Islamic Phrase Removed from Capcom's Zack & Wiki

August 1, 2007 -
zack-wiki2.jpgThis must be Capcom's day for troubling ethnic issues.

This morning, GamePolitics reported that Resident Evil 5 was receiving harsh criticism over its depiction of African villagers as zombies to be mowed down by a white protagonist.

This afternoon the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which describes itself as America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, issued a press release announcing that the phrase Allahu akbar ("God is most Great")  would be removed from Capcom's Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure. The puzzle adventure is scheduled for release on the Wii in October.

From the press release:
CAIR contacted Capcom after receiving a complaint about the use of the phrase in Capcom's "Zack & Wiki" game. The Arabic phrase is one of the most frequently repeated religious statements made by Muslims and is used often in daily Islamic prayers...

In an e-mail to CAIR, a Capcom spokesperson wrote: "We have already contacted the team working on the game, and the phrase has been removed from the game and will not be heard in future videos released to the public."

Said CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin:
We appreciated Capcom's willingness to address Muslim concerns and applaud the company's swift and appropriate actions.

The offending phrase may be heard in this E3 video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziV03wLGDnY

Comments

@Davian2K5

So truth is racism now? Have you visited the middle east lately?

Sounds like a case of professional courtesy to me. If it's not going to change the game radically then let Capcom address the concern. It's not going to stop the world from spinning.

I know alot of people don't understand.... but I understand that in this religion, having the phrases or depiction of god in any format is very offensive to them. Even the phrase as a tattoo is considered offensive. Nike once had a squiggle of a sort that looks more like a flame, it accidently came out alot like the arabic script for the word "Allah" and thus, they were offended by it. When it comes to Islam and Christianity, Christianity isn't against having God depicted in anything nor having the name used for phrases (hence the USD's: In God We Trust).
When it comes to Islam, you can't touch the subject at all, it is extremely taboo, and they aren't likely to change, if ever.
However, I didn't hear the phrase in the video... I guess I'd have to somehow pick it up from not understanding a language that I have extremely little knowledge in...
In any case, we don't see it as a big deal... they see it as extremely offensive...
I guess the best example I can give on how offensive it is, it is like if someone stepped on your country's flag, and pissed and soiled it with feces. Then proceeded to keep using it as a towel to soak up more stuff then spit on it then burn it as a final word.

@ Freedom

Truth is subjective. Additionally, the way your telling your version of truth is offensive to some, and has little to no bearing on the topic. So please, take your truth elsewhere.

Uhm, can someone explain why this is offensive. I am genuinely confused.

what the fuck is wrong with this country?

seriously... ouch

As something else I forgot to mention, it won't change gameplay, at all really... Legend of Zelda: OoT had some arabic sounding music and that is considered offensive since again, it was like the religious hyms that they make, and they took it out in later versions of Oot, but the original cartridges should still have the same music, while the later versions changed it.

See, even the religious songs they sing are a taboo to be portrayed in another way.

@ Davian2K5

Some Islamic countries allow for women to be SENTENCED to rape- often as punishment for "crimes" committed by male family members.

Well, this is hardly unprecedented.

Back in 1999, Nintendo reworked Ocarina of Time’s Fire Temple theme in response to a backlash from the Muslim community. The theme contained a Muslim chant in Arabic that translates to “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.”

Why anyone would find that offensive or upsetting is beyond me.


Andrew Eisen

@ Andrew Eisen

So THAT'S why the Fire Temple music is so boring. :) I had always wondered why.

Listening to CAIR is like listening to Phelps or Jack Chick

The Xbox fighting game Kakuto Chojin was also pulled from shelves for containing an Islamic verse in the lyrics of the music to the end music.

Someone told me once that Gorons were suppose to be Muslim, what with their honor codes and brotherhood and whatnot. I guess that makes sense given Andrew Eisen's comment.

I think it's pretty immature to take offense in someone else using your phrases or music as long as it's not in a demeaning manner....like the LoZ OoT deal. But if it's not ultra-important to the game, then I guess that's better than the Muslim community making a big deal out of it. Not that I think they should make a big deal, but they will

While the atheist and tolerant sides of my would be glad this phrase was pulled, I don't see the big deal. It's very hard to make the phrase out. I had to watch the video three times to hear it. If any Muslim here can help explain the context, that would be a big help.

Having said this, let me just reiterate that CAIR is as concerned with civil liberites as a fox would be with the well-being of hens.

Aren't they the same group that got their panties in a bunch over some lyrics in Aladdin which resulted in Disney altering them for the home video release? Meh.

@B.Manta

Don't forget the whole fiasco with the Danish cartoon.

i just figure, as with everything we hear about Islam, that they have absolutely no sense of humor and everything is a Sin Against God, including talking or thinking about being Muslim if you aren't.

Warning: Ranting. The overly religious and easily offended need not apply.

