Upcoming Strategy Game Designed to Show Islam in a Positive Light

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

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  1. Solipsis says:

    I think strategy in general is actually pretty Islam friendly. The Civ games highlight a lot of cultural points, I was surprised how many of the wonders were things out of the Middle Eastern world. The Total War games, particularly Medieval and Medieval2, but to a lesser extent Rome: TW let you play as Arabic people and reconstruct their societies in a positive light.


    It does seem like an interesting project though.

  2. Wolvenmoon says:

    What the hell?  These guys need to get over it. Any game that portrays christianity in a truly positive light is shot down from many different angles at once. Welcome to the times, if you have any sort of power and are portrayed in any sort of way, it will be negative. Trying to do this is just going to get them accused of trying to blatantly spread propoganda.

    The game’s made specifically to portray islam in a postitive light, any game built on a political platform like that is doomed to failure.

  3. Dragoon says:

    So, what will all the people that download this game look like? People pirating a game that looks at a terrorist-linked religion in a positive way will only cause more attention to be focused on ‘internet pirates’. That is, assuming this game is worth buying/downloading at all, which it doesn’t seem like it will be. OH INTERNETS!

    The Islam kids should play one of the American RTS games and destroy their home in it! Honestly, they should play CnC3 or something futuristic that doesn’t relate to modern-day countries. I think it’s bad to incorporate your own countries war efforts into a game, unless you can seriously back the game up like in the case of the U.S.A. Yeah, we really can do everything the games say we can. Cool, isn’t it?

  4. TBoneTony says:

    Good idea.

    I am all for a game that looks at the history of Islam.

    Also I am also for a game that looks at the history of Christianity and also the history of Jewish caultures.

    it might appeal to a minority audience and I guess that it might only be avaliable on PCs and not consoles sadly.

    But it is by all means not a bad idea.

  5. MaskedPixelante says:

    Well, there’s NO WAY this could POSSIBLY end badly…

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  6. BrandonL337 says:

    Judging by the recent "Islam is the Light" story we are gonna get dipshits probably on faux news bitching and whining about how the "Evil Arab Socialist Terrorists" are trying to indoctrinate our children and calling to ban the game and lock the developers in Gitmo.

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  7. Aprincen says:

    You’re attacking the first ages of Islam and the battles. Do you know about the Islam in the Iberian Peninsula? At the height of its power, in the 9th century, Islam controlled what is now known as Portugal and Spain. In those days, the Iberian Peninsalu was the most tolerant place in Europe. This was the Islamic Golden Age, the era where Islam was the greatest power in Europe and Africa. Later on they became less tolerant. The muslims didn’t burn christians in giant arenas to please the public. You’re right when you say the early muslim world wasn’t a haven of religious freedom, but the Islam wasn’t established back then. Especially when it was large and established was the Islam a tolerant religion.

    This is all relative of course, tolerant in those days means nothing compared to modern tolerance. The difference between them then and fundamentalist christians now, is that the muslims lived in a world where that bare minimum of tolerance was rare, while the modern fundamentalist christians live in a world that has become far more tolerant.

    As for polytheistic religions, ever heard of Zoroastrism? Also, in India, Hindus and buddhists could become a dhimmi. Forced conversion and mass murder only happened in the Persian world under the Almohad regime.

  8. Bennett Beeny says:

    In every culture, if it was politically expedient to tolerate other religions, those other religions were tolerated.  If it wasn’t, unbelievers were persecuted and sometimes massacred.  This happened in the Moslem world just as much as in the Christian world, or that of any other religion or culture.  Also note that ‘toleration’ is a lot different than freedom of religion.  Fundamentalist Christians ‘tolerate’ gays, but that doesn’t mean they accept or defend their lifestyle – it just means they don’t behead them.

    Moslems officially tolerated other religions when Islam was small and growing.  When it was large and established it was no longer expedient to be tolerant.

    Anyone who says the early Moslem world was a haven of religious freedom is fooling himself – and he’s not much of an historian.  Read any history of the early Islamic battles and you’ll find horrible abuses on both sides.  Read about the moslem policy of ‘dhimmi’ and you’ll find that, even in that time when moslems were ‘tolerant’, religious toleration only went as far as monotheistic religions – others were persecuted as much as possible.

  9. Neeneko says:

    Well yes, it’s called actual history.  Teaching highly revised (and slanted) history has been falling out of vouge over the last few decades.  

    While they were taxed differntly, Jews and Christians did pretty well in Jerusalum (and other arab owned territories) and depending on the sect often did better then they did in Christian nations.

    Even earlier then that, Arab invaders took land from pre-Christian rome and made a place for both Christians and Jews as a tollerated and protected group.

  10. Paladin says:

    "previous to the first crusades, Jews, Christiams, and Muslims lived in peace in jerusalum."


    AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS! The things kids learn in school these days! Really, you should actually read the history books for a change.

  11. Neeneko says:

    I was less thinking the militant end of things and more the resurgence of religious law and such.  There is a significant movement in the arab world to return to ‘earlier’ cultures (pre colonalism) which are kinda pieced together out of vauge understandings of differnt times in arab history.

    Women’s education is a good example.  Many of the pro-sharia camp claim that women should not go to school and wear the full burkas because it comes from a pre-colonial culture, but such things were NOT in place during the hight of the arab world.  But the ‘pro dark ages’ group look at the multiple pieces of the past, site that the arab world was on top at one time, then grab fragments of culture from other times and are trying to return to some muddled version of the past.

  12. KlaxonSignal says:

    It is important to recognize some of the conditions that have brought about modern Militant-Islam.

    The first was the crusades, where for several centuries Europeans raided the middle east, spreading religious extremism, butchery, and even ritualized cannibalism. previous to the first crusades, Jews, Christiams, and Muslims lived in peace in jerusalum.

