Usama Hasan

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Not to be confused with Osama Hassan.

Usama Hasan is a former senior lecturer in business information systems at Middlesex University,[1][2] and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.[3][4] He has argued in favour of a compatibility between Islam and human evolution.[5] He is also Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies at the Quilliam Foundation.[2]


He followed the family tradition of Islamic scholarship, becoming an Imam at the Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton. He is a certified transmitter of the Qur'an and Hadith and has translated a number of Islamic texts into English, including The Islamic Foundation's "Way of the Prophet" (2009).[6] He has stated that he fought in Afghanistan against the Russian occupation.[7][8]

Hasan was a member of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Projecting British Muslims delegations to Egypt in 2008[9] and to Afghanistan (Helmand) in 2010,[10] was a Keynote Speaker at the Anglo-Syrian government-sponsored conference "The Message of Peace in Islam" in Damascus in 2009,[11] and is a Patron of both the Forum for the Discussion of Israel and Palestine (FODIP)[12] and Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum.[13] Usama was also a speaker at the Google Ideas/Council on Foreign Relations Summit Against Violent Extremism (Dublin, 2011).[14]

He is Senior Researcher at the Quilliam Foundation and was also a Founding Advisor for the organization in 2008. According to the Quilliam website, Hasan "aims to address key questions on gender rights, minority rights, personal freedoms, penal codes; seeking to harmonise tradition and reason, faith and science, and developing the Sharia in keeping with the original Prophetic spirit of mercy, and away from rigid ritualism".[2] He has made numerous appearances on Western and Eastern television channels, including BBC Hardtalk,[15] CNN,[16] and has also written various columns for The Guardian[17] and The Washington Post.[18]

Creationism controversy[edit]

Hasan has argued that Islam is compatible with the theory of evolution, dismissing the story of Adam and Eve as "children's madrasa-level understanding" of human origins while pointing to antecedents of the modern theory of evolution among medieval Muslim philosophers like Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Miskawayh.[5] His lectures have been disrupted by hecklers and he claims to have received death threats.[4][19]

Hasan later retracted some of his views on evolution.[4] Several British Muslim writers, including Inayat Bunglawala and Yahya Birt, backed his right to free speech.[20][21] On 5 January 2013, he was featured in a debate against Yasir Qadhi titled Have Muslims Misunderstood Evolution?, where he argued in favor of human evolution.[22]

Power struggles at the Masjid al-Tawhid[edit]

He has complained about "extremism" at the Masjid al-Tawhid and in May 2012, as part of the arbitration process, he and all other trustees voluntarily stepped down from their positions as Trustee of the masjid.[23] In June 2012, the new Trustees of the Trust changed the locks of the Mosque doors and employed security guards.[24] According to the website of the Masjid al-Tawhid, the Hasan family "want to ... regain personal control of the mosque".[25][26]

Al-Shabaab video threat[edit]

In October 2013 Hasan was alerted by anti-terrorist police that he and other Muslim figures in the UK who had spoken out against Islamist extremism had been targeted by a propaganda video created by Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group responsible for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya.[27] [28]

Fatwa against ISIS[edit]

In 2014 he and others issued a fatwa condemning British Muslims fighting for the “oppressive and tyrannical” Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Their fatwa ”religiously prohibits” would-be British jihadists from joining the Islamic State and orders all Muslims to oppose ISIS' “poisonous ideology”.[29][30]


  1. ^ Middlesex University Staff directory. Usama Hasan. |accessdate=2012-07-15[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Quilliam. Usama Hasan: Senior Researcher
  3. ^ Muslim academic forced to retract evolution claim - The First Post Accessed 15 July 2012}
  4. ^ a b c "Imam fears 'nutters' could kill him for preaching evolution - London Evening Standard". Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  5. ^ a b Hasan, Usama (11 September 2008). "Knowledge regained - Guardian". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  6. ^ "The Way of the Prophet". City Circle. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Hardtalk - Usama Hasan". BBC News. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  8. ^ Dr Mathew Guest, Dr Elisabeth Arweck, Religion and Knowledge: Sociological Perspectives, p 36. ISBN 1409471160
  9. ^ Dina Rabie (10 July 2008). "Projecting British Muslims". OnIslam. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "British Muslims visit Afghanistan". Gov.UK. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Usama Hasan. The Balance of Islam in Challenging Extremism. Quilliam, 2012: p. 4
  12. ^ "What is FODIP?". FODIP. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Contact UKFBFF". Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Summit Against Violent Extremism (SAVE)". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  15. ^ BBC Hardtalk
  16. ^ CNN
  17. ^ The Guardian
  18. ^ The Washington Post
  19. ^ Rowenna Davis. Sunday 6 March 2011 "London imam subjected to death threats for supporting evolution. Mosque suspends engineering lecturer Usama Hasan for 'antagonising' community and backing women's rights.". 
  20. ^ |accessdate=2011-03-13
  21. ^ Inayat Bunglawala. Wednesday 9 March 2011 "Islam must engage with science, not deny it. Pressure put on a London imam to retract statements supporting the theory of evolution does Muslims a disservice.". 
  22. ^ Dr Usama Hasan featured on the panel of The Deen Institute event "Have Muslims Misunderstood Evolution?" retrieved 7 January 2013
  23. ^ Arbitration Report May 2012. MUSLIM ARBITRATION SERVICE Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust accessed 15 July 2012
  24. ^ Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust. Trust asserts control over the Mosque. Statement on events of Monday 18 June 2012. accessed 15 July 2012
  25. ^ A Response to the Statement of Sr Nazima Sheikh. Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust accessed 15 July 2012
  26. ^ End of Arbitration, WFCOM Meeting, Disruption of Friday Announcement Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust accessed 15 July 2012
  27. ^ Shiv Malik; Duncan Gardham & Vikram Dodd (17 October 2013). "Prominent UK Muslims under police protection after al-Shabaab threats". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  28. ^ Simon Hooper (26 October 2013). "British Muslims defiant over al-Shabab threat". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  29. ^ Isis terror threat: Leading British Muslims issue fatwa condemning terror group. Zachary Davies Boren. The Independent 31st August 2014. Accessed 31 August 2014. [1]

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