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About this talk page: Please read before commenting[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

This sub-page is an attempt to summarize the history of the dispute and to provide a place for individuals to make statments on the inclusion of the photograph in the article. Before commenting, please read through the discussions on this page to make sure that your point hasn't already been made.

It is politely requested that editors sign additions with ~~~~ and that they mention if they are affiliated with the Baha'i Faith.

History of Discussion[edit]

For a long time, the article on Bahá'u'lláh did not contain a copy of a photograph of him. Instead a photo of the entrance to his shrine appeared and a statement that Baha'is preffered that the photograph not be shown.

Two photographs exist, both taken at the same time. They are generally refered to as passport photographs, but are not part his passport from Persia. A copy of one of these photographs was published by the noted anti-Baha'i author William Miller. A number of scans of this photo exist on the web on anti-Baha'i web sites.

On 14 Jan 2005, user Martin2000 uploaded and added a scan of a photograph of Baha'u'llah taken from Miller's book, placing it at the top of the article. This set of a long running controversy about three things:

  1. Should any photograph of Bahá'u'lláh be displayed on the wiki, or should Baha'i sensibilities be deffered to and only links to the photograph be included. After long discussion on the talk page and numerous reverts and edits a consensus was reached that the photograph should be included.
  2. Which version of the photograph should be displayed. A controversy arose about possible "retouching" of the photograph and which one was most "true to life." After much controversy again a consensus position was reached once it was determined that all avalalible photos are the result of scans from Miller's book. One copy was agreed on as the most accurate scan of the image printed in Miller. Image:Bahaullah from miller.jpg and the other copies on the wiki were deprecated for use. Image:Bahaullah.jpg and Image:Bahaullah2.jpg
  3. What position should the photograph take on the page?
  • Some Baha'is editors have requested that the photograph be displayed at the BOTTOM of the biography page and that a warning to observant Baha'is be added at the top, that the photo is there so that observant Baha'is can avoid the photo if they so choose. Some have requested that it be linked to (note some have chaged from requesting it be link to to requesting it be placed at the bottom)
  • Several Non-Baha'i editors have expressed support for placing the image at the bottom the after long discussion on the talk page.
  • Several editors have taken an uncompromising position that the Wikipeidia has a standard form for biographical articles, and that if a public domain image of an individual exists, it MUST be displayed at the top of the article, that any other position is pandering to Baha'is and is POV and not in keeping with the neutrality of the wikipedia. Notable amoung these are User:Amir1 and User:Martin2000.

Revert Issue/RFC[edit]

Beginning in late March 2005, editor Martin2000 began a unilateral campaign of moving the photograph to the top of the article asserting that no consensus about the placement had been reached, that editors asserting that such a concensus had been reached regarding placement at the bottom of the article was the result of lying, stupidity and sockpuppetry. After several WP:3RR violations, Martin2000 began a series of sockpuppet edits using the names Nitram0002, Nitram0003, 0004 etc... By 1 April 2005 the sockpuppt count was up to 20, and had asserted his willingness to continue the practice through 2000 at which time he would change the alpha portion, thus publicly admitting the sockpuppetry.

An WP:RFC was filed in an attempt to form a more public concensus on the issue.

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Another Anonymous[edit]

Why is it that the real life Autofellatio picture has to be clicked as a link (currently) to view the image vs. a thumbnail? Is it because it would offend certain sensibilities? For some radical liberal sensibilities (about the same as the population of baha'is currently, or even greater), it would be offensive to censor this image by not thumbnailing the image and leaving it at the top, otherwise, everything else would be some form of censorship. Yet currently it's linked and you have to click it to view the picture. To respect the sensibilities of the some who view this website, we have the picture linked, vs. displayed on the page waiting to be stumbled upon. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) . I thought that someone had vandalized your comment so I replaced a word(I forget what it was) with the term 'offensive word' - however I see later references so I suspect that this was your original word. I don't know how to revert or change this back so I hope that when you next visit this page, you will change it back yourself.JeanKorte 01:54, 7 February 2007 (UTC)


It seems as though this controversy has been going on for so very long without any real conclusion. I can fully understand the opinions of both sides--that the non-Baha'is mainly want the image to be displayed because of nature of Wikipedia; that is to say, that Wikipedia is intended to provide as much information as public domain will permit. However, to consistently fight to have the image displayed despite the fact that the Baha'i Faith clearly prohibits Baha'is from seeing any image, whether photographic or representational, of Baha'u'llah shows a clear lack of respect for our faith and the wishes of Baha'u'llah himself. Consider this: if you were giving a lecture to everyone in the world about the history of Judaism, its culture, and its customs, would you serve pork at the reception afterwards? If you answered "no" to this question, then perhaps you should consider the Baha'i stance on whether or not Baha'u'llah's photograph should be featured.

Perhaps it seems like a fair compromise to list the photo at the bottom of the page with clear warning to Baha'is, but my concern is for non-Baha'is who come to this site to learn more about the Baha'i Faith, perhaps as a precursor to their religious conversion. Is this at all fair to their development? Moreover, does the photograph of Baha'u'llah really serve any purpose whatsoever to non-Baha'is? Does it enrich them in any way, shape, or form? Or has this photo just been used as fuel for an ongoing argument that attempts to prove that a man's right to free speech liberates him from being respectful? That's obviously not to say that free speech is an undesirable thing. However, a right is not the same as a choice. Do you have the right to include Baha'u'llah's photograph? Well, yes, as long as the book and photograph are old enough to have fallen under public domain. Is it respectful to display an image that violates a basic law of a religious group? More specifically, is it respectful to display this image in an area heavily trafficked by said religious group? To me, it is ethically wrong to include the picture at all. I realize that some are somehow not able to understand this position, or who feel that the information that the image provides somehow benefits people in some way.

Now, as a Baha'i, I firmly accept almost every major religion as being a bright, shining pathway to God. With that being said, I recognize that most other religions don't quite see it like we do. So my question is this: to the non-Baha'is in favor of having the picture included, how would you feel in our shoes? If you're Christian, what if Jesus expressly requested that his image never be duplicated, nor shown to anyone (which he actually did, in rejecting idolatry)? What if Muhammad asked this of his followers? Does this not strike any of you? If I've still done nothing to convince you, then please leave the image at the bottom of the page and provide a noticable warning for Baha'is both at the top of the page and before the image is shown.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ In response to the view that Wikipedia has a duty to uphold and maintain a sense of complete neutrality, I think that your view is in fact, a biased one. If the goal is to be neutral in presenting information, then the goal is to display all available information in a format which offends as few people as possible. To better illustrate this statement, let's examine the examples in neutrality that history has provided us. In World War II, Switzerland was a so-called "neutral" country (though it was Allied-friendly). What does this mean? It means that it really didn't get involved in the war and tried as best it could to not support either side of it. They obviously didn't do something that would drastically offend anyone. So, if an encyclopedia intends to be neutral, then the aim is to display information in way that does not drastically offend anyone. Does this make sense?

In response to those who think that we're some weird, crazy faith (I think someone called us "Asian," despite the fact that the religion was founded in Persia) that for some reason hates to see the man who founded the religion: we're just following the laws of our faith. Believe it or not, the same law exists in Christianity and Islam, though there are obviously people who don't follow it. Baha'u'llah asked that no images or symbols representing him be spread among the Baha'is, as it might lead to idolatry. I believe Shoghi Effendi was quick to point out the spread of idolatry in Buddhism and Christianity, and how it tended to distract their respective followers from the lessons that Siddhartha and Christ provided. It is for this reason that we avoid all images of Baha'u'llah and the Bab. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ In response to "I think someone called us "Asian," despite the fact that the religion was founded in Persia": Persia is located in Asia! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 00:28, 14 September 2006 (UTC) >sigh!< No, it is NOT in Asia, it's in the Middle East. 00:28, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it is in Asia. See: Asia. The Middle East is not a continent. The continent Iran/Persia is on is Asia, while the region in the Middle East. "Asia" != "Asia-Pacific", okay? 03:02, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Photograph linked with due warning text; if an agreement can't be reached along those lines, image placed at bottom of page with due warning text at both top of page and directly preceding the image.


As a long time moderator of soc.religion.bahai, as a survivor of many usenet flame wars, I have seldom been insulted as I have on the talk pages of the wikipedia. In my opinion, it is neither POV nor "Baha'i Propaganda" to place the photograph of Baha'u'llah at the bottom of the article with a promenant warning to Baha'is at the top. Anti-Baha'i editors might note that the warning will probebly result in non-Baha'is paying MORE attention to the photo, but it makes it possible for Baha'i editors to participate in editing and researching the wiki without compromising their observance since Baha'is preffer to view the photo only in situations of reverence and worship which can not be provided on line. This looks really simple to me, and I do not understand the vehemance with which anti-Baha'i editors approach the topic. Photo thumbnailed at bottom with promenant warning please. Rick Boatright 23:12, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Ok I admit it my interest in the Bahá'í Faith and Bahá'u'lláh in particular is somewhat limited. I ran across this dispute months ago and have been involved in the debate since. I suport placeing the image at the bottom of the page with a strong clear hint at the top (ie a warning that cases the minium posible desruption to the flow of the article)Geni 23:52, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I'm a Baha'i and personally am not at all keen with his picture being available on wikipedia. On the other hand I realise that Wikipedia is not a Baha'i encyclopaedia. To be honest I don't think I'll be entirely happy unless the image is only linked, but I do believe very strongly with the comprimising and consensus nature of wikipedia. I guess I summarise my views as preferably linked, failing that thumbnailed at bottom with a warning. I do however respect the viewpoint that top right is where it should be (well - as long as the motives aren't simply to annoy Baha'is), so will agree to any consensus.

I would really prefer a far larger number of neutral observers on this issue however. At present it appears to be only Baha'is, anti-Baha'is, and only 2 or 3 neutral observers taking part in this discussion. -- Tomhab 20:03, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I'm a Baha'i and support everything Tomhab expressed. I want to also point out that Muslims hold the same standards for images of Muhammad, and that page has no pictures of him, even though paintings are available.

I see no scholastic reasoning why the picture must be there, especially when it is sure to offend any Baha'i visitor or editor. Please link to its own page, and if it must be on the page, then leave it at the bottom of the page. Cunado19 30 June 2005 05:05 (UTC)


I'm also a Baha'i, and find the depiction of any of the Manifestations of God disrespectful. However, I am fully aware of the public nature of this experience we are sharing here in wikispace. It appears that some would like to avail themselves the opportunity to mold the discussion to suit their own agenda.

This is my first post to any discussion here on the wikipedia, and is the result of the only about fifteen minutes' research that discovered at least two revert wars regarding this issue over just the past six months. The current one, as of 19-Sep-05, seems to involve one or more Bahá'ís removing the subject photograph. Kudos to those reverting to the version with it.

I submit that revert wars are hypocritical in the extreme; and I suggest that violators be suspended.

The Politcally Correct rightly recognizes that one has the responsibility not to offend. However, and this is often missing, we are also responsible not to take offense.

I think that the picture should remain, at the bottom, with the warning.

--MARussellPESE 21:50, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Aryan Khadem[edit]

I would like to add to my opinion, though I am a Baha'i, I have tried not to be bais, how I understand it, we are allowed to view the picture but not possess it. Now more to what I wasnted to say is what copy right violation is involved here, who gave Miller Permission to have the picutres? According to the copy right laws he is in violation and having the picture without consent from the Baha'i world centre or an immediate family member is in violation of this law. I do not know how Miller obtained the picture but it seesm to be to be Violating some copy right laws and issues. Miller giving permission is not a reason to have the picture on the site, the question is who gavce him permission and who allowed the picture to be presented?

--Aryan Khadem 11:50, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

The picture is so old it is in the public domain. No permission from anyone is needed to use it.Geni 12:00, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Ignoring the question of public domain etc, Miller was given it by Azal, so avoiding any question of permission. Photographs are considered public domain 50-100 years after the death of the author (depending on the country). Wikipedia I understand tends to take the smaller number as it is international so can choose which they prefer :) -- Tomhab 18:47, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

That Might be true according to international las, but where as the person in the picture explicitly requested or stated his picture is not to be used, even after 50-100years it is part of someone will therefore again it comes down to not only ethics but legality as well, no? If Azal gave permission what authority did he have since it was already stated by the subject in the picture as not to have it displayed, distributed or made available. I do not doubt that wikipedia is an unbais place, but in legality I wonder how applicable it becomes, since the subject objected to the use and distribution. Millers book is less then 100 years since the subjects death therefore he violates international laws of 100 years, by having the picture taken from his source then we validate the violation of international laws. Freedom of information is one thing, respect to another beliefs is another but in this case I want to know more the legal ethics, and it seems like wikipedia supports illegal activities or material that violates copy right and personal property laws.

--Aryan Khadem 11:22, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Regardless of various people's wishes the image is at this time in the public domain.Geni 11:28, 29 November 2005 (UTC)


While, as a Baha'i, I would prefer the photo not be posted, I do understand non-Baha'i curiosity and the right of posting an image in the public domain. As a result, I think the most reasonable solution would be to more prominently warn people that a picture of Baha'u'llah is present on the page as well as to link that warning to the article on aniconism in the Baha'i Faith. If it is the right of non-Baha'is to have the image posted without a link, it is the right of Baha'is to have the explanation of their position at least linked, if not a part of the Baha'u'llah article. I attempted to add this warning, but someone disapproved and removed it. Why is there not a desire for compromise on this? I think it is distasteful to remove the image over an dover, and I find it equally distasteful to remove a very passive attempt to provide further explanation of the photo controversy. {{subst:unsigned:}}

The section describe why Baha'is don't like viewing the image, and has all the appropriate links. The note is just supposed to be a short statement providing a link to the location of the image, so please avoid from making it overly long. -- Jeff3000 14:51, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Jeff. The section does provide the necessary information, but Baha'is are forced to view the picture to check any of the accuracy of such entries. The section should be moved to a location where Baha'is and non-Baha'is alike can read the information without being forced to view the photograph.
Come on, Baha'is are not forced to see the image, the note tells Baha'is that it is there, so there is no need to go down on the page. I will tell you that the information is accurate. Secondly, it's not about the needs of Baha'is. First of all, I'm a Baha'i and through consultation, with a lot of editors it was found that this was the best way to meet the need of the greater community, with the need of Baha'is who don't want to see the image. If you want instructions on how to block the image with Firefox, look at the image page. The location and statement have been decided by consensus. Please stop making unilateral changes. -- Jeff3000 15:59, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Photo vandalism? Why is it that the photo cannot be moved slightly lower on the page so as to make it convenient for everyone to view the information without reservation? How does that qualify has photo vandalism? I find this whole issue rather childish. There is a way to make this work ideally for both parties, and yet one party seems to refuse to respect the other's wishes. My ideal is to not have the photo there at all. But, I am more than understanding and accept its presence. I only desire to be able to read the pertinent information regarding the controversy without being forced to look at the photo of Baha'u'llah in a setting I find inappropriate.--Todd
Look, it's not what you feel. There was a consensus made, and we will adide by it. -- Jeff3000
A consensus of who? Certain people who were involved in the discussion at a certain time? Am I to understand that a Wikipedia consenus is eternally binding, regardless of a change in sentiment or the involvement of new contributors? I don't intend to be rude, but I find this whole idea strange: that an entire group of people (as represented by the Universal House of Justice) are being denied access to information because a "consensus" of a few individuals was made that forces them either to avoid viewing the information or be forced into an uncomfortable situation. Sure, what I feel doesn't matter if Wikipedia is the domain of "regulars." But, if its a place to provide information for all people who have technical means to access it, then my feeling does matter.--Todd
You don't understand Wikipedia policy. First there is undue weight. The views of the much larger non-Baha'i community have a larger say than the 6 million or so Baha'i community. For example, look at the case of Muhammad. Even though the Islamic community is more than a billion and they don't like having images of Muhammad in that article, the image is there against all the views of Muslims. So the Baha'is are fortunate to have the image at the bottom. Let this issue go. -- Jeff3000 16:08, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
You are correct...I clearly do not understand Wikipedia policy. Perhaps you can explain this to me, then. Is there a way to protect the minority or is Wikipedia the forum of the majority only? I am a huge supporter of wikipedia, but the policy as it appears entirely upholds the reservations of the academic community to consider the encylopedia valid.


Please link to its own page, and if it must be on the page, then leave it at the bottom of the page. Wiki-uk 08:45, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Remove the picture[edit]

Geni, I am very impressed with you. It only lasted one minute.

Is anybody paying attention to this page? I read the history. Can we somehow bring this up again now that the attackers have lost interest? I wasn't there for any of the debate. I think it should be removed for all the same reasons that people have explained over and over again. Hujjat 10:22, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

You could but you have very little chance (read zero) of getting the picture removed. There are significant number of wikipedians around who think even the current version is a step to far.Geni 10:33, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
It took a lot of work and 2 revert wars over 4 months to get any concrete concession with this. In fact, I suspect the only reason its no longer on the top is the vast number of "neutrals" in the debate who prefered it on the top got fed up with Martin2000 and his sockpuppets that he lost all support for it being on the top of the article.
We established this page as it seemed every two or three days someone made a request for a vote and we decided to make a page that everyone's opinions could be kept on and not get lost in the depths of time. -- Tomhab 10:54, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
I have a quick question, is their any proof that the photo is even authentic? I'm very concerned with the possibility of it having been tampered with, considering that we do not have access to an official photo to compare it to and it was made public by an enemy of the Faith for the very purpose of portraying Bahá’u’lláh in a disagreeable light. I have refused to alter or read any articles on the Bahá’í faith here at Wikipedia (for more than 6 months now) because I have encountered much questionable information as well as have been harassed by users including Martin2000 for my opinions, not just my edits. I would not so much mind my edits being criticized but to be called a "censoring bigot" among other less savory things for vocalizing my opinion is absurd. I think the edit wars as well as ongoing arguments are petty and unbecoming of Bahá’ís and I would like to keep this civil. I just reviewed Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(biographies) and I would like to quote this line, "Adherence to the following guidelines is not required; however, usage of these guidelines is recommended." Also, I see no mention of the proper placement of photographs, could someone point it out to me (I only see that it is up to the editors to decide)? It seems to me as though the picture in question was not submitted to Wikipedia in order to enrich the article but rather to offend Bahá’ís, though I claim no knowledge of the intent of Martin2000. That said, if I believed the picture an accurate or authentic depiction of Bahá'u'lláh I would have no qualms concerning its current placement. Think of it this way, if you were a Republican and I altered a photo of George W. Bush to have monkey ears, would you not remove it? Again, it is known amongst Bahá’ís that Bahá’u’lláh’s beard was black (he died it with Henna) and that the original passport photo depicts him wearing a white taj. Where is the objectivity in providing a tampered photograph? --Ariadoss 11:11, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Ariadoss, about the authenticity of the photo, I have heard from other Baha'is that have gone to the holy land, and gone into the archives building, that the photo is indeed authentic. I think the current location of the photo, and the note at the top of the article, is probably the best compromise that can be obtained; information for the general wikipedia audience, and not direct viewing of Baha'u'llah's picture for Baha'is. I have posted how to block that specific image if you use Firefox in the image page. I'll post it here as well, and also on your talk page. -- Jeff3000 16:22, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

The picture is only under copyright in the US and the European Union, both of which have extended the Berne Convention to cover such issues. The copyright to the photo in the US belongs to the National Spiritual Assembly of the US and in Europe it belongs to the National Spiritual Assembly of the UK. Does Wikipedia have permission from the copyright holders to display the image in the US and EU? If not then how can they continue to violate copyright? Is it a policy of wikipedia to violate EU and US copyright?

Generally speaking copyright expires after a certain number of years after the death of the creator. In the US its 50 years and the UK its 70 years. Now I'm assuming that the photographer is dead, and has long been. I'm not sure about exceptions (of say, a corporation or a religious head owning the copyright), but I don't think there are any/many. Besides - what makes you say Baha'is have copyrights of the images anyway? To the best of my knowledge, the Haifa World Centre only has copies of the photograph - hardly a legitimate claim to copyright. Its not a great situation to be in really. -- Tomhab 21:21, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Agree with Tomhab. Further, a copyright holder doesn't need to assert the right to have it, but does need to do so to maintain or renew it after the customary time. And if they want to have copyright respected they certainly need to reserve the rights — in this case something neither institution seems to have done. This picture is almost certainly in the public domain. MARussellPESE 21:56, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I suppose I just want to add my opinion. I'm not interested in entering a prolonged debate with anyone, or criticizing anyone or being criticized by anyone, as no one should ever be offended (this is a universal human value). I have seen the picture of Baha'u'llah in the Holy Land, the photograph and the paintings and the painting of the Bab and have seen the photograph in this article, which is virtually the same as the Haifa photograph (at least the Haifa one didn't seem to be in any way "improved" over this one). I am aware of the great many arguments that have been used here and the unfortunate contention that has been caused. I also understand why some have tried to vandalise the page and remove the photograph, although I wouldn't personally do that. The story in the Priceless Pearl where Shoghi Effendi was going to remove the street sign should be ample reason why many Baha'is might want to remove the photograph here. I do not want to quote the story here, but I'm sure most of the Baha'is know what I'm talking about. Many of the early Western pilgrims were greatly impressed by the photograph and I can only say that Baha'u'llah looks far greater and more beautiful than even 'Abdu'l-Baha. Both the photographs and paintings bear adequate testimony of this. Suddenly seeing the photograph of Baha'u'llah is "shocking" for Baha'is. Not because it is repugnant to look at, but because, at least in my case, seeing Baha'u'llah at first is like being jolted, suddenly coming face to face with God. Baha'is are only PR conscious in the sense that they want to be correctly represented. It is a young faith that has struggled and in some places still struggles to be reocognized for what it is, a genuine world religion. Yes, Baha'is also want to attract followers into the fold, but this is because we believe that we have a duty, as human beings, to share this message with our fellow men.

