Modern Warfare Map Removed After Complaints From Muslim Gamers

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.


Comments

    Really?
    Really?
    Maybe the update will put it IN the toilet.

      Yeah, I'm for this idea.

      Only to stir the shit...

    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

    Last edited 09/10/12 3:27 am

      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.

        Or they didn't want death threats, riots and bombings against their employees, US embassies etc...Just sayin'

          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.

          Last edited 08/10/12 8:49 pm

            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.

                Last edited 09/10/12 1:32 am

                  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.

        A well written and well thought-out response in a sea of ignorant diatribe.
        Thank you.

          Thanks! I'm just hoping more people like you read it!

    Pretty pathetic really.

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

      Apparently so.

    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?

    Yada yada yada, bullshit, bullshit bullshit.
    Talk about being piss weak.

    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.

    What a crock of shit.

      ^ This just about sums this article up.

    Came here to see fat shut-ins ranting xenophobically about mooslims, leaving satisfied.

    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.

        "and they are better than that"

        This is Activision we are talking about right?

      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.

      Last edited 09/10/12 8:48 pm

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

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