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State-Funded Iranian Videogame Continues Rushdie Fatwa

| 27 Jun 2012 14:50
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Iran's latest blood feud videogame : The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie.

Once upon a time there was an author named Salman Rushdie who wrote magical realism novels, won literary prizes, and upset many Muslims with his 1988 book The Satantic Verses. The Ayatollah Khomeini promptly issued a fatwā against the author, ordering all good Muslims to do their best to kill Rushdie. This was easier said than done and, although there have been riots and killings as a result of the fatwā, Rushdie was never harmed. Now Iran's Islamic Association of Students are making a video game about the fatwā, The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie and Implementation of his Verdict. The Association is supported and funded by the Iranian government.

This is in slight contrast to the government's public statement in 1998 that it no longer supported the killing of Rushdie, though the fatwā itself remains active and apparently will continue until the day Rushdie dies. The game was announced in Tehran at the second annual Computer Games Expo. According to a statement given by a member of the Association, the game is intended to "introduce our third and fourth generation to the fatwā against Salman Rushdie and its importance."

"We usually don't have any problems with initial thoughts and ideas," said director of the Association Ahmad Khalili when talking about the development process in general, "but when it comes to the actual point of production we experience delays," a sentiment which many Western developers may find familiar.

The bigger issue for Iran is cultural domination. In recent decades the Iranian government and religious leaders have struggled to deal with the ongoing westernization of their followers through games, movies and books. A state-backed student organization coming up with what amounts to Fatwā: The Videogame is their version of Sam von Schamm's eternal wisdom: "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Source & Image: The Guardian

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