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Activision has issued an apology after ‘insensitive’ uses of the Muslim holy text, the Quran, were included on the floor of a Call of Duty Vanguard Zombies map. The images have now been removed from the game.
Following the launch of Call of Duty: Vanguard, a number of players noticed that the game contained various pages from the Quran scattered across the floor of a Zombies map. The pages of the holy text were positioned in a way that allowed players to step on them while engaging in gunfights. Putting a copy of the Quran on the floor is considered a disrespectful act, and the scattered pages caused an outcry, with some even calling for a boycott of the game.
Call of Duty has pages of the Qur’an on the floor for people to step on.
I usually make excuses for people whenever they make a mistake, but this one feels intentional. I really hope that I’m wrong.
Either way, this has to be corrected. It’s shameful and embarrassing. https://t.co/RimPRtSePI
— Osama Dorias (@osamadorias) November 10, 2021
As noted in a tweet by CharlieIntel (below), the publisher has since apologized for including the content on the map and has said that it will look to address the issue with those responsible in order to stop similar situations from happening in the future. “Call of Duty is made for everyone,” says Activision in its statement.
“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.”
Activision has issued a statement apologizing for #Vanguard Zombies including insensitive references to Muslim community. Activision says that the references have been removed from the game already. pic.twitter.com/Mu0hXwt9pY
— CharlieIntel (@charlieINTEL) November 11, 2021
Since uncovering the material, a number of players have spoken out across social media in support of the Muslim community over the issue. Following Activision’s statement, game developer Rami Ismail gave his thoughts on the topic. “It’s good to see an apology for the absolutely unnecessary and needless inclusion of Quran texts that people can walk over,” said the developer in a tweet.
It’s good to see an apology for the absolutely unnecessary and needless inclusion of Quran texts that people can walk over. https://t.co/pFV482c22s
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) November 11, 2021
This isn’t the first time in recent years that the franchise has been called into question over cultural insensitivity. In 2019, the BBC reported that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare had seen a wave of negative reviews on Metacritic where users claimed that the game was trying to rewrite history and promote anti-Russian propaganda. At the time, Activision stated that the game did not represent real-world events.
For more on Call of Duty: Vanguard, make sure to check out our review of the game’s campaign, where we awarded it a 7/10.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.