Leading clerics in Saudi Arabia have issued a fatwa banning Pokemon Go, saying it blasphemously promotes the theory of evolution, encourages polytheism and constitutes a form of gambling.
Although the new fatwa didn’t specifically Pokemon Go, the new augmented reality smartphone app by Nintendo, the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars said it was renewing a previous ban on Pokemon from 2001, Reuters reports.
Part of the reason the council issued a ban on the game is because it promotes evolution and also encourages “polytheism against God by multiplying the number of deities.”
Some of the symbols in the game promote Christianity, Freemasonry and global Zionism, the fatwa said. For example, the game features a six-pointed star, which the clerics think symbolizes the state of Israel. Clerics think that other triangular symbols in the game represent Freemasonry. Crosses represent Christianity.
Another reason for the ban is that Pokemon Go apparently supports gambling, which might be a reference to players’ ability to convert real money to in-game currency.
According to Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan, the new Pokemon Go game is essentially the same as the old one from 2001.
Other nearby countries have warned against the game, as well. The top Islamic authority in Egypt called Pokemon Go a “harmful mania.”
Kuwait’s Interior Ministry told its citizens not to play the game at mosques or oil facilities.
It isn’t just Pokemon Go that has attracted the anger of Islamic religious authorities. Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh said in January that chess is to be banned, since it causes players to hate each other and is otherwise a complete waste of time. Abdulaziz said chess was a “work of Satan.”
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