A video game with a social conscience? Crumbs. A Syrian company is sick of being the brunt of all anti-Arabian and Muslim jokes, so are currently in the process of creating a strategy game, Al-Quraysh, which tells the story of the first 100 years of Islam’s history. Apparently the company is hoping it will correct the general public’s attitudes towards Islam, alleviate tensions in the West, and do all manner of good things for the pride of young Muslims. Certainly no Grand Theft Auto, then.
The players can choose to command the armies of four different nations, namely Bedouins, Arabs, Persians and Romans, or lead the army of the protagonist, a Muslim warrior by the name of Khaled Ibn Waleed who reportedly defeated the Roman and Persian empires, never losing a single battle. The roles involved in the game include building and protecting trade routes and water sources, building armies, conducting battles and freeing slaves.
Afkar Media, the company responsible for creating the game, produced Under Siege last year, a game which showed the Palestinian struggle from an Arab perspective. It was quite controversially received, with critics claiming the game simply replaced well-known stereotypes with lesser known ones, such as Jews being portrayed as the ‘baddies’ instead of the Muslims, which Radwan Kasmiya, the executive manager of Afkar Media, claims happens in “most video games on the market”.
“Arab gamers are playing games that attack their culture, their beliefs, and their way of life. The youth who are playing the foreign games are feeling guilt. On the outside they look like they don’t care, but inside they do care. But we also don’t want to do something about Arabs killing Westerners,” Kasmiya said in regards to his games.