A Muslim Reflection on Dangerous Games What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds

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Amina Inloes

Keywords

Islam - fantasy - science fiction - role-playing games - imaginary worlds - Islamophobia - M. A. R. Barker

Abstract

For over two decades, a moral panic over fantasy role-playing
games has swept America, fuelled by a minority of fundamentalist
Christians who have campaigned against games such as Dungeons
& Dragons on the grounds that they led youth to Satanism, suicide,
and violent crime. In his 2015 book, Dangerous Games: What the
Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games says about Play, Religion,
and Imagined Worlds, David Laycock explores why fantasy roleplaying
games seem similar enough to religion to provoke fear,
as well as the dynamics of this moral panic. While he, apparently,
did not set out to write a book about Islam, his insights about religion,
fantasy, and narrative opened my eyes to the dynamics of
twentieth-century Islam. Additionally, as a Muslim reader living
during a “moral panic” over Islam, Laycock’s analysis helped me
understand that today’s Islamophobia in America has little to do
with Islam. Lastly, although Muslim gamers, fantasy/sciencefiction
authors, and game developers are usually underacknowledged,
there is increasing interest in Muslims and fantasy/
science-fiction. I hope to call attention to this invisible cohort. 

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