Following Indonesia's ban and issuance of a 'national security threat', Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia's top clerical body has renewed a 15-year-old edict that the Pokemon game franchise is un-Islamic.
Having tumbled almost 13% overnight - after its meteoric 'double' in the last 8 days - it appears Nintendo's new game is coming under increasing scrutiny... (as Reuters notes)
Although the fatwa made no mention of the successful new Pokemon GO mobile game, Nintendo's augmented reality app, in which players walk around real-life neighborhoods to hunt and catch virtual cartoon characters on their smartphone screens, has prompted The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars said it had revived a 2001 decree against a Pokemon card game in response to queries from believers.
The Council argued that the mutations of the creatures in the game, who are given specific powers, amounted to blasphemy by promoting the theory of natural evolution.
"It is shocking that the word 'evolution' has been much on the tongues of children," the fatwa read.
It also said the game contained other elements prohibited by Islamic law, including "polytheism against God by multiplying the number of deities, and gambling, which God has forbidden in the Quran and likened to wine and idols".
The fatwa added that symbols used in the game promoted Japan's Shinto religion, Christianity, Freemasonry and "global Zionism".
The pre-Islamic era is dismissed as the age of ignorance and its relics are deemed ungodly, and some clerics even see patriotism as tantamount to idolatry.
Middle Eastern states are often wary of social media use by their growing youth populations, and authorities in Kuwait and Egypt have already warned that players might be tempted to point their smartphones at restricted locations such as royal palaces, mosques, oil facilities or military bases.