Muslim Group Criticizes LittleBigPlanet Recall

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Muslim Group Criticizes LittleBigPlanet Recall

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The president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy has criticized Sony for recalling LittleBigPlanet due to the presence of a song that the company feared would offend Muslims.

"Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted," M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., told Edge yesterday. "The free market allows for expression of disfavor by simply not purchasing a game that may be offensive."

Jasser added that contrary to the beliefs of many people, including some Muslims, Mohammed "defended the rights of his enemies to critique him in any way even if it was offensive to his own Islamic sensibilities or respect for Koranic scripture."

Sony ordered the recall following a forum post from a "devout Muslim" who claimed the presence of the song Tapha Niang, which had been properly licensed for use, was "deeply offensive" because it contained two lines taken from the Quran. A release day patch to remove the music was quickly devised by developer Media Molecule, but Sony elected to go one step further and recall the game world-wide to ensure nobody's feelings were hurt. But Jasser pointed out that the creator of the music, Toumani Diabate of Mali, was himself a "devout Muslim," which demonstrated that the issue is not about offending Muslims at all but instead about a desire to control speech and expression.

"To demand that [the game] be withdrawn is predicated on a society which gives theocrats who wish to control speech far more value than the central principle of freedom of expression upon which the very practice and freedom of religion is based," he said. "The fact that the music writer is a devout Muslim should highlight that at the core of this issue is not about offending 'all Muslims,' but only about freedom of expression and the free market."

While he himself does not endorse the use of the Quran in non-educational games, he affirmed that freedom of speech must come first. "AIFD stands against any form of censorship in the marketplace of ideas whether imposed by government or by corporations intimidated by the response of militants or those with an inappropriately sensitive level of political correctness," he said.

Sony's move to recall and delay the release of LittleBigPlanet in order to remove the potentially offending passages sparked widespread incredulity among gamers that the company would undertake such a massive endeavor over such a minor complaint; a few also pointed out that it took Sony over a week to even apologize to the Church of England when it complained about the company's unlicensed use of Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man.

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Geez, how long does this go on? Hey, I'm from the South. I'm offended at the number of incest, banjo, and redneck jokes that predominate games. With a few very choice exceptions, almost anytime someone with a North American southern accent is portrayed in a game it is in an offensive and crude manner. I demand all games featuring this be removed and have the accents replaced with New Jersey ones.

- a devout Southerner

*edit*

And while we're at it, I demand that at least one game feature a Scottish person that doesn't have a beard.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

"Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted," M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., told Edge yesterday. "The free market allows for expression of disfavor by simply not purchasing a game that may be offensive."

I like this guy. He's got the right idea (and by right idea, I mean one I agree with).

Well it's good to see the reasonable/moderate Muslims putting their opinion out there. But I hope we can drop the subject as a news item now.

It gives me hope for humanity that SOMEONE is smart enough to not be a jackass about this issue.

Of course, if LBP does pull the song, folks like the ACLU will get pissed off that they are censoring the game. I think the best solution for everyone would be to just hit the mute button.

I suppose.

Stereotypes, though, are entertaining, plain and simple. While it's cool to see an occasional person SAID to be from the south who's not a redneck, for the most part, I think it should stick. Gives character to the character, rather than having no connection whatsoever. It would be awkward for someone from Texas to have a British accent (or worse, no real accent at all: see Microsoft Sam)

This is the sensible response Sony should have made on its own. It's unfortunate they felt the need to kowtow to one individual.

And in response to L.B. Jeffries' frustrations with Southern stereotypes: People can enjoy a game with a hill billy. No one can enjoy a game with an irate denizen of New Jersey, until The Sopranos videogame comes out and proves me wrong.

Amnestic:
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Agreed, if they hadn't done it then there'd be someone complaining that the game contained offensive material.

Amnestic:
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

I wish he would have spoken up BEFORE Sony decided to recall everything. Had he spoken up, I may have been playing LBP instead of arguing about this article at the time of this post.

I'm glad other Muslims are annoyed about this, I still think they were wrong to remove the song.

Sony is trying to make a game with broad appeal. It doesn't want to offend anyone if it can help it.

If it thinks it will lose sales to the some sectors of the Global Market it has every right to remedy the situation.

I can't help wondering if Toumani Diabate should have warned Media Molecule about the content and 'provenance' of the lyrics. Perhaps, they would have chosen an entirely instrumental track instead.

As to the whole fuss about Manchester Cathedral some official must have noticed/approved its digitization. How else did it get into Resistance? If the Church of England will charge visitors entry to a place of worship then it is already more of a tourist attraction than a sacred site.

Well, I'm amazed that someone, from any religion, came out and said something like this. I can't imagine he'd be too popular with other Muslims right now, but good-on-him.

I can understand Sony's predicament and that of Mr Zuhdi Jasser. Sony doesn't want to offend any one (danish cartoons wink wink) and others like me and zuhdi think it's unfair though for different reasons, I think it''s unfair because I have to wait longer for my games and because it conflicts with the fallout 3 and farcry 2 release date so I won't get till after new years and him because of what he said.

I only meant it in jest. It just seems like if people start banning games because it offends interest groups or sects, you're pretty much going to have to ban every single game out there. They're ALL full of stereotypes and offensive content, why does a politely sung verse from the Koran get special treatment?

