Requests for comment/Prophet Muhammad images around Wikimedia projects

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The following discussion is closed: After long time of wating: Not justified any reason for removing images, due to en:WP:NOTCENSORED. Use former comment request to talk about acewiki main page. --Juhko 05:02, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

As many wikipedians know, there has been a large demonstration on Acehnese Wikipedia about images around Wikimedia projects insulting Prophet Muhammad. For some people eyes it seems that it's just one person's, Acehnese Wikipedia's currently emergency desysoped administrator Si Gam Acèh with support of another desysoped administrator Fadli Idris. Currently Acehnese Wikipedia has only one administrator, me, Juhko, through this request.

Strictly speaking, there's currently two different arguments, what should be done with Acehnese Wikipedia's main page template (my personal opinion about that is the template pleads a case about Wikimedia's inside contoversy and it's not against any global policy to keep it on Acehnese Wikipedia's mainpage.) This comment request is about what should be done with images insulting Prophet Muhammad around Wikimedia projects.

A request about this case was sent to the 2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content

The template as it's latest form on the main page of the Acehnese Wikipedia looks like this:

See here, here, here and here for the images. We urge all Wikimedia projects from muslim countries to put the template on their main pages. Also all muslim wikipedians must protest Wikipedia. Acehnese Wikipedia is ready to boycott Wikipedia if there is fatwa from competent ulama. This template will never be removed as long as images insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad pbuh that attack more than 1.500.000.000 muslims not deleted from Wikipedia.

Former comment request and discussions, most about the template, not directly the images themselves:

See also:

Comments from muslim Wikipedians, Acehnese Wikipedians and stewards etc. are very welcome. --Juhko 12:19, 19 July 2010 (UTC)



