[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Thu Feb 21 18:39:09 UTC 2008

On 21/02/2008, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
> >  Recently I had a conversation with a fawiki friend and asked if fawiki
> >  have any problem about hosting those images on their article. First he
> >  seemed to be very surprised to know fawiki hosted "Muhammad's images".
> >  After giving a glance, he got his calmness again and said they were
> >  not "depicting Muhammad" and Muslims know that. There are rather
> >  products of imagination by each artists. So they are okay. And
> >  interestingly I haven't heard anyone complaints about fawiki hostings.
> What other kinds of images of Muhammad are there? There are no
> contemporary portraits, so they're all products of imaginations of
> artists...

Well, there is a spectrum. I can take the attested descripictions of
him and make a drawing which tries to faithfully represent the
appearance of the person, knowing what we know about the general dress
and so forth of the period... or I can sketch a generic swarthy guy
with a beard and write "Muhammad" under it.

If you're *wanting* to distinguish between types of picture, between
things which are just tacky and things which fall foul of the law, I
can see how you could pretty easily decide it was acceptable to draw
the line somewhere between those. And it seems pretty apparent that
some people do choose to distinguish, to a greater or a lesser degree.

(The distinction here reminds me of the old definition of pornography
- "I can't tell you exactly what it needs to be to count, but I know
it when I see it"...)

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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