Playing mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) may soon be a sin in one Indonesian province as the region’s highest Islamic clerical body is considering issuing a fatwa (religious edict) against the highly popular battle royale game in light of the horrific mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 50 and injured 50 more.
The West Java chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) recently told the media that it’s contemplating issuing a fatwa to discourage Muslims in the province from playing PUBG, which it says could have a negative influence on players.
“We have not yet issued a fatwa. But generally if [PUBG] has a damaging influence then we will prohibit it. We are considering a fatwa to close all avenues to evil,” West Java MUI Chairman Rahmat Syafei said, as quoted by Detik yesterday.
Many have noted that the viral live streamed video of the shooting at one of the two mosques attacked in Christchurch last Friday was reminiscent of a first person shooter video game. The shooter in the video also made a reference to PewDiePie, a renowned gaming Youtuber, before he stormed the mosque with a semi-automatic rifle.
The West Java MUI did not say why their fatwa would be targeted at PUBG in particular and not any other similar first person shooter game that are currently popular worldwide.
A fatwa does not equate to law in Indonesia, but it could be used as the basis for the passing of a new law. Similarly, a fatwa issued by one particular chapter of the MUI would only apply to their specific region, but could be adopted nationwide by the central chapter of MUI.
One of the most controversial MUI fatwas related to the entertainment industry was their prohibition against attending a Lady Gaga concert in 2012, which ultimately led to the event’s cancellation.
If West Java MUI’s fatwa against PUBG is issued, Indonesia would not be the first to have some form of prohibition against the game. Earlier this month, the government of an Indian state made the game illegal and 16 people have been arrested so far for playing it.