04/29/2009, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA – ISLAM
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Muslims against ‘faith fighters’ videogame

According to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the video game serves no other purpose other than to “incite intolerance” and its content is “offensive to Muslims and Christians.” Designers remove the game from the internet, saying they never intended to promote the clash of religions.
Jeddah (AsiaNews) – A videogame called ‘faith fighters’ depicting major religious figures like Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha and others from the world’s main religions has drawn the ire of the Islamic world.

Saying that “Religious hate has never been so much fun”, the game by Italian designer Molleindustria is said to have caused a major stir in the Muslim world, eliciting a reaction from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference which has called for the game’s removal from the Internet.

The makers of the game did offer a “censored” option to the game but removed the offending product anyway. In a statement on their website they stressed they never intended to promote the clash of religions.

It is “incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians,” a spokesman for the Jeddah-based Islamophobia Observatory of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference said, adding that the game would serve no other purpose other than to incite intolerance. He called on the game's internet host to take "immediate action" by withdrawing it from the web.

When a Danish newspaper in 2005 printed cartoons that depicted Muhammad in ways offensive to Muslims violence broke out. Islamic law generally opposes physical depictions of the prophet.

The controversy surrounding the videogame found its way into newspapers in the Mideast. Arab News, an influential Saudi paper, quoted game designer Molleindustria saying: Today after an official statement from the Organisation of Islamic Conference we decided to remove the game Faith Fighter from our site."

The company said that its intention was not to be offensive to any religion. “Its [the game’s] aim is to push the gamers to reflect on how the religious and sacred representations are often instrumentally used”. It warned potential players that “the game contains a representation of the prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon Him, (a phrase Muslims traditionally use when referring to the prophet). If this offends you, please play the censored version.”

Faith Fighters had been available online for more than year without any fuss. But when the OIC, a powerful organisation with 57 member countries representing 1.3 billion Muslims, got wind of the game, it was removed.

If “a respectable organization didn't understand the irony and the message, we failed,” the company said.

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