An investigation has been launched by High Wycombe’s mosque trust after three town Imams were accused of hate preaching and glorifying a murderer, the Bucks Free Press can reveal.

The shocking allegations against the well respected and long-serving religious leaders came after a Muslim man claimed the Imams likened a Pakistani murderer to a “martyr” in front of hundreds of worshippers.

Bosses at the mosques in the town centre, Castlefield and Totteridge say they are taking the allegations “very seriously” and have started an investigation following emergency meetings.

Whistleblower Khalil Ahmed, from Micklefield, claims the trio led a prayer earlier this year for a bodyguard who assassinated the Pakistani governor he was hired to protect because of the politician’s opposition to blasphemy laws.

The killing – which led to the execution of murderer Mumtaz Qadri – resulted in dispute across the world, with Mr Ahmed now condemning the Imams for “taking sides” and “glorifying the terrorist”.

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In a scathing attack, the Tilling Crescent resident has highlighted his concerns “hate preaching” in High Wycombe’s mosques could lead to unrest and disorder amongst other members of the town’s Muslim community.

Speaking to the Free Press, Mr Ahmed, 55, said: “This is hate preaching and I think it is very dangerous and hypocritical of people in such an important position to do this.

“High Wycombe has had links with extremism and terrorism in the past and to speak in front of so many people and pretend this man is a martyr could have devastating consequences.

“What message are they conveying to this close-knit community? He was a murderer and should not be glorified like this.”

The Wycombe Islamic Mission and Trust, which controls the three mosques under scrutiny, has said it will not stand for such behaviour and will take any action necessary following the conclusion of the investigation.

And, Wycombe MP Steve Baker has since revealed that the three Imams told him during a private meeting that they feel “falsely accused”.

According to the trust, about 80 per cent of High Wycombe’s Muslim residents are members of the trust’s three mosques; Jubilee Road Mosque, Townfield Mosque, in Totteridge Road, and Castlefield Mosque, in Rutland Avenue.

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Jubilee Road Mosque, in the centre of High Wycombe.

The allegations centre around two consecutive Friday sermons at all three mosques on March 4 and March 11, when Mr Ahmed claims the comments were made by the Imams.

Wycombe Islamic Mission and Trust secretary, Shafait Ali, said: “We do not accept anybody praising any murderers or terrorists, which ever form it might be. We’re totally against that.

“As an organisation, whenever we get a complaint regarding the mosque [or] its employees, whether it’s the Imams or teachers, what we do is carry out a full investigation.

“These are very, very, serious allegations, so we’re going to take as much time as we can to make sure we carry out a full and proper investigation and then we can reply to Mr Khalil Ahmed and issue a statement.”

Mr Ali added that as part of the mosque committee’s investigation they had written to the three Imams to ask for their version of events.

The three Imams, Sultan Mehmood, Hafiz Hamid Uddin and Ghulam Jeelani, have all represented High Wycombe for more than 10 years, with the latter being in his position at Jubilee Road for more than 30 years.

Bucks Free Press:

See today's Bucks Free Press for a full report.

The worldwide rows started after Pakistan governor Salman Taseer was gunned down by his former bodyguard in 2011 following a disagreement over strict blasphemy laws.

The horrific murder saw Qadri sentenced to death, leading to an outcry from many people across the world who hailed him a hero.

Mr Taseer created controversy shortly before his death in 2010, by calling for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, to receive a pardon.

This led to some opponents calling the politician a blasphemer and eventually resulted in his shocking death at the hands of his bodyguard.

To call Qadri a martyr for carrying out the merciless killing, would be like praising the terrorists who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last year, Mr Ahmed says.

Bucks Free Press:

Khalil Ahmed.

In January 2015, days after the Paris attacks, community leaders across High Wycombe stood shoulder-to-shoulder as a show of unity against Isis.

Mr Ahmed said: “To speak out against this attack and glorify Qadri is totally hypocritical and worries me that publically the Imams are showing one image, which is completely different to the other views they may have.

“We cannot allow this sort of hatred to carry on.”

The trust has not confirmed when the lengthy investigation will finish, but has asked for Mr Ahmed to provide evidence as part of the search for information.

The Free Press has reached out but been unable to contact the three Imams, who had all previously been aware of the allegations.