muslim groups behind this mostly anonymous petition. Neither CAIR, nor the OIC, nor any other major body that legitimately represents a substantial number of Muslims has attempted to censor Wikipedia.

    For an idea of what mainstream, traditional Muslim scholars -- the legitimate representatives of the religion -- have to say, read this article by Imam Zaid Shakir [zaytuna.org] or this article by Fareena Alam [radicalmiddleway.co.uk].
  • Bahá'ís (a recent religion with origins in 19th century Iran) are encouraged not to keep pictures of their founder, Bahá'u'lláh (there are actually two passport photos and one painting in existence), because such images should be respectfully viewed, and not casually treated. Posting them on the web has generally not been considered to be a terribly reverent presentation. Their leadership, however, made it clear that non-Bahá'í-owned/operated sites are not subject to Bahá'í rules, so Bahá'ís should not generally attempt to coerce such sites to remove the pictures. Wikipedia isn't a Bahá'í site, so while some well-meaning Bahá'ís kept taking the picture down, neutral parties as well as some Bahá'ís who understood the nature of Wikipedia as a neutral site put the picture back and worked out a compromise - don't put the picture front-and-centre. They put it at the bottom of the page, with the equivalent of a "spoiler alert" so that Bahá'ís whose sensibilities would be trampled by an unexpected viewing could simply avoid that part of the page, without having to avoid the whole article.

    I think the problem with the attempt to censor mentioned in the article is that members of a religion are attempting to enforce their rules for themselves on others. In this case, it's a prohibition by several Muslim sects. Not all sects do, as pointed out elsewhere - Shi'ah Muslims often revere icons of the Imams much as Catholic or Orthodox Christians keep icons of the Saints. But the rules of a sect or religion don't apply to non-members (no matter how much that group would like it to). So sites that are public are in a different space. Academics have had this sort of difficulty as well with respect to religious, cultural, and other social issues where they need a space to openly examine a cultural taboo, but the members of that cultural group need to not have the taboo busted right in their faces. And it's even harder when people that live in a homogenous society (say, an entirely Muslim or Christian country) start to interact with a global human civilization which is diverse and must handle hundreds of views and practices and taboos.

    There are some good examples of... well not really compromise, but rather groups of disagreeing folk examining basic principles and coming up with a solution that takes everyone into account. It could be a compromise in some situations, but often it can result in a more respectful (but not pandering) treatment of a subject. Perhaps the best rule of thumb anyone can use in this increasingly complex global society is, "Do not give or take offence".

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:20PM (#22337976)

    The difference being with Christians is that it's only figuratively speaking when you say 'up in arms'.

    Yeah, save the NINE "official" crusades (aka wars) and the ten or so un-numbered ones. Most of which were to stamp out other religious groups.

    Let's keep a little bit of historical perspective, please. Most religions that has been around long enough has been responsible for intolerance, persecution, repression, death, and destruction.

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:20PM (#22337986) Homepage Journal

    Christians, Catholics, Jews, Buddists, Flying Spaghetti Monster worshipers....(although none of the mentioned will try to blow you up or cut your head off if you do so).
    Really? Are [wikipedia.org] you [wikipedia.org] entirely [religioustolerance.org] certain about that [google.tk]?
  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:28PM (#22338160) Homepage Journal
    I have read the story on digg and, sadly, the style of modded up comments is not different.

    What's more interesting is to note that these "no-Muhammad-images!!!" iconoclastic idiots are not followers of any traditional branch of Islam.

    That is not true. Being one of those iconoclastic idiots, I can assure you that prohibition of images comes from very traditional "branch of Islam" which existed and dominated Muslim Ummah during the Khalifaat of Four Righteous Khilaafa.

    This "branch of Islam" is called Ahli-Sunnah and it is comprised of all Sunnis with at least a shred of knowledge of their religion.

    Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim relate that a man came to Ibn Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him and his father) and said, "My livelihood comes solely from my hands, and I make these pictures. Can you give me a legal opinion about them" Ibn Abbas told him, "Come closer,' and the man did. "Closer," he said, and the man did, until he put his hand on the man's head and said: "Shall I tell you what I heard from the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammed (Allah bless him and give him peace) I heard the Messenger of Allah say, "Every maker of pictures will go to the fire, where a being will be set upon him to torment him in hell for each picture he made. So if you must, draw tress and things without animate life in them."

