Sunday, 18 March 2012

Pious Lies: MuslimWiki's article on WikiIslam

Since the hypocritical webmaster of KnightsWiki, the "unofficial University of Central Florida wiki", endorses MuslimWiki as a “balanced” alternative to the “Islamophobic” WikiIslam, I thought I'd take a closer look at MuslimWiki's article on WikiIslam. The webmaster of KnightsWiki refers to it as a “fairly comprehensive article” focused on criticizing them.

Author(s) and history of the article

Before even dealing with the actual content of the article, there are a few things which I feel the reader should be made aware of.

History of the article

The article about WikiIslam was first created on Wikipedia (25 January 2012‎) by NarSakSasLee, a Wikipedia user who claimed he was of Japanese origin and a follower of Buddhism. It was then deleted within a few days (27 January 2012), with reluctant agreement from its author, due to several Wikipedia users noting that, among other issues, it was biased and misrepresented its sources.

You would think this would be the end of it, but, no, the story continues...

On 26 January 2012, just one day after it was created and one day before it was deleted on Wikipedia, the article made its way to MuslimWiki, that bastion of neutrality championed by KnightsWiki, a site which interestingly follows a Muslim point of view which they refer to as Pislam (I'm not kidding or trying to be offensive, they really do call it Pislam). The MuslimWiki user who “found” it on Wikipedia goes by the name of IslamicWarrior.


Taking a look at their current user pages and contribution histories, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that NarSakSasLee, the Wikipedia user who claimed he was of Japanese origin and a Buddhist, and IslamicWarrior, the MuslimWiki user who appears to be of Pakistani origin, are actually one in the same.

In addition to the extremely short window of time he had to “find” NarSakSasLee's article, other evidences that suggest they are one in the same include:

1. IslamicWarrior links to several articles he “copied” from Wikipedia and consequently admits to authoring the WikiIslam article by having it linked under a separate section titled “Created Articles”.

2. "Hilal-i-Jur'at" is an article by NarSakSasLee which, coincidently, is linked on both of their user pages.

3. IslamicWarrior wrote an article titled “Is Islam the fastest growing religion?”. If you look at NarSakSasLee's Wikipedia user contributions, you will notice it is actually text taken from NarSakSasLee's edits on the Wikipedia article “Claims to be the fastest-growing religion”.

4. If you look at their edit history, up until now, when IslamicWarrior edits MuslimWiki, NarSakSasLee takes a break from editing Wikipedia, and vice versa.

5. NarSakSasLee, the “Japanese” user, almost exclusively edits and creates Wikipedia articles associated with Islam and Muslims, including an article in his sandbox about British Pakistanis, whilst IslamicWarrior also seems to show an interest in Japan with his edits on Muslimwiki, he even links to the “Islam in Japan” article.

6. Strangely for someone who claims he is a non-Muslim of Japanese origin, NarSakSasLee's edits on Wikipedia articles mirror the infamous Muslim editor, Jagged 85, by consistently focusing on representing Islam in the most positive light possible whilst representing other faiths (Christianity & Hinduism) in the most negative light.

Take a look at all of his edits on “Claims to be the fastest-growing religion” or “Urine therapy”, where he tries his best to make both Hindus and Christians look like backward piss-drinkers, whilst putting undue weight on a Western Muslim organisation to make it look like Islam is against the practice. Ironically, drinking a certain desert animal's urine is unanimously accepted as halal by mainstream Islam and a quick Google search confirms that it is endorsed by Muslims all over the net as one of Islam's “scientific miracles”, but you would never know this by reading the Wikipedia article that he has butchered with his “Pislam” point of view.

(Update: NarSakSasLee has another user account named ChainedButFree)

Some of the many problems with MuslimWiki's article

Extreme bias & logical fallacies

1. Extreme bias

Before delving into specific problems, you can see straight away with statements such as, “Wikiislam's main purpose of existence is to paint Islam and Muslims stereotypically and negatively”, “[WikiIslam is] grossly mis-representative of Muslims”, and with claims that WikiIslam somehow “disguises itself”, that the MuslimWiki article is extremely biased against WikiIslam. In fact, it has absolutely nothing positive to say about the site.

