PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a popular online video game among Kurdish youth. Photo: PUBG
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Islamic religious authority has issued a religious edict, a fatwa, against a popular online video game it says is making people “obsessed.”
“We decided that working on PUBG is haram [religiously prohibited] because it has caused a considerable number of people to be obsessed with it and waste their time,” Irfan Rasheed, head of the fatwa committee in Sulaimani, told Rudaw.
PUBG stands for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. It is an online multiplayer game, one of the genre known as Battle Royale. In it, 100 players drop into an abandoned map. Upon landing, they have to find gear and supplies to kill other players in order to be the last man standing in the zone as the map shrinks.
It has created a culture of its own and has become one of the largest online gaming communities. It is popular among youth in the Kurdistan Region, especially in Sulaimani.
There are reports the game has created relationship problems for people obsessed with it. One couple reportedly divorced after the wife refused to donate blood to her husband during the game, instead giving it to another unknown player.
Some youth spend hours playing the game, which the religious committee described as a “waste of time.”
“Islam rules that wasting time for no reason is haram. This game falls in this framework and a mounting number of people in Kurdistan are obsessed with it, without it having a benefit for these people and those around them,” said Rasheed.