The imam of a mosque in east London, Dr Usama Hasan, was earlier this year subjected to death threats over his support for the theory of evolution.
Whatever the underlying reasons, and there are clearly other tensions
within the mosque, we must categorically condemn tactics of intimidation
and the suppression of diverse opinions within the Muslim community.
Those in Europe who see Muslims as a threat to western values will see
this episode as a further validation of their stereotypical viewpoint of
Muslims. We should take care, however, not to let extreme positions on
both sides define the issue.
The reality of Muslim attitudes to evolution is more complex. In this, Muslims are not alone. A survey in 2009
found that 60% of all British young adults – irrespective of religious
belief – believe in intelligent design to a greater or lesser extent.
But there is no "official" position of Islam
on evolution. Many in the Muslim world reject evolution, while there
are others who accept it. In places like Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, the
fundamental concepts of evolution are included in high-school biology
textbooks. Furthermore, in 2006, the national science foundations from
several Muslim-majority countries endorsed a statement by the
Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) supporting common descent and the evolution of
humans from prior species.
Read the complete story(Some news sites require registration)