    For the reference, this comes from book number 2 and book number 3 in Islam: Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

    Read this [islamicacademy.org] for more historical evidence.

    In fact, first existing pictures of the Prophet, sal Allahu alaihi, popped up only in 14 century as infamous article in Wikipedia clearly says.

    That's pretty much summarizes your "such drawings were never, ever forbidden".

    Second, if you look at the pictures you can clearly see that all the characters on them are look alike. Clearly being made (a) several centuries ago after the death of the man (sal Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) allegedly shown on those pictures (b) without much knowledge of how he (sal Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) looked like (there is actually historic and detailed description of his looks in many historically authentic books of very early Islamic scholars) those pictures have no relevance to the subject and are more suitable to the History of Islamic Art, not the article about the Prophet (sal Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). And if you consider the History of Islamic Art, it would be only very small, very heretical and very insignificant part of what Islamic Art is.

    So the whole fuss is about rigid Wikipedia policy that if you have (a) a historic figure and you have (b) images, they should be there and it does not even matter for the editors that the depiction is not authentic, not even close to the original, and ultimately has no encyclopedic purpose except that for entertainment of people who grew up reading comics.

    And I did not even mention about how blasphemous it is.
  • Re:I am offended (Score:3, Informative)

    by Xtravar ( 725372 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:28PM (#22338180) Homepage Journal
    As an interesting side-note, Spanish cuisine basically centers around pork because of the Spanish Inquisition. Chances are that if you ate pork in public you wouldn't be persecuted.
  • by kailoran ( 887304 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:29PM (#22338196)
    You mean like in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_desecration [wikipedia.org]? Sure, the picture isn't animated, but it's still there, and you can clearly see that it's an American flag, on fire.
  • by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:39PM (#22338402) Homepage Journal
    Attacks against The Enlightenment [wsu.edu] (see also: Age of Enlightenment [wikipedia.org]) say for example, upon the idea of freedom of speech, in the name of one religion or another (let's just stick with this one religion for now) have been ongoing since reason began to displace superstition.

    More recently, you may remember the cartoon controversy [blogspot.com]? This faded from the collective consciousness after "they" (people whose minds are captive to superstition of the islamic brand) repeatedly threatened, and then killed Dutch Filmmaker Theo van Gogh [papillonsartpalace.com], great grandson of the brother (also named Theo) of the famous painter, Vincent. Contemporary Theo was guilty in the eyes of islam of making a film which was critical of the treatment of women under islam.

    The great clash between Islam (unwittingly and unstably allied, by the way, with fundamentalist Christian radicals who are working within the western democracies to undermine the same feared Enlightenment values and institutions in favor of their own brand of superstition) on the one side, against the cultures and nations descended from The Enlightenment on the other, is coming to a head in Europe. The demographic trends, and the inability of the European cultures to assimilate their immigrant Muslim populations (alternatively, those populations are disinterested in assimilating), cause concern that Europe's democratic institutions will be subverted as instruments in the religious colonization of those European countries that gave birth to the Enlightenment by Islam, and their eventual conversion to theocracies in fact, if not in name.

    March 2006:
    "If Europe continues as it is now, the rising Muslim tide will, one at a time, transform the members of the European Union into Islamic Republics under Islamic Shari'a law as Muslims become the majority population." [aina.org]

    February 2008:
    The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable". [bbc.co.uk]

    It has been suggested that this problem is exacerbated by limited economic opportunity for young people in these countries.
    An Economist Considers the Riots in France [ssrc.org] (from 2005, there were more riots last spring, March 2007)

    The non-political nature of the riots in France [pinr.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:01PM (#22338914)
    Fourth problem: your post has nothing to do with what GP said.
  • by risk one ( 1013529 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:08PM (#22339032)

    More importantly, who gives a shit what they think is "unacceptable"?

    I know I don't. I don't care almost to the point that this petition doesn't bother me at all. Wikipedia is never going to give in to any of this. Anybody who knows the very least about how Wikipedia operates knows this isn't going to make any kind of a dent in their resolve. For that same reason, I'm not scared of this perceived Muslim threat. Not really.

