Another day, another videogame character accused of shouting pro-Islamic phrases: This time it’s Punch-Out!! boxer Bald Bull, who according to one observer says “Allah Akbar” while trading leather in the ring.
Remember back in January when Indiana mom Rachel Jones heard the Nintendo DS game Baby Pals say, “Islam is the light?” It’s happened again and the offending title this time around is the recently-released Nintendo Wii title Punch-Out!!, which according to self-styled conservative pundit and long-time gamer Del Riley features a Turkish character named Bald Bull who utters the phrase “Allah Akbar.”
“Allah Akbar,” which is typically translated as “God is great,” is used by Muslims in a variety of situations but has become most notorious as the battle cry of terrorists and suicide bombers. This makes it problematic, Riley claimed on his YouTube channel, because despite its other connotations, “we can’t forget that this phrase is fiercely inflected before murderous animals do things like” the September 11 bombings of the World Trade Center.
“Not even eight years after 9/11, are we going to accept this phrase in a videogame rated ‘E’ for Everyone?” he said. “What do the families of [the victims of] these heinous crimes think of this? Is this good for our children?”
But does Bald Bull actually speak the phrase at all? Riley’s YouTube replay of the sequence in question, available around the 2:10 mark if you’re not interested in watching the whole thing, is debatable at best. Much like the burbling in Baby Pals, what you hear is largely a question of what you want to hear. With Riley’s guidance I can pick up the barest outlines of the phrase; without it, I’m sure I’d hear nothing more than the angry shouting of a huge Turkish dude who can’t lay a glove on me.