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  #1    
Old January 1st, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Hey everyone, I'm a newbie in the forum but I'm kinda getting used to it by now, here's my first post.
This is a true story that I lived through, I personally think it's a bit funny that's why I thought about sharing it here...


I live in the middle east (not a terrorist LOL); in Egypt if you want to know exactly, and like many other countries we watched the Pokemon anime, it was dubbed in Arabic and was such a huge success because of its high view rates, and so was the merchandise as it was bought everywhere. But suddenly the show disappeared from all channels; never aired nor mentioned, & soon enough the merchandise did too, and Pokemon just vanished from our lives.

Not many people knew what happened and why, especially the young ones like my friends and I back then. The only thing I thought of was that the franchise got old and it was deemed as a losing card, that was hard to believe but it was the only explanation I had.
Many years later, I remembered the whole thing and wanted to surf the net to know news about my beloved show. So I did, and as I was wandering around Bulbapedia I came across an article about "Pokemon in the Arab World", I instantly started reading it and fell in shock reading the reason behind the disappearance...

A controversy, but not just any controversy, it's the one caused by something called ignorance. The Saudi Arabian Mufti, who's the highest religious authority in KSA, made a Fatwa (religious saying) claiming that Pokemon promotes gambling and Zionism and that the show and the merchandise should be banned, & ordered Muslims to never let Pokemon-related material into their homes.

The funny thing is, people all over the Middle East completely ignored the show's universal ratings and fell for what the guy said leading to a mass wipe-out of Pokemon across the Middle East.
Some countries like KSA made an official ban of the franchise, other countries like mine didn't, still the franchise disappeared due to concerned parents and shop owners banning Pokemon themselves, and the only TV channels that aired the anime stopped doing so because they followed the Fatwa...

Another funny thing, EVEN if the show had gambling at least; wouldn't Arabic TV channels censor it? How is one thing supposed to slip right under every channel's nose but reach the Mufti? Censorship isn't really a big deal to Arabs, almost all Arabic TV channels are as clean as Disney Junior, all obscene stuff (sometimes from their perspective only) get edited out.
The last funny thing is that a few years later we find shows like Yu-Gi-Oh, Digimon and Bakugan airing on Arabic screens til today even despite their uncanny resemblance to Pokémon & having similar concepts that the Mufti banned years ago.

The whole disappearance is not what saddens me most, but the reasons that lead to it, and the scene we made by our stupidity.
Would you believe me if I told you a Japanese cartoon promotes Zionism?
Would you ban a video-game from your kids' life if you heard something bad about it, or would you check first if it's true?
You decide.

Thoughts?


Take a look at these:
Link 1 (Ahram newspaper website)
Link 2 (BBC website)
Link 3 (BBC website)
Link 4 (Bulbapedia)

Last edited by AnonygooseD; August 14th, 2014 at 08:31 AM. Reason: Thought about adding the links, also a picture ;)
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  #2    
Old January 1st, 2013, 02:09 PM
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I don't know, it's sad that one man could have so much authority over the world…

But if they haven't government-blocked Pokémon.com, that's cool.

And speaking of, are your friends and family on board with this whole "don't let Pokémon into our houses" thing? And since you're on PokéCommunity you obviously don't hate Pokémon lol
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  #3    
Old January 1st, 2013, 02:45 PM
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The man didn't have that authority, he only had it on his country, but the rest of the countries followed his words without thinking, that's all...
They haven't blocked the website (thank God).

I don't hate Pokemon or anything, same for my friends/family. Most of the kids who were against Pokemon were low-class youngsters who were fed that idea by their parents and teachers. :P

BTW we have a religious authority in Egypt too, our authority didn't think the way the guy did, but people just listened to him only unfortunately. :(
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  #4    
Old January 1st, 2013, 04:01 PM
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It's a shame, but I have to say, we've been seeing a decrease in Pokemon Merch here too

