Pokemon Go has officially only been released in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, yet players in the Middle East have gained access (Gulf News). Changing their phones’ location settings, players in Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have been able to download the game (Breitbart). Despite a 2001 fatwa still in effect against Pokemon as an un-Islamic and Zionist symbol, people in the Arab world have fully embraced the game (Washington Post). The majority of concern from authorities has related to physical harm from the game (Washington Post).
In Dubai, Emirati authorities are concerned with the dangers of player distraction, which includes players wandering into traffic and being hit by cars (The National). Shivam Manghani, 24, said he walked into a stop sign as he was trying to catch a Pokemon (Gulf News). In Qatar, over 100 degree Fahrenheit heat has authorities encouraging players to hydrate and has expanded the use of the app at night (Breitbart). There have been complaints that Pokestops located at mosques have detracted players from prayer (Doha News). However, some Muslims have reported using such stops as an opportunity to promote religion and introduce others to Islam (Breitbart).
Tags: Islam, Middle East, UAE, Lisowski, Qatar, Pokemon Go, video game