Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Islamic group gets online video game removed

World: Bad precedent or very bad precedent?

An influential Islamic group branded an online video game depicting religious figures fighting each other as offensive to Muslims and Christians and successfully demanded Tuesday that it be taken offline.

In the game Faith Fighter, caricatures of Jesus, the Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, God and the Hindu god Ganesh fight each other against a backdrop of burning buildings. God attacks with bolts of lighting and pillars of fire while the turbaned Muhammad can summon a burning black meteorite.

The Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents most Muslim nations, said it should be removed from the Internet.

"The computer game was incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians. ... The game would serve no other purpose than to incite intolerance," an OIC statement said.

Game designer Molleindustria told the Associated Press the game, which had been around for more than a year and played millions of times, was misunderstood, but had been removed.

"This was meant to be a game against intolerance and against the one-way Islamophobic satire of the Danish Muhammad cartoons," Molleindustria said in an e-mail message. "So if a respectable organization didn't understand the irony and the message, we failed."

Islamic law generally opposes physical depictions of the prophet.

When a Danish newspaper in 2005 printed 12 cartoons showing negative portrayals of Muhammad, Muslims around the world were enraged. Deadly protests erupted from Morocco to Indonesia, with rioters torching Danish and other Western diplomatic missions. Some Muslim countries boycotted Danish products.

The style of the game, with characters jumping, kicking and knocking each other out, mimics the martial arts arcade games popular in the 1980s and 1990s.

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