At least with the internet, you can still order merch and watch the show
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  #5    
Old January 1st, 2013, 04:09 PM
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That's really sad.. because if you think about it, Yugioh got way more violence than Pokemon, banning them to the shadow realm where they die and have their souls taken and whatnot. I understand that most Arab countries are very strict and serious about their religion but I don't understand why Pokemon specifically. I mean, I'm sure they have shows and movies on their TV that involves guns, gambling and all those. (Correct me if I'm wron, I live in Canada. So I'm not really sure what's on their TV) :C
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  #6    
Old January 1st, 2013, 05:26 PM
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There are some ramifications regarding the gambling part for Pokemon though. EU wasn't the most pleased either on Pokemon gambling, mainly the "game center" (let's admit it, we all know what it is.) Though for the western world, it took until 4th generation to satisfy the rules to keep Pokemon rated G, and we got Voltorb flip. Later games just ditched the game center to keep the headache away.

It's not like only middle east has its silly moments... remember in America when people were all worked up about Pokemon Satanism, animal abuse due to capturing, or that Ash's face got that "lightning"-like symbol?
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  #7    
Old January 1st, 2013, 09:06 PM
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IT'S A VIDEO GAME, PEOPLE







But seriously. Pokemon doesn't promote Zionism, Gambling, or satanism. It's just an easy magnet for blame.
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  #8    
Old January 1st, 2013, 09:16 PM
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Well admittedly there's some video games out there that makes me go ~_~; ratings don't help much cause some parents buy it for their much MUCH underage child anyway. Not talking about 16 yr olds but like 8 year olds getting it on with their Fallout 3. I honestly don't know where to put the age limit on some of these games but... lol.

Some games really shouldn't be played by children of single digit age XD;
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  #9    
Old January 2nd, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
At least with the internet, you can still order merch and watch the show
We can order indeed, but we can NEVER download/watch anything from online stores because they are restricted to USA and Europe...

Quote:
I understand that most Arab countries are very strict and serious about their religion but I don't understand why Pokemon specifically. I mean, I'm sure they have shows and movies on their TV that involves guns, gambling and all those.
The only Arab countries that are strict are mainly KSA and UAE, they just ban stuff completely. The guy could have better told Muslims to properly guide their children and tell them what's right & wrong (e.g. concerning gambling) but he's too strict for that.
And yes we have a whole more crap in films and such, but we just like making a scene out of the smallest things.

Quote:
But seriously. Pokemon doesn't promote Zionism, Gambling, or satanism. It's just an easy magnet for blame.
Amen.

*sigh*
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  #10    
Old January 2nd, 2013, 11:27 AM
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The problem with becoming too big and well known is that you become a target. Harry Potter is "all about Satan and evil", even though there are hundreds and thousands of other books that these people would have a problem, that are "worse" than HP, but they don't know about them and never will. Harry Potter is still the most dangerous one. Pokemon is just so well known it's bound to become a target of anyone with an axe to grind. I think it's kind of hilarious and sad that a Japanese game can be accused of Zionism, but there are some people who will use any means at their disposal to attack their enemies. It's also symptomatic of societies that try too hard to control what their people do. They're so worked up and worried about transgressions that they overstep even their harsh rules and start banning innocuous things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostweaver View Post
Well admittedly there's some video games out there that makes me go ~_~; ratings don't help much cause some parents buy it for their much MUCH underage child anyway. Not talking about 16 yr olds but like 8 year olds getting it on with their Fallout 3. I honestly don't know where to put the age limit on some of these games but... lol.

Some games really shouldn't be played by children of single digit age XD;
That's why I was happy when I was out shopping a few weeks ago and overheard some parent asking about a game and one of the people working there said "That's not really for kids." Good on the employee and parent for having that small conversation.

I do scratch my head a little at the anti-gambling stance. I know that's a part of Islam so it makes sense that would cause some consternation among the old men who pronounce fatwas on things, but Europe, too?
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  #11    
Old January 3rd, 2013, 06:09 AM
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I totally agree, but it's not just about Gambling and Zionism, the Mufti also said it promotes Satanism and Free Masonry, just plain stupid.

