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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Saudi Clerics Issue Fatwa Against "Masonic" Pokemon GO

Today's online edition of The National, an English language publication from the United Arab Emirates, features a report that a group of top Saudi clerics have issued a fatwa (or rather, extended an existing one from 2001) against Muslims playing the inexplicably popular time wasting game, Pokemon GO

Because, you see,  among other things, it's "Masonic."

First issued in 2001 when Pokemon was played with cards, the decree says the game violates Islamic prohibitions against gambling, uses devious Masonic-like symbols and promotes “forbidden images". The fatwa has reappeared in a ticker on the home page of the kingdom’s portal for official religious decrees.
Sheikh Saleh Al Fozan, a member of the kingdom’s ultraconservative council of senior clerics, said the current version of the game is the same as the old one.
The edict notes that a six-pointed star in the game, for example, is associated with the state of Israel and that certain triangular symbols hold important meanings for the Freemasonry. Crosses in the game are a symbol of Christianity, while other symbols are associated with polytheism, says the edict.
The game is popular in the Middle East and many gamers have downloaded the app though it’s not been officially released regionally.
A senior official at Egypt’s Al Azhar, the pre-eminent seat of Sunni scholarship in the Muslim world, has also spoken out against the game. Al Azhar undersecretary Abbas Shumman said users can lose their sense of reality and endanger themselves while playing, adding that a “manic attachment to technology" can also make people forgetful toward worship and prayer.
Other articles from Middle Eastern countries have condemned the game's "Pokestops" that appear in mosques. There's been no shortage of inappropriate locations that maniacal players have been led to, including the interior of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. 

Freemasons all over the world have been reportedly discovering "Pokestops" in their lodge buildings, and many have expressed unbridled excitement that swarms of complete strangers have suddenly shown up on their doorsteps without knowing (or caring) exactly where they were. I suspect some grand lodge committee somewhere is now industriously working up an official protocol for answering questions about the fraternity and seeing to it that petitions are thrust into oblivious players' hands before they can rush out the door in search of their next Pokestop (or get promptly plowed into by an unobservant Uber driver).


  1. You seriously can't make this crap up LOL

  2. The Grand Lodge of Maine building in Holden is a PokeStop - but apparently it's only our SIGN. Inside the building yesterday it said I was too far away to 'catch 'em all'. Already folks are wandering around on the grass out in front.

  3. I went to lodge last night and discovered that our building, (Audubon Park Masonic Temple), is one the PokeStops as well. --Christopher Tiplady, Spokane Lodge no 34.

  4. This is too hysterical. I was Raised in Idaho at Ashlar #29 and almost 4 years ago my Brothers in Boise introduced me to the game Ingress. Ingress is the augmented reality precursor to Pokémon Go. Their stories are vastly unrelated but in Ingress the players submitted portals for us to play with. The Grand Lodge of Idaho is a portal as well as many lodges in the state. I personally submitted several lodges as portals which were approved here [I now live in MA]. The kicker? When picking my agent name for the Enlightened team I picked Jubalum! Agents playing the game can see that my lodge (Universal Lodge, Orleans, MA) was created by Jubalum!
    In fact, any time you see a pokéstop remember that Ingress is the reason it's there.
    As for the fatwa, it has some valid points. "Users can lose their sense of reality and endanger themselves while playing, adding that a 'manic attachment to technology' can also make people forgetful toward worship and prayer", as said by Al Azhar undersecretary Abbas Shumman.
    Yes, both games can become life consuming. Pokémon is more dangerous as players are looking down while walking to find pokémon whereas in Ingress we just use portals and have the ability to have the game tell us how far away we are from the portal. This allows us to look forward with the phone in our pocket and have it audibly announce how close you are in meters; making it much safer. As for keeping people away from church, not me. My church has two portals, one of which is a pokéstop! LOL

  5. I'm down at my local Temple a few times a week and it has been interesting to see the various groups wander by as they play the game. The Temple itself isn't a stop but we have three within 100 yards so we're pretty popular.

    No one has approached us yet but we don't hide the fact that we are in the building - we even turn the lights on!

    I do have to admit, the family is having a good time with it and we've gone out as a group to go "Pokehunting." It's nice to be able to do something with my teenagers in public, something they don't often want to do, and other players are generally sociable and interesting to talk to.

  6. Damn, they caught us again. Well, back to the old tressleboard for our next nafarious plot. I forgot my black cloak and lantern. Anyone have a spare I can use?

  7. Haha, I hope this wasn't in response to my post http://www.ryanmercer.com/ryansthoughts/2016/7/11/pokmon-go-funded-by-the-cia which when shared on facebook for the first week was, for some reason, using a preview image of the square and compass which was in the footer of my site at one point. I only believe it might be because out of more than more than 200k unique views, a few percent were from various 'middle eastern' countries including the kingdoms of the UAE. My bad guys!

  8. There are no shortage of Christian clergy they have made some crazy declarations about Freemasonry and harmless forms of entertainment. I've heard the Harry Potter books denounced as a Masonic plot to promote Satan. Is it really necessary for us to go out of our way to mock Muslim clergy who do this? It doesn't promote cultural understanding. Why don't we just ignore like we generally do with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule us?

    Dave Brown.


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