Saudi Denies Fatwa on Pokemon GO

RIYADH – Religious authorities in Saudi Arabia denied on Thursday, July 21, the renewal of a 15-year-old edict declaring that the Pokemon game was un-Islamic, adding the old fatwa made no mention of the mobile game.

“The Council of Senior Religious Scholars denied that it issued a new fatwa about the Pokemon game, and the media reports of that are not accurate,” said Abdulmohsen Alyas, undersecretary for international communication and media at the Ministry of Culture and Information, Reuters reported.

“We ask international media to call the ministry to verify information for their reports.”

Users of the Pokemon Go game walk around their real-life neighborhoods in search of scores of “pocket monsters”, which emerge superimposed on the phone screen via its camera.

Nintendo’s augmented reality app has become an instant hit globally, almost doubling the market value of the Japanese game-maker.

The 2001 fatwa said the Pokemon card game contained elements prohibited by Islamic law such as gambling.

The announcement rejected claims in media reports that scholars extended the old fatwa to cover Pokemon Go this week after receiving a number of questions about the game.

Saudi authorities added the social media reports were unfounded.

Similar reports were echoed in Indonesia after the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country’s top Muslim clerical body, said it made no formal statement on Pokemon GO.