The reason Baha'is do not want the image to be seen is because we simply do not like Baha'u'llah being irreverantly shown to all and sundry. From a Baha'i persective, seeing it is an ultimate privilege, as, for Baha'is, the face of Baha'u'llah is the Face of God reflected through His perfect mirror in the plenitude of its splendour. This is a statement of belief, and should not be seen as an attack on any one else's opinions, nor an attempt to "convert" anyone here to my perspective.

As for my opinion on whether or not it should be removed. Personally, I believe it should not be shown in the article itself as no serious published encyclopedia would ever show the photograph. The Esperanto Vikipedio does not show it, but has a link to the photograph, which I think is the only possible conclusion that will be satisfactory for many Baha'is. People have perhaps misinterpreted Baha'is as trying to force their laws on everyone else. This is not the case. Baha'is only want to have their opinions heard and considered, like everyone else. The fact that Baha'is have laws and policies regarding the use of the image should be taken into account and considered, with reference to respecting other faiths, whether or not these are binding on everyone. It is simply a matter of taking everything into account. If we do not know the perspective of all sides on an issue, we can hardly come to a just decision.NicholasJB 21:34, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Do not remove the picture[edit]

Let's just put in a spoiler alert for Baha'is, yeah? jordan (talk) 20:26, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi, the different Wikipedias are used and edited by people with different ethnic race, religion, and political views. As for the two norwegian wikipedias, Baha'i is quite a minor religion in our country. Since I mostly write at the nn wiki,I was not aware of this controversy going on previous to last night's Baha'ian vandalism on several of the international wikipedias, including the nn. one. I have nothing against the Baha'i religion, or so I believe, but after the massvandlism last night, I must honestly say that I have less understandment for why the photograph should be removed, than without last night's attack. I am almost shocked by the deep arrogancy that the baha'i followers has shown the wikipedia community. Is it so that the followers of this small religion believe that this is their holy ground, and every worldwide matter whatsoever has to be done according to their asian scriptures? In that case, removal of that photo is not a matter of offending them, or not. But about threatning free speach, my free speach as a non baha'i...AndersL 15:35, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Please don't let the actions of a single person push you to judge an entire religion. We do not believe that this is our holy ground, but let's face it: it's a law in our faith to not see a picture of Baha'u'llah. I think most of us just really don't want to have his photograph in a place where one is FORCED to view it. I think what's almost more offensive is that the person in the photograph is the same person who wrote the scripture saying that Baha'is shouldn't see an image of him. Anonymous 4:07, 15 October 2005
don't confuse that actions of a single person whith that of an entire relgion.Geni 15:57, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
If there's something inherently wrong with a religion being from Asia, then you have just condemned Christianity. (I'm assuming you're Christian) Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 04:38, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

I don't understand why this should be an issue. Wikipedia is not censored and the photo doesn't contradict Florida law. Thus it should be displayed where it should be for all other biographical articles: at the top. If Bahaians (sp?) cannot stand the image of their religious leader, well, why won't they create their own fork of Wikipedia or something. We have autofellatio pic for freaking sake. Why not the pic of this guy?  Grue  18:58, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

We "cannot stand the image of our religious leader" because he wrote that we're not allowed to see any image of him, as it would lead to idolatry. Most of us just want the image to be placed in an area where Baha'is are not forced to view it when they click through to find out more on Baha'u'llah. And although it may not violate Florida law, it's really just disrespectful. We have a right to free speech, but people seem to overlook the fact that we also have a right to practice our religion without persecution. It would help if the largest on-line encyclopedia didn't force us to violate one of the laws of our religion whenever we wanted to find out more about its founder.Anonymous 4:14, 15 October 2005.
the autofellatio pic is not in the article. The Bahá'u'lláh photo is. What exactly is your case?Geni 19:26, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
My point is: this is a form of censorship. Wikipedia is not censored for protection of unsuspecting b'a'h'a'i followers.  Grue  19:54, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
The picture is in the article. No one here has really argued in favor of removing it entirely, though we want to prevent as many unsuspecting Baha'is from stumbling upon the image as possible.Anonymous 4:18, 15 October 2005
the picture is in the article. What exactly are we censoring?Geni 20:10, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
There is a mountain of talk pages going over this. Please read them. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 02:04, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
So can I move the picture to the top so this article conforms Wikipedia Style Guidelines?  Grue  12:33, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
no because 1) the guidlines don't in fact say that. 2) there is a reason they are call guidelines and 3) no one has manged to move the image to the top without destoying article content. there are other reasons but those will do to start with.Geni 12:47, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Guidelines are only guidelines, they are not unbreakable rules. There is a warning at Australian Aborigines that serves a similar purpose. Both cases look like a reasonable compromise, to give information without causing unnecessary offence. How on earth is this "censorship"? sjorford #£@%&$?! 12:49, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
You didn't take my advice, that issue was hashed out a dozen times on the talk pages already. A consensus was formed by a lot of people over a long time, and no edits changing the current form will remain un-reverted. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 15:10, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
I think we're at cross-purposes here - I'm agreeing with you! sjorford #£@%&$?! 09:47, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
yeah, my last comment was for  Grue . It's hard to organize the talk page. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk
This is in response to Grue's comment, "well, why won't they create their own fork of Wikipedia or something." Very well, I will start a Bahá’í Wiki. I'm against censorship personally, people have a right to knowledge and information, provided that the information they receive is valid. Wikipedia is a reference that endeavors to provide factual and objective information and in this case the accuracy or authenticity of the photograph is uncertain. Sometimes the government and the media will censor certain things because they can be deemed as offensive to certain groups or individuals. This is an exercise of discretion or tact on the part of the media. Adult websites or films post notices that the content contained within is unsuitable for minors. In the United States you may avoid certain situations such as a being recruited into the military or receiving vaccinations based on one’s religion. When a Bahá’í is subjected to this photograph without prior warning it impedes on our right to follow the laws of our religion. I feel that the placement at the bottom of the page would be appropriate if the photograph posted was an unaltered and an easily visible warning was provided at the top of the article. However, no such pictures have been made available to the general public and no such warning exists save for to the left of the actual photograph. --Ariadoss 11:46, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Is this it? Just found it earlier today and was wondering if it was endorsed by Bahai Faith. If so, it should be in the article if it isn't already. Siriuskase (talk) 18:31, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
That's not the picture. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 23:35, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

This entire discussion is inarguable, religious rules should not apply to the factual, scientific community that is Wikipedia. --Dayyan

Blocking the image in Firefox[edit]

I know that even though the Bahá'u'lláh picture is at the bottom of the page, sometimes when reverting the removal of the picture, and in normal editing, I sometimes inadvertantly see the image, which I don't like doing. So for Baha'is who do not want to see the image, and who are using Mozilla Firefox, you can do this to block this one image:

1. Go to the directory that stores your Mozilla Firefox profile. On Windows XP, it looks something like

 C:\Documents and Settings\<Windows User Name>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<random digits>.default\chrome\
<Windows User Name> is the name when you log into Windows XP
<random digits> is a 8-digit alphanumberic string which is random, and which Firefox uses to protect your data from hackers

2. In that directory open a file called "userContent.css" (or start a new one with that name if it does not exist).

3. In that file at the top enter this code

 img[src*="Bahaullah_from_miller"] {
       display: none !important;

4. Restart firefox

That should block the image for you, and you alone -- Jeff3000 16:26, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Further Discussion[edit]

Mea Culpa

For courtesy, I was once an avid (fanatical) Baha'i, and worked at some higher levels of the Baha'i Faith. (A 'Local Assembly' vice chair in a major city, a 'homefront pioneer,' a "District Teaching Committee" Secretary, and a State Newsletter Editor. I was also a District Convention chairman, and gave up a position as "Auxiliary Board Assistant." Lastly, I was a musician and songwriter in a performing group that traveled to promote the Baha'i Faith widely.) I no longer am involved.

It is obvious to me that a lot of posters here are Baha'is trying to protect the image of their religion by suppressing an unfortunate photo. Suppressing things is, well, a Baha'i way of life.

One post I saw urged us to see this from the "orthodox Baha'i perspective." I can't see how that could happen unless we here become "orthodox Baha'is." (By the way, that term is anathema to "real Baha'is," i.e. "true Baha'is," who are very pissed off at a breakaway group that does call themselves the "Orthodox Baha'is.)

PR is Baha'i, Is Everything

About the photo of Baha'u'llah, it's plain as day why the Baha'is suppressed that photo for so long. (Like their "Book Of Laws.") I have to let on that Baha'is -- and especially their orgs -- verily live for PR, are accutely image conscious, and media-savvy to a fault. I mean, Madison Avenue savvy. It is obvious that they suppressed the photo of Baha'u'llah because it was not in their promotional interests to let many see him. (Just as it was better PR to concoct "equality of men and women" as a "basic teaching" rather than, say, martyrdom -- which is a much more 'basic' teaching for sure.) In that photo their Founder -- their "Manifestation of God" who is to 'Unite the World' under His spiritual authority -- just doesn't come off as an appealing character to western sensibilities. A little too, uh, Manson-esque. I mean he could pass for a Harley-Davidson Biker from Bakersfield. (A mean one.) If there is one 'law' that a Baha'i promoter will always infallibly keep, it's this one: always appeal to modern western sensibilities. It's what made the faith what it is today, unfortunately.

A Strange Contradiction

It should be pointed out, and well noted, that Baha'is make a very liberal use of photos of 'Abdu'l-Baha. One of their four major 'Founders' along with the Bab and Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha has a unique divine station and a lofty spiritual rank to them. He is was the Son of Baha'u'llah, first of the lineage, "The Exemplar," the "Center of the Covenant" -- in every way the spiritual and temporal successor to Baha'u'llah. But they don't seem the least bit shy about plastering his face all over. But PR is everything, and 'Abdu'l-Baha was a pleasant and photogenic character. So they print his face and figure in tract after tract, even those meant as casual handouts on the street in "direct teaching" evangels. Skip all that 'reverence' stuff. As far as photos go, Wikipedia was bending over backwards to be MORE religous here than the average Baha'i. I used to see 'Abdu'l-Baha pictures cut to bits, pasted in collages in childrens' classes, etc. There was never any fuss about it. 'Abdu'l-Baha casts a charming figure. But they suppress photos of Shoghi Effendi (the fourth 'Founder') for the same PR reasons. He's not appealing. But 'Abdu'l-Baha is fair game -- despite the fact that he had more divine weight than Shoghi Effendi.

Let Them Be Reverent Whatever Way They Can

Beyond that: Just because Baha'is claim it as 'reverence' to show a certain photo only on special occasions, it does not follow that non-believers, or the Wikipedia population, would be expected to have that same religious reverence. After all, it is standard practice in the west, and in our media, to show documentary photos, especially of personalities. Meanwhile, even the Baha'i writings allow for the use of the photo by Baha'is anyway. So what is the issue? If it will make you feel any better, I am 100 percent certain this will not destroy Baha'i opportunities for feeling religious reverence. Why don't they take a Hindu attitude? Be devotional toward the photo. Do a 'pranam' to it every time they see it, as Hindus do to pictures of 'the guru.' After all, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism are all into the "guru devotion" thing (bhakti) and use pictures to stimulate that devotion. Why not you Baha'is? Baha'is have a lot to learn about religious devotion. I've never seen so much attitude of religous devotion as around Indian gurus like Karunamayi. Yet her picture is all over the place. The Baha'i writings are nothing if not devotional. Why would you not want 'the guru's' picture everywhere? Why must you Baha'is be so obtuse; so utterly foreign to all the religions you claim supremacy over? And so darned much like...Muslims?

The answer is: This is not really about 'reverence,' but about what Baha'is feel they need to grow their numbers. That face just won't do it.

The theology that bans photos of religious founders is a Muslim thing (and Baha'i is ever-so-close to Islam). But since it is standard in Western culture and media to use such documentary pictures, their avoidance is like buying into this little religion.

The non-display of the "Baha'u'llah" photo is a private nicety in the life of a devout Baha'i.

Even if they had been around a long time and established anything resembling a "culture," it would not be OUR culture. We are not a "Baha'i" society. (There is no such thing.) Neither are we an Islamic society. Much of what we do in everyday society here would be considered unlawful in Islam. And in the Baha'i worldview likewise. Believe me, I know. Hiding the picture of Baha'u'llah plays into Baha'i promotional strategy to look soft, pretty, and palatable to all. Nothing more. That face just screws it all up.

It's a real kick that anybody who wants others to see that face is categorized as an "Enemy of the Faith." This is getting funny. -- Mentious 09:57, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Regardless of your views - the image has a particular shock value to Baha'is who feel its inclusion as an image is distasteful. I sincerely believe not, but perhaps the original point of supressing the image was to make the faith more PR - this still doesn't address the fact that I'm pretty certain every editor who has removed the pic is acted in good faith believing that it inclusion isn't nice in any way.
Another point you've completely missed is that, Islam insistently doesn't have any images whatsoever of Mohammad - this stretches back LONG before Shoghi Effendi made his statement of repressing images. Also you'll notice no-ones repressing his image on Shoghi Effendi.
Also: this page was introduced largely so that people could print their view once and refer everyone to it NOT to convince non-Baha'is that it'll be good to remove this image. This is because we went through a period where someone new would bring up the topic without knowing the deep background to the story. Most of the names above have been involved in "Keeping the peace" by reverting any removal back to the bottom of the page.
Lastly I do agree with you on two points however - the idoling and overuse of Abdul-Baha's image makes the insistance of not using Baha'u'llahs absolutely pointless. However I wouldn't go as far as to say I'd never let it be printed. And also, Baha'is will need to get used to Baha'u'llah's image being printed in the mass-media - whether they like it or not. -- Tomhab 11:31, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
People have different beliefs. Some people believe that the Baha'i Faith is evil, and others believe otherwise. We cannot tell anyone that there belief is right or wrong. I think what we can be, however, is be tolerant of eachother's beliefs, and respect them. The current compromise of having the picture at the bottom respects the rights of the general wikipedia reader to see the image of Baha'u'llah with a note at the top, and at the same time respects the beliefs of Baha'is not to see it (regardless of if people think that belief is stupid) without notice. -- Jeff3000 16:05, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
That long post is a little out of place. This is not a web blog for people to complain about Baha'is. And the individual posting seems to have missed a major principle behind the whole issue, that the Baha'i Faith has 3 central figures, and that two of them are Manifestations, with the same standards that Islam applies to its Prophet. Shoghi Effendi spent a large part of his life trying to make people understand that he was not Abdu'l Baha's successor, and that he and Abdu'l Baha were on completely different levels. Shoghi Effendi said that any Guardian of the Faith should not be worshipped in any way, that their photograph should not be displayed, that their birthdays should not be celebrated, and other similar things. During Shoghi Effendi's life he avoided photography for that reason.
By the way, I agree that Abdu'l Baha's picture is much overused and idolized. But I see that as an unhealthy trend that apears in every religion, not something intentionally planned, and far from the conspiracy that some people make it out to be. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk

To Tomhab: Oh. So a goal of Wikipedia is to avoid "shocking" Baha'is? To be 'nice'? What about the fact that I find teachings and actions of the Baha's shocking? Baha'is have been shocking the world for decades now with their ham-handed attempts to equate all religions with one another, by pushing racial mixing (once termed "miscegenation") in a society where it was taboo. They regularly terrorize Christians with their claim that "Baha'u'llah" is the "Return of Christ." It could be argued that these are in 'poor taste' as well. Since when are we supposed to be worried about "shocking" Baha'is? (By showing them their own founder?!) Maybe they have karma for a few 'shocks' by now. Do you suppose?

To Cunado who said: "...the individual posting seems to have missed a major principle behind the whole issue...that two of them [the central figures] are Manifestations, with the same standards that Islam applies to its Prophet." This is a fiction. There is no Baha'i rule equating to Islamic "standards." Islam does not even deal in the Baha'i concept of the "Manifestation [of God]" in the first place! I notice that you use that Baha'i term without quotes, as though we are all supposed to buy into this Baha'i cosmology.

I don't think it is an "unhealthy trend" for religious devotees to develop devotion to their founders. The attitude of "devotion," which the Hindus call bhakti, is very prevalent in Baha'i writings. The "Hidden Words" fairly drip with it, a devotion heaped upon Baha'u'llah. ("Comb my raven locks...") The Yoga of India, and Buddhist "guru yoga," states that such devotional feeling is a fruitful spiritual path. Photos are natural vehicles and tools for the development of devotion. Baha'is are in an odd position when they are supposed to feel vivid devotion for a "Blessed Beauty" who they aren't even allowed to see. The whole theory of the "manifestation" is that God incarnates in a human form so that humans can get attracted through that form. If a "manifestation" can't even be seen, what's the point?

What ends up happening in the Baha'i Faith is very interesting: The natural Baha'i devotion ends up channeled toward 'Abdu'l-Baha, rather than Baha'u'llah, because there are pictures of him. It is ironic, given your 'anti-devotion' comment, that my best spiritual experience as a Baha'i was the devotional connection I began to feel for 'Abdu'l-Baha. It gave me some understanding of the "bhakti" content of the texts. This was very much stimulated by having photographs of him. I saw this spiritual phenomenon in other Baha's, too. Yet Baha'i heavies get to twitching when they see real devotion. Very strange. By discouraging it, Bahai's neutralize their own spiritual package, IMO.

Baha'is are in a certain bind with this: On one hand they say "the physical form of their founder is Too Holy to be shown." Then they see the photo and say: "Well, the physical image is not at all important. People should not get hung up on it. That's why we don't want to show it." This looks like a fancy dance to me. Most religions agree with the first Baha'i view: that the physical form of the guru/founder is sacred/auspicious. But for them that does not militate against displaying it. On the contrary, seeing the form is considered a constant blessing in India, Buddhism, Christianity, etc.

To Tomhab: You say they are following the Muslim rule. It was not my understanding that Baha'is have carried forward that Muslim proscription. I do not believe that such a law exists in the the Baha'i "Book of Laws." Rather than having a firm policy about it, the Baha's themselves are confused. Note the Shoghi Effendi statement allowing the picture be used. Yet I never saw it once around Bahai's. In like manner, they seem confused about the role of 'devotion' in their own faith. --Mentious 02:16, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

The photo is in the article. The amount of info now attached to it means it pretty much has to have a seperate section which might as well go at the end.Geni 02:56, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm slightly lost whats going on. You've not put down any argument towards adding the picture - all you've done is bitched about Baha'is. Perhaps you have become more enlightened than the rest of us on the topic, but what it comes down to is Baha'is do not enjoy that picture is up there. At the moment your response seems to be "stuff 'em" from what I can see.
As for Baha'i policy, the Guardian and House of Justice have consistently written that it "should be handled with due reverence and respect" [1] and referring directly to a specific situation of it being on a website described it "is not the case here" [2]. Indeed, Baha'i National conferences are not even a suitable enough situation [3]. As you know, most Baha'is take this a little further and believe this display is mildly offensive (if you didn't realise you'll have to take it on trust - or just look at the history at how many times people have removed it).
If you read the archives you'd realise that the picture featured in intense discussion around a year ago (there was a much larger discussion about any image censorship including that of Felatio, Vagina, and shock sites such as of which the moderates seemed to have won), involving Baha'is, quite strong anti-Baha'is, and a lot of neutral wikipedians (key to them was Geni who I see is still alive). After a debate and a lot of revert warring that must have lasted 3 months it was decided by the public at large that it was inappropriate to simply remove the link (as it was a form of censorship), and on the other side perhaps a little unfair to have it on the top of the page. A compromise was met and the page has remained remarkably stable despite the occasional Baha'i removal of it.
You seem to have misgivings with the Baha'is and for that I'm sorry, but this isn't the way to vent it. -- Tomhab 19:47, 16 January 2006 (UTC)


This is not a "holy image" this is a MAN. What are the Bahaist's trying to hide? The fact that they are NOT a religion, but a cult? I am suspicious of any faith that refuses to reveal its leader/originator. There are no "images" of mohammed simply because there were no cameras. Idiotic reasoning. I think this "religion" should be fully investigated by the news media, just as the "moonies" and other cults of the late 60's-70's were. Exposed for what they are.