  • Wikipedia is not bound by local religious mores. I am a Christian, but I accept that Wikipedia's articles about my religion are not necessarily going to reflect my religious views. You need to accept that as well about Islam. --B 22:16, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I think it's safe to assume that regardless of what the template says, that the English Wikipedia will not be changing its policy on the matter. I am curious as to why it says that the Wikipedians are waiting for a fatwah to begin a boycott: If a company or organization here does something wrong, I stop giving them my business. Why not just stop editing immediately? Kylu 03:43, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
  • This has been gone over time and time again. We are not removing images of Muhammad or censoring Wikipedia. Your question: what should be done? The ideals of the Wikimedia Foundation enforced. We will not gather the "sum of all human knowledge" by limiting our content based on one religion's arbitrary rules. Blurpeace 05:11, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
  • If these images cause anger _widely_, they should be used only there where they're really needed, currently they are in many projects putted anywhere with no purpose. One option would be to use them in small size. So this isn't my personal opinion and I don't want to take more position in this case, this is just one suggestion, btw for example this image has been removed from one fi-wikis article as too 'putrid'. --Juhko 09:21, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Could you elaborate a bit as to which pictures are redundant? I would say that the article's linked in this template are doing a good job balancing possibly offensive content with readability. The "Controversy" and "Everyone draw Muhammad" pages are directly related to the cartoons they contain. The "depictions of Muhammad" contains depictions of Muhammad which have been made throughout the ages, with a few cartoons at the end as they are recent controversies regarding the subject. The "Muhammad" article contains only historical drawings related to the text - no cartoons are added whatsoever. I'd also point out that the "Islam", "Prophets of Islam" and "Criticism of Islam" article's contain no images of Muhammad whatsoever. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 11:36, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
  • For example [1] is an offtopic image in fi:Muhammad-pilapiirrosjupakka. Redudant images that cause anger widely maybe could be removed through consensus, but otherwise I strongly oppose censoring Wikipedia. All and sundry do not start any action or demonstration without mutual understanding. See, I don't take any position on this case about images themselves, this is just one suggestion what could be done... --Juhko 15:45, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Also see the list that Si Gam Acèh post to the comment request. Anyway it seems to be just one or two users' opinion. --Juhko 22:13, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Note this means really redudant images that don't give anymore information about case, just there to insult some people, it's not neutral and not needed. --Juhko 20:25, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
  • There are a lot of things Ace wikipedians can do on their local pages and their userpages, but using your mainpage for political/religious activism outside of your own project, should simply not be allowed. Each project can set most of its own rules, but other language wikipedia's and other wikimedia projects might have other rules and they should be respected. If you cannot respect other projects, you simply have no business in the Wikimedia projects. In that case you should consider using your own funds and your own servers to start your own 'wikipedia-like' website. In the US, Converapedia is an example of such a website. TheDJ 16:46, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
  • As this is an attempt for global discussion, I will coment on global issues, not on ace.wp. en:Wikipedia:Content disclaimer and similar pages on other projects have a disclaimer that a reader may consider some materials vulgar, offensive, inappropriate etc. Images of Prophet Muhammad may be considered offensive by some of Muslim readers, especially Sunni like Aceh wikipedians), but that does not mean they have to be deleted. Their use should be limited to the articles where they are needed as an illustration with high encyclopaedic value. As for me, all four pages mentioned above do use images for educational purposes. Moreover, the article en:Depictions of Muhammad without the depictions would be of rather poor educational value. If most of the users/readers consider some images offensive, they can be removed locally. If local laws say that some of the materials is illegal and this material has little educational value for that culture (i.e. this ban is not political, but based on local habits), go on and remove it from local project, if community supports it. But not try to make other Wikipedias do so, this content is usually considered valuable in other cultures. Otherwise tomorrow German Wikipedians will post the message on their Main page asking to remove all swastikas. Wikipedia is not a place for censorship. P.S. I dont't understand why an invitation for Aceh Wikipedians is in English. Why is it not in Aceh, if it's for Acehnese Wikipedians ? — NickK 23:23, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Of all religions why should we act as this one says? We have tons of articles going against the belief of the world's largest religion. But that does not seem to be a problem anywhere. How about we ask the Pope of what we should write about condoms? --EPO 15:34, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
    I think a more accurate example is en:Piss Christ, where the work in question seems to go out of its way to insult Christianity. The insult objections I can understand, but as long as they're treated in a neutral and thoroughly respectful light to the religion in question I think they should stay. Having a userbox with "This user thinks all Muslims are terrorists" or similar with the Muhammad-with-bomb-in-turban image, however, should just be locally handled as an attack. Images such as en:Pazuzu, which show an idol of an opponent to that religion, may be similar in prohibiting its image, especially given the prohibition against idolatry was to prevent worshiping of other deities. From my understanding, the forbiddance of images of Muhammad is primarily focused on preventing his being worshiped instead of worshiping Allah. I wonder, perhaps, if the absolute stance taken by some against his images is, perhaps, actually moving towards an iconless worship of him instead? I wonder what he would think if he saw this situation, actually...would he approve of being so revered that he can't be depicted in a historic manner in an encyclopedia? I can't help but think the attitude smacks of the same idolatry that he and the earlier prophets were vehemently opposed to. Perhaps someone more versed in Sunni beliefs can explain this better? Kylu 19:10, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
    This is the best short summary of the matter I have read. I would also like to hear more on that theological point. SJ · talk | translate 21:33, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
    I meant just that with my former comments, if any image insulting any religion or whatever is really redudant, it's not neutral to use it and not needed. --Juhko 20:25, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
    It's a strange area of policy... while the subjects don't need to be neutral (we have articles on abortion, holocaust denial, female circumcision, depictions of Muhammad, atheism, etc... which there are a great number of readers who dislike that we have articles on these subjects) our treatment of them needs to be: We examine the problems that plague our lives and deal with them in a neutral, impartial, and most importantly dispassionate tone and with respect. We leave our personal preferences to the side and edit the article so that we have no bias in the article and no political preference indicated. That's the ideal, anyway: While I can honestly state that I'm politically rather liberal for the U.S., I attempt to write articles without my personal feelings and beliefs on the matter interfering. This, I think, is the core of NPOV: Once you're done writing the article, someone should not be able to tell how you feel about it. While the main page of any project is not, strictly speaking, an article, it's still in "article space" and must then comply with this regulation, which is frankly the cause of the strife over the template on your main page. I imagine that if the Foundation were to be involved and they had to choose between removing the images from other Wikipedias, closing Acehnese Wikipedia, or letting your main page keep the template in violation of NPOV, they would vote to close the project. There's no issue, I think, of protesting on user pages, having a project (wikipedia:) page or number of pages dealing with the subject, or any of the related talk pages, but once that content is exposed to the general public one should expect to be as strictly neutral as possible. You can even, possibly, create an article "Depictions of Muhammad on Wikipedia", cite your sources, link to the pages in question if you'd like, and mention how it's viewed by different religions (How do Sunni Muslims see this? Shia? Non-Muslims?) and even state that the Acehnese Wikipedia has a policy of not using depictions of the Prophet in articles, to avoid insulting Muslims. That's all neutral. If you ask people to protest Wikipedia, though, or tell them to vandalize another project to oppose these images, that's not neutral and will gain negative attention like this again (I know, you did neither of these things. Example only!). Thanks! Kylu 23:38, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete the images. They insult Islam, Prophet Muhammad pbuh and more than 1.500.000.000 muslims. We can not enforce Wikimedia to delete them. But we can not work in community where the community insults Islam. -- Si Gam Acèh 19:06, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
    You can has some of images deleted if you justify they're redudant and non-informative, because images not giving anymore information could be removed for cleanup. If you find false-informative and just lapped around articles for fun , images, post links here. That helps Wikipedia but removing informative images unilaterally only because they insult some religion does not, anyway anybody can try to remove images like this [2] as insult...summary; please understand importance of information and help Wikipedia as an encyclopedia. --Juhko 19:36, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
    Others please understand do not use Wikipedia for protests like ´Everybody draw Muhammad Day´ as much as don't censor it--Juhko 19:40, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
    That makes perfect sense. I wonder if Muslims have considered (outside of Wikipedia, please!) having a "Draw People Who Draw Muhammad Day"? Mock the cartoonists who mock your religion. I suspect there are some very talented Muslim artists who could be involved. Kylu 14:55, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • For Acehnese users protesting Muhammad images: Please justify why images are redudant and nominate them for deletion. And don't ask my help to justify because I don't take position with each image and not going to participate nominations. No other way to do anything, if don't believe read this and former rfc:s. --Juhko 16:01, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Wikimedia and other editors do not believe most of these images "disrespect" Muhammed, even if some people do. They inform and educate on how this man was seen by the world at many times and places. He was drawn mainly by Muslims for a thousand years, because of the influence of his life. Most paintings on Wikipedia respect his life. They educate people who do not know about him or how he was seen over history. That is respect.

