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Video game on Israel-Palestine conflict that glorifies Jihad, rewards headshot and killing of Israeli soldiers stirs controversy: Details

The explicit objective of the game is to present the Palestinian Jihad in good light. It has the tagline, "With bullets and blood we will free Palestine."

A new video game has stirred a controversy with its focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The game titled, ‘Fursan al-Aqsa: Knights of al-Aqsa Mosque’, was developed by Nidal Nijm Games and is set to be released in December 2021.

The ‘indie video game’ addressed the Israel-Palestine conflict from the Palestinian perspective. Indie games are those that are generally developed without the financial backing of major game publishers and are published due to the efforts of small teams.

The website describes the game as “a Third Person Action Game on which you play as Ahmad al-Falastini, a young Palestinian Student who was unjustly tortured and jailed by Israeli Soldiers for 5 years, had all his family killed by an Israeli Airstrike and now, after getting out from the prison, seeks revenge against those who wronged him, killed his family and stolen his homeland, by joining a new Palestinian Resistance Movement called Fursan al-Aqsa: The Knights of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The game was inspired by others such as Metal gear Solid and Call of Duty Modern Warfare. According to the website, the game breaks “the cliché of portraying Muslim and Arabs as Terrorists, Bandits, Villains and the Americans/Israelis as the “Good Guys” and “Heroes” of History. This is the first game in the games industry which addresses such a sensitive topic, in a realistic way, showing the other side of history, which is very unknown by people, mostly here on west.”

The game can be played on a computer with a Windows Operating System, a 2.0+ GHz Processor, 2 GB system RAM and a compatible Video Card. It can also be played on Playstation and Xbox 360.

Source: Fursan al-Aqsa

The explicit objective of the game is to present the Palestinian Jihad in good light. It has the tagline, “With bullets and blood we will free Palestine.”

The developer of the game says, “I am a brazilian muslim, son of a Palestinian Resistance Fighter, and I always wanted to tell the history of my father, and the history of my people, the palestinian people and their resistance against oppression. Through this game I want to show to the whole World that Fighting for Freedom is NOT Terrorism, Fighting for Life is NOT Terrorism, Fighting for Protecting the Homeland is NOT Terrorism, Fighting against the Oppressor and its Savagery, which kills innocent children and civilians, is NOT Terrorism, that Palestinian Resistance is NOT Terrorism!”

The videos of the gameplay that has been made available prior to release shows the protagonist chanting Allahu-Akbar and killing enemy soldiers. The gameplay has a great deal of violence, which is par for the course for such games.

The game involves eliminating enemy combatants, rescuing Palestinians, hijacking vehicles and taking down planes among other things. Sabotaging Israeli plots and planting bomb also form a core aspect of the gameplay.

The game will be released by Steam, the world’s largest game distributor. International Legal Forum (ILF), an advocacy group that combats anti-Semitism, has written to Valve, Steam’s parent company, demanding that the game be removed from its store, alleging that it violates US anti-terror laws.

“This game, with its unhinged glorification of violence and incitement to terror, may place Valve in direct violation of United States anti-terror laws and subject to potential civil litigation,” the letter to Valve says, as per a copy of it accessed by Washington Free Beacon.

The group claimed, “In allowing the use of your platform for the glorification and incitement of terror, your company may be in breach of a number of U.S. anti-terrorism laws, including, but not limited to, Section 2339 of the United States Code, which prohibits the providing of ‘material support or resources’ in the ‘preparation for, or in carrying out’ a violation of certain offenses, including terrorism.”

Valve did not respond to a request for comment from Free Beacon. While depiction of violence in video games is not a new phenomenon, there are concerns that it could be used as a recruitment tool by Jihadists.

Source: Fursan al-Aqsa

Arsen Ostrovsky, chairman and CEO of ILF, said that “although for some in the gaming world, this might be mere virtual reality, for Israelis, this is depiction of real life, having sustained decades of Palestinian terror, intifadas, and ongoing sprees of stabbings, vehicular ramming, and shooting attacks.”

He said that Americans “have also been killed during such attacks. In the event further attacks and loss of life arise out of this display in pure barbarism masquerading as a ‘virtual game,’ not only blood, but legal liability, will be on the hands of Valve.”

A disclaimer states that the art and storylines depicted in the game are a work of fiction and that the protagonist does not shoot Israeli civilians, women, children and the elderly. It says that only Israeli soldiers are shot. Nevertheless, a game that rewards “headshot” and “killing streaks” is bound to be seen as problematic.

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