SCOTLAND's leading human rights lawyer has received death threats from Islamic extremists over his calls for unity within the country's Muslim community.

Though unable to give details due to an ongoing police investigation, Aamer Anwar said the threats came from individuals who have taken issue with his call for Muslims of all backgrounds and denominations to stand up together against Islamic extremism.

Anwar said he did not wish to go into 'the specifics' of the threats against him, but said he "presumed" they came from Islamic extremists.

Anwar's call for unity followed terror attacks around the world including in Brussels and Lahore, as well as the killing of Asad Shah, a Scottish member of the minority Ahmadi sect within Islam.

Divisions which have opened up in recent months between would-be reformers of the Glasgow Central Mosque (GCM), including Anwar, and its more conservative leaders, were put aside on Thursday when they shared a public platform with leaders of the Ahmadi community in a public show of unity.

The event, largely brokered by Anwar with support from Police Scotland and other community leaders, took place against the backdrop of allegations that GCM leaders had links with Islamic extremists – which they have vehemently denied.

The lawyer - who has taken on a number of high-profile cases, including representing the family of murdered Indian waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar, the case of Sheku Bayoh, the Fife man who died in police custody, as well as a number of terror suspects - described the threats against him as "the final straw".

"Over the years I have been subjected to all sorts of serious threats which I have deliberately avoided talking about publicly," he told the Sunday Herald. "But this week was the final straw, being made to feel that my life was as at risk and I should be silent because I have a young family - this is not how I want to live my life."

Threats on his life have been made by phone and text. He has also received swathes of abuse on social media, with posters accusing him of waging "a vendetta" and "smear campaign" against the Mosque in an attempt to shut it down. In other tweets from a now closed account using an image of the recently executed Pakistani extremist Mumtaz Qadri as its profile pic, he was accused of being a "kuffar", or non-Muslim.

He said: "When you walk out of the house and give your children a hug and a kiss, you do find yourself wondering, 'is that the last time I'll see them?' I did that the other night because I was scared. In my head I thought anything could happen and to live with that is extremely difficult."

He also made an urgent call for abuse of others leading muslims including Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman - who has been accused of sending a Whatsapp message showing his support for Mumtaz Qadri – to stop. The religious leader has insisted his comments were taken out of context, and on Friday Police Scotland confirmed that they are no longer investigating.

Anwar added: "The fact is that there is an empathy between me and the Iman because in fact I was horrified by the abuse that he too has received. There are a small number of individuals who claim they are against extremism, then want to attack and violently abuse an individual - that is nothing to do with Islam. Words can incite violence, can cost lives."

He welcomed GCM's "courage and responsibility" in coming together to show a united front against extremist on Thursday.

"It is important that when you stand up against extremism and violence that there are no ifs and no buts; it's pure and simple," he said. However he said the "running sore of the double standards - the hypocrisy that says that the lives of those murdered by a suicide bomber matter more than those murdered when a stealth bomber drops its bombs on innocents in illegal wars" must also be acknowledged

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "There is absolutely no place for bigotry and prejudice in Scotland and this Government is clear that any form of hate crime is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in 21st century Scotland."