    A very few images did disrespect him, just like a very few disrespect Jesus or other religion figures, Wikimedia is respecting history by recording that not everyone had love for Jesus and not everyone had love for Muhammed and educating about those disrespects as well.

    At their own home and where custom allows, people can wear what they like and can spit on the walls. In a place with special rules (a Mosque, Church, Court) they must wear clothes that show respect and may not spit. Acehnese wiki is like this. If people want to visit (edit) on Acehnese wiki, they must accept it has rules and customs set by its "owner". FT2 (Talk | email) 02:01, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Neutral point of view policy[edit]

Per NPOV any informative images should be never removed, redudant images should always in any cases (wanton lapping images around Wikipedia articles). Offtopic-images if someone wants them on an article they could be in small size as part of other case. Isn't that? --Juhko 21:11, 21 July 2010 (UTC)


To avoid breaking Wikipedia's information, can we please reduce this case to redudant images lapped arbitrarily around Wikipedias? That would be worth reading although concept 'images insult over 1.500.000.000 muslims' excluded from the invoices. --Juhko 14:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

That would need to be brought to the attention of each project, central policies for special cases like this are very difficult to implement. The NPOV was there from the beginning, which is why it's allowed, since it was policy before anyone (involved here) started editing. That said, I support minimizing the use of any offensive images, similar to how I'd rather not see penis pictures, goatse, or teletubbies on user pages. Kylu 21:03, 26 July 2010 (UTC)