Mars One encourages Muslims to join red planet mission despite ‘Fatwa’

February 21, 2014


A fatwa issued by Gulf imams has ruled it is un-Islamic to promote or be involved in a one-way trip to the Red Planet. According to reports in the Khaleej Times, a fatwa committee under the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the UAE prohibits Muslims from being involved in such a journey as it would pose “a real risk to life” and is tantamount to suicide.

The Mars One mission aims to establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet. Crews of four will depart every two years from 2024 following an initial unmanned mission in 2018. The mission would use a worldwide reality television show to raise the estimated $6bn required to send the team to Mars and give them a chance of survival. The company behind the Mars One mission has said that Muslims should sign up for a trip to the red planet, following reports of a Fatwa against it being issued.

“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 Koran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful,” the committee, chaired by Professor Dr Farooq Hamada, said.

Volunteers were invited to apply for a ticket to Mars last year at a price of less than £30. The Mars One website states: “In a 1000 years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were. More than 200,000 men and women from around the world responded to the first call for astronauts.”

However, Mars One, a non-profit organisation that proposes to send four people to the red planet in 2022, has responded to the reports stating that the “Muslim world has for centuries had a rich tradition of exploration”. In a statement to the Telegraph, Mars One claimed the Koran “encourages Muslims to go out and see the signs of God’s creation in the ‘heavens and the earth’. The most influential example of this was the Moroccan Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta, who from 1325 to 1355 travelled 73,000 miles, visiting the equivalent of 44 modern countries,” Mars One stated. “The mission to Mars is a road that has never been walked before, even though the first settlers will be walking in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, Neil Armstrong, or any of the other great explorers in history.”


The Independent: 

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Supposed Fatwa against Iranian Rapper Shahin Najafi *”We Will Continue with Our Work”*

Iran’s grand ayatollah has issued what many have interpreted to be a fatwa against the rapper Shahin Najafi, who has lived in Germany for the past seven years. In this interview with Shahram Ahadi, Najafi gives his take on the situation

Shahin Najafi is an Iranian rapper who has lived in Germany since 2005. His songs are known to be critical of socio-political developments in his home country. His latest song, “Naghi”, which was named after the tenth imam in Shia Islam, has caused a stir in Iran. The lyrics call on him in a sarcastic and almost obscene way to come back to life and end the catastrophic status quo in Iran. Iran’s 92-year-old Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani said: “If the song contains any insults or indecency towards Imam Naghi, then it is blasphemy, and God knows what to do.” The Iranian press interpreted the statement as a fatwa against Najafi. But a theologian in Tehran on Thursday, 10 May, put the comment into context: “The grand ayatollah has not issued a fatwa. He was answering a question about the defamation of a Shia saint … “

Toronto Area Imams Condemn ‘Honour Killings’ following verdict

February 3, 2012


Amid the often disturbing anti-Muslim sentiment generated by the Shafia murder trial and its guilty verdicts, dozens of imams (religious leaders) will gather at a mosque in Mississauga Ontario to issue a fatwa, spelling out that so-called honour killings and violence toward women have nothing to do with the real teachings of Islam.

The three-months-long Shafia trial recently culminated in a total of 12 first-degree murder convictions for Afghan-Canadian businessman Mohammad Shafia, his second wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya and the couple’s eldest son, Hamed. It was freighted with evidence suggesting the three killers murdered four of their relatives because they believed the family “honour” had been stained.

The fatwa will be released Saturday afternoon at the Jamia Riyadhul Jannah Mosque on Campobello Road, where more than 30 imams and muftis (Muslim priests) including a number from the United States, will endorse it.

Anti-Fatwa Campaign by Dutch MP

9 September 2011

Dutch MP Tofik Dibi of the Green Left has announced the launch of an anti-fatwa awareness campaign designed to “free Muslims …to think independently and make their own choices”. Dibi made the plans for his campaign public in a letter published in the newspaper Volkskrant, in association with the 9/11 anniversary memorial coverage. Dibi’s letter, co-authored by Achmed Marcouch, Naima Azough, and Mohamed Ajouaou, declares itself ‘the last fatwa’, and calling for Muslims to reject “top down decrees issued by a handful of scholars”, which are “kidnapping …the Islamic faith.” His campaign is to be presented in English, Arabic and Dutch.

Swedish Church Hires Imam

18 March 2011
The Swedish Church has hired an Imam – Othman Al-Tawalbeh – to work with interreligious dialogue. The decision has been debated during the last week, especially amongst members of the church, but also in Muslim communities. While some are positive towards the collaboration, some Muslims have criticized as well the church as Al-Tawalbeh. The most critical voice comes from another Swedish Imam, Mahmoud Aldebe, who commented on the issue in Arabic media earlier this week. Tawalbeh felt Aldebe’s critique was formulated in such a way that it could create a threatening situation for him, and there has been rumors of Aldebe trying to get a fatwa against Tawalbeh from Jordan, his country of origin. Swedish Secret Police has been talking to Tawalbeh and is investigating whether or not there is a threat against him.
Othman Al-Tawalbeh is fairly well known in Sweden. He has been working in different dialogue projects for years. Also Aldebe is well known to the Swedish public, especially for his 2006 letter to the Swedish government asking for adaptations of the Swedish law in issues concerning the Muslim minorities.

