A far-right party in Austria has sparked outrage by launching an online video game which allows players to shoot down minarets and muezzins calling for prayer.The game, called “Moschee Baba“, or “Bye Bye Mosque”, gives players 60 seconds to collect points by placing a target over cartoon mosques, minarets and Muslims and click a “Stop” sign.
It is being used by the Freedom Party (FPOe), which has a link to the game on its website, to encourage voters to elect Gerhard Kurzmann, the party’s candidate in the picturesque region of Styria.
“Game Over. Styria is now full of minarets and mosques!” it says at the end of a session, before inviting players to vote for Kurzmann on September 26, when local elections are being held. The website then invites viewers to take part in a survey which asks them whether the construction of minarets and mosques should be banned in Austria, and whether Muslims should sign a declaration in which they accept that the law takes precedence over the Quran.
According to the Austria Press Agency there are no mosques with minarets in Styria, where 1.6 per cent of the population is Muslim, and only four such buildings in the entire country.
Anas Schakfeh, the leader of Austria’s Islamic community, has described the game as “tasteless and incomprehensible”. “This is religious hatred and xenophobia beyond comparison,” he told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
The Islamic community and the Green party filed complaints for incitement of hatred and degrading of a religion on Wednesday, which can be punished with prison sentences of up to two years.
Prosecutors in Graz, the capital of Styria, have launched an inquiry and will decide whether to take the game off the Internet.
Islamic buildings and dress have sparked debates in many European countries recently, with French and Belgian MPs voting to outlaw the niqab, and Swiss voters backing a ban on building minarets.
Austria’s Freedom Party wants a special vote on banning mosques with minarets and Islamic face veils.
Heinz-Christian Strache, its leader, has said he wants to see anti-Muslim protests similar to those in New York over the building of a Muslim cultural centre near the World Trade Center site.