Recently, a leading Islamic cleric Abbas Shuman, deputy head of the Al-Azhar Islamic institution, had described the popular augmented reality game as ““a ‘harmful mania’ which was similar to drinking alcohol.”
Saudi religious authorities had pased a decree in 2001 effectivly banning Pokemon cards and other paraphernalia when it was becoming a craze among youngsters in the Gulf Arab region.
The Nintendo game which was first launched in 1006 forms the basis of the new Pokemon Go, which lets players wander outside hunting for hidden ‘pocket monsters’ or Pokemons. The game has become the most downloaded product in world history.
According to Saudi religious officials, the game was similar to gambling and carried symbols of ‘deviant’ religions. These, according to reports, were pointed out as representing “international Zionism and Israel, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, Christian crosses, Freemasonry, and symbols from Japan’s native Shinto religion,” all unacceptable in Islam. – CINEWS