UK's Muslim students boycott lectures on Evolution

Published: November 28, 2011

Students and trainee doctors claim evolution clashes with their creationist beliefs.

LONDON: In ongoing protests, Muslim students including trainee doctors at Britain’s University College London have walked out of biology lectures on evolution, reports The Daily Mail. The students and trainee doctors claim evolution clashes with their creationist beliefs they say are established in the Holy Quran.

Muslim opponents to Darwinism state that God created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act of creation, rather than the evolutionary process of gradual change through random mutations and natural selection.

University College London Professors have expressed concern over the rising number of biology students boycotting lectures on evolution, which form an important part of the syllabus.

Earlier this year Usama Hasan, imam of the Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton received death threats for suggesting that Darwinism and Islam might be compatible. According to The Daily Mail, sources within the group Muslims4UK partly blamed the growing popularity of creationist beliefs on Turkish author Harun Yahya who has written several books denouncing evolution and Charles Darwin.

Yahya associates Dawinism with Nazism and his books are and videos are available at many Islamic bookshops in the UK and Pakistan. He regularly features on Islamic television channels.

The evolution debate in Islam

According to an earlier report by T. V. Padma on the Science and Development Network website, acceptance of evolution varies widely across the Islamic world, demonstrating that stereotypical ideas about Islam and evolution are wrong.

More than 80 per cent of Pakistani doctors in the United States accepted the theory of evolution, including microbial, animal and human evolution.

The majority also believed that one could accept the theory of evolution and hold religious beliefs at the same time.

But most Malaysian doctors (in Malaysia) rejected the theory of evolution, especially with regard to humans.

Reader Comments (71)

  • Nov 28, 2011 - 4:48PM

    Beta. Then why did you spent a fortune worth of wealth to study in London. Idhar hi parh lete :D

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  • Nov 28, 2011 - 4:55PM

    Must a person choose between logic or faith?

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  • Nov 28, 2011 - 5:10PM

    Muslims just need to create a fuss about religion. they just teach you a theory not ask you to believe it.

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  • Saleem Khan
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:19PM

    This is what religions are taught, they over react over something that goes against their beliefs. Also by looking at one comment above when he says its a theory, please go read your books again.Recommend

  • IsmailTara
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:22PM

    @Asim Evolution is not a theory. It is a fact.

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  • Sayyed Mehdi
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:24PM

    It’s bad enough that Muslims are almost nowhere to be seen on the forefront of science anymore. Harun Yahya, Zakir Naik and the likes have taken it a step further by actively vandalizing established science. Shame on them.

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  • Akthar
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:31PM

    Asim is right, You can take Darwins evolution theory for learning, and ignore if you dont believe it. What`s the harm? Crazy chaps

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  • Khan
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:39PM

    These so called educated baboons should know one thing … What ever your actions are it will not only affect you but all those students who would want to attend these prestigious colleges and universities .. Don’t play with their future at least.
    What kind of people are you that you can’t even listen or learn your own syllabus .. No one is beating you to change your belief or religion.
    If that is how they react to their education then how can you expect them to tolerate some one’s opinion or religious views which are not in line with theirs. Although I really want to say that UCL and all other universities should expel such people but then again its their course material and eventually they will fail in it. Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:42PM

    Maybe these guys are yet to evolve and hence reject evolution itself.

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  • Ali
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:43PM

    What a bunch of blockheads… Science has its place and religion has its place… doesn’t Islam ask you to be open minded and learn and study everything, whether you believe it or not is up to you…Recommend

  • sashayub
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:45PM

    these half-read individuals do not have the knowledge to provide counter arguments on Darwin’s theory, the poor chaps can only walk out…..whimps!Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2011 - 5:52PM

    @IsmailTara:
    It is a theory. So many scientist don’t believe it and yet it has never been an issue.

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  • anup
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:53PM

    haha….joke of century . Then we have to create 3 to 4 syllabus on evolution for each religion .
    are they medical students ?With such students , Islamic world dream to create novel laurate ?That is why “west is west and east is east ” .

