My trouble started three years ago when I wrote an article saying that we needed to move beyond the simplistic idea held by many Muslims that God created Adam from clay and then breathed life into him. This literal interpretation of the Koran is still the dominant position. I was brought up a creationist and was a fundamentalist for many years, but I came to the conclusion that evolution is entirely compatible with the Koran and that alternative interpretations of the creation story that account for evolution are valid.

Things escalated in December when a visiting influential Saudi scholar, Salir al-Sadlan, was asked whether someone who believed in evolution was fit to lead prayers, and he said no. An online petition against me was set up, saying I should be removed from al-Tawhid mosque, where I have been a prayer leader for 25 years. So in January I held a lecture at the mosque to clarify my position on why evolution does not undermine the scriptures. The lecture was disrupted by a small gang of fanatics and I had to abandon it.

At the lecture a leaflet was handed out saying that anybody believing in evolution or who propagates it must be killed. Knowing some of the people behind this, in the small fanatical fringe of the British Muslim community, I know they believe that literally. They are pro-violence. So it was very worrying, especially as I have young children. I have had to take out extra security at home, which I guess will stay for the rest of my life.

More here: