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Wikipedia’s Piety Towards Muslim Titles

Given all the talk of Mullahs in recent days, we happened to notice that Wikipedia capitalizes the title Mullah in their entry for them.

Such as in this (risible) example, which kicks off Wikipedia’s Mullah article:

It is primarily understood in the Muslim world as a term of respect (a religiously educated man), though a fairly common usage on the internet includes abuse; grouping Mullah with terrorist, bigot, fanatic. This misunderstanding is mainly caused by the infamous Taliban leader Mohammed Omar…

Meanwhile, Wikipedia does not bother to capitalize the religious titles Priest, Pastor or Rabbi. Nor do they capitalize Bishop, Cardinal – or even Pope.

Whereas they are careful to capitalize Islamic honorifics from Sheikh to Ayatollah.

Why is that?

This and their glowing entries on Islam, such as these, give us pause:

  • Peace In Islamic Thought
  • Islam and modernity
  • Islamism
  • Islamization
  • List of notable converts to Islam
  • List of notable former Muslims
  • Animal welfare in Islam
  • Children’s rights in Islam
  • Prisoners rights in Islam
  • Persecution of Muslims
  • Is it because Muslim devotees are writing the entries?

    If so, how is it that Wikipedia has banned Scientologists from editing their articles on Scientology and there is no similar restrictions on Muslims?

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    Wikipedia Bans Scientology Church’s Edits

    June 1, 2009

    Wikipedia’s arbitration committee ruled to permanently block contributions and edits to Scientology articles from Internet addresses originating from the Church of Scientology’s headquarters.

    The decision follows six months of debate among administrators of the user-edited encyclopedia, who found conflicts between Wikipedia editors who were Scientology enthusiasts and those who disliked the religion. Some 430 Scientology entries on Wikipedia resulted in constant battles over revisions between the two camps. User accounts were created for the sole purpose of deleting or adding information on Scientology, a practice seen as harmful to Wikipedia’s neutrality principles…

    Why the double standard, Mr. Wales?

    This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, June 21st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

    12 Responses to “Wikipedia’s Piety Towards Muslim Titles”

    1. tranquil.night says:

      Ehehehe, well done Steve this tickled me. From dictionary.com:
      “1. A male religious teacher or leader.”
      “(in Islamic countries) a title of respect for a person who is learned in, teaches, or expounds the sacred law.”

      To claim to be something doesn’t mean one is what they say they are. Using “Mullah” is a little bit how some put “Reverend” to their name and go around acting irreverently. So similarly the semantics have come to represent something entirely different than the implied definition. In this case we know and associate most mullahs with fanatical Islam, not the teaching of any peace or wisdom that might be contained within Islam. If Wikipedia had any interest in objectivity this fact would’ve been stated and explained at length – which is your point I believe.

    2. cjokry says:

      If so, how is it that Wikipedia has banned Scientologists from editing their articles on Scientology and there is no similar restrictions on Muslims?

      Tom Cruise & Co. have never blown themselves or anybody else up, so if they’re giving your website problems, just censure them or whatever else you feel like doing. Problem solved and you can sleep safe and sound while you wait for the day that the actor and his Hollywood friends all neuter themselves and drink the kool-aid. Ten years from now there will probably not be a real Scientology movement (if there even is one now.) Islam, I’m betting, will probably still be around, having shown better staying power.

      • platypus says:

        The word that this reply brought to my mund was oblique. How does it address the hypocrisy described in the S&L post?

        Of course I could just be as dense as I’m sometimes accused of being.

      • specialed says:

        Scientologists are known to cause havoc online to suppress or modify information about their “church.” Lawsuits and threats are common.

        Maybe the Muslim community has been more moderate? :-)

      • jobeth says:


        Without getting too far into the substance of your post, your following statment is in error;

        “Ten years from now there will probably not be a real Scientology movement (if there even is one now.)”

        Scientology is a philosophy that has been around for at least 50 years or more. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is not going away in ten years.

        And BTW if reports are correct, you don’t want to be between Scientology and their “philosophy”. People get hurt. Google it. There are pages and pages of information.

      • ZZMike says:

        Jobeth wrote: “Scientology is a philosophy that has been around for at least 50 years or more. ”

        That’s a fact. Scientology was born when L. Ron Hubbard told a group of his friends (the only one I can remember is Harlan Ellison) that the best way to make real money is to start a religion. As long as there are gullible people, and “useful idiots”, there will always be Scientologists setting up tables on street corners.

    3. Flession says:

      This kind of stuff generally happens with Wikipedia. They have a left-leaning bias and it shows. I used to edit pages, writing things out pretty objectively and placing in citations on everything I placed in.

      For instance, Lord Barry’s and Biden’s vote to continue to fund the Bridge to Nowhere, citing the actual senatoral record of the situation, and it was removed due to it being anti-Obama. Seriously. That was the actual reason cited for its removal.

      Anyways, after that fiasco, I stopped doing things on there and unless it’s for something involving pop culture and general science knowledge, I never use it.

    4. specialed says:

      We could go in and downgrade all the Mullahs and Sheiks and Ayatollahs. It is not that hard to do, but it may provoke a war.

      I can’t see how the wikifolks would let it stand, their English usage specifies that titles are not capitalized unless associated with a name.

    5. neocon mom says:

      Obama shares a certain amount of this reverence. He addresses Iran’s Ayatollah as the Grand Ayatollah, an unprecedented show of respect for an American president. Are any of us surprised by this?
      Furthermore who can forget the NYT decision not to reprint the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed? Too many in the media roll over and treat Islam with deference, then lay into devout Christians with impunity. It’s similar to the cowardly way leftists attack America, a safe target, for what we’ve done to keep this country safe after 9/11 while ignoring the terrorist threat and Islamofascist culture.
      Yes, between Wikipedia and public school, we have our work cut out for us in terms of truly educating our children.

    6. ZZMike says:

      Isn’t it the case that Wikipedia is publicly edited? You can loook at the edit history.

      I looked at the entry for “Pope”. They use “pope” and “popes” for the general class (e.g., “Some popes ….”) and “Pope” for specific popes (e.g., “The current Pope is Benedict XVI…”).

      As to that risible example, all we need do is look at what the mad mullahs in Iran are saying. Breitbart has a story from Iran that says

      ” In Friday’s central Muslim sermon at Tehran University, a senior cleric, Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, called for harsh retribution for dissent.

      “Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction,” he said in the nationally broadcast speech.

      “Anyone who takes up arms to fight with the people, they are worthy of execution,”

      Maybe they read your post, because they avoid “mullah” in favor of “senior cleric”.

      I’m sure you could go through and change the “Mullah” entry, but then someone else would come along and change it back.

      It’s no surprise that a Wiki entry on Islam is going to be pro-Islam, since that’s who the writers are.

    7. proreason says:

      Are there any conservatives who spend all there time editting Wikipedia entries. Somehow I doubt it.

      But there seem to be thousands of liberals who dedicate their lives to it.

      But I guess when you make your living by stealing money from taxing other people, you have time to do stuff like that.

    8. AcrobaticTenement says:

      It is curious that “mullah” is capitalized while other religious titles are not, but I’m not sure if it has more to do with radical pro-Muslim editors or with people’s natural propensity for capitalizing foreign words/titles.

      Also, while there is an article on peace in Islam, it’s not really fair to say that qualifies as a pro-Islam stance, as these other articles also exist:

      Islam and Domestic Violence

      Criticism of Islam

      Criticism of the Qu’ran

      among others..

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