Modern Warfare Map Removed After Complaints From Muslim Gamers

Modern Warfare  Map Removed After Complaints From Muslim Gamers
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Over the weekend, those playing Modern Warfare 2 began to notice that one of the series’ most popular multiplayer maps, Favela, had disappeared.

Why? Publishers Activision and developers Infinity Ward took the map off rotation after receiving complaints from Muslim gamers, who had discovered offensive imagery contained within a room of the stage.

In a single room on the map, two paintings had been hung whose frames contained a decorative representation of a quote (pictured above), which reads “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty”. Those paintings were hung in a bathroom, one right above a toilet, and didn’t appear to be found anywhere else on the map.

You can see the paintings in this video, dated October 2.

It can be offensive to those of Islamic faith – like those in the aforementioned video – to see holy teachings written on or in a bathroom, and with the paintings having been brought to Activision and Infinity Ward’s attention, the map has been removed until it can be edited.

An Activision representative tells Kotaku:

We apologise to anyone who found this image offensive. Please be assured we were unaware of this issue and that there was no intent to offend. We are working as quickly as possible to remove this image and any other similar ones we may find from our various game libraries.

We are urgently working to release a Title Update to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 3. We are also working to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 2 through a separate Title Update. Until the TU is ready, we have removed the Favella multiplayer map from online rotation.

Activision and our development studios are respectful of diverse cultures and religious beliefs, and sensitive to concerns raised by its loyal game players. We thank our fans for bringing this to our attention.


  • That’s what gets complaints? “By all means continue shooting virtual Islamic NPCs but don’t you hang that virtual picture in that virtual toilet”…

    • probably because most of the islamic faith are used to being the baddie in western video games, but writing something on the wall of an area that is unclean.

  • Bullshit.

    An american games studio should be able to publish whatever the damn hell it likes. The beauty of living in a modern (ostensibly) secular democracy with assured freedom of speech is that you aren’t beholden the the bronze age theological edicts and sensitivities of others, and nor should you feel obliged to be.

    edit: typos

    • They aren’t obliged, they aren’t going to be arrested by the state. They just want Muslim people to keep buying their games–or are you unfamiliar with capitalism?

    • I think its more to do with the recent reactions to Muslim imagery being portrayed making Activision move to remove the images.

    • Exactly, which is why, rather than being obstinate and selfish, Activision and Infinity Ward chose to exercise their rights and respected the wishes and culture of their players, sacrificing time and money to make the necessary changes. It works both ways, they shouldn’t feel obliged to follow the wishes of their players of different cultures and edicts, nor should they feel obliged to follow the wishes of those who want them to just ignore it.

        • I’m going to guess with this. I assume they just don’t want their friends and family dead.

          just to clarify, I see nothing wrong with respecting people’s cultures, I’m just a tad worried recently that freedom of speech will be impeded by violence and threats.

          • I’m not sure how a single texture that contains religiously significant text being placed solely in a bathroom, being removed, is an attack on free speech.

          • Precisely. They even claim they were unaware of it! IF SO – how can its removal be seen as an ‘attack on free speech’???

          • because they just claim that, someone clearly put it there to begin with.

            To clarify, I don’t see this particular instance on it’s own to be a big deal, I think it’s more an issue of it being the tip of the iceberg.
            And to be fair, video games are pretty unfair to some cultures in terms of being the bad guys.

          • Riavan, you’re presuming the artist who put it there could read Arabic, and did not use it solely to intensify the feeling of this being an Arabic setting.

            Did you know what that inscription said? Would you, if you were an artist, ensure that you check every piece of artwork you put together (possibly from divergent sources) to see if it means in every single language in the world? So you wouldn’t? I thought so.

            One meaning of “Siri” in Japanese (well, shiri, to be precise) is ‘bottom’ (to use the nice word). One meaning of “Kita” in Croatian is slang for ‘male reproductive organ’. Can you guess why Sony Ericsson Kita was not marketed under that name in Croatia?

            So yes, it could have been accidental.

            You do make a good point that we use a lot of stereotypes in our Western pop culture. Middle Eastern baddies, German baddies, Russian baddies, etc. But, there’s only so many nations in the world — and if you want to pick one so you seem realistic and not silly by using names like “Molvania”, you have to pick among the ones that are already stereotyped as bad.

            Especially if you make a game called MODERN Warfare.

    • Quite a lot of ASSumptions. Ostensibly you are quite ignorant and jumped to several conclusions. Amongst these are – that issues of freedom of speech are involved at all – that everyone lives in a secular society (a common assumption amongst white middle class first year university students) and – that you have edited out all of your typos.

      • So here we go.

