Leeds Grand Mosque
Former Leeds Grand Mosque Chairman linked to DVD glorifying suicide bombersReuters

Former chairman of an eminent mosque in Leeds faces accusations that he owned a company that distributed a children's DVD that praises suicide bomb attacks against Israelis, according to the Times newspaper.

Firas al-Rawi – a former Syrian national who was the chairman of the Leeds Grand Mosque – owned a company which distributed a singalong DVD featuring a young girl holding some dynamite and vowing to follow her mother's footsteps by blowing herself up at a military checkpoint manned by soldiers.

The film uses a cartoon chicken to introduce a children's songs featuring the young girl's tribute to her mother just before she blows herself up at the checkpoint.

The song, which is thought to have been inspired by a 22-year-old mother of two who killed herself at a Gaza checkpoint in 2004, shows the young girl finding dynamite in her mother's wardrobe as she sings: "My love will not be by words. I will follow my mother's step."

Al-Rawi's connection to the DVD, which triggered an inquiry by counter terrorism police and arrests for spreading racial hatred, was discovered by a Times investigation into the mosque's ties to the the oldest Islamist movement Muslim Brotherhood.

Local Muslims at the mosque situated near the University of Leeds told the paper that their place of worship had been "hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood against the will of the congregation".

The mosque-goers said that "extremists" of Iraqi, Syrian and Egyptian origin had formed a "self-appointed leadership" that sidelined moderates and anyone who disagreed with them.

40-year-old al-Rawi, who is the son of a senior member of the Muslim brotherhood political party in Syria, ran Abrar bookshop, which sold Islamic merchandise close to the mosque.

He also owned the import company Abrar International whose official office was the same as the book shop, according to the Times.

Abrar International was identified on the cover of the suicide-bombing DVD as the films "sole UK distributor".

A copy of the DVD was handed to police in 2007 and al-Rawi was arrested and bailed two months later on suspicion of distributing material likely to incite racial hatred.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge him with the offence and the case was dropped.

Leeds Grand Mosque denied that it had been taken over by extremists and accused worshippers that made those claims of being "biased" and speaking out of self-interest, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, al-Rawi is thought to have moved to Kuwait two years ago and the paper was unable to reach him for comment, the Times said.