Usama Hasan

From Powerbase
Revision as of 09:06, 14 December 2023 by David (talk | contribs) (British government counter-extremism agenda)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Usama Hasan is a Senior Analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and has described himself as a "a full-time counter-extremism practitioner since 2012".[1][2]

He was a senior researcher in Islamic Studies at the Quilliam Foundation[3] until it was closed down in April 2021.[4] He is a former senior lecturer in business information systems at Middlesex University,[3][5] and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.[6][7]


Hasan who comes from an Indo-Pakistani family holds no formal qualifications in Islamic Studies or Arabic language from any Islamic university but states he was taught personally by his father, Suhaib Hasan, who is a Saudi Arabia-trained Islamic scholar, while his grandfather, Abdul-Ghaffar Hasan Al-Hindi (d. 2007), was a scholar as well, having taught at the Islamic University of Medina at the request of the influential Salafi scholar Al-Albani.[8]

Afghan Mujahideen claims

He has claimed that he fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet presence.[9][10]

Quilliam Foundation

Hasan was Senior Researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, an organisation set up as a cut out by British intelligence. Its activities have been heavily criticised by commentators and academics for their "deplorable work towards the institutionalisation of Islamophobia and the destruction of civil liberties...and the far-right thugs that they have empowered as well as legitimised through their work".[11] During this time Hasan was involved in talks with Tommy Robinson of the English Defence League in which context he stated that "Robinson has always been against Islamism — political Islam — rather than Muslims".[12][13]

British government counter-extremism agenda

Hasan was a member of the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Projecting British Islam delegations to Egypt in 2008[14] and to Afghanistan (Helmand) in 2010,[15] was a Keynote Speaker at the Anglo-Syrian government-sponsored conference "The Message of Peace in Islam" in Damascus in 2009,[16] and is a Patron of both the Forum for the Discussion of Israel and Palestine (FODIP)[17] and Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum.[18] Usama was also a speaker at the Google Ideas/Council on Foreign Relations Summit Against Violent Extremism (Dublin, 2011).[19]

Media appearances

He has appeared on television programmes, including BBC Hardtalk,[20] CNN,[21] and has also written various columns for The Guardian and The Washington Post.[22][23]

Views and controversies

Hasan has expressed a number of views on Islam which have provoked strong reactions among Muslims and others.


Hasan has previously argued in favour of a compatibility between Islam and human evolution, arguing the mention of Adam and Eve in the Quran is purely symbolic.[24]

Hasan has argued that Islam is compatible with the theory of evolution, describing 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 (d.1406) and Ibn Miskawayh (d.1030).[24] His lectures have been disrupted by hecklers and has reportedly received death threats.[7][25]

Hasan later retracted some of his views on evolution.[7] Several British Muslim writers, including Inayat Bunglawala and Yahya Birt, backed his right to free speech.[26][27] On 5 January 2013, he was featured in a debate against Yasir Qadhi titled Have Muslims Misunderstood Evolution?, in which he argued in favor of human evolution.[28]

Power struggles at the Masjid al-Tawhid

Hasan complained to British state authorities about "extremism" at the London Masjid al-Tawhid mosque and, in May 2012, as part of the arbitration process, he and all other trustees voluntarily stepped down from their positions as Trustees of the mosque.[29] In June 2012, the new Trustees of the Trust changed the locks of the Mosque doors and employed security guards.[30] According to the website of the Masjid al-Tawhid, the Hasan family "want to ... regain personal control of the mosque" and the vice chair Mehmud Patel said that "the mosque has 'effectively been run as a family affair, not a charity' by Usama Hasan and his father Suhaib Usama, and conflict as a result of the trustees' attempts to move away from this model of operation was inevitable".[31][32]

Al-Shabaab video threat

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.[33][34]

Fatwa against ISIS

In 2014 Hasan and others issued a fatwa condemning British Muslims fighting for the "oppressive and tyrannical" Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Their fatwa "religiously prohibites" would-be British jihadists from joining the Islamic State and orders all Muslims to oppose ISIL's "poisonous ideology".[35][36]

Summer fasting times

Hasan believes that Muslims in the UK should fast shorter hours – rather than the dawn-to-sunset hours that most Muslims do – as summer days at such latitudes can run for up to 19 hours.[37]

Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

Hasan's reports for the Tony Blair Institute with the foreword by Michael Nazir-Ali have been criticized by Salaam as "hegemonic project to save the Muslim world from itself and coax it towards 'a model of Muslim civil religion that mirrors the United States' is a repackaging of Neo-Con wisdom 16-years on".



