Saudi Arabia’s top clerics have used an official site to remind followers about a 2001 fatwa against Pokémon, following the release of the mobile application Pokémon Go.
The 2001 edict, placed as the top story on an official clerical website, states that the Pokémon card game violates Islamic law due to its references to evolution and its use of “the symbols and logos of devious religions and organizations” and other “forbidden images.”
The new attention drawn to the fatwa led many to believe that the directive was new or had been renewed, but in an interview with Reuters a Saudi official said there was no change in the status of the fatwa
“The Council of Senior Religious Scholars denied that it issued a new fatwa about the Pokémon game, and the media reports of that are not accurate,” Abdulmohsen Alyas, undersecretary for international communication and media at the Ministry of Culture and Information, told the news service.
While no new fatwa has been issued, a link to the 2001 fatwa against the Pokémon game appears as the top post on homepage of the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta’s website. The opinion is absent from the homepage of the committee’s english language website.
The news follows Kuwait’s Interior Ministry warning Pokémon fanatics last week to avoid playing the augmented reality video game at mosques, shopping centers, malls and oil installations. In Egypt, Hamdi Bakheet, a member of the committee of defense and national security, said the game might be used for espionage by Egypt’s enemies, the Times of Israel reports.
Update: The original version of this story incorrectly described the status of the anti-Pokémon fatwa.