A minister brands Fornite as “blasphemous” and plans to ban it after portraying an Islamic holy site.
Viral footage from 2019 that recently gained attention showed a scene from the game of a player carrying a scythe while walking around a complex resembling the Masjidil al-Haram with a Kaaba-like structure in the middle of it.
The Kaaba is considered one of the most sacred sites in Islam, all Muslims worldwide facing it to pray. This depiction enraged the Muslims community across the world, especially in the Middle East.
According to Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economic Minister, Sandiaga Uno, this game is blasphemous for promoting violence and would trigger religious intolerance in the most populous Muslim majority nation in the world.
Sandiaga said in a press statement on Monday that he was told that the players in this game have to destroy an icon that is deemed to resemble the Kaaba in order to gain new weapons and advance, though the viral footage does not show this happen.
Sandiaga added that this contradicts (our) values, including religious tolerance, and it is very sensitive. He also has instructed his team to review the game and immediately banned it if they found it guilty.
The world’s most renowned institution for Islamic learning has also banned this game on June 30.
The institution said that this game affects young people’s beliefs and self-respect and underestimates their sanctities’ importance. The center does not only banning this game but also all electronic games that promoting violence or contain false ideas which twist faith or show insult to religious beliefs.
Fornite Middle East had released a statement addressing the backlash on Facebook. They said that the building that resembles Kaaba was created under the game’s creative mode. This mode allows players to custom their own icon, and it was not coming from the game’s original contents.
Indonesia’s communications and information minister, Johnny Plate, said that he would track the creator of the offending image by working with the police immediately. Until now, Sandiaga hasn’t changed his stance to ban the game following the developer’s clarification.