Muslim Massacre “Game”?

Sheila Musaji

Posted Sep 16, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Muslim Massacre “Game”?

by Sheila Musaji

Some months ago a blogger identifying himself only as Sigvatr put a video game online entitled “Muslim Massacre”  The original site for the game is now down, but he still has it posted on another forum with the following introduction:  “The United States of America, a leader and role model for all in the modern world, is taking drastic measures to secure the freedom and safety of the world. Having born witness to the atrocities of the followers of Islam time and time again, it has been decided that the entire Muslim race shall be wiped from the surface of the Earth.  You, the American Hero, have valiantly volunteered to make landfall in the Middle East and ensure that no Muslim man or woman is left alive. Your mission priorities are to seek out and neutralize the Muslim leader Osama bin Laden, their radical cult leader Muhammad and finally Allah, taking down any targets you meet on the way.”

Not much happened for awhile but once the game was picked up by other blogs it became very popular and in the past month or so began to gain international attention.  A UK paper noted that Sigvatr was actually Eric Vaughn, an American now living in Australia, and they quoted him as saying in defense of his game:  “Mr Vaughn told the Telegraph that the game did not push a more negative view of Muslims than they would pick up watching television news reports.”

On September 13, 2008 Sigvatur apologized.  “I would like to make a public apology for any offense that I might have caused through releasing this game, and to Muslims in particular. My intentions when releasing this project were to mock the foreign policy of the United States and the commonly held belief in the United States that Muslims are a hostile people to be held with suspicion. I would like to make it clear that I have never shared such a belief and my intention was to mock those who actually do believe these things.  It quickly became obvious to me that releasing this game did not achieve its intended effect and instead only caused hurt to hospitable, innocent people. I believe removing this game and website will do much more to attain my desired effect than leaving it on the internet, so I am doing just that.  I would like to ask for the forgiveness of Muslims around the world and to make it clear that I did not release this game with ill intent. So without further ado, I would like to say that I am truly apologetic for what I have done and will take full responsibility for all offense that has been caused. I can only hope that any further misgivings can be laid to rest.”

The game was reviewed by one PC gamer as tasteless and not a parody.  He noted that:  “It launches with a chirpy 1980s synth-style tune and a montage of images backgrounded by ostensibly nipped and tucked audio clips of George W. Bush seeming to denigrate Islam and excoriate the religion’s prophetic central figure, Mohammed. (For the record, here’s the White House’s official collection of quotes on “respecting Islam.”) The images are pictures of apparent terrorists, wearing hoods or holding guns, bookended by blocky abstractions of American flags tacked atop multi-hued skyscrapers.”

“The makers of this ‘game’ and the ISPs (Internet service providers) who are hosting it should be quite ashamed of themselves,” Inayat Bunglawala, spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain, told AFP.  “Anti-Muslim prejudice is already on the increase and needs to be challenged and not reinforced through tasteless and offensive stunts like this.”

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of The Ramadhan Foundation, Britain’s leading Muslim youth organisation, said that the game glamorised violence against Muslims whether or not it was satirical.  “Encouraging children and young people in a game to kill Muslims is unacceptable, tasteless and deeply offensive,” he said.  “There is an increase in violence in this country and some of it comes from video games. When kids spend six hours a day on violent games they are more likely to go outside and commit violence.  “If it was the other way around, with a game featuring Muslims killing Israelis or Americans, there would be uproar and rightly so.  “We would urge ISPs to take action against sites like this.”

I understand that there are free speech issues, but I wonder what kind of a society we are creating when it seems like a reasonable idea to put such a game online.  I also wonder what it means that so many people found this idea interesting enough to download and play the “game”.  It would seem at least reasonable to consider that it says something about the level of animosity towards Muslims that is out there among the general public.

I am glad that the “games” creator has apologized, but considering the nature of the internet, that apology won’t make any difference.  His creation is out there, copied, downloaded, posted on other sites, and continuing to do damage.

When the members of any minority group are demonized, and when it becomes not only possibly, but ordinary to fear and despise them, we are heading down a very dark road.  The same dark road that people went down in Rwanda (see Rwandan Muslims: Hatred in a Head Count, Waleed Aly ).  The same dark road that people went down in Bosnia where a new mass grave was just discovered in Srbenica (see ).  The same dark road that people went down during the European holocaust.  The same dark road that we have been down too many times over the centuries.  A road that we as human beings simply cannot allow to remain open. 


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