'Death threats' against interfaith man

A leading interfaith organisation has condemned death threats against an imam who preached evolution and supports women's rights.

Usama Hasan was threatened after Muslim protesters disrupted a lecture he was giving last month, calling for his execution.

The Woolf Institute's Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish relations said hatred should make way for debate.

Edward Kessler, director of the Woolf Institute, said: "Freedom of expression is vital in our free and democratic society. Dr Hasan's critics are welcome to disagree with mainstream Darwinian theory – as do some Jews and Christians – but hate campaigns are unacceptable and should be vehemently rejected.

"Of one thing I am intolerant and that is of intolerance itself, demonstrated by the attacks against Dr Hasan."

Dr Hasan, vice-chairman of the Masjid and Madrasah al-Tawhid Mosque in Leyton, east London, and a Middlesex University lecturer, had previously said Darwin's theory of evolution was not incompatible with the teaching of Islam. He has since apologised
and retracted parts of his statements on the subject.

Dr Hasan said he is concerned for his and his family's safety and fears "nutters" might attack him.

    Last updated: 12:32pm, March 17 2011