Islamic extremists using games to recruit

Written by Ryan Garside

May 5, 2006 | 16:47

Tags: #islam #mods #urban #war #warfare

Islamic militants are now using combat based first person shooters as part of a propaganda campaign against the West, a report revealed yesterday.

The games, which are available to download through various militant websites, are aimed at youngsters - offering them the opportunity to fight in urban guerrilla environments against American soldiers. They are based on modded versions of games like Battlefield 2, in which you play as Islamic defenders against ‘American Crusaders’.

Some see it as a response to the American government using a similar tactic to recruit new soldiers through the America’s Army game.

The militant games again raise questions of the acceptability of the modding community for games. Critics argue that games should not be allowed to propose emotionally charged political messages as well as images of US soldiers being killed in warfare. However, due to the ease of distribution of the mods it is near impossible for the American government to stop this practice.

Dan Devlin, a Defence Department public diplomacy specialist, said that he believes that this kind of strategy wil be employed more and more as terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda utilise technology to spread their message.

The situation bears many similarities to an incident last year when extremist groups in America began to distribute racist games as a means of spreading their political views. It would seem as gaming grows in popularity more and more groups are using the platform to spread political agendas rather than pure entertainment. Who knows where this may end up? Currently, we don't ban films that have a political agenda, but is gaming different?

What’s your take on games as political vehicles? Let us know in the forums.
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