Religion is a slippery slope sometimes, especially when it comes to depicting it in a fictional setting and doing so without being offensive. One religion in particular has been the focus amongst western culture as being depicted in not always the greatest light, and that is the religion of Islam. Islam really isn’t the only religion that has a history of being used as a tool for personal and political gain, as I really feel there is no need to go any further than to mention the Christian Crusades. The point I’m trying to get across here is that we could find flaws in just about any belief system and manipulate it to make it look like a harbinger of evil. Creators of entertainment sometimes have to go to that well to make something feel more authentic, and if they aren’t extremely careful, they can wind up offending a whole group of people.
That is the case with Activision and Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and it isn’t the first time it has come under fire. The first time was when it was released, the controversial mission “No Russian” that depicted an American agent in deep cover and forced to murder innocent civilians in an attack on an airport.
This time around, it is due to one of the classic maps from the game, and that map is Favela. According to a YouTube video released the other day, in the bathroom in one of the buildings, there is a picture frame hanging above the toilet with an Islamic inscription on it. The inscription itself is not actually offensive, as much as the placement of it in the bathroom, over a toilet. To those without a firm understanding of Islam, I can understand how that would be a confusing one, as no other religion that I can think of has such restrictions.
Activision has, for the time being, pulled the map from both games. In a statement issued to Kotaku, they apologized and promised that they were unaware of the issue, would remove the offensive images and then make sure the map is once again available to fans as soon as possible.