Imams Forbid Muslims From Traveling to Mars
Fatwa in UAE likens it to suicide
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2014 10:30 AM CST
In this file image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope a close-up of the red planet Mars is shown.   (AP Photo/NASA, File)

(Newser) – Muslims in the United Arab Emirates hoping to colonize the red planet have had their hopes dashed by the country's General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, which has issued a fatwa against them doing that very thing. The group was specifically concerned about the one-way trip to Mars being touted by Mars One, likening it to suicide. The Koran decrees that followers not kill themselves or others, and "such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam," said the GAIAE, per the Times of Israel. The committee noted that those who take the "hazardous trip" will likely perish for no "righteous reason," reports the Khaleej Times.

According to Mars One, at least "500 Saudis and other Arabs" applied for the trip, but it isn't clear how many, if any, Emirati citizens were among them and made the first cut. Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp notes Muslims have nothing to fear. "It may seem extremely dangerous to send humans to Mars today, but the humans will be preceded by at least eight cargo missions" that will set up a habitable environment, he tells Fox News. "Mars One respectfully requests GAIAE to cancel the fatwa and make the greatest Rihla, or journey, of all times open for Muslims, too. 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."