The Pokemon Go game has triggered yet another religious debate. While the Mufti of Perlis has his head in the right place by asking why his colleagues are making a big huff over it compared to corruption and even smoking, the state of Kedah has seen the need to issue a haram fatwa.
Perhaps good Kedahan Muslims will delete the app from their smartphones. But of course they won’t. Smoking has had a haram fatwa since 1995, do you believe they’ve suddenly all stopped?
Now, I have had this discussion casually through social media, and the biggest message a friend could tell all those in the religious sphere is to lighten up. But we all know that isn’t going to happen because religious leaders have no sense of humour and obviously lightening up is far from their minds.
After all, catching Pokemon in prayer houses would distract them from getting drowsy (not the Pokemon), or be hypnotised (also not the Pokemon) by the clear, true, civic-minded and government-approved sermons during Friday prayers in a mosque or Sunday worship at a church.
I know, I am laying it thicker than a Lickitongue.
Allow me to provide a counter proposal to the insanity of this situation.
First of all, Pokemon trainers, you don’t actually have to enter a mosque or a church or an army camp, or even the Dewan Rakyat to access a Pokestop. Those who have played the game know this.
As such, you cannot use it as an excuse for trespassing, especially since the app opens up telling you not to trespass or drive. Or even ride a motorcycle for that matter, as the reporter lacking common sense did.
Now for those institutions and houses of worship that have been made Pokestops, allow me to interject. You can either embrace it or face ridicule and even worse, loss of faith from the faithful. So why not embrace it to the fullest extent with caution?
For houses of worship, set up a donation and tour booth at each entrance to lure in these Pokemon trainer tourists. Why not?
Secondly, each Pokestop allows trainers to set a lure to bring in Pokemon, similar to how this post will probably lure some right-wing religious nut to comment on Facebook againstThe Heat Malaysia.
If we are truly against gaming for religious reasons, there are a plethora of games that the religious authorities would find despicable. For example, if you play Sid Meier’s Civilisationseries, you could even convert the entire city of Mecca and Medina.
Similarly, would murdering a Sim by drowning them in a pool or burning alive in a fire be considered tolerable and not equal to the murder of all mankind?
What about using mages, warlocks and shamans in World of Warcraft or Dota? Would this be considered heresy and thus excommunicating Muslims and Christians alike from their religion?
Religious authorities need to lighten up and deal with real world problems instead, but at the same time, Pokemon trainers should use common sense and some sensitivity in their hunt to collect them all.
Meanwhile, I’m still for the developers to actually come out with a Team Rocket choice.