    The second was the formation of Israel after WW2, which created immediate conflict. The U.S. has been offering support for Israel for decades.

    The third is American intervention in the middle east, which America’s actions in south America. We undermine developing countries, turn them into "third world countries" and then exploit their resources and labor.

    Equating militant-muslims with the "dark-age" is much like the romans calling the Gauls "barbarians". It’s pure rhetorical thinking (or rather feeling).

  13. Bennett Beeny says:

    It’s certainly the sort of game I’d be into.  Unfortunately games that are driven by a political message, however benign that message might be, always tend to be utter crap.

  14. Aprincen says:

    But how much of those ancestors are still remembered? What did they contribute to our society. We might be the descendents of the goths, vandals and whatnot, but they didn’t influence the modern western society, the Romans did. As for equating Muslims vs. Romans to Muslims vs. Westerners, I do think in those days the Romans were actually the closest to Western society. The problem is, when both of the Roman empires collapsed, the muslims were actually the most like our modern society, since they preserved the knowledge of the Romans and the Greeks.

  15. Frank says:

    really I was just trying to nitpick and point out that the romans were west of the arabs.  Didn’t think it’d turn into a debate.

  16. konrad_arflane says:

    It is also worth noting that the "Roman Empire" in this context means the Eastern Roman Empire, aka the Byzantine Empire. At the time of the Muslim invasions, the main territorial holdings (by size, anyway) of the Byzantines were in Asia Minor and Greece. What most people think of when they hear "Roman Empire" collapsed some 140 years before the founding of Islam.

  17. Hannah says:

    Maybe so, but plenty of our ancestors fought the Romans back in the day, so I still don’t think you can equate Muslims vs. Romans to Muslims vs. Westerners.

  18. Aprincen says:

    Western doesn’t equal christian, at least not in Europe. And if modern westerners aren’t the biological descendents of the Romans, than they are the spiritual descendents. You’d be suprised how much of politics and law are based on the roman society.

  19. locopuyo says:

    I think what they are saying as the only arabs you see in games are the terrorists.  You don’t get to see good guy arabs in games.  Pretty much any modernish war game has to do with terrorists that are usually arab. The games aren’t anti-arab, they just only have arab characters that are the bad guys because it is that type of game. It would kind of suck playing games where the only characters with your culture are the bad guys.  



  20. JC says:

    I’m a bit confused by Radwan’s perception that most games on the market are anti-arab and anti-islam. How many really are anti-arab and anti-islam? @_@;

    One of my favorite games that showed arabs in a positive light was Age of Empires 1 & 2, which more or less gave an interesting brief bit of history on their campaigns.I can’t really name anything anti-arab though, I think most news media is anti-arab these days though.

    Most video games that are anti-anything, is anti-nazi.

  21. Hannah says:

    The Romans were only Westerners in the sense that they were to the west of the middle east and some of their descendents form part of the modern West.  They were definitely not Westerners in the modern sense — hell, for a very long time, they weren’t even Christian!

  22. Frank says:

    "lead the army of the main character, Khaled Ibn Waleed, a Muslim warrior who defeated the Roman"

    "But we also don’t want to do [a game] about Arabs killing Westerners."

    and here we have one.  Just had to point out a contridiction in the story.  As for my opinion on the game here it is.  Looks like a somple enough concept for any game studio to pull off but as always we’ll have to wait and see the final product.  I also want a game that shows jewish people in a positive light (as half my family is jewish) and I want to see it an RTS during all the wars Israel has fought in the middle east.

  23. shady8x says:

    Could be good… The nations in that part of the world used to be some of the friendliest most excepting ones… with the most rational laws around… if people that lived during those days were alive today and saw the ‘progress’ that has been made since then, they would likely move to a western country…

    If this game properly explains which values made the ancient empires great… then this will be a great thing… I hope the developers don’t get a fatwa placed on them for opposing what the radicals consider important values…

  24. JC says:

    As much as it does, I don’t see any icons resembling a reinforce key… which is a big part of warhammer 40k….

  25. tubby131313 says:

    Is it just me of does that game look alot like Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, with different models.

  26. Neeneko says:

    Unfortunatly a lot of modern ‘pro dark age’ arabs are pointing to when arab culture was among the best but fudging WHY and inserting nasty stuff.  So showing antient arabs in a good light can be twisted by those who want arab culture to be less then it was.

    So I guess it will depend on if the game shows why it was great.  If it doesn’t then it just becomes more folder for ‘let us return to traditional values!’ and then pick/choose which ‘traditional’ values to use.

  27. SimonBob says:

    That sounds great to me — reflecting on the present via historical events can be a catalyst for positive change, too.  It sounds like it could almost be artistic in its presentation.

    The Mammon Industry

  28. Zerodash says:

    This might backfire.  The Islamic world was once the pinnacle of human civilization & learning.  Nowadays, too many extremist elements are trying to keep them in a proverbial "dark ages"…similar to what Christian evangelists are trying to do in the USA. 

    A game showing a time when the Islamic World was amongst the best humanity had to offer might overly-contrast with where they are today. 

  29. PHX Corp says:

    I’m going to step away from this because that the game is going to cause Controversy (and I don’t like Terrorists)

  30. GoodRobotUs says:

    Well, I wouldn’t exactly say that Victory in Battle is ‘heavenly’ as such, that’s really a matter of perspective, I’ve always thought the term ‘Holy War’ was an oxymoron, but then, that’s more about people than religions.

    That said, many people don’t know the History of the Middle East or of its advancement of understanding the world around us, so anything that helps in that side of things would be a positive step, just a pity they had to centre it around the conflicts, rather than the contributions, but then, I can’t really say any better for most Western developers.



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