The reformers running Glasgow Central Mosque have resigned en masse citing threats to them and their families.

Seven office-holders, including the Mosque's president and general secretary, have stood down in what solicitor Aamer Anwar called an "extremely sad and shameful day for Scotland's Muslims".

The men - who have been campaigning to give women a bigger role in the mosque - said they were facing aggressive intimidation now under police investigation.

Their resignation came amid increasingly bitter turf war between young reformers and the so-called Old Guard, mainly Orthodox Pakistani-born elders revealed in a series of stories in The Herald.

Their opponents dismissed their reports of threats as "lies" and "politics".

Some reformers claim they were told not to attend Friday prayers last week.

Background: David Leask on the two traditions in conflict at Glasgow Central Mosque

General-Secretary Nabeel Shaikh, President Maqbool Rasul and five others on Wednesday morning confirmed they had resigned.

In a statement, they said: "Due to a number of people undermining day-to-day operations, meetings and even sabotaging mosque property, alongside threats of physical harm to executive members including their wives and children, we have no option but to resign from the executive committee in order to protest against the backwardness displayed by a minority of people in power."

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, pictured below, has been advising the reformist committee. The Herald: Aamer Anwar

He said: "It is a real tragedy that those who bravely led the calls for equality and diversity at Scotland’s largest mosque have resigned.

"The fact that they did so because of alleged threats of violence towards their families is abhorrent and criminal.

"This committee had the decency and courage to expose corruption, misogyny and racism.

"Today is an extremely sad and shameful day for Scotland’s Muslims, but it’s time the silent majority spoke up."

Background: Mr Anwar's essay on Mosque conflict in this weekend's Sunday Herald.

Latest: Concerns Old Guard left Mosque vulnerable to money-laundering

The Herald: Friday prayers at the Central Mosque in Glasgow

The resignations highlight the complicated governance arrangement of the Mosque, which has two groups of managers.

One is a committee of charity trustees, who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the institution.

The other is group of property trustees, who are not charitable trustees but have substantial powers over the charity.

This includes the right to select charity trustees every two years. They are due to do so in March, when a general meeting is scheduled.

Most of the resignations come from the management committee, the charity trustees.

The Herald: Exterior of the Glasgow Central Mosque.Picture by Stewart Attwood

Only four people remain on that committee, including former general secretary Shafi Kausar.

Dr Kausar, who is a member of the conservative organisation Tablighi Jamaat, dismissed any suggestion of threats or intimidation.

He said: "It is not true. The threats and intimation is a lie. Nobody is threatening or intimidating anybody. Who intimated them?

"Some members of the committee have decided to declare their resignation. There is a general meeting in March and they they think they can't be chosen. So they are politicking. They have taken this attitude for their own reason and I won't comment on what that is."

SNP Minister Humza Yousaf, pictured below, has questioned why women and non-Pakistanis are not on the Mosque committee.

The Herald: Humza Yousaf

At least two property trustees have also resigned in the ongoing fall-out of the turf war.

Mr Rasul, the creator of the Global Video rental chain, is a property trustee and seen as a champion of reform.

The Herald understands that one of the more Orthodox property trustees, Hafiz Sadiq, has also announced he will step down this month. Dr Sadiq is a leading member of Tablighi Jamaat, an organisation regarded by some as a breeding ground for non-violent fundamentalism and by others as a respectable missionary group.

The reformist committee cited what it said was an unauthorised Glasgow Mosque loan to Tablighi Jamaat's Dewsbury Mosque in Yorkshire among a series of complaints made to Scotland's charity watchdog OSCR.

A Police Scotland confirmed that complaints of intimidation had been received. "These matters are under investigation."