Gulf imams issue fatwa warning Muslims not to live on Mars as it would pose 'a real risk to life'

500 people from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries were said to have signed up for a spot on the Mars One mission

A fatwa issued by Gulf imams has ruled it is un-Islamic to promote or be involved in a 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 report emerged after more than 500 people from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries were said to have signed up for a spot on the Mars One mission.

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.

"Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam," the committee said. "There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death."

"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."

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