EGYPT has issued a fatwa banning ultra-violent video game PUBG after a 12-year-old boy died of a heart attack during an hours-long session.
The “addicted” gamer died of a sudden heart attack while playing the game.
The schoolboy – named locally as Muhammad S. – was found unresponsive by his horrified parents with the online game still playing on his mobile phone.
Following Muhammad’s death, Egypt’s Al-Azhar body, the highest religious institution in the country, has issued a fatwa – or religious ruling – banning PUBG.
Clerics have told parents to monitor children around the clock, check what mobile apps they use, and encourage sports and studying over online gaming.
Muhammad’s parents told local media they had found him “asleep with his mobile phone open to the game PUBG” after he had been playing the game for hours, but couldn’t wake him.
The youngster was rushed to hospital in his Mediterranean home of Port Said, around 120 miles north east of Cairo, but medics were unable to save his life.
'ADDICTED' TO THE GAME
Officials from the Al-Salam hospital’s Emergency Department confirmed the boy had died before reaching hospital.
The coroner’s preliminary examination attributed the cause of death to cardiac arrest from a sudden increase in blood pressure due to being overweight, according to local media.
Muhammad was “addicted” to playing the game PUBG, an initial investigation into his death on Sunday noted.
The game PUBG – or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – has become notorious across the world after numerous bans in countries including Jordan, Iraq, India and Pakistan, where a month-long suspension has now been lifted.
But despite the official restriction on playing the game, PUBG is currently the second-most downloaded game in Egypt’s version of Apple’s iOS app store, according to the Al-Ahram newspaper.
The multiplayer game is massively popular in its mobile app version, with hundreds of millions of downloads around the globe.
But some politicians and religious clerics claim it is violent and addictive, and part of a campaign against the Arab region.
The game sparked controversy in Egypt after a 59-year-old chemistry teacher was stabbed to death at her home in 2018 by 16-year-old student Seif El-Din who claimed PUBG made him commit the crime.
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And in March last year, a 14-year-old Egyptian boy stabbed his friend in a fight over the game.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Pakistani teen Mohammad Zakarya committed suicide in June after he “missed the mission assigned to him while playing PUBG”, senior police officer Ghazanfar Syed told the New Indian Express.
In a lighter side to the game, Egyptian pharmacists Nourhan Al-Hashish and Mohammed Riad Mohammed announced their engagement last year on Twitter after meeting while playing the battle royale game.