Turkey has started an online website to report Islamophobic content in digital games, Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç told Anadolu Agency Thursday.
Kılıç said video games with Islamophobic content can now be reported at www.oyunlardaislamofobi.com.
The minister highlighted the dangers of Islamophobic content in digital games.
"Digital games are now being used by the West as a means to spread Islamophobia. Therefore, we have stepped in and taken action against this digital brainwashing to save our children and youngsters. We have started spreading awareness of this issue as a first step and prepared a brochure addressing the threat," he said.
He added, "We have determined that the holy book [Quran] and relevant places were purposefully placed in these games to provoke fear. Violence, terrorism and Islamophobia is being imposed on youngsters through digital gaming and an ugly impression of our holy religion is being woven into our children's subconscious."
The minister also emphasized that this issue must be seriously tackled around the world, including global bodies, such as the United Nations.
"We have found an abundance of negative content [in digital games], such as blowing up [mosque] minarets, the use of the adhan [Muslim call for prayer], references to the door of the Kaaba, verses of the Quran and the names of Allah," Kılıç said. The minister noted the digital gaming sector in Turkey is worth $440 million. Globally, the figure is $100 billion.
"As far as I know, there are 1.5 billion digital gamers in the world, approximately 22 million in Turkey. These people are spending 39 million hours per day on games," Kılıç said.
He said video game developers using Islamophobic content would also be approached and warned against such material in their games. He hoped the firms would heed their warnings and take the necessary steps.
The sports minister said digital games can have many positive effects and benefits, such as boosting a person's mental faculties, aiding in problem solving, boosting multi-tasking, quick thinking and analysis capabilities. However, he said there were also some harmful aspects such as racism, discrimination, violence, sexual content and prolonged use of games can lead to health problems and academic failures. There are several popular games the ministry brands as containing Islamophobic elements. The well-known "Guitar Hero 3," where players jump on a stage and dance on an inscription of "Allah" in Arabic. Another is the third-person shooting game, "Devil May Cry 3," where the gate of the Kaaba, the most sacred place in Islam, is used as an entrance symbol for a demonic tower. A "Resident Evil" level is also criticized in the booklet because the gate to the sacred grave of Prophet Muhammad is portrayed as a source of chaos and evil. "Zack and Wiki," a Nintendo Wii game, is also accused of Islamophobia for evil characters exclusively screaming "Allahu Akbar" (God is the greatest) as they die. Outright Islamophobic games such as "Muslim Massacre," "Bomb Gaza," "Minaret Attack" and a modified "Pacman," where a character devours burqa-wearing women, were also included in the brochure prepared by the Turkish ministry.
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