Video games banned by Islamist group

An Islamist group in Somalia has placed a ban on videogames for destroying ‘social traditions,’ reports GamePolitics.

Social traditions in the war-torn country include, amongst others, armed conflict, constant khat-chewing and peddling, private warlord factions and being pirates. It had recently become popular for kids in villages to socially gather together in cybercafes to have a go on PlayStation games for about half an hour at the time.

The official statement from hardline group Hezb al-Islam says: “Starting two days after this statement’s date of issue, all video game playing centres in the areas under Hezb al-Islam control should be closed and playing video games will be prohibited. Video games are designed in such a way that they destroy our social traditions and for that reason, anybody found ignoring this order will be punished and equipment will be confiscated.”

A Mogadishu local said: “We used to watch movies. They were banned. Now the PlayStations we had fun with are also banned. This country is not for young people like me.”

Abdi Moge, an older local resident, told AFP that there’s little else for kids to do now other than joining an armed group. “Who knows what else the children are going to do now. The more they are prevented from playing, the more likely they are to join the fighting.”

It’s not clear what punishments Hezb al-Islam plans to act out on those playing. It’s clear though, to the Eye, that if they want to encourage armed fighting they should develop their own America’s Army-esque game. And make it free. GamePolitics is here.