JAKIM asks Malaysian Muslims not to play the "harmful" Pokemon Go

Jakim, Malaysia's Islamic development authority has reminded Muslims not to play the ‘dangerous’ Pokemon Go mobile game, just a day after the game was officially launched in the country.

In a statement on its website posted on 7 August, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) yesterday said it supports the decision by the Federal Territories Islamic Legal Consultative Committee- in forbidding Muslims from engaging themselves in the virtual world of Pokemon characters and Pokemon GO.

Jakim director-general Tan Sri Othman Mustapha said the decision is consistent with other Muslim countries’ view that the hugely popular reality game Pokemon Go could be harmful and result in injury or fatal accidents. Besides that, he added that the game also has negative impact on children and teenagers.

Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri was reported last Friday, saying that the Pokemon characters and Pokemon Go game application are forbidden to Muslims due to the principle of 'maslahah' (public interest) and harmful consequences.

That was the same day the BBC reported that Iran becomes the first country to issue a ban of Pokemon Go after expressing worries over security issues related to the game. On Sunday, a businessman was given a traffic summons in Malaysia's state of Pahang for playing Pokemon Go while driving.

On the same day,  Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai also posted on Twitter, urging Pokemon Go users not to play the game and drive at the same time.

Pokemon Go was released on Saturday (6 August) in the country, sending fans outdoors in search of the cartoon monsters to "catch ‘em all” via the mobile phones.