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  • zezu
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:56PM

    This theory is the basis for Atheism.
    These students firmly believe and faith in Allah that is why they are bycotting it.

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  • First drink, don't think
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:01PM

    Yeah! Muslims have to make a mountain of mole hill every where in the world. Sometime I really feel awkward being a Muslim, just because the things other do. One should better ask those who boycotted the lectures how many of them are truly practicing the Islam religion in their lives? Our problem is selective practices of Islam.

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  • sajid
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:11PM

    Maybe these students don’t know that London universities don’t have a jamat islami student wing which can forcefully get these things out of the syllabus.
    Beta wahan yeh sab nakhray nahi chaltay parhna hai to parho warna yahan liney lagi hain england jani walon ki.

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  • Nov 28, 2011 - 6:15PM

    Like it or not such people have a huge consumer base. In a way it is wrong to single out just these individuals only thus ignoring the huge army of those who twist the thinking capabilities of the gullible youth using anything from TV studios to madrassah. Saner voices are being drowned. Recommend

  • Truth Teller
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:16PM

    Grow up! How insane& childish? Sadly these people have destroyed Muslims & Islam in the world.Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2011 - 6:27PM

    Only ideologically insecure muslims would act like ostriches.

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  • Acorn Guts
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:40PM

    ‘Theory of Evolution’ is just a theory why be so uptight about this? Even Quran mentions that human were created in ‘stages’ (The Quran, 71:14). Atheism gleans from this theory but unless we actually read about TOE, how else will we be able to refute the Atheist arguments? No donut for these so-called student.

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  • Hindu Indian
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:40PM

    I think these people have “proved” that Evolution is “theory” . They refuse to learn. Animals learn from their surroundings. Since these humans haven’t learnt, that means humans could have never evolved from Animals.

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  • Iron hand
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:42PM

    Truly frightening that these people, blessed with the opportunity to receive a top notch education, instead choose willful ignorance in the name of religion.

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  • IsmailTara
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:01PM

    @Asim Flu vaccines my friend, look it up. Natural selection/evolution is a fact, and i repeat, not a theory.
    When Galileo discovered that the earth revolves around the sun, they simply shunned him as it opposed religion. The same is happening today with the simple fact of evolution.

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  • Nov 28, 2011 - 7:29PM

    Then why these fellows believe in their stethoscopes, ECG machines and medicines. Let them pray whenever a patient comes to them. They do not deserve to be called doctors.Recommend

  • Raj
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:36PM

    Why they are studying medicine, they should study Unani and Hikmat.

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  • sri
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:38PM

    an ”EDUCATED” religious fanatic with a pen is far more damaging to the society than an illitrate with a gun.

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  • Ibrar
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:47PM

    Those who reject the theory of evolution do so on the basis of Darwin being the author. In my view Darwin had just copied the theory of evolution from Ibne Khaldun who had written about it four centuries earlier in his famous book, The Muccadimah in much detail.

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  • Ibrar
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:51PM

    Those who reject the theory of evolution do so on the basis of a non muslim, ie, Darwin being the author. In my view Darwin had just copied the theory of evolution from that great philosopher and historiographer of Islam, Ibne Khaldun who had written about it four centuries earlier in his famous book, The Muccadimah in much detail.

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  • Asad
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:00PM

    @IsmailTara
    Nope. Evolution is just a theory and a wrong theory for that matter. There is no proof to make this theory a fact. Moreover, have you read the life history of Darwin (maker of the evolution theory)? Darwin was a deeply religious christian until all of beloved children died in infancy. He was so disturbed by their deaths that he lost faith and created the evolution theory (in a sad and disturbed state of mind).

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  • cerevisiae
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:01PM

    @Asim:

    Actually, it’s both; the theory of evolution is an incredibly well supported scientific theory that describes the biological fact that life evolves. It’s kinda obvious at this point.

    @zezu:

    I’m afraid it really has very little to do with atheism; the only reason its even associated is that atheists object to theists decrying science on the basis of faith – likely because it’s a moronic thing to do.

