Saudi Issues 'Fatwa' Against Pokemon

"Pokémon has possessed the minds of a large chunk of our students, captivated their hearts and became their preoccupation," the edict read. "[They] spend all their money to buy the cards and compete with each other to win more."

For Pokemon players, the ultimate goal is to win as many cards as possible, but this can only be achieved after juggling a cast of 151 characters through a complicated structure of points that can best be achieved by clever trading.

The Pokémon craze has come to grip the Arab world. On March 22, Pokémon Live, a stage production based on the world of Pokémon played to packed audiences during a shopping festival in Dubai.

Across the Gulf, merchandise, not always produced by Nintendo affiliates, sport Pokémon characters.

A Pokemon official told The Associated Press that the lack of licensed sales outlets or representatives in Saudi Arabia made it difficult to get information on Pokémon's reach in the Gulf state.

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