New Scientist has reported a campaign for Islamic teachers, or Imams, to sign an open letter declaring that there is no clash between their religious faith and evolution (see American Muslim clerics sign up for evolution).
The text of the letter is:
Literalists of various religious traditions who perceive the science of evolution to be in conflict with their personal religious beliefs are seeking to influence public school boards to authorize the teaching of creationism. We, the Imams of the mosques, see this as a breach in the separation of church and state. Those who believe in a literal interpretation of scriptural account of creation are free to teach their perspective in their homes, religious institutions and parochial schools. To teach it in the public schools would be indoctrinating a particular religious point of view in an environment that is supposed to be free of such indoctrination.
We, the undersigned Imams of the mosques, assert that the Qur’an is the primary source of spiritual inspiration and of values for us, though not for everyone, in our country. We believe that the timeless truths of the Qur’an may comfortably coexist with the discoveries of modern science. As Imams we urge public school boards to affirm their commitment to the teaching of the science of evolution. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.
Sign Up Now!
The Imam Letter, follows on from the similar Christian Clergy Letter which was launched in 2006 and now has 12,725 signatures. Three years ago the Jewish Rabbi Letter, which has 476 signatures, was launched.
This letter is topical and I hope it is successful. Back in March a London Imam, Dr Usama Hasan, who is also a physics lecturer at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was threatened after presenting a lecture on “Islam and the theory of evolution” at his East London mosque, Masjid al-Tawhid. (see Acceptance of science – dangerous for some and Imam fears ‘nutters’ could kill him for preaching evolution).