Controversial game

Anti-mosque game sparks row in Austria

Muslim community, left-wing organizations outraged over online video game which gives players one minute to place 'Stop' sign on minarets

Two years after the death of controversial Austrian politician Jörg Haider, his far-right party has sparked a new row in the European country – this time among Muslims.


The Austrian Freedom Party's website includes a link to an online video game called "Bye Bye Mosque", which gives players one minute to place targets in the image of cartoon muezzins calling for prayer over mosque minarets, and then click a "Stop" sign.


The link to the controversial game is being used to encourage voters to elect Gerhard Kurzmann, the party's candidate in the region of Styria, in local elections scheduled to take place on September 26.


"Game Over. Styria is now full of minarets and mosques!" the game says at the end of a session, before inviting players to vote for Kurzmann.


The website's readers are asked whether they support a ban on the construction of mosques in Austria, and whether the country's Muslim's citizens should be forced to sign a declaration in which they accept that the state's law take precedence over the Koran.


According to the Austria Press Agency, however, there are no mosques with minarets in Styria. The entire area has only four such buildings, and only 1.6% of the population is Muslim.


Party divided over game

Anas Schakfeh, one of the leaders of Austria's Islamic community, described the game as "tasteless and incomprehensible," saying that "this is religious hatred and xenophobia which is beyond comparison."


Local left-wing parties joined the condemnations. "The FPOe is targeting minarets that don't even exist," said Werner Kogler, the Green candidate in Styria.


But it appears the game has also divided the FPOe party. It's deputy chairman, Manfred Haimbuchner, said that the party should "seek to stand out with things of substance and truth, not by causing provocations."


However Herbert Kickl, the party secretary, defended the game saying it did not involve any real shooting, but rather "the pushing of a stop-button to halt a bad political decision."


The party's secretary, Herbert Kickl, chose to defend the game, saying it only involved "pushing a stop-button to illustrate the need to halt a bad political decision."



פרסום ראשון: 09.03.10, 18:56
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