London (CNN) – Usama Hasan has led Friday
prayers at Leyton mosque in East London for 20 years.
In recent years he has used his position as an imam to tackle issues like terrorism head-on.
But it’s his views on Darwinian evolution that have landed him in trouble with some fellow Muslims. It’s been two months now since he says criticism over his support for the theory of evolution provoked him to stop leading Friday prayers at his congregation.
The remarks prompted some in the community to turn against him.
“People weren't reasoning with me,” he says, “rather, they would say, ‘you're no longer a Muslim, you're an apostate, you're an infidel.’”
According to Hasan, his opponents started seeking fatwas, or religious rulings, from clerics overseas to denounce his support for evolution and, he says, to declare a death sentence.