Rising islamophobia is a global problem and is widely impacting the Muslim community across the globe. Last year we saw the appalling massacre at the Christchurch mosque unfold, which sadly, inspired a videogame showing Muslims being killed.
Although this was banned, it demonstrates the challenges the Muslim community face. Muslims are often depicted as the ‘baddies’ in various videogames which could negatively impact the younger generations. This is by instilling the stereotypical idea of Muslims as bad people which is mirrored in today’s media causing the rise of the islamophobia.
As an international aid agency we realised there was currently no fun interactive tool for children to learn about international development. Therefore we wanted to create a tool that educated youngsters about how international development works and how money donated to Islamic Relief helps people in developing countries.
All whilst tackling islamophobic stereotypes of Muslims, showing them doing good. In 2019, Muslim charity Islamic Relief UK launched a videogame in partnership with Ultimatum Games, to teach young people how international aid works and to tackle negative perceptions of Muslims. The game, ‘Virtue Reality’, is based on real international development projects run by Islamic Relief in more than 40 countries across the world, from Pakistan to Mali. The game’s aid workers are all Muslim, carrying out good deeds, challenging the gaming industry’s mainstream narrative that Muslims are the bad guys, the oppressors or just terrorists.
The gamer builds projects such as shelters and schools. As they click, the gamer accumulates enough ‘DeedCoins’ – the game’s currency – to build the first phase of a project. These DeedCoins reflect the good deeds that Muslims are expected to carry out as part of their faith.