Jesus Christ on a goddamn bloody stick. When in the hell did people become such sissies about EVERYTHING? It's a phrase, in another language, that happens to be related to a religion. In this game it's not even anti-Islamic. It's not even talking about islam! It's a sound bite tied to some small event. I'm fairly certain if we put in portions of the Lord's Prayer or the Lotus Sutra in there we wouldn't have the Catholics/Bhuddists up in arms.

I'm agnostic, and that's me, but why the hell should I, let alone others, be this politically correct because some dipstick somewhere MIGHT be offended because we used something from their religion in a manner that isn't at the HIGHEST point of Sanctity? It's days like these I hate religious people. No offense to current audience, but goddamn some religious people are such tightasses that you crap diamonds. -.-

@ Black Manta

I know the Sultan said "Praise Allah" in Aladdin, didn't hear anything about someone getting pissed over it (though I'm not surprised someone did).

Don't knock Islamic fundamentalists off their high horse, you might get a Jihad on you.

Black Manta,

No, that was the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

After a complaint, the lyrics to Arabian Nights were changed from "Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face. It's barbaric, but, hey, it's home" to "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense. It's barbaric, but, hey, it's home."

You can kind of see where they're coming from on that one but it's still pretty silly.


Andrew Eisen

“Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but, hey, it’s home”

That was the original lyric? Fuck... that's really funny.

@grls

I think it has a lot to do with the language in which the words are spoken, as well. Just as Catholic mass was held exclusively in Latin for a long, long time, Islamic-prayer-related phrases may only be held sacred to this high level when spoken in Arabic (though it's just a guess).

@Andrew Eisen

That actually sounds like something Disney would have changed before release even if no one had complained - I mean, it's Disney.

Even though it is said in every other sentence by arabs, Westerners cannot use the “Praise Allah” phrase in their video game because we should never get to learn about their sacred religion. Hmmm....

Capcom shouldn't need to take out such a phrase anyway, because most people won't probably get what is actually being said, and for the people that do, realize that the CAIR like any other Religious-Orentated rights group is full of it.

I'm sorry, but since I absolutely am a non-censorship whore, the bastards already complained that fricking enemy's that were black being gunned down by Leon, which were a fraction to most of the things he had to kill, and that this is actually one of the Wii games that I am looking froward to, it just seems pathetic to me, sorry.

They already took it out, so not much else to do =(.

that phrase is reserved for Muslim extremist right before they self detonate.

@~the1jeffy

Ah, that makes more sense :)

I probably would have realized that to begin with, but I'm tired and need to ....zzzzzZZzZZZZZzzZZZzzzZZZzzzz..

Wa...!?! Oh, huh.... uh, what did I miss?

Poppin my head back in...

@ Darkesword

Your comments have given a nice read from a different point of view - I'm pretty well agnostic, I simply don't believe in one specific major religion more than anything, but it's nice to have the point of view from someone who understands the issue further than I do. And you've been extremely polite and articulate in stating it :)

@Everything else:

It's nice to see that generally (there's a few exceptions) most people are being fairly level headed, agree or disagree. Really, I think normally this wouldn't get so much attention, except I think that the news seems to have been a little slow this week. I blame Miami. :-P But overall, I just don't think it seems like that big a deal - I agree that it sounds simply like it was put in there because it fit the theme they needed, not for any other particular reason. Were it something more central to the story, or part of a point being made, I'd see it a bit differently, but if it's background noise more than anything, I just can't see any major reason to get worked up.

We are not the ones creating controversy here it's was them that spoke out.
Or rather a fringe group of a fringe group.

Lastly we will never get past "racism" and "insensitivity" if all people do is complain about trivial things like the Resident Evil 5 "controversy."

But I guess we can be thankful that this is America and not Capcom Arabia Studios or else it would of.... well it wouldn't be standing.

Oh, I agree with you on that. I'm pretty sure there was no intention to make offense. It's just a video game, after all.

Maybe the Japanese just overestimate other cultures' senses of humor, considering that their own is fairly well-developed. Most of the funniest stuff I've seen is Japanese in origin - Paper Mario, anyone? Not to mention pretty much any Japanese game show.

@Ohma

I also think it may be to do with the way it was approached, I'll agree the last thread was pretty damn appalling, but I have a feeling we had more than a few S-Fronters in disguide, and the furor eventually attracted the lulz brigade.

In this case, the organisation approached the developer and spoke to them about their concern and it was all sorted out without problem or misundterstanding. The Blog was simply a string of hurled accusations from a seperate pew without any attempt or intention to engage the company in any kind of debate or query about the game. I think it's that kind of behaviour that will always hit the button for gamers, because it happens to them so often. That doesn't, in any way, forgive the way some people behaved, but it does, I think explain some of it.

This seems to be another case of Japan not really thinking about the way other cultures perceive themselves. They wouldn't be too happy if we used Buddha as a footrest.