        Freedom of speech? How’s change this you’re offending my religion. Now I’m not saying anything will happen but if we happened to call our cousins something might happen that might make you regret having not done as we told you. So you know, no threat or anything, just sayin’ is all.

        So last I checked Treyarch was an American games studio, producing a game in America, where Activision, also headquartered in America, published it. So the only jurisdiction that matters jack shit is the USA, which is ostensibly a secular democracy.

        Clearly not everyone lives in a secular democracy – look at Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, a little to the north in Indonesia. I won’t go on, I’m sure you’re astute enough to have understood my point.

        Also, I’m not sure if you understand the correct usage of ‘ostensibly’. But I’m sure that’s common in middle class white socialist postgraduate arts students. Me? I’ll take my engineering degree and laugh at how pathetic you are.

  • What a load of rubbish. 3 years on eh? Caught on quick. As someone tweeted-will they remove respawning now as Catholics don’t believe in it? What’s this fear of Islam like? Is it a knock on effect from 9/11?

  • I for one welcome our new Muslim overloads.
    Might as well begin saying that now, because companies and governments will do anything to appease those who worship the Muslim faith

  • But it’s not even offensive, I don’t get it. It’s not as though it says ‘Allah is ugly and Allah loves ugly people’…

    • Being clean is a big part of the Muslim faith so much so that prior to prayer there is a prescribed method for cleansing oneself. Shoes aren’t even allowed in most Muslim houses since they pray in their house and hence their house is a Mosque and must be kept clean. Anyone who preaches to be a Muslim but doesn’t follow things like that is kind gimping out on the whole Muslim thing.

      With that being said you can now, I’m hoping, kind of understand where the people who complained were coming from. That is they don’t want God to be seen as ‘unclean’.

      As you’ve probably guessed by now I’m a Muslim as well, but even in my eyes this is a bit of an overreaction. I wouldn’t want to see it there in the toilet but who am I to judge the people that do. All I can do is make them aware of my position and let them choose their own path. That in essence is what true Muslims believe as ‘there is no compulsion in religion’ and it should never be forced upon anyone. The people who do more than just give information about their faith aren’t following their own teachings and shouldn’t be considered indicative of a population.

  • what what what? this game had a level where you massacre innocent bystanders, and THIS is what they find offensive?

  • Just put some new textures on the map, make it look like America add some burning flags and oppressed women, you’d have their approval then.

  • There’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s a cultural misunderstanding then a fix should be in order. It’s not about limiting free speech at all. I can’t imagine the level designers were making any sortof statement, they just didn’t know. I shall grab some ladders in case anyone has trouble getting off their high horses.

  • Wow. After reading the comments, it is clearly evident that people no longer have any respect for other religions whatsoever. Sacred text is written in an impure place, if it is offending people, then yes it is activisions choice whether to remove it or not, but people here are criticizing them for deciding to have it removed.

    • People are more annoyed that the company has complied with a video that demands the item be removed, apologies be issued all over the place “or else”, which is a threat.

      • I have no doubt whatsoever that if there was hidden imagery in a MW map that was offensive to Christians, it would be out at least as fast even if they found it before anyone had noticed and complained.

    • Hassaan said: “After reading the comments, it is clearly evident that people no longer have any respect for other religions whatsoever.”

      I totally agree, and it makes me happy that this is the case. There are many things that deserve respect, with human life being the most important in my opinion. A notion that is unfortunately not shared by some* religious people who believe that blasphemy warrants murder.

      People’s feelings are important, and within reason, care should be taken to not hurt those feelings unnecessarily. But some* religious people demand a unreasonable amount of protection from free speech and artistic freedom, something which I personally hold very dear to my conception of a fair and tolerant world. Furthermore, they threaten to enforce this unreasonable demand with barbaric violence. In these cases I think it is important to stand up against these unreasonable people and not allow them to censor free speech and free art.

      “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

      * I fully acknowledge that many religious people are peaceful and reasonable.

    • I personally think they should just move it, after all it is a nice quote and the only objection seems to be the placement. Have it in some managers office and then you don’t have to lose face and can still respect their religious objections.

  • They should put their money where their mouth is.

    Since the offense was unintended and offensive only to Muslims who are free to avoid the game if they choose, Activision should start a kickstarter account to raise the $15,000 – $30,000 needed for a title update. Any Muslim who wants it gone can contribute.

  • I wonder if the same standard of ignorant posts would be apparent of we replaced the game COD (in the article) with Battlefield? LOL

  • Oh my.

    Please release what is holy to some is not holy to others. You can insult any religion under the sun, and I won’t get upset. Because I’m a big boy. You can insult my philosophy, my values, and as long as you keep it to words, that’s fine.

