HUFFINGTON POST

Saudi Arabia's Top Clerical Body Renews Its Fatwa Against Pokemon

The fatwa didn't mention the hit new Pokemon Go game.
The creatures in Pokemon give rise to blasphemy by promoting the theory of natural evolution, according to a fatwa
The creatures in Pokemon give rise to blasphemy by promoting the theory of natural evolution, according to a fatwa against the game.

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s top clerical body has renewed a 15-year-old edict that the Pokemon game franchise is un-Islamic, Saudi media said on Wednesday, although the fatwa made no mention of the successful new Pokemon GO mobile game.

Nintendo’s augmented reality app, in which players walk around real-life neighborhoods to hunt and catch virtual cartoon characters on their smartphone screens, has become an instant hit around the world.

The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars said it had revived a 2001 decree against a Pokemon card game in response to queries from believers.

The Council argued that the mutations of the creatures in the game, who are given specific powers, amounted to blasphemy by promoting the theory of natural evolution.

“It is shocking that the word ‘evolution’ has been much on the tongues of children,” the fatwa read.

In this Sept. 9, 2010 file photo, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and head of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, She
In this Sept. 9, 2010 file photo, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and head of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik, prays at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque.

It also said the game contained other elements prohibited by Islamic law, including “polytheism against God by multiplying the number of deities, and gambling, which God has forbidden in the Quran and likened to wine and idols”.

The fatwa added that symbols used in the game promoted Japan’s Shinto religion, Christianity, Freemasonry and “global Zionism”.

In conservative Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s two holiest sites, cinemas are banned and women’s sports are discouraged as promoting sin.

The pre-Islamic era is dismissed as the age of ignorance and its relics are deemed ungodly, and some clerics even see patriotism as tantamount to idolatry.

Users of the game walk around their real-life neighborhoods in search of scores of “pocket monsters”, which emerge superimposed on the phone screen via the camera.

Middle Eastern states are often wary of social media use by their growing youth populations, and authorities in Kuwait and Egypt have already warned that players might be tempted to point their smartphones at restricted locations such as royal palaces, mosques, oil facilities or military bases.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
7 Places Not To Play Pokemon Go
CONVERSATIONS