Last week I blogged about a campaign against the London-based imam Dr Usama Hasan, by a group of Muslim fanatics. The fanatics wanted to oust him from his mosque in Leytonstone for talking about evolution, and saying women should be free not to cover their hair.
Some clarifications for those already following the story. It turns out that the letter I posted saying he had been ousted was a fake, circulated by the fanatics to make it look like it came from the Mosque. It didn’t. Dr Hasan still remains the imam there, though the fanatics are still after him.
Hasan, who has taken out extra security on his house where he lives with his wife and four children, said he was adamant he would not be leaving the mosque, although he would not be returning to give prayers for the time being.
“I’m not leaving,” he said. “I’ve been here for 25 years and I fear that the mosque could fall into the hands of extremists. There are plenty of other mosques in the country that have gone that way. My supporters [at the mosque] don’t want that and are encouraging me to stay to fight our corner.
“I’ve stopped giving prayers because they were interrupted by outsiders who were making some women members feel intimidated. Most people come to the mosque once a week for a quiet space to pray and find peace and inspiration and I want to respect that.”
Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, a group promoting Muslim engagement in British society, said there was “widespread ignorance” about evolution among the Muslim community. “Many traditional imams are grounded in ancient books in Arabic but have very little grounding in science. I find it staggering how they can be so strongly opposed to evolution without reading about it. That seems to be opposite of the very first commandment of the Qur’an, which is to read,” Bunglawala said.
I’m going to keep an eye on this story to see how it develops.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Religion