Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map 'Favela' pulled following religious complaints

Activision has temporarily pulled the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer level 'Favela' from the map rotation following complaints that a quote attributed to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was written on a texture used in a bathroom. As you may imagine, some took issue with hanging holy words above a toilet.

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Activision has temporarily pulled the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer level 'Favela' from the map rotation following complaints that a quote attributed to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was written on a texture used in a bathroom. As you may imagine, some took issue with hanging holy words above a toilet.

A picture frame texture used twice in the level in a bathroom features ornate calligraphy of the quote "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty," Kotaku reports. That's probably not the only place it was used in MW2, though, and it reappeared in Modern Warfare 3's DLC re-release of Favela.

"We apologize to anyone who found this image offensive," Activision said in a statement. "Please be assured we were unaware of this issue and that there was no intent to offend."

Activision's "urgently" working on a title update to remove the texture from MW3, and less urgently to get it out of MW2. It's also scouring its texture libraries for the texture and any similar.

"Activision and our development studios are respectful of diverse cultures and religious beliefs, and sensitive to concerns raised by its loyal game players. We thank our fans for bringing this to our attention."

Here's one video complaining about the textures:

From The Chatty

  • reply
    October 8, 2012 6:47 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map 'Favela' pulled following religious complaints.

    Activision has temporarily pulled the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer level 'Favela' from the map rotation following complaints that a quote attributed to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was written on a texture used in a bathroom. As you may imagine, some took issue with hanging holy words above a toilet.

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      October 8, 2012 6:52 AM

      In before thread of the highest quality.

      Seriously though, I'm interested in seeing how this shit turns out over the next years. I'm kind of surprised there isn't already a surge of materials specifically designed to troll the "true believers". Maybe there is? In 10 years, will people shush about Islam in fear, or will we have gone past the point where the nutsjobs have realized that maybe killing people every time something pisses you off isn't he right way to get respect.

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        October 8, 2012 7:42 AM

        You realize that you're specifically helping thread achieve that sarcastic quality you mentioned via the generalizations you made?

        It's not new that muslims get offended by this. Just leave directly Muslim stuff out of your games. It's not really hard. Make up some political graffiti.

        It's their religion, if they want to be all serious about it, who are we to tell them they can't, as long as it's discussed and dealt with in a rational fashion? This shouldn't even be a deal.

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          October 8, 2012 7:53 AM

          What generalizations did I make? I referred to nutjobs in general, and the context here is Islam. And you know what? I perfectly agree with you. We _should_ just leave it be, and respect their beliefs. But that isn't realistic, not with the amount of assholes on this planet. As such, like I said, I'm interested in seeing which side "prevails". The assholes, or the nutjobs, be those nutjobs from any religion. I'll happily agree not to provoke these people, but discussing this shit shouldn't be a red flag at least.

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            October 8, 2012 8:09 AM

            eh the jump to logic in saying that someone would be killing someone over this is kinda where I was going at

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              October 8, 2012 8:11 AM

              But there's no jump in logic there.

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              October 8, 2012 8:18 AM

              Heh, took me a good bit to figure out what you're after here. Maybe you took "this shit" in my second sentence as referring to this specific case? I was referring to the whole issue at large, people saying and producing stupid shit, extremists taking issue and then killing people and burning stuff.

              I very much doubt anyone would die over this particular piece of art in the video game, but regardless, it is essentially the same issue. They don't want the bad PR / even the slightest possibility that something might happen, so they instantly completely fold.

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          October 8, 2012 7:59 AM

          Maybe Muslims should just not buy the game if they find it offensive? Like the rest of us?

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          October 8, 2012 2:49 PM

          Your tepid relativism is what is truly offensive here. Let's bend over for them because they say so, sure. On the lame excuse that "we're just shutting them up".

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        October 8, 2012 7:50 AM

        I am wondering the same thing, don't think it's going away in 10 years.

        I don't know if the solution is to over saturate prohibited imagery until everyone is desensitized? That isn't addressing the root problem - religion as a control method. So it would probably strengthen the religion...

