Imam Usama Hasan has been threatened, shunned, and intimidated to apology for speaking reasonably about evolution - in London:
A prominent British imam has been forced to retract his claims that Islam is compatible with Darwin's theory of evolution after receiving death threats from fundamentalists.
Dr Usama Hasan, a physics lecturer at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was intending yesterday to return to Masjid al-Tawhid, a mosque in Leyton, East London, for the first time since he delivered a lecture there entitled "Islam and the theory of evolution".
But according to his sister, police advised him not to attend after becoming concerned for his safety. Instead his father, Suhaib, head of the mosque's committee of trustees, posted a notice on his behalf expressing regret over his comments. "I seek Allah's forgiveness for my mistakes and apologise for any offence caused," the statement read.
The campaign is part of a growing movement by a small but vocal group of largely Saudi-influenced orthodox Muslims who use evolution as a way of discrediting imams whom they deem to be overly progressive or "western orientated".
While I disagree that the two are compatible, both religious and scientific views are often compartmentally held in the same minds, and however unfortunate this capacity to hold mutually antithetical ideas may be, it's better to hold some reasoned beliefs than none. It's an outrage that in the capital city of a leading Western nation, even a relatively timid call for reasoned belief can condemn one to fear for one's life.
Dr. Hasan was bullied into an apology, sure, but the "offense" remains, predictably, a permanent stain:
the imam's apology seems to have done little to resolve the matter. Earlier this week, the group issued a statement saying that Dr Hasan had been dismissed from his position as vice-chairman and imam at the mosque, and describing his views as a "source of antagonism in the Muslim community". Neither he nor his father were present at the meeting that voted for his dismissal.More news in The Independent.