Pokemon Go catches a ban as Saudi Arabia renews fatwa against Nintendo game

Jake Cordell
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Stop: Saudi Arabia's top religious lawyers don't like Pokemon Go
Stop: Saudi Arabia's top religious lawyers don't like Pokemon Go (Source: Getty)

Saudi Arabia's top religious authority has slammed hit app Pokemon Go, arguing the game is un-Islamic as it renewed a 15-year old fatwa banning all forms of the Pokemon game.

Saleh al-Fawzan, a leading Islamic legal expert and member of the Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta, the body tasked by the Saudi royal family to interpret and make judgments in Islamic law, has reportedly said a 2001 ruling against the original Pokemon card game applies just as much to the new app version, Pokemon Go.

The original fatwa, issued in response to the growing popularity of the card game, said Pokemon made a number of "religious violations", such as promoting the theory of evolution, advocating gambling and using the symbols and logos of a number of "devious religions and organisation."

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"Accordingly, the Committee decides that this game, earnings gained through it, its sale or purchase are all prohibited. ... The Committee also recommends that every Muslim should be careful of this game and prevent his children from playing in," the fatwa declares.

The game has been an instant success for creators Nintendo, whose share price doubled in the weeks after Pokemon Go was launched.

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