Talk:Quran/Picture Controversy/Archive

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This sub-talk archive page is about the controversy surrounding a picture originally posted in the Qur'an article. After nearly two months, on January 4, 2006, the Qur'an article was protected by User:Harro5. It was once again protected on January 17, 2006 by User:Sean Black. Do not add or edit posts on this page as this is an archives. All new comments regarding the issue should be posted in the main article about the picture controversy.

Cropped image

Without the human figure, the page loses its scale. It could be two inches high for all we know. Could you leave enough of the figure to establish the scale? Zora 11:57, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Pious hands at work-

I don't know WHO -- I think it might have been a long string of anonIPs -- edited this article to remove or counter any criticism or disturbing observations, replaced the woman looking at the huge Qur'an with the cropped picture sans woman, and in general, mangled it. Many of the changes turned sentences or even entire sections into nonsense. I'm angry and upset by what I see as blatant intellectual dishonesty. Zora 01:00, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Actually a lot of those edits were done by well-established editors like Sam Korn who replaced the image with a cropped one. And it seems a lot like you reverted to an older version. If you wish to add or remove so much material, please take it step by step rather than one large edit. Thanks. --a.n.o.n.y.m t 03:03, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

I didn't revert, I rewrote. Zora 05:19, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

What the ???? You reverted just about everything I wrote -- and put up the cropped picture of the Qur'an page again. I didn't introduce ANYTHING new or controversial, I just took out stuff that had snuck in without discussion. Your position seems to be that if an anonIP comes here and makes changes without discussion, and they're in the direction of Muslim piety, they can't be removed without discussion. That is simply not fair. Also, we have had endless discussions of the Qur'an page and everyone save Muslim censors seems to agree that the human figure is needed to show the scale of the page. Otherwise it could be ANY size. As a woman, I am upset that someone would feel that bare legs and arms are SOOO disturbing that they must not be shown in juxtaposition to the Qur'an. Why cater to that sort of misogyny? Oh, I did add that bit about decorating everyday objects with Qur'an verses, because someone stuck up that picture, and I knew that there were Muslims who objected to the practice. I'm glad that you left that. Zora 05:37, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

I didn't say anything about "pious editing" at all. I said your edits were major and should be done step by step with discussion. I had no opinions on the differences between the versions. I don't agree, however, with your edits to the translation section because it mingled and mixed that section and the one above it. I am fine with the rest of your edits. I agree with the user below on what he says about the picture. Is the lady with the bad posture rally necessary. Thanks. --a.n.o.n.y.m t 19:57, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
When I looked at the two sections, they were basically restatements of the same thing. I didn't leave anything out, I just removed duplication. Concise is good. Clear rather than meandering is good. That's copyediting. I'm a copyeditor. I didn't remove ANY relevant info re how Muslims feel about translation of the Qur'an. Zora 21:48, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
Zora, why do you insist upon that woman to be there in the picture ? I don't have any trouble with that picture but it does not have anything to do with Quran, anyway. If this article is regarding any physical structure, it is fine that a person standing nearby would help appreciate the size of the structure. But this displayed image is just an enlarged version of an old Quran page and which is enlarged just to display it in an exhibition. So size of this enlarged page has no significance to size of a person. If you go down to the edit history you will find this edit was not done by anonymous editor but Sam Korn and he has specified the filename "Oversized_Koran_folio_cropped". Just because some Muslims don't like this image here, does not mean it must be there in this page.

As I understand it, the Qur'an was really that big. The page has not been artificially enlarged. I believe that this Qur'an was commissioned by Timurlane, a controversial historical figure. (He ravaged Sistan and destroyed the irrigation system there, among other atrocities.) Hence the SIZE of the page tells us something about the physical versions of the Qur'an -- that the Qur'an was written and displayed in many different formats. I believe that there are other very very large Qur'ans, usually calligraphed for mosques. There are also very very small Qur'ans. I had a friend once who had bought a one-page Qur'an in Cairo, a large page with tiny writing. (It would be nice to have a picture of one of those, with a human for scale.)

If we had another picture of a very large Qur'an to replace this one, with a human figure for scale, I could possibly overcome my rage at censorship and allow the picture to be replaced. But if you remove it, or remove the figure, without replacing the info, it's destruction of INFORMATION -- just because some Muslim men think that a woman's body is somehow frightening, disgusting, disturbing, something to cover up and hide, something that contaminates the Qur'an.

