The spiritual leader of Scotland's biggest mosque will not face charges over allegations he praised an Islamist assassin.

Police Scotland which investigated messages posted by Habib ur Rehman - one of the most senior figures at Glasgow Central Mosque - said that no criminality was established on this occasion.

The imam used the messaging platform WhatsApp to show support for Mumtaz Qadri and claimed he was a "true Muslim" equating his actions with the French resistance against the Nazis during World War Two.

Qadri was employed as a bodyguard for the governor of Punjab province in Pakistan, Salman Taseer, before turning on him in 2011 and shooting him 28 times.

The imam's remarks were made last month as he protested the execution of Qadri for the murder Mr Taseer, who had championed the rights of Christians being persecuted under blasphemy laws.

The incident shocked Pakistan and divided opinion, with many condemning the killing while Islamists hailing Qadri as a hero.

The Glasgow imam said in a statement that his message had been taken out of context and that he was expressing his opposition to capital 

Speaking at a conference in Glasgow on Thursday representing differing strands of Muslim faith, imam Habib ur Rehman repeated that his comments were ''misconstrued'' and said the situation had added to his ''sense of tragedy'' following recent terror attacks.

He said: ''I condemn extrajudicial killing and anarchy. The spirit of Islam is a spirit of peace.''


Imam Habib ur Rehman, second left, of Glasgow Central Mosque shakes hands with Ahmed Owusu-Konadu of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community at a press conference at Hampden. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Police Scotland Superintendent Jim Baird said: "Officers have reviewed all comments as reported to Police Scotland and whilst it is appreciated that individuals raise issues that concern them, on this occasion no criminality has been established.

"Police Scotland thank the members of the public who raised this issue with us.

"Each person who reported their concerns to the police, and who were not anonymous, was responded to individually. This assisted us in directly answering the specific points they raised."

On Whatsapp a member of the congregation challenged Mr Rehman over Qadri, saying he was a "murderer".

Mr Rehman responded: "According to some he was a murder(er) but according to many others he did what was the collective responsibility of the 
ummat [the Muslim community].

"Just when France was occupied by the Nazis, French did all they had to do to protect their nation. They were national heroes."

Thousands of Islamists have been protesting in Islamabad this week over the execution.

Qadri is a hero to many followers of the Barelvi school of Sunni Islam, which has a particularly deep reverence for the prophet Muhammad.

Taseer had incurred their wrath after daring to challenging the country’s blasphemy laws. While critics say the laws are used to victimise religious 
minorities, the Barelvis believe they are essential for protecting the honour of the holy characters of early Islamic history.