Charity Commission launches extremism investigation into Leyton Mosque

 

The Charity Commission has launched an investigation into allegations that one of London’s major mosques has been taken over by extremists after an imam who tried to preach that evolution was compatible with Islam was forced to resign.

Leyton Mosque, which overlooks the Olympic Park, has been at the centre of a bitter dispute between rival factions for more than a year. Last month Dr Usama Hasan, a prominent theologian and one of the mosque’s imams, resigned following a string of disruptions by extremists who were angered by his lectures on Darwinism and comparatively progressive interpretation of Islamic teaching.

At the height of the dispute anonymous leaflets were distributed calling for his execution and campaigns by ultra-conservatives were launched against his plans to allow female speakers to talk in front of mixed sex audiences. 

Under a deal that was supposed to bring some form of closure to the dispute Dr Hasan and some of his detractors resigned from the board of trustees. But much of the power within the mosque still rests in the hands of Dr Hasan’s critics.

Now it has emerged that the Charity Commission is investigating the mosque over concerns that it has links to extremism. According to the Liberal Conspiracy website, a letter has been sent to the mosque’s new trustees stating that the commission was opening a statutory inquiry after “concerns were raised with us about alleged links to extremism.”

A commission spokeswoman today confirmed the investigation adding: “We cannot comment further on the case until our investigation is complete. It is our usual practice to publish a report following the conclusion of a statutory inquiry.“

Calls and emails to the mosque today went unanswered.

Speaking to The Independent last night, Dr Hasan said: “I am upset that my beloved mosque, where I led prayers for over 25 years, is being formally investigated by the Charity Commission for links to extremism, since I have challenged extremism and tried to defend the mosque against it for many years. 

However, I hope that the investigation will help us, the mosque congregation and its trustees that represent us, to move forward and ensure that divisive, extremist viewpoints are not promoted and that the beauty of the balanced message of Islam shines through.”

Historically Islamic authorities have had little problem with the concept of evolution, backing Darwinism as being entirely compatible with God’s design.

Many centuries before the Origin of Species was written, Islamic scholars compiled sizeable tracts on botany and how animals survived and thrived within their environment. But as with Christianity, conservative and reactionary elements within Islam have begun in more recent decades to promote Creationism with increasing zealotry.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power