The Muslim Brotherhood’s first known foray into virtual reality has run into a series of technological and social problems. Recent posts have discussed the Ramadan Tent, a joint project between Islam Online, the news portal operated by Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and the Islamic Group, a group of people managing the virtual Chebi Mosque, one of the most well known mosques in the “virtual reality” world known as Second Life. Islam Online has now reported that during the initial launch, the Second Life servers could not handle the load of 30 avatars present and crashed. Three days later the tent itself was subject to virtual attack described by as follows:
Only a few days after its launch, IslamOnline.net’s Ramadan tent inside Second Life was the target of two attacks of intended destruction and vandalism. The first attack took place at 14:00GMT on Saturday, September 15, 2007. The second 3 hours later. In the first attack, two male avatars showed up completely naked in the tent claiming they came here to “control the tent and remove all Muslims from it.” The two then proceeded to sexually harass the female avatars of a few Arab women who were present in the tent at the time. They also attacked the women verbally and made fun of Muslims and Arabs. The attackers kept stressing and repeating that they are here to cleanse the place of all Muslims.The attacks were stopped short when a Bahraini girl with an avatar called Laracroft Bade stood up for the attackers. Using virtual weapons of protection she was able to remove the attackers from the tent. The second attack was conducted by a naked woman avatar but it failed as well…The identity of the attackers, called griefers, was not identified. Drowned Pharaoh, one of the people who worked on the tent, said this is another example of “Islamophobia on Second Life.” He explained that a lot of people attack all religions on Second Life, not just Islam.
Yesterday, according to sources inside Second LIfe, the Ramadan tent was host to what was described as a virtual gathering that was to be displayed simultaneously at an Islam Online conference in Egypt described as an official media launch for the Ramadan tent. According to organizers, the intent was to have the Second Life Ramadan tent visible on large screens at the conference while at the same time allowing Second Life participants to follow the conference proceedings. There were again about 30 participants who showed up for the event, but technological problems prevented them from hearing any audio from the conference. It is not known if the Second Life tent was visible in Egypt. In an attempt to entertain the Second LIfe residents who showed up, many of whom did not appear to be Muslim, an individual identified as Sheikh Al-Kanoon performed a series of Koranic chants. Comments following the Islam Online articles suggest that the presence of the organization in Second Life is not without controversy in the Islamic world.