WikiIslam is a community edited website which focuses on the critique of Islam, whilst also allowing pro-Islamic responses in separate articles. It is run on the same software that Wikipedia and other similar sites use.
WikiIslam's goal is to become the most comprehensive and accurate source of information on Islam. This information is based primarily on its own sources, the Qur'an, hadith and Islamic scholars. It takes a rational approach in its handling of Islam and is notable for dealing extensively with false propaganda and Islamic pseudoscience.
The site aims to remain neutral towards other religions, world views, and issues of a political nature, such as immigration, multiculturalism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and also to stay away from extremist, sensationalist or emotional commentary by simply letting the facts speak for themselves.
Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, the site exhorts editors to use non-polemic and scholarly secondary sources, and to attribute statements wherever possible. It makes copious use of authoritative primary and secondary pro-Islamic sources, such as the Compendium of Muslim Texts, sirah literature and fatwas from some of the most popular mainstream Islamic sites on the net.
It is an international site with editors and contributors from all over the world, and the policies and content reflect this. For example, editors are advised that no region should be given priority over another, and developments concerning Islam in Asia or Africa are as important as developments in Europe or the Americas.
WikiIslam was created on October 27, 2005, in collaboration with various individuals from Faith Freedom International who provided the site with server space, technical help and exposure. The site remained in a testing phase for about a year and on September 4, 2006, it was opened to the public.
In September 2007, the server that hosted the site was hacked, and due to other server problems, editing was disabled at WikiIslam for almost a year.
In August 2008, the site was moved to a new server and since then it has been operating independently, remaining unaffiliated with or owned by any organization. Contrary to persistent claims propagated by apologists, WikiIslam is not owned by Ali Sina, FFI, Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch or any other organization.
In December 2006, Göran Larsson presented a paper on WikiIslam at a conference in Sweden. At that point in time, the site was barely out of its infancy, only having been open to the public for three months, and Larsson was very critical. Today, with its new policies, new guidelines, thousands of more pages and the inclusion of pro-Islamic content aimed at presenting a positive image of Islam, WikiIslam remains the same only in name. But even back then in its primitive form, Larsson admitted that he could not label all the site "Islamophobic" in nature.
Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, WikiIslam has not received any attention from news agencies such as the Associated Press (AP); however, its non-partisan approach to criticism has led to the site being linked to or referenced by various notable sites such as RichardDawkins.net and GreenProphet.com. It has also been cited by Dr. Heather Deegan in her book, Africa Today: Culture, Economics, Religion, Security, Prof. Carlos Brebbia in his book, Disaster Management and Human Health Risk III: Reducing Risk, Improving Outcomes, and Dr. Stefan Kirchner in his paper published in the Baltic Journal of Law & Politics.
Due to the focus of the site, the most noticeable reactions from Muslims has been negative. Some have called for the site to be taken offline through illegal means such as hacking, and it had previously been banned in Saudi Arabia on the country's pornography blacklist, even though the site contains nothing of a pornographic nature.
Constant vandalism, death-threats, and non-compliance with guidelines by Muslim editors has lead to WikiIslam, like the German Wikipedia, implementing “pending-changes protection”, meaning that editing still remains open to all, including IP users, but changes have to be approved before becoming visible to readers.
However, due to WikiIslam's extensive use of authoritative primary and secondary pro-Islamic sources, the site has also received praise from Muslims, e.g. for its Sex Segregation in Islam and List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad articles, and pages such as List of Fabricated Hadith and Chronological Order of the Qur'an have been used by Muslims as a resource.
WikiIslam hosts 2,762 articles. On average, it currently receives over 250,000 visitors a month generating about 500,000 page views. As of October 2013, Alexa.com places it within the top 70,000 most visited websites.
Unlike many other sites critical of Islam, WikiIslam's audience is not "Eurocentric". The majority of its readers are from Eastern or Muslim-majority nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore. Likewise, many of the site's administrators and editors are from a Muslim background or are skeptics from Muslim majority nations.
The site is currently looking for editors to translate some of their English articles into Indonesian, Urdu, Bengali and Arabic. There are translations from English already available at the site in several languages, including Azerbaijani, French, Turkish and Uzbek. A Russian sub-domain was started in early 2013 and they also host many press articles and fatwas from the Islamic world translated into English from the original Arabic.
WikiIslam's primary focus is on the religion of Islam while Wikipedia is a compendium of general knowledge. These differing goals have led to different policies and guidelines.
Wikipedia discourages the use of primary and what they term as "non-notable/reliable" sources. WikiIslam, on the other hand, encourages the use of authentic primary religious text and the rulings of authoritative Muslim scholars who may not be notable to people outside of the Muslim world but who are giants from within.
