Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Mar/11

6

Against Evolution

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Via the Independent:

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”.

Masjid Tawhid is a prominent mosque which also runs one of the country’s largest sharia courts, the Islamic Sharia Council. In January, Dr Hasan delivered a lecture there detailing why he felt the theory of evolution and Islam were compatible – a position that is not unusual among many Islamic scholars with scientific backgrounds. But the lecture was interrupted by men he described as “fanatics” who distributed leaflets claiming that “Darwin is blasphemy”…

…Most Islamic scholars have little problem with evolution as long as Muslims accept the supremacy of God in the process. But in recent years a small number of orthodox scholars, mainly from Saudi Arabia – where many clerics still preach that the Sun revolves around the Earth – have ruled against evolution, declaring that belief in the concept goes against the Koran’s statement that Adam and Eve were the first humans.

Note also the line about police advice. Over at the Corner, Mark Steyn explains its significance:

As I’ve written before, “security concerns” are the new black(out) – the means by which those who are meant to enforce the law equally instead pre-emptively reward bullying mobsters who have total contempt for it. In this case, it may even be that this helpful advice was provided by Muslim police officers, who in Britain, Canada and Europe are often happy to serve as state enforcers for Islamic intimidation.

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7 comments

  • Don Kenner · March 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I wonder, will any of the “new atheists” bother to comment on this story? Often they work themselves into a frenzy when the story is about a practitioner of Christianity or Judaism, but are strangely silent when it comes to Islam. It would be nice to see more consistency.

  • Snippet · March 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Sam Harris, the Crown Prince of the New Atheists hits Islam pretty hard and pretty regularly.

  • Susan · March 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    So does Christopher Hitchens.

  • Polichinello · March 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Dawkins….not so much.

  • Polichinello · March 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    …Most Islamic scholars have little problem with evolution as long as Muslims accept the supremacy of God in the process.

    Again, it looks like the fundamentalists have the better of the argument, once you accept Islam’s premises. If we’re to “accept the supremacy of God in the process”, then we don’t have Darwinian evolution. You have intelligent design.

  • Paul · March 9, 2011 at 1:06 am

    PZ Meyers, a very outspoken “new atheist”, has no respect for Islam whatsoever and finds it ridiculous that Dr. Usama Hasan wishes to get back into the good graces of this mosque.

  • PiPer · March 10, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Polichinello,

    Either you did not think your comment through, or you are not clear on what Intelligent Design is.

    intelligent design != darwinian evolution + god.
    intelligent design = creationism + smoke + mirrors + hand waving

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