UPDATE: Saudi Arabia has just denied that it has revived the religious ruling against Pokemon Go.
Seemingly out of the blue, a fatwa has been issued on Pokemon Go, due to it violating Islamic teachings, and a local preacher backs this up.
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that lets you travel and capture Pokemon but has been deemed “dangerous” because the game apparently has betting elements and rewarded gamers for capturing Pokemon.
Which apparently could lead to addiction, as told to Berita Harian by Sharhrizan Daud at-Turabi; an inspirational trainer and television programme host.
“Pokemon Go endangers the life of a person as there are reports stating that people entered restricted areas just to catch a Pokemon monster,” he was quoted as saying.
This isn’t the first time that the popular franchise has garnered condemnation from a religion. Just recently a US based Christian Pastor, Rick Wiles, condemned the game saying:
“These Pokémon creatures are like virtual cyber-demons. I believe this thing is a magnet for demonic powers.”
While we cannot speak for any religion, we can say that some caution ought to be taken when playing Pokemon GO as the game has caused its share of mishaps. In Bosnia there were reports that gamers were walking into landmine areas and in the US, a driver slammed into a parked police patrol car because he was playing the game while driving.
In our neighboring Indonesia, police officers have been ordered not to play the game on their phones because it might lead to national security issues.
The fatwa on the other hand, was issued because it claimed the game preaches polytheism, which is the belief of worshipping more than one God.
Pokemon Go still isn’t available in most Asian countries, but with dedicated servers going up recently, it shouldn’t be too long til we get to play it ourselves.