I am not making this up.

This weekend, the collectable card game Pokemon was banned in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic country's highest religious authority, the Higher Committee for Scientific (sic) Research and Islamic Law has issued a fatwa prohibiting the game.

Their reasons: Pokemon has "possessed the minds" of children, promotes Zionism, Freemasonry, and non-Islamic religions, and involves gambling.

The edict claims that the cards contain religious symbols such as the Star of David (symbol of Freemasonry and "international Zionism"), the Christian cross, and Shinto symbols. Thus the cards promote non-Islamic religions and polytheism. Nintendo denies the cards contain religious symbolism.

The fatwa also claims that the collectable and competitive aspects of the card game promote gambling.

Plenty of schools in the US and elsewhere have banned the game, and some Christian groups have attacked the game, but Saudi Arabia is probably the first entire country to ban it.

Especially offensive was the Satanic Verses pack, featuring the Pokemon Rushdiazard in a variety of scenes offensive to Islam. Okay, okay, I made that last sentence up, but the rest of it is true.

Source: today's AP wire

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