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Saudi Arabia Revives 15-Year-Old Ban On 'Zionism-Promoting' Pokemon (timesofisrael.com) 328

An anonymous reader writes: Clerics in Saudi Arabia have renewed a 15-year-old ban on Pokemon, following the release of the highly popular augmented reality version of the game, Pokemon Go. According to Reuters, the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars reaffirmed a 2001 ban on the game. The Times of Israel reports: "While fatwa no. 21,758 makes no mention of the latest iteration of [the] game, it does list many sinful aspects of Pokemon. Firstly, the game is seen as a form of gambling, which itself is forbidden. Secondly, it encourages belief in Darwin's theory of evolution, and thirdly, the fatwa says, the symbols used in the game promote the Shinto religion of Japan, Christianity, Freemasonry and 'global Zionism.'" The ruling says: "The symbols and logos of devious religions and organizations are used [including] the six-pointed star: You rarely find a card that does not contain such a star. It is associated with Judaism, the logo and sign of the State of Israel, and the first symbol of the Masonry organizations in the world." Pokemon Go has been such a success that it has already doubled Nintendo's stock price after launching just two weeks ago.
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Saudi Arabia Revives 15-Year-Old Ban On 'Zionism-Promoting' Pokemon

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Are they trying to keep us from the Rare Desert Pokemon?

  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:01PM (#52550869) Homepage

    I read this and I'm just shaking my head at how incredibly ludicrous every word in that statement was.

    If it weren't for the fact that millions of people live under the oppression of this sort of thinking, it would actually be funny.

    When will these people finally join the 21st century and stop basing their entire lives around this bullshit?

    • When will these people finally join the 21st century and stop basing their entire lives around this bullshit?

      Their whole society and all their peers will ostracize them when they live in such a religious society. You're right, though. It's what's needed.

      • by Copid ( 137416 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @12:52AM (#52551827)
        Here's something I've often wondered: If you have a custom of throwing people who don't believe in the volcano god into a volcano, how long will it take after everybody stops believing in the volcano god for somebody to ask, "So do we all really still believe this stuff?"

        I'm thinking it might be a pretty long time.
        • by nikkipolya ( 718326 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @01:34AM (#52551939)

          Very true. It is the fear of the consequences of non-conformity that makes people conform. And seeing bright people conforming, turns the dumb into fanatics. Its a vicious loop.
          I would have modded you up, but I do not have mod points.

          • by Copid ( 137416 )
            I think of this a lot when I hear about atheism really "catching on." I wonder what percentage of the population has always thought the whole thing was nonsense and never wanted to spend the social capital (or the time in prison, depending on the culture) to say anything about it. That's why I can't really get all riled up about the "militant atheists" who supposedly mess everything up. The key service they offer is to provide cover to atheists to be honest about not believing.

            It's also just like ga
        • by h33t l4x0r ( 4107715 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @04:32AM (#52552365)
          Galileo's ideas took 200 years or so to catch on. Assuming the same for Darwin, we should be seeing some movement in the next 30-40 years.
          • by Empiric ( 675968 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @09:17AM (#52553365)

            I assume you mean Copernicus' ideas, and that you're excluding Galileo's ideas of God's existence, which he never repudiated.

            And that you're excluding that the same Catholicism has accepted evolution for a long time now.

            But other than that.

        • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @08:43AM (#52553175)
          I've often heard the following related, occasionally to point out the absurdity of corporate policy. There are several versions, but here's one I found from a quick Google search: [proliberty.com]

          It happened that there were three monkeys in a cage. Suspended at the top if the cage was a bunch of bananas. There was a ladder from the floor of the cage up to the bananas. One of the monkeys, who was both clever and agile and also liked bananas, decided to head up the ladder to grab a banana.

          Imagine his surprise (not to mention that of the other two monkeys) when suddenly a fire hose washed down the cage, blasting all three monkeys over to one side. Cold and shivering, the three monkeys regrouped and thought about what had happened.

          Monkeys don’t have a real long memory and, after awhile, a second monkey thought again about the bananas and headed up the ladder. Same thing—a fire hose washed all three monkeys over to the side of the cage. They picked themselves up, shook themselves off and hoped the sun would come out to warm them up.