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        October 8, 2012 7:59 AM

        I don't understand why everyone thinks this is something that can be changed/fixed in a couple of years. These things must take generations, coupled with education. Anything else is only short-term and will not work.
        Large scale mind alterations will only be effective when applied slowly.

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          October 8, 2012 8:02 AM

          True, but let's say people keep making fucked up, provoking videos, and the extremists keep on killing a bunch of unrelated people every time... it's not exactly a situation that can wait for a fix for decades. Would that be enough to accelerate the birth of some sort of understanding and mutual respect, I hope so. It's a new kind of a situation because of the Internet and all, so history isn't a perfect point of reference.

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            October 8, 2012 8:18 AM

            They aren't killing unrelated people- the people who died in the recent riots were people participating in the riots. One guy even died off the fumes of an American flag he was burning. I'm not kidding. Explain to me what freedom of speech has to do with respect?

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              October 8, 2012 8:27 AM

              Uhm... There are attacks on police stations, consulates etc that have resulted in deaths of security guards and diplomats, and these are very recent. Are you honestly claiming that there have been no deaths in these attacks and riots outside of the rioters?

              Freedom of speech is a funny thing. I completely agree with its importance. It's vital. However, if you intend on being an asshole, are acting like an asshole, and are doing things assholes do, then you are still an asshole even if you do have the freedom of speech. Sometimes, pretty often, being an asshole makes things worse, not better. So despite everyone having freedom of speech, and despite it being really lame that people act violently to stupid shit, I think respect should sometimes rank above compulsively using one's freedom of speech.

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                October 8, 2012 8:54 AM

                Being an asshole is subjective. Your definition is different than mine. Go to Iran and publicly state that women should have the same rights as men. Are you being an asshole? The Iranian government and people would say yes. So then how do you define respect? See how this can start to be a problem?

                And I know the violence is from extremists- not all Muslims. We can't let a few crazies change the way we think and react to the world because they can't control themselves.

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                  October 8, 2012 10:32 AM

                  Provoking people just to provoke them is being an asshole. Saying that women should have equal rights isn't being provocative just for the sake of being it. I don't pretend to know the very definition of respect, but I do know that if you go out of your way to say the things the other guys don't want to you say, you're not helping.

                  And I agree about not letting them change the way we think. Then again I like to think that "the way we think" doesn't include being an asshole just because we can by default.

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                    October 8, 2012 9:02 PM

                    Going to Iran to say that, could be taken as being an asshole just to be an asshole. He's right, it's subjective. You can't give on that point, because as soon as you crack that dam, you're not getting water back in it.

                    Anyone who thinks those embassies were attacked over some no name movie maker aren't paying a lot of attention. They had been warned. There is some proof that the people who attacked them had been planning this for quite a while.

                    And to Porks point using yours. What if those attacks were because of this guys video. Who's to say he was making it just to be an asshole. What if he wanted to warn people about the exact thing that the middle east muslims responded with.

                    What then? Who's wrong, you or you?

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                      October 9, 2012 12:18 AM

                      Surely it's subjective. I don't think I'm claiming anything here that you think I'm claiming. But here's the thing: Regardless of how the "target" reacts, if you say or do something full well knowing the target is going to hate it, and say or do it anyway, that, in my books, makes you an asshole. I don't see how I could be "wrong" about this. You simply can not argue that there aren't people out there provoking just for the sake of provoking.

                      And while you can argue that the biggest stories of late times, the embassy attacks, were not related to the video or anything else of the kind, you simply can not argue that there isn't or hasn't been violence linked to material comparable.

                      All I'm saying is that people who use their right to say what they want to say things they know will provoke, and have no motives other than that provocation, are not helping, they're doing harm. You're going to have to dance with words a whole lot more to convince me otherwise. What is your point, anyway? What should I be doing, saying or viewing differently here?

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            October 8, 2012 8:24 AM

            Isnt it quite widely agreed that the violent protests weren't singularly about the mocking of Muhammad in that film, there was a lot of other things the populations were frustrated, angry and miseducated about. The insulting film was just the spark that set it ablaze, no?