    Of course the students are boycotting because they firmly believe, but that’s not a sufficient reason. If I firmly believed that gravity was caused by invisible pixies, it’s not a excuse to boycott lectures on relativity. Belief doesn’t change reality, only color it.

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  • e.
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:17PM

    fantastic. yet another handful of muslims make the rest of us look like absurd in front of the world. do they also reject the internet coz it promotes immoral behavior ?Recommend

  • goggi
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:18PM

    “Humanity’s first sin was faith; the first virtue was doubt.”
    – Mike Huben

    “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. The religion which is based on experience, which refuses dogmatism. If there’s any religion that would cope the scientific needs it will be Buddhism…”
    – Albert Einstein

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  • wizz
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:35PM

    Why my brothers in UK WHY!!!????

    One should listen to all. No one is asking you to change your beliefs.

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  • MrPloppy
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:09PM

    Throw them off the course if that’s the case.

    If they don’t want to complete the required parts,they cannot continue with the course.Recommend

  • lida
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:02PM

    If I were them I would attend the class and solidify my belief even more.

    BY BOYCOTTING you are MAKING A bad name for Islam as if darwin will change our belief in islam!!!

    Plus you are living in UK ….go back to your countries if you don’t like it there.

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  • Jim K
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:25PM

    Easy solution. Flunk them for not completing required classwork.

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  • Cynical
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:36PM

    @goggi

    May be that’s why the Chinese,Japanese,Koreans are getting ahead.

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  • IsmailTara
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:52PM

    @Asad Gravitation is a theory. Heliocentrism is also just a theory. All matter being composed of atoms is also the atomic theory. They are all theories in the scientific sense of the word. For the ordinary English usage, they are all facts. The theory of evolution is also as established a theory as these ones.

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  • sfaf
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:52PM

    People here who are thinking that all these muslim students are pakistani, specifically of pakistani nationality, are quite wrong. Majority of these students would be british born and, it is my personal experience of meeting these british born muslims, that they tend to be quite radical about their faith. Im not saying they are extremist or anything in a negative way but their emotions dictate their faith quite overwhelmingly!
    I also personally know few pakistani students at UCL and not I dont think they would do such acts..so my pakistani bros here can chill that our student lot is hardly a source of any negative news :)

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  • No way!!!!
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:58PM

    Yeah yeah. You can find an alternate route but admit it, America needs Pakistan if it wants to succeed in Afghanistan. You have to pay us for services rendered.

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  • Zach
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:10PM

    @Asim:

    You clearly do not understand what the word “Theory” means to a scientist. I’d recommend reading the following page to get a better understanding: link text

    Virtually all scientists accept the Theory of Evolution as the best current explanation for the varieties of species we see today and how they got here. It’s not a question of belief or disbelief, but of ignoring the evidence or accepting it.

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  • Gullible Nomore
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:51PM

    @No way!!!!:
    Yeah yeah. You can find an alternate route but admit it, America needs Pakistan if it wants to succeed in Afghanistan. You have to pay us for services rendered.”

    This made my day! hahahahha

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  • Fahad Aijaz
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:56PM

    @IsmailTara: yeah yeah mr ismail, the biggest absurdity about evolution and natural selection is the origin of the cell, which further evolved into a bacteria and than subsequently till the present civilization.
    The smallest cell which needs to form roundabout 460 genes (on the assumption of hit and trial formation of suitable amino acids, which has an extremely low probability). And according to all the experimentalist techniques, the genes form can not surpass 400.
    And whenever you ask an evolutionist about this problem he answers,
    ” the fact that science has not yet discovered everything does not prove the theory wrong.”
    Even Richard Dawkins (the religion phobic atheist) agrees to this, watch the Ben Stein video for the proof.
    Simply, some pseudo intellectuals want to keep the Divine Foot out of the door of their lives by simply proving nonsensical hypothesis correct.Recommend