If those men can't control their sexual impulses, it's THEIR problem, not mine. I should be able to walk naked down the street and not be bothered. (Well, I'm old and fat enough that I wouldn't be bothered, but let's assume that I look like Aishwarya Rai.) Sheesh, MEN. Zora 21:48, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

"just because some Muslim men think that a woman's body is somehow frightening ..." With all due respect, I think you're doing a little projecting when it comes to the motivation behind changing the image. -- 15:45, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Firstly, I am not Muslim. I am a British Anglican Catholic, so this was not motivated by my thoughts on religion. There was an email to the info-en email address requesting that the image be cropped. The justification was indeed the point about the scantily clad woman standing next to it. I can see this point. I don't think Wikipedia should be offensive for offence's own sake, and I can't see any real reason why the woman should appear in the photograph. The picture as cropped is more illustrative of the subject and isn't offensive at all. The image is in fact more encyclopaedic as it is, looking far less like a holiday snap and more like an illustration. Firstly, I resent having aspersions cast on my motives. Secondly, I don't consider the change one for the worse; quite the opposite. Unless anyone can give good reason for moving back to the old image, I shall put my version back. [[Sam Korn]] 16:26, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
If you remove the human figure, you remove all visual information wrt scale. I wouldn't be offensive for the sake of offense, but dang it, this is INFO. As a woman, I am infuriated by all these male assumptions that a woman who is modestly clothed by the standards of her time and place is OFFENSIVE. Find a picture of a huge Qur'an with a human figure for scale to replace this one if you find it offensive. Ditto for one of the one-page Qur'ans in teeny tiny writing. Zora 22:04, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Excuse me. I thought I said I didn't find it offensive myself. I happen to be of the opinion that the image without the woman in it is a better picture. I am not censoring the image. I would do the same to any image that someone uploads if it isn't as focused on the encyclopaedic content as it could be. Repeat, I made the change because it improved the picture, not because I'm a misogynist. As for the question of scale, the picture cropped still conveys the size adequately. That image could not be anything other than the size it is even without the object of reference removed. With the potential for offence, the improvement in the image, and the failure to become worse, I don't see a good reason for keeping the full image. The question of offence is minor, but it still does play a part, particularly when placed next to the section about Qur'an desecration. [[Sam Korn]] 22:22, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Without the human figure there is nothing to establish scale. Your cropped picture could be of a two-inch-high Qur'an. That's what I mean by losing information. Zora 22:28, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Here I am afraid I must disagree with you. It's my opinion that just as much information is conveyed. The size of the flash reflection shows the size clearly, and the size of the frame means it can't be too small. After all, the exact size is not particularly relevant. What is relevant is that it's bloody big, and that comes across perfectly well. [[Sam Korn]] 22:59, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm afraid I have to disagree. There is no way to judge the size of the frame without some other reference. This is why, when architects make drawings of proposed projects for clients, they scatter human figures about the drawing to indicate scale. That's how humans intuitively judge size -- by reference to human figures. Take a look at this Qur'an picture [1]. Can you tell how big the original is? Guess. Now here's the answer: [2]Zora 02:13, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Size of the Quran created by Timur is not relevent here. It would be more appropriate in an article regarding Quran Calligraphy or in an article regarding Timur of Iran. 06:42, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Controversial picture, caption

I think it was an anon who removed the controversial picture without mentioning it here, and the loss wasn't noticed for a while. Jwissick and I agreed that it should be put back. If the museum allows women in shorts to look at the Qur'an, and Muslims aren't picketing the museum in protest, then it seems silly for a few ideologues to object to the picture of the horrendous act of looking at the Qur'an (not even touching it) while wearing shorts. It may be information that the picture is objectionable, so I added that to the caption. If other editors think that the extra bit could be rephrased to be blander, or think that it's unnecessarily provocative, I suppose it could be changed or removed. Zora 01:36, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Your caption seems to give the impression that this is a famous picture, considered as Quran desecration by Muslim world. You have deducted from your own mind that all the anon editors who previously removed this picture were Muslims. Actually the cropping of the image was done by Sam Korn, who is a Christian(see talk above).--Soft coderTalk 05:44, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
He thought that the picture offended Muslims, because of the continual removals. Well, if you remove or crop the picture, you offend ME, as a female. I don't think my limbs are obscenities that have to be hidden. I am perfectly willing to have the extra info in the caption removed, if the other editors agree. I'm not willing to show a cropped picture or remove the picture. Zora 05:51, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Although as a Muslim, I don't feel offended by the picture. However, your complete unwillingness to crop the picture if it offers an equal quality seems rather selfish. The topic at hand is not the woman or women at all, but the Qur'an. If this picture was cropped to include just the Qur'an or an even better picture displaying the same foilo, I for one would be in favor of the better picture. Also, regarding the caption, I think the extra info regarding why the picture is contentious has no merit in this instance. Pepsidrinka 06:03, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
The woman adds alot as far as the scale of the foilo in question. I am also not willing to remove the photo or crop it. There is no right on the Wiki to not be offended. I am sure thousands of people find Piss Christ to be offensive, but I don't see anyone attempting to remove that image. If some zealots have a problem with it... tough. Jwissick(t)(c) 06:31, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

christian faith is different topic and please don't mix topics together , Christians are free to deal with their icons , but for this case it is not appropriate , since you are talking about Quran in key topic , not subtopic , so please use this picture somewhere else , any topic related to Islam else and i will not complain. Saytah 08:29, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Without a human figure, there is nothing to show the sheer, awesome size of the page. Because of the glass and the reflections you can't see the calligraphy all that well, so if it were just a question of putting up another picture of a Qur'an page, there are much better pictures. IF someone can get a shot of that huge page with a male human figure, I'd be willing to do that as a compromise, though it sticks in my craw. Or any shot of another of the giant, mosque-size Qur'ans, with something else in the picture to show the size.

