We are all accustomed to the dynamics of Wikipedia. Anyone can edit its pages. This includes ill-informed people who often perpetuate insularity. Wikipedia views this as vandalism. However, you would expect the UK government to know better, right? Wrong.
The BBC found the phrase "all Muslims are terrorists” edited into a Wikipedia’s page on veils.
This statement is not just false and malicious, but also in bad, bad taste.
This is not a lone incident. It happens to be just one of the “hundreds” of fallacious edits and instances of flagrant discrimination tracked back to two IP addresses, identified as UK government machines, (188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206). These computers are allegedly Whitehall-based, belonging to the administrative center of British government in London.
One of the most acerbic statements (now removed) was made by an unknown user who wrote in October 2006: "It should be noted that the word Veil, when the letters rearranged, spells evil."
Anti-Muslim practices are rampant in UK.
Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime investigates the extent to which Muslims in the UK endure constant threats of intimidation and life threats.
Throughout the world, Muslims are forced to confront the dilemmas triggered by such crippling depictions. These misinformed portrayals have seen many Muslims to unemployment, racial profiling, surveillance ostracism, ethnic slurs, threats and harassment, the world over. The American-Arab-Anti Discrimination Committee reported more than 600 incidents of hate crime in the US within the first week of the September 11 attacks.
Governments are meant to disseminate informed accounts of facts. They are supposed to focus their efforts on opinion-devoid, critical evaluations and strive to cultivate practices of open-mindedness in its people. It’s difficult to think outside of stereotypes, as it is, but impossible when the government is using its machinery to spread hate.
The U.K. Cabinet Office felt the need to condemn these edits: "The amendments made to Wikipedia are sickening,” adding "The behaviour is in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code. It is entirely unacceptable."
This is not the first time this IP address has made wanton edits on Wikipedia. This is the very same IP that edited the Wikipedia entry of Cherie Blair - the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Back in 2005, someone deleted the scandal recounting the time when the prime minister's wife used the help of a convicted fraudster to buy a pair of discounted real estate investments. BBC has not implied that either the prime minister or his wife had anything to do with the edits.
Whitehall has been accused of making several Wikipedia edits. Their IPs allegedly edited in links to conspiracy theories on the entry for page for the 7/7 mass transit bombings in London. That’s not all. Their computer reportedly added homophobic slurs to the entries for celebrity chef Jamie Oliver as well as for newspaper columnist Richard Littlejohn.