[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Dan Rosenthal swatjester at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 20:30:12 UTC 2008

Considering they are some of the few non-modern graphic  
representations of Muhammad, representative of how he was viewed by  
13th-16th century artists, I find it hard to doubt the academic/ 
scholarly importance. We would have no problem including any image an  
author made of jesus, or the apostles. Ragib, you highlight an  
excellent point: Absent the protests of muslims claiming that this  
image offends them, there is no legitimate reason to delete the  
images. As far as the article is concerned they belong there because,  
well, Muhammad died hundreds of years before the invention of the  
camera, so the only method of illustrating him is pictures. I think it  
is highly academically useful to show how prominent muslim scholars  
viewed him, or how depictions of him have changed over the years. And  
ANY depiction of him by a muslim painter/artist is inherently notable  
because such a depiction runs afoul of the sunni muslim rule against  
depicting him. Pictures doing so have great scholarly value in  
illustrating HOW the rule and the controversy surrounding it exist,  
and what kinds of representations of him have been considered  
unacceptable over the years.

On Feb 22, 2008, at 3:18 PM, Ragib Hasan wrote:

> It seems to me that the images in question are considered/claimed to
> be important *only because* there are protests against them. This is a
> circular logic ... the more people protest, the more the "keeper"s of
> the image insist they must be retained in the article.
> I think we need to disregard both the "protesters" and "keepers" and
> rather look at the scholarly importance/notability of the images. That
> should be the only criterion for inclusion or exclusion, rather than
> what any Muslim or Westerner thinks about the pictures. Retaining the
> images just because "Muslims want to censor it, so let's keep them" is
> wrong, and equally wrong would be removing them because "(some)
> Muslims don't like the images". If the images have been considered
> important/relevant in academic circles, only then they should be
> included. In other words, let's apply something similar to [[WP:N]] in
> this issue, rather than [[WP:IDONTLIKEIT]] or [[WP:ILIKEIT]].
> --
> Ragib
> -- 
> Ragib Hasan
> Admin, En-wiki
> Bureaucrat, Bn-wiki
> PhD Candidate
> Dept of Computer Science
> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
> 201 N Goodwin Avenue
> Urbana IL 61801
> Website:
> http://www.ragibhasan.com
> http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/rhasan/www
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