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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 18:48 GMT
Shock over mosque booklet claim
King Fahd Mosque
The Islamic Centre is attached to Edinburgh's King Fahd Mosque
Worshippers at an Edinburgh mosque have refuted suggestions it is promoting extremism after a study claimed to have found "hate literature" there.

Researchers claimed to have found a booklet which indicated it was permissible to kill lapsed Muslims.

The material was said to be found at the Islamic Centre of Edinburgh, which is attached to the King Fahd Mosque.

A mosque source told the BBC the booklet had been sent to the mosque 10 years ago but had not been used since.

The details emerged in a UK survey by the think tank Policy Exchange.

The findings form part of a report entitled The Hijacking of British Islam. The mosque has not yet issued an official comment.

'Spill blood'

The section of the booklet cited in the report was the only example of so-called "hate literature" said to have been found in Scotland, where eight mosques were studied.

The material found states: "The scholars have mentioned that a person may become apostate for many reasons which can nullify his faith.

"These reasons would make someone's blood permissible to spill [to be killed for apostasy] and his wealth permissible to be usurped, because he is no longer a Muslim."

This is a mosque that is at the forefront of promoting good relations in the community
Sohaib Saeed
Islam Festival Edinburgh director

Over the past year, four research teams travelled to mosques and Islamic centres across the UK.

The report said extremist books and pamphlets were found in a minority of institutions.

But the reports author's said they were concerned that this type of literature was found at such a high profile and well-funded Islamic centre.

The mosque source told the BBC: "This book is in fact not stocked or distributed by the mosque. It is not clear how the researcher came across it.

"The booklet was sent to the mosque amongst others on the occasion of the mosque's opening, but has not been used in the 10 years since then.

"However, it is always possible that someone would leave their personal copy in the shoe racks or elsewhere, which is outside the mosque's capacity to monitor."

The source said the mosque had been "clear in its promotion of freedom of belief," citing events hosted there during the Islam Festival Edinburgh in August.

Welcoming place

He added: "The mosque is renowned worldwide for its pioneering efforts in dialogue in society and enjoys positive relations with all local institutions and faith groups.

"The allegation that it promotes hatred and extremism would be rejected by anyone who has any contact with the mosque."

One worshiper told BBC Scotland he was shocked at the claims.

He said: "I would be very surprised to hear that any kind of extremism or terrorist-related activities were held in this mosque, it's not possible, it's a very open mosque."

Sohaib Saeed, the director of the Islam Festival Edinburgh, said the mosque was a welcoming place.

Mr Saeed questioned where the booklet was allegedly found and said it was not the kind of material routinely stocked or distributed.

He said: "It's clear through the sermons that take place, the lessons and the rest of it, that this is a mosque that is at the forefront of promoting good relations in the community and understanding what it means to be a Scottish Muslim."

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