            Look at the London 2011 riots, it all began after a protest about the death of a man at the hands of the local police. But the mayhem and chaos that broke out across the country was a result of all kind of factors that have been bubbling away under the surface for years and years.

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              October 8, 2012 8:30 AM

              You're quite right probably. Maybe it's not as big an issue as one would make it out to be. But following the news sources I follow, I've seen a good number of examples of what looks like pretty direct correlation between violence, be it small scale or bigger, and said stupid that that people say purely to provoke. And then again, we have these news every now and then where companies are pulling stuff from market and making changes, so it's not exactly a non-issue by that measure either.

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              October 8, 2012 8:35 AM

              Depends on who you ask. Western liberals would say so, the people actually protesting were pretty clear that it was indeed about the video and nothing else.

              I don't get why we go to such lengths not to take people's stated motivations as explanations. Why do we assume it's some kind of complicated solution when the simplest answer fits?

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                October 8, 2012 9:00 AM

                I think people are conflating the riots in Egypt and the attack on the embassy in Benghazi. Really two different things, Egypt was video related, Benghazi was planned terrorist attack.

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                October 8, 2012 9:43 AM

                It's interesting in regards to what they're stated motives were, according to middle eastern news the protests and riots were against America as so many people just thought America has just attacked Islam like it has attacked and opressed Muslims around the world.The news outlets weren't doing a very good job of clarifying that it was a random American and not the state but as soon as people there hear America they'll always assume the worst and stop listening. That's about the time when extremeist groups jump in, pour fuel on the fire and try to recruit new members.

                Personally I don't believe any nation state has a total dedication to free speech, the pen is mightier than the sword and politians are very well aware of that, think wikileaks for one example.

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                October 8, 2012 9:59 AM

                I think you have to take as many of the contributing factors into account and not just accept things at face value.

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                  October 8, 2012 10:09 AM

                  But if the question is "why are you guys protesting", and you ask them and they all say the exact same thing, maybe it's time to take off the tin foil hat and just take their word for it?

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                    October 8, 2012 11:50 PM

                    What if they're expressing a reason that is based on false or manipulated information? Part of the fury seemed to be that they thought the American government was responsible for the video.

                    Also the response by Muslims in the Uk, Germany, USA, Turkey and plenty of other places of course wasn't as extreme as it was in Libia / Egypt etc, so it wasn't as if the response was a purely islamic one, rather than a response by Muslims who live in areas subject to a number of other frustrations and problems, where the public opinion is easily whipped up into a furor by the national / religious media.

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              October 14, 2012 6:39 AM

              The London 2011 riots were mostly a bunch of idiots trying to loot loads of free gear.

              The trouble with my once great country (UK) is it's now full of people that want everything for nothing.

              There is no excuse for looting and burning down the homes and property of innocent people.

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      October 8, 2012 7:47 AM

      much respect for Activision for apologizing and taking care of this.

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      October 8, 2012 7:48 AM

      It's funny how everyone is so scared to offend Muslims because they're perceived as so extremist and violent, then the Muslims go out of their way to say how "not" extremist they are, followed by rioting and violence.

      Everyone realizes that they're using our own religious tolerance against us right? They can be as bat-$hit insane as they want, until someone calls them out on it, then all of a sudden we're violating their rights and not respecting them.

      Dear Muslims, quit being so @#$%^ over-sensitive and people will stop thinking your all extremists.

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        October 8, 2012 7:55 AM

        I'm going to go riot in the streets over your use of "your" instead of "you're"!!!!!! ALLAH ACKBAR!!!

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        October 8, 2012 8:12 AM

        I lol'd a little at your line - Everyone realizes that they're using our own religious tolerance against us right? - because you've seen some of the religious threads around here, yes?

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          October 8, 2012 8:24 AM

          Sure- that's what is awesome around here. The tolerance happens after speech. You can insult everything about my being and I'm not going to threaten your life. In fact I encourage you to question me on anything I believe in.

