Usama Hasan

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Not to be confused with Osama Hassan. ‹See Tfd›

Usama Hasan is a former senior lecturer in business information systems at Middlesex University,[1][dead link][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]

Career[edit]

Hasan has a PhD, an MSc and an MA in Physics and Artificial Intelligence from the Universities of Cambridge & London.[6] 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).[7] He has stated that he fought in Afghanistan against the Russian occupation.[8][9]

Hasan was a member of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Projecting British Muslims delegations to Egypt in 2008[10] and to Afghanistan (Helmand) in 2010,[11] was a Keynote Speaker at the Anglo-Syrian government-sponsored conference "The Message of Peace in Islam" in Damascus in 2009,[12] and is a Patron of both the Forum for the Discussion of Israel and Palestine (FODIP)[13] and Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum.[14] Usama was also a speaker at the Google Ideas/Council on Foreign Relations Summit Against Violent Extremism (Dublin, 2011).[15]

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,[16] CNN,[17] and has also written various columns for The Guardian[18] and The Washington Post.[19]

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 on occasion for suggesting that Islam is compatible with evolution and he claims to have received death threats.[4][20]

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.[21][22] 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.[23]

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.[24] In June 2012, the new Trustees of the Trust changed the locks of the Mosque doors and employed security guards.[25] According to the website of the Masjid al-Tawhid, the Hasan family "want to ... regain personal control of the mosque".[26][27]

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.[28] [29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Middlesex University Staff directory. Usama Hasan. http://www.mdx.ac.uk/aboutus/staffdirectory/Usama_Hasan.aspx |accessdate=2012-07-15
  2. ^ a b c Quilliam. Usama Hasan: Senior Researcher
  3. ^ Muslim academic forced to retract evolution claim - The First Post http://www.theweek.co.uk/people-news/7269/muslim-academic-forced-retract-evolution-claim 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. ^ Kings College London http://www.kcl.ac.uk/index.aspx and Imperial College London http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/
  7. ^ "The Way of the Prophet". City Circle. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Hardtalk - Usama Hasan". BBC News. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  9. ^ Dr Mathew Guest, Dr Elisabeth Arweck, Religion and Knowledge: Sociological Perspectives, p 36. ISBN 1409471160
  10. ^ Dina Rabie (10 July 2008). "Projecting British Muslims". OnIslam. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "British Muslims visit Afghanistan". Gov.UK. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Usama Hasan. The Balance of Islam in Challenging Extremism. Quilliam, 2012: p. 4
  13. ^ "What is FODIP?". FODIP. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Contact UKFBFF". Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Summit Against Violent Extremism (SAVE)". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  16. ^ BBC Hardtalk http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/6970298.stm
  17. ^ CNN http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/21/cleric-evolution-compatible-with-islam/?iref=allsearch
  18. ^ The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/usamahasan?INTCMP=SRCH
  19. ^ The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123102332.html
  20. ^ 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.". 
  21. ^ http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/12085 |accessdate=2011-03-13
  22. ^ 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.". 
  23. ^ Dr Usama Hasan featured on the panel of The Deen Institute event "Have Muslims Misunderstood Evolution?" retrieved 7 January 2013
  24. ^ Arbitration Report May 2012. MUSLIM ARBITRATION SERVICE Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust http://www.masjidtawhid.org/management/55-arbitration-report-may-2012 accessed 15 July 2012
  25. ^ Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust. Trust asserts control over the Mosque. Statement on events of Monday 18 June 2012. http://www.masjidtawhid.org/management/59-trust-asserts-control-over-the-mosque. accessed 15 July 2012
  26. ^ A Response to the Statement of Sr Nazima Sheikh. Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust http://www.masjidtawhid.org/management accessed 15 July 2012
  27. ^ End of Arbitration, WFCOM Meeting, Disruption of Friday Announcement Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust http://www.masjidtawhid.org/management accessed 15 July 2012
  28. ^ Shiv Malik, Duncan Gardham and Vikram Dodd (17 October 2013). "Prominent UK Muslims under police protection after al-Shabaab threats". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  29. ^ Simon Hooper (26 October 2013). "British Muslims defiant over al-Shabab threat". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 

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