Partial screen capture of MuslimWiki's "unbiased" and "balanced" entry for WikiIslam

This leads me to wonder how the webmaster of KnightsWiki could possibly claim he wants “to make sure that the content is fair” and that “one of the best offerings of a wiki is the ability to present both sides of an argument”, and then go on to endorsing MuslimWiki and its article about WikiIslam as “a balanced view”.

Did he even read the same article that I am reading? How could someone who is not a Muslim himself be so severely blinded by his pro-Islam bias?

2. Logical fallacies

Conveniently ignoring the fact that WikiIslam's readership is primarily Muslims, ex-Muslims, and non-Muslims living in Eastern countries and that it is even linked to by (where it states WikiIslam is “a work in progress for factual information critical of Islam”), the MuslimWiki article also claims “Most notably the website has been referenced by Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians as well as neo-conservative American authors in books that demonise religions other than Christianity and Judaism”.

This is clearly an attempt at using the 'Guilt by association' ad hominem fallacy. i.e. “Crazy fundies reference WikiIslam, so WikiIslam is written by crazy fundies!!!!”.

As noted by Wikipedia editors on the deleted “WikiIslam Talk” page, there is absolutely nothing notable about receiving trivial mentions in obscure self-published books, and there is no reference provided for the claim that they are written by “Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians as well as neo-conservative American authors” or that they “demonise religions other than Christianity and Judaism”. The language chosen to describe the authors is being used because of their negative connotations.

Even if WikiIslam was referenced by the “Evangelical bogeymen”, what exactly is the problem with that? Is WikiIslam supposed to censor information? Should blisteringly effective critics like Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens be silenced to avoid being quoted by “neo-cons”?

Misrepresenting sources & blatant lies

1. The MuslimWiki article claims “It has been reported by several news sources including the Associated Press as being a website that shows a 'one sided view of Islam' to make 'Muslims look backward and stupid' whilst disguising itself as a website that solely "criticises" Islam.”

This is a blatant lie that was pointed out to him on Wikipedia's “WikiIslam Talk” page.

The article provided as a reference was from a Muslim site named “Suaramedia”. Just by reading its biased title (“WikiIslam, Encyclopedia of Islam under the pretext Wrong!”) and style of writing, it becomes painfully obvious that this is not an AP article. Also worth noting is the fact that AP articles propagate widely; were it an AP article, we'd expect to see it popping up in other news sources, but this is not the case. Simply putting (AP) at the beginning of an article does not make it an Associated Press article.

In addition to these problems, note how they claim “It has been reported by several news sources”, but only provide the one biased reference to a “news” article. To make their claim of news “sources” appear true, they later mention criticism of Wikislam by “Suaramedia, a news organisation based in Indonesia”. What they fail to mention is that the Suaramedia article and the “Associated Press” article are one in the same (apparently it doesn't bother them that providing the 1 link for both articles make their deceit obvious). So here they are making one set of complaints from a biased Muslim site named “Suaramedia” appear as if they were made by two separate, and presumably unbiased, “news organisations”

2. The MuslimWiki article claims “The website has been criticised heavily for using Islamophobic sources, and using writings from Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller as notable sources to make claims about Islam ranging from Islamic history to Islamic belief systems.[1] The website has been banned in Saudi Arabia citing these reasons specifically.”

This is 3 blatant lies in 1 that were, in part, pointed out to him on MuslimWiki's “WikiIslam Talk” page before he blanked it without discussion.

For the first lie;

The MuslimWiki article references a paper by Göran Larsson, which was presented at a conference in Sweden on December 2006, as the source for its claim about Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. Nowhere in the paper does Göran Larsson make this claim. You can even confirm this for yourself by reading the reference MuslimWiki provide. Larsson's paper is also used in other parts of the article to make further false claims (I will deal with those later in this post).