The founder was muslim. What does that tell one? Take a wild guess. It's "holy house" is located in Israel. Think about that. And that house of horrors known as the United Nations has decided that THIS cult is the only "faith" it will openly advocate. Gee.. I wonder why? Think about that.

You who are Baha'i.. what is it you're trying to hide? It's just a photograph.

I'm going to investigate you more and the organisation I am representing is NOT going to just let this go "away". -- G. Creide, New York City

As Geni noted above, the image is already in the article. I would like to note that Baha'is don't mind peole who are not Baha'is viewing the image. It's just that once you accept Baha'u'llah, which comes with it the acceptance of the guidance of Shoghi Effendi, you are asked not to view it in a disrespectfull manner. There's nothing being hidden here. And please do go ahead and look at the teachings of the Baha'i Faith. -- Jeff3000 02:01, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

To Tomhab: You keep speaking about this as if we are all under the laws of Shoghi Effendi and the "Universal House of Justice." Please try and remember that we are not Baha'is, and Shoghi Effendi's 'admonishments' to Baha'is about using the photo "reverently" apply to you, not us. Why should we care about how Shoghi Effendi spent his life?

To Jeff3000: My impression is that you Baha'is ask Wikipedia to be more respectful, to have more delicacy, to live more reverently than Baha's do themselves. It's completely sensible to include a photo of the founder of this little known religion in a dictionary. It's information. How can one really understand Baha'i or Baha'u'llah without seeing what he looked like? Even moreso since he's odd looking. "A picture is worth a thousand words." The picture is spreading all over the internet, so it would look pretty lame to not find it at Wikipedia. I tried to keep it short this time. --Mentious 07:08, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

On for crying out loud this is getting rediculous. Once again you spend more time merely bitching at Baha'is rather than structuring an argument. We all know that most wikipedians aren't Baha'is but we still find it mildly offensive having that picture up - you know this. I've quoted the background to it, and besides - if its just a picture why are you getting on your high horse about it? The picture is up there - its not being suppressed - I have never removed or that picture in over a year on wikidia whilst I have had to add it back in after people remove it. And why can the rest of the world recognise the Baha'is as a religion but you can't? Your prejudices have blinded you of any compassion to the fact that that picture is highly shocking to a certain section of society! -- Tomhab 08:55, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

To Tomhab: "Merely b---ing?" My, what undecorous speech for a Baha'i. Shoghi Effendi would not approve. The argument is very clear. I'll boil it down for you: 1) We're not under Baha'i admonitions regarding the photo or 'reverence' for it. 2) This is a dictionary. the subject is little known. The picture is of an important personage, the founder of a religion that permeates the west, and is appropriate in a dictionary that strives to present information objectively, sans devotee 'reverence.' 3) The picture's spreading everywhere else, so why not Wikipedia? Is Wikipedia stricken with 'Baha'i reverence.'

"Just a picture?" No, it is very significant (and interesting) information about the Baha'i Faith. People make decisions that affect their whole lives when they run into Baha'i. People devote their whole lives to it. The first thing that moved me (in my 'independent investigation') was a picture of Abdu'l-Baha. But I would have very much liked the benefit of seeing this other picture, too. It's information. The Baha'is are running a little scam here.

Crying that Baha's are "shocked" doesn't hold water. The picture is only "shocking" to you because you wish it was more "radiant." You are not shocked by pictures of the "Center of the Covenant." And as noted, you Baha'is delight in shocking all other religionists with your outlandish theological claims. Many religionists consider the things that you assert to be patently sacriligious. Lastly, I certainly grant that the Baha'i Faith is a religion. I never said otherwise.

And if it's only "mildly offensive" now, I think we are over the hump. Certainly you can live with a picture of your own 'Blessed Beauty,' your Founder. Hindus keep such pictures all over the place, and indulge much more in the "reverential attitude," and oftener than Baha'is. The photos don't seem to reduce that, but to increase it. Why wait your whole life to be 'reverent,' and then just for 10 minutes in Haifa? Be like good Hindus why not, and let the pic be like 'spiritual food' to you. "Gaze upon my Beauty" and all that. When I see my guru on a computer screen, I always bow my head. I get a hit of devotion often that way. --Mentious 09:16, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

The photo is in the article. The amount of information about the picture in the article would be impractical to place in a caption. The result is the picture has to have it's own section. We lose nothing by placeing them at the end of the article with a link to it at the top.Geni 12:14, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
OK you've made your point and I'm pretty certain you're clear about the Baha'is point of view. If you're still keen to move the picture to the top, then this page isn't the way to do it. You're best option would probably be to find some sort of arbitration to open a wider debate. Formally a Request for Comment or informally (but much easier) get some neutral parties on your side. It might be a little difficult since you might not know any experienced wikipedians but thats about as far as any advice I can give can go. Geni might be someone to talk to as he's been involved in the picture debate for a while (whilst having no heard of Baha'is beforehand I believe). Although I think it was he who suggested the present compromise I'm sure he'll be happy to help when it comes to advising for ways forward.
I hope you understand what I mean by the limitations of a talk page where there are irreconcilable differences, but with wikipedia there is always a way. -- Tomhab 21:11, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

As for me, I don't mind that the photo stays to the bottom of a page, or even under a link. I don't desire to terrorize the poor Baha'is with the surprising visage of their founder. I would have issues only with the complete absence/suppression of the photo. Am I being a suitably compromising 'Wik Scholar' here? --Mentious 21:48, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

If you look at the history of the Baha'u'llah page, you'll notice that both Tomhab and I, among other Baha'is have regularly put back the image, when other people have removed it over the past 6 months or so (look for comments like "revert photo vandalism"). At one point, it was actually getting quite annoying that people, I'm suspecting Baha'is who hadn't read about the compromise, were constantly taking it down, so I added a long comment to just before the image, (which can only be seen if editing the page) telling everyone about the history. Since then, there has been very few photo removals.
So the picture is there to stay, and there are quite a few Baha'is making sure of that. -- Jeff3000 22:33, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps I misunderstood after all. I am certain that there is no chance of a removal of the picture altogether (unless some obscure licencing issue occurs - which really won't happen). I'd quite like the change it to a link, but until there is further guidance from wikipolicy about the tradeoff between mild censorship and offending, this is a fair compromise (in my opinion). -- Tomhab 22:52, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I think I may have traced our vistor (warning don't even think about clicking on this link at work or anywhere lese your internet acess may be monitored)[4].Geni 04:25, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Amazing Geni, how did you found that?. It's really too bad that there is so much hatred for people of different beliefs. -- Jeff3000 04:40, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
I love you Geni. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 08:33, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Very nice. I'd just like to stress though that I suspect that this isn't Mentious, but the anon who intermingled his changes with the rest. No real proof but just thought I'd add that so no-one makes dodgey accusations. Nicely done though Geni. -- Tomhab 12:50, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
The timeing is certianly correct for our anon user.Geni 14:28, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

photo details[edit]

I added some more details about the photo. There was a comment that the actual text accompanying the photo needed to be of a higher quality. How is it now? Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 06:29, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

New comment from Anonymous Baha'i[edit]

going through this site to find a place to discuss or request removal is like a freaking maze. either make a direct and easy link for that or ill get rid of the photograph that is a GREAT OFFENCE TO MY RELIGION Baha'i's are peaceful people. we dont go around protesting wikipedia offices in riots when something like this is allowed. all we ask is that you respect our right for our ADMINISTRATION to decide what is appropriate external use of the picture of His Holiness.


Actully the photograph is not offensive, but must be respected. Shoghi Effendi has written:
"There is no objection that the believers look at the picture of Bahá'u'lláh, but they should do so with the utmost reverence, and should also not allow that it be exposed openly to the public, even in their private homes."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 6, 1939, republished in Lights of Guidance, p. 540)
Wikipedia is however not a Baha'i site, and thus they are being respectful to Baha'is by placing it at the bottom while following the general belief that information should be available. -- Jeff3000 02:17, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

it says "should also not allow that it be exposed openly to the public, even in their private homes" well what in the heck do you call posting it on wikipedia! its exposing it to the public!!!

on the front page where the photo is posted wikipedia self proclaims that they are handling it with respect. with what bearing do they make this proclaimation? clearly if the official bahai website cannot post it on their own site with "respect," in any way, on any of their sites, whatsoever, what makes you think this attempt is anything close to respectful 03:45, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Respect as in not putting it at the top of the page where Bahá'í can't avoid it. Sure we can't meet the formal levels of respect required by the Bahá'í faith but since the law in flourida doesn't require us to we see no real reason to do so. Not everyone reading this article is a Bahá'í. The rest of us may be quite interested in the photo and want to see it.Geni 03:50, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

thats a HUGE slap in the face to peoples religion. you have two options. either completely disregard our religious beliefs and post it, or respect it and be open to everyones understanding of the law of the faith. (even though the words "should also not allow that it be exposed openly to the public, even in their private homes" are clear and explicit) but DONT pervert the words of our religion by implementing your own interperetation of it and forcing Baha'i's to accept that. we will NOT! i notice what has become of the Muhammad page. i dont see HIS picture, let alone anything "of or relating to it" *hint hint* gee i wonder why... can you say double standard 05:36, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

We don have his picture and see Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy I think quite a lot of muslims are upset over this.Geni 06:51, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

nope, when i type in Muhammad on search, and go to His page i do NOT see Muhammad's picture anywhere. and you have yet to respond to everything else i just wrote 08:13, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

There are almost certianly no accuret depictions of mohamed in existance. We do have a picture of him showing how he is sometimes portrayed in this section. If a photo existed I'm sure we would use it.Geni 08:16, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

it shows up immediately on google search. and you are still avoiding what i have just explained to you. dont say you are being respectful by puting it at the bottom, either you are respecting us or not. dont pervert our ordainances. it MAY NOT BE EXPOSED TO THE PUBLIC by our laws. so just say you dont care, and you will continue to disrespect us. but then its interesting to see how you are willing to disrespect 7 million peaceful people for the purpose of a website objective 08:27, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Well we are probably offendin around a billion with Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and probably quite a few more with Piss Christ. Would you rather have the image at the top of the page?Geni 08:30, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I WOULD RATHER you did not try to justify what you are doing with Baha'i quotes.(and you know what i mean by that) please be objective, and i say that on a professional level. to say, "Bahais believe this or that" is none of your place to say. or show the full quote from the Guardian as I have posted. so everyone knows what is being done there is not tollerable by the clear and explicit law of the faith. that is, if it were Bahais running this site, that image would not be there. i think that is completely called for, let alone fair. and is that a threat you have just given? and yeah you are offending over a billion people, myself included with these images of Muhammad. and its a risk no doubt from what we can see all over the world. i pray to God nothing happens to you because of it, like has happened to institution even remotely associated with those who displayed such cartoons, but apparantly thats a risk you have decided to take. many of them are not peaceful like us. good luck with them. 10:51, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Your quote only applies to belivers though. It places no restictions upon my viewing of the photo for example. The comment about haveing the image at the top the page was meant to illustate the point that while haveing the image anywhere on wikipedia is less ideal from a Bahá'í it is probably bettter that it is placed at the end of the article rather than the start where it can be avoided.Geni 13:43, 20 February 2006 (UTC) calm down. You are not the first Baha'i to disagree with the picture being on the page. Please read all the comments on this page. Yes Baha'is don't like to view it (and I myself have blocked the image, see above for instructions on how to do that), but we have to be non-fundamentalist; there are two opposing views, Baha'is don't want to see it (minority), and everyone else wants it to be here. A compromise, which if you go through the consultation above, you will see is to everyone's best is that the picture is at the bottom. The compromise is fragile, if you keep arguing it, and portray Baha'is as fundamentalist the picture will end up at the top, and that is something we don't want. Take a look at the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and it's talk page, and given that those pictures are truly offensive to Muslims the picture is still there and at the top. The majority of people feel that free speach is higher than being offensive. Furthermore disucssions in the talk pages have brought up the issue of Baha'u'llah's photo, and be sure a lot of people would like at it at the top. So please be civil, and understand the work that has been done to have the image at the bottom, and please do not destroy that. Regarding the image of Muhammad, they are not equal because Muhammad's pictures are all artist's depictions and not a photograph. There has been a controversy about a very large picture of a Quran with a "scantily-clad" women in front of it, and Muslims took offense to that, and even that stayed in the article. -- Jeff3000 14:43, 20 February 2006 (UTC), the point is, it that this is not a Bahá'í site. It's an encyclopedia, or trying to be, and it's not the Bahá'ís place to "allow" or "not allow" its display.
This has been the subject of considerable discussion over time and has included many Bahá'ís. The consensus was to put the picture at the bottom with a disclaimer at the top. There was heated opposition even to this "compromise" because they felt that all biography photos belong at the top of the article. Period. No exceptions. No exceptions for the feelings of the potential readers.
They managed to show a little tolerance and accommodate our feelings. It's embarrasing to see fellow Bahá'ís, on about a weekly basis, unable to rise to the occasion — and its our teachings that read "forbearance, mercy, compassion, and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth", don't they? MARussellPESE 15:12, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

you clearly have not read my past post. in my past post i was not refering to the exhibition of the photo itself, but the comments you have next to it, speaking on behalf of Baha'i's. my past post addressed the fact that you are not Baha'i's yourselves. please refer to my past post. that was to geni.

to the next person that posted. "fundamentalist," you are really going to use that word here? okay, suit yourself. i hope you realize how strong that word is and how much it has been perverted by people, to label those who follow clear and explicit laws that others neglect. i am talking about a clear and explicit law. that it may not be exhibited to the public. so if you as a Baha'i are willing to neglect that law, overlook it and settle for something other than what the Guardian has prescribed, thats your choice, I will not judge you, but please do not call someone who follows all the laws of His faith a fundamentalist.

now, lets make note of the fact that even eric stetson's anti-bahai website gives the decency of linking the photo to another page,so you cant get to it directly from Baha'u'llah's page. to the webmastes, would you not find this an appropriate structure? yes i appreciate that you would listen to our plea's, and followed through with what was asked by these people to move it to the bottom, but the fundamental unsettling feature is that you can access the photo from Baha'u'llah front page69.226.34.83 21:34, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you have to understand that at the time, it was a great suprise to those of us who were involved in the initial discussion that the photo would settle into its present state so easily. I wonder though how the present "Mohammad cartoons" put this into context. Although the photograph does not have any satrical value that the cartoons do, it highlights an interesting point - namely that (as far as I know) no-one has dared upload the full quality image. I doubt many can put that down to solely a copyright issue. -- Tomhab 21:57, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually most of the edits done on this page are done by Baha'is. Almost all Baha'is who have been on Wikipedia for a little while agree with the compromise, and actually put the photo back up when it's taken down. These include among myself, MARussellPESE, Tomhab, Occamy, Cunado19, Rboatright, ChristianEdwardGruber and PaulHammond.
Also not looking at the photo of Baha'u'llah is not a Baha'i law. The Guardian has asked that Baha'is handle the photo with respect. It is no where close to the Baha'i laws of prayer, fasting, etc. Furthermore notice that it's Baha'is should handle it with respect; people who are not Baha'is have no reason to handle the photo with respect. Secondly this is not a Baha'i website, and the office of Public Information from the World Centre has said that nothing can be done in these cases. As Baha'is we have to follow the laws of the countries we live in, and Wikipedia follows the western laws which state free speech, and non-censorship have precedence over many things. If you feel strongly that you don't want to see the image of Baha'u'llah, there is nothing forcing you to scroll to the bottom of the page; there is a warning at the top, and furthermore there are instructions here on how to block it in Firefox.
Regarding the link idea has been put forward, and it was voted down by the non-Baha'i contributers. I would support this, but I feel if another vote would be taken at the moment, the photo would appear at the top of the page given the discussion on the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy page -- Jeff3000 22:00, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I also don't see how the article's discussion on the use and display of the photograph could possibly be out-of-turn when considerable effort's been made to extensively quote authoritative texts on-topic. Can't the Guardian and UHJ speak on behalf of all Bahá'ís?, can you see that your sensibilities have been addressed already? You have a warning and the picture's at the bottom of the page. What's left? Removing the photo to suit your sensibilities? And how's that not "fundamentalist"? MARussellPESE 22:13, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

what i see now is an improvement. im glad that that false impression that the manner to which this is displayed (its presence on this site) is not to be acceptable by Baha'i's, according to Baha'i law. --- its not ABOUT looking at the photo. its about its public display. the comments next to it were tailored to make it look like the faith was OK with it being shown like this. that neglects the writings on the issue. you cant just take one thing, and not the other --- about the link idea. i strongly believe it should be reconsidered --- russell my friend, attacking someone else like that wont get us anywhere. say i called you insincere, that could be right or wrong. you would object and wed be here bickering. so lets drop that name calling and try to see where each other is coming from. since this site is not run by Baha'i's, they can do whatever they want. my main objection was the manner to which it reflected the faith's beliefs. now that the faiths beliefs are stacked next to the action of those non-Bahai's, we can have a clear spotlight for all to see. 06:30, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

i also want to point out that no Baha'i is allowed to "speak on behalf" of the faith, but only under their "understanding" of the faith. so to say " not offensive to Baha'i's.." or "Baha'i's believe this...." is baseless unless you have the writings as the primary explaination of that. and in full..not making an evaluation on one line, and neglecting another line that would contradict ones own evaluation. 06:36, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Who deleted my last stunning comments? I responded to, who said:

"but then its interesting to see how you are willing to disrespect 7 million peaceful people for the purpose of a website objective" Brief summary of the more interesting paragraphs that I wrote: The number of "7 million" is a gross exaggeration. In my experience in the Baha'i Faith, Baha'is come up with completely unrealistic and largely invalid "membership numbers" in order to make them selves "look big" and impress people. It's all PR. I am very sensitive to Baha'i propaganda talk, and dishes out loads of it. In the post that somebody wholesale deleted, I explained the ways that Baha's cook up these numbers. Briefly, they leave huge numbers of people on their "rolls" who are long since disaffected. (Like me, for example.) They also sign up huge numbers of villagers in "teaching campaigns," especially in India, who have little serious understanding about what "signing a card" means, and from whom it is a cultural fashion to join all kinds of associations and clubs, especially religous ones.

It is completely valid for me to bring this up here, because brought up the "7 million" propaganda line to make her point, and I consider it a dishonest number. I was in the Baha'i Faith for 15 years, and was the Secretary of a "District Teaching Committee" that explicitly dealt with state membership numbers.

And it's not for the purpose of "a website objective." It's for the purpose of information, and truth. Remember that "independent investigation of truth" thing?

If a Baha'i censor deletes this, I'll post new revelant material. This time I saved what I wrote. --Mentious 12:39, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Mentious, I've been a Bahá'í for thirty five years and we haven't had "District Teaching Committees" in the U.S. for at least twenty. They were summarily closed by the U.S. NSA c. 1985, so your experience is, at-best, dated by at least that much. It's been a long time since the disastrous "teaching campaigns" in South Carolina in the '70s. That embarrasing episode is still fresh in the mind, and I haven't seen anything like that in North America ever since. The SC Bahá'í community was still digging out as late as 1987.
The reason people are left "on the rolls" is that the "disaffected" have to take some initiative and withdraw. The declaration is formal, so it's no less valid to expect the withdrawl to be as well. Any charge that this is hypocritical is nonsense.
By the way, my wife was a Bahá'í for twenty years herself before she realized that the Catholic Church was still counting her on their rolls. She'd been baptized and confirmed, so her enrollment in the Church was certainly formal. All it took was a letter to the diocese and she was off the rolls. No muss, no fuss, no guilt trip. This is exactly the same process we use.
So the Church "cooks its books" too, when they believe that a Catholic is a Catholic whether they're lapsed or not? They, and we apparently, are to kick them out for not doing what: making contributions? attending services? paying non-existent membership fees? You must have been confused about what being a Bahá'í is. It is: "Do you believe?" And the answer to that question is between you and God. If someone's "lapsed" that's generally not anybody's business. But if you really don't believe anymore, then it's not to much to ask to stand up and say so.
By the way. There's a whole article devoted to this: Bahá'í statistics. Have fun there. MARussellPESE 13:59, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Mentious, I deleted your long rambling because it has nothing to do with the photo, which is what this page is about. There is a page about Baha'i statistics, and there have been long discussions about the accurate number of Baha'is, which that page deals with in detail. A long rant on this page is completely out of order. If you have some new information about the photo of Baha'u'llah, then please provide it, or stop talking on this page. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 17:26, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

O.K. Master Censor. You call it "rambling"? Have you read any of the contributions of (Oh I forgot. She's one of yours.) It stayed very focused on her "7 million" statement. And it was a delightful satire and a well-deserved lampooning of Baha'i fanaticism; some of my best. You have other things here that really ARE rambling, undeleted.

