A RADICAL Muslim cleric who supports suicide bombers is behind the curriculum at a top Islamic college in Wales, we can reveal.
Courses run by the European Institute of Human Sciences draw on the teachings of Egyptian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who the Home Office is currently deciding whether to ban from Britain.
Politicians have demanded an investigation into the school as questions grow over its allegiances.
Principal Kadhem al-Rawi is an acquaintance of Magdi al-Nashar, the chemist arrested on suspicion of involvement in the 7/7 London bombings. Mr al-Rawi paid tribute to him following his arrest last week, describing him as having "a great personality". And one of the school's trustees Ahmad al-Rawi has declared British troops are a legitimate target for Iraqi militants.
But last night, the principal insisted students were not being reared on extremist views, saying: "There's no scholar in the Middle East more moderate than al-Qaradawi."
The institute, in Llanybydder, opened six years ago, and offers courses in Arabic and Islamic studies as well as training Muslim holy men called imams. It has 80 full-time students paying up to £4,000 a year each.
The courses were drawn up by a council of scholars chaired by Mr al-Qaradawi, who has praised Palestinian suicide bombers and denounced homosexuality as a disease.
The 79-year-old, who is banned from entering the USA, has been invited to appear at a conference in Manchester next month and Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said he would consider using his powers to ban him from the UK.
The college made the headlines last week when Kadhem al-Rawi, a doctor in Islamic Principles, spoke out on behalf of his Egyptian acquaintance Mr al-Nashar, a former Leeds University student detained for questioning over the London attacks.
And one of the school's three trustees, international scholar Ahmad al-Rawi - the principal's brother - sparked anger last year when he backed uprisings against the "filth of occupation" by both Iraqis and Palestinians.
The college used to be linked with Lampeter University, but earlier this month the university cut all ties with the school after carrying out a review.
The split came following a discussion over whether courses should be taught in English or Arabic. Lampeter had validated the school's degrees.
Spokeswoman Jane Norris-Hill said: "We no longer have any teaching links with the school.
"It would not be appropriate to go into the reasons why not, but there was a review after the initial two-year period and following the review it was decided not to continue with the link."
Last year the Charity Commission investigated the finances of the school - which has an income of more than £175,000 a year - after it failed to send its accounts. It eventually gave the school the all-clear.
Raja Gul Raiz, Wales' representative on the Muslim Council of Britain, insisted Mr al-Qaradawi was not an extremist and said he had condemned the London attacks.
"He has condemned suicide bombings except in Palestine," he said.
"The reason for this is Israeli forces are killing innocent people. The Israeli government has everything and the Palestinians don't have anything to fight them with.
"This is the feeling among Muslims. The majority believe only in Palestine is this allowed."
But Cardiff-based Mr Raiz added that if it were shown that the school was teaching extreme views in its al-Qaradawi-backed course, it should be stopped.
He said: "If he is teaching that suicide bombing and killing innocent people in revenge is OK then his teaching is wrong.
"There are a couple in this country whose teachings are extreme and they should be dealt with."
Concerned politicians have called for a wider investigation into the school and its possible links to fundamentalist groups.
Janet Ryder, Plaid Cymru's shadow education spokeswoman, said she hoped any links to extremism were already being probed.
"It should be the security forces discovering connections," she said. "I've got to say, I've spoken to a number of people in the mainstream Muslim community and they themselves would be extremely concerned by this. Nowhere in the Koran does it condone these type of killings.
"It would be beholden on the Muslim community themselves to look into this. People like al-Qaradawi do not represent their views in any way, shape or form."
William Graham, Tory education spokesman in the National Assembly, said: "Clearly nobody must preach any form of incitement.
"A charity must make known their aims and how they finance themselves because public confidence requires it.
"We want the Charity Commission to ask exactly what's going on, what they're doing and what sort of stuff they're actually teaching in their college.
"They have the power to take away their charitable status.
"It is worthwhile that these places should be opened to public examination so that if they are entirely committed to reasonable teaching they can continue without impediment. If not, something must be done immediately."
But Lib Dem education spokesman Peter Black warned against jumping to conclusions about the links.
He said: "Islam is a peaceful religion. I'm a bit reluctant to start screaming the odds on the basis of this link.
" I think we need stronger evidence than that."
Last night the Charity Commission appeared to rule out any further probe into the school.
Spokeswoman Sush Amar said: "There is no evidence that indicates that the Commission needs to take action in relation to the allegations.
"Yusuf al-Qaradawi is not listed in the UN sanctions list."
A spokeswoman for the Assembly Government said: "The Assembly Government has no locus over the curriculum of private colleges."