It would also be nice to have a picture of a one page Qur'an. A grad-school acquaintance of mine had one, an artwork she had bought in Cairo. Just one large sheet, with teeny-tiny calligraphy. I was unable to find any public domain pictures of such on the web. We could also have a picture of one of the TINY Qur'ans. I saw a photo of a man holding one between his thumb and forefinger. But that wasn't PD either. Zora 06:34, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

it seems to me that zora is protecting the picture maybe because she have some problems with fundamentalists persons , so she have personal ( not academic reasons ) to keep this picture here under the quran as a key topic , and what you are saying about the picture of Christ is not related to this at all , the Jesus picture is under photography topic , not under the bible as a key topic , so if you are going to give us reason use the bible key topic , don't use different topic and different category . Mostafa bakry 02:29, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

The picture, again

I had an idea -- I cropped the controversial picture slightly, so that it doesn't show any bare thigh, or emphasize the woman's rear end. It still shows the whole Qur'an page and still has a human figure for scale. I'm thinking that the scandalized Muslims who kept deleting the picture may be somewhat more comfortable with a mere bare arm than they are with a glimpse of thigh too. Comments? Zora 02:54, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

No, someone deleted the picture again. Sheesh. A BARE ARM is scandalous? Zora 06:21, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
I say put the first pic back up.. There is no pleasing some people. Jwissick(t)(c) 06:23, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Loool!!! Is that you Zora? ;) Cheers -- Szvest 11:58, 30 December 2005 (UTC) Wiki me up™

I wasn't too happy with this image myself. It is quite below the standard of most our images. It's a museum snapshot with a random tourist standing in the way, and there is a flash reflex on the page. I say throw it out without replacement (or rather, with replacement, if we can find one that is of better quality). dab () 12:06, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

I think the quality of the calligraphy and the sheer size of the page tell us something important about the many forms in which Muslims have created the Qur'an. I have said all along that if there were a better picture of a large Qur'an page with a human figure for scale I would take that. I actually spent quite a bit of time googling for images, but didn't find anything PD. Zora 12:25, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Seems the photo is starting to draw sock puppets to remove the image.... Jwissick(t)(c) 05:09, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Plus I'm just upset that the vandals seem to regard a woman not in hijab as something that defiles a Qur'an page just by looking at it. I'm the only WOMAN here and I feel that my limbs are not obscene. Zora 05:15, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Agreed: Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not censored - Sorry, but women are not "obscene" and even if they were Wikipedia is *not* censored for the benefit of any political or religious group. If it was articles like Office of Special Affairs, Suppressive Person and Xenu would have already been deleted and protected against recreation: Scientologists view it as very serious offence against their religion to reveal such information but we don't censor that (thankfully. See Operation Clambake).

Our serial reverter and sockpuppet user deleted this section and posted this explanation (to be fair, he may have done that out of ignorance):

In the name of ALLAH the most merciful the specially merciful, My name is Mohammad and i'm an arabian muslim. When I was navigating your site telling about Noble Quran, I found something urgent i must tell you with
At the first I'd like to thank you for giving information about Noble QURAN, But I'd like to attract your attention to something very important, that's at the picture named "Big_Quran_page.jpg" there was a woman with no clothes on her arms and that action the Noble Quran forbides it for women as mentioned in SURAT ALAHZAB- AYA 59 ( so the picture isn't suitable at all ) [ it is against what Quran tells with the necessity of being covered for women from head to toe, so it's reserved like Jewels] If you cut the woman part and maintain the page of Quran or any thing you see to fix this misunderstand, we (muslims) will appreciate this and will give us more trust with you.
Many thanks for you all sorry for my long words and bad english, but I hope you do it quickly

Actually, he's wrong about the Qur'an. That ayah just tells women to "draw their veils close about them". From there to "head to toe covering" is quite a leap. Many Muslims do not accept the Arabian interpretation of hijab. Nor do they believe that mutaween should go about beating women who don't cover up, or forcing schoolgirls back into burning buildings to die because they weren't covered. Feh. Yes, I'm upset. Zora 13:55, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

I suspect whether he is a real Muslim or not. I don't think any one will call himself an "Arabian Muslim". --Soft coderTalk 14:37, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
My name is Mohammad and i'm an arabian muslim is a déjà vu, especially the thigie thing about arabian/arab! Mohammad = Arabian = Muslim! MaMmmmm! On the other hand, I guess we should be very careful commenting on that, including edit summaries! Cheers -- Szvest 16:42, 31 December 2005 (UTC)  Wiki me up™

There is an addition to remove dubiosity

Dear all, specially softcode What I told about Hijab in Surat ALAHZAB-AYA 59 is true not wrong,

why ?

