Connect with us

Uncategorized

Luring youth with Halo: Christians can, but can Muslims? -Ruth Nasrullah

Published

You’d think it must be a horribly weak faith if it requires a violent video game to attract teenagers to practice it. It must be a cultish, aggressive religion if it encourages its youth to entertain themselves by pretending to blow up, shoot, maim and kill.

To the contrary, we know that promoting violent games to make church more appealing to youth does not reflect Christian belief or practice. It’s just a questionable but well-intended means of outreach by a few.

But from a Muslim’s perspective, that thinking suggests a double standard. What if Muslims used violent video games to attract teenagers to Islamic centers? Just imagine if Muslim community leaders enticed youth to the mosque with the attraction of vicarious brutal warfare.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

“No different than going on a camping trip,” says Kedrick Kenerly (founder of Christian Gamers Online). More likely to be labeled “jihadist training” were it happening in a mosque.

Of course, the argument might be made that there are different standards because Christians aren’t associated with violent acts of terrorists worldwide, but Muslims are.

But are they really? How does conflating a handful of evil and violent men with a billion Muslims do anything but muddy an understanding of that billion’s beliefs? It lacks common sense and abounds in hypocrisy.

Both religions condemn killing innocents (come on, is there any religion that does not?). Unfortunately we Muslims have had to scream that at the top of our lungs and still we are told that our leaders are not speaking out sufficiently against terror. In fact, some Islamophobes mock those who have described Islam as a religion of peace. The churches which use Halo for fun and education have the luxury of merely being criticized for promoting fantasy war – not demanded to prove they believe in peace.

Those kids in church basements idling away their afternoons guiding Master Chief to victory have no idea the freedom they enjoy.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Pingback: Video Games » Luring youth with Halo: Christians can, but can Muslims?

  2. Jamshed

    October 8, 2007 at 2:44 PM

    The link to the original story appears not to work any more… perhaps it’s been pulled?

  3. Amad

    October 8, 2007 at 3:10 PM

    salam… I have rerouted the link to the NY times article because I couldn’t find the Chron article either… I hope/assume that they were the same.. Sr. Ruth, feel free to correct.

  4. AnonyMouse

    October 8, 2007 at 3:52 PM

    Great post, especially since my own brothers have discovered XBoxes and have now joined their friends in video-game obsessions… which resulted in the Madrasah holding a video-games day for the boys featuring – guess which game? – Halo!

  5. ruth nasrullah

    October 8, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    The Chron archived the article, so the original link was broken. I’ve now updated it.

  6. Amad

    October 8, 2007 at 7:29 PM

    If you remember, there was a worse game on the market, where the winner had the most success in killing or converting.

    I wrote about it on my old blog:

    http://amadsden.blogspot.com/2006/12/convert-or-die.html

    I also recommend that readers check out this post on Streetprophets.com, where the author ends his post with this great ending:

    But the gospel is not a commodity to be traded like any other good in today’s pop culture marketplace. It is not a product to be “rolled out” and “market tested” and then tweaked to fit the needs of the target audience. Creative evangelism can and does adjust the medium to meet the audience, but this should never include sacrificing the basic character of the gospel. And that is precisely what these Halo 3 events have done and continue to do. The gospel is a message of peace, of love, of mutual consolation and upbuilding, of the dignity and worth of every beloved child of God. A game that glorifies violence and destruction, that pits us (the unambiguously good) vs. them (the unambiguously evil) and encourages the destruction of the other cannot serve as a means by which the Prince of Peace is proclaimed to a world that is suffering too much violence already.

  7. AmatulWakeel

    October 8, 2007 at 9:52 PM

    i’m a lil confused..is that the actual cover for the video game?!

  8. Jamshed

    October 8, 2007 at 10:08 PM

    The game ‘Halo’ exists (and is very popular), but that cover is a fictional one. presumably made up for the story.

  9. Talha Syed

    October 9, 2007 at 12:46 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum.

    Small request: can you please remove the image of the ‘fake’ Halo game? That picture is a famous internet meme that makes a mockery of Prophet Isa, and it behooves us Muslims not to take part in such an act.