    I did however sign the counter-petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-wikipedia-muhammad-pics [thepetitionsite.com] . Because what does concern me deeply is the language and the numbers. 100,000 is a lot, even for an internet petition, especially considering that this is a group that is not exactly married to the internet. Then there's the language. This petition calls for the removal of the image out of respect for muslims. I'm all for respect for other religions. I will let other people believe whatever the hell they want. I will even suffer a reasonable amount of discomfort to let them do so. We need to give each other some space, at least. That is what respecting other people's religion is. This has nothing whatsoever to do with respect. That's what scares me, how very much they are convinced that these claims are justified, that they're entitled to have this image removed based on their religion alone. That means the whole muslim/western discussion that's so hot at the moment is based on completely shifted views. We use the same words, but we define them differently.

    The muslim world doesn't understand the western world at all, and I doubt we understand them very well. When we 'insult' Muhammad, they instantly start insulting Jesus in a sort of "see how you like it" rationale. It seems unimaginable to them that the largest part of the western world does not give a shit what anybody says about Jesus. Which is not to say we are completely free of such taboos. Say the wrong things about the holocaust, and you'll see international outrage and ambassadors being withdrawn and whatnot. The point is, they don't see what the west is really like. (And like I said, the same probably goes for us, although I have more faith in the availability of objective information over here. I doubt I need to explain that one under this story). Until these views get straightened out, we can't work through the tensions that we have at the moment.

    So that's why I signed the counter petition. Because I really want it to reach at least similarly high numbers. Not because I'm afraid that Wikipedia will remove the message, but because I want a message out there that is strong enough to make the people that signed the first petition question their sense of entitlement. Just show that there are a hell of a lot of people out there that have very different opinions about what respecting actually religion means. Show these people what world they actually live in. In other words: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-wikipedia-muhammad-pics [slashdot.org]" here

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:24PM (#22339326)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:36PM (#22339540)
    [9.5] So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
  • by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:37PM (#22339562)

    One thing that often gets lost is that the Crusades were a reaction to Muslim encroachment on Jerusalem and other Christian-held territories north and west of there. The Muslims even then were forcibly converting everyone in their way and killing those who resisted. The Crusades were a response to a cry for help from coreligionists that were being murdered. Did they go overboard sometimes? Probably. Did rulers use the military forces assembled for their own ends sometimes? Most likely. Did the Crusades help prevent Europe from becoming a Muslim territory by the 14th century? Definitely. Even as recently as 1683, cities as far northwest as Vienna were under military assault by Islamic forces. Revisionists like to paint the Christian West as the sole aggressor in the matter, when the truth is that Islam has been growing through military might since its inception.

  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist ( 906833 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:42PM (#22339656)
    >Last I checked, my Bible didn't say to wage jihad against the infidels.

    You must have the pop-up version for kids.

    Last I checked, waging a jihad against the infidels was one of the first things Moses did:

    "And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."
  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:44PM (#22339710) Homepage

    When we 'insult' Muhammad, they instantly start insulting Jesus in a sort of "see how you like it" rationale.

    Where did you get this idea? You aren't going to find many Muslims deliberately insulting Jesus, since the Prophet Isa (aka Jesus) is an important figure in Islam.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Thursday February 07, 2008 @04:47PM (#22339758) Journal

    Revisionists like to paint the Christian West as the sole aggressor in the matter

    It goes further then that. Revisionists seem to think that we should feel sorry for Western Civilization. "Western Guilt" is one term for it.

    It's not my fault that my ancestors conquered/converted/raped/killed/enslaved your ancestors. And for all the talk about western aggression, history is ripe [wikipedia.org] with [wikipedia.org] examples [wikipedia.org] of aggression directed at the West. In fact, there are a handful of moments in history (Salamis [wikipedia.org] comes to mind) where Western Civilization could have been snuffed out if a single battle had been lost.

  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:04PM (#22340014)
    Actually, Truth is stranger than fiction [wikipedia.org]. Few select quotes:

    "Prosecutors asked for the death penalty for Abdul Rahman, calling him a "microbe".[12] Prosecutor Abdul Wasi demanded his repentance and called him a traitor: "He should be cut off and removed from the rest of Muslim society and should be killed." The Afghan Attorney General was quoted as saying that Abdul Rahman should be hanged.[15]....