The SUNNAH came to explain the true wanted meanings in Quran. And we must resort to it when we are different.

We find this meaning in Surat AN-NISA-AYA 59

'O ye who believe ! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning and matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the last days ... '

and also in Surat ALHASHR-AYA 7 'And whatsoever the messenger gives you , take it, and whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstan (from it)'

And we've found many evidences in our messenger MOHAMMAD' SUNNA provide women must wear neqab ( hiding her all body from men ) And this what women did in our Prophet age.

This is one of them telling the woman not to wear niqab or gloves in Hajj, what does it mean ?

It means, if she finished Hajj she return to her first state of wearing neqab and gloves.

And this what believers' mothers had done as came from our messenger's wife Aisha - contentment from Allah on her - (who was erudite with Islam) in her Hajj with Rasoul Allah, she said ' when the ridings (men) pass side us, we let it down to cover our faces and when they go we raise )

And also, you can read the true meaning of this Aya in IBN-Katheer's illustration - mercy from Allah upon him-

Because, if we (muslims) want to understand any AYAH meaning in Noble Quran, we don't understand it from ourselves, so every one will have an openion different from others ( as every one has his own mind ), but there is only one understanding way, you know what ? It's to follow our SAVANTs who were with Rasoul Allah to perform our Islamic instructions truely with no lowest doubt in meaning.

Why we take with their understand ?

Because they were with Rasoul Allah (Muhammad- peace on him)all the time and knew from him what are the true meanings of Quran instructions.

And Quran told us to believe in what they had believed, in Surat Al-Bakara-AYA 137 'And if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then are they rightly guided. But if they turn away, then are they in schism, and Allah will suffice thee (for defence) against them. He is the hearer, the knower'

And also in Surat Al-Tawbah Aya-100 'And the first to lead the way, of the Muha'jirin and the Ansar, and those who followed them in goodness Allah well pleased with them and they are well pleased with him and He hath made ready for them Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide for ever. That is the supreme triumph.'

I repeat my call to the responsibles of the site, it's so wrong to show this woman with Holy Quran page, please take this request seriously and if you want to keep the scale of the picture, I can manage this and give it back with no scale and ready without naked arms.

Thanks alot for all

You acted like a clown here by making your remarks right into the main article. Later edits of yours show that you are intelligent enough to remove the picture, post into talk page etc. I am not commenting whether this picture is appropriate here or not whether due to its poor quality or any other reason. I think it is too silly to waste time on this matter, when there are people who insist that it should be here. Wikipedia editors contains people with varying beliefs and ideology and its contents are build upon by discussion and debate, so that they reflect a neutral point of view. It is natural, since there are lot of editors, everything will not suit your point of view. If you are really new to Wikipedia, I think you follow how things work here for some time before starting "editing".--Soft coderTalk 07:25, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

New pictures

I've said that I'd be willing to compromise on a picture of a big Qur'an page, with a human figure for scale, if one of the objectors could furnish a good-quality public-domain jpeg as a substitute. That way we wouldn't lose any information to censorship. I've also suggested that photos of tiny Qur'ans and one-page Qur'ans, also PD, would make a nice contrast. I live in an area with next to no Muslims (Hawai'i), where the museums feature Asian and Pacific art instead of Islamic art. I've tried googling for images but haven't found anything PD. We could end this whole farce if the objector, who claims to be a Saudi Muslim, could just visit a Qur'an museum and take a few pictures. Or get a museum to donate such pictures, or some such thing. I really don't LIKE being told that my bare arms (in evidence right now as I type) are scandalous, but I'm willing to overlook that as long as I make sure that no information is lost. Zora 03:11, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Technically he shouldn't even be talking to you, me or any unmarried female if he's so fundamentalist that he thinks human arms are "obscene" --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 03:14, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I've got no objection re the pic but I don't understand why it should exactly be a human figure for scale! Does that follow any context in the article and does the rest of the pics out there know any condition? -- Cheers -- Szvest 03:42, 3 January 2006 (UTC) Wiki me up™

Sometimes rulers are used for scale, but they don't have the visceral meaning that a human figure does. Architects show projects with human figures for scale. Archaelogists taking pictures of sites include humans for scale. Cars are shown with human figures (females in bikinis!) for scale. It's how we naturally judge size. I'd bet that there are psychological studies showing this, but if you just stop and think for a bit, you'll probably agree. Without scale, the size of that awesome Qur'an has no meaning. Zora 04:20, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I say leave it as is... No reason to bow to edit warring just cause some zealot muslim has a bug up somewhere. There is no right to not be offended anywhere. Jwissick(t)(c) 04:06, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

If you refrain from calling zealot muslim, surely the vandal would respect you and try to understand. Cheers -- Wiki me up™

