WikiIslam

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Founded 2006
Headquarters

Washington DC


Houston, Texas, USA
Key people Ali Sina
Slogan "the online resource on Islam that anyone can edit"
Website Wikiislam.net
Type of site Islamophobic
Advertising None
Registration Restricted (users can register but editing is greatly censored)
Available in English
Current status Active

Wikiislam (also WikiIslam) is an Islamophobic[1] website (although it claims to be critical of Islam) that was created in 2006 by "Faith Freedom International" for the purposes of "helping Muslims leave Islam". It has been reported by several news sources including the Associated Press as being a website that shows a "one sided view of Islam" to make "Muslims look backward and stupid" whilst disguising itself as a website that solely "criticises" Islam.[2]

A 67 page report backed by several European research organisations was presented to EUROFOR and confirmed this trend in 2007.[1] The website does not allow Muslims to contribute to the wiki as stated in the FAQ section by the owner of the website who resides in Canada and whose website is located in Washington DC, USA (although several WHOIS look ups have shown it is based in Houston, Texas).[3]

Contents

History

In September 2006, Faith Freedom International (FFI) - which describes itself the "root of the worldwide movement of ex-Muslims" and "all who are worried about rising Islamic threat" - launched WikiIslam, 5 years after the launch of FFI in 2001 soon after the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack.[2][1] A forum on the Faith Freedom International Website dated Monday Sep 04, 2006 6:23 pm from a user called "WikiIslam-admin" posted the following comment: "www.wikiIslam.com is Faithfreedom's own wiki" (which still appears on the forum) and is currently still a "sticky thread" (a thread which remains stuck to the top of the forum for everyone to see first and is noted for its importance on forums) although WikiIslam denies this fervently.[4] Professor Goran Larsson notes also in his report that the website was launched on December 4th 2006.[1]

The websites owner Ali Sina, the lone contributor to the main FFI website built WikiIslam using the same software Wikipedia uses (called Media Wiki - which is freely available on the internet) but unlike Wikipedia, access to editing articles proves very difficult for the public.[2][1] Each edit is checked by "special contributors" or "reviewers" who can approve or disapprove of the edits.[1] According to the statistics provided by WikiIslam itself out of 1,692 registered users, only 2 have these "reviewer" privileges suggesting that the website is heavily censored.[5]

WikiIslam does not allow Muslims to contribute to it according to its own policy.[1] The website has been criticised heavily for using Islamophobic sources, and using writings from Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller as notable sources to make claims about Islam ranging from Islamic history to Islamic belief systems.[1] The website has been banned in Saudi Arabia citing these reasons specifically although the owners of WikiIslam claim the website was banned under "pornography" laws.[1]

Suaramedia, a news organisation based in Indonesia, found that the website is owned by an "Iranian ex-Muslim" who resides in Canada and that "at a glance this website is a complete reference source for Muslims, but when viewed closely, is a community site that collects material negative and critical of Islam".[2][1] According to the FAQ section of the site, "WikiIslam's primary focus is on the criticism of Islam while Wikipedia is a compendium of general knowledge."

Muslim organisations and websites have responded to the website with rebuttals and arguments against what they perceive to be Islamophobic propaganda with most agreeing that the site is vehemently one sided and does not represent the fuller picture of Islam to non-Muslims.[1][6][7] A forum dedicated to countering the claims made by both FFI and Wikiislam was created in 2007.[8]

Statistics

WikiIslam's parent website receives around 10,000 views per day and 1,000,000 views per month.[2] There are currently only 10 active users on the WikiIslam website and in total since its inception, it has had 9,056,673 views as of January 2012 with its most accessed articles being the "Main Page", "Sunita Williams (Conversion to Islam)", "72 Virgins", "Notable Former Muslims", "People Who Left Islam", "Rebuttals to Zakir Naik", "Questions to Ask a Muslim (Humor)", "Aisha's Age of Consummation", "Persecution of Non-Muslims" and "Pedophilia in the Qur'an", each of which has at least 50,000 views or more.[5]

