Thursday, August 2, 2007

Video Games and Islam

I was not even aware of this, but a Capcom video game contained "Allah Akbar" repeatedly as a phrase in the game. CAIR had worked on bringing this to the companies attention after it had received complaints from numerous community members.

The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has announced that Capcom has removed what CAIR calls a "common Islamic phrase" from Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure on the Wii. The phrase's removal comes following complaints from CAIR and others.

I guess as a Muslim a few things come to mind that need to be asked, because I personally would not have an issue with the inclusion of the phrase "Allah Akbar" For instance:

  1. Does the character say this when he accomplishes something great? Because normally this term is used when something good happens or when you find out something bad, so you say "God is Great" giving glory to God's greatness rather then to your own or lack there of.
  2. Is this happening in a song or some sort of dance? If so then maybe I do have a problem with it but to be honest Allah is like God and you hear that phrase all over the place in Arabic songs.
  3. What is the context? That will be critical in figuring out if I as an American Muslim have an issue with it- is it like Nike where they put the Arabic script on the shoe for the word that spelt out "God"- if its something like that then yes we have an issue.
If I could get answers to these then we can better judge the claim. But most people will feel like Muslims are the "Art police" impinging on the artists and their creation; or it could sound foreign and alien in the game and totally out of place, in that case the game maker is being assisted (played many a game where I thought that sounds/looks so incredibly cheesy)

I found this email posted on Nintendo's website that really seemed to sum up my thoughts on the issue:

As an avid Wii gamer, and point and click enthusiast, I was checking out this gametrailer vid of some of the new Zack and Wiki gameplay. Though I´m agnostic, I grew up in a Muslim family and visited Pakistan a number of times. Therefore, I can safely say that both 20 and 44 seconds into this clip, you can hear the island savages called into prayer with a sound clip of a Muslim call to prayer, “Allahou Akbar”, and then mimic the way of prayer.

Strange and slightly horrifying, I really hope that it is a temporary placeholder for an other sound. Even so, why was it there in the first place?

Then I found the video, so its time to take a look for yourself how its used:

After watching that, I am quite happy that they removed it. For the following reasons:

  1. The game looks like its sucks;
  2. The fact that its being used to depict something foreign and alien and when there is some sort of "Native American" rain dance- which in itself feeds off of two cultures belittling both at one time;
  3. Its not even used in an appropriate manner to say that what it means in Arabic and how its being used don't even match up so it serves really no purpose except to create or further the alien-ness of the situation.
I can think of these issues, but you can probably come up with more. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Angie Ellaboudy said...

At first I didn't hear it because I was expecting those little creatures to be saying it but after listening the second time around I heard that man's voice in the background.

I'm not quite sure what induces him to say "Allahu akbar" but if it's attaining some sort of accomplishment then it would be okay.. although after watching the youtube video it seems like its more what you were saying in point #2 & #3..

.. and most definitely looks like point #1 is true as well.

Abdullah said...

The Illuminati union are peaching Islam as it was an epidemic, these kind of inappropriate impression of using sacred materials are quite wrong and inconsiderable.