For the second lie;

The imaginative author simply made up the claim about Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller being used on WikiIslam. Again, you can confirm this for yourself by going onto WikiIslam and checking their completed articles (i.e. ones which are not visibly labelled as needing improvements or awaiting review) for any claims made about Islam that use Robert Spencer or Pamela Geller as a source.

Here are some examples;

*List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad: This article cites 130 different sources. From a quick look, I can gather that every single citation has a pro-Islamic and/or scholarly source. Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are nowhere in sight. Maybe they were too busy at a pro-Zionist convention to lend the editors at WikiIslam a hand? Who knows.

*Questions to Ask a Muslim: This article cites 190 different sources. Again, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are nowhere in sight.

*72 Virgins: This article cites 53 different sources. Unless Robert Spencer or Pamela Geller are one of the virgins, this article too is free from their nefarious pro-Zionist agenda and influence (maybe ol' Bob was busy forging some of the authentic Islamic sources WikiIslam used to prove the 72 virgins “myth”?).

Sure, there may be some pages (out of the 2,316 articles) that need improvement, but to claim that they base their criticism of Islamic history and doctrines off the writings of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller is a complete lie. 

For the third lie;

Who told them WikiIslam was banned in Saudi Arabia because of its “use of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller as sources”? Larsson's paper does not say this, and according to SA, the site was banned for what they term as “pornography”. This is either a codeword for material that critiques Islam, or the Saudi people have some very strange and unique sexual fetishes.

And just in case you're wondering; no, there does not appear to be anything that could be classed, by non-Muslims at least, as “pornographic”.

3. The MuslimWiki article claims “The website does not allow Muslims to contribute to the wiki as stated in the FAQ section by the owner of the website”.

This is another blatant lie that was pointed out to him on Wikipedia's “WikiIslam Talk” page.

If you look at the page history for WikiIslam's FAQ during January 2012 (when the MuslimWiki article was created) it clearly says “Unlike the thousands of pro-Islamic sites on the net which are never labeled as hate sites, we welcome Muslims to edit the site and express an alternate point of view.”

True to their word, there are plenty of pro-Islamic articles available at WikiIslam. They have in fact been accepting pro-Islamic submissions since December 2008 (an article named “Barrier of seas”) and one of the most trusted editors over there was a Muslim. Even from the beginning, WikiIslam has (and still does) offer a link on its FAQ to MuslimWiki for Muslim editors who may prefer to edit a site that only allows biased pro-Islam material. How much fairer/charitable can a critics site be?  And how much more hypocritical can a pro-Islamic site that does not allow opposing views be to criticize another site for allegedly doing the same thing they do?

4. The MuslimWiki article claims “unlike Wikipedia, access to editing articles proves very difficult for the public.[2][1] Each edit is checked by "special contributors" or "reviewers" who can approve or disapprove of the edits.[1] According to the statistics provided by WikiIslam itself out of 1,692 registered users, only 2 have these "reviewer" privileges suggesting that the website is heavily censored.”

This is very inaccurate, and dishonestly conceals the reasons behind some of WikiIslam's policies.   They are also misrepresenting sources once again by using Larsson's 2006-2007 paper to back up something that occurred years later.

All pages on WikiIslam are under "Pending-changes protection" (since very late in December 2011), meaning that they are open for editing, even to IP editors, but changes only become visible to readers once they have been reviewed by a user with the appropriate access. This is nothing unusual for a wiki. In fact all the pages on the German Wikipedia are also under Pending-changes protection . When the MuslimWiki article was created (January 2012) "Pending-changes protection" had only just been implemented there. MuslimWiki, rather disingenuously, states “out of 1,692 registered users, only 2 have these 'reviewer' privileges” in order to shock its readers. The truth is, yes, there are over a thousand registered users, but only a handful are active editors and a lot of the content is provided by what they call “contributors” who send material in via email rather than actually edit the site with a user account. Currently, almost all active users (a lot more than 2) have “reviewer privileges”.

