Usama Hasan: Head of Islamic Studies

(Imam Sheikh Dr) Usama Hasan is Head of Islamic Studies at Quilliam and was a founding advisor to the organisation in 2008. As a teenager Usama became a radical salafi activist and, whilst still a Cambridge undergraduate, briefly took part (1990-1) in the ‘Jihad’ against Communist forces in Afghanistan. However following the 7/7 bombings in London, Usama took it upon himself to start campaigning against extremism and for religious reform within Muslim circles.

Fluent in English, Urdu and Arabic, Dr Usama completed memorizing the entire Qur’an by the age of 11. He has served as a part-time imam for over 30 years since his teens and is a certified transmitter of the Qur’an and Hadith scriptures and has translated a number of Islamic texts into English, including The Islamic Foundation’s “Way of the Prophet” (2009). He has recited or co-recited the entire text of the Qur’an to Ramadan mosque congregations over twenty times, including twice in the reading of Warsh.

Before joining Quilliam, Dr Usama was a Senior Lecturer in Engineering at Middlesex University (2003-2012), Visiting Associate Professor at NUST in Pakistan (2002-3) and a consultant in artificial intelligence in UK industry (1997-2003). He holds a PhD, MSc & MA in Physics and Artificial Intelligence from the Universities of Cambridge & London and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Muslim Institute.

As a Muslim community activist, Usama served as elected President of the student Islamic Societies at Cambridge University (1990-1), King’s College London (1993) and Imperial College (1994-5). He also served as imam, khatib, trustee and Vice-Chairman of Al-Tawhid Mosque (1985-2011); senior shura member, JIMAS (1990s), and as Director and Trustee of the City Circle (2008-12).

Usama has been quoted extensively in the following recent books:

• Sara Khan, The Battle for British Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism (Saqi, 2016)
• John R. Bowen, On British Islam: Religion, Law, and Everyday Practice in Shariʿa Councils (Princeton, 2016)
• Sadek Hamid, Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: The Contested Ground of British Islamic Activism (IB Tauris, 2016)
• Raffaello Pantucci, ‘We Love Death as You Love Life’: Britain’s Suburban Terrorists (Hurst, 2015)
• Innes Bowen, Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam (Hurst, 2014)
• Roel Meijer, Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement (Hurst, 2009)

His recent publications include:

  1. Usama Hasan, “Women’s Rights & Gender Equality in Islam – Between Traditionalism and Rationalism,” in Speaking in God’s Name: Re-examining Gender in Islam, Inspire, 2017 (forthcoming)
  2. Usama Hasan, Co-author and Convenor, Muslim World Science Initiative final report of the Task Force on Science and Islam 2014-6, chaired by Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, former Secretary General of the OIC, http://www.muslim-science.com/Islam-and-Science-Report
  3. Charlie Winter and Usama Hasan, ‘The Balanced Nation: Islam and the challenges of extremism, fundamentalism, Islamism and jihadism,’ Philosophia, 2015, http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11406-015-9634-2
  4. Usama Hasan, From Dhimmitude to Democracy: Islamic Law, Non-Muslims & Equal Citizenship, Quilliam, 2015
  5. Usama Hasan and Charles Cooper, “DEMOCRACY IS HYPOCRISY!” – European Muslims, democratic malaise and Islamist extremism in Queries, Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Issue 3, Winter 2013-14, pp. 68-73 http://www.queries-feps.eu/Queries%203.pdf
  6. Usama Hasan, No Compulsion in Religion – Islam and the Freedom of Belief, Quilliam, 2013 (available in 10 languages at http://www.islamandrf.org/)
  7. Usama Hasan, The Balanced Nation – Islam, Fundamentalism and Extremism, paper presented at a workshop on fundamentalism organised by the International Research Network on Religion and Democracy at Corvinus University, Budapest, 2013
  8. Usama Hasan, ‘Health, Sickness, Medicine, Life and Death in Muslim Belief and Practice’, in European Journal of Palliative Care, Volume 19 Number 5, September-October 2012, pp. 241-5
  9. Usama Hasan, The Balance of Islam in Challenging Extremism, Quilliam, 2012
  10. Usama Hasan, ‘The Veil – Between Tradition and Reason, Culture and Context’, in Islam and the Veil: Theoretical and Regional Contexts, ed. R. Hannan & T. Gabriel, Continuum Books, 2011
  11. Usama Hasan, The Threat From Extremism To Islam and the World, keynote paper, The Message of Peace in Islam conference, Damascus, 2009
  12. Usama Hasan, transl., The Way of the Prophet, Islamic Foundation, 2009

Usama has written for The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and for the BBC Online Magazine. He has been an invited delegate at major international conferences including the World Economic Forum – Middle East (2008-9), Ditchley Park (2015), the Marrakesh Declaration (2016) and the Reconsidering Religious Radicalism conference at Cambridge University (2016).”