Evidence of Bias and Hatred

Academia

A screenshot of Wikiislam "Policies and Guidelines" page addressing that Muslims are "not allowed to edit articles". This message has appeared several times before but is sometimes removed.[1]

An academic study backed by the Europäisches Migrationszentrum in Germany, LearnIT, the Knowledge Foundation (KK-stiftelsen), and the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS) and the Swedish Research Council in Sweden was published in 2007, citing that Wikiislam's main purpose of existence is to paint Islam and Muslims stereotypically and negatively online although the study noted that it was tricky to say some of the content was Islamophobic but concluded overall the website was Islamophobic.[2][1]

Professor Göran Larsson Ph.D, and Senior Lecturer of religious studies at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, an expert on Islam and Muslims in Europe,[9] and compiler of the report on Wikiislam, said that he found the website to be grossly mis-representative of Muslims: "my impression... WikiIslam only chose to show that Muslims are people ignorant, backward, or even stupid" but also claimed that "due to the presence of the materials obtained from other sites...[it] becomes much more difficult to argue that all information posted on WikiIslam is Islamophobic".[2][1]

Most notably the website has been referenced by Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians as well as neo-conservative American authors in books that demonise religions other than Christianity and Judaism, such books discussing themes such as the "worldwide apocalypse", the "end times" and the conflict between Muslims, Christians and Jews as well as Islamic terrorism.[10][11]

Further Evidence

Many bloggers looking for information on WikiIslam are finding similar conclusions about WikiIslam as a site primarily run to attack Islam and Muslims through a non-neutral point of view (called NPOV). WikiIslam instead focuses on a point of view (called POV) which suggests its heavily biased. Some bloggers have picked up on this issue, such as the KnightsWiki blog (who's parent website KnightsWiki.org is an unofficial information resource created for and by faculty, students, and staff at the University of Central Florida).[12][13] The main author of the blog states:

I am astounded by the terrible lack of neutrality and general Islamophobic nature of WikiIslam.net's articles.

and goes on to further say:

I did some google searching, and it turns out that I'm not alone. In fact, the majority of Internet content about wikiislam.net indexed by google criticises WikiIslam for their Islamophobic articles and failure to provide a NPOV.

Another blogging website qahiri.wordpress.com gives a huge amount of evidence on WikiIslam for being sharply biased in their article "Dealing with Doubt: finding certainty when faith is attacked".[14]

Islam is the flavor of the month. It’s on the tip of every tongue, and the front page of every publication. News reports start and end with Muslims, and the negativity is at times overwhelming. How can a Muslim cope? How can they and non-Muslims filter the gold from the garbage to find the truth about Islam? One famous saying comes to mind: Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali said, “I memorised from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Leave what gives you doubt for what gives you no doubt.’” (at-Tirmidhi) The theme of this essay is leaving what is found to be false, for what is found to be true, and how. It uses examples from the website WikiIslam to show how all people who disparage Islam exercise their hateful and deceitful agenda.

At the start of the essay al-Qãhırıï makes the following observation:

In its “About” page, WikiIslam claims to be a “website where anyone can post anything about Islam”, “a community-edited website where Muslims and non-Muslims are able to share their knowledge of Islam in separate articles”. It also claims to be “the one-stop source of high-quality factual and objective information about Islam” and promises to allow Muslims to have their own articles in response to an article on the site.” The claims to objectivity and image of academic neutrality that WikiIslam aims to present are provable fallacies [...] There are, to be fair, articles by Muslims, but these are nowhere to be found when reading the articles that they address. In other words, Muslim submissions, specifically pro-Islamic ones, are kept separate, hidden...

And after presenting a body of evidence concludes:

The wider application of this is that WikiIslam is not alone. Muslim-bashing, Islamophobia, call it whatever you like, there is a growing and concerted effort to disparage Islam and Muslims [...] Almost no Muslims are terrorists, and almost no terrorists are Muslims, but the media is leading people to think the opposite. WikiIslam is important only because it, in one place, compiles the various wiles and tactics of those who are out to denigrate Islam and Muslims in the name of supposedly noble causes. In fact, because of their provable deceit and obvious biases, they are confirming what they are so vehement in guiding people away from. They are false, which shows what they oppose to be true. They falsify, which only clarifies the truth they are trying to hide.

