Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sony's behaviour is bizarre

Is it me or it utterly bizarre that Sony have pulled the release of a game because it has on its soundtrack a tune by a devout Muslim which includes verses of the Koran in Arabic. They did this after receiving an email saying
While playing your latest game, "LittleBigPlanet" in the first level of the third world in the game (titled "Swinging Safari"), I have noticed something strange in the lyrics of the music track of the level. When I listened carefully, I was surprised to hear some very familiar Arabic words from the Quran. You can listen to part of the track here:

The words are:
1- In the 18th second: ("kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt," literally: 'Every soul shall have the taste of death').
2- Almost immediately after, in the 27th second: ("kollo man alaiha fan," literally: 'All that is on earth will perish').

I asked many of my friends online and offline and they heard the exact same thing that I heard easily when I played that part of the track. Certain Arabic hardcore gaming forums are already discussing this, so we decided to take action by emailing you before this spreads to mainstream attention.

We Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Quran deeply offending. We hope you would remove that track from the game immediately via an online patch, and make sure that all future shipments of the game disk do not contain it.
The fact is those two sentences are in the Koran, and the first is a statement of fact for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, whilst the second is merely a scientific reality (as another Muslim correspondent pointed out here). So tell me, what's offensive exactly?
More at Salon.com


Anonymous said...

Islam is a terrorist religion, in effect (and intention as well for some of its adherents) A company gets an email like that, and has a choice of immediately doing what they say, or there's a fair chance there'll be "spontaneous" worldwide protests involving a moderate amount of violence. Worse, there will then be lots of people (BBC for eg) essentially blaming the company for the fact that there are a lot of violent retards in the world

Letters From A Tory said...

It's not offensive, but yet again the PC brigade use it as evidence of how Muslims are the poor helpless victims of their evil imperialist overlords (i.e. the rest of us).

Anonymous said...

Because many Muslims don't understand their own religion.

Anonymous said...

Because Sony don't want some bloke dressed in a laundry bag with a backpack turning up at their corporate headquarters.

Besides what are good Muslim boys doing playing imperialist western vidoe games in the first place?

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

"'Every soul shall have the taste of death'... is a statement of fact for Judaism, Christianity and Islam,"

Surely it's a statement of fact for everyone? Or has Dawkins been pushing the line of "become atheist, live forever" as part of the London bus ad. campaign he's trying to get off the ground?

purplepangolin said...

As Ahmed M. Rehab, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations points out in the article to which you link:

"Keep in mind though, I reckon there is a huge market for Sony's games in Indonesia, Malaysia, Southwest Asia and the Middle East. It just may be that Sony is at the end of the day concerned about its bottom line, not so much sensitivities."

The article also points out that this occurred prior to the release, so I would guess that Sony weighed up the cost of patching this (relatively cheap prior to release) against the potential cost of doing it later if it did blow up into something bigger.

I am not condoning the hypersensitivity of the complainer, but I think that Sony made a sensible decision in commercial terms.

Dave said...

Islam is a fundamentally flawed religion practised by fundamentally flawed people.
Jesusandmo.net sums it up nicely

................................. said...

The way I read it, he's offended that it was used in a song.

I'm constantly staggered by the number of people who believe there is a right not to be offended.

Anonymous said...

How long before they claim to found something by playing a recording backwards?

Anonymous said...

Should Sony hire a religious affairs advisor to help with questions like this? Discuss it at FaithWorld -- http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2008/10/21/does-sony-need-a-religious-affairs-adviser/

The Grant Maker said...

When does a broad and universal phrase become identifiable as a quote? I'm a Christian; and am with the Muslims on this one, actually.

If a soundtrack included, say "give me neither poverty nor riches" you might say that this is just an interesting thought but I (as a theologian please note!) would recognise it as appearing in Proverbs 30:8. The quotes from the Koran seem roughly equivalent - not well-known, not incontrovertibly "Islamic", but nonetheless identifiable. And if setting the words of the Koran to music is indeed offensive, I think Sony were right.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is good: "Are religions the ultimate in fanboyism?"

Heh, as some other blogger once said.

Anonymous said...

The music used was written by a Muslim, so what is the objection?
As usual with these religions it seems to be a matter of interpretation.

Anonymous said...

"Surely it's a statement of fact for everyone?"

Not if you don't believe in souls.

It is fabulous publicity for the game, of course. If I remember Sony's boiler plate right, they'll just recoup the remastering and redistribution cost (much of which will have been paid to other Sony companies) against the poor old developer's royalties - which could have been quite decent given the huge sales predicted for the game.