Mr Shah's Family Thought They Were Safe In Scotland

7 July 2016, 14:28

The parents of murdered shopkeeper Asad Shah moved to Scotland from Pakistan because "we never thought that we could be in danger he

As Ahmadi Muslims they said they faced religious hatred and discrimination in their homeland and sought refuge in Glasgow.

Two decades on, the faith-motivated stabbing of their son as he served behind the counter of the family store has brought "an immense sense of guilt'' and a renewed sense of fear for their safety.

As explained by prosecutors, Ahmadis differ from other Muslims in their belief that the Prophet Muhammad was not the final Prophet.

The majority of Muslims believe this view is inconsistent with Islamic belief and many consider it heretical or blasphemous.

Tanveer Ahmed said he murdered Mr Shah not because he was an Ahmadi Muslim however, but because of specific comments he made on social media.

The shopkeeper regularly posted messages and video clips online which the Crown said gave "little doubt that he was claiming to be a messenger of God and a prophet''.

The most recent Scottish census indicates there are around 77,000 Muslims living in Scotland, of whom several hundred are thought to belong to the Ahmadi community.

Glasgow's Yorkhill area is home to the Bait-Ur-Rahman Mosque and Ahmadiyya Muslim Centre, where Mr Shah's funeral was held on April 2.

Police moved to reassure members of the Islamic community across the UK after the murder.

"We are here to look after you,'' Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told worshippers at a south London mosque in the aftermath of the brutal attack.

Britain's top officer underlined everyone's right to practice their own beliefs - without harm to others - amid unease and anxiety in some communities.

The Muslim Council of Scotland asked Imams across Scotland to use their sermons as a reminder of holding respect for all, regardless of belief.

In the Commons, the Prime Minister addressed the "absolutely shocking'' murder and gave his backing to the nationwide campaign United Against Extremism, supported by Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Ahmadi Muslim faith leaders.

David Cameron said: "What we are seeing is a small minority within one of the great religions of our world, Islam, believing that there is only one way, a violent extremist way, of professing their faith.

"This is a battle within Islam and we have to be on the side of the moderate majority.''

Mr Shah's family said a person's religion, ethnicity or race never mattered to the shopkeeper, who treated everyone with kindness and respect.

They said: "Our love for all mankind and hope for a better world in which we can all live in peace and harmony, as so emphatically embodied by Asad, will endure and prevail.

"Asad left us a tremendous gift and we must continue to honour that gift by loving and taking care of one another.''