UAE Imams issue Fatwa against traveling to Mars

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Imams in the UAE have taken it upon themselves to issue a fatwa against Muslims travelling to Mars.

If the fatwa seems a touch presumptuous, what with no actual manned missions scheduled to Mars, and the fact that the first humans to make it there will almost certainly be American, Chinese or Russian, it does at least address the misconceptions about suicide and Islam.

The rationale behind the interdiction is that without cast iron guarantees of survival and a safe return to Earth, the mission would be the equivalent of suicide, which no good Muslim could possibly countenance. So for all those in the West who portray Islam as a religion that encourages suicide bombings, this may at least offset their bombast.

"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."

The ruling was issued by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment (GAIAE), a group of imams in the United Arab Emirates. It didn’t come purely out of thin air though, and wasn’t as random a pronouncement as one might think – though perhaps this was just the kind of publicity trap the imams shouldn’t have fallen into.

A new reality show (groan) is in the offing, the winner of which will apparently win a place on the Mars One Mission – a highly dubious, poorly thought through and suitably naff attempt to get members of the general public to the Red Planet. Mars One hopes to raise $6 billion, enough to send its selected team to the planet and give them ‘a reasonable attempt at survival’. Or so it says. But over 500 muslims from the Gulf have already signed up

What with Mars having no breathable atmosphere, being poisonous, freezing, sodden with radiation and containing virtually no water, survival hopes seem slim even if one could get there. It is not difficult to conclude that a lab coated Simon Cowell would probably not be best placed to make it succeed and that the funds raised may end up in a Swiss bank account while a glossy rocket containing a lawnmower engine makes it as far as Swindon.

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