Activision the game developers behind the Call of Duty franchise have apologised after coming under fire over a scene in the latest instalment which has been deemed Islamophobic.
The offensive scene appeared in Call of Duty: Vanguard depicting pages from the Holy Quran scattered on the floor, some of them smeared in blood.
The US-based company has since issued an apology and says it has removed the content from the game. In a statement to Fortune, Activision said "Call of Duty is made for everyone," adding that "There was insensitive content to the Muslim community mistakenly included last week, and has since been removed from the game. It should never have appeared as it did in-game. We deeply apologize. We are taking immediate steps internally to address the situation to prevent such occurrences in the future."
However, others on social media have pointed out it was not the first time Islamophobic content has been promoted in Call of Duty, citing Modern Warfare 2 released in 2009, which included a map showing a quote from a hadith in a bathroom. It, too, was removed along with an apology over the offence caused. In 2017, the Turkish government criticised video games, including Call of Duty for promoting Islamophobia.
The latest offensive content was brought to light after a user posted screenshots on Twitter earlier in the week alerting others by saying "Brothers, I see pages of the Qur'an on the ground in the zombie map. I see that it should be removed as soon as possible if it is correct."
Others have reacted by using the hashtag #NoCallOfDuty calling on others to boycott the game.
— Call of Duty Middle East (@CallofDutyARA) November 11, 2021
Activision also released an apology on their official Twitter account, but only on the company's Middle East account. "It should never have appeared as it did in [the] game; we deeply apologise".
Muslim games developer Rami Ismail spoke out against the offensive scene, explaining that "Even if you think religion is nonsense, there's just no reason to be disrespectful towards two billion people's culture & beliefs in a videogame for a throwaway asset". He also acknowledged the apology for "absolutely unnecessary and needless inclusion of Quran texts that people can walk over," others however felt the apology was insufficient as it targeted a specific demographic and not the rest of the Muslim population who make up almost a quarter of the world's population.