The reason why "Pending-changes protection" became necessary was because WikiIslam is constantly vandalised by Muslims and its non-Muslim editors have openly received (homophobic) death-threats (by IP users none-the-less). In addition to that, before the “Pending-changes protection” was added, Muslims often complained about how “anyone” could insert false information. They would attempt to use the logical fallacy known as “poisoning the well”, by finding a “mistake” and then imploring others not to trust the site. From the WikiIslam FAQ:
Someone found mistakes in one of your articles. How can I trust the rest of the site?
WikiIslam hosts 2,316 articles written by various users. Anyone who claims they have found mistakes in one of our articles and therefore the rest of our site should be dismissed, is committing the logical fallacy of poisoning the well. Also note that essays do not necessarily reflect the views of WikiIslam. We are receptive to criticism and appreciate the input of our readers because it only results in improving our site. So if you notice any errors please let us know ”

Some wikis clearly need more moderation than other, especially if the wiki in question is focused on a topic as controversial as Islam, or when one simple mistake can and will be used to “discredit” the entire site.
Now that this “anyone could insert false information” complaint has been remedied by WikiIslam, the same group of people (i.e. Muslims) start complaining about “censorship”.

You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.

5. The MuslimWiki article claims “In September 2006, Faith Freedom International (FFI)… launched WikiIslam […] WikiIslam denies this fervently”

This is a lie.

Yes, Faith Freedom International launched WikiIslam, but this is not what any editor at WikiIslam has ever denied, fervently or otherwise (if you look at WikiIslam's “Site News” page, they quite clearly mention in 2007 of being hosted on the FFI server). What they do deny, however, is the false claim that they still remain a part of FFI. The “About” page explains the facts:
"WikiIslam was created on October 27, 2005, in collaboration with Ali Sina and Faith Freedom International. The site was in a testing phase for about a year and on September 4, 2006, it was opened to the public. In September 2007, the FFI server was hacked and was down for almost a month, and due to server problems, editing was disabled at WikiIslam for almost a year. In August 2008, the site was moved out of FFI's server and since then it has been operating independently, remaining unaffiliated with or owned by any organization."

Ali Sina is a very notable former Muslim and has written a lot of critical material in regards to Muhammad and Islam. Whilst his no-nonsense approach to criticism is very powerful, intimidating enough to have Zakir Naik ducking for cover, he has also said things which have offended people (some of his views are certainly not shared with mine). This is clearly another fallacious attempt by MuslimWiki to make people dismiss the site without even reading its fully referenced content, and, judging by the amount of text and screenshots used, they mistakenly thought it was some sort of “smoking gun” against the site to associate it with him.

6. The MuslimWiki article claims “Professor Göran Larsson Ph.D, and Senior Lecturer of religious studies at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, an expert on Islam and Muslims in Europe.”

Nowhere in the reference given does it state that Larsson is an “expert on Islam and Muslims in Europe”. Even if he were an “expert”, how does that effect WikiIslam's criticism of mainstream Islamic doctrines and Islamic pseudo science? Does Larsson provide a response to WikiIslam's “Lesser vs Greater Jihad” article or its numerous articles refuting laughable claims of science in the Qur'an? No, he does not provide any of this. What is being attempted here is known as an “appeal to authority.”

7. The MuslimWiki article claims (below a screenshot) “A screenshot of Wikiislam "Policies and Guidelines" page addressing that Muslims are not allowed to edit articles. This message has appeared several times before but is sometimes removed.[1]”

There are several problems with this section:

The first problem;

You can clearly see in the screenshot that the page states WikiIslam has temporarily suspended accepting pro-Islam articles (after a full 3 years -2009 to 2011- of accepting them). Thus refuting the claims, “Muslims are not allowed to edit articles” and WikiIslam “does not allow Muslims to contribute to it according to its own policy”. If it was a WikiIslam policy to not allow pro-Islamic content, then there would be no need to put a message there notifying its Muslim editors. Additionally, if it was a WikiIslam policy to not allow pro-Islamic content, there should be no pro-Islamic pages written by Muslims and hosted on the site. However there are plenty of pro-Islamic articles available there which can be read by anyone.

