Feeds

Muslim clerics issue fatwa banning the devout from Mars One 'suicide' mission

Martian mavericks bite back with Quran quotes

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A religious row has broken out over Mars One's plans to send volunteers to the Red Planet on a one-way mission that will be televised for the world's entertainment.

In April the Dutch group Mars One announced plans to send four people to a Martian habitat by 2023, with more settlers arriving every two years. The estimated $6bn cost of the trip will be covered by the sale of TV rights. But now the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment (GAIAE) has issued a fatwa forbidding devout Muslims from taking part.

"Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam," the committee said, The Khaleej Times reports. "There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death."

Up to 500 Muslims are reported to have applied for the Mars One mission, and the GAIAE indicated that some of these people may be trying to escape punishment for crimes here on Earth, or avoid confronting God when they die. It said such efforts were futile since God was everywhere, both on Mars and Earth.

The fatwa, or legal ruling, is the historical form of guidance handed down to those following the Islamic faith, based on a writings in the Quran, or on the accounts of the teachings and practices of the Prophet Mohammed (the Sunnah), or from religious doctrine decided by Muslim clerics.

"Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful," said the GAIAE's President Professor Dr Farooq Hamada.

The Dutch team behind Mars One begs to differ. In a statement the group said that exploration was a long-standing Muslim tradition and the Quran encouraged adherents to explore the wonders of God's creation.

The group says the mission is not suicidal, since advance missions will deliver to Mars all the necessary ingredients for life before the first humans arrive. This will also give Mars One time to practice their landings using unmanned vessels to reduce the risk of crashing the astronauts onto the Red Planet's surface.

"Mars One respectfully requests GAIAE to cancel the fatwa and make the greatest Rihla, or journey, of all times open for Muslims too," said Mars One.

"They can be the first Muslims to witness the signs of God's creation in heaven, drawing upon the rich culture of travel and exploration of early Islam. The lives and journey of the first Mars settlers will tell us more about our place in the universe than any other humans before us."

In the meantime the team notes that the fatwa only prohibits Muslims from going on the actual mission, not from applying to take part and undergo the eight years of training required for the trip. The team vowed to work with the GAIAE to assuage its concerns in the meantime. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.