The Rumors Are Wrong… For Now…
Up until today, media speculation on a Saudi Arabian Pokemon Go ban has been strong. But it’s false. In a statement by the Ministry of Culture and Information, it was declared that the The Council of Senior Religious Scholars had denied that it issued a new fatwa on the ultra-popular Augmented Reality game.
The media reported this as the Saudi government had banned the original Pokemon trading card game in 2001. This was because of it being “un-Islamic”, promoting gambling and evolution, as well as showing Zionist symbolism. The Muslim clerics began to fear that Pokemon could be a conspiracy to “brainwash” children into converting into Judaism or Christianity. This was due to similarities between some Pokemon cards and other religious symbolism.
Would There Be a Saudi Arabian Pokemon Go Ban?
So would there be a ban? At first it seemed like there would. But now? Apparently not… Yet. The game has changed a lot from the humble beginnings of the cards and games. The senior Islamic council has not made any promises, however. Would there be a Saudi Arabian Pokemon Go ban? There were no indications either way. The only thing said was that this would require a new ruling. This is because, again, it has evolved so much from the old game, and a lot of time has passed.
Saudi Arabia is also worried about playing Pokemon in restricted places. This is similar to sentiments in the west. Pokemon Go has been under fire after people played the game in Holocaust memorials, at the original 9/11 site, and military headquarters. And Muslims? Likely even more strict. The people who were caught playing Pokemon Go in a cemetery received a stern warning. Playing Pokemon Go and pointing a phone at a mosque? That could result in more violent consequences. Perhaps an arrest. Who knows.
Whether or not it was banned, the game still isn’t available in Saudi Arabia yet. As with other countries, players have found a way to get the game on their phones. But for now, it will remain a hot topic. The thousands of trainers will soon learn their fate. Catch ’em all, or caught in jail? Only time will tell.