More than 90,000 people are asking Wikipedia to remove images it says are of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
CAIRO : More than 90,000 people are asking Wikipedia, the biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet, to remove medieval images it says are of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
“We Muslims respect all religions and expect the same respect from all,” Nayyar Iqbal, Pakistan, wrote on Tuesday, February 5, adding his name to the online petition.
“Kindly remove the illustrations of our beloved prophet from the Wikipedia.”
The petition, posted on ThePetitionSite.com, was created on December 4 by Faraz Ahmad from the United Kingdom.
When IslamOnline last checked it at 18:30 GMT, it was signed by 90,245 from 83,691 a day earlier.
- Check petition
Many just write their names and country while others add their own comments but all agree on thing; Wikipedia must remove the photos.
“Please remove the false photographs of Prophet Mohammad as he himself in his own life had prohibited for his portraits,” wrote Samad Ahmad, Albania.
Some of images, which are believed to be drawn in the 12th century, are not merely illustrative, but offensive.
One of them portrayed the Prophet as an idol to whom Muslims prayed for aid in battle. Another represents the Prophet as a monk and cardinal.
Prophet Muhammad forbade Muslims to make images of living beings whether human or animals let alone himself.
He feared that these images would lead to idolatry as images of pious and religious figures were often worshiped by many people in Arabia at the time as well as in other cultures and societies.
- No compromise
The San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation has been inundated by emails, urging it to remove the imagery.
“We have been noticing a lot more similar sounding, similar looking e-mails beginning mid-January,” Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation, told The New York Times.
Wikipedia considered but rejected a compromise that would allow visitors to choose whether to view the page with 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,” it explained the refusal.
But the petitioners are not satisfied with this response.
“I strongly condemned this act by wiki and I demand immediate removal of the picture from wiki pages,” Pakistani Hassaan Mustafa wrote Tuesday.
“Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean that u start hurting millions humans personal feelings. Respect Every One.”
In September 2005, Danish mass-circulation Jyllands-Posten published 12 drawings including portrayals of a man the daily called the Prophet, wearing a bomb-shaped turban and another showing him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.
The cartoons, considered blasphemous under Islam, triggered mass protests across the world and strained Muslim-West ties.