A Syrian developer is creating a game that it hopes will boost the image of Islam, reduce tensions with the West and encourage pride among young Muslims.
That's a pretty tall order for a computer game.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that Al-Quraysh, due for a September release, is being developed by Damascus-based Afkar Media. From the CSM's description, it sounds like the type of build-and-fight game that will be instantly familiar to Western fans of the historical strategy genre:
Al-Quraysh is a strategy game that tells the story of the first 100 years of Islam's history from the viewpoint of four different nations - Bedouins, Arabs, Persians, and Romans.
One can choose to command any of the armies of the four nations or lead the army of the main character, Khaled Ibn Waleed, a Muslim warrior who defeated the Roman and Persian empires and never lost a battle. Or one can play the role of the Bedouin sheikh, who must earn the respect of his tribe. The player has the task of building and protecting trade routes and water sources, building armies, conducting battles, and freeing slaves.
Akkar Media exec Radwan Kasmiya commented on the game:
Al-Quraysh is going to help people in the West better understand the people who are living in the East. We want to show that this civilization was a sort of practical and almost heavenly civilization...
I get very embarrassed by the way we [Muslims] are showing our civilization. There were rational laws that were governing Muslims at that time [on which the game is based]. This allowed this civilization to last for a long time and to accept the other civilizations that they came in touch with...
Most video games on the market are anti-Arab and anti-Islam. Arab gamers are playing games that attack their culture, their beliefs, and their way of life. The youth who are playing the foreign games are feeling guilt... But we also don't want to do [a game] about Arabs killing Westerners.
Via: Inside Arab Gaming