Egypt’s religious and governmental body Dar Al-Iftaa posted a YouTube video on their official page declaring the ‘Blue Whale’ video game as forbidden by Islam, after the game caused controversy for reportedly influencing players around the world, including a young Egyptian man, to take their own lives.
In the video, a Dar Al-Iftaa representative appears saying, “the game, called the ‘Blue Whale’, has many elements that make it haram [religiously forbidden].”
“If someone wants to participate they have to draw a whale on their hand with a knife or a sharp object, take a photo and send it to the game’s organizers. So the player begins with a series of challenges including watching horror movies and violent experiences to the point where the game asks them to commit suicide.”
The Dar Al-Iftaa representative then explains that the game gives the player several choices in how to perform their suicide, either by: hanging oneself, stabbing oneself with a knife, or jumping from a window. The alternative to suicide is to kill one of the player’s family members.
“The game threatens that if the player does not do this, they will expose their secrets which they obtained through different levels of the game,” explains the Dar Al-Iftaa video.
The video speaker concludes, “after studies and research into the game we say that it is a filthy game and causes harm. So we deem that it is forbidden. It is forbidden to play it and we ask our youth to spend their time in something that is productive for them and their society.”
“I ask God to protect us and protect our societies from harm,” the speaker goes on.
In addition to Dar Al-Iftaa, the game has caused controversy in Egyptian parliament after MP Sherif al-Wardany called on the Minister of Communications and Information Technology to ban the game.
“Recently there have been a lot of game apps that penetrate users’ data, that are also encouraging them to hurt themselves and hurt others,” al-Wardany said as he submitted his request on Wednesday.
The outrage for the Blue Whale game in Egypt come in wake of the death of 18-year-old Khalid Al-Fakharany, son of former Egyptian MP Hamdy al-Fakharany, who was discovered dead in his room along with notes and diagrams on a piece of paper. The victim’s older siblings them took to social media, warning people about the Blue Whale game, which they blamed for their brother’s death.
Yasmine al-Fakharany, Khalid’s sister, said “my brother was playing ‘Blue Whale’, […] We found papers and symbols of the game among his belongings.”
The game has also been blamed for causing deaths all around the world.
At least 130 people have been killed by the game in Russia between November 2015 and April 2016, reported investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Blue Whale was invented by 21-year-old former psychology student Philipp Budeikin, who was expelled after inventing the game. He said the aim of the game was to weed-out people with no value from society, targeting the weak.