Thursday, 2 June 2011

American Imams sign letter backing evolution

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Imams in the United States have begun adding their names to a letter which affirms the compatibility of evolution with the Islamic faith, New Scientist reports. The so-called "Imam Letter" is an extension of the Clergy Letter project, which has seen more than 12,000 Christian ministers put their names to a statement rejecting creationism and Intelligent Design. The project was launched in 2006, and was extended to include Jewish clergy in 2008, with almost 500 adding their name to a "Rabbi Letter".

The Imam Letter, which emphasises the need to keep creationism and ID out of US schools, reads as follows:
"Literalists of various religious traditions who perceive the science of evolution to be in conflict with their personal religious beliefs are seeking to influence public school boards to authorize the teaching of creationism. We, the Imams of the mosques, see this as a breach in the separation of church and state. Those who believe in a literal interpretation of scriptural account of creation are free to teach their perspective in their homes, religious institutions and parochial schools. To teach it in the public schools would be indoctrinating a particular religious point of view in an environment that is supposed to be free of such indoctrination.

We, the undersigned Imams of the mosques, assert that the Qur’an is the primary source of spiritual inspiration and of values for us, though not for everyone, in our country. We believe that the timeless truths of the Qur’an may comfortably coexist with the discoveries of modern science. As Imams we urge public school boards to affirm their commitment to the teaching of the science of evolution. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth."
With both Islamic and Christian forms of creationism continuing to pose problems on this side of the Atlantic, for instance in the case of the threats received by the London Imam Usama Hasan on account of his suggestion that evolution and Islam are compatible, or the work of the newly-founded Centre for Intelligent Design in Glasgow, perhaps a similar initiative wouldn't go amiss here in the UK?
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