Salafi-Jihadis Condemn Update To PUBG Video Game As Part Of Western Conspiracy To Lure Muslims To Idolatry

June 15, 2020

On May 31, 2020, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), a battle royale video game created by a South Korean company and launched in 2017, which is popular throughout the Arab world, including among jihadis, unveiled an update to the game in which players can "pray" to a totem to obtain weapons and other goods. Soon after the update was announced, many Muslims, including jihadis, objected to what they perceived as idol worship and started a social media campaign urging fellow Muslims to delete the game. On June 4, PUBG announced that it had removed the totem and apologized to Muslim players.[1] Yet despite PUBG's removal of the feature that had caused such offense to Muslims, some jihadis were still not satisfied and continued to attack the game, claiming that its creators were part of a plot to spread idolatry among Muslim youth. It should be noted that jihadi clerics, such as Syria-based, Saudi-born 'Abdallah Al-Muhaysini, have issued fatwas which forbid playing PUBG, claiming that it involves such "sins" as interacting with members of the opposite sex and viewing images of immodestly dressed women and is a waste of time. Al-Muhaysini was also one of the leading figures behind the recent campaign urging Muslims to delete the game. Some jihadis, including supporters of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, have condemned Al-Muhaysini and other clerics for devoting so much attention to PUBG and ignoring more pressing issues affecting the jihad in Syria.


Screenshot from a video clip distributed by PUBG shows a player's avatar bowing to a totem in an update to the game.

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[1] Twitter.com/PUBGMOBILE_ARB, June 4, 2020.

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