Pokemon: Banned then GO !!!

Like many around the world, Pokémon won the hearts of Arab fans when it first came out in the late 1990s.

But the relationship began to be slightly awkward when some Muslim clerics accused the cartoon of being a “Zionist conspiracy” and dubbed it as “un-Islamic.”

Back then, some Muslim clerics, among them Qatar-based Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, described the cartoon’s games and cards as “time-consuming” and “psychologically unhealthy” for children.

Despite a fatwa (religious edict) that recommended a ban on the “un-Islamic” Pokémon cartoon and game in 2001, its popularity in the Arab world has endured – as seen with the “Pokémon Go” game now sweeping the region.

The mobile-gaming hit, which was only released last week, has added $9 billion worth of market value to Nintendo in just a few days and is trending in Dubai, Lebanon and Qatar on Twitter with 2.3 million tweets at the time of writing.

The free smartphone app places creatures and items in real locations in search for hidden Pokémons. It became the top grossing app in the iPhone app store just days after its Wednesday release in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Arab gamers are now taking to the streets in search of digital monsters in the real world.

Fans in Dubai are running around the city, eyes glued to their phones, in a bid to catch the virtual Pokemons. Meanwhile downtown Lebanon last night witnessed people hunting for the fantasy characters.

Post originally appeared in : Alarabiya

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