Getting deleted from a chat thread really get's my back up. Maybe my talents would be better utilized on the actual Wikipedia pages? I could speak from experience but have a more objective view, knowing both sides of the fence. Wikipedia seems overrun with Baha'i ideologues who have turned it into a Baha'i pamphlet. No negative discussions of Baha'i there. No pro-and-con. Maybe I could contibute a section on Baha'i's gross simplifications and obscurations of the actual teachings of other religions? I am an expert on those subjects. Or a fun section on the Baha'i obsession with forms? Or their "top down" control structure? Or maybe 'Abdu'l-Baha's actual views on negroes, as opposed to the "one race" promo package? If my stuff is going to get deleted from a chat thread, my talents may as well count for something. I mean, there is so much information MISSING from the Wikepedia pages on The Baha'i Faith.

Note to MARussellPESE: Comparing it to the Catholic Church is disingenuous. The numbers game is a high stakes game for the Baha'is, they being new and trying to get established in the world. Baha'i quoting of numbers is a critical technique for them, whereas Catholics have no need. Also, the turnover and 'churning' rate in the Baha'i Faith is ungodly whereas in the Catholic Church it is nill. Thus Baha'i numbers are obviously more inflated than the Catholics. As embarassing as that South Carolina thing was, the activities in India will turn out to be even more embarassing. Indians are not a silly people. --Mentious 07:47, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Did you realise that Encyclopaedia Britanica quotes the 7 million figure? thats why its used here. And you're suggesting adding in that in the opinion of Mentious, this number is inflated. Secondly you're trying to say you "have a more objective view" - more objective than the Encyclopaedia Britanica? Why because you quote Abdu'l-Baha's reference to Negroes. Have you read the quote? Negroes was in very common use before it became out of fashion and he is arguing that all are equal. If we write that Abdul'Baha refered to Negroes on two occasions (in perhaps the most widely published book I'll have you know) then that is INCREDIBLY misleading. Still claiming you're "more objective"? -- Tomhab 16:49, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Yikes. Is there is something insulting about calling them negroes? Even today it is a reasonably dignified term. (Never mind if Blacks keep changing what they want to be called.) No, I was referring to the things that 'Abdu'l-Baha actually said about Black people. (Whatever you might call them.) Have YOU read the quote(s)? He definitely was not arguing that they were equal; quite the opposite. (But this has been hidden from you.)What's "incredibly misleading" is you implying that I claimed the use of "negroes" as the issue. Obviously, "negroes" was a non-perjorative term in use at the time of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Bravo, great distraction tactic. Classic Baha'i obfuscation. But do you think I'm a nitwit?

Next you say: "You're trying to say you 'have a more objective view' - more objective than the Encyclopaedia Britanica?" I have to giggle here. So clever, you Baha'is. You must know that Baha'i's themselves write whatever's in The Encyclopedia Britannica. Last I checked it was nothing but a boilerplate submission from the Baha'i National Center. They've had Brittanica in the bag for a long time. You actually think I'm that stupid? Controlling your propaganda, hiding the actual facts about your religion, and substituting 'progressive' multiculturalism -- these are what you're all about. The suppression of that photograph, and the long suppression of the inconvenient "Book Of Laws" are classic examples.

Just as The Encyclopedia Brittanica has long acted as a simple conduit for the carefully crafted Baha'i promo pack, the same thing is happening here at Wikipedia: Baha'is get an ostensibly objective communication organ to simply act as their mouthpiece. I know you well.

Inflated Baha'i numbers are not just my opinion. Anybody with two licks of sense can see it. And it has been cited by others elsewhere. Besides, I think YOU know it's true.

Lastly, your reply to me begs and begs two questions: 1) Is Wikipedia conceived as nothing more than a xerox of the Encyclopedia Brittanica? Surely not. I think Wikipedia was conceived to be something more alternative, more juicy, and not a reproduction of The Encyclopedia Brittanica. You Baha'is really must try to grasp this "diversity" concept.

2) Now about your catty question: "And you're suggesting adding in that in the opinion of Mentious, this number is inflated." Are the contributions of anonymous idealogues "TomHab," a "Cunado19," and a "" any more creditable than the anonymous contributions of a "Mentious" who's been on both sides of the fence? If so, how?

Finally to MARussellPESE who said: "Mentious, I've been a Bahá'í for thirty five years and we haven't had 'District Teaching Committees' in the U.S. for at least twenty. They were summarily closed by the U.S. NSA c. 1985, so your experience is, at-best, dated by at least that much."

Right, like 'this old codger's just behind the times; we be the New-and-Improved Baha'i Faith.' Your comment is, "at best," irrelevant. Not exactly weighty verses. First class, note this comes from the religion that is not supposed to change and mutate. But it's irrelevant. I am well aware that D.T.C.'s don't exist anymore. You dissolve one committee, start another, give them new names. Big deal. Baha'is can't invent nearly enough committees, right? It's one of their main pastimes. (The Baha'i committee fetish, and their Borg-like "hive" approach to religion would actually make a good section on the Wikipedia pages.)

But Baha's are still up to their old tricks. Why would the Baha'i Faith change? It's supposed to be the religion that doesn't change, right? First the poor of North Carolina; now the poor of India. India's a better strategy because they have all those billions, and Indian villagers love signing those nifty cards. Easier to boost "the rolls."

By the way: "Summarily" is such a classic Baha'i word. They just love those extraneous, portentious words that create an "erudite" atmosphere. And authoritarian words like "summarily" are de rigeur. It makes me smile. It's like I'm with my old pals again plotting the world takeover. Sigh. (Idea for a Wikipedia section: An article on top-down authoritarian control structures like Baha'i, and what types of personalities are attracted to them.)

Note: If somebody deletes this chat post, I'll begin writing for the Wikipedia main pages. I have so much information I could contribute. I can be an engaging writer, and I can capitalize. I could play havoc with the Baha'i agenda on Wikipedia. The stuff I would write would stick and never leave those pages, because others would demand it. Wikipedia could use some "diversity" in their information sources on those pages. I have no wish to terrorize Baha'i 'one-world' plotters. I have family who are still "Baha'is" and I like to consider their feelings. But please don't go deleting my innocent and friendly posts here "summarily" like typical Baha'i authoritarians. --Mentious 01:24, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I see this is going to be fun
Take a look - Abdul-Baha does refer to negroes on occasion. If you've found these "terrible" quotes, please let us know. Now lets see; theres the "savages of Africa" one, or the "barbarians of Africa", or the "are all uncivilised" one perhaps? Each ones of these I've seen twisted beyond context and comprehension.
Encyclopaedia Britanica being a boiler plate? If you mean they use Baha'i sources as their favoured (perhaps only) source? I can't say, but it doesn't sound unlikely. Nevertheless - they choose to use it. If they used a Baha'i count as you're suggestion then their opinion is therefore that the Baha'i count is correct. You are putting into question that opinion so you are saying you 'have a more objective view' than Britanica.
  1. xerox of Britanica? No, but it is a more reliable source than the anonymous alias of Mentious. I have never seen a figure less than 5 million be used in recent times by anything other than a dedicated "anti-Baha'i" website.
  1. As for opinions of Tomhab, Cunado being greater than Mentious? You're correct there - none of us have a greater say. The problem is we have better sources on our side. If you want we can call a Request For Comment which is where we get the opinions of Wikipedians who have never heard of the Baha'i faith based on our individual arguments. Their judgement is pretty binding. To be perfectly honest I'd love to see your argument.
Now as for the inflated numbers. I suspect the oft used method for believing that these number are inflated is something such as:
I've seen estimates of between 2000 - 6000 Baha'is in UK - using the smaller number for arguments sake. The Baha'i faith in the UK have been notoriously unsuccessful since the 70s so are considered a struggling community - as least compared to some others. Now... there are 60 million peole in the UK. Find the ratio and do the math and we see there are around 200,000 Baha'is in the world. That ignores the fact that the UK is an unsuccessful country at teaching/converting/prosetylising (you can choose the word if you like) Baha'is. Bare in mind that there were 500,000 Baha'is in Iran at the turn of the 19th/20th century, and supposedly around 1 million just before the Iranian revolution. Of course it is here you argue that these numbers were inflated too, but there is nothing I can do about that.
If you'd like to print these black/negro quotes and any notes on inflated figures, that would be great. -- Tomhab 12:39, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Mentious, you need to assume good faith and stop presuming some conspiracy is at work. We have to support every statement up here on Wikipedia with verifiable sources. If you've got proof that the numbers are inflated — produce it.

Comparing our "exit procedures" to the Church's is not at all disingenuous. I was noting that the processes are identical. Your assertion that Bahá'í motives are different than the Church's is not only non sequitur and un-supported, it shows that you don't know how seriously the Church takes its own stagnant membership and declining funds.

Cuñado's deleting your edits here was vandalism. However, your comments are misplaced here on a discussion of Bahá'u'lláh's photo; and I am having the devil's own time trying to follow your various arguments here. Pricipally, because you are discussing issues that are over twenty years old. Most of these just don't exist anymore. It's by no means irrelevant to point out that, if you haven't been a Bahá'í for twenty-odd years, your experience is not at all current. I don't recognize the U.S. NSA and I lived minutes from the National Center for fifteen years.

And yes, Mentious, the Faith is supposed to change. It's called growth and development. That's what the lion's share of Shoghi Effendi's work with the community was all about. The priciples don't change, but the implementation has to — it's called "evolution" and "development". In letters to the community around the world, Shoghi Effendi used "evolution" over 200 times; "development" of the "community" over 50 times; and "development" of "institutions" over 60 times. Between 1983 and 1992 alone (Apparently just in time for you to miss it, it seems.), the UHJ referred to "evolution" over 25 times and "development" of "institutions" over a dozen. The idea that the Faith somehow isn't supposed to change fails to grasp the basic processes at work in this religion. One of them is that you learn from your mistakes — correct them and change. MARussellPESE 03:00, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't wish to take this thread farther afield, having spoken my bit for now. I also don't enjoy terrorizing sincere religionists of whatever stripe. Besides, I'm bored. That's the biggest problem with the Baha'i Faith. Boring. At least the leaked photo made it interesting for a short spell. --Mentious 04:25, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Moved from Talk:Bahá'u'lláh 24 March 2006[edit]


Given the recent ruckuss over the Muhammad caricatures, one could almost say that is incessant removal of the photo of Baha'u'llah is restained - I don't think anyone here has received a death-threat yet :) -- Tomhab 12:48, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Oh yes, we have to watch out for those Baha`i militants, ready to issue death threats at the merest slight. *eyeroll*
More pertinantly, the section on the photograph of Bahá'u'lláh really does belong at the top of this article, but I'm not going to stick around and try and change it really. But I do think it is worth thinking about moving it up to the top; yes, it might offend some Baha'i (though the only one I know doesn't seem offended by pictures of him, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't draw conclusions from her) but I think that our standard of putting portraits at the top of biographical articles should be preserved. Beyond that, though, even if that move doesn't happen, the section next to the photo needs to be edited; it is not cleanly written nor NPOV, and makes it look like Wikipedia panders to religious groups. Titanium Dragon 05:18, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
There is a subpage for the discussion of the photo. Unless there is some new information there won't be any changes to the current situation. And just as a sidenote, Baha'is aren't offended by viewing the photo, and it's a completely different situation from the Muhammad-cartoon issue (although strangely related). Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 05:54, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Placing the photo at the end of the article is a long-standing consensus that many Bahá'í editors maintain. Anonymous editors (Almost certainly Bahá'ís in my opinion.) delete this photo at least weekly, and it's reverted within hours usually.
I have never seen a wikipedia policy [5] or guideline[6], and I've looked hard, that states that biographies should have a portrait, if available, much less its placement in the article. This is as close to the topic as I can find. Can you cite this? MARussellPESE 06:15, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
The note by the photo states: "Copies of both pictures are on display at the Bahá'í World Centre in the International Archives building, where the Bahá'ís view it as part of an organized pilgrimage". In my experience, only one photo is shown to pilgrims in the International Archives building; presumably it is the other image. The text should therefore be changed, though I shall first wait a while for comments. --Occamy 16:00, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
You are correct. The text in the article was copied loosely from a Universal House of Justice letter here which says "There are copies of both pictures at the Baha'i World Centre and one of these is displayed in the International Archives". I agree the article is therefore incorrect. -- Tomhab 16:11, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I noticed that too. I was just too lazy to correct it. I fixed it just now. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 18:06, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

First MARussellPESE whether there is an official policy or guideline or not, there is a consensus that if a picture is available and not copyright-protected, for any person article, that picture should be displayed. You only have to view the biographies on wikipedia to confirm this for yourself.

And Secondly, we are not writing this article to satisfy or be acceptable to Baha'is. So whatever Shogdi or the UHOJ says or doesn't say is irrelevant. Removing a picture to conform with what they find acceptable would be POV. Wjhonson 14:04, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Wjhonson, do you actually read what people post? I'm on-record actually supporting keeping the picture in the article. I was asking for the citation because people, like you, say "it's consensus", but don't actually point to where that consensus was arrived at — which is what policies [7] and guidelines[8] are all about. But maybe you haven't read those either. Prevalence is not the same as consensus. MARussellPESE 15:05, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I would say that if 99% of all biographies that have available non-copyright pictures, actually show those pictures, that's pretty much a consensus. I did read what you posted above and it doesn't say you do or don't support the picture's appearance btw. Wjhonson 15:18, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
"Placing the photo at the end of the article is a long-standing consensus that many Bahá'í editors maintain." isn't clear? You may refer to Talk:Bahá'u'lláh/Photo where this topic is discussed at length. I've also a couple of photo deletion reversions: [9] & [10], but finding those is admittedly very obscure. I'll revert this on the spot, but Jeff3000, Cuñado, or Geni usually beat me to the punch. MARussellPESE 16:13, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I think the point is, there is no policy stating that the picture must be at the top, and there are policies that suggest using wisdom when placing pictures that might be controversial or offensive for whatever reason. Unless you have some earthshaking new ideas about the whole subject, there won't be any change to the picture. Nothing mentioned so far hasn't been brought up already. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk
Perhaps I am being naive but why is it so difficult to respect the heartfelt wishes of others, let a lone a whole community of people. The viewing of the the picture of Bahá'u'lláh is to bahai's a sacred experience. I am extremely lucky/blessed to have been able to have that experience twice in my short lifetime (special circumstances) and I hope to God that I will be able to one more time, at least, before I die. Most bahai's are only able to view it once in their life if even that. This is why displaying so gratuitously the picture of Bahá'u'lláh is such a disrespectful act towards the bahai's who wait many years to be able to view it for a few moments. And just so it is clear this is the way the bahai's want it. The viewing of the picture is part of a greater experience; the pilgrimage. If we kept the picture wherever we wanted there would be the danger of two extremes, loss of reverence or perhaps worse the idol-izing of the picture itself. The accidental viewing of the picture (for instance if one were searching wikipedia for some facts about the life of Bahá'u'lláh) can be traumatic for a bahái and there is a feeling of violation. This is why I ask that instead of the picture there be a link. I know that this has been requested before but I feel as a bahai I am at least obliged to ask.
Warm regards, Jakob Regin Eðvarðsson, Icelandic bahai.
P.s. apologies if my comment is a bit disjointed, just trying to make a few points. - unsigned by User:

I don't believe there's danger anybody's gonna start "idolizing" that picture. (But you wish!) But how is a "manifestation" ever gonna "manifest" if he never gets to be seen? If a person claims to be a high fallootin' "Manifestation of God" I think it is meet and seemly...I mean, it behooveth people like Wikipedia to post the photo. If the picture is in fact holy, you should look at it daily. Feast your eyes on it. After all, this is the "Blessed Beauty." Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians use photos naturally to increase their experience of daily devotion and attunement to their spiritual masters. Why must Baha'is deprive themselves and limit themselves to one spiritual experience per lifetime, in a far-off land, when others get to look upon their "Blessed Beauties" and have a spiritual experience with it daily? It's pretty obvious from reading Baha'u'llah's "Hidden Words" that the 'guru' (or 'manifestation') is supposed to be personally worshipped. That book -- one of their most important -- drips with that. You Baha'is say that all the religions are the same. Yet you are so obtuse. If this is a picture of a divine being, it could only help the world to see it. What worthless 'devotees' Baha'is make. Not a lick of devotion in them. Keep that picture posted till they finally get some religion. --Mentious 04:49, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

If there is not any new information or suggestions about the appearance or position of the photo, then there is nothing to talk about here. Mentious, thanks for making your opinion known, it's been duly noted several times on this page already. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 20:53, 2 April 2006 (UTC)


I have moved the image to the top of the page as per standard practice that Wikipedia is not here to give into certain sensibilities but for the common informative good and giving into to a compromise due to someone's relgious foibles is against our goal. Also WP:NOT censored so that it doesn't offend people as shown by Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy which should be seen as the predominant example here. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 00:41, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

You are ignoring a mountain of talk pages and the consensus of several editors, both Baha'i and not-Baha'i, and administrators. I reverted. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 00:47, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I reverted back since consensus is pointless when it violates the style guidelines for articles and Wikipedia policies as well as illogically giving into a religious POV. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 00:49, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Guidelines, are just guidelines, and not policy. There is quite a difference. Consensus has been reached, and the image is at the bottom. -- Jeff3000 00:50, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Consensus is crap if it's based on a religious POV just because they don't want a picture of their "idol" on the top of an article. That's an invalid reason to move an article down to the bottom of an article I don't see why people put up with the Bahá'u'lláhist's crap if even the Islamic editors and readers have put up with the pictures of him on the top of a dozen or so articles. I see this as you guys stating that they put up so much of a fight that we just gave up rather than fight them even more and that's the impression I got from reading the page and all the archives of discussions. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 00:53, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
There are many non-Baha'i editors who think the placement of the image is just right. You have the right to disagree, but the consensus has already been made through much discussion. And the Baha'i editors, while we wish the image wasn't here at all, enforce the consensus by putting back the image, every time a random Baha'i comes and takes it off. So we are not just going by our religious crap as you call it, but we go by the consensus. Check the history of the page and you'll notice that there are many Baha'is that put the image back up whenever it's removed. So we actually go against what our religion teaches, but we do it because consensus was built. -- Jeff3000 00:57, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm not going to revert again since I have no urge to get blocked for 3RR violations in a pointless edit war when there are millions of fanatics with their stupid religious POV's who are more than willing to corrupt Wikipedia and censor it to comply with their views. The way I see it your just giving in to the fanatical religous zealots and their point of view at the expense of encyclopedic content and a compromise is just a way of hiding the fact that they probably knew they'd never get it entirely off but this way they still win. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 01:00, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

I fail to see censorship in this agreement. The picture is on the page, and linked to in the introduction. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 01:05, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

How do we (the Baha'is) win. The image is there, against our wishes, and the fact that it is at the bottom probably gets it more attention that anything. Secondly we, by constantly restoring it when it gets removed, are going against our religious beliefs. There is no religious fundamentalism here. A reasonable consensus was made, and we are working within it. -- Jeff3000 01:07, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
"Consensus is crap if it's based on a religious POV just because they don't want a picture of their "idol" on the top of an article." This is illogical. Consensus building can not be based on considerations of the attitudes of the people involved? Or is that only when they disagree with you? Most Baha'is would really rather not have the picture in, but we are the fanatics because we have strong feelings on something that differs from yours? Thank you for contributing to the discussion. Most helpful. MARussellPESE 13:26, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

"If there is not any new information or suggestions about the appearance or position of the photo, then there is nothing to talk about here. Mentious, thanks for making your opinion known, it's been duly noted several times on this page already. Cuñado"

Cunado, you pretty much dominate this territory along with a few others. And your opinion has been stated and restated several times also, and "duly noted." I was responding to a new post directly above mine, by Jakob Regin Eðvarðsson, Icelandic bahai, who added fresh exclamations to this thread. If you have the right to repeat yourself and be a Baha'i partisan here, I have a right to respond to the Baha'i partisans.

I am trying to assist Baha'is with the trauma of seeing their "Manifestation." I am also trying to help them get a little broader view of such things; a little broader understanding of religious principles as they exist in other faiths. That might help them survive this trauma, and actually learn a little bit about the other religions which are supposed to be so similar to theirs. Baha'is would actually understand their own books better if they took off the horse blinders and actually learned about other religions. Maybe then Baha'is might one day "Forget all save Me and commune with My spirit" and all that. (You know, the essence.) Maybe acually get interested in their religion instead of just ruling the world. My comments are completely valid here, and from a religious point of view. And verily, the hubbub here (about the photo) is entirely a religious hubbub. So get off your high horse. (I mean your Buh-High horse.)

