PlayStation Under Fire in Saudi Arabia

April 25, 2008 -
There is a sketchy report out of Riyadh today indicating that PlayStation and unspecified games have come under attack from Islamic leaders.

As reported by AKI, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Islamic Affairs has notified all of the country's imams that using PlayStation can be dangerous. His message reads, in part:
They are dangerous games, because they teach the wrong thing to children. They have a negative influence on the personality of children, and thus from an Islamic point of view, it is not acceptable to waste time in this manner.

Badel Muhsin ibn Uthman Bin Baz, a professor from the Imam Saud university, added:
These games cause mental problems in children.

There is, we have discovered, an official Saudi PlayStation site, although it contains no news of the controversy.


oh and btw I think it's anti-seminite propaganda

Hmmm... if they don't like the Playstation, maybe they should get a Wii or Xbox 360?


It's not a generalisation; it's a descriptive. Islam commands women to cover — Allah refuses to listen to their prayers if they don't (i.e. see S.24:31 and S.33:59 as well as Sahih Bukhari V6B60N282 and Sunan Abu Dawud B2N641) and gives men permission to beat wives (i.e. see S.4:34 and Book Sunan Abu Dawud B11N2141), denying anyone the right to question or criticise a man for beating her (Sunan Abu Dawud B11N2142).

As for objection to video games from Islamic countries, this is to be expected, regardless of the content of a game. Islam forbids the depiction of humanoid creatures (those with a soul) or in other interpretations, the creation of a likeness of any living creature, with the understanding that only non-living creatures like rocks or trees have no soul (i.e. see Sahih Bukhari V7B72N833-846, also see Kitaab At-Tawheed, Ch.58 for scholarly explanation.) Those who make these depictions (i.e. the game designers) will be punished with fire in the afterlife and those who keep these images in their homes (i.e. consumers) will not be visited by angels and will have opened a path for Shirk (which is the greatest sin in Islam.)

With that understanding, all video-games (because they depict living creatures, and the vast majority depict humans or humanoids, or at least sentient and sapient animals) are haraam (forbidden). Whether it is Super Mario Galaxy or it is GTA IV, the content/rating is irrelevant. A very legitimate understanding of Islam is that they are forbidden images and one should not expose one's children to corrupting, sinful, unIslamic influences. I hope I have provided an adequate explanation that gives some context to this news item so that perhaps, even if you disagree with this view entirely, it at least makes some amount of sense why they'd be saying the things they are.

@ StealthKnight

What was the book called?


By it's own creator no less.


Being a Christian RTS, but they don't represent christians.. don't they?

There are educational games by Muslim developers, they usualy are adressed to young children to teach them how to pray, be good to their parents, simple math... etc etc. They are pretty popular to occupy young children time in the bookstores. But the game development scene lacks direction towards more mature games with better technology.

Actually Cornbread the U.S(true story) sponsered afghanistan education like that,they created for instance the "alphabete of jihad" which was like there are 5 russian soliders and 3 are killed how many are there?

Criticizing 'extreamism' and using it at the same time its pretty silly.

Frankly you can justify anything you want with religion,I actually belonged to a sufi order that believed massive amounts of pot could lead to enlightenment

the material reality is the most aggressive will always define society/history

Muslims cracking on games? Old news.

" . . . so ladies, continue to hide your faces from the world, as Allah commands, and men, continue to beat the ladies, as Allah commands."

Lol. "These games cause mental problems in children." That's right: I, a man who played SNES religiously from age 7, am plagued by mental problems.

Let's keep in mind that these are the words of a few, not necessarily the views of the many (obviously many who follow the Muslim faith feel that games are okay, or it wouldn't be an issue that the Minister of Islamic Affairs would feel necessary to address). Please don't turn this into a Muslim bash. Let JT do that ;-)

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThere is a sketchy report out of Riyadh today indicating that PlayStation and unspecified games have come under attack from Islamic leaders. As reported by AKI, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs has notified all of the country’s imams that using PlayStation can be dangerous. His message reads, in part: They are dangerous games, because they teach the wrong thing to children. They have a negative influence on the personality of children, and thus from an Islamic point of view, it is not acceptable to waste time in this manner. [...]

