Hawking’s death triggers clashes among Arabs on social media



Wed, 14 Mar 2018 - 03:47 GMT


Wed, 14 Mar 2018 - 03:47 GMT

FILE: Stephen Hawking at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, January 2015 – FLICKR/LWp Kommunikáció

FILE: Stephen Hawking at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, January 2015 – FLICKR/LWp Kommunikáció

CAIRO – 14 March 2018: Celebrities, scientists and people around the world have mourned the death of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who is reportedly the third most famous physicist, after Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

For Egyptians and Arabs, most reactions on Facebook and Twitter have expressed sadness over losing Hawking, and others have shared his hopeful quotes; however, some have claimed that Hawking is destined to hell in the afterlife.

A considerable number of Arabs on social media seem to express wrath concerning Hawking’s religious views, as he had said in an interview that he does not believe in God.

Others preferred to stay silent and watch the dispute between the two parties. Facebook user Mohammed Abdelhafeez sarcastically wrote that strife is taking place, as a group of secularists are upset at others who say that Hawking is going to hell, which he doesn’t even believe in.

Twitter user Fahed al-Rowaily said that Hawking has placed himself in a place that is worse than the place of the Islamic State group when he denied the existence of God. Another user said that Hawking has finally met the destination he had always denied. Riyad Al-Gheily said that Hawking died while trying to discover everything about universe, according to the "Theory of Everything". However, we know the fact that Allah (God) is the creator of everything.

In his well-know interview with the Guardian in 2011, Hawking dismissed the concept of an afterlife, regarding that heaven and hell are no more than a myth. “We are each free to believe what we want, and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate,” Hawking had stated.

On the 300th anniversary of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei’s death on January 8, physicist Stephen Hawking was born, and on the 139th anniversary of the birth of physicist Albert Einstein on March 14, Hawking was announced dead at 76 years old.

Hawking’s genius and physical disability made him a household name and an inspiration across the globe. He contracted motor neurone disease and was given only two years to live, according to doctors at the time. He became almost completely paralyzed. Gradually, he became unable to speak except through a voice synthesizer. He lost the use of his hand and also had to accept spending his life in a wheelchair.

However, Hawking’s famous quote, “While there's life, there is hope," has circulated the entire world. A number of social media users wrote about how he inspired their lives.

Inside the shell of his increasingly useless body was a razor-sharp mind, with an enduring fascination concerning the mysteries of black holes.

His work focused on bringing together relativity – the nature of space and time – and quantum theory – how the smallest particles behave – to explain the creation of the universe and how it is governed.

"My goal is simple," he once said, "it is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

“Beloved” Hawking, as described by his sons, was an outspoken commentator on life back on earth, voicing his disapproval in recent years of both the election of Donald Trump in the United States and Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Hawking had also supported the Palestinian cause and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. In 2013, Hawking boycotted the Israel Presidential Conference.

Stephen Hawking visits Birzeit university in Ramallah, Palestine, 2006 – press photo
BDS is a global Palestinian-led movement that aims to end Israel’s oppression of Palestinians through various forms of boycott.



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