          After another couple of hours, the third monkey couldn’t resist and he went for it. Sure enough, same result—fire hose and cold, wet, miserable monkeys.

          Finally, all three monkeys became convinced that going for the bananas was a bad idea, and went on with the rest of their lives.

          Then the zookeeper drafted one of the monkeys for another exhibit and replaced him with a new monkey. The new monkey arrived, looked up at the bananas, looked over at the ladder and couldn’t figure out why the other monkeys hadn’t gone for the bananas. He headed for the ladder and got about 1 rung up when the remaining "experienced" monkeys tackled him, dragged him to the floor and pummeled him into submission. He quickly concluded that climbing the ladder wasn’t a good idea.

          A week later, the zookeeper replaced the second monkey. Monkeys are somewhat single-minded. The new monkey spied the bananas, headed for the ladder, and the remaining two monkeys tackled him and pummeled him into submission.

          Finally the third monkey was replaced and, you guessed it, the same thing happened. So life went on among the monkeys and after some time the first of the "new" monkeys was replaced with yet another monkey. Sure enough, the new guy saw the bananas, went for the ladder and his two peers then tackled him and beat him into submission.

          Why was that? None of these monkeys knew anything about the fire hose. None of them had ever gotten wet for having climbed the ladder in the quest for bananas. Yet the monkeys had been fully culturalized to know that it was a bad idea. And you could likely go on individually replacing monkeys one at a time forever and expect the same result.

          The Parable of the Monkeys can be readily applied to just about every organizational community structure in the human sphere. We can laugh at the silly monkeys, but humans are the only creatures on Earth capable of amassing and arming themselves to fight and die by the tens and hundreds of thousands because another human claims yet another human is building firehoses to keep all the bananas for himself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They can't join the 21st century because their entire culture is rooted in bronze age bullshit.

      They should have been cut off from modern society completely and eventually forgotten.

      But of course, when we are beholden to petroleum companies, the sick and degenerate middle east gets a seat at the table.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      Only good news is that this reaction is clearly borne out of fear: they're worried of losing their grasp, that the rest of the world will seep in and reveal how completely retarded their religious laws actually are. A religion assured of its dominance over the population wouldn't need to suppress that sort of thing, for they would trust their followers to remain loyal to the creed.
      • Yes, indeed. They've recognized our Weapons of Mass Cultural Destruction for what they are, the way Western Civilization will bring them down once and for all.
        • capitalism, as practiced by the US, is going to cause the end of the US.

          and you know, I wish our kind of capitalism on ALL OF THEM over there in the islamic countries.

          what... should we be the only ones suffering in this world?

          (lol)

    • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @01:40AM (#52551953)

      This is an attitude in many Christian circles as well. We're talking 21st century Christians in Murica, the same people that condemned D&D and Harry Potter. Plenty of them in Europe as well though not so prominent.

      http://www.charismanews.com/op... [charismanews.com]

      • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @03:15AM (#52552181)

        You'll find some folks in just about every religion that are wound waaay too tight and see the devil in everything. The rest enjoy their games and movies like everyone else.

      • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @09:31AM (#52553445)

        False equivalencies. What percentage of global Christianity believes that Pokemon is evil versus what percentage of global Islam is under Sharia law and/or believes that Pokemon is evil AND that women are second class citizens?

        By the way... you know that when you use words like "Murica" you automatically lose any argument with an adult, right?

    • When the rest of the world stops enabling them and defending this shit for fear of "islamophobia"?

    • They are (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      They sound completely insane

      Haven't you noticed, muslims are often completely insane? So frequently one will attack people, saying that it is for Islam, but then everyone will say "it wasn't really, he's just insane". And there's the way that they go around murdering people n completely different countries just because someone drew a picture, made a film, or wrote a book they didn't like.

    • When will these people finally join the 21st century and stop basing their entire lives around this bullshit?

      Probably not until around the 26th century, but the rest of us will be in the 26th century then and the same question will stand.

    • It's the $CURRENT_YEAR ! :)

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:04PM (#52550879) Journal

    Israel: "Palestinian territories; gotta catch em all!"

    • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:46PM (#52551079)

      Funny thing, if the Arabs states had just let Israel be instead of trying to crush it in 1948, Israel would be a tiny bit of land that they wouldn't even notice. Instead, the whole "drive the Jews into the sea" thing kind of backfired on them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Even more irony: if the Palestinians hadn't promised rivers of blood even earlier and agreed to what the Jews offered, Israelis wouldn't even have the area of land decided on by the UN: they would have less than 30% in the very northern tip, just south of Lebanon.*

        Of course, they probably all would have been murdered just a little later.

        And to rub salt in the wound: most of the lands in Israel have ancient titles stretching back into the Ottomon period. For a very long time Jews couldn't hold it, but leadin

        • Funny thing, if an Israeli hadn't assassinated Rabin... You don't have a conflict this big without having irrational bigoted extremists on both sides.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Trying to pretend there's anything approaching moral equivalency between these two sides is simply absurd. Israel is tolerant to the point of allowing pro-hamas people to sit on the knesset, the equivalent of America having pro-ISIS senators, while even the "moderate" Fatah openly calls for total genocide and the total eradication of Israel.

            • by Boronx ( 228853 )

              It's would be the equivalent of allowing pro-confederacy senators. Which we did and still do.

              • Evidently you missed this little thing called "reconstruction". Also your metaphor sucks because there hasn't been a confederacy for over a hundred years. I chose pro-ISIS for a reason, it's a currently extant group which is actively attacking the US (and damn near everyone else for that matter).

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        2 wrongs don't make a right.

      • by Threni ( 635302 )

        I always said this about hitler and poland, saddam and kuwait etc. But people call me a fucking idiot. Something about letting evil prevail?

    • Actually, Hitler, Jews, "Gotta Catch 'em All..." [washingtonpost.com]

      There's a time and a place for everything.

  • by Mateorabi ( 108522 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:17PM (#52550935) Homepage
    Wow, such insanity. Clearly Pokémon Go is promoting a Lamarckian Theory of Evolution, not a Darwinian Theory of Evolution.
    • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @03:13AM (#52552169)

      Wow, such insanity. Clearly Pokémon Go is promoting a Lamarckian Theory of Evolution, not a Darwinian Theory of Evolution.

      We are talking about a people who don't build any buildings with triangles in them, just because the triangle is a symbol of Christianity (it represents the father, son, and holy spirit). And who ban words with the letter 'X' in them because the X resembles a cross. I don't see why we should have any expectation of rationality out of that bunch.

    • Wow, such insanity. Clearly Pokémon Go is promoting a Lamarckian Theory of Evolution, not a Darwinian Theory of Evolution.

      I think it's just the word evolution they don't like, it's clear they don't understand the concept under any guise. I wonder if they'd have called them transformations they would still have the same beef.

  • Stock price (Score:5, Funny)

    by flopsquad ( 3518045 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:28PM (#52550987)

    Pokemon Go has been such a success that it has already doubled Nintendo's stock price after launching just two weeks ago.

    Well good luck maintaining that bubble, Nintendo, now that people can't openly play Pokemon Go in Saudi Arabia. Time to start shorting NTDOY and hoarding gold.

  • I'm pretty sure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:31PM (#52550993)

    if the Middle East had their way, we would still be in the Dark Ages.

    We're gonna ban Pokemon, but it's cool to beat your wife or jail folks for "insulting" Islam and other ludicrous nonsense.

    How can a modern World leader, look them in the eye and not just bust out laughing ? How on Earth does anyone take them seriously on anything ?

    Unless they pull off a miracle, the entire Middle East will be instantly forgotten once our reliance on oil dries up.

    They really have nothing to fall back on.

    • We're gonna ban Pokemon

      "We"? Are you Saudi Arabian?

      Did you even read the fucking headline?

    • by idji ( 984038 )
      And that is why Elon Musk might win a Nobel peace prize for making oil irrelevant in Americans' lives.
  • by Nivag064 ( 904744 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @10:16PM (#52551211) Homepage

    If a Law Conflicts with Reality, then the Law brings itself into Disrepute!

  • by Early Six Digit UID ( 4308365 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @10:17PM (#52551221)
    Man, I'm glad we don't have any of that craziness here in the US...
    ...damn [erikadawson.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

      Man, I'm glad we don't have any of that craziness here in the US...