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        October 8, 2012 10:01 AM

        Frankly me being a Muslim I don't think it's my job to convince you that all Muslims are not extremist, that should be left to your own intelligence.

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          October 8, 2012 10:56 AM

          I just don't get how any religious folks are extremists. I mean if I insult your god in some fashion or other, surely s/he will punish me by sending me to hell (or your particular equivalent). Not much worse than spending eternity being tortured, right? So there's really no reason for anyone to get mad since they'll have the last laugh as my soul is tortured over the next few infinity of years.

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            October 8, 2012 11:56 AM

            I think religious extremism exists because of a lack of education, people who want power exploit those people. Only way I see Islamic extremism ending is when education is available to them, if you were to control a group of people best they were ignorant right? Well if those people could read, write and were educated they wouldn't be taken in by people looking to use them, they could decide if they believe in God and if they even want to be Muslims and what that actually means.

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              October 8, 2012 1:02 PM

              This is a Shack religious thread... stop trying to make reasonable and well thought out responses.

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      October 8, 2012 7:52 AM

      I bet it was a camper who noticed that - had all the time of the world to scrutinize every inch of the textures while sitting on his ass.

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      October 8, 2012 7:54 AM

      People should just stop getting so Muham-MAD about these sorts of things.

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      October 8, 2012 8:25 AM

      ABC news is filming a show about how people respond to muslims in the community. I was at a sandwich shop and an some crazy ass kid comes up next to me spouting fear about the 'muslim' guy working behind the counter. i tried to minimize his behavior, told him I support all paths to god, and suggested maybe he better work on his own life rather than worrying about strangers in the community. It was creepy as hell, the actor was good and I totally bought it.

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      October 8, 2012 9:19 AM

      the influence of that religion is truly amazing. as a social and political construct it has unlimited leverage.

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        October 8, 2012 10:06 AM

        I'd much prefer it the idea of humanity had unlimited leverage, the guys who put it in the game were looking to offend and the guys who harm others because of their offence are worse.

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          October 8, 2012 10:12 AM

          You seriously think they were looking to offend? What on earth could you possibly have in the way of evidence for that? The most likely scenario is that they wanted some kind of Arabic looking script to put on a texture and did a google image search. Years later, someone put that in a bathroom level.

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            October 8, 2012 10:21 AM

            I don't play call of duty games so I don't know the level but if it's a level set in the middle east it'd be an easy mistake to make, so no in that case they probably wearn't looking to offend and the guys who got so offended should have just given the benefit of the doubt.

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              October 8, 2012 11:10 AM

              I knew plenty of people, when I was growing up, that would put pictures or quotes from Jesus and such, above/around the toilet.

              The "Islamic Gaming Community" and Islam in general just needs to stop being a group of intolerant and offendable people.

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                October 8, 2012 11:17 AM

                yeah. it's 2012, and that particular religion seems like it will never release its grasp on its followers. and in fact, that religion seems to be repeating the influence of religions in the past - reaching out to other cultures and demanding adherence to their set of rules.

                At least it's good that other cultures can print the words "Muslim Prophet Muhammad" at all.

                maybe we should just take what we can get with islam. and just posting once more for facts:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_country_legal_systems#Religious_law

                we need to stop kidding ourselves they are ever going to be democratic or capitalistic or federalist or communist or ANYTHING.... other than religious.

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                  October 8, 2012 12:24 PM

                  I think that one thing that can be said about Humanity is that we aren't static, we always progress. There's a lot going on in Islam that you'll probably be glad to know, there's currently a growing movement to look into historical and religious texts to find out how true they are, that'll either mean that Muslims will debunk Islam or that Islam will have to rediscover itself perhaps in a similar fashion to what Cheistianity has been going through.

                  Having said that though I still want a systems that work better than Capitalism, Communism, Democracy or anything else we have now, I just think they're flawed so we should invent something better.

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                    October 8, 2012 10:34 PM

                    I would say we always change. Sometimes we progress (assuming some reasonable metric like average life span), and other times we regress. Our technology improves without question. However, our political systems have not seen similar progress.