Wikipedia focuses on "verifiability, not truth". In regards to Islam, it has meant they accept what "notable/reliable" western commentators say about its religious text and Muslims over what the religious text and Muslims actually say themselves. Conversely, WikiIslam accepts what the religious text and Muslims say over the opinions and interpretations of third-party western commentators.
- For responses to various criticisms of WikiIslam, visit the Criticism of WikiIslam section of the IslamoCriticism blog.
- For example, Sheila Musaji of TheAmericanMuslim, who has been contacted but refuses to correct the error, claims WikiIslam is "run" by "Ali Sina and Faith Freedom" and "only prints material which is negative towards Islam." Both claims are wrong. WikiIslam hosts many pro-Islamic articles written by Muslim editors.
- Note that neither of these individuals or their websites are considered reliable sources at WikiIslam. According to WikiIslam:Reliable Sources, "Statements of fact concerning Islam from polemic sources such as books, articles or commentaries by individuals such as Robert Spencer, Pamela Gellar, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mark A. Gabriel, Wafa Sultan, Ali Sina, Walid Shoebat, Brigitte Gabriel etc. are not to be used under any circumstances as references on WikiIslam. If you come across any such statements, remove them immediately."
- Göran Larsson, "Cyber-Islamophobia? The case of WikiIslam", Contemporary Islam: Volume 1, Number 1, 53-67, DOI: 10.1007/s11562-007-0002-2
- "About/ Links", RichardDawkins.net, accessed February 7, 2012.
- Tafline Laylin, "Muslim President Calls for Rain Prayers on Sunny Friday", Green Prophet, December 28, 2011 (archived), http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/12/rain-prayers-sunny-friday/.
- Heather Deegan, "Africa Today: Culture, Economics, Religion, Security", Routledge, p. 100, ISBN 978-0415418843, December 26, 2008 (archived), http://www.amazon.com/Africa-Today-Economics-Religion-Security/dp/0415418844/.
- C. A. Brebbia, "Disaster Management and Human Health Risk III: Reducing Risk, Improving Outcomes", Wit Pr/Computational Mechanics, p. 366, ISBN 978-1845647384, July 9, 2013 (archived), http://www.amazon.com/Disaster-Management-Human-Health-Risk/dp/1845647386.
- "Faith, Ethics and Religious Norms in a Globalized Environment: Freedom of Religion as a Challenge to the Regulation of Islamic Finance in Europe". Baltic Journal of Law & Politics. Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 52–82, ISSN (Online) 2029-0454, ISSN (Print) , DOI: 10.2478/v10076-011-0003-6, August 2011.
- "Someone needs to shut it down. any hackers out here?" - Solving the Wiki-islam problem, DamirK, Ummah Forum, May 24, 2013.
- "Its sad, Saudi have hackers who can hack and take down a lot of crap stuff on the internet but they never seem to notice what should be taken care of." - For my readers in Saudi, infact for anyone, LostInRiyadh.blogspot.com (comment by Dentographer, March 4, 2012)
- A screenshot can be viewed here
- "I usually wouldn't endorse a site like this, but in this case all of the sources were referenced in great detail." - Women: Traveling and free-mixing in Islam …, Abdul-Malik Merchant, Student at Umm al-Qura University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 13, 2011.
- "In fact mockery is the main cause of executions ordered by our prophet (Sm)...i already told it to @RiasatKhan .. here is the link though its an anti islam site... but the historical facts / causes of execution mentioned there are reliable..look 4 Yellow colors, they were executed for mockery. Is this Musa Ibrahim scholar of Islam?? List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad - WikiIslam. Sorry for the anti islam site... i couldnt find any other site written in such short and organized way." - SHAHBAGH SQUARE-A NEW RISE, Kobiraaz (an established Muslim member who joined in Oct 2010, and has been thanked 7867 times for 7,237 post), Pakistan Defence forum, February 17, 2013
- "Some Links Where You Can Find Some Weak And Fabricated Hadeeths Exposed", ShehbaazMind, August 17, 2011.
- "Weak and fabricated hadith", Belief In The Unseen, September 7, 2012.
- Dawud Israel, "NOTES from Tafsir Maariful Qur'an of Mufti Taqi/Shafi Usmani", Sunni Forum, June 1, 2013.
- "Wikiislam.net", Alexa.com, accessed October 19, 2013, http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.alexa.com%2Fsiteinfo%2Fwww.wikiislam.net&date=2013-10-19.
- "Wikiislam.net/ Audience", Alexa.com, accessed November 28, 2011.
- "Verifiability, not truth", Wikipedia, accessed February 10, 2012.