WIKIPEDIA REFUSES TO REMOVE PICTURES OF MOHAMMED FROM ENTRY, despite 90,000+ signatures on an online petition (though a quick skim of a few signatures suggests that not all of them endorse the petition's views).
Good for Wikipedia. An encyclopedia may certainly choose not to include such pictures, and still remain true to its mission. (I don't think it would be right for the encyclopedia to remove important historical details that some people are offended by, though the encyclopedia authors would surely have the First Amendment right to do this; but drawings representing the subject are not a necessary part of an accurate discussion of the issue.) But I think an encyclopedia may also properly refuse to succumb to such pressure, and I approve of the Wikipedia editors' refusal here.
Here is a link to the signatures.
Some funny quotes from the 'comments' section of the petition...
- "Like all the other lunatics here who don't respect the notion of pluralism, I demand you take the pictures down. Forget that these other lunatics are writing from countries that do not allow the barest minimum of freedom of religion. Now we must extend that lack of freedom to the entire world."
- "Please make the pictures larger."
- "Like all the other Muslim extremists here I want to dictate what the rest of the world can read and view on their computers. I don't care at all that other people are not bound by the laws of my phony religion. So take the pictures down."
- "Jihad on Wikipedia!"
- "Please remove these illustrations and respect the peaceful request by vote. Thanks."
The last one is especially funny. Oh shit, they were peaceful this time! Ok guys, let's take it down.