    Go ahead – insult my values in anyway you wish. Create the most crude, rude images you want of my beliefs. I don’t care. Because I’m not a control-freak whose faith or beliefs are so WEAK as to feel threatened by some words of pictures.

    Listen up – if Allah or God exists, he doesn’t need you defending him. If he is as powerful as you say he is, then he won’t be hurt by this. The only people this hurts are Muslims whose feelings are INCREDIBLY sensitive or who are just plain angry and want an excuse to get angry.

    Plenty of Muslims don’t care about this sort of nonsense. They are sensible, mature Muslims who merely roll their eyes at this and go on with their day to day life. It is only a tiny minority – but an unfortunately loud and violent minority – of Muslims who are so immature, so childish, so aggressive that they threaten to flip out at the slightest hint of disagreement or provocation.

    Mark Twain had a good saying: “Blasphemy? No. If God is as vast as that, he is above blasphemy; if he is as little as that, he is beneath it.”

    • It seems the Activision were just trying to behave in a culturally sensitive manor by removing the offensive material from the map. However, I find the attitude of video quite disturbing. Doesn’t the Qur’an also preach against the killing humans?

  • Ridiculous, no one would care if it was a quote from the Bible or the Torah, we have to stop letting Muslims dictate what we can say, that goes for any religion actually, not just Islam, the thing is, most other religions don’t resort to violence.

    • Agreed. No religion should have the power to dictate anything to a private company. However it seems that the Muslim/Islamic community has the power to make demands, cause violent outbursts in public and yet be treated with kid gloves.

  • This *might* have been intentional, but seriously, don’t give in to censorship. I’m atheist, and I’m totally fine with people posting anti-atheism images around. If you don’t have a discussion, no matter how stupid, people can’t make a reasonable decision.

    • I am fine with people doing so. I am likewise fine with people NOT doing so. This was quite likely, in my opinion, intentionally done by some texture artist in the process, and not something the game makers as a whole would endorse. It does Activision no good to keep it in, and if I were them, I would pull it to. Not to ‘appease’ anyone, but because it being there in the first place is a dick move, and they are better than that.

    • It’s not censorship. It’s a cultural misunderstanding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing something to make it acceptable, and in this case, more realistic. According to complaints, no muslim would have these words displayed in their bathroom. So why the hell not fix it?

    • So by that line of reasoning, you’re fine to have kiddy porn pics everywhere. Please take a seat over there, with the other juvenile Internet Atheists.

  • Seriously? If the game had been making fun of retarded people, the holocaust, or gays, and that was revoked, the discussions on this post would be about how amazing Activision is. Somehow, because its about Islam, counterintuitively, offending people becomes ok. Sure, I don’t condone violence, but secular or not, if my livelihood was being disrespected in this game, I will complain about it, and protest buying it, as is my right a capitalist.

    Another point? Where in the official statement do they mention that it was because they were threatened? Talk about a stupid and racist assumption really. Funnily enough, what no one has mentioned so far, Activision is a PRIVATE company, who’s aim is to make money. If people complain, they don’t buy the game, and Activision doesn’t make money. Hence Activision will make changes so that people buy their game, so that they make money. Its that simple.

    • No, gamers won’t let Activision put a foot right unless the make serious changes.

      Edit: The latter half of the video is somewhat threatening.

  • If someone tells you that they are offended. That’s not an argument. How pathetic must a company be to fold like this.

  • This is Activision a) Jumping at shadows and 2) wringing that last bit of publicity for a three year old game

  • I’m ashamed to be a member of this community right now. Cultural misunderstandings happen from time to time and if you have accidentally offended one or more people, are you not entitled to apologise and correct your mistake.

    It’s nothing more or less than that. It seems a number of you have fallen victim to believing the the medias portrayal of Muslims rather than actually getting to know any!

    Like many rational Aussies know that it’s a small minority of Muslims that have given them a bad name, hopefully any Muslims reading this understand that the above comments do not reflect the views of all Australians.

    • Be an apologist all you want. But I will NEVER respect or tolerate a culture that demands the death of my family members for being gay. NEVER. Tradition and upbringing are no excuse for subscribing to such beliefs. Anyone who holds such views is neither deserving of my respect or tolerance.

      • Please don’t take this the wrong way because I have nothing but respect for you and this is in no way suggesting I have any problem with homosexuals,but as a direct reply to your message…

        The concern I have with your reply is that you are implying that the Muslim ‘culture’ wants to kill you. Would you view this and suggest every single Christian wants that also,

        Or do you instead consider this to be a small portion of the population are just dickheads, regardless of their beliefs, and its just the beliefs that are used to justify hatred?