Ending on a positive note he writes:

Whether they accept it or rage against it, Islam is reviving and spreading all over the globe. Muslims, despite the backwardness they are accused of, are thriving wherever they are found, which is not to deny that there are many who have yet to reach Islam’s ideals. Islam is the rock that will not break, and it is a pity to have to find that out only after having broken one’s self against it.

Linking to MuslimWiki Banned

One interesting point that the KnightsWiki blog pointed out was that linking to the MuslimWiki website is apparently banned in article spaces (however it unusually allows one link to MuslimWiki.com on its FAQ page) suggesting and confirming WikiIslam is heavily censored.[12]

Indeed, one of the best offerings of a wiki is the ability to present both sides of an argument. I love Criticism sections, and I'm sceptical of any article that lacks one. WikiIslam is a public wiki: anyone can register and anyone can edit. Therefore, I am a member of that community. As a member of the Internet and WikiIslam community, I want to make sure that the content is fair. I feel the best way to do this is to add a Criticism sections to WikiIslam articles (or, at least, to the FAQ) which include links to other resources so that the readers can get all perspectives on Islam (yes, including the Islamophobia...but also with links to MuslimWiki). When I tried to do this, I received an error:

Fatal error: Call to undefined method WebRequest::getIP() in /home/wiuser47/public_html/w/includes/User.php on line 2942

While this may or may not be intentional of the webmaster, I decided to instead post my edit to this blog, where it will be indexed by google. This way, there is +1 article on the Internet elucidating the Islamophobic nature of WikiIslam so that the clever sceptic can educate themselves with both sides of Islam-related Wiki sites.

The author of the blog ends saying that "My intention was to add the following to WikiIslam's About Us > Reception article. WikiIslam has received numerous criticisms for articles that are one-sided, perpetuate Islamophobia, and fail to provide a Neutral Point of View (NPOV).[1][2][3][4][5][6] For a balanced view of Islam, please also visit the MuslimWiki. (Note: I am not Muslim and I know very little about Islam. I am, however, very aware of Islamophobia in the United States, and I'm very passionate about ensuring that wiki sites remain neutral & freely editable)".

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Larsson, Göran; Swedish Research Council, learnIT, Berliner Institut für Vergleichende Sozialforschung/Europäisches Migrationszentrum, Knowledge Foundation (KK-stiftelsen), Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS) (2007). "Cyber-Islamophobia? The case of WikiIslam" (in English). CONTEMPORARY ISLAM (Sweden) Volume 1, Number 1 (Issue #7): 67. doi:10.1007/s11562-007-0002-2. Download Part of the Report Here
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "WikiIslam, Encyclopedia of Islam under the pretext Wrong!" (in Indonesian). suaramedia.com. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012
  3. "Whois Look Up". Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  4. http://www.faithfreedom.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27895&sid=fe646291895af124f79e63e6b5f5e3f5
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Statistics". Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  6. "Beware When Doing Your Research on the Internet About Islam!" (in English). malawiummah. www.malawiummah.com. 14/08/2011. p. 4. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  7. "WikiIslam = A nest of Islamophobic and distorted material" (in English). http://theislamicworkplace.com.+January 11, 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  8. "Faithfreedom and Wikiislam" (in English). Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  9. Larsson, Göran. "Biosketch: Professor Göran Larsson" (in English). University of Gothenburg. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  10. Braley, Ron. Finding the End of the World. xulonpress.com.
  11. Graff, Ron; Dolphin, Lambert. Connecting the Dots: A Handbook of Bible Prophecy.
  12. 12.0 12.1 WikiIslam < MuslimWiki, MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2012
  13. Main Page Knight's Wiki, Knights' Wiki is an unofficial information resource created for and by faculty, students, and staff at the University of Central Florida]
  14. Dealing with Doubt: finding certainty when faith is attacked, 06 01 2011, al-Qãhırıï

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