Muslims in Britain were reportedly incensed over the release of a computer game called "Muslim Massacre," advertised by its creators as a "game of modern religious genocide." The game, available by free download on the Internet, urges players to "wipe out the Muslim race with an arsenal of the world's most destructive weapons," according to the UK-based ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Predictably, Muslim condemnation of the game was swift and harsh.
"The makers of this 'game' should be quite ashamed of themselves," insisted Inayat Bunglawala, spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain.
"Encouraging children and young people in a game to kill Muslims is unacceptable, tasteless, and deeply offensive," growled Mohammed Shafiq, CEO of the UK-based Ramadhan Foundation.
A columnist for the UAE-based Gulf News called it a "sure-fire way to incite hatred...It is invidious in its concept and it is invidious that it is available to everyone on the Internet."
While the "Muslim Massacre" video game is undoubtedly hate-filled and extremely tasteless, the reactions of some Muslims groups are hypocritical.
Where was the widespread condemnation of the Hamas terrorist organization's video game entitled "Taht al-Hisaar" (Under Occupation)? Young children--the software provider claims it is suitable for children 13 and up--assume the role of Palestinian gunmen who fire automatic weapons upon Israelis. There can be no doubt that this game was designed to incite children to hate.
Similarly, there was a dearth of condemnations after the release of Hezbollah's video game "Special Forces 2," which glorifies the 2006 war between the Lebanese terrorist group and Israel. Players assume the role of Hezbollah fighters, and earn points by capturing or killing Israeli soldiers and firing rockets into Israel. According to one Hezbollah mouthpiece, "Through this game the child can build an idea that this enemy can be defeated." This game was a sequel to the first "Special Forces," a wildly popular game that glorified the killing of Israelis, first produced by Hezbollah in 2002.
It is also important to note the lack of a widespread response among Muslims worldwide to the Mickey Mouse character featured on Hamas's al-Aqsa television that exhorted Palestinian children to "liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers." When Farfour, the spite-filled Disney-knock off, was finally yanked from the show, it was explained that he was "martyred while defending his land," by the "killers of children."
Moreover, what about the hatred taught at Saudi-sponsored madrassas? These schools, funded by U.S. petrodollars, are known to incite hatred against the West among Muslims on a wide scale around the world. For example, in a tenth-grade Saudi class, students are told, "The hour will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and Muslims will kill all the Jews." In a ninth-grade grade class, students are told that, "Jihad against the enemies is a religious duty." In an Arabic literature class, students are taught, "There are two happy endings for Jihad fighters in God's cause: victory or martyrdom."
These are merely a sampling of some of the most egregious examples of education in the Muslim world, where kids are encouraged to be anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and simply hateful to others in the spirit of Islamism.
This is what makes the condemnation of "Muslim Massacre" so hypocritical and half-hearted. Indeed, until Muslims worldwide condemn the incitement and hatred taught to Muslim children around the world by their co-religionists, the outrage against anti-Muslim hatred on the part of Muslim groups appears insincere, at best.
Western values have taught us to unequivocally condemn "Muslim Massacre," or any other game that would incite children to blindly hate another faith. Until Muslim groups adopt this approach, too, they can expect to be accused of being apologists for violence, and as pawns for dangerous Middle East states that only attempt to further the Islamist agenda in the West.
Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury intelligence analyst, is the director of policy for the Jewish Policy Center, and author of the forthcoming book Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (Palgrave, Nov 2008).