You've probably already guessed that the reason for this temporary change was mainly due to the behaviour of WikiIslam's Muslim editors. WikiIslam's P&G page explains:
Due to constant vandalism, disruptive editing, non-compliance with guidelines and a lack of time, we are currently not accepting pro-Islamic submissions. This change is only temporary, and our present list of pro-Islamic articles can still be viewed here. For debates and general discussions about Islam, please visit the FFI forum.”

The second problem;

The claim that “This message has appeared several times before but is sometimes removed” is not supported by the page history. To be blunt; it's another blatant lie from the imaginative minds of MuslimWiki's authors.

The third problem;

All of this is referenced to Larsson's paper, something which does not support any of the claims made. Therefore, once again, the author is caught misrepresenting sources and blatantly lying.

Miscellaneous problems, absurdities & more lies

1. The MuslimWiki article quotes the biased Suaramedia article claiming “at a glance this website is a complete reference source for Muslims, but when viewed closely, is a community site that collects material negative and critical of Islam”

This is absolute rubbish. In another section they also use the same site as a reference to back up the claim that WikiIslam somehow “disguises itself” to fool readers. The truth is WikiIslam makes it abundantly clear in their 'About' page, FAQ page and Google description that they are a website critical of Islam. If Muslims are too stupid to notice this, the confusion can hardly be blamed on WikiIslam.

2. The MuslimWiki article claims the WikiIslam “website is located in Washington DC, USA (although several WHOIS look ups have shown it is based in Houston, Texas)”

This location refers to the hosting server of the website. There are millions of servers that have millions of hosting accounts and the server location is not used as the "website location".

3. The MuslimWiki article claims “It has been reported by several news sources including the Associated Press as being a website that shows a "one sided view of Islam" to make "Muslims look backward and stupid" whilst disguising itself as a website that solely "criticises" Islam.[2] A 67 page report backed by several European research organisations was presented to EUROFOR and confirmed this trend in 2007.[1]”

I'm no rocket scientist, but even I know that a paper written only 3 months after WikiIslam was launched in 2006, cannot “confirm” any trend reported by a biased Muslim site (not AP like it is stated) in a poorly written article in June 2011. Is it possible Larsson has discovered the secret to time travel? If he has, then he's keeping the discovery to himself.

In Closing

I apologise for the excessive length of this post, but even now I'm sure there is plenty of points that I have missed. If the amount of misinformation and lies spouted by some religious Muslims shock you, then be aware that Muhammad himself allowed Muslims to lie and murder in order to silence critics of Islam. Once you learn this inconvenient fact, the religious justification behind the lowly and often murderous actions of some pious Muslims in reaction to critics (Satanic verses, cartoons, Qur'an burnings, etc) ceases to remain a mystery.

What is truly baffling is how an educated non-Muslim running an unofficial university wiki could possibly endorse this tripe as “balanced”.

Update: Linking to MuslimWiki Banned?

Looks like NarSakSasLee has been busy. He has updated MuslimWiki's article to include criticism from other bloggers (some of which, as in the case of "KnightsWiki", appear to have been canvased for this very purpose).

They now have an "External link" with the text "An atheists experience with". The atheist MuslimWiki are referring to is Doubting Marcus. He made a post critical of WikiIslam on July 5, 2011, but what MuslimWiki convenient fails to tell you is that Marcus publicly apologized to the editors of WikiIslam and humbly retracted his criticism of the site in a post made by him on December 17, 2011. (read more here).

The "KnightsWiki" webmaster originally contacted the owner of WikiIslam for assistance, assistance which the owner generously provided. But almost immediately, the KnightsWiki webmaster proceeded to attempt vandalism on WikiIslam and then, just as swiftly, made a lengthy post on his blog criticizing the site. There are only two posts in total on his blog and the wiki has been inactive for months. His unashamedly hypocritical, inaccurate, biased, and agenda-driven post has been refuted and thoroughly exposed for the rubbish that it is (read more here & an update here).