The key element that this image intends to illustrate is verses of the Qu'ran. As per suggestion above, I have found a public-domain (Library of Congress) image that illustrates verses of the Qu'ran with the calligraphy shown at large scale for easy viewing. -- Curps 21:17, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Pictures of Qur'an pages are easily obtained. If the page is older than 1923, any photo is PD because it's two-dimensional. The problem is finding a photo of one of the large-page Qur'ans used in mosques, with a human figure for scale. If it's not two-dimensional, then the copyright problem is harder to solve. We have to find someone who will take the picture and donate the copyright to WP.
Some time ago I found a photo of a page from a beautiful hand-calligraphed and decorated seven-inch high Qur'an. You couldn't tell from the photo that it was that small. So the photo was PD, but useless for demonstrating scale. Zora 00:20, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Now that a suitable replacement has been made, there is absolutely no reason to have the picture with the woman. I don't think we should appease those who find the picture with the woman offensive, but I also don't think we should pester them. You can crop the woman out of the picture entirely because she is not actually covering the Qur'an. The size of the page can be described in the caption of the photograph. Even without that descriptor, the fact that the page is framed implies that it is large. You don't need to tell me that the picture right above the one with the woman is that of a page as opposed to a large-scale Qur'an. It's quite obvious. Likewise, no human standing next to this picture of a hydrogen bomb is necessary in telling me that it is big.
Lastly, you state that you believe "the problem is finding a photo of one of the large-page Qur'ans used in mosques". Clearly, that page is not in a mosque and therefore does not demonstrate that (I understand it may be hard to find one still in a mosque). So I think either a) the picture should be removed completely or b) cropped so the woman is no longer visible, but the size is mentioned in the caption. For the record, I am not offended by this picture. But the fact that others might and the fact that the picture has little value lends me to believe that the picture should not be present. A similar conclusion occured on the Muhammad talk page where it was decided that there was no value for a potentially offensive picture. The same rings true here. joturner 01:07, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not censored - Sorry, but women are not "obscene" and even if they were Wikipedia is *not* censored for the benefit of any political or religious group. The current image (removed out-of-process after the page had already been protected by another admin by Curps (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA)): if it was articles like Office of Special Affairs, Suppressive Person and Xenu would have already been deleted and protected against recreation: Scientologists view it as very serious offence against their religion to reveal such information but we don't censor that (thankfully). --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 03:32, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I see the page has now been protected. However, the protection occurred in the seconds between the time I clicked on "edit this page" and the time I clicked on "save page". I'm not sure what's the procedure here... I didn't in fact edit a protected page, so I personally have not reverted my edit. I suppose someone else could go ahead and do so if they have a m:Wrong version issue. I'm not really sure protection was warranted for that matter.
In any case, I would also argue that the original picture adds nothing that is not available from other pictures. The essential element being illustrated is the calligraphic writing; there is nothing particular unusual about a big piece of paper, these existed even in ancient and medieval times. There is no particular value in illustrating the scale of the parchment; certainly, for the overwhelming majority of our images, this is not done. For instance, our images of the Mona Lisa and the Raft of the Medusa do not have persons standing next to them to illustrate the fact that the latter is in fact a vastly bigger canvas than the former (however, the height and width are given numerically in the caption).
The original photo in this article is not even of particularly high quality: there is a flash reflection in the glass. An illustration of the Mona Lisa with a flash reflection in the glass and a person standing next to it would undoubtedly be considered inferior to the Mona Lisa image we currently have, which is simply a high-quality reproduction of the canvas itself and nothing but. A "flash-reflection-person-standing-next-to-it" Mona Lisa image would be substituted at the first opportunity by the current image we have now, and there would be no particular need to retain the original image. Similarly, in substituting a new calligraphic writing image for the original photo in this Qur'an article, I made just such a substitution, and likewise, there is no particular need to retain the original image.
And finally, it is not "giving in to censorship" to note that the juxtaposition of elements may be jarring to some of the very audience who will be most likely to look up this article. To translate this into Western terms, it might appear to them to be a bit like putting a woman in a bikini in a photo of an original copy of the United States Constitution. Such an image would serve no purpose and convey no important information (particularly if it was of less than optimal quality) and would be edited out of our "constitution" article despite any claims of censorship. -- Curps 04:43, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
If you want to do that I will support you Smiley.png Wikipedia is not and should not be censored for anyone. --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 04:53, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I perfer the orig. image as it added alot more than the new image. The scale of the page needs to be expressed. That it is displayed in the Smithsonian is notable. The new image just does not express nearly what the old image did. Granted, some muslims think it is a scandal to have bare arms near a page of the qur'an, but I really do not care. There is no right to not be offended. And WIkipedia is not censored for the protection of anyone. I vote for the origional image and unprotection Jwissick(t)(c) 04:42, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
