An official for the top Islamic authority in Egypt told dpa on Thursday that the mobile phone reality game Pokemon Go is "prohibited" by Islam.
Playing the game is as illicit as drinking alcohol, which is forbidden by Islam, according to Abbas Shouman, the deputy chief of al-Azhar, the world's foremost seat of Sunni Islamic learning.
"It negatively influences the mind and harms the player or others without being aware of that," Shouman said.
The al-Azhar official praised modern technology for helping people save time and effort, but added that some people become "obsessive" with it, which leads them to neglect work and worship.
Pokemon Go is not yet available in Egypt.
The game, provided by Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd. for iPhone and Android devices, has recently caused an obsession around the world.
Pokemon Go is built on Niantic's Real World Gaming Platform, using real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokemon via GPS and mobile cameras.
Pokemon Go allows a player to find and catch more than a hundred species of Pokemon while he or she explores local surroundings using a mobile phone. It sometimes lures players to go to prohibited areas to find the virtual creature and win the game.
In depth coverage
Three Saudi men were arrested while playing the popular mobile phone game Pokemon Go at an airport in the kingdom, the Saudi online newspaper Almowaten reported on Wednesday.
Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has warned players of Pokeman Go that their games may be used to detect the secretive information by foreign countries through smartphone cameras.
A Frenchman has been arrested in Indonesia for entering a military base while hunting for Pokemon, police said Tuesday.
The Israeli military has forbidden soldiers from playing the mobile phone game Pokemon Go at military bases, a spokesman said Thursday.