A “tasteless and incomprehensible” anti-mosque videogame put together by a far-right political party in Austria has caused an uproar and led an opposing party to call for an investigation into “incitement.”
Elections in the Austrian province of Styria are set to take place on September 26th and the far-right Freedom Party is doing all it can to get out the vote by stoking fear about the rising tide of Islam in Europe. As part of its effort to reach out to the country’s young, connected xenophobes, the party has released a simple Flash game called Bye Bye Mosque, which at last count had attracted almost 165,000 visitors and stirred up no small amount of controversy.
The game doesn’t actually advocate violence against Muslims but instead has players clicking on mosques and minarets with a stop sign as they rise up into the Styrian skyline, causing them to shrink back down. The player can also click on what I assume are Muslims stepping out onto the balconies of established minarets to worship in order to make them go away. Sooner or later, the city fills up with mosques and the game ends with a message saying, “Styria is full of minarets and mosques. So vote for Dr. Gerhard Kurzmann and the Freedom Party on September 26 so that this doesn’t happen.”
Bye Bye Mosque is “tasteless and incomprehensible in a country in which up until now people have lived in peace and harmony,” said Austrian Islamic community leader Anas Schakfeh. “This is religious hatred and xenophobia beyond comparison.”
The candidate for the opposing Green Party agrees and has called for an investigation into the Freedom Party for “incitement.”
The Freedom Party’s platform includes a referendum on banning mosques with minarets in the country. It is also calling for protests in the Austrian capital of Vienna similar to those that took place in New York City in reaction to plans to build a mosque and community center near the site of the World Trade Center. The party is attempting to “deal with a situation which has already long been widespread in Europe,” Kurzmann said.
Despite the game’s ominous warning, Schakfeh pointed out that there are only four mosques with a visible minaret in Austria, none of which are located in Styria.