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Saudis Banned from Travelling .. to Mars

Mars is off-limits to Saudis, says religious scholar Shaikh Ali Al Hekmi. Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Mars is off-limits to Saudis, says religious scholar Shaikh Ali Al Hekmi. Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Did you know that travelling to Mars is forbidden [haram], or a sin? Saudi religious scholar Shaikh Ali Al Hekmi told Al Hayat newspaper that travelling to the red planet is off limits to human beings, whose life should not be squandered.

The fatwa (religious edict) was issued following an announcement by Mars One project that it was organising a one-way trip to the planet, in the hope of creating the first human settlement there. According to Al Hayat, six out of 477 Saudi citizens who have applied for the trip (of a lifetime) have been accepted for the mission.

On Twitter, Saudis took jabs at the ridiculousness of some fatwas coming out of the absolute monarchy under the Arabic hashtag #الاشتراك_في_رحلة_المريخ_حرام, which translates to Participating in the Trip to Mars is Haram.

@mthaail jokes:

When? Where? Why hasn't anyone informed me? How do I register with them?

And the jokes continue:

I hope they open an office for the Commission to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice [religious police] on Mars. And while we are on the topic, what is the religious law for mating with aliens?

Ms Doshe suspected that the fatwa was issued to distract Saudis from the recent clampdown on the women driving campaign. She tweets:

Don't try to change the topic. We are still on the women driving issue

Blogger Khaled Abdulrahman says driving on the Saudi capital Riyadh's roads is more dangerous than travelling to Mars:

Riyadh's roads are a more dangerous adventure! Member of the Saudi Scholar's Higher Council Ali Al Hekmi sais that taking part in the trip to Mars is forbidden in Islam because it is a mission that will likely end in the demise of its participants

Dr Mohamed bin Abdulaziz adds:

I advise you to leave Earth as it is being stifled by religious scholars. Mars is part of God's land. I had hoped that they would forbid the theft of money

Areej asks:

What is acceptable for you except for polygamy and abusing women under the guise of rehabilitating them and cursing people under the pretext that you are zealous for religion?

And Muteb Al Amari addresses the scholar saying:

No one has asked for your opinion. Thank you.

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