Thursday, 3 March 2011

Letter announcing sacking of Imam for preaching evolution was a hoax, east London mosque confirms

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Further to yesterday's post regarding the apparent dismissal of an Imam, Dr Usama Hasan, by the Masjid and Madrassah al-Tawhid in Leyton, east London, due to his views on the compatibility of evolution and Islam, the mosque has released a statement saying that the letter which appeared to confirm the removal of Hasan "contained a number of untruths and was circulated via notoriously fanatical websites". The mosque's chairman Dr Suhaib Hasan (Usama's father), writes that there has been a "ridiculous" – and unsuccessful – attempt by a "faction of trustees to remove Dr. Usama as Trustee", alongside a campaign involving "a website called "Save Masjid Tawhid" and associated petition that was launched around January 3rd 2011, and that spread lies and slander around the world directed against Dr. Usama". "I would like to confirm," writes Suhaib Hasan, "that Dr. Usama Hasan remains Vice-Chairman of the Trust".

While the campaign against Usama Hasan has been unsuccessful, it is still interesting to note how the subject of evolution can generate (or be used as a justification for) this kind of controversy. In his statement, Suhaib Hasan even points out that some of those who disrupted the lecture delivered by the imam in January "clearly incited murder against Dr. Usama, both verbally and by distributing a cowardly, anonymous leaflet". Clearly, Islamic communities are having to contend with extremist factions, but events at the Leyton mosque suggest that there are moderates who are prepared to take a stand.

(Thanks to the Muslim Politics site for alerting me to this latest development – much appreciated.)
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