Islamic leaders in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday said Muslims should avoid playing Pokemon Go because the popular mobile game was harmful and could “lead to gambling”.
Senior religious official Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri said the city’s Islamic Legal Consultative Committee had taken into consideration top scholars’ opinions on the cartoon creatures.
“Pokemon Go and all the Pokemon characters should be avoided as it can bring harm,” he was quoted as saying by the national news agency Bernama.
“The game promoted a search for power and deities with certain powers which could lead to gambling.”
Pokemon Go is not yet available officially in Malaysia.
The Muslim-majority country has long practised a moderate form of Islam but conservative attitudes are rising.
The viral game uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.
While Pokemon Go has been praised as a fun way to get people outdoors, it has also attracted safety warnings about not walking into oncoming traffic, straying into restricted areas, or becoming victims of crimes.
Last month Indonesian civil servants were ordered not to play Pokemon Go at work in a bid to protect “state secrets”.