Until the people of arabic countries don´t get rid of those fanatical leaders they got, they will never be peace on their societies.

Is it just me, or is that gamezone blog simply copy and pasting every single article on this site word for word?

I really love how professional they sound

"Mental Problems".. Gee, that wouldn't be the acceptance of other points of view, would it?

The playstation gives your kids mental problems, but giving them a gun and letting them kill everybody is perfectly healthy.

"These games cause mental problems in children."
::Interviewer stares intently at the doctor awaiting further information::
"...What?.. That's.. I mean.. they-uh... Meh, that's all I got."


GG Edit button..

It's not a Saudi citizen's problem that another Saudi citizen is not following Islam correctly. But the problem is controlling the freaks, and Muslim countries aren't particularly known for keeping their freaks on a leash.

@ TheStrip

Let's stay away from generalizations about a religeon.

Its Saudi Arabia, what more do you expect.


What a load of crap. Just reading this killed a few of my brain cells. As a muslim, sometimes all I can do is shake my head.

Perhaps a woman oppression simulator would be more in-line with Saudi religious leaders?

Poor Muslims...some nut goes on a crusade and the whole religion takes a hit. Maybe they should exile the zealots? Eww...but then they could come to the States...of course the Muslim image is so shitty over here, they'd be swarmed, leaving the real Muslims to rebuild their image.

Oy vey. Its bad when JT and a Minister of Islamic Affairs use the same sort of verbage. Well, I guess if JT gets disbarred, he could always move to Saudia Arabia. ;)

@ Zerodash

/rimshot /props

Yadda yadda yadda... games are bad... yadda yadda yadda... non Islamic view... yadda yadda yadda...

News flash, if you want a game to reflect the "Islamic point of view" then MAKE THE GAME YOURSELF! Banning all games and such doesn't improve anything.

Look, make it for the DS, it will fit right in with the Palates Training, Kanjii Training, and SAT Prep games. It will be cheap to develop. You can call it Islam DS.

Wow teaching kids to kill and rape in the name of god and "society" is so much better than fictionalized fiction.

Yes but a modern church can "re evaluate" the mentailtes in their religion, but because of stern traditionalisms and waring triable states the people(IE their society) can not mature thus you get the cluster fck of the middle east, also hard traditionalism of any kind infinitely spirals a oxymoronic mentailtiy.

Zippy definition:
Traditionalism:A security blanket for the old the lonely and/or the maladjusted.:ZippyDSMlee

@ N.D.

Thanks for posting that explaination. This makes a little more sense about why they're saying such things.

I feel these statements are made less as a scapegoat and more out of fear of social upheaval.

I dunno. For me this seems to hit on a much larger social issue there than simply a, "Video games are bad! Death to games in the name of Alah!" kinda thing.

I will simply admit more information is needed before making an educated decision on the intent of these comments and their outcome. My hope is that those who are educated there will see these comments as laughable and treat them as we treat JT's dribble.

@ND: Non-living things are excluded? Then they don't need to ban all games -- they could keep Tetris (as long as they got rid of the little dancers on the high score screen) and Base Wars (robots don't count, right?)


Thank you for that information.


I forgot to ask, how do movies that depict living things fit into this? I believe I once brought up the children's puppet shows they have over there, which depict living creatures including humans.

Keep in mind that the first ever Saudi-produced music video came out very recently. It sparked a huge debate in the country over whether music was or was not allowed under Islamic Law.

Remember the first Gulf War when their entire leadership went apeshit over all those American servicewomen able to drive and carry guns? Even when we're sticking our necks out trying to help their asses they continue to preach about the evil 'infidels' and how much of a threat the West is to their 'decent way of life'.

Well guess what Muhammad, we don;t think it's ok to beat our women, we don't condone blowing up people on the Tube, and we don't fly boeings into buildings.

Get out of the 17th Century, THEN we'll talk.

