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Monday, August 15, 2005

Disaster in Our Homes

Video Games, Blockbuster Movies and Television

Shaykh Sulayman Gani, Special to sunniforum.com

Says Almighty Allah: "And there are among men those who purchase idle talk in order to mislead others from Allah's path without knowledge, and who throw ridicule upon it. For such there will be a humiliating punishment." (Luqmaan 31:6)

Al-Aalusi relates that Al-Hasan Al-Basri was reported as saying that 'lahwal hadeeth' includes "everything which distracts one from worship and the remembrance of Allah such as whiling the night in idle coversation or entertainment, jokes, superstitious tales, songs and the likes thereof." Al-Aalusi supports this view, saying that the verse should be interpreted to include all such blameworthy words and deeds which divert one from Allah's plan.

Understandable. But try and find someone who wants to remove all recreation from their life. These guys need to loosen up.

From what has preceded, it is to be understood that undoubtedly, the viewing of television, movies and the playing of violent video games falls under the general censure, blame and rebuke cast upon those who fall into this category.

If you say so. If it isn't tv, video games, etc, they'll find something else. In egypt circa the crusades, it was "shadow plays" on the walls of buildings, and they were often crude.

A Daily Mail survey found a shocking range of violent games widely available on the high street and over the internet with minimal checks on the buyer's age. Stefan Pakeerah a pleasant, harmless 14 year old was killed by his 17 year old friend in emulation of one such game-Manhunt- in which the 'hero' slaughters everyone who crosses his path, for no reason whatever beyond the fun of causing death.Thus a young man was obliterated as if he were a blip on the screen. Our children are born into an age where computer games celebrate and even glorify brutality for its own sake.

Right, lets conveniently skirt issues such as parently responsibility and why minors had access to weapons. Manhunt, however, is an interesting case. It was made by Rockstar, the same company that made Grand Theft Auto III. Generally, people who played Grand Theft Auto III found it enjoyable, not for the violence, but instead for the tongue in cheek humor and gameplay innovations. While GTA III puts an almost casual face on violence, in Manhunt, Rockstar does a complete about-face. Instead of the run and gun action of GTA III, manhunt is genuinly disturbing, and from what rockstar says, it was meant to be that way. It was rockstars way of saying "Hey, you got a kick out of violence in GTAIII; Is it really so cool now?"

Research has shown that 12 to 14-year olds became markedly more aggressive the longer they played violent games.So watch out for the following games: Manhunt, Unreal Tournament, Hitman Contracts, Soldier of Fortune II , Grand Theft Auto 3, State of Emergency, The Suffering, Doom III. Michael Carneal, 14, serving life for killing three students during a 1997 gun rampage at a school in Kentucky enjoyed playing violent video games such as Doom and Redneck Rampage. In Doom III , Hell has opened and released the undead onto a terrified world. Players must destroy them and then enter the underworld itself or the world will succumb to evil. Players 'survive by killing, killing and killing'. The original version is said to have played a part in the Columbine high school massacre.

This angers me, alot. I can only ascribe it to ignorance on the subject. Each of the few studies that have linked games to violence have been rebuked. Most of such studies that I have seen have been poorly funded evangelical christian affairs. Over 50 studies have been done on this subject, from such institutions as Harvard, Oxford, Brown U, Johns-Hopkins, and many others. ALL OF THESE STUDIES STATE UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT VIOLENCE IN VIDEO GAMES DOES NOT TRANSLATE INTO VIOLENCE IN REAL LIFE. Again, this person chooses to blame violence on video games instead of lack of parental supervision and keeping the family guns safe; such an attitude is far more dangerous than any game; it ignores the real problem by skirting the issues. Speaking of the issues, if this shaykh had actually done some research instead of parroting the same tired old **, he might have noticed in his local Daily that "Manhunt" and its creator rockstar were completely cleared of all charges in the Pakeerah case. So much for game induced violence.

As for T.V., Well, I don't watch too much TV, if at all. Maybe 1 hour, 2 hours a week? less than that, really. I spend my time with A) Salat B) Dhikr, C)Books D) The Family C) And finally, xbox live, if bored. Specifically, Star Wars Battlefront, Halo, Mechassault, and Fable. Hardly Doom, GTAIII, or Manhunt, huh?

One thing I totally forgot: I am a perfect case example that violent video games do not induce violent behavior. During my christian youth, say when I was a 10-14, I was quite a big fan of violent video games. Of course, my mother forbid them to a certain extent (no Mortal Kombat II. Who remembers that game? ), but I still played them. Eventually, with mom's grudging approval, I got Mortal Kombat II (I already had Doom, in which my favorite weapon was the chainsaw). And I'm not shooting anybody. I only recently planned to purchase a firearm, and that was only after great consideration, and the area in which I live, since I have great concern for my family. Even from the beginning of my game playing days, thanks to the careful tutelage and raising of my mother, I was fully cognizant of what was real, and what was fantasy, and what was permissible, and what was not. Even to this day, I find violence abhorrent; I had the hardest time understanding Military Jihad in Islam when I first converted.


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