How a Creationist Fatwa Proved a Shocking Example of Wahhabi Islam’s Influence
The War on Science crosses all boundaries.
Usama Hasan was the imam of a mosque in Leyton until he was driven from the post by death threats. This is perhaps the most extreme reaction there has ever been to an article on Comment is free: the death threats were the response of a section of his congregation to a piece he wrote here defending the truth of evolution. He kept his head down for a couple of years after that, to protect his family, but has now resurfaced as a fellow at the Quilliam Foundation, the counter-extremism thinktank.
At the weekend, he was in Salisbury, at the Muslim Institute’s Winter Gathering, and I chaired a discussion with him there on creationism among Muslims. In close-up his story was even more shocking than it appears in summary. A visiting Saudi cleric issued a fatwa, from the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, that supported his enemies in the congregation: not only did it explain that anyone who denied creationism was an apostate, who could (and should, in an ideal state) be killed, but that his support for women going bareheaded if they wished, and for a secular form of government, were also sufficient grounds for a death sentence.
Since these judgments were circulated in jihadi circles, Hasan and his family were in real danger as a result and were granted police protection for a while.