    ....Ansarullah Mawlafizada also said "the Prophet Muhammad has said several times that those who convert from Islam should be killed if they refuse to come back, Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity. That is why we have told him if he regrets what he did, then we will forgive him".
  • Re:Good luck (Score:3, Informative)

    by AeroIllini ( 726211 ) <aeroillini&gmail,com> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:25PM (#22340424)
    You make an excellent point, but I would argue that the use of casual swearing is not analogous. Wikipedia is not censoring profanity at all; in fact there are lots of articles specifically about profanity that don't censor a thing. Articles which are not about profanity typically do not include any because the writing style doesn't require it. This is not censorship anymore than refusing to capitalize the first letter of every noun in a sentence is censorship (as used to be the convention in English several hundred years ago).

    By it's nature, most profanity, in any culture, is a product of passion. When people are angry or excited or otherwise passionate about something, they tend to swear. Wikipedia's purportedly neutral tone would negate the need for that, since the style of writing should be, by definition, without passion. It should simply be a calm discussion of the topic. Standard (passionate) profanity therefore does not belong in a Wikipedia article.

    The "casual profanity" you referenced is a deliberate speech pattern people use when either 1) they wish to make people uncomfortable, 2) they wish to fit in with a crowd, or 3) they do not have a large enough vocabulary to come up with anything else (either by choice or by education). None of these three reasons is justifiable for use of "casual profanity" in a scholarly article, as Wikipedia's writing style aspires to be. Scholarly writing does not include profanity for profanity's sake not because it's offensive, but because there are many more specific and appropriate words to use instead. Swear words are usually very loosely used, and more precision is needed in an informational article. (One example that comes to mind is the use of the word "feces" in a medical context, or "scat" in a zoological context, or "manure" in an agricultural context, because these words are the appropriate jargon in those industries, and more precise than "shit.")

    Additionally, Wikipedia has no problem printing profanity when it is appropriate. For example, quotes [wikipedia.org] from people including profanity [wikipedia.org] are not censored or blocked out, acronyms including swears [wikipedia.org] are fully explained, and Wikipedia even has articles on the swear [wikipedia.org] words [wikipedia.org] themselves [wikipedia.org] which use them liberally. In the context of discussing that topic, swearing is appropriate, where it would not be elsewhere. Wikipedia doesn't sprinkle random images of the prophet Muhammad into unrelated articles, either. They are only in the articles where the images are appropriate to the topic.

    The people you mention who get "uppity" when others tell them to stop swearing have every right to feel that way, since the people asking them to stop are trying to infringe on what I consider to be basic free speech rights. The same standard should apply to Wikipedia's collection of images depicting Muhammad.
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tmsNO@SPAMinfamous.net> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:37PM (#22341586) Homepage

    Ever hear of a Quaker terrorist? A Mennonite terrorist? A Buddhist terrorist? A Baha'i terrorist?

    Nixon was a Quaker [kimopress.com]; he ordered secret bombing campaigns in Cambodia and Laos that killed more people than most terrorists could dream of. Zen masters in Japan contributed to militarism there, and encouraged kamikaze pilots in WWII [darkzen.com]. The Bahá'í/Bábí split led to several murders [wikipedia.org].

    There's no idea so pure that someone can't screw it up. As Douglas Adams observed in a different context, people are a problem.

  • by keeboo ( 724305 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:38PM (#22341588)
    PS, I bet you've never been to a 3rd world catholic country - lots of angry violent mobs in those places too. It has more to do with being a 3rd world country - or living in 3rd world conditions - than it does with being catholic, or muslim. We've got a few million muslims in the US and you don't see them forming up violent mobs - certainly nothing like we get here after some big sporting events...

    Muslims do not rebel in the US only because, being a minority, they know very well what would come next.

    This argument of yours on 3rd world country is a slap in the face for anyone living in a country called as such.

    I do live in a so-called 3rd world country, a latin american one (call it "christian" if you like).
    People hate the US and blame that country for this and that, but I've _never_ heard anyone, even semi-seriously, talking about being a suicide bomber.

    We were never involved in those wars against muslims nor anything led by the US. Still, I can perceive muslims are not exactly well seen here.

