As representatives of a broad spectrum of belief in the Muslim community, we support Usama Hasan's right to free speech and the right to foster a culture of intelligent and compassionate debate about Islam (Imam is threatened with death after delivering lecture on evolution, 7 March). Islam has a tradition of creative thinking and discussion which allows disagreement and, importantly, the tools to tackle social injustice. Intolerance violates the spirit of Islam and has to be condemned.
We cannot allow people to promote acts of violence against opinions they disagree with. The stakes are high as we demand the right to build a strong foundation for future generations of Muslim children living in Britain. We can only do this if our rich diversity of Muslim communities not only follow in the footsteps of some of the great thinkers that have been proud to call themselves Muslim but also lead the way in tackling some of the greatest challenges facing all people today. We have been responsible for scientific and philosophical revolutions, created art that stands the test of time. This can only continue if we allow a free exchange of ideas, rigorous debate, and protect the individual's right to speak his or her mind when others will not.
Raheel Mohammed Director, Maslaha
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra Chairman of mosque and community affairs committee, Muslim Council of Britain
Dr Musharraf Hussain Karimia Institute
Rabia Malik City Circle
Akeela Ahmed Muslim Youth Helpline
Yahya Birt City Circle
Merryl Wyn Davies Director, Muslim Institute
Samia Rahman Muslim Institute
Julie Siddiqi Executive director, Islamic Society of Britain
Dilwar Hussain Policy Research Centre
Rania Hasez Muslim Women in Education