  • Fahad Aijaz
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:05AM

    @IsmailTara:
    yeah yeah mr ismail, the biggest absurdity about evolution and natural selection is the origin of the cell, which further evolved into a bacteria and than subsequently till the present civilization.
    The smallest cell which needs to form roundabout 460 genes (on the assumption of hit and trial formation of suitable amino acids, which has an extremely low probability). And according to all the experimentalist techniques, the genes form can not surpass 400.
    And whenever you ask an evolutionist about this problem he answers,
    ” the fact that science has not yet discovered everything does not prove the theory wrong.”
    Even Richard Dawkins (the religion phobic atheist) agrees to this, watch the Ben Stein video for the proof.
    Simply, some pseudo intellectuals want to keep the Divine Foot out of the door of their lives by simply proving nonsensical hypothesis correct.
    Dr Robert Caroll, a renowned paleontologist says in his book,
    “the evidence shows, major transitions in fossil records are missing.”

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  • Cautious
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:11AM

    When I was in college you were not required to attend lectures — you were required to be able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject covered and prove that by passing an exam. The Theory of Evolution is almost considered basic knowledge throughout the World and I suspect almost every student accepted into College already has a basic understanding of the theory – whether they believe it or not. No big deal – these students are adults and it’s their choice.

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  • H. Ali
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:28AM

    Evolution is a fact and theory both. The theory of evolution explains how living things evolved from simpler to complex form. Evolutionary theory is now used to explain everything concept in human life. Evolution of languages, writing, clothing, and even evolution of religion.

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  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:35AM

    Most unfortunate and pitiable stand of the muslim students. Please students, don’t involve religion in studies. Such stand on the part of the muslim students is going to make the muslim cuilture and religion a laughing stock and mockery.

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  • KN
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:16AM

    “Those who do not believe in evolution, are, probably, not evolved enough.” For them the earth is still flat.

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  • goggi
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:23AM

    @Cynical:
    Buddhist Consciousness has deeply penetrated in the intellectual classes of Europe and the rest of the World. Our world is soon going to embrace a spiritual revolution!

    The Wisdom of Zen Buddhism:
    Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in teh wind. One said, “The flag moves.” The other said, “The wind moves.” They argued back and forth but could not agree. Hui-neng, the sixth Patriarch,said: “Gentlemen! It is not the flag that moves. It is not the wind that moves. It is your mind that moves.” The two monks were struck with awe. Recommend

  • Raja Islam
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:24AM

    @zezu:
    That’s a load of crap to justify intolerance. You may not believe in something but that does not mean that you boycott classes or refuse to listen. This is one of the reasons why muslims are so backward. They have closed their minds and continue to live in the dark ages.

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  • Raja Islam
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:27AM

    @Asad:
    Who are we to judge whether it is right or wrong. It is what it is and you do not have to believe it if you don’t want to. People believe in certain religious teachings and they have a right to do so. That does not mean that it is right or wrong.

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  • Raja Islam
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:30AM

    @Fahad Aijaz:
    If that does not make sense to you then having a serpent asking a couple to eat an apple and them having been sent to earth for this sin would make even less sense.

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 1:49AM

    Even Richard Dawkins (the religion phobic atheist) agrees to this, watch the Ben Stein video for the proof.

    I don’t like Dawkins as much as the next guy, especially since showing his recent misogynist streak, however, as funny as Ben Stein was on some shows, the former Nixon writer, is and always will be a right-wing tea party extreme lunatic and his work on Creationism and Intelligent Design is nothing but uncredible bunk.

    Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Integrity Displayed
    A shameful antievolution film tries to blame Darwin for the Holocaust

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  • Ignorant Rationalist
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:08AM

    As long as it is not “mandatory” to attend these lectures, what is wrong with these students walking out? Moreover, I doubt this is “first exposure” of these students to theory of evolution. So it seems the news has been twisted by ET, presenting these students in negative light. It is student’s freedom to walk out of ANY lecture they want as long as the lectures are not mandatory to be attended.

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 2:13AM

    I am astonished that how they have reached UCL. They should not have opted for MBBS, or such course where this theory is taught.They have brought bad name to Islam and the Muslims. I am personally witness of this fact that OUR brothers in UK are making difficult for future students of their origin and belief.
    The roots of such like mentality are very deep and ancient in our History. Few-created men Incompatible version of Islam!!