About the posts just above: To post the photo at the bottom is obviously a 'devotee's' stance, nothing more. To post the photo at the top is obviously the religiously neutral stance. --Mentious 00:56, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

No. A 'devotee's' stance would be to remove the image. So much information about the photo is now built into that section of the article that it would be impracticle to place it at the top.Geni 02:29, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

consensus may change. it is true that this article sets a dubious precedent, but at least not a precedent of all-out censorship. Now, if you are unhappy with the present situation, it is up to you to organize a new poll and advertise it. If you manage to get 80% of voting editors (that is, established WP editors, not a Bahai sock army) to support moving the image to the top, you have a new consensus. Until then, I suppose it will have to stay at the bottom. "bottom of the article", as far as I am concerned, means "bottom of the article body". It is obviously nonsense to have a content section inserted even after the "see also" and "external links" sections. dab () 14:03, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

If you look through the history of this talk page, and surrounding talk pages before and during the time the consensus was taking place (it has since become more of a message board), you will notice that there were many well-respected Wikipedia editors who were (and are) not Baha'is (some of whom were administrators) who participated in the discussion and consensus-building. The Baha'i editors were also all distinct editors (not sock-puppets), who had some, if not a lot, of history in Wikipedia (Baha'i and not Baha'i pages). The decision was to have the image available to everyone, and not have censorship, but also limit the disturbance that Baha'is who come to the page will have, by placing the image at the bottom, with an obvious note at the top. The note at the top, more than anything, makes the image (and it's surrounding controversy) more obvious, and most viewers will probably spend more time looking at it, and for Baha'is that is not an issue. (We do not mind if others look at the image, (but hopefully respectfully)) The Baha'is themselves do not wish to see the image, and thus the image was placed at the bottom of the page, where most Baha'is (viewers, and also editors) do not have to see the image if they do not want to. The location of the image below the references and see also makes sense in that light, because the note at the top makes it very obvious that the image exists, and it being below the references and see also serves the purpose to limit exposure to the Baha'is who are reading the article fully. -- Jeff3000 15:55, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
We could put another note just at the end of the text of the article, if you like. -- Jeff3000 16:00, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Mild wording change and link fix[edit]

Greets. I made some minor wording changes and fixed an external reference. Because this section is so contentious, could someone please look it over and confirm that I haven't broken consensus. I see them as minor changes, but I want to be fair. --Christian Edward Gruber 18:42, 27 April 2006 (UTC)


"A compromise was required because it is Bahá'í practice to not view this image, while the goal of Wikipedia is to neutrally present all information available. The picture has been placed at the bottom of this page to satisfy both interests."

That's garbage. The goals of Wikipedia are the only thing that matters here. This is not a place for Baha'i practice, or for that of any other religion. I intend to move the photograph to a more prominent place in the article.Timothy Usher 01:30, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is about consensus, a consensus was built. You can't just go against that. -- Jeff3000 01:31, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
If that consensus knowingly compromised the goal of wikipedia, as is frankly admitted by the warning I've quoted above, we certainly can; indeed, we're obliged to do so. Also see WP:NBD.Timothy Usher 01:35, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
The note that the note in the comments is more directed at Baha'is who keep deleting the image. Even though we keep putting the image back in the article, it limits the photo vandalism. The location of the image does not go against any Wikipedia policy. The image is not censored, and in fact the note at the top, and the discussion on the image, makes it more prominent than anything. The actions by the Baha'i editors, by putting the image back every time it's deleted, shows that we are indeed not trying to censor anything. -- Jeff3000 01:39, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Timothy Usher's point is valid: we don't need to compromise with photo vandals. Wikipedia is a de facto secular encyclopedia: it does not adhere to any religious faith, affirm any religious doctrine, or follow any religious code of conduct. We don't have anti-blasphemy or anti-heresy laws on Wikipedia, and with good reason. It is not necessary for us to "compromise" with religious articles of faith, even for the noble goal of avoiding offending people, when doing so shows defential treatment to certain religions and thus biases Wikipedia.
So what, I'm free to insert blasphemous statements into articles at my whim? I can just post them on any article I please? You better the heck explain what this "good reason" for not having any such "laws" is. 03:02, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
However, Jeff3000 is also correct that the current compromise was one that was long-fought for, and Wikipedia is run by consensus, with the most recent consensus being that we should leave the image in the article, but have it at the bottom so it can be put in its proper context and explained (and, presumably, so that we don't offend certain people unnecessarily). If certain users feel that this consensus is mistaken, then we should make our arguments, discuss the issue reasonably, and attempt to establish a new consensus, which agrees to place the image at the top of the article. We should not rush into editing the article willy-nilly and get into unproductive revert wars or arguments over the issue; in time, history has shown that Wikipedia tends to correct such errors, and precedent strongly shows that Wikipedia does not need to adhere to any specific religion where doing so compromises its ability to provide information in a consistent and useful way: see the image at the top of Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. If the image isn't moved to the top of the article next week, it probably will in a few months, or in a year; there's no big deadline to meet, and therefore no reason to get hot-headed about this issue, one way or the other. It is perfectly possible to discuss these matters reasonably and patiently, no matter how clearly wrong you believe the other side to be. :) -Silence 01:58, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Timothy the photo has it's own setion that is linked to at the top of the page. How prominent do you want the thing to be?Geni 01:59, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Silience, I understand your points somewhat, but if Baha'i religious doctrine was followed, then the image would not be here at all. In fact, the Baha'i editors have constantly put the image back on the page when it is taken off, going against our religious beliefs. If censorship is the issue, as was the case with the cartoon controversy, then I believe that there is no censorship here, as the image is in the article; moreover, due to the note at the top, the image much more visible. How many more people have come to see the image of Baha'u'llah just because of the note, which in many ways goes against what Baha'is beleive is decent behaviour of a Manifestion of God (again going against Baha'i belief). As Geni notes above, the image with it's note and own section is more prominent than it would be if it was at the top. -- Jeff3000 02:07, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
"but if Baha'i religious doctrine was followed," - I didn't say that the doctrine was being followed exactly, I said that we're compromising with the doctrine: finding a middle ground between Wikipedia policy and religious beliefs. And that's what Timothy and I have a problem with. If we compromise between Wikipedia's standards and a religion's doctrine on this issue, then we must, to be fair, to do the same for every other religious doctrine.
The problem here is that you're assuming that just because some Baha'i editors don't find the current compromise acceptable, that means we're at an ideal point of balance between Wikipedia's policies and Baha'i's standards and articles of faith; obviously that's an extremely unreliable indicator, though. If we moved the image at the top of Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy to the very bottom of the article, and Muslims still tried to delete it, would that mean that the situation is ideal? Of course not.
There is no more need to reach a "middle ground" between Wikipedia's policies and goals and the beliefs and ethics of Baha'i followers than there is to find a "middle ground" between Wikipedia's policies and goals and the beliefs and ethics of Buddhists, or Scientologists, or Mithraists. When Wikipedia's goals are best served with a "10" and Baha'i's beliefs are best followed with a "0", the correct response is not to go for a "5", as we currently are, but to go for a "10"!
"As Geni notes above, the image with it's note and own section is more prominent than it would be if it was at the top." - Patently false. Having the image at the very bottom of the article, where users must scroll all the way through all of the external links, references, see alsos, notes, and other sections of the article just to find it (and anyone familiar with Wikipedia's page layout style will be baffled by this, as no user would ever expect to find an image in this placement; I expect that any user who is skimming and misses the note you speak of and just starts digging into the article will stop reading near the end and never even realize that the image section is there!), is inherently more out-of-the-way and less prominent than if the image was at the very top of the article, where it would be mandatory for everyone who comes to the page to immediately see it. If you hide a prize behind a door for a person to seek out, it is always more out-of-the-way than if you'd simply given the prize to the person, even if you go out of your way to construct a giant glowing neon sign explicitly telling people to open the door to find the prize. That's simply unavoidable. -Silence 02:21, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I really don't think there has been a compromise with Wikipedia policy. Wikipedia policy is about presenting information, and the image is on the page with lots of information about it. What the location of the image does, is that is allows those who choose to not want to view it, to not view it. Anyone who still wants to view the image, can still do that with its current placement.
Now you have a point with the image being below the references and the notes, and I've now moved it to the section just before the See also section. It is much more discoverable at this location (even though the note would have been read by anyone reading the article anyways). -- Jeff3000 02:30, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy is a poor comparison. this article is not called Photo of Bahá'u'lláh the photo is only a fairly small part of his life.Geni 03:07, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
There is no policy stating that the image has to be at the top of the article. In fact there are only 'suggestions' on where to put images. It is not compromising wikipedia policy, because there is no policy. It is also not pandering to a religious POV, because the image is on the page. All the Baha'i editors would rather have the image linked on or off-site, which would likewise be a reasonable situation because the information is not being censored. There is a misunderstanding here that Baha'is are somehow offended by the image, which is not the case. Baha'is prefer to only view the image as part of pilgrimage, which is a once-a-lifetime special event. Casually coming across the image sort of ruins it for them, so Baha'is deserve the opportunity to not view the image. If it's on the top of the page they will have no choice. If there is a warning then they will know how to navigate the page without looking at it. The first time I saw it on this page it was quite a shock (although I already saw it in Haifa).
If you want to re-hash the discussion, then I suggest having an in-text link to the image, or creating a new page called 'Photo of Baha'u'llah' and moving the contents of the section to it, with the image on the top of the page. Short of these options I would suggest moving it back underneath the references. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 07:55, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Cunado that the photo should be be at the very end of the article. The reason is simply that those wanting to see the photo can hit the END key and see it immediately while readers who prefer not to see the image--because of feelings of reverence--can scroll through the article to the references without inadvertently viewing the image. Seems a reasonable compromise to me. --Occamy 20:18, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

I moved the photograph section below the references. It has been there for over a year with no problem. Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 05:32, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

This compromise is a shame for Wikipedia. Marc Mongenet 23:55, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Simple alternative way to think about the photo; grist for the mill.[edit]

Censorship = attempt to keep people from seeing/hearing/knowing something.

The Universal House of Justice already said Baha'is should not worry about sites that are not owned/operated by Baha'is, and that there is no objection, fundamentally to Baha'is viewing the picture. It is rather that Baha'is would wish to view it in a respectful mode, the display of which on hte website not being seen as such.


Spoiler-alert = a polite warning and restructuring of an article, so that the reader who may not wish to view some upcoming material has an opportunity to avoid it.

The photograph of Baha'u'llah is there for those who wish to see it. For those who do not wish to see it, it is put at the bottom with sufficient linking so as not to obscure it. Further details are given as to the issue in a section which, if anything, heightens the profile of the picture, despite its location. This is not analagous to censorship, but rather to the above-mentioned spoiler alerts. Several wikipedians representing a self-styled "secular" attitude towards wikipedia have argued that putting the picture near the end is "hiding" it in violation of wikipedia standards and practices. As several others (Baha'is and otherwise) have pointed out, there is no wikipedia policy on the location of the image in a biography. However, the relevant precedent is information that an interested viewer/reader might not want to see - for example story details that might spoil the viewer/reader's appreciation of the item under discussion.

Since Baha'is experience the presentation of one of the photographs during their pilgrimage, they are in an entirely similar situation to the aforementioned interested reader/viewer who would prefer to know, in advance, that they might come across something which would spoil their experience. If altering the order of the article to allow a viewer to come across the picture in the manner of their choosing (i.e. they can always click the convenient link and directly transit to the photo section) is "kowtowing" to the "devotee view", then putting up a spoiler alert with polite whitespace is kowtowing to the proverbial "fan who hasn't seen the movie yet". It's an identical process. No attempt is seriously entertained by the regular and active editors to censor the picture. It is a simple effort of courtesy. Baha'is are free to view the picture, and it is a matter of personal conscience how they go about it. Those who are not Baha'is are also free to view the picture.

Somehow, there is this opinion that neutrality and "secularism" requires that sensitivities be entirely and deliberately overruled. Such a process is proselytizing in reverse. It is attempting to force a secular POV on the article. The current consensus, as I see it, allows the reader full choice and control, and certainly doesn't prefer the secular or Baha'i perspective, but rather attempts to preserve both needs and present them in a way that doesn't clash. To push further in either direction, I feel, is an exercise in a stubbern clinging to POV, Baha'i or secular.

side note, I dislike the use of term secular to describe wikipedia, because it often has (at least) two implications; one which is neutral and non-judgemental to any particular faith and viewpoint - simply that which is nonreligious or without religious bias; and the other is specifically judgemental and hostile to faiths and "devotee" viewpoints. Put another way, one means tolerance and openness, the other means hostility and opposition. Wikipedia should, I believe, prefer the former over the latter, but the term itself is overloaded - hence my dislike in applying it. In the latter case, secularism is often conflated with radical Atheism, free thought movements, etc. and becomes another POV, and, according to wikipedia policies, should not be "kowtowed to" any more than should Baha'i, Muslim, Christian, or Flying Spaghetti Monster sensitivities. However, as a non-religious, or non-religously-biased encyclopaedia, wikipedia can be remarkably generous and neutral to all parties and views. To me that's the ideal.

Anyway, there it is - just a thought I had when reading over the yet more recent incarnation of this (in my own POV) ridiculous argument. --Christian Edward Gruber 21:40, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

well dont say that the UHJ says "dont worry about it" show me a quote to back that up as far as i can see the OPI has said:

For Bahá'ís, the photograph of Bahá'u'lláh is very precious and it should not only be viewed but also handled with due reverence and respect, which is not the case here. Thus, it is indeed disturbing to Bahá'ís to have the image of Bahá'u'lláh treated in such a disrespectful way. However, as the creator of the site is not a Bahá'í, there is little, if anything, that can be done to address this matter. We hope these comments have been of assistance.

(Office for Public Information, 1999 Sept 04, Photo of Baha'u'llah on Web Site) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Actually, you quoted the quote that backs that up. As you cite, However, as the creator of the site is not a Bahá'í, there is little, if anything, that can be done to address this matter. This is the case with Wikipedia. The creator of the site, and the majority of its editors, are not Baha'i and not subject to Baha'i law. Because this is a neutral encyclopedia, non-Baha'is wish to have the picture displayed. When I paraphrased "don't worry about it", I was referring to "there is little, if anything, that can be done". A compromize has been reached that is as respectful as we can hope, considering the non-Baha'i nature of the site, and we must be gracious and non-fanatical, in my personal view. --Christian Edward Gruber 13:25, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I would like to see how all the so called Christians react, if I posted a picture of Jesus, making fun of him (perhaps on the cross). It is common curtesy for every human being to be sensitive towards others, no matter how silly this may seem to them. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Well lets find out. Would you consider Piss Christ be a valid example?Geni 16:52, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Simply start and print "jesus cartoon" into the textfield ( You can download blasphemic jesus cartoons gigabytewise. -- 08:33, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

False Photograph[edit]

What is written in the article is untrue. There was only ONE photograph taken of Baha'u'llah, not two. The one photograph taken is the one on that is on display in the archives in Haifa. I have seen this picture, and the picture shown on this website is neither the same picture, nor is it a picture of the same personage. The claims that this photograph is a photograph of Baha'u'llah are false. The person in this photograph bears no physical resemblance to the personage in the photograph on display in the archives. Their ages appear to be the same, so the dissimilarity in resemblence cannot be ascribed to age differences in the same person. I'm going to correct the text on display claiming "two pictures" were taken of this historical figure, and am going to remove the picture. Quite frankly, all this debate is quite ridicules. I respect the Baha'is right to respect the Manifestations of God by not portraying their images publically, but they seem a bit too defensive. THeir all worried about showing his picture publicaly, and this isnt even his picture. Apparently this picture has been distributed, even among Baha'is. These people havent even seen the picture in the archives. I cannot emphasize how different in appearance the two personages in the two photographs are. Why do you think they never show the archives picture online? Or never show the two photographs together? Because it would be obvious that one of them is a false picture. Thank you.

To quote the Baha'i World Centre:
"In one of His epistles, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of Bahá'u'lláh, wrote that two photographs of Bahá'u'lláh were taken, both in Adrianople, Turkey, each in a different pose. There are copies of both pictures at the Bahá'í World Centre and one of these is displayed in the International Archives where it is viewed by Bahá'í pilgrims. The image reproduced on the Web site in question seems to be a poor reproduction of one of these photographs."(Office for Public Information, 1999 Sept 04, Photo of Baha'u'llah on Web Site)
Cuñado Bahaitemplatestar.png - Talk 17:29, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

I read every single word of this discussion. When I open the page of fellatio, I want to see a picture of fellatio (regularly authorized by its author) or insert one if there aren't any, as this is a free encyclopedia where neutral information is provided. HOW other people react about it is not my business, as I have the right to see the picture when I open the page, and not on a link, or a drawing. You could say that in Florida it is not allowed by the law. Well, the World Wide Web is not Florida. Florida is a minority in the world. Resuming your attitude: Florida is a minority, its laws must be respected. The Baha'i Faith is a minority, but its laws are not respected. Fine, so put both photos or take them both off. Be truly neutral. --Eleweb 00:36, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Blatant violation of neutrality[edit]

You know what I mean. Shame on you. Marc Mongenet 21:38, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Nice Hint[edit]

Simply logg onto Baha'u'llahs German article (, if you want to se a picture of B.U. . They've come over this senseless quarrel. Wikipedia isn't a site for worship and as long no Baha'i is forced to download this image, making a cult with photos is an internal problem for Baha'is, not for Wiki-users!-- 08:28, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Please remove the picture[edit]

Good day to you all I would like to point out that the picture of Bahaullah should be removed this picture affends many Baha'is and a shocking to many people. Thankyou if you would like to talk ot me please do not heisetant to chat with me




Hi, everyone.

I'm not sure where to put this, as this is my first time to post in one of the talk pages (I was expecting a more BBS-type format), so I'm posting it here.

My wife and I are Baha'is. We were scrolling down the Baha'u'llah page to see what was here, and came across the photograph(s) of Baha'u'llah. We were so shocked that my knee-jerk reaction was to delete the image (or rather the first image -- the passport image). First and foremost, I want to apologize for doing this, especially in light of the recent deletions of His image on other pages, and because an agreement has already previously been reached between Baha'i and non-Baha'i Wikipedians. Fortunately, due to the nature of Wikis, this should be easily reversible.

Secondly, I wanted to suggest another compromise... or reiterate a previous suggestion. I know this is highly unusual for Wikipedia, but I wanted to once again see if it would be possible to put the photographs on a separate page (e.g. "Photographs of Baha'u'llah"), not just at the bottom of the article of Baha'u'llah. It's still too easy to come across, as my wife and I found out. (Yes, I know that there's and index at the top, but that's not necessarily the best defense.)

I know you all don't owe me or my wife anything (especially after my "vandalism"), and that the objectivity and completeness of Wikipedia has already been compromised, but please take this further suggestion under consideration.

Thank you, Rnricklefs 02:57, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I was the one that reverted the image removal. You weren't engaging in vandalism because you were making a good faith effort to make the article better. I understand that this is a sensitive issue and I really should have left you a note after I put the image back; I'm sorry for that. I believe that the photo should be there because Wikipedia is not censored. People have also had different points of view about how this policy applied to the Muhammad related articles, so not everyone would agree with me. I'm not going to debate the matter further, I'll leave it up to those who regularly edit the article. I just wanted to make it clear that you didn't vandalize anything. shotwell 03:32, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the photo has to stay on the page, so that there are no accusations of censorship. Over the history of the article many anonymous Bahá'í editors have taken the photo off, and there are many others, including regular Bahá'í editors, who put it back up, as it should be. The note at the top of the page serves both as a spoiler alert ({{spoiler}}), for those who don't want to see the image, and a notice for those who don't immediately know that an image exists but who want to see the image. Regards, -- Jeff3000 03:54, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
It's very important for Baha'is to recognize the nature of the various media, including this one, where the religion is presented. However distasteful we may find a presentation, if it's done in good faith we really are bound by courtesy and respect, I think, to exercise forbearance and understanding.
The alternative starts going in the direction that ultimately leads to the kind of self-righteousness and intolerance that the Muhammad cartoons represented on both sides.
As the religion is more widely presented, we'll have more and more opportunities for exposure which will provide more challenges to meet. Rnricklefs, I appreciate very much your thoughtful reflection. From the time-stamps you did so very quickly. Mazel Tov! That demonstrates the flexibility and thoughtfulness we could use a lot of here. Hope to see more of you both. MARussellPESE 14:08, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Me again.
I just wanted to say that I completely understand the view of Wikipedia at large and in this instance; I'm sure that if I weren't a Baha'i, my goal in this article would also be for the completeness and objectivity shown in all other articles. With this in mind, I am definitely grateful for the willingness that has already been shown to move the picture to the bottom of the page. Rnricklefs 17:20, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
It was not an attempt to make Wikipedia better, but to make the world better for Baha'i faith. Marc Mongenet 18:41, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Would this work?[edit]


Looking around for another "bonfire to toss sticks on" :), I found this. I had an idea that might or might not work. A problem I noticed with the present arrangement is that if one wants to scroll to the categories, or references section, one can't help but glance at the photograph. And there are many good reasons that people would want to check out the references, notes, etc.. Some people just use that scrollbar, and if they didn't see the "note" informing one of the presence of the picture, they might glimpse it, and this could be very disturbing to them if they are Bahá'ís.

It seems that completely removing the photograph is not going to happen anytime soon if at all, but there may be something that might be close enough -- put the photo on a separate page, with a cryptic name that isn't likely to be entered by accident. Then, on the "photograph" section, there would be a link to a confirmation page, with a boilerplate stating prominently (like this) that Bahá'ís are not supposed to view this photograph here, and that it is provided only to ensure the comprehensiveness of the encyclopedia. The confirmation page would reiterate the warning in even bigger letters, and then provide a link to the actual photograph itself.