@Darkesword

'And again, an Islamic phrase is associated with fire. xD'

Heh, I know you're saying that tongue-in-cheek, but I'll just pipe in and suggest that the chances are pretty high that whoever used that Media in the game had no clue whatsoever what it was or what context it was used in, but just thought it was a nice 'Ethnic-sounding' chant. That's why University Students have 'References....References....References.' drummed into them, because you need to be sure that the sources you use are 'safe' to use in a wider context.

I doubt there was any conscious, or even unconcious intention to offend or represent Islam in any particular way. I went through a stage of using 'Middle-Eastern' sounding stuff when writing music, and I'll be honest with you, I had no clue whatsoever what was being said in some of the samples I used, one of them was certainly some kind of prayer-call, but it sounded too good NOT to use, the stuff I wrote was actually more Ancient Egyptian-themed, but when you are looking for a particular atmosphere it's more about tonal melody etc than the actual language being spoken or the words being said.

Capcom were right to remove the sound if it causes problems, however, I don't think it was put in 'intentionally' in any way :) Anyway, I as I said, I know your comment was tongue-in-cheek, but I just wanted to state my view on it :)

@daniel3

The thing is, it's not an attempt to incorporate Islam into entertainment. Odds are that the sound guy didn't even know what the sound he was using meant. He used it because it sounded Arabian, exotic and tribal, not because he decided to try and incorporate Islam into an awesome Nintendo Wii game.

@DarkeSword

I'm not Muslim, and I had never actually heard the phrase, only read it. But once I found the video, I heard it loud and clear the first time. Maybe it's just me, though.

"Why would it be offensive to show foreign culture in a happy and positive light?"

The natives who said "Allahu akbar" in the trailer appeared to be drinking out of skulls. Happy and positive skulls, of course.

really think that CIAR should not be concerned about this....

i personally see it as an example of the entertainment industry embracing Islam a little by using the phrase (in a more positive way than what someone might see on the evening news)... even if the use of the phrase is a complete misrepresentation of Islam, it's still an attempt at incorporating Islam into entertainment in some way -mass media always screws up this stuff... a good example is probably the movie Alladin, which perpetuates a lot of stereotypes but at the end of the day might be a positive thing...

2nd point... doesn't seem like CIAR has it's priorities straight.... i'm sure that there's a completely innocent person who's been tortured in Guantanimo Bay who really appreciates what CIAR is doing to protect his civil liberties in its efforts to censor the cartoon squirrel. (*sarcasm*)

*shrug* You're free to disagree.

@Conejo
It's already been said, but yeah, Muslims aren't really any more special than other folks. They just happened to speak up about an issue they thought was important.

For the people who had a hard time hearing it in the video: that's because you don't hear it as much as Muslims do. I thought I was going to have to watch the video twelve times or something after reading some comments here, but it was loud and clear the very first time I heard it; instantly recognizable and it felt completely out of place. And again, an Islamic phrase is associated with fire. xD

@ sqlrob - I guess that's what I get for not actually looking at the organization. I knew nothing about it. Thanks for the eye-opener.

As a postscript, I heartily encourage game companies to not listen to criticisms and publish their games in the way they feel is best. In other words if you have already approved parts of the game, and were honest about the content with the ratings boards, why spend money to change it? Our most successful media are those without compromise: The Daily Show, Southpark, and I dare say Alex Haley's Roots.

Wow, CAIR is really wrong on this, but I guess it was just a sound effect that can be altered unintelligible. It is really unimportant if they change it, so its not worth counter-complaining. Why would it be offensive to show foreign culture in a happy and positive light? What I think is the real issue is they are heading off the crazies that WOULD think in their puny little minds that it was some sort of conspiracy.

""Freedom: Good day to you sir! Please explain why human rights abuses overseas mean Capcom should sell a game that makes the Islamic call to prayer part of a creepy ritual? Thank you!"'

Because complaining about a meaningless videogame that hurts no one while your religion murders people on a daily basis is a tiny bit hypocritical don't you think?

Food for thought:No matter what you do someone somewhere will be offended by it also since when do true artists care about what everyone thinks all at once?constructive criticism is one thing but blowing a casket over something so minor as a nearly unheard word makes me question the sanity of the complainant.


I think game creators should use the comedians mantra:try to offend everyone equally as much as possible since honestly your job is to make folks laugh not give in to some nut cases religions/political/social views.

whats next?Muslims going haywire over crosses seen in xenogears >.>

@Mnementh2230:

Yeah, but any groups that have been found abusing the legal system and have confirmed links to terrorism (including the bombing of the WTC) should pretty much be discounted. If you don't give tolerance, you shouldn't get it back.

If some Islamic temple asked Capcom to change it, I'd be a heck of a lot happier. CAIR needs to be ignored and defanged.

DarkeSword,

Thanks for the input. Very interesting.


Andrew Eisen

Ahh jeez... and I KNOW there's going to be outrage over Phoenix Wright 3 now

Freedom: Good day to you sir! Please explain why human rights abuses overseas mean Capcom should sell a game that makes the Islamic call to prayer part of a creepy ritual? Thank you!
 
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