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  • Observer
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:41AM

    @Mohibullah Khan:

    “Then why these fellows believe in their stethoscopes, ECG machines and medicines. Let them pray whenever a patient comes to them. They do not deserve to be called doctors.”

    Good point. May be what these Islamist fundo “doctors” would do to treat a patient would be to pray to Allah and recite verses as a cure. So, who wants to be treated by these doctors who don’t believe in science? Line up.

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  • Khalid Hussain
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:43AM

    This is like shutting one’s eyes to the truth shining as the Sun and dreaming of the glory of the past greatness of Muslim ulema. All religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism have their own mythological versions of the the advent of Man on this earth. Countless treatises have been written on whether Man is a fallen angel or a risen animal, but facts of the science speak audibly, discernibly and convincingly. My advice as a Professor to the students is, Go and sit in the classes, keep your eyes and ears open, take notes and then let your mind dwell on the facts as they emerge. Test these facts on the anvil of logic, not of religion. Accept what you feel is acceptable; reject what you feel you cannot accept. God bless.

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  • Zaheer
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:36AM

    The world is flat was also a fact at the time …. only to be proved wrong …
    the speed of light ( e=mc^2) was also a fact , right ?

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  • Irfan Haqqee
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:47AM

    They should go and join some Madaressah somewhere in NWFP or study Hikmat. ‘Brothers” never miss a chance to ridicule their own self.

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  • Noble Tufail
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:00AM

    these poor students need help guys

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  • Furqan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:17PM

    Good move by these students, may ALLAH help them, at least it’s a start to try to get this theory out of the course. excellent.

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  • zalim singh
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:41PM

    these students deserve madrassa education back home in Pakistan and Islamic medicine included. Can we call them Hakims???

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  • jibran
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:50PM

    The best way to serve Islam (or any religion for that matter) is not by boycotting the evolution class. But by doing studies and research and disproving the evolution theory with sound logic and researched facts, if u so staunchly believe in it. I don’t know why Muslims are so fond of taking short cuts!

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  • American
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:58AM

    @Furqan: Why stop with a boycott? Shouldn’t they also prevent other students from being exposed to this blasphemy? Shouldn’t they burn any books that don’t conform with Islamic doctrine, as the Muslims did in the case of the ancient library of Alexandria? Better stop by the astronomy department while they’re at it – I hear they’re teaching that the sun doesn’t set into a muddy spring each night.

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 1:30PM

    I work at UCL and I asked my friend who is a Muslim medical student and he told me that this is all loads of rubbish. First of all he does not recall this happening, and he has not heard of anything like this in the University. The first time it came out is in the Daily Mail. In addition how do the professors know the person walking out is a muslim (big beard probably?) and is walking out because he does not believe in evolution. It might be that he is just taking a loo break or just leaving the class for some other reason. In medical school it is very common to just leave the lectures as you can always revise them from notes etc.

    He thinks this is blown out of proportion by these newspapers. There is a possibility that there are 1-2 nut-cases who would have done this. However the newspapers are giving the impression that majority Muslims in UCL are just like this. That is absolutely not the case.

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  • A
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:49PM

    Does not Quran teaches how to make electricity or do heart transplant in heart surgery?

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  • Michael_jog
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:02PM

    Abay bhai it must only be a few students why r u people commenting as if all Muslims are refusing to study plus those who know daily mail are aware it is nearly a neo nazi paper who'd portray 1.4 billion Muslims as terrorist any day
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  • Michael_jog
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:05PM

    @Sana Iqbal: If u ever studied ur self we study evolution theory in Pakistan as well

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  • Nas
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:55PM

    Chill guys.. Most of the ppl are bashing pakistan here… UK muslims by default does’t means they are from pakistan…

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  • jihad
    Dec 1, 2011 - 9:16AM

    retards,, modern so called educated muslims, trying to protect religion by opposing universal truth
    no doubt, 2012

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  • Reggie
    Dec 4, 2011 - 7:36AM

    Typical. Why am I not surprised. Ignorance – check, denial – check, spiteful – check, intolerance – check, frustrated – check….the list goes on.

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