Muslim Should Not Equal Villain

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You know, I'm currently reading The Arabian Nights as translated by Husain Haddawy, while the morals on display are certainly a little...outdated, (see: King Shayrayar and King Shahzaman killing their wives for cheating on them, and then being forced to have sex with the wife of a demon...yeah, which of course is only the prologue, and starts off Shayrayar's subsequent new wife killings and meeting Shahrazad. Fun stuff though.) it'd certainly be something fascinating to tap into and make a videogame out of, maybe a RPG?

Okay..maybe not the best source to get a 'good' Arab character out of (though there are plenty), but, at the risk of sounding like I'm against the idea (I'm not), it seems the general advice given to artists of any kind is to write/draw/create what you know. However, this advice is clearly both held to and ignored at the same time, with creators at once creating only solid, well thought out characters that they can relate to, that share their skin colour or culture, while at the same time, trying to paint what cultures or persons they may not have very good knowledge about as being only bad guys.

You know though, if you were looking for a representation of good Arab characters, personally I thought Blizzard did an excellent job in Lut Golien in Diablo 2. The entire chapter of course loosely based on everything Middle Eastern, yet without relegating the NPC's in the area to outright stereotypes.

I was going to say Lut Gholein as well. Admittedly, Act 2 is my least favorite act because you HAVE to put the damn staff together each and every time instead of being glitch-rushed through it with some person going and smacking the high council/TPing you to Meph's durance like in act 3. But that's a tangent. Good point about Lut Gholein.

And in all honesty, cut me a break. Hey, look, I'm Russian. So shouldn't I have the right to whine that so many Ace Combat games have the protagonist flying an iconic U.S. jet, and the main enemy squadron (if an iconic one exists) always flying Russian-made jets (always from the Su-27 it 27s, 33s, 35s, 37s, 47s, or maybe the Pak-fa coming up)? Nah.

What about Germans always being portrayed only in ww2 games and only as Nazis? You don't see articles whining over that, do you?

So why all of the moaning over shooting terrorists? That there are no "good" Muslims portrayed? Well, where are the good Germans, the good Russians, etc...? And riddle me this: what would happen if there was a "good" Muslim portrayed that helped out the western forces hunt down terrorists?

I think it's funny how all conversations about Islam is automatically equated to conversations about the Middle East, when the largest muslim populations are actually in south and southeast Asia like say, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. And how about that, the majority of muslims in these countries are moderates!!

It's like equating all Christians to Westboro Baptist Church. "Hey guys, let's have the radical extremists define that entire subgroup for us!!"

One strange thing. The only two games I know that portrayed Americans as villians in an international conflict were bashed constantly by most game critics, with one being abandoned by the publisher as a result of poor sales and the other being saved only by its multiplayer but still labeled the worst in the series as far as its story is concerned. They are Alpha Protocol and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.
Two games,6 Days in Fallaujah and Escape from Guantanamo, were even cancelled because they may have American as not the best guys in an international conflict. I am surprized that Command and Conquer Generals was allowed to be released without problems.
And yet any game that portrays Arabs or Muslims or Russians or Mexicans or Cubans as steriotypical villians without personality or properly explained motive can easily get away with it and may make millions like Call of Duty 4 or Splinter Cell series (except Conviction) or Rainbow Six. Even a sympathatically portrayed Muslim villian would be fine by me but atleast show as more than one dimensional America-hating villians. COD 4 had given Al-Asad one line to this effect, didn't elaborate on it and then showed him as a coward when facing the SAS.

I really liked this article, the guy has a point. Hell think of C&C Generals, if thats not a stigmatizing game I don't know what is

AK47'S FOR EVERYONE! love that overpowered angry mob

One strange thing. The only two games I know that portrayed Americans as villians in an international conflict were bashed constantly by most game critics [...] And yet any game that portrays Arabs or Muslims or Russians or Mexicans or Cubans as steriotypical villians without personality or properly explained motive can easily get away with it and may make millions like Call of Duty 4 or Splinter Cell series (except Conviction) or Rainbow Six. Even a sympathetically portrayed Muslim villian would be fine by me [...]

Isn't that exactly the point? Game-producing companies are in the business of making money after all. In order to sell their product their market must want to buy it. Unfortunately two massive markets (US & to a lesser degree the EU) are so brain-washed by propaganda that anything which doesn't support the tabloid conditioned reflex of hatred/demonization simply isn't viable in the medium, or any current Western media for that matter. You said it yourself, 'stereotypical villains', & that's just it:

The last thing the propaganda machine wants is its uneducated audience to actually think about the views they're told to have.

Ahmed has already pointed this out in his article, where he mentions the general depiction of Arabs as terrorists in Hollywood films. Admittedly this is much rarer in European & British cinema where character development & intellectual honesty tend to shine more brightly (e.g. East is East) than vapid low-brow sensationalism (e.g. the already cited True Lies). Chris Morris' Four Lions goes even further & humanizes (mostly) English-Arab want-to-be terrorists, while at the same time mocking their hypocrisy & stupidity, especially in their dealings with the Qur'an & Islam. But these are incredibly rare examples, & in any contemporary medium the market is driven by what the populace is led to believe.

Currently the US & much of the UE populace is saturated with the message 'Muslim = Terrorist'. Some countries swallow the brain-washing more easily than others, but a sufficient number swallow it hook, line, & sinker without even realizing. It's shameful, but it's a fact of life. Is it the game producers', or the news papers, or the television companies' & film makers' fault? Not so much as we'd like to believe. It's more ours for allowing the deceit to perpetuate by funding them to lie to us.

