[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Wily D wilydoppelganger at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 20:50:55 UTC 2008

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:18 PM, Ragib Hasan <ragibhasan at gmail.com> 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
Err, that opening is certainly true - in any article where nobody's
offended by topical relevant images, nobody objects and there's rarely
a need to justify them.  Nobody bothers justifying the the photo of
Mexico City's skyline in [[Mexico City]], so there's no need to defend

There is a ... probably small minority ... of editors who're
interested in whether the images are the most appropriate selection,
layout and so forth ... they're probably not, but the current
atmosphere makes it essentially impossible to hold any type of
intelligent, honest discussion on the issue.  It had been hoped the
brew-ha-ha would blow over quickly and we'd be able to get to work -

Although those previously unfamiliar with the issue may not realise
this, all these discussions and arguments have been replayed and
replayed and replayed over the last .. couple years?  I suppose - the
eleventy-billion page mediation archive from ~1 year ago probably
gives some flavour, and when the dust settled it was roughly in its
current configuration which was tolerated because it wasn't terrible
for quite a while - now media attention has stirred up a new flurry of
interest, but the debate's the same - identical arguments are being
rehashed again and again, and leading to the same places.  It simply
isn't correct to claim that images are being retained because they're
offensive and we need to defend free speech - if no Muslims were
offended by them, they'd be there and nobody would say word one about
removing them.

If we take the image that'd been in the lead, although it seems to be
bouncing around right now:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Siyer-i_Nebi_151b.jpg is an Ottoman
miniature illustration that was added to the epic of the life of
Muhammad http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siyer-i_Nebi, written in 1388,
and in the late 1500s by order of
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murad_III illustrations were added.  This
particular illustration was added by
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakka%C5%9F_Osman (Osman the
miniaturist), the chief miniaturist for the Ottoman Empire who set
down a style school that persisted well after him.  Today the image is
housed in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topkapi_Palace_Museum in
Istanbul.  It is not some "random image".  Of course, this is probably
of better pedigree than most - the page must be semi-protected, since
the images are bouncing around pretty fast, but I think only
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mohammed_kaaba_1315.jpg mght have a
better claim to more historical noteworthiness, being the oldest
surviving depiction.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Siyer-i_Nebi_298a.jpg is also from
the Siyer-i Nebi, but is new and I'd guess unlikely to stick.



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