      Stop interrupting. We're trying to have our Two Minutes Hate against Muslims here. No fair bringing up our own Right Wing Conservative Theocrats.

      • Man, I'm glad we don't have any of that craziness here in the US...

        Stop interrupting. We're trying to have our Two Minutes Hate against Muslims here. No fair bringing up our own Right Wing Conservative Theocrats.

        Because a random person on the internet equates to a national government?

      • Man, I'm glad we don't have any of that craziness here in the US...

        Stop interrupting. We're trying to have our Two Minutes Hate against Muslims here. No fair bringing up our own Right Wing Conservative Theocrats.

        You seriously can't see the difference between "legislated madness" and "religious belief"?

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      Wow... just wow.

      Now understand that I clicked that link fully expecting a whole lot of religious crazy.

      And I was still not even slightly prepared for the direction it took.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        And I was still not even slightly prepared for the direction it took

        It looked to me that they were saying pokemon was evil beyond redemption for having pictures of "demons" but a self declared actual former "demon summoner" should be respected and believed without question. Beyond the far side of crazy and not what most people would even associate with the fringes of a religion.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          but a self declared actual former "demon summoner" should be respected and believed without question.

          Well, to be fair, he was able to identify all the pokemon er... poke-demon attack types, from his direct personal experience with them. How does that not command instant faith and respect?

          Beyond the far side of crazy

          To where the days have 4 corners. timecube!!

        • by dskoll ( 99328 )

          In Saudi Arabia, witchcraft is still a crime and people are actually still prosecuted for it. Just look at this weird shit [telegraph.co.uk] they do.

    • The difference is that the loonies don't run the mental institution over here.

      Not yet at least, give it a while.

    • Man, I'm glad we don't have any of that craziness here in the US... ...damn [erikadawson.com]

      There's a difference between a few randoms showing concern and a government banning on overtly religious bullshit reasons. When Obama or whichever fuckup get the job next is saying the same, then you have a point.

  • Turkey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @10:23PM (#52551253) Homepage Journal

    This is where Turkey is headed now too, after the staged coup which was used as justification for purging tens of thousands of secular leaning judges, teachers and soldiers.

    • Maybe, although that is probably the best case scenario. The main problem is Erdogan is rapidly making enemies (remember he only had a slight majority in the elections) and the more 'conspirators' he locks up, the more enemies he will make. Saudi has the advantage that it essentially keeps its population under control by giving them all lots of money. The motivation to do something about a regime that is giving you a lavish and comfortable life is much lower than to do something about one that is locking up

  • There are at least six laugh-out-loud nuggets of comedy gold in the article summary alone.
  • Remind me again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @11:02PM (#52551435)
    why we're friends with these guys? Oh yeah, cheap oil for our cars. Well I guess it's either that or the bus...
  • see Harry Potter movies because "they promote witchcraft". Yes, he was an adult and father of three sons.

    • But worshiping people nailed to crosses that die and respawn after 3 days is fine.

      Yeah, I know that kind of loony.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2016 @12:32AM (#52551769)

    Just because it has been condemned by the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars doesn't mean people won't be playing it. As I walk around Riyadh I can see many people playing Pokemon Go, so perhaps not such a big deal as some of the posters make out.

  • When anything gets popular, all the hacks come out to ride on it's bandwagon of attention.

    This must be some law of the internet, surely.

    Anyway, suck it religious leaders. For once, something has got better hypnosis powers than you have - and by that I mean Psyduck.


  • I banned Pokemon because I thought it was shit.

    I didn't even need to reach into the ether and draw parallels with it supposedly promoting Zionism.

    Fucking Pikachu, I somehow knew he was up to no good but now I have proof?

    I think a review of Zionist promoting things should be conducted so we can ban them all...although, I do wonder...

    If religious people in Saudi believe god created everything, who are they to say god does not prefer people choose to be pure rather than use the evil, Zionist promoting
  • But they aren't. We truly are the only animal smart enough to believe in fairy tales.
  • You rarely find a card that does not contain such a star. It is associated with Judaism, ...."

    Pokemon is a video game.... there are no cards....

    Also, what is the deal with countries passing Anti-Semitic laws targeting to ban the practice of Judaism?

    There should be a global embargo against such countries, which have no respect for human rights....

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