The Islamic State group released a new recruiting video based on Rockstar’s wildly popular action-adventure game “Grand Theft Auto 5.”
The video was created to persuade young men to join the radical group, which is known for its violent nature and crimes against civilians. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the recent videotaped executions of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and U.K. humanitarian aid worker David Cawthorne Haines.
The trailer displays the logo of the Sunni militant group, also known as ISIS, at the top of the screen, accompanied by the words “Grand Theft Auto.”
ISIS claims the video aims “to raise the moral of the mujahedin and to train children and youth how to battle the West and strike terror into the hearts of those who oppose the Islamic State.”
At the end of the trailer, the words “Flames of War” appear on screen, followed by “Fighting has just begun.”
“Grand Theft Auto 5,” which is known for its violent scenes, is one of the best-selling video games of all time, breaking seven Guinness World Records at the time of its release, including the highest-grossing video game within 24 hours of its launch and the fastest entertainment property and video game to gross $1 billion.
“Grand Theft Auto 5” has been the subject of a number of controversial debates, including the game’s depictions of torture and sexist depictions of women. One of the game’s missions, “By the Book,” shows main character Trevor using torture to extract information from an informant. Players can select which objects Trevor uses to torture the restrained man, which some critics felt was unnecessary.
“Rockstar North has crossed a line by effectively forcing people to take on the role of a torturer and perform a series of unspeakable acts if they want to achieve success in the game," said Freedom from Torture chief executive Keith Best to the Guardian when the game launched in September last year.
“Grand Theft Auto 5” has also come under fire for its portrayal of female characters -- the title features a number of exotic dancers and prostitutes that sites like GameSpot condemn.
“’GTA V’ has little room for women except to portray them as strippers, prostitutes, long-suffering wives, humorless girlfriends and goofy, new-age feminists we’re meant to laugh at,” GameSpot said during the game’s release in 2013.
Unfortunately, the use of a “GTA”-like video game trailer may be an effective way to glamourize criminal activity, misogynistic attitudes against women, and torture for the Islamic State group. The video also shows virtual fighters shouting “Allahu Akbar!” as they attack U.S. soldiers.
Last month, hacker group Lizard Squad gained attention when it took down Xbox Live, MMO "World of Warcraft," and PlayStation Network while claiming allegiance with the Islamic State group.