An official for the top Islamic authority in Egypt says that the mobile phone reality game is “prohibited” by Islam.
According to Abbas Shouman, the deputy chief of al-Azhar, playing Pokémon Go is as illicit as drinking alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam.
“It negatively influences the mind and harms the player or others without being aware of that,” said Shouman while elaborating on the consequences.
Although the al-Azhar official praised technology for helping society advance in many ways, he added that some people become “obsessive” with it, leading to neglect of work and worship. He said:
“This game makes people look like drunkards in the streets and on the roads while their eyes are glued to the mobile screens leading them to the location of the imaginary Pokemon in the hope of catching it.”
Even though the game is not officially released in Egypt yet, several people are already playing it and joining in on the worldwide Pokémon hunting obsession.
There’s also rumors swirling around the Internet that Pokemon have been discovered in local masjids, with the Imams calling them “jinns.”
Meanwhile, a fatwa has been issued in Saudi Arabia as well by the Higher Committee for Scientific Research and Islamic Law for “possessing the minds” of children while promoting Zionism and gambling.