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- Writing about Islam in Hebrew: Dar AsSalam Editors
- A group of Palestinian editors (native Arabic speakers) from the village of Kofor Qari’ (Israel) joined the celebration of the 17th anniversary of Wikipedia on January 5th, 2018 in Tel Aviv. The group expressed their interest and enthusiasm to edit and improve content about Islam and Islamic culture, history and theology in Hebrew Wikipedia, as one way to contribute to reliable content on Islam to Hebrew Wikipedia readers.
Among the veteran wikipedians who assembled in Tel Aviv for the annual winter meetup of Hebrew Wikipedia editors that took place in the IBM offices, a group of Palestinian editors from the village of Kofor Qari’ (Israel) joined the celebration of the 17th anniversary of Wikipedia on January 5th. Wikipedian attendees warmly welcomed the guests from Dar AsSalam.
The members of Dar AsSalam expressed their interest and enthusiasm to edit and improve content about Islam and Islamic culture, history and theology in Hebrew Wikipedia, as one way to contribute to reliable content on Islam to Hebrew Wikipedia readers. Throughout the event and in conversations with veteran Hebrew w-p editors, the group mentioned their need for support to help them fulfill their ambition, and their request lead to organizing an editing course in their hometown, Kofor Qari’.
Although Avner Avandrovic, who is a veteran Hebrew Wikipedian and a member of the training staff at Wikimedia Israel, was not among the attendees at the mentioned event, he agreed to lead the editing workshop and accompany the group of Dar AsSalam. The first meeting of the editing workshop started in March 2018, and it was moderated by Bekriah S. Mawasi, the Arabic Education coordination at Wikimedia IL. The meetings took place in Dar AsSalam center which sits in the same building of Nour al-Haq mosque in Kofor Qari’.
Dar AsSalam (meaning House of Peace) center is an information center whose aim is to introduce Islam to Muslims and to visitors from different backgrounds and religions. The main objective of the center is to introduce Islamic books according to the beliefs of the initiators: tolerance, moderation, openness, modesty and spirituality, the study of the surrounding world, developing curiosity on Islam, and human intellectual talent. Another goal is creating a space which allows mutual acquaintance between different cultures in Israel as one way to promote a shared life, peace and respect for each other's culture. The center publishes books and pamphlets explaining Islam, in both Hebrew and Arabic. Among these publications: “Translation of the meanings of the blessed Koran”, “Islam is My Religion” and “The path to happiness'.
The editing course at Dar AsSalam included three meetings. Twelve participants who are native Arabic speakers took part in the workshops and edited content in Hebrew. In addition to learning technical skills and editing in Hebrew Wikipedia, the editors were introduced to the norms and policies of the Hebrew Wikipedian community and were encouraged to participate in discussions. They also learnt about encyclopedic writing on religious topics. The group showed proficient understanding and full cooperation. By the third meeting in August 26th, 2018, they wrote 60+ new articles and edited more than 150 articles. Those articles were diverse in subjects: books (i.e. The Revival of the Religious Sciences), theology (i.e. Theology of Twelvers), and notability articles on distinguished religious and historical figures. The group created new categories too and the mentioned achievements were completed within one month time of work. They look forward to continuity in the future.
Members of Dar AsSalam contributed immensely to Hebrew Wikipedia while sticking to content reliability by providing accurate and inclusive information with references in English and Hebrew. Wikimedia Israel appreciates the commitment the group showed to free knowledge and considers their contribution blessed and valuable. Five of the group members joined the celebrations of the 15th anniversary of Hebrew Wikipedia which took place in Tel Aviv on August 10th, 2018. Similar collaborations are a great opportunity which allows diversity of opinions within Wikipedian communities and enhances collaborative content writing in the largest knowledge base.
Bekriah S. Mawasi, Wikimedia Israel