In addition, the phrase at the top

"Note: A photograph of Bahá'u'lláh can be found at the end of this article."

should be changed to:

"Warning to Bahá'ís: A photograph of Bahá'u'lláh can be found at the end of this article."

What do you think of this? 23:53, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

If a separate page was made about the photograph then some people will still insist that it be displayed on the top of the biography page. Cuñado Bahai star.svg - Talk 02:26, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
But it's not, at present. So how would my suggestion do damage, anyway? 03:01, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I appreciate this idea. It tries to keep Baha'is from tripping across this accidentally. However, I don't think that opening up a seperate article is needed. The discussion on the subject there is clear and allows Baha'i readers to genuinely understand how we treat the portrait.
What discussion on it "there" (which I assume you mean the article)? Down in the photograph section where you can't help but glance at the image?! 04:22, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
I think the portrait is properly placed ahead of "See also", "Notes" and "References" because it does belong in the body of the article in my opinion. Those sections always bring up the rear.
But if you want to see the see-also, notes and references, there is a chance of glancing at the photo! That is not fair to Bahá'í readers. Furthermore, why not change the phrasing "note" to "warning", anyway? It doesn't have to be in big letters, it just would say "Warning:...", since that's what it is. I would make the changes myself, but since this is a controversial topic, I'd rather seek consensus and approval first. 04:22, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
There is a practice in wikipedia biographies, that hasn't risen to the level of guideline, that portraits are used when available. Placing the portrait at the end is a long-standing solution that addresses both concerns. MARussellPESE 02:19, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
It would still be used, it just would not be easy to stumble on by accident (you pretty much have to want to actually look at it to click through one, let alone TWO, links.). Since it still not codified as a guideline, it is still possible that an alternate agreement may be reachable here, and remember, CCC. 04:19, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

I think it should just be on a separate page. a link at the bottom for a separate page. I know this was suggested before and shot down by non Baha'i's. But I am suggesting it again. Why not? It would put so much of it to rest. 04:29, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

I know. It's too bad they insist on maintaining the status quo (that seems to be the main objection here -- this is how we're doing it so we'll do it this way (?!?)) 05:56, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
Why haven't I recieved any answers to these points, anyway? 02:38, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
I did respond, and my response was that I disagree. Actually I would prefer having the image linked, instead of in the article, but many people disagree with that. Cuñado Bahai star.svg - Talk 02:53, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

If that's not Baha'u'llah....[edit]

Then who are earth is it? Zazaban 19:16, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

It is him. See Talk:Bahá'u'lláh/Photo. MARussellPESE 20:43, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Bad reproduction hmm? Zazaban 23:23, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
the letter refers to a version of the image that only consitsts of a croped head and is of lower qulaity than our image.Geni 16:47, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

That's the one that some people show as a passport photo? Zazaban 19:09, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

yes.Geni 20:53, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

That's NOT Baha'u'llah[edit]

I've seen the photograph in the archives in Haifa, and you cant attribute the dissimilarity to the personages in the two photographs simply due to low quality. I didnt say "I cant make out whether the person in this picture is Baha'u'llah or not because I cant see the picture properly due to its low quality". I see the personage in this picture, and the personage in the other picture, and THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE! The photograph in the archives shows a personage with much smaller eyes, an enormous, ample brow, much higher cheek bones, MUCH bigger hands, and a beard and hair that didnt show a trace of lightness or grey, or white. They were PITCH BLACK, the darkest, most pronounces beard I had seen.

This person in the photograph that you are showing is definately NOT the same person as the photograph in the international archives. It should be removed, not because it is in violation of Baha'i law, (people have a right to see the picture if they really want to), but because it is INCORRECT INFORMATION! I cant verify whether or not two pictures were taken of Baha'u'llah or one. I know there was one painting, and one photograph, perhaps I'm mistaken in my information, but I'm saying now that if there WERE two photographs, THIS IS NOT THAT SECOND PHOTOGRAPH!!

If you really want to post a REAL photograph of the picture of Baha'u'llah, then I suggest that you write to the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, and say that, for the sake of providing accurate information for Baha'is and non-Baha'is alike, it is only fair to post up a picture, and then, Baha'is, if they are offended by the posting of the picture, have the choice of NOT viewing the picture.

But let the photograph be there, if you so insist. But please at least get the RIGHT photograph. There is nothing NOTHING worse than misrepresentationl. Deliberate, or undeliberate. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 10:38, 25 December 2006.

"In one of His epistles, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of Bahá'u'lláh, wrote that two photographs of Bahá'u'lláh were taken, both in Adrianople, Turkey, each in a different pose. There are copies of both pictures at the Bahá'í World Centre and one of these is displayed in the International Archives where it is viewed by Bahá'í pilgrims. The image reproduced on the Web site in question seems to be a poor reproduction of one of these photographs."(Office for Public Information, 1999 Sept 04, Photo of Baha'u'llah on Web Site) Cuñado Bahai star.svg - Talk 06:19, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

New method to prevent accidental stumbling[edit]


I thought of a new method we could use to stop Bahá'ís from stumbling on this thing by accident, which has been my big complaint. Unlike my previous suggestion it does not involve creating a new page. Instead, we could change the image link from File:... to Image:... turning it from a direct display into to a link to the image, and the link would have a clear warning in it. I just discovered this feature, by the way. What do you think? 02:55, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, that was shot down during the consensus making, and is unacceptable to most. Please read all the discussions relating to the Danish cartoons controversy on Wikipedia. -- Jeff3000 07:46, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Eugh. There is a lot of stuff there to slog through. Could you give me a boiled down reason for why it is? I'd like to thrust this back into dispute. I've seen several reasons there. 20:09, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Even though I'm not going to debate the issue now, could you please respond to my request for the reason that this would not work? Just to satisfy my curiosity. I do NOT like having to read MEGS of posts (you said ALL posts)... I probably will not agree with the reasons, but I guess I'll have to "agree to disagree" and leave it at that due to the possibility mentioned that the photograph may bounce right to the top if I start debating. I just want my curiosity satisfied and I don't want to have to spend hours reading through a whole heap of posts. 21:43, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Whoops, I just got some more mail. I'm cutting and running like mad from this thing before it blows. 22:06, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Addendum: I just got a message that it would be best not to reopen this can of worms. I'm therefore dropping this ASAP. 20:09, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. Cuñado Bahai star.svg - Talk 20:33, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
You're welcome! :) 20:56, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

text link instead?[edit]

This is a controversial issue, but how about a text link to the image where it is stored on the wikipedia servers instead? I can't imagine an encyclopedia bowing to a religion and removing it completely, so I vote no on removing it.Claytonian 13:51, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not Bahai, but that sounds reasonable to me. Why not just say, "Bahai find publishing the photo offensive, so please click this link if you want to view it." I don't see why that shouldn't be done. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Leave the photo there[edit]

If Bahá'u'lláh doesn't want people seeing pictures of him, why'd he have a picture taken?

It is a horrible mistake to conform Wikipedia articles to ANY sort of religious dogma. Here's the official policy:

Wikipedia is not censored[edit]

Wikipedia may contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive. Anyone reading Wikipedia can edit an article and the changes are displayed instantaneously without any checking to ensure appropriateness, so Wikipedia cannot guarantee that articles or images are tasteful to all users or adhere to specific social or religious norms or requirements. While obviously inappropriate content (such as an irrelevant link to a shock site) is usually removed immediately, some articles may include objectionable text, images, or links if they are relevant to the content (such as the article about pornography) and provided they do not violate any of our existing policies (especially Neutral point of view), nor the law of the U.S. state of Florida, where Wikipedia's servers are hosted.

I'm not trying to offend, I just believe in the Golden Rule. To quote Bahá'u'lláh, "Wish not for others what you wish not for yourselves" Aqdas 148.73. This world would be a much better place if nobody forced their religious views on another. I think discussion of differing points of view is divine but expecting others to hold your beliefs only causes conflict. --Calibas 09:18, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Hear, hear! Score one for moderation. MARussellPESE 15:11, 26 March 2007 (UTC)


I have found a letter from the Universal HOuse Of Justice which says the picture is not that of Bahaullah.

The universal house is the official institution whose duty it is to protect the Bahai Faith.

As it is not Bahaullah, it would only be just to remove the picture.

The letter:

Mr. Anthony David Australia

Dear Mr. David,

Your email message of 4 September 1999 to the Universal House of Justice concerning the contents of the Web site ... has been referred to our Office for response.

In one of His epistles, Abdu'l-Baha, the son of Baha'u'llah, wrote that two photographs of Baha'u'llah were taken, both in Adrianople, Turkey, each in a different pose. There are copies of both pictures at the Baha'i World Centre and one of these is displayed in the International Archives where it is viewed by Baha'i pilgrims. The image reproduced on the Web site in question seems to be a poor reproduction of one of these photographs.

For Baha'is, the photograph of Baha'u'llah is very precious and it should not only be viewed but also handled with due reverence and respect, which is not the case here. Thus, it is indeed disturbing to Baha'is to have the image of Baha'u'llah treated in such a disrespectful way. However, as the creator of the site is not a Baha'i, there is little, if anything, that can be done to address this matter. We hope these comments have been of assistance.


Office of Public Information


Yes it is Him....but...[edit]

well for one thing, yes it is Baha'u'llah. "a poor reproduction of one of those photographs." so it IS Baha'u'llah's photo but just not very clear. it was a photoscan of what a Covenant breaker copied and put in his book. also, I have been to Haifa and seen a photo there. the photo there is different, actually He looks much different, but it is obviously the same Person. once i was at a talk by Former Universal House of Justice Member Ali Nakhjavani, who explained that the photo online is one that was taken of Baha'u'llah to which when Baha'u'llah saw it, He didn't like how it turned out, so He asked that another picture be taken. the photo in Haifa is the one that He liked. and yes, the photo in Haifa is much much MUCH clearer, and I can understand understand why He did not approve of this one.

Kmehrabi 21:45, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


now, you dont allow pornography right? why not? because it treads along the line of morality and public decency. but what determines morality and public decency? religion. more specifically judeo-christian-american religious values. thats the origin. i could go on and on about that but this is sociological common knowledge.

so why is it that these religions have their own code of conducts incorproated to the wikipedia system, but not others. its as though Muslims and Baha'i's are getting the shaft in this regard. now i am not saying that what offends us is not applied to say Christian sections of the site. surely if there was an offensive picture of Christ, wikipedia would not take it down. what i am saying is that what judeo-christian-american values dogmatically find offensive to morality and public decency has already been engrained into secularist society. likewise a secularist code of conduct has been developed as a fallout of this. the idea of the mere picture or cartoon of a Prophet is not particularly questionable to these religions and has not been anywhere near to the degree of offensiveness that say pornography is to what typical religious influences to american secularist policy on morality and public decensy would dictate.

thus, if wikipedia is to TRUELY be objectional and fair, a code of conduct must be redrawn, identifying what religious standards have influenced its secularist positions thus far, and then either eliminate those influences, OR incorporate equally the beliefs of those of other religious backgrounds.

Kmehrabi 21:45, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

erm we do allow pornography see Image:Johann Schwarzer movies about 1906.jpg (I didn't say it was good porn).Geni 01:44, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

erm if that's pornography, than Michaelangelo's David is Ron Jeremy. lets get real here.Kmehrabi 07:00, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

It was created as pornography.Geni 21:40, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

But there actually is pornography if you look. If you need convincing, here: Zazaban 23:22, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Photo of Bahá'u'lláh[edit]

Here is another Baha'i asking that the wikipedians please remove the photo. For those non-Baha'is wishing to see what Bahá'u'lláh looked like, it would be very easy to simply add a link to an external site, or to simply store a photo on wikipedia, but not on the main article page. It would also put an end to this argument which has become unnecessarily divisive and complicated. Thank you for your understanding and respect for our Faith. --Ericcjensen 07:41, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Can someone please remove the photo of Bahá'u'lláh? It's disrespectful to have it posted on the internet and anywhere else for that matter. If you wish to see it, go on Pilgrimage. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

This is not a Baha'i encyclopedia, and will not adhere to Baha'i laws. It is at the bottom of the page where Baha'is don't have to see it. Zazaban 23:16, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

With utmost respect to the well meaning, please remove the picture of Baha'u'llah from this article. To a Baha'i it is very disturbing to see this. This feeling applies to all Manifestations of God, for the absolute respect must be given to the Supereme Allmighty, God.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Sorry, Wikipedia IS NOT CENSORED. Removing the picture would be siding with the Baha'i POV. Zazaban 21:17, 18 June 2007 (UTC)


what about copyright laws? It has been taken from a book that first has been published on 1974. It's not when the photograph has been taken but it has been first published on 1974! -- 09:57, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

No. Work was PD when miller used it and miller has no copyright claims due to Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp..Geni 16:18, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Yet another comment on Bahá'u'lláh's photo[edit]

  • I'm still against having it, but I've accepted consensus. My suggestion is that perhaps there shouldn't be a wikilink in the warning at the top of the article. It's a little easy for someone who doesn't want to see it to click on it out of curiosity (maybe expecting to be taken to an article about the controversy, or about photographs in general). Just a thought. JuJube 22:46, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
    • I've gone ahead and changed it since no one seems to have a qualm. JuJube 01:48, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
The link is needed; if someone cannot keep his mouse from accidentally clicking on a link, well at that point it's their problem. -- Jeff3000 01:52, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Photos in General, at Wikipedia.[edit]

I have seen the argument that the photo should be shown for this individual as it is shown for all others:

"Thus it should be displayed where it should be for all other biographical articles: at the top."

I would like to know why this is such a big deal for this character, but I have seen many, many other wikipedia biographies (of current persona) where there is no picture period. World Championship Golfer Vijay Singh, for one, Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame member Ryne Sandberg, for two; just to name a couple. If it is such a big issue that photographs be shown, then why are there countless biographies of modern-day living public figures of varying degree of fame where no picture is shown period, top or bottom of page? ; and that this lack of picture shown is not an issue there, for those folks, but it is here for this character....I just find this a little bit maybe hypocritical, or at least somewhat inconsistent with the reality of wikipedia. Sparty79 13:44, 22 July 2007 (UTC)Sparty79

For other pages, there is no picture because there is no copyright-free image available. Wikipedia has some pretty strong policies regarding the use of images that are under copyright, see WP:FUC. The picture of Baha'u'llah is old, and therefore is considered to be the public domain, free of copyright. Regards, -- Jeff3000 14:40, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

-Ok. Thanks. I was not aware of that. Sparty79 14:50, 22 July 2007 (UTC)Sparty79

Baha'u'llah's photo: I cannot believe Wikipedia has been so insensitive!!![edit]

I would like to STRONGLY point out that all Baha'is will find it very insensitive that this article includes a photo of Baha'u'llah. We regard His photo as sacred and there are only a few photos displayed - which one can see in The Archives building on Mount Carmel in Haifa, when one goes on pilgrimidge. As Baha'is who follow the teachings of Baha'u'llah and who we regard as the supreme Manifestation of God in this day - even we do not have a photo of Him displayed in our homes!!! We all have photos of Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah's son - a reminder of how to live a spiritual life. Therefore I would like to ask you kindly to remove the photo of Baha'u'llah from this site. Fleurba 23:46, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Many people find censorship insensitive. If were were to remove everything from wiki that offends or annoys somebody, nothing would be left. Dman727 00:16, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Please remove photo[edit]

Hello, I would like for you to remove the photo of Baha'u'llah. It is stated in the Baha'i writings that we are not supposed to have photos of Baha'u'llah available to the public. By displaying his photo here, you are disrespecting Baha'u'llah's wish. The only time anyone is supposed to view His photo is when they go on Baha'i pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel. Hakimian9 (talk) 18:38, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

It is certainly Baha'i practice to treat Baha'u'llah's picture with great respect, for several excellent reasons (although I am not sure He ever specifically forbade us to look at His picture). On the other hand you must understand that this is not a Baha'i site, and that Baha'i law does not apply to non-Baha'is, nor are we justified to attempting to enforce it on them. Out of respect for our feelings in this regard the Wiki people have the photograph placed at the end of the article, with a warning line at the top. This seems (to this Baha'i) to be a reasonable compromise. Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:27, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
To this one too. MARussellPESE (talk) 21:25, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Plays are not to represent Manifestations of God with a person and so may images in the world now would attact the same comments as canado. (talk) 22:28, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Baha'is: please read the whole discussion before posting[edit]

I wish Baha'is would kindly read the discussion here in full before posting these insensitive and ill-informed comments.

The status quo with respect to the photo is the result of years of discussion, consultation, and consensus-building that has involved the generally good-faith efforts of many Wikipedians, and enjoys reasonably broad support — including that of most of the regular Baha'i Wikipedians.

Baha'is demanding that the photo be taken down because "it's insensitive to our feelings" or worse: "against the Baha'i Faith", present a narrow-minded approach to this question that reflects poorly on themselves, and their faith.

They should familiarize themselves with what Wikipedia is not as well.

MARussellPESE 04:27, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

So does this mean it is wrong to challenge, even with new or valid logic, consensuses that have been the result of "years" of discussion? Note I'm not referring to this specific case (so far there is no new, valid point that has not been addressed) but in general as your post begged a general question for me. If so, isn't that dogmatism? mike4ty4 (talk) 23:16, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
No — if there's some actual valid logic to bring to the table. Often, these kinds of discussions re-hash old arguments. In this case: demands that a non-Baha'i setting conform to Baha'i standards. Ciao, MARussellPESE (talk) 13:27, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Technically allowable? Probably.[edit]

While I am personally dismayed that the photograph has been made publicly available when Baha'is such as myself essentially consider it a treasure to be observed reverently, if it is legally publicly available I cannot object from the standpoint of wikipedia guidelines that the photograph is permissible. In contrast to the images of Muhammad and Christ, which are cartoons and imaginary depictions and by my reckoning actually make the articles less accurate, a genuine photograph of Baha'u'llah could reasonably be said to supplement a biographical page.

