Activision and Infinity Ward have pulled the "Favela" map out of online matches of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, due to imagery that has spurred complaints from Muslim gamers.
The offending imagery? A quote attributed to the Muslim god Allah that can be seen hanging above a bathroom stall in the map, translating to "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty."
The fact that this writing appears in a bathroom stall is apparantly the cause for offense among those who have placed complaints, and in response Activision and Infinity Ward have removed the map from online play. They will re-release the map, which has also been pulled from Modern Warfare 3, after the offending texture has been altered.
Activision has released a statement regarding the issue:
"We apologize to anyone who found this image offensive. Please be assured we were unaware of this issue and that there was no intent to offend. We are working as quickly as possible to remove this image and any other similar ones we may find from our various game libraries.
We are urgently working to release a Title Update to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 3. We are also working to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 2 through a separate Title Update. Until the TU is ready, we have removed the Favella multiplayer map from online rotation.
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."
This raises all sorts of questions concerning artistic freedom and religious tolerance -- especially in the wake of last month's attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya, and the United Nations' recent proposals to outlaw "blasphemy" -- but I think it's safe to say that Activision is making the right choice here.