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                October 8, 2012 12:14 PM

                I'm not offended so there's a start :) Though I think you're forgetting that video game developers have always looked to apease or avoid offending groups of people so I assume you mean that no one should be offended or intolerant? Though in regards to gaming specifically I don't see video games as a form of art, the same way I don't see movies or tv shows as art, what I do see them as are either experiences or stories. Personally the idea that because it's art it should never be criticised as just silly.

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              October 13, 2012 8:43 AM

              The level is Favela. It's set in Brazil.

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          October 8, 2012 12:52 PM

          It seems extremely unlikely that they were looking to offend anyone. A 2d artist probably searched the web for some random writing in Arabic to throw on a texture for general use. Someone else probably grabbed that texture and used it for a border on a picture frame that then became an asset in a library. Then someone else probably searched the library of assets for picture pictures to hang on walls and picked those based on the art in the center and didn't even notice the writing on the frame and had no idea what it said if they did notice. They then put the asset in the bathroom because it seemed like a good idea at the time it was just bad luck that it happened to have some stuff written around the frame.

          I place assets in levels for a living, and if I see an asset with writing on it and if it is in a foreign language I just assume whoever made the asset made sure it is not offensive. I would then place the asset where I needed to and I would also assume there were no special rules about where that asset can be placed. Then I would move on because I am probably worried about things like gameplay, does the design or art look confusing, does the art generally look good and realistic, and what the general level performance is like, is it running slow etc.

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            October 8, 2012 1:34 PM

            Yeah uncleanmonkey put that to me too and it's by far the most resonable answer.

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        October 8, 2012 2:36 PM

        fear is a great motivator. I wouldn't call it "amazing" though.....

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      October 8, 2012 9:31 AM

      In related news, Activision states prophets are going through the roof.

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      October 8, 2012 9:32 AM

      Why not just replace the texture in question rather than scrap the entire level? Is Activision retarded or do they just have money to burn?

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        October 8, 2012 9:53 AM

        There are still people playing CoD:MW2... those people could be buying CoD3 (or whatever number it is up to now)!

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        October 8, 2012 10:08 AM

        I think it's to counter the negative publicity, they need to be seen to be doing something to resolve the issue but I would have preffered a new texture over scrapping a whole level.

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        October 8, 2012 12:56 PM

        Activision can easily remove any level from the online playlist at anytime without dealing patching or a lengthy process with MS/Sony. Patching the game requires making content changes, testing the game, and then dealing with MS/Sony because they also then have to test, and often times their is a cost to patching the game where you need to pay MS of the patch is big enough. While this texture seems like a small thing, removing it might mean they have to replace a large file the contains all the map data and textures used in the map. Without looking into it, it is hard to know from here.

        Again, removing it from the playlist takes 5 minutes and is super easy and super low risk as far as bugs so it makes a lot of sense to do that because it can be done today, instead of patching it in a week, or weeks with more cost.

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        October 8, 2012 4:59 PM

        They will. Changing the texture requires time and a client side patch. That also means going through cert. Pulling the level can be done instantly from the servers with no client side change required. Remove the map from the playlist now and put it back after the next patch.

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      October 8, 2012 10:46 AM

      At my college dorm year back someone had scrawled in poop on the wall inside a stall the following:

      "Jesus loves you"

      With a cross (also drawn in feces...their own I'd imagine) above it.

      This was never cleaned off in all the years I was there...this post made me think of that for some reason, as that was always weird and hilarious to me in so many ways.

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      October 8, 2012 11:03 AM

      Fucking sensitive religious zealots. Fuckin a, I hate religion.

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        October 8, 2012 12:31 PM

        I agree, and I'm sick of these god damn islamic cultists telling me what I can do and cannot do. Fuck mohammad.

        WTF, they can burn our flag, cut off heads of innocent media members, blow up women and children, but they take offense to art used in a video game. Fuck them.

