National board of scholars issues comprehensive fatwa banning deep-space missions

A national board of scholars has issued a fatwa banning all deep-space missions. This ban is even more comprehensive than last month’s scandalous fatwa banning one-way missions to Mars. Both fatwas cite concerns for safety as the primary reason for their ban. Read more about the latest fatwa here and here. UPDATE My more serious … Read more…

Media Distorts Mars Fatwa, Making Mons Olympus From a Molehill

(This is the second of two op-ed pieces I wrote concerning this issue. The first is here.)

Last week, reports began circulating through some media outlets that a fatwa committee underneath GAIAE, the UAE’s General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, had issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from taking one-way voyages to Mars and, by analogy, from doing so with the Mars One project. The story soon spread through the media like wildfire. Mars One issued a respectful response, requesting that GAIAE retract their fatwa.

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The Mars One Fatwa That Never Was

Last week, mainstream media, blogs, and social media were abuzz about a fatwa. While fatwas normally do not attract much attention within the Muslim world, this one managed to grab the attention of droves of Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide. In just the past twelve days, it was picked up by numerous western and Arab media outlets and mentioned over 10,000 times on Twitter. Despite the large number of different media outlets who repeated the story, the content of all of these reports and tweets led back to the exact same solitary newspaper article. A primary source was given for the fatwa, but the text of the fatwa could not be found on their website. Within days, the primary source issued an official press release through government channels disavowing any connection to the fatwa.

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