  1. Usama Hasan Extremism needs to be fought at every level for inclusive Islam to succeed Alarabiya NewsSeptember 20, 2021
  2. Usama Hasan author profile. September 20, 2021.  Alarabiya News
  3. 3.0 3.1 Quilliam. Usama Hasan: Senior Researcher.
  4. The Charmed Life and Strange, Sad Death of the Quilliam Foundation.
  5. Middlesex University Staff directory. Usama Hasan. |accessdate=2012-07-15 Template:Webarchive
  6. Muslim academic forced to retract evolution claim - The First Post Template:Webarchive Accessed 15 July 2012}
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Imam fears 'nutters' could kill him for preaching evolution.  Evening Standard.
  8. John R. Bowen, On British Islam: Religion, Law, and Everyday Practice in Shariʿa Councils, Princeton University Press (2016), p. 58
  9. Hardtalk - Usama Hasan. 30 August 2007. 
  10. Dr Mathew Guest, Dr Elisabeth Arweck, Religion and Knowledge: Sociological Perspectives, p 36. Template:ISBN
  11. The Quilliam Foundation has closed but its toxic legacy remains. April 20, 2021.  Al Jazeera
  12. ‘When Tommy met Mo’ revealed how far we have to travel before Islamism is uprooted. October 29, 2013.  Church of England Newspaper
  13. The odd couple: has an ex-Islamist turned former EDL leader Tommy Robinson?. October 10, 2013.  Evening Standard
  14. Dina Rabie (10 July 2008) Projecting British Muslims.  
  15. British Muslims visit Afghanistan.  Gov.UK.
  16. Usama Hasan. The Balance of Islam in Challenging Extremism Template:Webarchive. Quilliam, 2012: p. 4
  17. What is FODIP?.  FODIP.
  18. Contact UKFBFF.  Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum.
  19. Summit Against Violent Extremism (SAVE).  Council on Foreign Relations.
  20. Usama Hasan. 2007-08-30. 
  21. CNN Template:Webarchive
  22. Usama Hasan | The Guardian.
  23. British universities sometimes seen as breeding grounds for radical Islam. 2010-01-01. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 Knowledge regained. 11 September 2008. 
  25. London imam subjected to death threats for supporting evolution. Mosque suspends engineering lecturer Usama Hasan for 'antagonising' community and backing women's rights..
  26. Pickled Politics » A growing campaign to defend Usama Hasan and free speech.
  27. 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..
  29. Arbitration Report May 2012. MUSLIM ARBITRATION SERVICE Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust Template:Webarchive accessed 15 July 2012
  30. Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust. Trust asserts control over the Mosque. Statement on events of Monday 18 June 2012. Template:Webarchive. accessed 15 July 2012
  31. A Response to the Statement of Sr Nazima Sheikh. Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust Template:Webarchive accessed 15 July 2012
  32. End of Arbitration, WFCOM Meeting, Disruption of Friday Announcement Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid Trust Template:Webarchive accessed 15 July 2012
  33. Shiv Malik (17 October 2013) Prominent UK Muslims under police protection after al-Shabaab threats.  
  34. British Muslims defiant over al-Shabab threat.  Al Jazeera English.
  35. Isis terror threat: Leading British Muslims issue fatwa condemning terror group. 31 August 2014. 
  37. Ramadan fast in UK 'should be shortened' says scholar.
  38. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Previous PBI visits. Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 8 January 2009 on 14 July 2016.