    In sum: fuck you, and do not use the "3rd world" (which happens to include my country) as an excuse for your religious crap -- most of we have nothing to do with muslim matters, neither we're interested.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:07PM (#22342018)

    And for the "It's only the old Testament" folks:

    "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

    Yes, as your quote shows, it's only the Old Testament. Christ fulfilled the old law and established the new law.

  • Sura 9 (Score:5, Informative)

    by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:37PM (#22342396) Homepage

    Last I checked, my Bible didn't say to wage jihad against the infidels.
    Neither does the Quran


    9:5: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." [usc.edu]

    Note that by repenting and establishing regular prayers and the like, "Pagans" (translated elsewhere as "idolaters" or non-Muslims) have converted to Islam.

    9:13-14: "Will ye not fight people who violated their oaths [and failed to convert to Islam as promised, verse 9:7-12], plotted to expel the Messenger, and took the aggressive by being the first (to assult) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe! Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers," [usc.edu]

    9:23-24: "O ye who believe! take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers if they love infidelity above Faith [that is, if they are not believers in Islam]: if any of you do so, they do wrong. Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fiear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight -- are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving [Jihad] in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious." [usc.edu]

    In other words, it's us (the brotherhood of Islam) verses them (the "Pagans" or "infidels"--not believers in Islam)--and if you side with your non-believing family over your fellow followers in faith, you're screwed.

    And so now we've set up the sides:
    9:29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." [usc.edu]

    Keep in mind as well that Sura 9 is the last Sura to be dictated by Allah, and so aborigates all other verses to the contrary.

    Why, yes: the Quran does indeed say to wage war against the infidels. It says it several times in Sura 9: in the verse of the sword (9:5) and in the passage exhorting war against the non-believers (9:29). Verses 9:5 and 9:29 are oft cited by those who launch bombs at non-believers and those "of the book", and who step onto busses and blow themselves to kingdom-come, along with the children and innocent parents on that bus.

    The Quran damned well demands of its believers to overcome the non-believers until they feel subjugated or until they convert, no matter how many aborgated (Meccan) verses of "love" you wish to dig up.

    Now whether or not individual Muslims believe this themselves is a completely different matter: I'm not suggesting that those who pick up a Quran and confess that it may have value are about to go hijack a plane and fly it into another skyscraper. Nor does all of this deny how beautiful it is to see the opening lines "God is greatest" of prayer sung in Arabic. But let's not fall into the delusion that there is any moral equivalency between the Bible and the Quran, simply because you either are a believer in the illusion of multiculturalism or think anyone who is religious is axiomatically a nutbar and morally equivalent to the other God-fearing nutbars out there.
  • by kalel666 ( 587116 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:39PM (#22342428)

    My understanding is the Arabic tendency toward extremism is due to a lot of grievances against the west. It's really only after the Iraq invasion and other post 9/11 US actions that Muslim terrorism toward the west started spreading to non-Arabs

    You're understanding is wrong:

    From AMERICAN SPHINX The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis

    "Several muslim countries along the North African coast had established the tradition of plundering the ships of European and American merchants in the western Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, capturing the crews and then demanding ransom from the respective governments for their release. In a joint message to their superiors in Congress, Adams and Jefferson described the audacity of these terrorist attacks, pirates leaping onto defenseless ships with daggers clenched in their teeth. They had asked the ambassador from Tripoli, Adams and Jefferson explained, on what grounds these outrageous acts of unbridled savagery could be justified: "The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of the prophet, that it was written in their koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their [islams] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners...."

    This event occured between 1784-1789 while Jefferson was ambassador to France and Adams (2nd president) was ambassador to England.
  • Uncyclopedia (Score:3, Informative)

    by Foobar of Borg ( 690622 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @09:40PM (#22343642)
    If they are offended by Wikipedia, just wait until someone shows them the Uncyclopedia article [uncyclopedia.org]!
  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:32PM (#22344066)
    The actual quote is Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. But according to wikipedia [wikiquote.org], he didn't write it.

    At any rate, the Coward has his interpretation all wrong. It is not trading all security for all freedom, it is trading essential liberty for temporary security. Only morons don't understand that. Only morons go out of their way to interpret it as backwards as possible.
  • by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@noSpAm.geekbiker.net> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:35PM (#22344090) Homepage Journal

    Associating violence with any one religion, or religion as a whole is just silly.

