An impressive campaign of Muslim organisations, and of sympathetic individuals, has been organised on Facebook to defend Usama Hasan from the death threats which he has received from those at the jihadist end of Salafidom, who operate around Islamic Awakening.
Here is its manifesto:
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.
It is notable, and heartening, that the supporters of this call include not only liberal Muslims and liberal Muslim organisations, but those who are aligned with Jamaat-e-Islami. This is very much a step in the right direction.
Can I remind readers that Usama Hasan also wrote on Harry’s Place in defence of a former student of his, a Shia who was imprisoned and tortured in Bahrain. He has now been released. Usama Hasan also spoke out against antisemitic and extremist hate preachers at the Green Lane Mosque.
Do join the Facebook group if you’re a sincere supporter of Usama Hasan. Don’t join to jibe and carp, eh?
A good statement from Mohammed Amin, who lost the FSA leadership election:
I was shocked on Monday 7 March 2011 listening to the BBC Radio 4 “Today” program just after 0600. It reported that a British imam, Usama Hasan, had received death threats. The story with full background is on the Guardian website. A leaflet containing threats has been circulated which is now available on the web. There is a briefing paper from the Quilliam Foundation with additional background material. Usama Hasan himself wrote in January about his conversations with a religious scholar who issued a fatwa against him. There is more background on a blog written by an astrophysicist.
Usama is a friend of mine.
As the above material gives the full background, I will avoid repeating it. Instead, I just want to set out my own views.
- We live in Britain, and enjoy full freedom of speech subject only to limitations for matters such as incitement to commit crimes or conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace. Accordingly, nobody has a right to seek to silence Usama Hasan or to issue death threats against him.
- It is the responsibility of the police to provide protection for Usama Hasan and his family.
- Those who issue such threats should be prosecuted if within the jurisdiction of the UK or if they are in a country from which they can be extradited to the UK.
- Such threats have no place in Islam.
- The reputation of Islam amongst non-Muslims is damaged by the conduct of people who issue such threats and seek to close down freedom of thought and discussion amongst Muslims.
- All right thinking Muslims need to stand up and be counted in resisting such attempts at intimidation.
If you are on Facebook, there is a group you can join to show your support for Usama Hasan and to defend freedom of thought and conscience.