Defend Usama Hasan—Support Freedom of Conscience and Oppose Intolerance

Yahya Birt

Posted Mar 11, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
Bookmark and Share

Defend Usama Hasan—Support Freedom of Conscience and Oppose Intolerance

by Yahya Birt

In recent months, it has been very distressing for us to watch Dr Usama Hasan, a core member of City Circle’s management team who has also served with distinction as our Director, endure a nasty, intolerant campaign to remove him as an imam from his boyhood mosque and to cast him outside of the fold of Islam on account of views he has expressed as a scholar and a scientist in good faith and conviction.

In 1999, City Circle was founded in the belief that treasuring our great Muslim diversity is a blessing and not a curse, that honest dialogue on all issues is essential to building a confident and empowered Muslim community, that without asking the serious questions we could never start to frame meaningful answers to the issues and challenges of our times.  Usama Hasan’s own journey has embodied that, and he should be treasured too, honoured and saluted for his courage and integrity, regardless of whether one would personally agree with him or not.

In recent days, many Muslim organisations have come forward to stand for decent Muslim community life.  We would like to add our voice to this growing groundwell of decent mainstream opinion, and say no to thuggery, intolerance and intimidation and say yes to debate, tolerance and mutual respect.  Usama Hasan for all his years of service and integrity deserves no less than that.

In the case of Dr Usama Hasan, an Imam at Masjid Tawhid in Leyton, London, who has been persecuted and victimised, we call upon religious scholars, Imams, mosque committees, Muslim community organisations and Muslim communities as a whole to reaffirm the following principles so that we may strengthen the basic conditions for civilised and principled Muslim community life:

1. No imam or member of the Muslim community should be subjected to hate speech, intimidation or threats of violence on any matter regarding beliefs or religious rulings as this is contrary to the law of the land which British Muslims are bound to uphold, and most essentially that, under Islamic teachings and etiquette, mob rule has no legitimate place within our community life.

2. No religious scholar or any ordinary Muslim has the legal jurisdiction to declare any fellow Muslim outside of the faith of Islam (takfir) in the United Kingdom, and furthermore that they are duty bound to affirm freedom of religious conscience which is upheld in the United Kingdom.

3. Those who have made takfir of Dr Usama Hasan or who have acted in an intimidating or abusive fashion towards him must publicly retract their statements of takfir immediately and offer an unconditional public apology.

4. That there is a positive duty to uphold the etiquette of differences of opinion, and to condemn those who actively promote hatred and division within our communities. We should all affirm the necessity of developing a mature and wise ethos within Muslim communities so that we may handle matters of controversy with tact and wisdom in recognition of our great diversity.

5. All matters of mosque governance should conform to the Charity Commission’s guidance or any other relevant legislation, and no ad hoc measures should be undertaken in contravention of these rules or legislation in either letter or spirit.

You can join the Defend Usama Hasan group on Facebook HERE


Association of British Muslims statement

British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD) statement

East London Mosque statement

IMASE statement on Dr Usama Hasan, Evolution and Masjid Tawhid

INSPIRE statement

Islamic Society of Britain Statement - Let our scholars think freely!

Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) statement

MCB (Muslim Council of Britain) Statement Concerning Threats Against Dr Usama Hasan

Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford statement

The Strange Case of Usama Hasan, Mohammad Fadel