I mean, Cole Train? Seriously?

I knew it. There was no Muslim outcry.
Just.... One.... Forum... Post.... from someone and Sony messed their kecks at the word Muslim.
If they had waited 24 hours and did some research they could have judged the situation better.
A simple sticker on the cover and an optional patch for those offended would have solved the problem.

People need to realise that Islam comes in many forms and those forms have different rules.
Same with the christ based and Moses bases religeons.

What happen here is that sony took a side with one group.

For those saying why American Islamic Forum for Democracy did not mention anything before I would assume
that they didnt know anything about this until it made the mainstream news. I very much doubt they frequent gaming
forums...

This is much different to the Danish cartoons. It's not like Sony had Mohamed pictured with a bomb etc

Amnestic:
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

"Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted," M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., told Edge yesterday. "The free market allows for expression of disfavor by simply not purchasing a game that may be offensive."

I like this guy. He's got the right idea (and by right idea, I mean one I agree with).

Agreed! And to be fair, the guy who complainted was obviously an islamic version of a troll.

I think its quite pathetic to complain about that. I also think that the main reason they recalled the game was because offended Muslims have a bad reputation for being violent. As Malygris said, it took Sony over a week to even apologize to the Church of England when it complained about the company's unlicensed use of Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man. Shame on that guy for complaining about this. I know lots of nice, friendly Muslims and even they are angry at the bad reputation they get because of picky demanding Muslims claiming to be offended like that.

I'm all for the dodging of a lawsuit, but as long as this does not becone another "Hot Coffee" I think things will work out. However, for those number of people are ticked at the recall, another week will not kill you.

Technically I don't think this is a freedom of choice thing because Sony is only doing it to avoid offence in an intentionally family friendly game. I would imagine hearing your holy book quoted back to you in a videogame might piss off a few parents who weren't expecting it.

If it was being withdrawn from threats I would be against this but I think this is a case where everyone needs to calm down and be reasonable. The guy who choose the song probably didn't realise.

rossatdi:
Technically I don't think this is a freedom of choice thing because Sony is only doing it to avoid offence in an intentionally family friendly game. I would imagine hearing your holy book quoted back to you in a videogame might piss off a few parents who weren't expecting it.

If it was being withdrawn from threats I would be against this but I think this is a case where everyone needs to calm down and be reasonable. The guy who choose the song probably didn't realise.

The guy who wrote the song WAS A MUSLIM. A devout one too, by all counts.

My sackboy is going to look like the one on the left.

Mstrswrd:
Well, I'm amazed that someone, from any religion, came out and said something like this. I can't imagine he'd be too popular with other Muslims right now, but good-on-him.

Well, that's assuming that other Muslims all feel that the game should have been censored. I'd bet that most would have taken a moderate stance to the whole affair.

L.B. Jeffries:
*edit*

And while we're at it, I demand that at least one game feature a Scottish person that doesn't have a beard.

Fable- some of the NPCs. Apart from that we are the bearded wonders of the world. Why are all dwarfs in films and games Scottish?

Mstrswrd:
Well, I'm amazed that someone, from any religion, came out and said something like this. I can't imagine he'd be too popular with other Muslims right now, but good-on-him.

South park said this, It was the whole point of the Cartoon Wars plot, it wasn't about LBP but, same concept

Mstrswrd:
Well, I'm amazed that someone, from any religion, came out and said something like this. I can't imagine he'd be too popular with other Muslims right now, but good-on-him.

Most of them probably agree with him, frankly. Especially given, as I said, a Muslim wrote the song in the first place.

In addition to this being just one person...it's also board poster. Who could have been anyone. There are PLENTY of right-wing American nuts who slaver over every perceived endorsement of either a) a religion besides Christianity or b) religious freedom in general.

I think this is just weird. Something else (one poster?!? ONE?!?) must be going on.

Finally someone has an actually good opinion on this... bravo for speaking out against your idiotic compatriots, Mr. Jasser.

So they delayed the game because a couple of people got pissed about it? When most of them don't care at all?

The logic here just astounds me.

Unbelievable, this is why I'm an athiest.

L.B. Jeffries:
I demand all games featuring this be removed and have the accents replaced with New Jersey ones.

- a devout Southerner

Actually, some regions of New Jersey are known for having 'southern' accents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidewater_accent

"Freedom of Speech" is only guaranteed in the American Bill of Rights, in America.

Every other country has their own sets of rules that give people the rights to do certain things.

From Sony's standpoint, it's a practical business decision. Do you forget the cries of "Racism" when Capcom set Resident Evil 5 in Africa?

For all the English speakers, religious ones especially, how would you react if a game designed to be accessible to everyone had the song lyrics, "And those who have sinned shall suffer and burn in the hell-fires for all eternity"?

Would you not send a concerned letter to the designer or publishing company telling them that there are objectionable lyrics in the game?

Every one gets offended, its a part of life, like being from Canada people think we say "aboot" and a bunch of other stupid things its just something you live with. Besides its a game its not hurting anyone its just a game, and Denmarkian lots of songs have lyrics like that in them, and they should be critisizing who wrote the song not sony for putting it in the game.

I'm offended that they're releasing the game. Can they not? Or if they'll just pay me some money I'll be happy.

Seriously, is this how things work in Sony's world?

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