    Except with Islam, where violence is the norm. Below is a list of religious based violent attacks by muslims for just the past month of January. There's 111 incidents, an average of just shy of three a day, every day. I didn't bother to add up the total injured and killed. Also, I deleted attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan from the list to prevent anyone from making it a "it's Bush's fault" political statement.

    Of all the religions in the world, Islam is the only one associated with murder and mayhem at such a consistent level. Yes, every now and then someone Christian survivalist nut-job goes off. Or an odd Hindu does something. Those are so rare that they make headlines. The muslim attacks, however, have become so common that the mainstream news almost completely ignores them.

    Why do people keep offering up excuses for the evilness of what Islam has become? When a religion not only allows it's members to kill innocents, but even actively encourages it, the religion is evil. There is no wiggle room. There is no excuse. There is no defense.

    BTW, anyone who pulls out "but Christians did that a few hundred years ago" line is a complete moron. I don't care what happened 200 years ago. I care about what is happening right now. If the Catholic church still ran things like they did back during the inquisition, I'd be actively hunting and killing their church leaders. The Catholic church changed, but Islam remains in the dark ages.

    Date, Country, City, Killed, Injured, Details
    1/31/2008, Somalia, Mogadishu, 3, 1, Islamic militia stage a drive-by attack on a house, killing three people inside.
    1/31/2008, Somalia, Mogadishu, 1, 0, Islamic militias assassinate a government spokesperson.
    1/30/2008, Thailand, Yala, 2, 0, Two men, ages 32 and 52, are shot to death by Muslim militants in separate attacks.
    1/30/2008, Pakistan, NWFP, 13, 0, The bodies of thirteen soldiers taken hostage several days earlier by religious extremists are discovered.
    1/30/2008, Philippines, Zamboanga, 1, 1, A woman is killed, and another injured, following an ambush by Moro Islamic terrorists.
    1/30/2008, Thailand, Pattani, 1, 0, A security guard at a car showroom is shot to death by Muslim militants.
    1/29/2008, Pakistan, Razmak, 3, 4, Three local soldiers are killed in an ambush by Islamic militants.
    1/29/2008, Algeria, Thenia, 4, 20, At least four people are killed in a suicide attack by Islamic radicals.
    1/29/2008, Pakistan, FATA, 1, 0, A village elder is abducted and murdered by al-Qaeda terrorists.
    1/29/2008, Pakistan, Punjab, 1, 0, A 16-year-old Christian is kidnapped and sold for organ harvesting.
    1/28/2008, Pakistan, Swat, 1, 0, Islamic militants drag a policeman from his house and behead him.
    1/28/2008, India, Handwara, 1, 0, A 34-year-old man is abducted from his village and murdered by the Mujahideen.
    1/28/2008, Somalia, Mogadishu, 2, 9, Two Ethiopian guards at a market are murderd in an ambush by Islamic militias.
    1/28/2008, India, Tenkasi, 1, 0, A gang of Muslims hacks a Hindu man to death.
    1/28/2008, Somalia, Kismayu, 4, 0, Two humanitarian doctors and a journalist are among four killed in a remote-controlled bomb attack.
    1/27/2008, Somalia, Mogadishu, 2, 3, A man and woman are killed by Islamic militia bombers.
    1/27/2008, Thailand, Pattani, 1, 1, A woman is shot to death by Muslim terrorists while a motorcycle.
    1/27/2008, Pakistan, Orakzai, 3, 2, Islamic militants attack a checkpost, killing three local soldiers.
    1/27/2008, Pakistan, Makin, 3, 0, The bodies of three soldiers taken hostage by the Taliban are found.
    1/27/2008, Thailand, Pattani, 1, 0, Islamists gun down a trained monkey vendor.
    1/27/2008, Somalia, Mogadishu, 2, 2, Two civilians are killed when Islamic militias fire rockets into the main airport.
    1/26/2008, Jordan, Jerash, 1, 0, A 17-year-old girl is strangled by her brother for shaming her family.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:32AM (#22344948)

    wouldn't it be more productive to take the verse quoted and put it INTO context, to teach others and show that your original point remains true?
    Ok, here is the context [slashdot.org]
  • by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@noSpAm.geekbiker.net> on Friday February 08, 2008 @03:53AM (#22345900) Homepage Journal
    I'm denouncing the entire religion because the followers of that religion haven't denounced the evil that is perpetuated in the name of Islam. The typical response to a group of Westerners getting blown up is dancing in the streets, not a protest against violence. Therefore, I must conclude that the majority of the followers of Islam actively support evil. When I see mass protests against bombing of innocents, I'll reconsider my stance. If I see mass protests of bombings of Jews, I will believe Islam has been saved.