I have to say I'm very surprised by the negativity of the comments on this thread. I guess I just expected escapists to be more open minded than 4 Chan.

I seem to be immune to the recent American "EHRABS R BAD" movement. It's just another on a long list of stereotypes that are unfounded. I think I can say with certainty that extremism or really any ism that's strong enough to cloud reason isn't a good influence on society.

As far as video games go, I'm with you. This obsession with the middle east has gone on rather long and not only has it helped to damage the image of Arabs amongst 13 year olds screaming into their mics, it has also led to stagnancy within the video game industry.

Saladin Ahmed:
In Orientalism (1978), his landmark study of Western attitudes toward the Arab and Muslim worlds, the late Columbia English professor Edward Said defined "Orientalism" as Western culture's tendency to depict the Middle East through "a series of crude, essentialized caricatures." Some of these caricatures "present [the Islamic world] in such a way as to make that world vulnerable to military aggression." Others are more positive, but still treat the Middle East as an exotic land perpetually stuck in the past.

Said 78 is the best card in the Security K. It only really applies for the topic for last year

(High school policy debate ftw)

Now, to be fair, Americans demonize or belittle, at some level, everyone who isn't middle aged, christian, white, and male. It's not just a Muslim thing, though they get more than most.

It's not an issue of "America hates Muslims" as much as "America hates EVERYONE who thinks, looks, or acts differently than the controlling majority" and I doubt very much that this is a problem only in America. It's probably a bigger problem here than in most civilized nations, yes, but not a problem unique to us alone.

I liked this article. It was very intresting

pro-tip: If you want Americans to have a better outlook on muslims and arabs, it might be a good idea to not treat horrific acts like 9/11 as a PR disaster for Muslims.

There is a reason that the worst, most savage and most primitive places in the world are in the middle east.

pro-tip: If you want Americans to have a better outlook on muslims and arabs, it might be a good idea to not treat horrific acts like 9/11 as a PR disaster for Muslims.

Jeah, and all Cristian like they abortion doctors english-bloody inside, but burned outside.
And all jews think, baby killing and 3-jear old raping is okay.
all hindus burn their wifes, [better they let burn their wifes, zombi-hindus seem scary. but well, maybe they incarnate fast enough to help..]
and all buddhist-well, tibet is way too feudal with all that scary body-penalties-jeah, is sorta sharia extreme-someone who stole a ghee-lamp of a temple was sewn in wet leather, then the punishers waited for the leather to dry and contract and then the leatherbag was trown offa big cliff. Very nice, isnt it? this occured until the chinese invaded tibel-now they kill people by shooting them-dunno if thats nicer.
, buddha is nice, but woman ordination? forget it. and the only buddhist nuns in china exist but the male buddhist try to avoid any sign of them...

so. all these bad examples and if i search more, iŽll find more. the sad 30-jear war in europe, the ireland conflict and all these problems between protestants, catholics, orthodox etc etc..

bla. people are dumb and cruel. you found this out, all on you own. applause for this. maybe youŽl find out that people are individuals who can act as they want and not as you think they have to. Much of them are dumb, i am included, you too-everyone has its own personal dumb moments, some are severe, some more or less awkward..
so not every muslim is a terrorist-not even every muslim is a salafi. [saudi arabia] or a 12-shia-type[iran] there are more than white bearded mullahs[SA] and Ayatollahs[I] but sadly, those are the ones with the most noise and most disturbing sad sick ideas [well, not every mullah and not every ayatolla. butt well, i dont like the idea of clerics, whether they are called clerics or ulama..i have my own brain. i hope]

bombending das.^^

[i am german, in our country, the word Bombe can mean bomb, but also Wonderful, great-but its a kind of youth slang ;) so if something is bombig [bomb like, not bombed] ist great and cool] this leads to wonderful jokes.^^

I enjoyed this informative article. I always welcome a game that does not have a white military shaved headed protagonist and puts me in the shoes of someone with another perspective that we rarely see in video games.

Saladin Ahmed:
[b][a href='/articles/view/issues/issue_269/8044-Muslims-in-My-Monitor' target='_self']From Prince of Persia to the recent Medal of Honor news of playable Taliban, the depiction of Muslims in videogames hasn't been any more even-handed than American TV or movies. Saladin Ahmed is one Muslim gamer who'd like to see that change.>

Muslims are not the same thing as Middle-Easterners or Arabs. why do you conflate these three groups?

I find it rather insulting. It's like saying that if you're a Christian, you must have white skin, or vice-versa. There are Arabs who aren't Muslims, and there are Middle-Easterners who also aren't. There are even white-skinned people from "Western" countries who are Muslims, believe it or not.

Undead Dragon King:
The closest I can think of would be moderate Muslims who take a stand against the supposed "hijacking" of their religion from the likes of the Saudi royal family, al-Qaeda, al-Sahab, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban...

Neither of these options sound very heroic. Modern Muslims can have a place in our gaming world. But they must prove that they are capable of such heroics.

So, why is the same not required of moderate Christians? Very few of them seem to be standing up to folks like the Westboro Baptist Church and other Christian hate-mongers.

The whole thing bout being moderate is that you're moderate. That doesn't tend to lead to vocal outrage. Most moderate people just go about their lives and their daily work without much fuss.

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