[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Dan Rosenthal swatjester at gmail.com
Thu Feb 21 00:16:38 UTC 2008


I'm not sure you're representing the position accurately of Shiite  
muslims. Far from all muslims take offense. Many, but not all Sunnis  
do, and some, but not nearly as many Shiite's do. Furthermore, I'm not  
sure I believe you are in a position to state that there will be no  
demonstrations. There have already been demonstrations, as reported in  
the news. You cannot predict the future, and is both folly and  
dangerous to give assurances that you have no ability to uphold.

Finally, I would appreciate that the conference organizers not dismiss  
something that potentially could affect the safety of conference  
goers, and not assume that skepticism and criticism equates to poor  
knowledge of Islamic belief, or uncivilized behavior. That was  
dangerously prevelant within the Alexandria bid team during the  
Wikimania bids, it's dangerously prevalent in Egypt's demonstrations  
(and official state action, no less) today, and it seems borderline  
prevalent in the tone of your post.

When the government of the country that we are hosting a major  
conference in, completely bans the sale of foreign newspapers for  
displaying pictures of Muhammed, and chastises the ambassadors from  
other countries for doing so, we have every right to be concerned  
about the status and safety of Wikimania. And we have every right to  
express our dismay in the heavy-handed censorship displayed by the  
Egyptian government, censorship which is fundamentally opposed to  
Wikimedia principles.

On Feb 20, 2008, at 6:26 PM, Nada RADY wrote:

> Dear all,
> I’m Nada, one of the organizing committee in Egypt, and I'd like to  
> give some comments on the issue brought up here, as I can see some  
> points are misunderstood from some parties.
> Firstly, I’d like to clarify why there was that ‘strong’ reaction  
> towards the pictures being published on Wikipedia’s article, it’s  
> just because Prophet Mohamed is considered the most complete human  
> being ever created and that belief exists at the heart of all  
> Muslims. Pictures of him mainly when not even close to reality being  
> drawn by painters ages after he died, is widely rejected among  
> Muslims (Sunni specifically), for example, I have never seen those  
> drawings but on the pages of Wikipedia! And I think that major part  
> of the Egyptian people and Islamic countries will think of the issue  
> in a much different way than you do see, I hope you got what I mean.
> Here in Egypt, We shall not be expecting any demonstrations before  
> or even during Wikimania, and we can just assure you that those  
> circumstances won't harm the event activities or personals. What  
> have made me say so is our experiences in previous conferences that  
> may have had much stronger contradictions with Egyptian attitude.
> Finally, I would appreciate that we won’t make a big deal of this  
> issue if we’re all looking forward for the success of this  
> conference, I hope this would be resolved in a civilized way on this  
> mailing list that reflects good knowledge about Islamic beliefs and  
> freedom of speech in the same time, which don’t contradict at all  
> with each other if both are understood well.Best Regards,Nada Rady
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