I once read a book that interviewed people that were involved in "special operations" (ex. OSS, SOE, etc.). One of the the interviews was about a scientist that work at the OSS and he told a story about how some of the scientist, who were studying his psychology, thought that they could kill Hitler by sending him Gay porn. They figured that he would go nuts and foam at the mouth at the sight of gay porn. It didn't happen though as the Air force thought it was to crazy to even risk flying into Europe.

Maybe someone should Airdrop this minister, a package of gay porn to drive him crazy. Maybe if we are lucky, it will land on him. =]

What is an appropriate waste of time then?

Remember, having fun in any way is against Islam! Muhammad (PBUH) said so!

@ Loudspeaker: I agree that it's part of a larger social issue, which is why I posted. From a purely political standpoint, opening up the younger generation's minds to the viewpoints coming from Japan, Europe, and North America can expand their parochial views of the way things are and ought to be, and that can be dangerous for those currently supported by the values and system in place. From a religio-political standpoint, Islam is supposed to block all paths to Shirk — basically, prevent sin from occurring. Women veil to, among other reasons, prevent lust and fornication/adultery; pictures/images are not allowed in order to prevent their glorification and worship — or worse, the glorification and celebration of their creators as one is supposed to celebrate Allah who created things in actuality. There is certainly the fear that, if one allows paths to sin to be opened, the younger generation will take those paths and this will be the collapse of Islam (religion) and the Islamic Empire (religious politics.) And to them this is a bad thing, not just because they'll lose power, but because they believe the Islamic path is the only correct one and the only one to salvation.

@Simon: Yes, puzzle games are okay, but none of those Genki Rockets music videos of animated, unveiled girls behind Lumines!

@Grizzam: I may have made it clearer in my response to Loudspeaker the reasons images are forbidden. Movies that just film REAL people are not subject to the same prohibitions because the people weren't 'created', mimicking The Creation. Puppets though are an interesting case and Hamas, in creating Assud the Jew-eating rabbit muppet, is certainly walking a fine line. There are strong arguments on both sides of why it should be permitted or not. You can probably anticipate the arguments against it. Arguments for it might be that everyone understands that there are real people behind these puppets and that is how they derive their human-like quality and they are not different from a mask like that, and so using a puppet is quite distinct from making images of creatures who themselves have souls. Also, Mohammed allowed Aisha, his wife, to play with dolls (which are forbidden under this making-of-images rule we're talking about) when she was a young child, which indicates that some amount of leeway should be allowed with young children, since they don't know better.

The 'children' who play video-games, however, are of an older age, about the time when they are expected to observe Islamic practices of prayer and fasting, and so it can be seen as important to protect and guide them along the right path and not give them the leeway to make the wrong turns.

@Gameclucks: that's not true. While some fun things are not permitted, like drinking or playing musical instruments (except at celebrations) or playing chess, it's not true to say having fun in any way is against Islam. Only telling jokes is forbidden in Islam (i.e. Sunan Abu Dawud B41N4972).

Yeah, they should rather teach them good things, like how to blow themselves up to kill innocent people.


That's what I thought. Thanks.

My mental issues existed long before I played video games.

I like the added "these games cause mental problems" remark. Middle Eastern scientists are soooo advanced.

Don't play those video games causing mental problems. Instead join the wholesome Saudi watching another beheading in Riyadh.

Why the PLAYSTATION? Hell, that thing died a long time ago.

More bullshit from the religion of perpetual outrage.

Some of the comments here... sheesh. You'd think with so much apparent hatred there would be more education. Well... actually no, that actually doesn't sound right.

@ N.D. you know a ridiculous amount about Islam, is it just Islam or are you some sort of religious scholar?

Religious extremists always do this, it's annoying, but you know... let them? I mean it's their religion, they're just saying what they can and CAN'T do in their religion, it's not like they're trying to come over here and enforce their religious/political ideals onto the west.


*cough* muhammad cartoons *cough*

let me say this

when any religion mixes with any form of politics we all lose


you say playstation but show the ps3, did they mean the whole playstation console series?
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