Background on Hitman 2 Video Campaign

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In a world climate where racial and religious intolerance claims thousands of lives every day, the Sikh community is appalled by images and text in the sniper-themed videogame Hitman 2 portraying Sikhs being killed within their most prominent temple, the Harimander Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple. This game is developed and distributed by Eidos Interactive. Eidos's choice to target a specific religious group in Hitman 2 is not only socially irresponsible, but also potentially dangerous to Sikhs worldwide, as their turbans have made them the focus of backlash attacks in the post-September 11th environment.

Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest religion with 26 million adherents across the globe. Sikhs have a distinctive physical appearance. Sikh men do not cut their hair or beards and Sikhs wear turbans as a reminder of their core values: discipline, honesty, integrity, ethics, spirituality and humility. Sikhs are law-abiding citizens and contribute greatly to the global economy. The Sikh faith teaches the humanitarian principles of freedom, equality, and justice. Sikh values include protection of the downtrodden, equal treatment of all faiths and persons without regard to their gender, caste, creed and ethic origin– these same principles upon which the great democracies are founded.

The setting for some of the worst violence in Hitman 2 is a Sikh temple whose description matches the Harimander Sahib located in Amritsar, the most prominent shrine for the Sikhs and one of the few places of worship on earth built to welcome people from all religions, cultures, and backgrounds to worship God together. Using the Sikh Golden Temple as a background for violence is as distasteful as using the Vatican, Bethlehem or Mecca. Hitman 2 promotes racial and religious intolerance against a specific group of people, and disrespect towards all of the world’s religions.

For the following reasons, we are asking retailers worldwide to pull Hitman 2 off their shelves and not to carry any products by Eidos Interactive, including Lara Croft, Tomb Raider for Playstation 2, until the company recalls all of their Hitman 2 games:

1. Hitman 2 portrays violence against turbaned Sikhs within the sacred grounds of our religious holy place. If this game is allowed today, then any religious group or place of worship such as a Synagogue, a Church or a Mosque, may become the next setting for violence and bloodshed.

2. The actions in the game promote intolerance against religious minorities and may endanger innocent Sikhs all over the world.

3. Hitman 2 refers to Dalits as “untouchables”. Dalits are not "untouchables" and strongly resent such a characterization. The Dalits are Hindus, and a people who have faced oppression that continues today. To charge a nation of 200 million people worldwide as followers of an injurious cult leader is an unacceptable practice and factually incorrect. Even though Sikhs and Hindu’s are different, our values require us to stand up and protect the rights of the oppressed. Slander against any religious group should not be considered an acceptable form of entertainment.

4. Hitman 2 is a socially irresponsible sniper-themed "hate" game that promotes intolerance and violence against Sikhs and Dalits.

We cannot allow this videogame to continue to feed the fires of racism and religious intolerance. It is for the reasons above that we have asked the company to withdraw the game. They have refused even though they acknowledge the images may be offensive and have pulled objectionable images from their website. We are now asking retailers worldwide to do the right thing by taking a stand for tolerance of people of all religions and races and to not support a videogame that promotes racism and intolerance. This is not an issue of free speech. We support free speech. This is about socially irresponsible behavior.

For more information, please contact Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa, Communications Director, SikhNet, 505-753-9438, eok@sikhnet.com.


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