Muslim Group President Speaks Out On LBP Koran Fiasco
It's a worldwide headline now: Sony was forced to delay LittleBigPlanet due to particular Koran expressions found in one of the game's background songs. Clearly, this was a move to avoid offending those of the Muslim faith.
However, a clear-minded and logical argument has come from the president of the non-profit American Islamic Forum for Democracy, M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. In a recent interview with Edge, Jasser said that "Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted." He added that the "free market" allows those who may be offended by the content in question to simply avoid purchasing the game, which is of course, a common cry from those who believe everyone is a little too sensitive. Jasser appeared on CNN and in the Washington Times to make his comments known, and he referred to the First Amendment several times. Furthermore, the song is performed by Toumani Diabate, who is supposedly a "devout Muslim," although several forumites around the Internet claimed his usage of Koran expressions was "deeply offending."
Evidently, this is what caused Sony to issue the worldwide recall for the game. But Jasser is not only unhappy at his fellow Muslims' response to the content, but he also doesn't condone what Sony did to address the issue. He said this whole thing is "counterproductive to free speech."
"...to demand that [the game] be withdrawn is predicated on a society which gives theocrats who wish to control speech far more value than the central principle of freedom of expression upon which the very practice and freedom of religion is based. The fact that the music writer is a devout Muslim should highlight that at the core of this issue is not about offending all Muslims, but only about freedom of expression and the free market."
However, he reminds us he's not necessarily endorsing the use of Koranic versus in non-educational games, so that's important to understand. It's merely the situation, and Jasser wishes to completely support First Amendment rights. In the end, he said- "AIFD stands against any form of censorship in the marketplace of ideas whether imposed by government or by corporations intimidated by the response of militants or those with an inappropriately sensitive level of political correctness." We're not supposed to have an opinion on something like this, but we gotta say...we like this guy.
Related Game(s): LittleBigPlanet
10/21/2008 Ben Dutka