The argument that it would be like a woman in a bikini next to the const is invalid IMHO. She is conservitivly dressed considering how hot it can get in DC. Ask yourself if you would be offended if she was standing next to the Const. I would not be offended. I still vote the origional image be restored. Jwissick(t)(c) 05:34, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Offended? No. Wondering why they didn't use a picture without this woman in a bikini? Yes. joturner 05:45, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Curps, the voice of reason...
Before I continue my statement, I would like to point out a faux pas committed by Mistress Selina Kyle. In one of her previous statements she referenced Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not censored. In the consensus version of the policy, the Wikipedia is not censored section appears instead as the Wikipedia is not censored for the protection of minors section. Essentially, she edited the policy before making her statement. As it says in that same article, under Wikipedia is not a battleground, do not create or modify articles just to prove a point. Adhere to that please.
That aside, just because something is omitted does not mean it's censorship. The sexual intercourse article does not contain a single picture of real people having sexual intercourse. The torture article does not have pictures of people getting their fingers broken with pliers and the execution article fails to have a photo of someone being electrocuted. That's because on top of being disturbing, disgusting, and/or offensive, they are all unnecessary. And so that is what we are dealing with here: putting up something potentially offensive versus posting something more neutral yet still informative. This is not censorship; this is courtesy.
If we look at when this all began back in November, it was a Christian editor (not a pious Muslim) who originally cropped the picture down. In the ensuing debate, statements, especially from Zora, have highlighted the portrayal of women more than usefulness of the photograph. It seems as though more interest has been taken in proving a some underlying (political?) point. That point may be that "if those men can't control their sexual impulses, it's THEIR problem, not [ours]" (Zora 21:48 29-Nov-2005). It may be have something to do with women being able to wear what they want (Zora 22:04 30-Nov-2005). It may be that "women are not "obscene"" (Mistress Selina Kyle 03:32 4-Jan-2006). Frankly, this is not a debate about women's rights or what they should or should not be allowed to wear. This is a debate about whether it is necessary to have a picture with this woman considering a) some find it offensive, b) it is not of good quality, and c) the scale of the photo can be determined in other ways. An article about the Qur'an does not need this picture.
I hope this gets resolved very soon or I might have to go down to Freer Gallery (which is where that page from the Qur'an should be on display) and take a new one. Don't make it come to that. No honestly. Don't. joturner 05:42, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
No, please DO take a new picture, with a human for scale -- if you can get a better picture. I'm willing to bend that far. I'll let the Muslims censor the dang picture if no information is lost.
I'm feeling kinda beleaguered because I may be the only woman here. All you guys think it's just FINE for a woman's body to be covered up because it's offensive to Muslims. I should stop insisting on a woman's right to bare arms and just get with the program. But it's not YOUR bodies being declared obscene! There was an interesting article by Muqtedar Khan, progressive Muslim intellectual, where he said that the Muslim law relating to women was skewed because it was created by men, without women's input, and forced upon women [3]. Why shouldn't women protest? Why shouldn't I represent women here?
Remember the first Gulf War? U.S. servicewomen were stationed in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government allowed as how any women should wear hijab when they were off-base. The U.S. high brass agreed, and told the servicewomen to wear abayas. At which point the women protested. Vigorously. Loudly. I think there was enough fuss that the brass and the Saudi government backed down. There's a point at which you have to say, "I don't care if you think that it's POLITE for me to swelter in this black sack -- I won't do it; that's too much to ask." Zora 07:32, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Any new picture should not have a human in it for scale, for the same reason that a picture of the Mona Lisa should not have a human standing next to the canvas for scale, as I wrote earlier. It is not only unnecessary but it makes for an inferior picture.
Reading between the lines (and not so in-between the lines) of what you wrote above, I get the distinct impression that there's an element of "we're going to ram this down their misogynistic throats" here. Wikipedia isn't the place to pursue personal agendas. -- Curps 08:20, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I think a human next to the Mona Lisa would be great, as I always thought it was much bigger than it is. Showing the scale makes sense. KalevTait 18:36, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia isn't the place to pursue religious agendas either, though: And trying to remove any picture of women not covered head to toe in a black sack from articles related to Islam is censorship, and against Wikipedia policy. There's no reason to change this just because of religious objections (as well as the point that looking at the edit history it's pretty obvious that Mostafa bakry is a sockpuppet of Zanoon ([4] [5] --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 08:29, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Mistress Selina Kyle and Zora - try presenting your arguement without mentioning women's rights. The side against having the picture has been able to present its side with other rationale. You two, on the other hand, have complained about women's rights being infringed without addressing the other points made (necessity of a human scale, quality, etc). joturner 11:24, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
How far are you taking that? If you are saying that we need context for size and there is no reason to remove the woman then that seems to make sense since we lack a better and less obtrusive scale. If you're taking that to the level of it's good to have a woman there then no... it really does detract compared to a simplistic measuring implement. gren グレン 08:39, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