British Muslim summer camp preaches “anti-terror” message

8 August 2010

Warwick University this weekend was the venue for what is billed as the
UK’s first anti-terrorism camp: 1,300 young Muslim men and women were
listening to Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, an Islamic scholar with a gift
for rhetorical flourishes and what he describes as a message of love for
mankind. Talking in simple, slowly delivered sentences, the revivalist
Pakistani-born cleric takes his audience of predominantly young British
and European Muslims through what love means.

That anti-extremism message is at the heart of Dr Qadri’s worldwide
movement and its efforts to rapidly expand in the UK
Earlier this year, he arrived in London to launch a launch a 600-page
fatwa, or religious ruling against terrorism. It is not the first such
fatwa but Dr Qadri’s followers say it is the first to have “no ifs or
buts”. The weekend camp, called “The Guidance”, was organised to back up
that fatwa and has recruited participants from cities across the country.

Reactions to fatwa against terrorism

Fear of Muslim extremists is rampant these days in Britain. According to the British Secret Service, supposedly well over 1,000 Muslim extremists live on the island who are prepared to resort to violence to achieve their goals. The government in London is hence desperately searching for ways to prevent young British Muslims from being radicalized, trying to reverse the trend toward violence.

In this article, the author summarizes measures taken by the British government against radical Islam, including the sponsorship of the Quilliam Foundation, and very critically examines the recent publication of Tahir ul-Qadri, in which he condemns suicide bombings and terrorism from an Islamic point of view. The author claims that this publication has received disproportionate media attention, while there have been other Muslim scholars in Britain and elsewhere condemning terrorism, which has caused little attention. Furthermore, Tahir ul-Qadri, who is not the most liberal and tolerant scholar himself and also, his fatwa does not seem to reach out far enough. In Germany at any rate, the secret service did not observe any reaction from the jihadi scene.

British Muslim organization rules suicide bombings un-Islamic through Fatwa

The British Muslim organisation Minhaj ul-Qur’an has released the globally first fatwa ruling
suicide bombings and terrorism prohibited and entirely un-Islamic. The author of the fatwa, Muslim scholar Dr Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri, is the founder of the increasingly influential Minhaj ul-Quran movement. It is based on Sufi principles and in Britain, it advises the government on combating the radicalization of Muslim youth, while the organisation is not government funded.

The fatwa condemns terrorist acts in the name of Islam and uses evidence from the Qur’an and other Islamic writings to prove that suicide bombers are destined for hell, countering the Islamist view that they would enter heaven, as suggested in many Saudi-Arabian fatwas. It leaves no room for interpretation and does away with the myth of martyrdom of suicide bombers.

In December, the 600-page Urdu-language fatwa has already been publicised in Pakistan, but this week it was launched in London, along with an English summary. A translation of the full version into English will also be available soon. While the fatwa may not have much direct influence on Sunni or Wahhabi Islamist thought, it is believed to strengthen the general influence of Minhaj ul-Quran and their engagement against violent Islam, and in the long run contribute to dismantling al-Qaida ideology.

Ottawa, Canada imam issues fatwa against credit cards

One of Ottawa’s leading imams, Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed, has issued a fatwa against credit cards, even if they are paid off every month.

“I conclude that it contains usury … which is forbidden in Islam, so it should not be used,” Imam Syed said in a mass email to members of the city’s main mosque. There are two schools of thought about credit cards among Islamic scholars. Some argue they are permissible as long as no interest is accrued, meaning bills must always be paid in full.

In response to a member of the mosque who asked whether she should destroy a card she keeps for emergency purposes, Imam Syed replied in the mass email that she should rely instead on a prepaid credit card that can be loaded with set amounts. Cardholders can only spend what is on the card, and no interest is incurred.

Calgary imam Syed Soharwardy reflects on fatwa against terrorism

Calgary imam Syed Soharwardy is no stranger to media coverage. It just usually isn’t favorable. His detractors are not convinced of the purity of his intentions, arguing that Syed Soharwardy should be judged by his more notorious statements, not his recent, noble ones. Mr. Syed is still shocked that his fatwa against terrorism has been condemned by so many.

One critic dismissed the imam’s fatwa against terrorism as “propaganda.” B’nai Brith Canada also scoffed, noting the imam “has trivialized the Holocaust and prophesized the extinction of the Christian faith.”