Feeds

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

Martian mavericks bite back with Quran quotes

Application security programs and practises

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.