Qãhırıï is an African-American Muslim convert who, according to his Facebook postings, apparently believes he has "refuted WikiIslam". NarSakSasLee has certainly contacted him because he has now updated his own post to include links to MuslimWiki, Doubting Marcus, and KnightsWiki (which he lies about, claiming it was written by "staff of the University of Central Florida"). He does all this to "prove" his critique of Islam is not "based on my status as a Muslim." His reply, which only proves what a complete ignoramus he is (someone who doesn't even understand the meaning of "essay" or "unofficial") has also  been refuted and thoroughly exposed for the rubbish that it is (read more here).

NarSakSasLee, who created the original article on Wikipedia and then went on to attempt recruiting the infamous Jagged 85, has clearly declared "jihad" on WikiIslam, a site which apparently must have shook his iman (faith) tremendously for him to be obsessing over it in such a way. In his update, the MuslimWiki article has a section titled, "Linking to MuslimWiki Banned". Most of this has been dealt with in my reply to the hypocritical KnightsWiki webmaster, but I will expand on that here.

MuslimWiki is an obscure site. On a scale of 1 to 10 in popularity, it would score a zero. In fact it's probably more obscure, non-notable and has less traffic than the many obscure pro-Islam blogs they use in an attempt to smear its perceived "competition" (I use inverted commas because, frankly, they're not in the same league). WikiIslam's Alexa ranking fluctuates but remains constantly above 200,000. When NarSakSasLee wrote his tripe, WikiIslam was ranked 133,415. Conversely, MuslimWiki currently isn't even ranked in the top 7 million.

Why would WikiIslam link to such a sh**ty site on their main article? Why would the owner of the site even care about what such an obscure site says about WikiIslam? If he cared about that, then he'd also have to care about every single obscure blog opened up by Tom, Dick and Harry. MuslimWiki is not worthy of having its existence recognized by such a well-known site as WikiIslam. Hence, it is left for me to deal with on this blog. It simply doesn't deserve anything more.

This is just another sad and pathetic attempt by a sad and pathetic individual to goad WikiIslam into providing them some much needed traffic by engaging them in a slanging match. This is hardly anything new for incompetent Muslim apologists who love to ride off the popularity of sites critical of Islam (Answering Christianity and come to mind). Believe me, if and when MuslimWiki becomes popular, MuslimWiki will get its own article on WikiIslam, and that article will not be full of lies and fantasies made up in the mind of its editors.

In short; WikiIslam may be notable enough in order for MuslimWiki to launch a dishonest spear-campaign against it, but MuslimWiki is certainly not notable enough for WikiIslam to even acknowledge. Beggars can't be choosers, so MuslimWiki should be gracious for the fact that WikiIslam generously link to such an obscure and insignificant site on their FAQ as an alternative.

Update: Pro-WikiIslam Muslim Opinions Silenced

There is a reason why people refer to pro-Islamic hackers as "Internet Jihadists". These  hackers are the Taliban of the Internet. Like their real life counterparts, they "kill" their critics and force their beliefs onto others (all of the Islamically-hacked Christian and Hindu sites that I have come across, have had their content replaced with verses from the Qur'an and a "call" to embrace Islam).

It appears that NarSakSasLee/IslamicWarrior is up to his old underhanded tricks again. WikiIslam's webmaster has notified me that a couple of Muslims who had expressed positive views of the site have contacted him and have removed the related statements. I suppose having a student at Umm al-Qura University (Mecca, Saudi Arabia) say, "I usually wouldn't endorse a site like this, but in this case all of the sources were referenced in great detail", doesn't serve NarSakSasLee's biased and dishonest agenda.

Although there is no proof to link the recent failed attempt at a DDoS attack on WikiIslam to NarSakSasLee/IslamicWarrior, his other actions certainly merit him the title of "Internet Jihadist" or maybe "Internet Islamist". Silencing opinions that contradict his own and making sure fellow Muslims tow the party line.