I've loosely read this debate and... well, I don't think wikipedia is not censored applies in the least to this. The issues as I see them are: does the woman add anything to the image (conversely does removing her detract); can we find another version that's better? So, a lot of this whole debate really just seems irrelevant to me. Many of those things may be points but they shouldn't surpass these main issues. Surprisingly when I saw it completely cut down I thought it was ugly. It was slightly off and you really couldn't tell the size of the folio. So, it comes down to do we need a measure for size or not. I would say we do and if that measuring stick is a woman than so be it. I would also highly support anyone going down (up? over?) to D.C. in near future take a pictures with something else to measure. Maybe you have a measuring stick or... I don't know what's good for context. As dab stated above this really isn't a great image. In fact any other over sized folio of merit would be great to replace this... we don't need the one from the Freer and maybe other museums provide better context. But, it should be a big one... which, the emphasis on the big is lost without context. gren グレン 08:39, 4 January 2006 (UTC)


I have protected the article from editing due to the ongoing edit war about this image. I'm not involved in the debate, but feel it cannot go on as a revert war and must be settled on the talk page not in edit summaries. Thanks. Harro5 03:27, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

The settlement of this edit conflict should be respectful towards the consensus policies of Wikipedia. For instance, we have a rule that Wikipedia is not censored. Therefore, the objections to this image on grounds such as "not suitable to Quran holiness" do not have any standing here whatsoever. Mentioning them is simply going to arouse rightful anger about censorship and will not move the conflict toward resolution.
It's useful to the discussion, rather, to ask whether the image is generally in compliance with Wikipedia policies (e.g. copyright status); whether it illustrates its subject well; whether it says something that is otherwise unsaid; or whether it otherwise improves the article. --FOo 08:05, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
That image is incredibly ugly. The verse is obscured by flash, the man or woman in the image doesn't seem representative of the Muslim community, and the cropping is poor. If there happend to be a quote from the Bible or New Testament on the cardboard box of some Chinese takeout I get for dinner, and once I finished my meal, I took a photo of it and uploaded it to Wikipedia, I'm sure Christians or Jews or anyone with aesthetic sense would object.
In summary it detracts from the article and does not illustrate the subject well or in context. 10:15, 4 January 2006 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Then quit complaining and make a new image that everyone can get behind... Jwissick(t)(c) 10:31, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
There are thousands of images of the Quran, here is one that has human scale in it (didn't read all arguments above sorry). The image has been floating around on many sites, I believe that "fair use" applies. Furthermore, this link links to "Which Quran - (article in PDF format)"
What has an in-depth look at the texual variants and history of the Quran. Furthermore it is supposed to have historical significance as one of the oldest Qurans around (though there may be older ones in Yemen?). Here's the link to the images: (source article -- not particularly precise)
-- anon 10:54 , 4 January 2006 (UTC)

We already have a new image of calligraphy. The hangup is the artificial insistence on a) depicting this one particular object rather than some other, and b) including a human for scale even though the overwhelming majority of such images on Wikipedia (paintings, etc) do not have any such human figure and don't need one and look far better without one. The scale of the object isn't even significant or relevant to the topic of this article, which is after all the Qur'an in general and not this one museum object in question.
If I took a poor quality photo of myself standing next to the Mona Lisa and added it to the article on Painting (not even the Mona Lisa article mind you, but the Painting article), it would be silly to cry censorship and demand that the photo remain unless someone else took another photo of a person standing next to the Mona Lisa. There are many other possible images that can be used to illustrate the concept of "Painting" and could be used just as well, and such images (as used in Wikipedia or in art history books or coffee table books or museum guidebooks, etc) invariably simply show the painting itself and nothing extraneous.
And what relevance is it to the general concept of painting that one particular painting happens to be a particular size? How is this some kind of vital information that must be preserved at all costs in an article that is not even about that particular painting, but about paintings in general? And if it's really so terribly important, could you not just specify the size (in meters and feet) in the caption?
Actually, even the above is an exaggeration, because the Mona Lisa is an iconic painting, perhaps the best known painting in history and in the world, whereas this particular big Qur'an depicted in the original image is hardly the most famous Qur'an in the world, not even close, and there are hundreds of equally suitable Qur'an calligraphy images that could be used. -- Curps 11:12, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Hundreds? Perhaps. But it is hardly the least famous one or especially objectionable, I think. Also, human scale does help, visually, when it comes to objects in which size is an important component (such as gigantism). Point is that the offensiveness of the image has been overstated by its opponents, much as its alleged importance has been overstated by proponents. I'd be pleased if an equally sleevless women appeared at a picture of the New or Old Testament, etc., and someone tried to add it to respective religious article. I'm sure there would be more objections, which is good, I like those things to be out in the open. To what extent such exchanges further the goals of the project, is another question, though. El_C 14:33, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

News flash: It's a secular encyclopedia, not an Islamic one. Short of a photo chosen for manifestly lascivious intent, which this isn't, I personally don't have any problem with such a photo. I don't believe this one was chosen in order to be offensive or anything.
There is perhaps a logistical question about whether the page will be vandalized more frequently as a result of this image, but personally I'm inclined to ignore that issue, because I think people are being unreasonable about this. It's not a big deal.
If we were building an Islamic encyclopedia, we'd make a different editorial call. But we're not, and WP is about pluralism. BYT 16:20, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Comments on the notability of size -- I'm starting to suspect that we are so used to dealing with art as computer image files that we are ignoring the physicality of art objects, such as books -- one component of which is size. It is relevant that some paintings are tiny and some are huge; reducing them all to 150px wide images destroys all the physical variation. I went to the article on Book to see if variation of size in books was mentioned -- not a word. Yet in most of the 19th century book ads I've proofed for Distributed Proofreaders, books are specified as quarto, octavo, duodecimo -- standard book sizes.