        Mate I’m not in your position so I can’t speak for you and am not in a place to argue so I’m not trying to be silly, just want to try reminding people that there are many many Muslims in the world and many of them are lovely people, just like the rest of us. That’s been forgotten over the past 10 or so years. Yours was one of the better responses actually because at least you clearly explained why you felt this way and with good reason, many replies on here are just straight out hatred and that makes me sad for our future.

        As a side note I don’t subscribe to any religion for this exact reason. So much hatred and blindly following without reason. And flat out agree the church’s view on homosexuality is pretty disgusting!

        • Oh dont get me wrong, Christianity is not exempt from my list. Neither is certain sections of the Budhist community. The difference however is that they are easier to ignore. There are far fewer Christian “true believers” willing to kill for their beliefs these days because of the enlightenment and social progress. Until the Islamic world as a whole experiences a societal shift in how they deal with the clergy, I will always be wary.

          • I don’t mean to lecture you (though I kinda am) but perhaps you should judge people based upon who they are as individuals instead of their religion. It is also worth noting that you’ll find plenty of extremist Christians (I used the term loosely) in certain parts of America.

          • This. In saying, dogcat, that you don’t want homosexuals judged and prejudiced against solely on their sexual orientation, you’re judging and prejudicing against Muslims solely on their religious affiliation. The hypocrisy in your stance is astounding.

    • I understand why you think it’s important to be culturally sensitive, but I think you are missing an important piece of the puzzle, that being that there have been very real and recent murders committed by Muslims specifically fuelled by their religion. If a Muslim makes a demand to have something changed because it offends them, there is an implicit threat of violence, whether or not it was intended by the person making the request. Any Muslim who makes a demand like that, whether or not they personally would condone that violence, must be aware of that implication.

      If I ask you for some money, you have the right to say no, and no harm has been done. But if I ask you for some money, and you are aware that every single person who has refused requests for money from my family in the past has been murdered, then it is a different story.

      Of course the majority of Muslims are good people like you and me. But the very fact that you may possibly be murdered by a minority if you transgress their rules, rules which conflict with some of the underlying assumptions of a free society, turns this from a simple “cultural misunderstanding” into a bigger issue.

      I personally would like to live in a world where I could paint a picture of Muhammad and only fear being attacked verbally for my insensitivity or artistic shortcomings. I think you should stop simplifying the issue and believing that everybody who wants to stand up to religious demands is a racist. I believe that cultural and religious traditions are very important and should be preserved and respected by all people who share those values, but that they cannot and should not be enforced upon people outside of that culture.

  • Sad pathetic little fuckers. Ostensibly this is religious vilification. Which is illegal. it is denigrating a religion. The act of reproduction of sacred text is in itself an act of incitement and putting it in a toilet jst inflamed the situation.hate all religions. But by fuck you guys are ignorant abhorrent pieces of idiocy. If the placement of this text had ANY thematic, intellectual or literary intent then YES stand up for what you guys(a capitalist multinational distributor of violent games) intended. But there is no artistic or intellectual reasoning behind its placement. So its removal has nothing to do with pseudo intellectual mutterings of freedom of speech.

    • In fact your replies are pathetic. I hate religion BUT I hate your replies even more. No mention of Philosophers like John Stuart Mill or intellectual debate. Just blah blah blah Muslims blah blah blah daddy buys my games.

  • If I go to Singapore or other Asian cultures I’d exchange money with two hands, if I go to Finland I take off my shoes before entering a house and if I had Religious text I wouldn’t place it in a bathroom. It’s about cultural sensitivity and respect for other people. That’s not out of fear but respect for other cultures and I’d like to think that as Aussies we travel a fair bit we’d understand that.

    • Not all Australians travel, some aren’t culturally sensitive. The majority are, but it’s wishful thinking to say that Australians as a whole are culturally sensitive. It is also worth noting that Islam is more irrationally feared than other religious views.

    • “That’s not out of fear but respect for other cultures…” – In the first two examples you’ve given that’s true. If you transgress those traditions in Singapore and Finland it would embarrass you, and you wouldn’t need to fear physical violence. But I would strongly advise you against posting a drawing of Muhammad and allowing yourself to be identified, and not because it would reflect poorly upon your cultural sensitivity.

  • I dunno about this, I think this whole censorship thing when its comes to culture and religion is getting out of hand. I think people just need to accept that they will find things from time to time that may be directly or indirectly offensive in some way.

    Tolerance these days is very lacking.. all we seem to be doing to kicking up dirt in everyone’s face whenever we see something we don’t like.

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