It is sometimes suggested that your Curmudgeon is excessive in his criticism of the theocratic component of the creationist movement. But if we look to other parts of the world where creationism has achieved a more “advanced” stage, it’s clear that our criticism is more than justified.
Consider this news article in the Independent, a UK newspaper located in London: Scientist Imam threatened over Darwinist views. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A prominent British imam has been forced to retract his claims that Islam is compatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution after receiving death threats from fundamentalists.
Death threats? In England? What’s going on here?
Dr Usama Hasan, a physics lecturer at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was intending yesterday to return to Masjid al-Tawhid, a mosque in Leyton, East London, for the first time since he delivered a lecture there entitled “Islam and the theory of evolution”.
What happened? Let’s read on:
But according to his sister, police advised him not to attend [the mosque] after becoming concerned for his safety. Instead his father, Suhaib, head of the mosque’s committee of trustees, posted a notice on his behalf expressing regret over his comments. “I seek Allah’s forgiveness for my mistakes and apologise for any offence caused,” the statement read.
His own father did that? We continue:
The campaign is part of a growing movement by a small but vocal group of largely Saudi-influenced orthodox Muslims who use evolution as a way of discrediting imams whom they deem to be overly progressive or “western orientated”.
If they don’t want anybody around who is “western” in his orientation, why are they in England? Never mind, there’s no answer to that. Ah, now the newspaper gives us a bit of background:
In January, Dr Hasan delivered a lecture there detailing why he felt the theory of evolution and Islam were compatible – a position that is not unusual among many Islamic scholars with scientific backgrounds. But the lecture was interrupted by men he described as “fanatics” who distributed leaflets claiming that “Darwin is blasphemy”.
“One man came up to me during the lecture and said ‘You are an apostate and should be killed’,” Dr Hasan told The Independent.
We have outspoken creationists in the US too, but they’re not that aggressive. Not yet, anyway. These things take time. We’ll skip some of the article, which you’ll want to read in its entirety, and get right to the final paragraph:
Most Islamic scholars have little problem with evolution as long as Muslims accept the supremacy of God in the process. But in recent years a small number of orthodox scholars, mainly from Saudi Arabia – where many clerics still preach that the Sun revolves around the Earth – have ruled against evolution, declaring that belief in the concept goes against the Koran’s statement that Adam and Eve were the first humans.
Such attitudes aren’t limited to Muslims. It’s common to the creationist mindset across all religions. When reason is absent, it doesn’t really matter what fills the void. The theological distinctions between Christianity and Islam are irrelevant to a murdered scientist.
So what do we learn from this ghastly tale? We suggest the lesson is this: If creationists aren’t kept out of our schools — and out of our politics! — what’s happening in England can happen in the US too.
Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.