    Let's take one example from the list. Thailand is about 95% Buddhist. Muslims make up almost all of the remaining 5%. But they just can't tolerate the idea of other religions existing, so they start killing peaceful monks and teachers (About 20 attacks by your-so called "religion" of peace in a single month). Not counting the Islamic terrorist attacks, how violent is Thailand? According to the CIA World Factbook, not very.

    As for the huge population of Muslims. That religion is the only one that has an automatic death penalty for changing your religion. I wonder how many people would remain Muslim if they had a choice. I would bet any amount of money that a significant percentage of people would denounce Islam if they wouldn't be killed for it. I'll bet any amount of money that a significant percentage only go through the motions of being Muslim, when in their hearts they don't actually believe the prayers they are mouthing or the words of hate being preached from the mosques. Also, Islam is the only religion that considers forced conversion as legitimate. Egyptian Coptic Christians have been suffering from this for years. Teenage girls are kidnapped, converted, and married off to some old Islamic asshole. Then the government refuses to do anything about it because it falls under their separate Islamic laws.

    It doesn't matter if the majority are not violent. The people who control Islam are extremely violent and extremely evil and they do not tolerate one tiny bit of descent. Kind of like the Catholic church 500 years ago, but far worse than anything the inquisition ever did.

  • by Talinom ( 243100 ) * on Friday February 08, 2008 @04:46AM (#22346152) Homepage Journal
    Ever heard of the crusades?

    Yeah. Have you ever read about them [wikipedia.org]? Quoth the article:

    The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia.

    In case you are unclear, the church was attempting to "take back" what was theirs. To "take back" something it first must have been taken from you. Equating that to invasion would be like me stealing your car and then blaming you for taking it back.

    Round One:
    The immediate cause of the First Crusade was Alexius I's appeal to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help him resist Muslim advances into territory of the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, at the Battle of Manzikert, the Byzantine Empire was defeated, which led to the loss of all of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) save the coastlands. Although attempts at reconciliation after the East-West Schism between the Catholic Western Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church had failed, Alexius I hoped for a positive response from Urban II and got it, although it turned out to be more expansive and less helpful than he had expected.

    Round Two:
    After a period of relative peace in which Christians and Muslims co-existed in the Holy Land, Muslims conquered the town of Edessa. A new crusade was called for by various preachers, most notably by Bernard of Clairvaux. French and South German armies, under the Kings Louis VII and Conrad III respectively, marched to Jerusalem in 1147 but failed to win any major victories, launching a failed pre-emptive siege of Damascus, an independent city that would soon fall into the hands of Nur ad-Din, the main enemy of the Crusaders. Round Three:
    , Sultan of Egypt, recaptured Jerusalem, following the Battle of Hattin. Pope Gregory VIII called for a crusade, which was led by several of Europe's most important leaders: Philip II of France, Richard I of England (aka Richard the Lionheart), and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor.

    Round Four:
    The Fourth Crusade was initiated in 1202 by Pope Innocent III, with the intention of invading the Holy Land through Egypt. Remember that it was originally invaded by Muslims. this is the church trying to recapture it.

    Round Five:
    By processions, prayers, and preaching, the Church attempted to set another crusade afoot, and the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) formulated a plan for the recovery of the Holy Land.

    Round Six:
    Emperor Frederick II had repeatedly vowed a crusade but failed to live up to his words, for which he was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. He nonetheless set sail from Brindisi, landed in Palestine, and through diplomacy he achieved unexpected success: Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem were delivered to the crusaders for a period of ten years.

    I hope you get the point. The Crusades were not a proactive attack but rather they were a defense and recapture of previously held territory.
  • by Upphew ( 676261 ) on Friday February 08, 2008 @05:02AM (#22346222)
    Round seven: Iroquois take back their lands consisting northeastern United States and southern Canada, including New England, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ontario, and Quebec. [wikipedia.org]

    I hope you get get the point ;)

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan