LEADING figures in two of Scotland's biggest mosques have been linked to an organisation responsible for terrorist atrocities in Pakistan.

The head of religious events at Glasgow Central Mosque and the leader of Polwarth Mosque in Edinburgh have held senior positions in the UK branch of the group Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), documents claim.

The organisation was officially banned by the government of Pakistan in 2002 for its violence against the Shi'a community. It had been proscribed the previous year by the UK Home Office.

According to documents uncovered by the BBC, the organisation's own publication suggests that both Sabir Ali at Glasgow Central Mosque and Hafiz Abdul Hamid in Edinburgh continued to have connections with SSP after it was banned.

In October 2003, an article in Khalifat-e-Rashida describes a memorial service at Glasgow Central Mosque for the former leader and co-founder of SSP, Azam Tariq, who had been assassinated in Pakistan that same month.

At the meeting, the magazine claims, a man named Chaudhry Sabir told those attending that Azam Tariq had “won the hearts of the Muslim world” and that “the enemies of Islam killed him” before he vowed to continue Tariq's mission.

A spate of killings of several prominent Shi'a leaders followed Tariq's 2001 arrest while, after his death, the SSP’s armed off-shoot, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), said it carried out an attack at a mosque that killed 50 Shia Muslims.

According to the magazine, Azam Tariq had also been hosted by Sabir Ali in Glasgow on a number of occasions in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, the investigation also cites a 2004 interview to Khalifat-e-Rashida by Hafiz Abdul Hamid in which he is quoted as saying: “We should try to get SSP restored so that the religious work can continue with the same zeal and fervour.

“This party will work for the political dominance of Islam.”

An attempt at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 1999 by other figures at his mosque to oust him for his post found that he was the UK president of SSP at that stage.

But as the organisation was legal at that time he could not be removed.

Sipah-e-Sahaba has been linked via leaked diplomatic correspondence with the Pakistani Taliban, while its aims have been described in an official UK government document as "to transform Pakistan by violent means into a Sunni state under the total control of Sharia law".

It adds: “Another objective is to have all Shia declared Kafirs [non-believers] and to participate in the destruction of other religions, notably Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism.”

It is not known whether either man still has links with the organisation.

Glasgow Central Mosque, where Sabir Ali, also known as Chaudhry Sabir Ali, is a member of the executive committee, did not confirm or deny his links to SSP last night but said the mosque had a message of peaceful and tolerant co-existence.

In a statement it said: "The Central Mosque has been part of Glasgow's community for over 40 years. In that time it has sought always to bring the communities of Glasgow together.

"The Central Mosque has promoted inter-faith work and a message of peaceful and tolerant co-existence. Islam is a faith of peace and we openly reject and condemn terrorism and extreme views of any kind.

"Glasgow is a proud beacon of how Muslim communities can engage with the wider society and the Central Mosque will continue to take a lead in promoting integration." Hafiz Abdul Hamid was not available for comment. The BBC investigation cites documents from 2004, several years after it was banned in the UK, which describe him as SSP president in the UK.

Last week The Herald revealed that Habib ur Rehman, the imam of Glasgow Central Mosque, had praised an Islamist assassin Mumtaz Qadri as a "true Muslim" and equated his actions with the French resistance against the Nazis during the Second World War.