From the Christian Science Monitor: “Muslims craft their own video games”
Set to be released in September, “Al-Quraysh” is a strategy game that tells the story of the first 100 years of Islam’s history from the viewpoint of four different nations – Bedouins, Arabs, Persians, and Romans.
One can choose to command any of the armies of the four nations or lead the army of the main character, Khaled Ibn Waleed, a Muslim warrior who defeated the Roman and Persian empires and never lost a battle. Or one can play the role of the Bedouin sheikh, who must earn the respect of his tribe. The player has the task of building and protecting
trade routes and water sources, building armies, conducting battles, and freeing slaves.
It’s just one of several new games produced in the Middle East with the idea that video games, like other media, play a role in shaping young minds and impacting self-esteem. The makers hope “Al-Quraysh,” named after the prophet Muhammad’s
tribe, will help to correct the image of Islam, alleviate tensions with the West, and stoke pride among young Muslims.
Stoke pride? Maybe. But how is the glorification of armed jihad supposed to “correct the image of Islam” and “alleviate tensions?”
One might argue that there are also games that deal with actual American battles, focusing particularly on the Second World War. But these do not glorify incidents in our history in order to incite violence toward German or Japanese people in the present day, and indefinitely into the future. Nor are they attempts to rewrite history, and they’re certainly not designed to raise American self-esteem or alleviate “tensions” among nations.
Here is the mission statement on Damascus-based Afkar Media’s website:
To communicate with Mankind all over the world and let them breathe the peaceful truth and tolerance of our civilization, as a way to face up the negative stereotypes that have been pursuing us throughout the past decades.
To communicate with Moslems in a way that respects their colorful heritage and spiritual privacy as a way to get them out of the shell they were put in and enrich the civilization of the 21st century with a touch of justice, acceptance and love.
And the description of the game Quraish:
Quraish is the first Arabic real-time strategy game (RTS)… It is expected to become a hit in all Middle East markets. Quraish game tracks the origin of Islam in the desert of Arabia 590 B.C. through its evolution and growth until it builds a state (caliphate), which defeats the greatest empires of that day and age, Persians and Romans.
Was it “AL JIHAD” the holly [sic] war that makes them conquer? Was is [sic] the tolerance of this spiritual religion? Or is it the willingness of their gifted leaders? Well… you will have the chance to choose it by your self [sic]!
590 B.C., eh? Quite a plot twist.
And by the way, I’m just not feeling the “love.” Pac-Man, anyone?