Quote:
I think it's kind of hilarious and sad that a Japanese game can be accused of Zionism
Ignorance truly is hilarious.
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  #12    
Old January 6th, 2013, 04:20 PM
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Sadly it's that way in a lot of places (honestly I can't think of anywhere that is not right off the top of my head), if somebody of high distinction or if a party such as a news organization states or continually repeats a lie with enough conviction then the mass public will believe it.

But Livewire is right, it's just a video game.
(This reminds me of that whole Portal thing xD)
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  #13    
Old January 11th, 2013, 10:34 PM
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Yeah I've heard some stories about that. Didn't believe them till now though. That is quite ridiculous, honestly. I mean like, seriously? Pokemon. Of. All. Things. Pokemon.
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  #14    
Old January 12th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by PEDRO12 View Post
Yeah I've heard some stories about that. Didn't believe them till now though. That is quite ridiculous, honestly. I mean like, seriously? Pokemon. Of. All. Things. Pokemon.
u_u
but black people, hun! Jynx!

The olden people (read: boring people trying to ruin the world for kids) are known to do stupid things that we can only *sigh* and move on about…

I…um…my god, just so stupid lol
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  #15    
Old January 18th, 2013, 02:05 AM
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Yes it is ridiculous, but true unfortunately :\ you can refer to the links in the first post...
And I agree with droomph, old people get crazy by power and... religion.
They think they know religion but they just mess things up, and we don't have "permission" to disagree...
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  #16    
Old January 18th, 2013, 01:45 PM
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Even I though I live in Australia my dad is part Egyptian/Arabic, what ever you want to call it, and we see what it's like in those areas and with those protests in Cairo, I believe it was, When I read this thread it wasn't really a surprise. I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that countries with a high percent of their population involved with a certain religion starting with "M" has these kinds of bans based on religion. As they say, one person can ruin it for everyone. Lucky for you guys who still believe in the awesomeness of Pokemon (In other words, hasn't had their internet taken down) the Internet has evolved to allow you to watch and play Pokemon on the internet. I am sorry if anyone reading this maybe offended but to me that's the way I see it right now.
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  #17    
Old January 19th, 2013, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by GreatTornado View Post
Lucky for you guys who still believe in the awesomeness of Pokemon (In other words, hasn't had their internet taken down)
You obviously mean haven't had their brain-washed. I guess you know what Fatwas mean to Muslims, since we blindly obey them fearing punishment or something, the problem is that we don't think enough about what's said, if it's even logic to the human brain or not...
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  #18    
Old January 19th, 2013, 04:12 AM
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Oh...I feel bad for the arabic PKMN fans...*sigh*.
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  #19    
Old January 19th, 2013, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by AnonygooseD View Post
Some countries like KSA made an official ban of the franchise
No they didn't. I live in the KSA (or well, lived, now I'm in Ireland but I do visit in some occasions during christian holidays) and I can confirm the only thing they banned is trading cards, which I don't know what for. (They stopped dubbing the TV show for dying popularity, but they still sell DVDs and Blu Rays of the english dub.) I bought all my Pokemon games here (save for White which was in Ireland) and I even seemingly recall seeing White/Black 2 when I went to buy some games for myself, and it was the ONLY new DS game of any significance there, and had a section on its own. Speaking of trading cards, though, they're not really...banned. My brother brought his cards which he bought here in Ireland and it was OK, apparently. They probably banned the TCG because of the older cards, like the one that had the nazi symbol.

Yu Gi Oh got the same [small] controversy (only fans of the respective franchises made it seem like a big deal), and honestly this all happened nearly a decade ago. Nearly everyone forgot about it at this point, and no body listened to this "authority" (who the hell is he anyway? even I don't know.) except those kids in elementary school. (which resulted in them being victims of continuous jokes) Pokemon still exists here, it's just not that popular because the Playstation brand is dominant.



Again, and I want to stress this, the only reason Pokemon is "dying" or isn't that well known here is because of the support and dominance of Sony. Microsoft is following their footsteps as well. It's entirely Nintendo's fault for not showing any support or care for the Middle Eastern video game market which is actually big. (Mario STILL isn't as well known as Crash Bandicoot, who at this point is dead.)