One thing that bothers me is that this photograph is supposedly in the possession of the Baha'is in Haifa. How is it that Miller was able to get a copy of it? By all rights, it is a stolen image at its very root. While I do not doubt that there is a technical legal precedent allowing it, it still leaves a bitter taste to know that Wikipedia is one of the places that would keep this rather private image up in such a public place. Peter Deer (talk) 17:41, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Watch out for discussion on painting of Muhammad[edit]

At the moment there is a current discussion on the image of Muhammad displayed at the Prophet's entry. In order to avoid the appearance of double standards, i suggest that whatever decision is made for the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, should likewise be applied to the picture of Baha'u'llah. That is if the decision is to take down the picture from one, the other should likewise be applied. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:22, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

That is a different situation for many reasons. One is a fictional painting and the other is a photograph, not to mention different people and different religions, spread apart by 1300 years. Please keep your arguments on Muhammad to the merit of that article. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 15:54, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
I honestly don't see the big deal about having it at the bottom of the article. It preserves the accuracy of the article by making it so that those who want to see it can, while making it so that those who do not want to see it can avoid it. Peter Deer (talk) 18:36, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


First of all, how are you all doing? It's been a long time since I've been editing Baha'i related articles. I'd like to inform you all that that image controversy over at Talk:Muhammad is in danger of overflowing over to here. In fact, it may already have, I'm not sure. Anyway, just thought you may appreciate the warning that all hell may break lose soon. Cheers. Zazaban (talk) 05:30, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, I think the discussion at Muhammad took pointers from this discussion. As per Talk:Bahá'u'lláh/Photo, there's been a discussion going on since, at least, 2006.--Veritas (talk) 05:37, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
As I said on the photo talk page, I think that they are unrelated issues frankly. depictions of Muhammad by individuals who have never seen Him can hardly said to be accurate or reliable in any sense, and detract from the accuracy of the article just like pictures of Christ. Islam forbids such depictions from being made. The photograph of Baha'u'llah, on the other hand, is a photograph. The only true objection Baha'is have to its usage is its inglorious location and irreverence towards something that most individuals cannot begin to understand the value of. Peter Deer (talk) 16:03, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Pictures controversy[edit]

I really hope that the Muhammad images controversy will lead to the banning of religious POV-pushers that are working on this article. Marc Mongenet (talk) 16:11, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Hey buddy wrong article. Peter Deer (talk) 17:04, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
No, I hope that people moving Image:Bahaullah from miller.jpg to the end of this article will be banned. Marc Mongenet (talk) 02:24, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Why? It allows it to be in the article and allows Baha'is who want to avoid viewing it accidentally to do so. Having it at the end of the article doesn't make the article less accurate. The only reason I can see why you would have it any other way is to specifically spite Baha'is. Peter Deer (talk) 02:44, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Marc, your characterization is unfair. Moving the picture to the bottom was the result of a consensus that involved non-Baha'is. The Baha'is who remove the picture are often new to wikipedia and unaware of the consensus that was made. The fact that this is so common should show that the feelings of the Baha'is are deeply rooted and wide spread and are shared by the the Baha'is who replace the image every time it's removed. The picture is included and thus meets NPOV there is no style rule stating it must be at the top. Please read this talk page before requesting that good-faith users be banned. -LambaJan (talk) 16:55, 9 February 2008 (UTC)


Can we retitle this Image:Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Nuri from Miller.jpg so that Baha'is who are searching for images on google don't need to stumble upon this accidentally? -LambaJan (talk) 17:07, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Maybe without the underdot and accents, and maybe because it's more accurate and reflects what is written in Farsi on the picture. We shouldn't do things to cater to what happens on other web pages. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 05:32, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine doing it without the diacritics, I just cut and pasted it above. Your reasons are indeed better than mine but if I'm correct about my thinking on this then changing it may cut down on traffic from angry Baha'is who come here from there. I think I can change it on the but I don't know how to change it on commons (I have an account there but the move button doesn't appear on the image page). -LambaJan (talk) 01:08, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Wait a sec, maybe I can't do anything about it. I'm actually _really_ confused on this one. The image page over here says it's deleted. I can't edit the image page without it telling me I'm recreating a deleted page, but there's no record of deletion in the history and there's no move button and the link still works. The image in the article is still there and is there as from a link to the image page, so it's effectively not deleted but it thinks it is deleted. I suppose I can do a 'cut and paste' sort of move, or maybe someone else is in the process of doing that and is thereby creating this confusing situation. -LambaJan (talk) 01:26, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
You got me. Using images from commons is a bit confusing. I can't help on that one. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 05:07, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
I figured it out. If an image exists on commons then that's where the page is and that's why the page here doesn't actually exist and thus acts like it's deleted. I cannot rename an image on commons myself but I can (and did) request a rename that will apparently cover the changes on all of the wikis. -LambaJan (talk) 20:50, 11 February 2008 (UTC)


Who decided that a disclaimer should be used? I will remove the disclaimer if I hear no responses. See my message on the talk page. нмŵוτнτ 22:32, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

So, if Britney Spears said she didn't want a picture of herself in her Wiki article, would it be moved to the bottom as a disclaimer? We can't have double standards. нмŵוτнτ 22:54, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Read this whole thread - if you can bear the tedium - and consider if it is worth the bother kicking about this. Any changes you make will obviously be instantly reverted, as there is a VERY old consensus in place for doing so. The note is NOT a disclaimer anyway - at least not in the sense that you are using the word - but a warning to people who do not want to have this picture shoved in their faces against their will. Nor is it double standards. I'm sure if Britney Spears' fans wanted her picture at the end of her article it would be no big deal to have it moved there, and a subject for tolerant amusement, at most, from any non-Britney Spears' fan. O.K. it's a poor analogy - but then it's yours, not mine!!! (talk) 00:00, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
"A warning to people" who do not want to see something is by definition a disclaimer. Also, note that I read this page before commenting anywhere. нмŵוτнτ 00:24, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The current formatting was made after consensus after months of discussion, so that the picture is there for those who want to see it, and for those that don't want to see it, they don't have to. Calls of censorship are completely unwarrented, as the image is on the page. Note that the no content disclaimer is a guideline and not a policy. Regards, -- Jeff3000 (talk) 00:33, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The guideline (Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles) says that: "The consensus is that [disclaimers] should not be used" and, "When spotted, such text should be removed." нмŵוτнτ 00:38, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

From Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines, "policies are considered a standard that all users should follow, whereas guidelines are more advisory in nature." Regards, -- Jeff3000 (talk) 00:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Exactly. So why would one not do what is advised? нмŵוτнτ 00:58, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
It can be advisory, but you can also use common sense. There is no encyclopedic content being lost; regardless I have change the article so that there is no disclaimer. Regards, -- Jeff3000 (talk) 01:01, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I just noted that you did that. I think you did an excellent job here. Everything is solved. Thank you for your cooperation, understanding, and calm nature. нмŵוτнτ 01:03, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Pulled from Comments:Baha'u'llah[edit]

Dear Sir/Madam:

I work with organizations who have removed their Native American mascots because:

1. They now understand the pain it causes 2. They realize it is the hi-jacking of precious images of others 3. They beleive it causes no harm to them to remove them


Would you expose other Manifestations of God this way? I think not. Many may not understand, but finally more people respect the feelings of others where they may not have feelings about the picture at all.

I ask that you remove the picture of Baha'u'llah. This request is not just a Baha'i asking. It speaks to the same kind of consideration about reverring sacred objects, pictures, etc. that may have no value to others plus or minus. It speaks to a kind of consideration that needs to be regained in our world.

Sharon Davis Farmington Michigan

Displaying Chief Illiniwek etc. is indisputably insensity and offensive. Displaying Baha'u'llah's picture is not. See WP:NOT, WP:NOTCENSORED, and standing consensus discussions here. MARussellPESE (talk) 18:19, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
WP:NOTCENSORED says exactly that: Wikipedia is not censored, i.e. it too is fair game for display unless the policy has been changed, according to official policy: "Wikipedia may contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive" (from WP:NOT / WP:NOTCENSORED) (talk) 04:05, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Jesus, way to pander to an obnoxious bunch of splitters. Perhaps in the next decade or so when the Abos somehow get let onto the internet they'll start complaining about the photos of them that the 'white fella stole our souls' or somesuch. You've set a stupid precedent. Comradeash (talk) 23:02, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

The essence of her statement is that we don't need to exercise all of our freedoms just because we have them. You have the freedom to spit on your grandmother but I doubt you will. I hope your man Rudd follows through and gives more of them the opportunity. Respect is never a stupid precedent. -LambaJan (talk) 23:35, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
And the essence of MARussell's statement is that the Baha'is are working to make sure the Wikipedians know that we respect that right. And since I'm amending this please know that none of it was written with a confrontational tone, I just couldn't think of a better metaphor. -LambaJan (talk) 23:39, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
You're right. Every freedom is paired with it's own responsibility. Many people forget this. (talk) 04:05, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

dont know where to contribute[edit]

I'd like to add that I find it very unthoughtful the photo is left here, although I'm not of the baha'i faith. I don't see any necessity to keep it here. Very pityful and a typical misunderstanding how one is to use one's rights. (talk) 15:05, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Is there no better way?[edit]

I am an atheist. I confess I felt curious to see the photo, but still, I think I would rather it wasn't there. I didn't expect it to be there and I arrived at the bottom of the article a little surprised to see it. Can we not at least make it only a link at the bottom of the page whihc takes one to the wikicommon of the picture, or something- some gesture which makes it more discrete? IceDragon64 (talk) 02:48, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

the deeper reason of why I'm offended[edit]

I am a Baha'i and I am offended by the inclusion of this photograph. This is the second time in my life that I have seen it. At first, I thought I was offended because I did not have a choice but to view it. The reason is actually much deeper: I was tempted into idolatry. Idolatry is expressly forbidden in all of the Abrahamic religions, the thrust of the reasoning being that God has no shape or form, and should therefore not be worshipped as such. I was admonished to treat the photograph with reverence, which I did; however, the image lingers. I do not want to be led astray by the encyclopedia I cherish.

I was informed that this article is disqualified from being nominated as a featured article because of this seemingly endless dispute. I appreciate the civility with which the issue has been debated, and it speaks to the immense value of consultation and NPOV, but this is a real shame -- this is a gem of an article in its tone, information, and objectivity, and could serve as an example of the great potential of Wikipedia.

My preference is to cut the Gordian knot. The fault, I think, is that NPOV is too ambiguous. Having a neutral point of view does not imply having a neutral set of values. I think we can all agree that people are deeply offended by the inclusion, and that censorship is a violation of many people's values, including my own. But this problem cannot be solved by the same thinking that created it.

A solution, in my view, and certainly not an offical view of the Baha'i community of which I am a member, is to amend the NPOV stance of Wikipedia to be more rigorous and explicit. This will not be a Baha'i biased endeavor, this will not be popular, and this will not be easy. This will take all of us working together to serve the better ideals of the Wikipedia community. We Wikipedians have come very far, but look at how far we have yet to go.

Thank you. --Matthewlandau (talk) 05:31, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't disagree with you, but take a look at the issues with images on the Muhammad article and you'll see that he problem is deeper. It would be very simple to have a link to the photograph in the article, instead of displaying the photograph, but some people insist on achieving what they see as a right to free expression, and even revel in expressing their right when it aggravates others. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 06:23, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
You may want also to add "and they may view putting it behind a link a curtailing of that right". mike4ty4 (talk) 22:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)



Let the Bahai faith keep its integrity, its offensive and rude to us.

DELETE IT, REMOVE IT —Preceding unsigned comment added by Me20391039 (talkcontribs) 15:35, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Get over it! You have no business trying to force others to conform to your sensibilities in this public place. "Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving kindness … " [Emphasis mine.] MARussellPESE (talk) 16:12, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Bahá'ís need to get over this and stop shoving their sensibilities down the community's throat[edit]

Nobody has a right to impose their sensibilities on others. In a direct quote from Bahá'u'lláh:

"The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth."
(Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 215)

The forbearance part is something that takes some work.

I'm reading John Locke's "A Letter Concerning Toleration". In it he exposes the hypocrisy of imposing one's own beliefs on others, with violence in his discussion, while ignoring the failings of ones own flock. In that vein I'll arrogate to myself the opportunity to not be a hypocrite.

I grew up Bahá'í in Alabama and have been condemned to Hell more times than I care to remember by people who hardly have the standing to do so. So, I have been sensitized to sanctimony. Quite bluntly, I see little difference between that kind of self-righteous sanctimony and some of the Bahá'ís' statements here.

As an example: I am offended by the Bush Administration's outrageous attitude towards the Constitution and the nation's internation treaty obligations. The "triksy" attitude that rules don't apply when inconvenient [11] is a disgrace to my nation's honor[12] and a stain from which we may never recover. For heaven's sake! We helped write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and have ratified several of its secondary protocols: including, without reservation, the Convention Against Torture[13].

If one reviews the Universal Human Rights Index at the Universtiy of Bern, whose data cover 1999 to the present, one will note that UN human rights bodies have made 357 observations and recommendations about the United State vs. 152 for Iran. Of those 357, 300 (Dear Lord!) post-date 2001.

The violation of international law in the administration's conduct of the "War on Terror" and the exercise of pre-emptive military action is an offense to my sensibilities nearly as close to home as one made against my faith. Considering my ancestors' military service, when I say that the nation has been dishonored, it has deep meaning to me.

That said, I've never vandalized any page here. I'll take my outrage to the voting booth — yet again. But I'll not take it here where the above qualities of forbearance, mercy, compassion and kindness are what my fellow editors, and Wikipedia readers, deserve.

There are about a dozen Bahá'ís who are regular Wikipedia editors. About four regularly monitor these pages. Every presumably Bahá'í editor who comes along and censors the picture with pleas that this offends their sensibilities ignores the principles of forbearance and understanding, and undermines the credibility for these and collaboration that the regular editors have striven for years to develop. You've no idea the damage you're doing here. MARussellPESE (talk) 16:17, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Is it not also wrong even if one does not ignore the failings of one's own flock? I.e., don't force views on others, period, regardless of whether or not you have the same fault? mike4ty4 (talk) 23:13, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
"and undermines the credibility for these and collaboration that the regular editors have striven for years to develop." Is it still bad to argue against such "developed over many years" consensuses with new arguments, i.e. suppose at some point a new point comes up, that hasn't been addressed before and someone were to bring it here for discussion (not just rudely "censor" the picture by hitting the edit button)? Not sure if that can happen in this specific issue but I'm talking in general. mike4ty4 (talk) 23:21, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
No. New arguments would always be welcome. But, I've been editing here for years and the arguments consistently boil down to the the same petulant argument: "this is offensive to me". Scroll up for a sample. MARussellPESE (talk) 23:23, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

The image isn't free[edit]

Just go to the image page and look at its license; "This applies to the United States, Canada, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.". Was this taken in the US or Canada? Turkey isn't part of the European Union, and it doesn't look like they will be for a long time, so how exactly is it considered public domain? Parthian Scribe 20:01, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Turkey is a signatory to the Berne and TRIPS conventions. Sorry, it's in the public domain. MARussellPESE (talk) 23:10, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Using a collapsible table to hide the photo by default[edit]

It is technically possible to hide the photo by default, using "collapsible tables", which rely on javascript in the browser. Non-javascript browsers will see the image, but javascript browsers will see a "[show]" link to show the image. This comment illustrates the technique. —AlanBarrett (talk) 20:32, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Here's another technique using Wikipedia:NavFrame. It doesn't look exactly like a normal image with caption, there are some problems with the size of the image, and the HTML-like code is complex, but presumably the appearance could be improved and the code could be hidden in a template. —AlanBarrett (talk) 16:45, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I like both of your suggesions but prefer your first, AlanBarrett. It doesn't impose an unreasonable burden on those who wish to see the image, IMO, and it does hide it from those who prefer not to see it. Rreini (talk) 18:56, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
While both suggestions are nice, suggestions similar to the above were suggested regarding the depictions of Muhammad, and were deemed unacceptable by the community. Regards, -- Jeff3000 (talk) 19:47, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry Jeff, but what do you mean by community? Islamic community, Wikipedia's Community or this group of people who, I believe, reached a "consensus" that is more unhappy-unhappy, instead of a win-win, like the solution proposed here?

--SAM1981 (talk) 15:16, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I think collapsing the image is an absolutely wonderful idea. It appeases both parties. As someone neutral to this discussion, I'm amazed that no one has edited the photo to make it collapsible. I think it will satisfy those who don't want to see the photo, and those that do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:29, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Because the first option seems like a popular option that will make many people happier, I'm going to go ahead and try this. For people who overwhelmingly disagree - ask who you're pleasing. Anybody who wants to see the image can expand it, and people who don't want to see it don't have to. The content as accessible, and not censored, but viewing is at the viewer's choice, which I think is very Wikipedian and neutral in nature and shouldn't infringe upon anyone's feelings. Calculuslover (talk) 07:42, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

It would make me MUCH happier, for one! Nonetheless that is not how Wikipedia works. We are fortunate to have reached a consensus where the picture is not up the top. You are jeopardising this and risking a return to a consensus that is much less "Baha'i friendly" on this issue. Please remember this is NOT a Baha'i site, and the Baha'i Administration (much less individual Baha'is) have no say whatsoever in what is shown on it. Of course if you can establish a new consensus that would accept this solution then I for one would be delighted!! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 08:16, 17 July 2010 (UTC)


In my opinion, I think that if someone was to delete the photo and then somebody was to undo that would be unfair. For example, if someone was to delete it and then no body would touch it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mrjames 9999 (talkcontribs) 18:17, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm a baha'i and I think that nonbelievers in Baha'u'llah really shouldn't have the privlage of seeing this photo; however, now that they have seen it they can now deal with baha'u'llah's all knowing eyes peiring into their soul and seeing every thing about them. Baha'is are not aloud to have pictures of baha'u'llah because we are not to worship him like God unlike the christians do with Jesue. It is a privlage to see his photo and when my grandmother saw it during pilgirmage in the 1970's it was spirtual moment for her,like when a follower of another manifiestation goes to one of their holy places. Baha'u'llah was a holy man and should be treated with respect. Just like Christ and all of the others should be. So please don't get pissy if a baha'i is affended of the the photo. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:36, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Photograph - Question of TASTE[edit]

Whenever pornography is shown on other pages of wikipedia, it is shown as a graphic drawing, artistic painting, or at most a very reserved grainy black and white still from 100 years ago. Example (( This is done for a reason. There is a separation between liberalism in academia, and what many would find to be just tasteless.

However, we must recognize that whereas some may find real pornographic photographs to be tasteless (which is why wikipedia does not use them), others would find them just as appropriate as anything else. And in the spirit of moderation, real photos are not used.

Clearly this photograph being shown here of Baha'u'llah without reverence very much offends Baha'i's. It is tasteless in how it is being shown.

To the moderators, whereas your own Judeo-Christian socio-cultural backgrounds have left you to recognize the question of taste when it comes to pornography, it is very ethnocentric to not recognize taste when it comes to a Islamo-Baha'i beliefs on the depiction of a Prophet.

The excuse of saying that "well not everyone is a Baha'i" is rubbish. Just because not all sides agree on this doesn't mean the party that is offended should not be recognized and respected. If that were the case you should be showing hardcore pornographic images, and not these substitutions because not everyone would be offended if you did.

Kmehrabi (talk) 01:13, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Moved from Talk:Bahá'u'lláh.
Personally, I apologize for the santimonious, racist, and insulting sentiments expressed in this. The Jewish and Christian traditions certainly do have taste with respect to pornography. Nor is pornography a particularly ethnocentric issue. These sentiments do not, under any circumstances, reflect those of most, if not all Baha'is, nor our teachings.
Whether or not a Baha'i may or may not be offended by the presence of the picture is their burden to bear, and is not the WP community's problem. MARussellPESE (talk) 16:15, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
It's misleading to call the picture offensive to Baha'is. What is offensive is comparing its display to pornography. Baha'is prefer not to display the photograph in homes to preserve a sense of dignity and avoid making his image an object of worship. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 21:48, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Neither of you have carefully read what I wrote. I understand this is a recurring issue, but I'd thank you to please not sarcastically brush aside my words as though they cannot possibly bring in any unique ideas.

To MARussellPESE, first of all - let me clarify. A secularist in the west would reason that to show actual hardcore pornography is in bad taste, even though they are secularists. This is because even the secularists in the west are at the very least influenced by living in a Judeo-Christian cultural society to some degree. Likewise, for a secularist to have been raised in the Middle-East or North Africa, for example, they would likewise find the showing of an image of what someone finds to be a Prophet without due reverence and respect, to be in equally bad taste, even though they are secularists.

Thus, a true secularist of the west (i.e. a Wikipedia moderator) should respect various beliefs on taste worldwide, and not just their own cultural perceptions.

To Cunado19, if you read what I wrote you would see that I did not say that the picture is offensive to Baha'i's. Rather I said the manner in which it is shown is offensive to Baha'i's. That is, because it is clearly not shown with due reverence and respect, and it is that which is in bad taste.

Kmehrabi (talk) 01:07, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, but I believe we both read you right. Drawing a parallel between Baha'u'llah's portrait and pornography is specious. Neither do you have the right to speak for the entire community with: "It is tasteless in how it is being shown." (You're also probably off-base asserting either that Wikipedia does not use explicit pictures, or that it tries to avoid offense to readers. See WP:NOTCENSORED.)
I do not find His picture's presence to be tastless, offensive, in bad taste, etc. in this forum, because I recognize that it is not my place to demand total strangers bow to my sensibilities. To consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship, and to observe fairness in all matters requires — frankly demands — forbearance and understanding first and foremost on our part. MARussellPESE (talk) 06:40, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
To repeat what MARussell said, I don't believe that the manner in which it is shown is offensive. I would prefer that it not be displayed in the article, but from a neutral point of view there is nothing wrong with showing it, and Wikipedia must follow a neutral point of view. Really, it's not that big of a deal, and making it a big deal is very counterproductive to the image of the Baha'i Faith. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 17:29, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

MARussellPESE, you addressed me misrepresenting my words. My explanation is that from YOUR western point of view, pornography is not comparable to showing a picture of a Prophet irreverently , but in other parts of the world it is equally offensive if not worse. To not be open to what various cultures find decent and indecent is ethnocentric at best and neo-colonial at worst. Is that the wikipedia standard?

And I am speaking from a very broad conceptual standpoint, so actually reflect on what I am saying and stop giving me these knee jerk reactions.

I am not, nor do I need to be, speaking for the entire Baha'i Community, I am referring to the letter from the Baha'i World Centre which you are well familiar with, that clearly states from their standpoint that the manner in which Baha'u'llah's photo is shown here is without due reverence. (Secondly, on that note, I was at a talk by former Universal House of Justice member Ali Nakhjavani, who explained that this very photo is the one that Baha'u'llah Himself did not approve of. He said that they took the image, showed it to Him, and dissatisfied with the quality He asked another be taken. I saw the second image in Haifa and let me tell you they look absolutely nothing alike. So even from that secondary standpoint, an image that Baha'u'llah was dissatisfied with made its way into being so upheld.)

Cuando19, on the issue of one speaking for the Baha'i Faith, I find your last comment attempting to do so in that you did not phrase those comments as your own opinion. It is that big of a deal, maybe not to you, but to many many people. Left and right Baha'i's complain in private and public circles about what wikipedia is doing. The manner in which it is shown is offensive to many many Baha'i's, and you are the only one I have ever talked to that is not offended by what is happening here. The only people who its "not a big deal" to are those who are fine with the image being here. That is if its not a big deal for those who would opt to keep it up, favor should go to the opposing side which is clearly much more passionate about their position on the issue. Also, refer to my last comment in parenthesis above.

