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Federal Territories Islamic Committee ‘Bans’ Pokemon Go

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KUALA LUMPUR — A Shariah state committee has banned Muslims from playing ‘Pokemon Go’ in the Federal Territories.

The Islamic Legal Consultative Committee in the Federal Territories, which is chaired by the Mufti, said the decision was made on August 1 based on scripture and for the benefit of Muslims, besides taking into account the purported ill effects of the phenomenally popular augmented reality smartphone game.

“Therefore, it’s hoped that Muslims, especially those in the Federal Territories, are not involved in the gaming app,” said the Islamic Legal Consultative Committee.

Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri said in a statement today that fatwas, or edicts, issued in other countries, such as the 2001 one by influential Egypt-born cleric Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi against Pokemon, had basis and that ‘Pokemon Go’ and Pokemon must be avoided if the games were harmful.

“Besides that, it also affirms powers and the powers of certain gods, plus it can lead to gambling. Therefore, we believe that the arguments about how playing Pokemon is ‘haram’ have strong grounds,” Zulkifli said.

The Muslim cleric cited, based on previous cases, dangers of the hit game like espionage, violation of personal privacy, traffic accidents, addiction to gadgets, emotional disturbances like getting angry easily when losing the game, as well as threats to one’s studies and job.

The ‘Pokemon Go’ phenomenon is based on a 1990s game but updated with the latest technology that superimposes virtual creatures onto real world locations, and allows players to view and capture them through their smartphones.

Telecommunications firm Maxis and ride-sharing service provider Grab have teamed up to offer “PokeMobile” cars, which were launched Monday, to take riders on Pokemon hunts as part of the yet to be launched ‘Pokemon Go’ game. – Malay Mail

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