Saudi Muslim cleric teaches students that the ‘Earth does not rotate’


A Saudi cleric has found internet fame– and ridicule- after he was filmed explaining to students that the Earth remains stationary while it is orbited by the Sun.

Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari left students at a United Arab Emirates university stunned on Sunday when he explained that the Earth “does not move”, news source Al Arabiya reported.

Mr. Khaibari then attempted to explain his theory by creating a convoluted hypothetical scenario of an aeroplane flying to China, which he demonstrated with the aid of a cup of water.

“If we leave Sharjah airport on an international flight to China…the Earth is rotating, right?” he asked his audience. “So, if the plane stops still in the air, wouldn’t China be coming towards it? True or not?”

“If the Earth rotates in the other direction, the plane will not be able to reach China, because China is also rotating as the plane rotates.”

As Khaibari’s class was recorded by one of those present, word quickly spread to social media. Users were incredulous, using the hashtag #داعية_ينفي_دوران_الأرض,  which roughly translates as #cleric_rejects_rotation_of_Earth, to respond; some noted the irony of the cleric choosing to air his theory on the anniversary of Gallileo’s birthday.


According to Al Arabiya, this is not the first time that Sheikh al-Khaibari has made controversial remarks relating to space. In previous statements, he has rejected the notion that any human has ever set foot on the Moon, dismissing it as a “Hollywood fabrication”.

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