Pokémon mania near Holy Kaaba slammed

Updated 28 July 2016
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Pokémon mania near Holy Kaaba slammed

MAKKAH: Even the holiest of all places is not spared by the Pokémon Go craze. The mobile game has taken the fight between its characters to the Holy Kaaba, and points of collection are being found on the gates of the Grand Mosque.
Opinions are rife about the game saying it is a violation of the sanctity of the Grand Mosque in particular and all other mosques, because some of its characters are inside mosques and the game spies on users.
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Munea, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said the game is a national security hazard as it aims to uncover secret locations, which is considered treason.
When the website team visited Makkah, it found that one of the fighting grounds of Pokémon was actually atop Kaaba. Around the new mataf, five players were found playing, and the number is growing. The points of gifts and the game’s characters were in front of gates of the mosque.
Appeals Court Judge and member of the Shoura Council Sheikh Issa Al-Ghaith said with regard to finding Pokémon characters on the Kaaba, hacking it and playing it without moving, “in general, I do not think there is anything ‘haram’ (forbidden) in it as it is.”
Nawaf Shaheen, a gaming expert, said: “Pokémon Go has also used a data bank from another game called Ingress. It wants the players to determine important locations in their cities. Among these places are hospitals, mosques and markets.”
He said that some people do not even know the content of the game and its subject.
Some people believe that it was targeting Muslims and Islam. Pokémon Go is a normal entertainment game; in each update, it changes its security settings and adds guidelines for players. For example, if a player is driving his car above 20 km per hour, the Pokémon characters do not appear.
Suhaib Khairallah, a technology expert and partner member in Microsoft Saudia, said Pokémon Go is not available in Saudi or other Arab countries. How can it target Muslims? He said the characters are largely found in mosques, markets and restaurants because the game covers areas where lots of people are found. The users join each other through Google maps.
Mashable website says that the designer of Pokémon Go, the executive president and founder of Niantic, was one of the workers of Google and has used data from an old game called Ingress which demands players to point out major features of their cities. The players presented 15 million such locations, of which 5 million are being used by Pokémon Go. Among these locations are holy sites.


KSA, Mauritania sign MoU to promote moderate values in society

Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdulatif Al-Asheikh and his Mauritanian counterpart Ahmed Ould Ahl Dawood at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs headquarters in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 35 min 17 sec ago
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KSA, Mauritania sign MoU to promote moderate values in society

  • The Mauritanian minister hailed the strong bonds and historical relations between the two countries and their cooperation in many fields

JEDDAH: The Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mauritania’s Islamic Affairs Ministry to increase cooperation in different fields and to promote the concepts of moderation in Islam.
The MoU was signed between Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdulatif Al-Asheikh and his Mauritanian counterpart Ahmed Ould Ahl Dawood at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs headquarters in Riyadh.
The MoU included nine main articles. It envisages cooperation in introducing Islam and its position on contemporary issues, serving the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, and cooperation in mosque affairs, their construction and maintenance.
In addition to that, the two sides will work under this MoU to adopt and propose programs to explain and promote concepts of moderation in Islam and assist the progress and advancement of Muslim nation in various fields.
The two sides will also share information, coordinate their efforts during international events, and cooperate in preparing studies and conducting research related to protecting, reviving and spreading Islamic heritage.
The MoU also stated that the two sides shall encourage the exchange of visits at various levels, participate in Islamic seminars and conferences held in both countries, and form a joint committee for the implementation of the MoU’s content.
The MoU concluded that the Hijri date is to be used in all correspondence between the two sides. The MoU shall enter into force on the date of its signature between the two sides and it shall be implemented within five years and will be automatically renewed for the similar duration unless one side informs the other that they wish to amend or terminate it.
Al-Asheikh said: “This memorandum of understanding comes under the guidance of King Salman and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in the framework of the distinguished historical relations between the two countries, especially in serving Islam and Muslims.”
He referred to what has been achieved through Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent visit to Mauritania, which was the first visit of a senior Saudi official to Mauritania in four decades to strengthen relations between the two countries to unprecedented levels.
Al-Asheikh pointed out that the MoU will promote joint cooperation in various fields.
The Mauritanian minister hailed the strong bonds and historical relations between the two countries and their cooperation in many fields.
He also praised the articles of the MoU, which he described as important and historical.