For some time, Fortnite has allowed users to create their own content. Usually, this leads to challenging levels or training areas. This type of freedom, however, will always be abused by some users. Unfortunately, one specific user has gone way too far.
On such a level, players were influenced to destroy a holy site in order to gain more weapons. A miscommunication led to an Indonesian Minister hearing that Epic Games had created or at least allowed the content themselves. The Muslim community was outraged by this, and Epic Games had to step in and clarify the situation, however, this may not be enough.
Indonesian Minister wants to ban Fortnite over user-generated content
The Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy announced that he plans to pursue a ban of Fortnite on July 5. This decision seems to be related to a Fortnite level (Warning: This link may be disturbing and offensive to some viewers) from 2019. This level depicts a structure that resembles the Kaaba in the game.
Almost 87 percent of Indonesia's population identifies with Islam as their faith, making it the biggest Muslim-dominated nation in the world. As one of the most sacred sites in Islam, the Kaaba is situated in the very heart of Sakid al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. According to a CNN Indonesia report, Minister Sandiaga was told that the Kaaba-like structure needed to be destroyed in order to obtain new weapons.
Regarding this, Minister Sandiaga said this in a statement:
"The game Fortnite is directly against noble values, especially religious ones, therefore, I instruct the team to review and immediately issue a ban. We also want to warn some game developers to be careful."
Sandiaga's decision was prompted by a fatwa (a formal ruling or interpretation on the point of Islamic law by a qualified legal scholar) issued by Islamic scholars at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. The message warns Islamic players not to play Fortnite after a Facebook post with the structure of the Kaaba went viral on Arab social media sites.
Epic Games denies any association with the content in question
Epic Games, however, has denied the claim, saying that the building cannot be destroyed through gameplay. There is no doubt Fortnite would never introduce something like that into their game. On June 30, Epic Games clarified its policy on the issue via its Middle East Fortnite Facebook page in response to the subsequent backlash.
As it turned out, a player-created the content in question while using Fortnite's Creative Mode, which lets players build their own maps. Epic Games gave this statement:
"We would like to emphasise that our team respects all religions and works closely with our game content makers to provide a safe gaming experience for all our players."
Johnny G. Plate, Indonesia's Minister of Communication and Information, acknowledged to CNN Indonesia the inappropriate content was user-generated rather than a gameplay element designed by Fortnite developers. In order to find the creator of the content, Johnny G. Plate said he would work with the Indonesian National Police.