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      October 8, 2012 1:10 PM

      You may want to do some research before posting. Favela is not in MW3, I assume you were thinking of Terminal. It was a map originally intended to be included in the CoD4 DLC pack but was cut and included in MW2s launch maps.

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        October 8, 2012 1:24 PM

        oh wow, hi. loved an inconvenient truth. powerful stuff!

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        October 8, 2012 3:26 PM

        wat

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          October 8, 2012 4:17 PM

          IAWTW

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          October 8, 2012 4:49 PM

          What is not to understand about my post?
          " That's probably not the only place it was used in MW2, though, and it reappeared in Modern Warfare 3's DLC re-release of Favela."
          Favela is only playable on MW2. It was not re-released for MW3, at least not yet. It was supposed to be included in the CoD4 map pack but was cut and instead included in MW2.

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            October 8, 2012 4:56 PM

            why do you keep saying "It was ... instead included in MW2." I think everyone is on board with that

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              October 8, 2012 6:42 PM

              Just providing information about the map. Both Favela and Invasion from MW2 were intended to be included on the CoD 4 map pack but were cut.

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                October 8, 2012 7:16 PM

                Do you think you could sneak that tidbit in a fourth time maybe?

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                  October 8, 2012 8:39 PM

                  Maybe if you'd quit asking stupid questions about my post then I wouldn't have to repeat myself.

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                    October 8, 2012 9:05 PM

                    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer level 'Favela' from the OP. you seem confused Mr Gore.

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      October 8, 2012 3:18 PM

      Is anyone actually playing that game other than hackers at this point? You can't even go back to most of the older titles on the 360 because of rampant hacking.

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      October 8, 2012 4:01 PM

      I happen to do a lot of worshiping on the toilet and i treat it as my holy place. So I don't really see anything insulting about this.

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      October 8, 2012 6:16 PM

      Good on Activision and the guys at Treyarch for being sensitive to this.

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      October 8, 2012 9:49 PM

      let's try out that tony starks missile

      champagne for everyone

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      October 9, 2012 12:33 AM

      Is there a screenshot of the texture in question? This could either be a sensical thing to do, or completely retarded depending on what it looks like.

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      October 9, 2012 5:41 AM

      For fucks sake. How fucking retarded, that's all I care to say about this...

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      October 10, 2012 12:34 AM

      In a game about brutally murdering "terrorists", this is what people get upset over? What a world we live in.

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      October 12, 2012 9:41 PM

      I have to say, though, us westerners have certainly had our share of blocking content that only offended a select few people.

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        October 13, 2012 8:40 AM

        Exactly: *had*. Though certainly not in such a major way about such a minor thing as a fucking carved quote in the frame of a picture in a GODDAMN videogame!

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      October 19, 2012 1:10 PM

      People CHOOSE to TAKE offence. It's a choice, and if you're offended ...so what? What if I'm offended by the colour blue? This is just as ridiculous. Grow up. The rest of society shouldn't be limited by whatever infantile beliefs you were indoctrinated with, though I feel sorry for you that you were. I'm offended by these companies pandering to bullies and apologising ...so what are they going to do about my being offended now eh?

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      October 22, 2012 7:40 AM

      Another muslim demanding respect "or else".

      Respect is earned.

      Do they really think Activision gives 2 shits about the Islamic gaming community?

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      December 14, 2013 1:12 AM

      I hope you realize that boycotting future video games of this series, if your demands are not met, will even make a significant difference. Of all the things in the game, the blood, violence, and other content do not phase you but rather a minor detail in a secluded part of the level drives you up the wall? I see how it would involve your religion but what does this have anything to do with your culture and traditions?

      Not to be a downer but I really think your making it up when you say "islamic gaming community" (i think of it as a formal community with a leader figure and everything :/ )
      I suppose I kind of get how it would be wrong to put such things in such a place in the Islamic community BUT this isn't an islamic community.

      For everyone else reading, I just wrote this to get some stuff off my chest after watching that video. Really didn't sit well with me as the maker of the video and me kinda have the same religious background xD and I thought it was complete ludicrous