    Jazakallah Khairan

  10. Amad

    October 9, 2007 at 1:21 AM

    I added the image, not knowing its bkground. However, we know that the game that I linked to in the previous comment echoed the same sentiment.

    That’s what jesus alehisalam means to many on the evangelical fringe and the image is its representative.

    But to be consistent with our msg of not portraying prophets in any form, I’ll remove it.

  11. abu ameerah

    October 9, 2007 at 1:22 AM

    “What if Muslims used violent video games to attract teenagers to Islamic centers?”

    Well, when you have organizations like ISNA promoting Country Music, Rap, and Punk Rock as part of some kind of dawah program…doesn’t it only follow that HALO would be next? Why not? If ISNA goers have to contend with the noise pollution of Kareem Salama … what’s wrong with a little HALO action every now ‘n then?

    On a similar note … I’m all for getting a dawah booth at E3 though! : )

  12. Asim

    October 9, 2007 at 9:28 AM

    Bismillah ArRahman ArRaheem

    As Muslims we should be wary of adopting any means of dawah that are not in and of themselves halal.

    In this regard, guidance should be sought from upright scholars, not from the opinions of the activists themselves, since the activists in most cases do not have sufficient knowledge of the Shariah.

    Wassalam.

  13. SaqibSaab

    October 9, 2007 at 3:19 PM

    JAK for the article.

    We’ve faced similar issues with the exploding baret that is HALO at our local masjid. Hold a Qiyam with HALO and risk getting in trouble from the violence? Or limit it just Madden ’07?

    This could also relate to Muslims who enjoy paintballing. Can’t go anymore or ya might end up in Gitmo wearing an orange suit.

  14. Dave

    October 9, 2007 at 5:55 PM

    I hate video games, so for once I gotta say alhamdulillah for Islamaphobia if it keeps video games out of masjids :-P

  15. Abdullah

    October 15, 2007 at 5:01 PM

    I love video games. There are even studies that say that they improve your visual and cognitive skills.

    I highly recommend parents and community leaders encourage kids to play them. It is a great halal way to relax as long as it’s not excessive.

    Buy your son an Xbox 360 and a flat panel HDTV and then you won’t have to worry about where he is all the time. You will get to see who is friends are too since they will be over all the time.

    Definitely not a substitute for good parenting but it is definitely a means of prevention to other evils if used wisely.

  16. ibnabeeomar

    October 15, 2007 at 5:59 PM

    abdullah – there might have been a time when i could have agreed with those sentiments, especially looking back at the times when i was growing up, and my friends around me. however, now it seems to be a completely different story as video games are not ‘cognitive’ at all, but they’re a babysitter substitute and they breed zombies and video game addicts. i remember teaching some 8 year olds in sunday school and i asked them if they could spend 15 mins a day reviewing their quran lessons. they told me they had no time to spare, so i asked them to break down their day, it was something along these lines:

    4-6 – come home and play PS2
    6-7 – dinner
    8-9 – homework
    9-bedtime – PS2

  17. Abdullah

    October 15, 2007 at 8:45 PM

    Salaams ibnabeeomar, I understand your concern. I too have that concern and this is why I said “not excessive” and that it is “not a substitute for good parenting”. Unfortunately, a lot of parents give kids a white card to play as much as they like. Parents really need to learn how to use parental controls that are available both on TVs and video game consoles. I mean people fought so much for parental controls and video game ratings in this country and yet you have Muslims who should benefit the most from them completely neglect them.

    On internet routers you can block certain websites and even the hours of use. But Muslims are completely oblivious to any of these features.

    I don’t blame the kids at all. If parents don’t have any reward/punishment system that revolves around TV/video game/cell phone/internet privileges than expect negative consequences.

  18. ibnabeeomar

    October 15, 2007 at 11:29 PM

    good points.. that’s very true about the parenting especially.

  19. SrAnonymous

    December 3, 2007 at 4:04 PM

    plugged in online, a media review put out by the ministry, focus on the family, had its readers weigh in on the halo 3 debate:
    http://www.pluggedinonline.com/thisweekonly/a0003520.cfm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Trending