Pokémon Go Banned by Saudi ‘Fatwa’

    20 July, 2016

    Saudi Arabia's top religious officials decided there is no place for Pokémon Go in the Arab kingdom.

    The officials made their ruling in a Fatwa, or a finding of Islamic law.

    The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars said Pokémon is not consistent with Islamic law, according to Reuters. The news agency reported that the religious leaders said Pokémon promotes the theory of natural evolution.

    People look at their smartphones as they play
    People look at their smartphones as they play "Pokemon Go" in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesian authorities banned the playing of "Pokemon Go" from the presidential palace on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

    Pokémon Go is a popular game in many places around the world. It lets players "evolve" their captured Pokémon characters. That means players can make the characters bigger and stronger by using points they earn by playing the game.

    The Saudi religious ruling was a renewal of a 2001 Fatwa against the Pokémon card game.

    Pokémon Go uses Google Maps and a smartphone. The Pokémon characters can be collected using a phone's camera, map and location tracker.

    Pokémon Go has been a big hit in the United States and other countries. But not everyone likes it.

    In Indonesia, officials banned people from playing the Pokémon Go game at the presidential palace.

    "This is the office of the president, not a playground," said a palace spokesman. That comment was reported by the Associated Press.

    Also in Indonesia, police briefly held a French citizen after he walked onto a military base while hunting for Pokémon characters.

    The website GeekWire reported that Boeing banned employees from using Pokémon Go at work.

    GeekWire reported that a Boeing employee got a little too excited playing Pokémon Go and was almost injured.

    Company spokesman Charles Bickers told VOA the company has banned employees from walking and using a mobile device at the same time on Boeing property. That has been a rule at Boeing since 2014, he said.

    The rule is designed to avoid distractions that can lead to people falling, Bickers said.

    The company has also banned employees from downloading third party apps onto company mobile devices.

    He said "the buzz around Pokémon," has let Boeing "talk to our employees and reinforce our strong safety focus."

    I'm Jill Robbins.

    Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by Reuters and other information. Mario Ritter was the editor.

    We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on 51VOA.COM. If you play the game, let us know if you are worried about getting carried away and possibly getting hurt.


    Words in This Story

    consistent -- adj. always acting or behaving in the same way

    evolution -- n. a theory that the differences between modern plants and animals are because of changes that happened by a natural process over a very long time

    promote -- v. to help (something) happen, develop, or increase

    distraction -- n. something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention

    app -- n. a program added to a phone or computer

    buzz -- n. the things that are being said about something

    reinforce -- v. to encourage or give support to an idea, rule or behavior