31 March 2016

Police probe Scottish mosque figures' links to banned sectarian group

A BBC investigation has found that Sabir Ali, head of religious events at Glasgow Central Mosque, was president of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP). This is a political party now proscribed by the Home Office.

Links to the group have also been made to Hafiz Abdul Hamid from the Polwarth Mosque in Edinburgh.

Glasgow Central Mosque said it would not remove Mr Ali from his role until the links were proved. But it said it condemned terrorism of any kind. It is understood Mr Ali denies the allegations. Mr Hamid declined to comment.

The BBC has obtained evidence that both men continued to be involved with the organisation after it was banned in the UK in 2001. It is not clear whether the two men are still involved.

Sipah-e-Sahaba is a militant anti-Shia political party formed in Pakistan in the 1980s. The group and its armed off-shoot, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), have accepted responsibility for deadly sectarian attacks against Shia Muslims and other religious minorities in Pakistan. [BBC] Read more