We were discussing the archiving of page images at Distributed Proofreaders. One proofer pointed out that to really save a book for the ages in computer form, you'd need photos of the cover and binding, as well as physical dimensions. We were thinking exclusively in terms of page images (typography) and etext, NOT of the book as a physical object. But that is a big part of our experience of a book.

That's why I was so taken with the picture of the big Qur'an when Quadell put it up -- it emphasized the range of forms in which Qur'ans were created. That's why I've been saying that we need an image of a little Qur'an (with human for scale) as well as the picture of the big Qur'an. Zora 16:49, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Sizes are on bookbinding. I agree with most everything except that we need a human for scale. Ideally we can find some more neutral object that takes away less from the Qur'an folio itself. However, cutting down the image size only loses the scale instead of gives us a better scale. gren グレン 17:07, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I gave this some thought. Manufactured objects don't work well, because they can be made any size. If you put the Qur'an next to a TV set -- is it a 15" or a 42" set? Animals and plants don't seem to me to work well. I'm not sure it has be a whole human. For smallish things, a human hand is enough to show scale.
How about Joturner goes with a dignified Muslim friend in clothing suitable for salah to the Freer Gallery and takes a picture of his friend holding a small Qur'an next to the BIG Qur'an. If flash reflections could be avoided, that could be a great illustration. Zora 20:15, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I find it funny how easily you make that sound. It's a piece of art at a dignified museum, not a cartoon character from Walt Disney World. joturner 21:43, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Wait just a moment here. What sort of message will this be sending should we replace the photo? It sends the message that we kowtow to threats and revert vandals. It weakens our position when we have to deal with other controversial issues. Don't like something on WP? Fine. Just revert like hell till the editors remove it. I know its a strong word to use, but this is terrorism by reversion. I think we need to look at this from a point of view of policy. Do we want to set a policy of reverting just cause someone is offended? What's next? People find photos of genitalia offensive here at WP... Yet we still host the images. Is this really the road we want to go down? Jwissick(t)(c) 20:55, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I told you that I was trying to walk a fine line. I chose to draw it at "not losing information". Deleting the picture would be losing information. However, replacing it with a better picture would be gaining information. Of course I dislike letting the censors win. It pisses me off. I can only take comfort in the fact that they're making themselves ridiculous with their furor over a a woman's right to bare arms. Zora 21:04, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Surely a picture that is less offensive is better than a picture that is more offensive? You make the comparison about genatalia and this quran picture. That's like comparing apples and oranges. In the former case, in a appropriate article, say penis, a picture of a penis would be appropriate, regardless of any offense. But we aren't arguing about having a picture of any qur'an, as we already have several. The discussion lies in showing a certain type of quran, in this case an oversized one, whether it adds to the article. Your argument does not hold. The only comparison you could make would be to compare an oversized penis to this oversized quran. Not being funny, just drawing an exact parallel. Pepsidrinka 22:00, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Again, I think Zora is right on-target here. The picture in question serves a purpose -- showing how huge the Qur'an in question is, which would otherwise be unclear. It is not a great idea to delete it on the grounds that it offends a certain small constituency, though replacing it with a better image is another matter, I thinhk. If we can find a picture that serves the same purpose without offending that group, so much the better. Part of the reason I'm saying this is that it is, or should be, obvious to any Muslim that the picture has not been chosen with the purpose of inflaming or offending. In other words, anyone who argues that the presence of the woman in the photo is intended as a provocation is probably either disingenuous or at the extreme delusional end of the curve of complainers. BYT 22:08, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I also agree with Zora, the current image is fine, but if a better image of the same subject can be found, I have no objection to replacing it. Removing the image simply because it is offensive to some, however, is not in line with Wikipedia policies. Kaldari 23:41, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Can we involve the Smithsonian?

Had a thought -- if there's a public relations officer for the Smithsonian, perhaps he/she would be interested in using this controversy to get publicity for the institution and its holdings of Islamic art. We could ask the MUSEUM to have their staff photographer take a photo of a conservatively dressed person standing next to the big Qur'an, as well as a picture of that person next to their tiniest Qur'an. Those pictures could appear on Wikipedia and also as part of a news story. If it worked, we could get professional-quality pictures and they'd get publicity. Zora 03:55, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

That seems a little over-the-top. And I don't think the Smithsonian is really begging for publicity. joturner 03:58, 5 January 2006 (UTC)