Saudi Arabia’s top Islamic clerics have renewed a prior religious edict or fatwa that warns against playing Pokemon in order to expressly denounce the playing of the wildly popular mobile phone application Pokemon Go as UnIslamic and evil. This will come as a shock to my kids and their cousins who recently coerced me to drive around the neighborhood to bag a few Pokemon (while correctly me that it is not pronounced “pokeMAN.”) One would have hoped that with Sunni following the Saudi Wahhabi sect beheading people and enslaving girls, Pokemon Go would seem fairly low on the list of “to do” subjects for clerics.
Nevertheless, the clerics have previously focused on Pokemon as evil and said that the cards constituted a form of gambling, uses devious Masonic-like symbols and promotes “forbidden images”. No, this is not a joke or a spoof. This is the leading group of clerics in Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan, a member of the kingdom’s powerful council of senior clerics, reaffirmed the fatwa and the inherent evil represented by Pokemon. By the way, one of the things noted by the clerics with greatest concern is that a six-pointed star appears in the game — which they note is similar to that of Israel. They also noted the appearance of a few crosses suggesting Christianity as well as symbols that they deemed reflective of polytheism or freemasonry.
Other clerics have joined in the campaign against Pokemon. Senior Egyptian clerics at Egypt’s Al-Azhar has denounced the game, including Al-Azhar under-secretary Abbas Shumman who trick children to lose their sense of reality and create a “manic attachment to technology.” Kuwaiti clerics have also denounced the game. Clerics have encouraged parents to punish their children and reward them for rejecting the “antiIslamic” influence.
Of course, there is another possibility that this is just a kid’s game and the clerics are extremists obsessed with stamping out the influence of other religions and see any popular non-religious activity as a threat to their control. Either that or Pokemon is a Zionist-Christian-Free Mason- Polytheist cult conspiracy designed to supplant Islam. You choose.