Kmehrabi (talk) 05:16, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

The letter from the House was written two years before Wikipedia was launched, and was definitely not referring to this site. I think it would be wise of you to read over Talk:Muhammad/images and all 12 of its archived pages to get a better idea of the issue you're bringing up. Also ask yourself why the image is not on the top of the article. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 13:35, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
KMehrabi, I'm not giving you a knee jerk reaction. I've seen this before and read you. You accused the editors here of ethnocentrism, tastelessness, irreverence, and being offensive.
When comparing "tastes" there are several points to consider, which you clearly have not:
  1. What is the context? (Is this venue a academic or religious one; public, or private. If it's religious: whose?)
  2. What are the standards of taste? (Standards viz. depictions of historical figures vs. "prophets".)
  3. Are they defensible, or are they based on tradition? (What principles underpin these? Or are these cultural norms?)
  4. Are they universally applicable? (Are the principles underpinning general and universal, or particular to a narrow point of view?)
  5. Are they universally shared? (Depictions of "prophets" by academics, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, pagans, etc.)
  6. Are they applicable in that context? (Are we using a religious standard in an academic context?)
Consider carefully before calling people ethnocentric. Depicting prophets is not eastern vs. western. Been to a Hindu or Buddhist temple? Only Muslims and Baha'is have difficulities with depicting a prophet. Only Baha'is consider Baha'u'llah a prophet. (Muslims have no problem depicting Baha'u'llah. Are they being colonialist?)
So, honestly, does a letter from the Universal House of Justice written to Baha'is apply to a general audience in the context of a public web-site? And does the presence of a picture of an historical figure, whose followers consider a prophet, violate either academic mores, or even the religious mores of the vast majority of the planet?
And, I'm sorry, you said that the presentation "offends Baha'is", not "offends me", so you were speaking on the community's behalf. MARussellPESE (talk) 16:38, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
To expand on MARussell's list and comments, a parallel can be drawn. A Hindu, for example, would feel insulted to see a non-Hindu observe his Hindu rituals. A specific example can come from the Christian faith. Jesus instructed the disciples to break bread and drink wine in remembrance of Him. This is one of the holy sacraments. In most venues of Christianity, those who are not Christian are instructed not to take part in communion ceremonies. This is especially stringent in the Catholic faith where not even Christians of different denominations are permitted to take part. So, since the instruction regarding images was given to and is sacramonious to Baha'is, would it not be not only surprising, but shocking to see non-Baha'is and non-Baha'i venues (such as Wikipedia) adhering to your sacred protocols? Baha'is are permitted to view the image as long as they do so with reverence. How you revere the image here is your choice and has nothing to do with the way it is displayed. The instruction not to display it publicly is one given to Baha'is, not to non-Baha'is and would be (as just described) shocking if followed by non-Baha'is. As such, no images depicted here could in any way adversely affect the Baha'i faith and protocol. BobertWABC (talk) 19:42, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Cuando19, are you suggesting that wikipedia is displaying this photo with a degree of reverence to the effect that this letter is irrelevant. Of course not. If that were the case, you'd see copies of Baha'u'llah's photo hanging in Baha'i Centers, and temples, and holy places, and homes. None of which is the case. And I want to say this. I do not like this attitude of "well we could have put it at the top of the page". so if you bury me alive, but you throw a flashlight in the coffin, should i be grateful?

MARussellPESE, you know you consistantly exaggerate my words and take them out of context so to make them appear fanatically out of line, and irrational. I resent that. I never said "hey youre being ethnocentric." I explained a surrounding context to my words, as to how the dismissal of non-western cultural standards, in an application which is built for the WORLD to share and use is ethnocentric by the western creators at best, and neocolonial at worst. The problem with the list of questions you posed, is that even if i were to answer them as devils advocate, it would mean that wikipedia is holding a double-standard. Wikipedias non-use of hardcore pornography is based on standards that are NOT universally shared, not liberating to everyone's academic standard, rooted in the modesty of religious tradition, etc. I am not speaking for all Baha'i's, not if what I am saying comes from official statements. I have documented precedent - I refer to the aforementioned letter.

BobertWABC, I would agree with you, if not for the fact that people end up viewing this photo off guard. How many times do you view a page on wikipeda, or any webpage for that matter, and just scroll up and down in a quick scan before looking through different parts in more detail. No one is going to read cautionary words about Baha'u'llah's photo at the top, and no one is going to creep down towards the bottom so not to catch the top of the photo when reading the information in the section above it. I would be much more okay with this if the picture was at LEAST on another page that one could navigate to under fair caution. Kmehrabi (talk) 19:00, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

You previously referred to "the letter... that clearly states from their standpoint that the manner in which Baha'u'llah's photo is shown here is without due reverence." I pointed out that the letter was not specifically referring to Wikipedia, and we don't know what site is being referred to or how it is was displayed on that site to make it, in their opinion, disrespectful. Thus, you can't conclude that Wikipedia is displaying it disrespectfully. The letters also state that "little, if anything" can be done about non-Baha'is displaying the picture, which is the case here. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 20:46, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Your root argument here is wrong. Plenty of articles here use explicit pictures. Try fellatio, and cunnilingus for starters. (Thanks for sending me to places on Wikipedia I never wanted, nor expected, to set foot on. Fortunately, these were the first two subjects I thought of, so I didn't spend have to much time there. Considering I went two for two, I'll bet there's lots more. Wish you had considered doing some research.)
Wikipedia is not censored which they clearly acknowledge. You're demanding something of the editors here that just can't be done.
The House, itself, realized, as noted in the very letter you're standing on, that there's little that can be done outside of a Baha'i context. Why do you insist then thay your tastes be accommodated.
And your words speak for themselves. I don't need to exaggerate them. You made a series of sweeping, categorical statements, like:
  • This picture is displayed irreverently — as if anybody but Baha'is are bound by your sensibilities.
  • The display of this picture is offensive and tasteless — as if anybody but Baha'is should consider this particular picture's display such.
  • To the editors: "your Judeo-Christian socio-cultural backgrounds have left [us] to recognize the question of taste" with respect to pornography, yet "it is very ethnocentric to not recognize taste" with respect to your own idiosyncratic ones — That doesn't get more judgmental.
You didn't use any qualifiers, such as: may, might, or possibly; nor were you at any pains to clarifiy that you're speaking on your own behalf and merely representing your own opinions. You might consider that when someone who shares your perspective as I do reacts this strongly, the responsibility may actually be yours. Perhaps what you resent is my not letting you get away with these. That's fine, but I spend a lot of time here and can see the impression that your, and others', posts on this subject have.
My questions on how to approach these issues aren't rhetorical. They are not bound by any cultural setting — in fact they try to explore as many views as possible and set them in context together. I didn't present those for you to play devil's advocate — but to consider and reflect upon them. Apparently, you're not interested in that — we should just acquiesce to your values here. Pity, you had the opportunity to step beyond your own boundaries. Wikipedia is not a discussion formum, either. I'm done. MARussellPESE (talk) 14:00, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to ask you another Q. You seem to be saying that "western" culture thinks it's good to display it, but "non-western" culture (yours? Someone else's?) says it is isn't. Yet if one caves to one or the other, than isn't that being "culturecentric" on that one culture, according to your logic? Your claim is "the dismissal of non-western cultural standards, in an application which is built for the WORLD to share and use is ethnocentric by the western creators at best, and neocolonial at worst". So how do you propose then to come up with a solution that is acceptable to both cultures? After all it is a "WORLD" project. mike4ty4 (talk) 09:40, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

It's been a long time since I checked this. My original point stands, you guys went off on tangents. Cunado, you directed me to looking at pages for fellatio and cunnilingus, as evidence that wikipedia does indeed show pornography. But...that's not true. These pages show only cartoons or tasteful artistic or vintage photos displaying these acts. Never will you find a screenshot even of a modern live hardcore sex act - because it is not necessary to establish the necessary points of these articles, and all it would add is bad TASTE. And that's the point I want to return to, taste.

And who defines this "taste" in our society, and consequently for wikipedia? While religion has not played a direct role in wikipedia guidelines or unspoken rules of taste, it certainly has had an indirect effect, in as much as secular oriented individuals themselves have been at least indirectly affected by religious values of taste.

That being said, and understood, I again posit that the values of taste by all religions should weigh equal influence. To call this "cultural centrism" is not only inaccurate but a return of the point I am trying to make against the administrators here. I believe the questions of taste are being allowed to be shaped indirectly by certain religious backgrounds, and not by others. In no way would I ever suggest one should supersede the other. I ask that ALL be respected. Kmehrabi (talk) 19:57, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Kmehrabi (talk)
And the response still stands: Who are you to define what others' TASTE should be? By the standards of taste long established here, this photo is neither in bad taste, nor offensive. That you take offense, or consider its presence to be in bad taste, when neither is intended is, quite bluntly, your problem. MARussellPESE (talk) 02:53, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

You're still not getting what I'm saying. Your very response, is the point I am trying to make to you. Who are YOU then to define taste. If Wikipedia standards of taste exclude truely explicit pornographic images, then by what (or who's) standard is that imposed? Please read this article: ( Why are such images prohibited because SOME people find them offensive, but not THIS image because some OTHER people find them offensive. Do our standards not count? Does what offends us not count? Are we less important? Kmehrabi (talk) 21:24, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm not misrepresenting your statements. You keep repeating that this picture's display is offensive to us Baha'is. You're arrogating to yourself an authority to speak far beyond yourself. I've been a Baha'i since birth - over forty years - and its display is not offensive to me. Nor am I aware of any formal position taken by any institution that its display is offensive per se. Disturbing? Yes, perhaps. Offensive? No, because offense is not intended. Please re-read the 4 September, 1999, letter from the Office of Public Information.
So, to sum up, the photo's display:
  • Offends you
  • Does not offend other Baha'is here - because they understand the intent of its inclusion
  • Does not offend the religion's institutions
  • Does not offend WP's sensibilities
'Nuff said. WP:NOTFORUM. MARussellPESE (talk) 02:34, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
The picture is not offensive to Baha'is. It's being posted publicly is distasteful to Baha'is. There is a huge difference. It makes sense that Wikipedia would find it distasteful to display child pornography. It does not make sense that Wikipedia would find it distasteful to display a photograph of Baha'u'llah. Please stop making comparisons. Truth is not so relative that you can come in here and say, "who are you to decide" and get a change in policy. If there is a dissenting opinion the majority generally prevails. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 02:05, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

It's been a while. You keep reverting to a circular argument when I am raising a different issue here. It doesn't matter if it is offensive to a small group of people or a majority. My point is the guidelines safeguard against at least a particular set of standards of taste. These standards reflect values that are influenced by certain "morality" - so why not reflect the values of other parts of the world. If over 1.2 billion people (Muslims) regard imagery of religious figures to be in equally if not worse bad taste, then why can we not at least give that the same safeguard?

I realize I am speaking on a broader issue than simply this particular instance. However, it is of value and should be considered, and not just here.

I also feel I am being bullied here and have been from my very first post on this board. Users on this board have attempted to silence every letter I type. I am simply speaking a viewpoint and you guys seem to be outraged that anyone would dare believe this should be open for discussion. As though I'm late for the party and that's that. EXCUSE ME for feeling whatever discussion or "votes" you guys had are not to be closed on wikipedia now and forever until the end of time....Kmehrabi (talk) 06:31, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

What you don't get is that your values are not shared by the rest of the Wikipedia community. Even with 1.2 billion Muslims, and regular discussions on that subject by Muslims, there are depictions of Muhammand on the Muhammad page, and it will never change. The preeminent value on Wikipedia in this discussion is that information should not be censored, and not what people deem offensive. This consensus has appeared multiple times not only on religious pages, but pages such as the inkplot pages, and so for, and you need to understand this. This is not a Baha'i encyclopedia. This is an encyclopedia. Regards, -- Jeff3000 (talk) 13:19, 12 September 2010 (UTC)


I just cant understand why post it were not ment to plain and simple i mean as bahai's were taught not to act to things like this in extreme ways and im not angry or going to curse about it but i just find this hurtful and unconsiderete , I ask the author just to at least think of the people its upsetting. i understand u probly mean well but please reconsider.

Yours sincerely

Lorcan OReilly —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:38, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

New comment[edit]

Actually, Islam does have plenty of images of Muhammad. They mainly appear in Persian and `Turkish miniatures, and Muhammad's face is often (but not always) covered by a veil. The Shi'i imams (known as mazahir ilahiyya, manifestations of God, like the Bab and Baha' Allah) are commonly depicted. Thus, the Baha'i obsession with seeing the photograph of Baha' Allah is somewhat deviant from Islamic normas. The modern Muslim sensitivity stems largely from the Wahhabi/Salafi form of the faith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Denis MacEoin (talkcontribs)

An obsession? In view of the facts that it is here, that it is Baha'i editors who keep restoring it, and that the very Universal House of Justice itself is in the last instance pretty tolerant about its appearing on the net (look at the very mild way they word their disapproval!), recognising that there's nothing that can be done about it anyway - this seems a bit unfair. And you know (probably better than I do) just how variable Islamic influence is in the Baha'i Faith anyway. Many aspects of Baha'i that can be seen as influenced by Islam are either "softened" or modified, positively rejected, or else, as here, reaffirmed in a rather conservative way. Remember that traditional Islam rejected all artistic "representation", not just of prophets, nor even just of people, but of all living things. This of course gave rise to a glorious tradition of decorative art avoiding any forbidden repesentation. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:44, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Garden Troll Like?[edit]

It seems to me that the whole picture controversy stems from your prophet's gnomish appearance. Religions should be honest and facts should not be swept under the carpet just because it's inconvenient to the bottom line. (talk) 23:49, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

So what do you want changed? - consensus says the picture stays - it's not being swept under any carpets. And it's actually Baha'is who are enforcing that consensus and restoring it!! It's not a very good photograph (although in these days when most of us get our photos taken quite often we probably all take worse ones from time to time). In any case a plain honest photo is actually pretty neutral when it comes to whether you believe in Him or not. Would you judge a prophet by his looks? More to the point, would you like people to judge you by a bad passport photo? "What seems to you" - in other words your own personal point of view - is something that you have every right to, just as anyone else has. Other people (including at least a majority of Baha'is) DO regard any likeness, even a bad one, of the person concerned as something to be treated with great reverence. It would cost you nothing to recognise that this attitude (no matter how ridiculous it may "seem") is at least sincere (sincerely wrong, if you like). All part of "Assuming Good Faith" - which is not only a sound ethical concept - but one of the principles that makes Wikipedia work.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:12, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikimedia Referendum 2011, this image, and my comments on this board over the years[edit]

Just took my vote in Wikimedia vote 230 and happy that finally we're getting to a point of NEUTRALITY. One question on the ballo, in particular, goes at what I've been trying to say on this board this whole time, only to get dismissive bullying responses. What I kept saying about taste and ethnocentric double standards of censorship wasn't an attack on anyone in particular or even accusing anyone of doing anything deliberately. I simply posited a broader item to chew on: that perhaps what wikipedia policy, and most wikipedia editors, consider an 'objective reality' about what qualifies as crossing boundaries and calling for censorship in some way, stops at a western judeo-christian influence. That is, even the most secularist westerners nonetheless draw standards of taste and moral decency from the western faiths that shaped their cultural upbringing, whereas secularists in the east could well have incompatible ones, but considered secularist nonetheless by their own standards. So, if wikipedia is to be a truly neutral world secularist group, it must either distance itself from any such standards whatsoever, OR take in a holistic global standard of what is objective neutrality. That's all I was saying on here, and I was bullied and dismissed. Some people even accused me of being bigoted. Sheesh!

This part of the current Wikimedia vote I feel covers what I was saying well (asking users to rate on a scale of 0-10): "It is important that the feature be culturally neutral: as much as possible, it should aim to reflect a global or multi-cultural view of what imagery is potentially controversial." This is EXACTLY what I was talking about. So to my dear friends on here that pounced on me for saying such things, without naming names, there you have it - it's an issue at least worth enough to be put to a vote, and not what you were so quickly dismissing without further consideration.

My biggest problem with this board isn't even so much that there are disagreements but that certain people on the other side refuse to see this as a complicated issue that will continue for years to come. To the moderators, I realize it may be frustrating when you have a solid opinion on something and you just want people to drop it and adopt your ruling as the last word, but please try to keep an open mind. I hope individuals on here, including moderators, can be more considerate in the future, regardless of what happens, just to be more considerate and open to the possibility of new ideas coming into the fold. Kmehrabi (talk) 02:40, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


It is my understanding that the inside of the Mormon temple is off limits, in fact a secret to non-Mormans and Wikipedia contains no photographs of the inside of the temple. This is a clear indication that censorship is not the issue regarding publishing the poor quality photograph of Baha'u'llah on Wikipedia. Doing this, just as publishing photos of the inside of the Mormon temple is disrespectful. Not publishing pornography is also an issue of respect for humanity, especially women, rather than censorship. It is what enlightened and thinking people prefer. Wikepedia's guidelines also cannot properly be termed censorship but an effort to ensure accurate portrayal of facts while maintaining respect for others' views. This attitude of respect is embedded into the philosophy of the website and strongly influences its guidelines, especially in how to edit. So the censorship claim as a reason to include the photo is misguided and off point.

The fact that the photograph is published despite Baha'u'llah's (pilgrim's note) statement that He did not approve of this likeness shows that the issue is very temporary. As the world becomes a more moral, respectful and Baha'i-like place, people will want the photograph removed and this desire will prevail. The fact that the pilgrim note is not included in the page on Baha'u'llah and the unclear and misleading way the two photographs were mentioned indicates the mischievousness and wiliness of those who want the photograph to remain.

I would be very surprised if an unflattering and distorted photograph of a movie star would remain up on a Wikipedia webpage for more than half a day. Is this censorship? Or is it respect? In Removing an unflattering photo, or one that is misleading due to the play of light or angle of view, speaks to the desire for accuracy as well as respect. That the photograph of Baha'u'llah which is used on the webpage is of poor quality and not an accurate depiction speaks volumes about the reason certain people who are not Baha'is want it to remain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Homethinker (talkcontribs) 22:03, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

I am not sure how any of us would know whether the photos are good likenesses or not. Certainly, if there were better photos, we would look for quality first. However, I don't think there are other photos available. You are right that a poor quality photo of anyone would be replaced had we a better to use. As for the interior of a Mormon temple, Commons has one that is used on three pages. Once again, if there were others, and we had choices, I suspect they, too, would be used. The Temple garments' photos were greatly controversial, as were (and likely are) the use of photos in the article on Mohammad. It is a difficult feat to balance "not censored" with reasonable respect. While I am not sure we always succeed, the present consensus is to keep these photos. Bielle (talk) 01:56, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks to all of you...[edit]

As a member of the Baha'i Faith, I would like to thank everyone for the steps that have been taken to show reverence towards the image of Baha'u'llah that is displayed in this article. It was very sensitive and loving of those who contributed to moving the photo to the bottom of the page. Also, the information provided about the use of the photo on non-Baha'i websites was very useful (just because someone is a Baha'i, doesn't mean that they know all this stuff :-) I hope that, sometime in the future, and out of even greater compassion and love, the community will consent to having a link to the photo so that non-Baha'is can have access to it, but that Baha'is won't find themselves viewing it unintentionally. Personally, I am very much in favor of free speech, freedom of the press, etc., but if there is a way to exercise these freedoms with love, compassion and sensitivity (but still exercise them), then perhaps they become even more powerful. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for the consideration and sensitivity you have all shown and I hope that, even though it isn't practical to satisfy the needs of every individual, the community continues to show the sensitivity that it has; and, that we may be lovingly moved to show similar sensitively (while maintaining our rights and purpose) to other groups in articles about them. -william johns jr — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 31 January 2013 (UTC)


In reading this, it appears that after much debate, a consensus was reached to put a warning at the top of the page for those who would not wish to see the picture. It appears the warning was removed, against the consensus. Today, I stumbled upon this picture and I'm quite shaken and disheartened by it. If the link, in my opinion a very neutral request by Baha'is which does not censor the photo, can not be respected, than can the warning please be put back in place, so that others like me will not stumble upon it unwillingly. Viewing this portrait should have been a special moment for me, in the Baha'i archives, after preparing myself to see it. That was needlessly taken from me today. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:41, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree. I exceedingly wish there was at least a warning at the top, if for some reason we can't create a click-through link for the image. (talk) 22:37, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

I simply googled "Ridvan Bahaullah Declaration" and the first thing that came up was a photo of Baha-u-llah (I was not even conducting an image search). This is unfair to Baha'is. There must be a balance so both Baha'is and non-Baha'is alike only come across the photo if they are actually looking for it. I don't understand how the ideals of neutrality, freedom of speech and expression, and religious non-involvement in academics are being served by someone coming across the photo accidentally. (talk) 19:09, 26 April 2017 (UTC)SfB

How About a link to the picture?[edit]

I find it a little strange that this is even on the net, but it's understandable. However, on a wiki page? This feels more then a little odd, even for a non-Practicing Bahi. How about a link to the picture, so those who wish to see it can, but those who'd rather not can continue reading without covering that part of the page? Even if you wanted it fancy, a simple <a href*="image or words here>*<link here*> tag would fix it.CaedusCraft (talk) 03:58, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

It's been tried. Violates the spirit and letter of the relevant approach. --Smkolins (talk) 10:48, 23 July 2015 (UTC)