Also, if you ask any gamer there about Pokemon they'd either say "it's for kids" (which is what they think about nintendo in general) or "not interested". Both are perfectly reasonable.

Basically, don't blame our religion or country for something as unimportant as Pokemon for dying. Blame the lack of marketing, or Sony and Microsoft for having success in dominating the market. You're giving us an unnecessary bad name because some guy said some bad stuff about your favorite franchises, and we had enough of that ****. If it makes you feel better, my religion teacher when I was in elementary school defended Pokemon, and he was probably the most religious in the school.


But thanks for reminding me about this. Takes me back when I was a blind fanboy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilJz1234 View Post
That's really sad.. because if you think about it, Yugioh got way more violence than Pokemon, banning them to the shadow realm where they die and have their souls taken and whatnot. I understand that most Arab countries are very strict and serious about their religion but I don't understand why Pokemon specifically. I mean, I'm sure they have shows and movies on their TV that involves guns, gambling and all those. (Correct me if I'm wron, I live in Canada. So I'm not really sure what's on their TV) :C
Nope, you're not wrong, and we're not stupid. Yu Gi Oh had a bigger controversy but the anime is still popular, unlike Pokemon.

Last edited by Spinosaurus; January 19th, 2013 at 05:33 AM.
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  #20    
Old January 19th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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Firstly, I knew about the ban in KSA from known news websites like the BBC & Ahram (see first post), and the reason Pokemon's popularity died is because people, channels and shop owners loathed the franchise after the Fatwa. As a result they stopped airing the anime and selling the merch (at least in Egypt) but the anime vanished completely because the only cross-country TV channels who existed back then stopped airing it.

Secondly, I don't blame the religion at all; I blame that particular Fatwa, and more the people who followed it blindly.

And I'm not butt-hurt or anything, as I said;
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonygooseD View Post
The whole disappearance is not what saddens me most, but the reasons that lead to it, and the scene we made by our stupidity.

Last edited by AnonygooseD; August 14th, 2014 at 08:38 AM.
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  #21    
Old February 1st, 2013, 07:04 PM
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Actually, Pokemon is popular in a number of Muslim countries. It's somewhat popular in Indonesia (nearly 90% Muslim), since I've found quite a few fics in Indonesian. It also seems to have fans in Malaysia and Brunei. However, Indonesia isn't very conservative for the most part. A lot of Indonesian women don't cover their heads and lots of people eat things that are forbidden by the Quran (such as bats). (Believe it or not, most Muslims are not Arabs. Only about 20 percent are.)

I think with Egypt, there's been a trend towards Islamization in the past few years. Years ago, Egyptian Muslim women wore regular bathing suits on the beach and no one complained. Now that isn't the case. It's sad. Egypt also has a large Christian population, and believe me: Arab Christians tend to be very conservative too.

Needless to say, people thinking Pokemon is childish is not a uniquely Middle Eastern problem. Many Americans and Europeans regard the games as childish too. Almost none of my friends are into Pokemon. I think it has to do with 4Kids' handling of the anime, and non-fans associate Pokemon with the anime.

Nintendo may be at fault too. They might be assuming that Middle Easterners aren't gamers. I feel they do the same for Latin Americans. It could be since people there tend to be poorer than people in the US and Europe.
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  #22    
Old February 7th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by lollygag View Post
lots of people eat things that are forbidden by the Quran (such as bats). (Believe it or not, most Muslims are not Arabs. Only about 20 percent are.)
1. Bats are not forbidden, only pigs.
2. I'm aware that Arabs are not all the Muslims in the world, also Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are not Arab, read the title.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lollygag View Post
I think with Egypt, there's been a trend towards Islamization in the past few years.
True, unfortunately. :\

Quote:
Originally Posted by lollygag View Post
Nintendo may be at fault too. They might be assuming that Middle Easterners aren't gamers.
No, Pokemon was extremely popular before it disappeared. I mean, they made collectible discs in potato-chips bags for us Arabs, I guess that shows how much we are important to them as buyers.
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